Prague (Czech: Praha) is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. The city's historic buildings and narrow, winding streets are testament to its centuries-old role as capital of the historic region of Bohemia. Prague lies on the banks of the beautiful, meandering Vltava River that reflects the city's golden spires and 9th century castle that dominates the skyline.
This historic atmosphere is combined with a certain quirkiness that embraces the entire city. From the Museum of Czech Cubism to the technicolour Jubilee Synagogue; the castle to the river, Prague is a Bohemian capital in every sense.
Confusingly, several incompatible district systems are used in Prague. Partially, different systems are from different historic periods, but at least three different systems are used today for different purposes. To make things even worse, a single district name can be used in all the systems, but with different meanings.
For purposes of this guide, the "old" district system is used. In this "old" system, Prague is divided into ten numbered districts (Praha 1 through to Praha 10). If you encounter a higher district number, a different system is being used. For example, Praha 13 is part of the "old" Praha 5 district. The advantage of the "old" system of ten districts is that it is used on street signs and house numbers throughout the city, so you can always easily determine the "old" system district you are located in.
Praha 1 is the oldest part of the city, the original 'Town of Prague', and has by far the most attractions. Praha 2 also contains important historic areas. In this central area, the "old" district system (or any of the newer systems) is too crude to be practical, a finer division is needed. Traditional city "quarters" provide such a division. Their disadvantage is that they are somewhat incompatible with the modern district systems - although "quarters" are smaller than the "old" system districts, a single quarter can belong to two or even more districts. The advantage is that these central quarters are well known and widely used and identical with the homonymous cadastral areas shown on street and house number signs along the "old" district designation, allowing easy orientation.
Buildings in big cities in the Czech Republic have two numbers, one blue and one red. The blue ones are the orientation numbers - it is the ordinal number of the building on its street. Historically these numbers always started from the end of the street which is closer to a river. As elsewhere in Europe, odd numbers belong on one side of the street and even numbers on the other. The red numbers are related to the house register of the entire quarter (for example, Staré Město), and thus usually correspond to the order in which the buildings in that district were constructed. Most people do not remember them; if somebody says, e.g., the house is in Dlouha str. number 8, they will usually mean the blue number. Red numbers usually have 3 or more digits.
|Old Town and Josefov (Staré Město, Josefov)|
Old Town (Staré Město) - The nucleus of the right bank, the oldest part of Prague. Jewish Town (Josefov) - A small enclave within Old Town, the old Jewish ghetto.
|Castle and Lesser Town (Hradčany, Malá Strana)|
Castle (Hradčany) - The historic nexus of the city, and the highest point on the left bank. Lesser Town (Malá strana) - The settlement around the castle. Site of most governmental authorities, including Czech Parliament.
|New Town and Vysehrad (Nové Město, Vyšehrad)|
Nové Město - The district adjacent to Old Town, established in the 14th century. Vysehrad (Vyšehrad) - The site of the old Vyšehrad castle south of the medieval Prague.
|East bank of Vltava (Karlín, Žižkov, Vinohrady, Vršovice, Nusle, Podolí and many more)|
The East of Prague is on the east side of the Vltava River beside the Old Town and New Town districts. It consists of the numbered districts of Praha 3, Praha 4, Praha 8, Praha 9, Praha 10, Praha 11 and Praha 12. Most of the sites listed are in the cadastral district of Žižkov, which roughly corresponds to Praha 3.
|West bank of Vltava (Holešovice, Střešovice, Břevnov, Smíchov and many more)|
The West of Prague is to the west of the Vltava river.
This city of bridges, cathedrals, gold-tipped towers and church domes, has been mirrored in the surface of the swan-filled Vltava River for more than ten centuries. Almost undamaged by World War II, Prague's compact medieval centre remains a wonderful mixture of cobbled lanes, walled courtyards, cathedrals and countless church spires all in the shadow of her majestic 9th century castle that looks eastward as the sun sets behind her. Prague is also a modern and vibrant city full of energy, music, cultural art, fine dining and special events catering to the independent traveller's thirst for adventure.
It is regarded by many as one of Europe's most charming and beautiful cities, Prague has become the most popular travel destination in Central Europe along with Budapest and Kraków. Millions of tourists visit the city every year.
