Prague is a historic, centrally located city, in the middle of Europe. It is a popular destination, not only for its Czech citizens, but also for international travelers. Coping with such a large influx of visitors, especially in the summer months, has led to the development of a well-run and efficient transport system. Transport modes include trains, buses, trams, taxis, funicular train, rental cars, bikes and, of course, by foot.
The city center's underground train network is called the Metro. It is highly efficient, clean and reasonably priced. The network consists of three main lines that are identified by a letter and color. The 'A-Green' line runs from Depo Hostivar to Dejvická station, 'B-Yellow' line from Cerny Most to Zličín Station and the 'C-Red' line from Letnany to Haje Station. It is possible to transfer to other lines at the following stops: Museum (A & C), Mustek (A & B) and Florenc (B & C) Stations.
The Metro operates daily from 5:00am to midnight. Frequency varies from every two to three minutes during the high peak times, to every ten minutes in off peak periods. Although the Metro only operates from 5am to midnight, other forms of transport are available outside this time. All the cars are modern, air-conditioned and clean. At each stop, the station name is clearly announced and underground maps are clear and easy to follow.
The main Hlavni Nadrazi train station is situated near Wenceslas Square, where it lies on the Metro C line. This is the station from which international services run to Germany, Poland, France, Slovakia and other major Czech cities.
Nadrazi Holesovice train station is the second biggest and also services international customers, especially from the west and north, travelling to and from cities such as Berlin, Vienna and Budapest.
If you only wish to travel to local areas then head for Masarykovo Nadrazi, which is the oldest train station in Prague.
Lastly, the Smichovske Nadrazi train station, on the Metro B line, will take visitors in the direction of Plzen and Pisek. It is also located near Metro C.
For visitors wishing to do a lot of train travel, a prepaid card is available which gives the customer up to 2000 kilometers of train travel, though restrictions do apply such as minimum distance for each trip and the ticket expires after six months. The prepaid ticket will save you money.
Another type of train called the Funicular Railway takes you to the top of the popular Petřín Hill. It starts at the Újezd tram stop in Malá Strana and operates from 9:00am to 11:30pm, every 10 to 15 minutes.
Buses and Trams
Buses and trams run day and night and timetables can be obtained from a wide variety of shops.
The two main bus stations in Prague are Florenc and Roztyly, with most international bus companies using Florenc station.
Trams operate from 4:30am to midnight. Like the Metro, they are more frequent during peak hours, with arrival times approximately every three minutes. During off peak times, they arrive approximately every 15 minutes. Unlike the Metro, trams and buses operate in the early hours of the morning but frequency drops to between 30 and 40 minutes.
It is also possible to take a ride on the historic tram on line 91. This is a great way to see some of the historic downtown area, however the tram only operates from April to November.
Many visitors arrive via Ruzyně Airport, which is the main Prague airport. From here, there are several modes of transport available to take the visitor to their destinations though there is no direct Metro line connecting the airport to the city.
Public transport from the airport to the city is the cheapest type of transport, though it may not be as convenient as other transport options. It will usually cost less than 50cz for a one way trip into the center of Prague.
Some drawbacks include the inconvenience of carrying your luggage and you will also be charged more for excess pieces. Space on the buses is also limited so, if you have lots of luggage, alternate form of transport may be best. Also, the bus will most likely not drop you directly at your destination and you will need to organize more transport options.
Several buses service this route including the following:
Bus 119 connects to the Metro A line at Dejvická station. From here, the Metro train will take you to the Old Town area of Prague. Depending on the time of day, they run every 7 to 20 minutes and it normally takes about 30 minutes to reach the center of town.
Bus 100 connects to Zličín, which is located on the Metro B line and will take you to the New Town and Smichov districts.
When purchasing tickets, be aware there are two types available: non-transferable and transferable. It is recommended tourists buy transferable tickets for several reasons. The one ticket is valid for all city transport and you are able to interchange from one form to another. Tickets can be purchased for different time periods ranging from 24 hours to 15 days and can be bought at any information center. It will work out less expensive to use these tickets than buying individual tickets for each part of your journey. The more days you purchase, the cheaper they become. Tickets for all transport must be purchased before you board and these are available from a wide range of outlets including the yellow vending machines located within the stations, newsstands and shops marked with 'trafika'.
All tickets must be validated by a machine before your journey begins after which the ticket must be used within a set period of time. In trams and buses, a non-transferable ticket must be used within 20 minutes. Metro tickets are valid for 30 minutes and include five stations after validation, which does not include the initial station, and transfers are allowed. Transfer tickets need to be used within 75 minutes and 90 minutes at the weekend. Ticket inspectors frequently check if passengers have valid tickets and fines are imposed if a valid ticket is not presented.
A 'Prague Card' offers the visitor a combination of unlimited public transport, including airport transfer, with bus line 119 and free admission to over 50 monuments and museums in the Prague area. It is valid for four days and costs less than 50 Euro for adults and concessions apply. The Prague card is available from any Information Service center and can be purchased online from a variety of sources.
All taxis are clearly marked with a yellow roof light and the word 'TAXI' printed on it. Prague's taxis have been given a bad reputation but there are several reliable companies which are very ethical and do not rip off their customers.
It is not recommended to travel around the city in a private car as central Prague can become very busy and congested. The parking on the street is controlled by meters and is expensive and there are limited places, often with a limited parking time. Secure parking garages are available throughout the city and include the Kotva department store, Garage Helios in Wilsonova Street, the National Theatre at Divadelní Street and Bolzanova Street.
The Prague Integrated Transport system has a comprehensive web site, which can give details regarding your journey and costs involved.