Prague: Local Travel Info
The Seductive Virgin City of Europe
- To and From- Prague Airport, Ruzyne
Prague’s main airport has 3 terminals to help it cater to all international air traffic efficiently. It is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and information desks as well as ATMs, currency exchange counters, car rental companies, taxi booking stand, left luggage facility and a post office.
This International Airport, located 17 kms from the city centre, is well-connected to it thanks to the city’s strong public transport system. It takes about 30 minutes to get there using a taxi and an hour if using the bus or train.
A privately operated minibus to Republic Square plies every 30 minutes from 5:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. and costs approx EUR 4/- An airport taxi to the city centre would cost EUR 25/- as would airport transfers. Whereas using a bus or train would be as cheap as EUR 1/-
- Prague by Bus
There is no better way to soak up the wonderful sights of Prague than by bus. Though the buses often ply at the leisurely pace their jolly drivers set for them instead of adhering to strict schedules, the bus network stretches to every nook and corner of the city and is the best way to discover Prague inside out.
Prague’s Central Bus Station is located at Florenc in Krizikova, New Town which is a stone’s throw away from the suburban Railway Station. Most international bus connections terminate at Florenc.
Buses ply from 5 a.m. until midnight with a few nightliners that operate in the wee hours of the morning- bus 502-514 and 601-603. Bus schedules are available at individual stops as well as on the Public Transport Company’s Website www.florenc.cz
Traveling by bus works out cheaper than using the metro if one commutes on a daily basis from the outskirts to the city centre.
A unique feature of this mode of transportation is the introduction of paperless ticketing. It’s now possible to receive tickets through SMS upto 90 minutes prior intended departure from the operator- Prague Public Transit Company which will be checked by the bus driver. It costs the same as the conventional paper ticket- EUR 1/-, where you have the additional responsibility of validating/punching it in a machine before departure.
- Prague by Train
Comprising 3 lines and 41 stops, the quickest way to discover the delights of Prague is to travel by the efficient light rail system operated by Czech Railways. Trains ply every 3 minutes on each of the lines.
Prague has two International Railway stations:- Praha Hlavni Nadrazi (also known as Wilson station, a short walk from the city centre) and Praha Holesovice which connect Prague to the other European cities such as Frankfurt, Warsaw, Berlin, Vienna and Moscow.
There are two smaller domestic railway stations located at Smichov and Florenc (both about 15 minutes from the city centre). Train schedules are available online and in the underground stations.
It’s always preferable to buy tickets at the station rather than buying on the train as a surcharge applies. The same is true when tickets are issued at your request as being urgent, especially for long-distance travel.
Travelling within Prague by train is a non-tiring and affordable proposition at EUR 1/- If you think you will be relying on trains heavily all the time to get around Prague, avail of the yearly pass option- the Z card which costs EUR 10/- and is valid for 1 year. This ensures a discount of upto 40% on train travel and it earns you’re paying less than a EURO for a return trip while a one-way journey using a normal ticket costs about that much!!!
- Prague by Taxis
The image of Prague takes a serious beating when it comes to travelling by taxis. Taxi drivers here are easily the most corrupt in the whole of the European Union as they resort to cheap, unscrupulous ploys such as tampering with the meter to make the pulse jump faster or overcharging the customer and taking advantage of the hapless, confused soul by talking rapidly in Czech.
It would be good to always book a taxi through a reputable cab hiring company and not to succumb to the temptation of hopping into a taxi that’s idling away right in front of you. If you’re hard pressed for time, ensure you ask the cabbie for an indicative price for reaching you to your destination before jumping in. also check the distance- price tariff chart on the passenger door to verify that the meter reading corresponds with it. AAA Radiotaxi, ProfiTaxi and Prague Airport transfers are the most reliable and value-for-money taxi companies.
Taxis normally charge EUR 1/km and a waiting fee of EUR 1/- every 5 minutes if you’re stuck in a traffic jam!!! Some companies even charges a booking and boarding fee that amounts to EUR 2/-!!! Certainly not the most economical way to get around Prague.