Prague was founded in the later 9th century, and soon became the seat of the Kings of Bohemia, some of whom ruled as Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. The city thrived under the rule of Charles IV, who ordered the building of the New Town in the 14th century - many of the city's most important attractions date back to that age. In 1348 Prague became an university town, which it has remained ever since. The University, which is sometimes claimed to be the oldest in Central Europe was split into a German and a Czech language part in 1882 with the German language part shut down in 1945, thus ending the claim of "oldest German university" Prague might have reasonably held until then. The city also went under Habsburg rule and became the capital of a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It had a German-speaking majority well into the 19th century, and even after then, maintained a significant German-speaking minority until the expulsion of ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia following World War II. During that period, Prague would give rise to several prominent German-language authors, perhaps the most notable being Franz Kafka, known for works such as Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis) and Der Process (The Trial). In 1918, after World War I, the city became the capital of Czechoslovakia. After 1989 many foreigners, especially young people, moved to Prague. In 1992, its historic centre was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In 1993, Czechoslovakia split into two countries and Prague became capital city of the new Czech Republic.
The Vltava River runs through Prague, which is home to about 1.2 million people. The capital may be beautiful, but smog often accumulates in the Vltava River basin.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Prague has a humid continental climate, with relatively cold winters (about freezing point). Snow cover occurs between mid-November and late March. The snow cover rarely stays around for more than a week or two. Summers usually bring plenty of sunshine and the average high temperature of 24 °C (75 °F). Precipitation in Prague is rather low, driest season usually being the winter. During late spring and summer heavy rain may occur, often in a form thundershowers. Temperature inversions are relatively common around winter, bringing foggy, cold days and sometimes moderate air pollution. Prague is a windy city with common sustained western winds and an average wind speed of 16 km/h (9.9 mph).
Many Praguers have a small cottage (which can range from a shack barely large enough for garden utensils to an elaborate, multi-story dwelling) outside the city. There they can escape for some fresh air and country pursuits such as mushroom hunting and gardening. These cottages, called chata (plural form chaty, pronunciation of ch as in Bach), are treasured both as getaways and ongoing projects. Each reflects its owner's character, as most of them were built by unorthodox methods. Chata owners used the typically Czech "it's who you know" chain of supply to scrounge materials and services. This barter system worked extremely well, and still does today. Chaty are also sometimes used as primary residences by Czechs who rent out their city-centre apartments for enormous profit to foreigners who can afford to pay inflated rent.
A university student, Jan Palach became a Czechoslovakian martyr when he set himself ablaze in protest to the Warsaw Pact intervention against the Prague Spring reforms, which liberalised government policies and human rights restrictions. Palach died three days later from his injuries. Palach's funeral erupted into mass protests against the government. Many Czechoslovakians mourned Palach and sympathized with his ideals including Jan Zajíc, who killed himself in the same fashion as Palach to encourage his countrymen to fight the Warsaw Pact occupation of the Czechoslovakian nation. A little more than two months later, on Good Friday, Evžen Plocek also set himself ablaze in the town of Jihlava. However, Plocek's protest went largely unnoticed since his death was not reported by the media. In 1989, twenty years after Palach's death, large scale protests were held in what became known as Palach Week, a precursor to the Velvet Revolution later the same year.
The airport is served by a number of airlines:
- Czech Airlines (ČSA) is the national carrier operating to many European and international destinations. It generally does not offer long-haul (intercontinental) flights, but as it is partially owned by Korean Air, it offers a code-shared direct connection to Seoul Incheon.
- Wizz Air is a low cost airline with a base in Prague operating to European destinations including London, and Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion Airport.
- easyJet operates low cost services to European destinations.
- Jet2.com low cost services from Manchester Airport, Newcastle, Leeds/Bradford & Edinburgh
- SmartWings to Europe, Turkey and Israel
- Swiss International flies to Zurich, Basel and Geneva.
- Aer Lingus from the Irish city of Dublin.
- Norwegian from Scandinavia.
- Delta Air Lines from New York JFK.
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has 5 direct flights per day from Amsterdam Schiphol.
- British Airways has 4 direct flights from London Heathrow daily.
- Brussels Airlines offers 3 flights a day to Brussels.
- Lufthansa offers 6 flights a day from Frankfurt airport and 4 from Munich airport.
- TAP offers daily direct flights from Lisbon and Oporto.
- Iberia offers 3 flights daily from Madrid Barajas.
- Eurowings offers daily flights from Cologne/Bonn and Düsseldorf.
- LOT Polish Airlines offers flights from Warsaw.
Getting into the city from the airport
As of November 2019, the airport is not yet served by any rail based means of public transit. There has been long-standing political wrangling over whether to build an extension of the Esko (commuter rail) or the Metro to the airport but thus far neither has been completed while the Esko seems to have won for now on cost grounds and due to it being faster to build. The Metro line which reaches closest to the airport is still being extended, however the route of 2010s extensions does not follow a straight line towards the airport.
- Public buses offer connections to several metro stations, from which you can travel to the city center in a total travel time of 45 minutes. Public transport tickets, which are valid on the buses, metro, and trams can be bought from kiosks called Public Transport in the arrivals halls (07:00-21:00, credit cards accepted), the DPP kiosk in the arrivals area of Terminal 1, or the vending machine next to the bus stop outside the terminals (cards accepted). Tickets are available in time increments of 30 minutes (24 Kč), 90 minutes (32 Kč), 24-hours (110 Kč) or 3-days (310 Kč). You can also buy a 90-minute ticket from the bus driver, but it costs 40 Kč (in cash only). You can transfer between the buses, metro, trams and ferries for no additional charge as long as your ticket has not expired. Remember to validate your ticket as soon as you get on the bus by sticking it into a yellow machine with green glowing arrow, or you may be subject to a fine of 800 Kč if you are caught. Info on the schedules and routes can be obtained here. Buses that operate between the airport and the metro stations are as follows (exact schedules can be found on DPP website, airport bus stops are called "Terminál 1" or "Terminál 2"):
- Bus to metro station (18 minute ride). Departures every 10-20 minutes from 05:41-23:36.
- Bus to metro station (17 minute ride). Departures every 3-10 minutes from 04:23-23:42.
- Bus going via (24 minute ride) and (48 minute ride). Departures every 15-40 minutes from 04:57-23:31.
- Night Bus going via (38 minute ride) and (45 minute ride). Departures from the airport every 30 minutes from 23:50-03:54 (every 20 minutes on weekends).
- Night Bus going via (32 minute ride), (39 minute ride) and further via , Karlovo náměstí and . Departures from the airport every 60 minutes from 01:09-04:03.
- Airport Express (bus operated by Czech Railways): These buses leave the airport every 30 minutes; the first one at 05:46 while the last one at 21:16 at a price of 60 Kč per person (or less, if bought as a part of railway ticket further into Czech Republic). Tickets are available from the driver. They will take you to the railway and metro station at this page or here and . The last stop will be Prague's main train station ( which is commonly abbreviated in Czech as "Praha hl.n."). From there the bus operates back to the airport. Schedule:
- Cedaz bus: (but in fact the owner is AAA taxi) These buses operate from 07:30 to 19:00 every half hour. They will take you into the city centre to the "V Celnici" street. Fares are 150 Kč per person.
- By shuttle: Various companies run shuttle services to the hotel and back. They can be found at the airport arrival halls. They usually charge around 400 to 500 Kč for trip and in general are a bit cheaper than the taxis.
- By taxi: The most comfortable method to reach the city centre will cost around 650 to 850 Kč with AAA Taxi. They have an exclusive contract with Prague airport and taxis waiting outside. For a bargain, call one of their competitors listed in Get around Taxi section.
- By private cars: Many companies offer private transfers for fixed prices - to the hotel, apartments, etc. and back. This service must be booked in advance because driver will be waiting directly to you. They usually charge around 600 to 700 Kč for trip and in general are a bit cheaper than the taxis.
- By rented cars: If you are planning on exploring the Czech Republic beyond the city of Prague, you may want to consider renting a car at the airport. Numerous rental companies have their desks at the airport (in the ground floor of Parking C) and allow pickup and return directly there.