- Prague by Trams and Funicular:
Trams and Prague go a long way back. The first mode of public transport introduced to the city was trams. A huge network of tram lines snakes through the whole city. These cute little electric trains chugging down the cobblestone pavements whilst trying to keep up with the pace of the hustle and bustle around transports you to the world of beautiful and quaint memories.
A tram ride costs EUR 1/-
- Prague by Car and Motorcycles:
Czech drivers are probably the worst in Europe when it comes to safe driving. It is highly advisable that you avoid driving altogether in this heavily-congested city where bumper to bumper traffic on the narrow and winding streets is a common sight. Though motorcycles are easier to maneuver, Prague’s gridlocked streets are guaranteed to frustrate even the most patient of riders. Weekends see a spurt in traffic what with people driving to and from their private holiday homes situated on the outskirts of Prague.
In Prague, you drive on the right hand side. The driver has to be at least 18 years of age. Seatbelt regulations are extremely stringent for both the driver and passengers. Prague observes a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drunken driving. Penalties include a fine amounting to EUR 200 and/ or a prison sentence. Most foreign driving licenses are accepted as are International Driving Licenses.
If you intend driving to the Czech Republic, a valid driving license, vehicle registration card, car hire certificate if the car is rented or a No Objection Letter from the owner if the car is borrowed, insurance documentation, a first aid kit, set of replacement head and tail lamps, spare tires, red fluorescent warning triangles and a Highway sticker pasted on the rear glass are mandatory.
Speed limits vary from 50 kms/hr on urban roads to 90 kms/hr on country lanes and 50- 130 kms/hr on highways.
Petrol rates in Prague are comparable to those charged in the rest of the EU with the price pegged at EUR 1-2 per liter. Cars can be parked on streets for upto 6 hours during the day and overnight. A parking ticket costs under a euro. To ensure the safety of your vehicle, it’s better to use the services of private manned car parking lots that charge between EUR 30-100 for a day.
- Car Rentals
It would be quite illogical for one to rent a car in light of what has been said about Prague’s congested traffic scene. However, if one needs to make frequent trips to the city centre and cannot rely on the public transport system which is not the most time-bound, there are many car rental agencies that possess a fleet of international brands and the latest car models. Daily hiring charges for a medium-sized sedan is around EUR 120/- and it comes with unlimited mileage. Drivers need to be aged 21 and above and possess a driving license that is at least a year old.
For Cheap Car Hire in Prague, view our links in the main tab above. These are updated hourly to provide you with the latest deals and special offers on car rental in Prague.
- Prague by Bicycles
Cycling is not a popular way of commuting in Prague due to the lack of dedicated cycling lanes and the maddening traffic. That’s not to say that there aren’t any lanes present. An institution has been put in charge of constructing and maintaining these routes in the city. There are about 180 kms of bicycle-routes of which 60 kms lie outside the vehicular zone. A few kickstands have also been erected where you can leave your bicycle free of charge or for a miniscule fee. Bicycle thefts are not very common in Prague.
- Prague by Boat
Touring Prague by boat is perhaps the most practical, enjoyable and relaxing of ways to appreciate the nuances of the architectural marvels of Prague from all conceivable angles whilst reaching your destination. The boat fleet owned by the Prague Public Transit Company operates on the serene river Vltava. You would be paying almost the same fare that you’d pay to ride on a bus or train.
- Hitch Hiking
Never advisable in any country, this mode of transportation is frowned upon by the morally-upright Praguers. It is extremely unsafe as the risks of being assaulted, mugged, raped or even killed are extremely high. Praguers will never halt for a single man wanting to hitch a ride. A woman may be luckier but it’s twice as risky. The Czech police crack down heavily on hitch hikers and the ones who encourage it, so it’s important to choose a spot wisely not to get yourself or your samaritan into any hassle with the law.
Ironically, there is a registered hitching agency! The Town to Town Agency maintains a portal www.spolujidza.cz that connects drivers to travelers. A traveler can easily browse as per his destination, date and time of travel and contact a suitable advertiser (driver) or can post his requirement online. The price is fixed well in advance so there is absolutely no room for ambiguity and one can look forward to a hassle-free ride.