Getting money at the airport
If not completely necessary, do not exchange money on the airport, especially in the baggage claim area. There is only one exchange company - Interchange - which runs all the exchange kiosks at the whole airport. Their rates are extremely bad. You are actually paying them at least 20 percent commission through the bad rates, even though they state there is no commission. ATM withdrawal is almost always a better option. Use any ATM except Euronet ATMs, as these charge an extra fee and give only 1000 Kč banknotes which are too large. In the parking house opposite the terminals you can find a branch of KB bank with regular exchange rates (open only M-F). You can also pay your transportation tickets by card (including Google Pay and Apple Pay). Paying with card in some restaurants/hotels has again its own dangers - some vendors provide dynamic money conversion "service", which shows you the price in your home currency, but rips you off badly. In all cases, make sure to chose to pay in local currency in order to ensure the best exchange rate with your credit card.
- Main article: Rail travel in the Czech Republic
Prague is well connected to European EC train network, however there is no Czech high speed rail and so the maximum train speed is 120–160 km/h (75-99 mph), but usually the average speed is much lower at about 70 km/h. While international and intercity services are generally reliable, be prepared for delays of more than a few minutes when using local trains.
- Berlin: 4½ hr, EC trains every 2 hours, from €14 if bought in advance (3-90 days) on Czech Railway website or Deutsche Bahn website (check both for the best price).
The train line from Berlin to Prague passes through Saxon Switzerland, and for a couple of hours the passengers are treated to a series of beautiful alpine river valleys, surrounded by rocky escarpments and mountains. If going from Berlin, try to sit on the left side of the train.
- Munich: 6 hr, 3 EC a day from each city, €14 if bought in advance (3-90 days) on Czech Railway website
Trains from Nuremberg have connection from Munich in Schwandorf and vice versa. The trains are quite slow, so alternatively you can use non-stop bus Nuremberg–Prague operated by German Railways (3¾ hr, every 2 hours).
- Vienna: 4 hr, railjet train every 2 hours, €15 if bought in advance (3-90 days) on Czech Railway website, little less if you split the tickets in Brno. Newly operate also by Regiojet trains.
- Bratislava: 4 hr, EC train every 2 hours; one night train Metropol, €17 if bought in advance (3-90 days) on Czech Railway website, little less if you split the tickets in Brno. Newly operated also by Regiojet trains.
- Budapest: 7 hr, 5 EC trains a day; night train Metropol, €20 if bought in advance (3-90 days) on Czech Railway website, little less if you split the tickets in Brno
- Warsaw: 8¼ hr, two daily EC Praha and Porta Moravica; 11h, night train Slovakia, €19, Needs to be bought on Polish ticket office in advance to get the best price.
- Krakow: 6-6½ hr, daily express train Cracovia in summer and; night train Bohemia, €19. To be bought on ticket desk.
- Zürich: 14 hr, night train every day, €36 for sleeping car. To be bought on Czech Railway website
All international trains arrive at 2 Praha hlavní nádraží (the central station, abbreviated to Praha hl.n.), which is located at the metro station . For train departures, keep an eye on the board, as track platforms are only determined about 15 minutes in advance.
Beware of the taxi drivers operating from the (official-looking) taxi rank alongside Praha hl.n.; they will attempt to charge a fixed price of 1760 Kč for a trip within the city center zone, or more than this if you want to travel further. Also, beware the money exchange kiosks, most of these offer terrible exchanges rates or charges a hefty fee. Czech Railways company runs their own exchange office in one of the ticket desks with reasonable exchange rates, but withdrawing money from an ATM is usually the best idea unless your home bank charges a huge fee. Avoid using Euronet ATMs, as these charge you a fee and have only 1000 Kč banknotes, which is unheard of when using other ATMs.
The park in front of the main train station is a haunt for some of the city's undesirable elements and should be avoided after dark. If you do have to come through on foot, it's best to avoid coming through the park and approach from the southeast along Washingtonova. As you get to the corner of the park there's a police station, so the likelihood of running into problems from this direction is minimalised.
Many other local trains depart from the nearby 3 Masarykovo nádraží ( ). There are numerous other train stations within Prague, such as and .
The main bus station for international buses in Prague is 4 , located east of the city centre.
The second largest bus station is 5 Na Knížecí, located next to Vltava river at west bank, south of city center. It is connected to metro station. It is used mostly by regional buses and buses to Český Krumlov.
Other, less frequently used bus stations are at, , , and .
Eurolines, Ecolines, Student Agency and Orange Ways connect Prague to major European cities. Since the liberalization of the German long-distance bus market almost all major operators offer routes to/from Prague. Deutsche Bahn offers an IC Bus from Strasbourg via Mannheim Heidelberg Nuremberg and Plzen as well as one from Munich, DeinBus drives from Munich via Regensburg and Plzen, Flixbus goes from Berlin (via Dresden) as well as Linz Munich and Regensburg to Prague and onebus also serves Prague. Tickets for the German operators can all be bought online or paid in Euros at the bus (higher rates apply, only possible if there are still seats)
Regiojet operates frequent bus services between many large Czech cities (including famous Cesky Krumlov) and Prague for prices between 80 to 200 Kč per adult (reservation needed), it provides much better service (steward, complimentary coffee and tea, free wifi, personal multimedia system in each seat) than its main competitor Flixbus.
Prague has highway connections from five major directions. Unfortunately, the highway network in the Czech Republic is quite incomplete and some highways are old and in poor condition. Thus, the highway connection from Prague to the border of the Czech Republic is available only in three directions: southeast, southwest and northwest.
The southwestern highway (D5; international E50) leads through Plzeň to Germany. The D5 highway continues in Germany as A6. Riding from the state border to Prague takes about an hour and a half (160 km/99 mi).
The southeastern highway (D1) is the Czech Republic's oldest and most used highway but is in a rather poor condition. It leads through Brno to Bratislava in Slovakia. It offers a good connection to Vienna, Budapest and all traffic from the east. It runs for 250 km (155 mi), and usually takes over two hours.
To the northeast, you can take highway R10 (E65). It is strictly speaking a motorway, not a highway, but it has four lanes and differs little from a highway. It leads from Liberec to Turnov. It is not regarded as an important access route, as there are no major cities in this direction (Zittau in Germany, some cities in Poland), but it offers a good connection to the Czech mountains Jizerské hory and Krkonoše (Riesengebirge) with the best Czech skiing resorts.
To the east, you can take the newly completed D11 (E67), which goes to Hradec Kralove. It leads to Poland.
Czech highways are under development (D11 is being extended, D3 to České Budějovice and Linz is supposed to be completed in 2020) so things will get better. Unless there are road works, there are only seldom traffic jams on Czech highways, with the exception of D1 near Prague (and near Mirosovice (direction to České Budějovice and Linz, and Brno, too)).
Prague suffers from heavy traffic and on week days the main streets are one big traffic jam. Moreover, Prague doesn't have a complete highway outer ring yet. It is a really good idea to use the P+R (park and ride) parking places, where you can park your car for a very small fee and use public transport.
The P+Rs are situated near all highways and are well marked. Note that traffic wardens are rife and parking in most residential streets in and around Prague city centre (even after dark) without a valid permit will result in a parking fine. In particular, avoid blue-marked areas which are parking-restricted area if you don't want your car to get towed away within the hour.
Public transportation is very convenient in most of the areas visitors are likely to frequent. Public transport buses do not enter the historic districts (Old Town, New Town, Lower Town, etc.) to prevent air and noise pollution. One must transfer to a cleaner and quieter electric-powered tram or a metro before reaching historic areas.
Prague is renowned as a very "walkable" city. For those who enjoy seeing the old and new city by foot, one can easily walk from Wenceslas Square to the Old Town Square, or from the Old Town to Charles Bridge and the Castle District. However almost all of the streets are cobbled, rendering it very difficult for disabled or elderly travellers to get around effectively. Also, pedestrians should enter crosswalks carefully in Prague, as drivers are not as likely to yield as they are in other European cities.
Remember that in the Czech Republic, it is illegal to cross at a pedestrian crossing on a red man, and if caught this incurs a fine of 1000 Kč.
By public transport
The public transport around Prague consists of three metro lines (Pražská Integrovaná Doprava., , ), over twenty tram lines (numbered using 1- or 2-digit numbers), buses (3-digit numbers), ferries, a few train lines (numbered S1 to S9), and one funicular, all using the same tickets. Public transport schedules and fares are integrated by
The tram and bus schedules are posted at the stops, and the metro (its schedule is posted in station) operates from early in the morning (around 05:00) until approximately midnight. Buses (lines no. 100-299) and trams (lines no. 1-26) start earlier and end later to connect to metro. Around midnight, some trams carrying passengers take different routes to get to their garage. When travelling at night, always check schedules on-line beforehand, and you may even find a shorter route to your destination than normally available.
When planning a journey, if you know the names of your stops, you can use the official journey planner, or a smartphone app (two good ones for Android are Jízdní řády/Pubtran, which is free of charge but uses your data plan to find connections, or CG transit, which allows you to download the timetables into your phone for a small charge and then use them offline). Add five minutes to any journey time when using the metro - it is very deep as it was built as an atomic shelter in the communist era, thus getting down to the platform takes some time. Because of this, tram is a more convenient option when going only a few stops.
If you don't know the name of your stop, you can plan your journey either using Google Maps or with another map. You can also look at several public transport maps, but be aware that at any given moment there are several lines closed for renovations, which is reflected by the online planners but may not always be included in the static maps.
Prague's public transport is fast and efficient when you know how to use it. Sometimes you have to change a few times - the schedule website is the best way to plan your trip. If you get lost, you can take any bus / tram, all lines pass through a metro station where you can orient yourself.
These tickets may be of interest to visitors (Oct 2018):
- 24 Kč – full ticket: 30 minutes (transfers allowed), children get 50% discount
- 32 Kč – full ticket: 90 minutes (transfers allowed), children get 50% discount
- 110 Kč – 24-hour ticket, children get 50% discount
- 310 Kč – 3-day ticket (72 hours), you can take one child free of charge with you
Children under 15 years get the discount. Children under 10 years travel free of charge, but must have an id card with age and photo if older than 6.
As you can see, the 24-hour or 3-day tickets are not economical unless you plan to travel more than 4 times a day for 90 minutes (6 hours).
An economical option for more than five days (two for ISIC holders) might be buying an electronic monthly ticket. This ticket can be bound to your credit card. You have to buy it at designated places (there are some at both airport and the main railway station) or online, but it is likely your ISIC will not be usable online. The price is 130 Kč for ISIC holders under 26 years of age and 550 Kč for others.
Tickets can be bought at various places:
- ticket machines on the street - sell 24, 32, 110 Kč tickets. Some older ticket machines accept coins only (but return change). In most central locations such as the central train station, there are new touch-screen ticket machines that accept coins, 100 Kč and 200 Kč notes, Visa and MasterCard credit cards ("classic" as well as contactless cards) and their debit versions. Problems can occur with foreign debit cards.
- ticket machines inside trams - if you have contactless card you can buy ticket also inside the tram immediately after boarding - use the middle door with sign of the ticket machine (this system is being expanded to all trams)
- tobacco shops, convenience stores - usually 24 and 32 Kč tickets only
- Prague Public Transit offices - usually located at Metro stations (and the airport), sell all kinds of tickets
- bus (but not tram) drivers - sell the 32 Kč tickets for a higher price of 40 Kč
- all Czech Railways ticket offices - sell the 110 Kč tickets (validity is printed on the ticket, so ask them to set it to the date and time you need)
- EC/IC trains - sometimes the conductors of these trains offer the 110 Kč tickets for sale before arrival to Prague
- via SMS - service is available only for the Czech GSM operator customers
- using the SEJF app - available for iOS and Android. Customers can top up the app's wallet using a payment card, no Czech GSM number is needed. The ticket is only valid on trams, urban buses and in the Metro, not on S-Train services. The DPP website has no information whether SEJF tickets are valid in the funicular. However, this is likely, as the funicular is operated by the company that also operates urban buses, trams and the Metro.
Validate your ticket by slipping it into one of the yellow boxes in the tram, bus or ferry, as soon as you board. In the metro, on the S-trains and on the funicular, the validators are in stations instead of the vehicles. After having changed the tram/bus, there is no need to validate it again. Keep it until it expires.
Tickets are not checked upon boarding, but uniformed or plain-clothed ticket inspectors often make the rounds asking to see your ticket. One problem is false inspectors who most often ride the trams between "Malostranske Namesti" and Prague Castle - these deceivers can be detected by asking for the identity card and badge which should be possessed by every inspector. An unstamped ticket is invalid - it will be confiscated, and you will incur a 700 Kč fine. Even though "riding black" seems easy in Prague, you should invest in the cheap ticket for the simple reason that Prague's transportation works perfectly and it functions on the honor system – help it stay that way.
Some buses (number 300 to 499) and all S-trains go out of the city, so they work a little differently, because normal tickets are valid only within the city limits. You have to show your ticket to the bus driver or train conductor and possibly buy another ticket from them, if you plan to go out of the city. The most popular site reachable this way is the Karlštejn castle (train S7, leaving the main station every 30 minutes).
Public transport continues at night and it's fairly extensive. Night trams or night buses (00:00 to 05:00; lines beginning with the number 9) usually come every 30 minutes (and every 20 min on Fridays and Saturdays). Every 15 (10) minutes during this time, trams leave the central exchange stop of Lazarská in the centre of Prague. All night trams go through this stop. You can easily change tram lines here if nowhere else. At all night exchange stops, trams and buses wait for the connecting tram/bus.
Do not underestimate how close to the footpath the trams will be when they reach the stop. It's safer to take a few steps back before the tram arrives, as wing mirrors could cause injury for taller people. In the Metro, you should stay behind the dashed safety line on the floor about half a meter from the edge of the platform. On an escalator, it is customary to stand on the right side and walk up on the left side. It is good etiquette to let elderly people, pregnant women or disabled people sit down on public transit.
There's little reason to use taxi for sightseeing - public transportation is often a better option. But if you want to use taxi for any reason, your best bet is using either one of the taxi apps, or major taxi services - and not trying to flag them on the road. See also the Taxi scams section.
The advantage of using a taxi app is that you get a decent price, all payments are done by card, there's no need to call anyone, and you can get a taxi at any time in less than 10 minutes. So in this case, there's little space for frauds. Both Uber and Taxify can get pretty expensive on Friday evenings though. Popular options include:
- Liftago, the local equivalent to Uber, which uses official cabs and therefore without risk of conflicts with police. New clients get a 300 Kč bonus for signing up. App available for Android and iOS.
- Uber, the global taxi giant. If you already have an account from any other country, you can use it in Prague as well. App available for Android and iOS. Uber applies an additional surcharge for traveling from the airport; in busy hours it may also charge you more than the maximal allowed rate for Prague (28 CZK/km). As Uber is not official taxi it can be slower in rush hours because it is not allowed to use dedicated lanes on the roads.
- Taxify, another large player. Often offers discount codes and is a little bit cheaper than Uber. App available for Android and iOS. Officially illegal like Uber but without any risk for passengers.
The major taxi operators follow the rules, so you can expect from them (do insist) having the taxi-meter turned on, and to give you a printed receipt once you leave the taxi. The receipt should have the driver's name, address and tax identification number included. You can also try to negotiate the price in advance, though the official maximum price designated by city council is 28 Kč/km (approx. €1.30). The rate is lower if you make an order online or via a phone call. Here's a non-complete list of advisable services:
- AAA Radiotaxi, ☏ . 20-28 CZK/km.
- Bohemia Prague Airport Transfers, ☏ .
- City Taxi, ☏ . 24-28 Kč/km.
- Green Prague, ☏ . Škoda Octavia G-Tec cars, free wifi, cards always accepted; basic 28 CZK/km, online 20 CZK/km.
- Halo Taxi, ☏ . 24 Kč/km.
- Kurýr Taxi, ☏ . 20 Kč/km.
- Modrý anděl, ☏ . 21-23 Kč/km.
- Nejlevnější taxi, ☏ . 18 Kč/km.
- Prague Airport Transfers, ☏ .
- Profi Taxi, ☏ . 26-28 Kč/km.
- Sedop, ☏ . 23 Kč/km.
- Speed Cars Praha, ☏ . 21 Kč/km.
- Taxi Praha, ☏ . 18-24 Kč/km.
- Taxi Praha 14007, ☏ . 24-28 Kč/km.
- Taxi Premier, ☏ . 17 Kč/km.
- TICK TACK, ☏ . Audi A6 and Škoda Kodiaq cars, free wifi, free water, cards always accepted; basic 28 CZK/km, online 26 CZK/km.
You can travel down the famous Vltava River, which inspired writers and composers such as Smetana and Dvořák.
The Prague Steamboat Company offers sight seeing cruises and trips to the Prague Zoo or the Slapy River Dam.
There also few small passenger ferries across the river, integrated with the Prague's public transport tariff. Some of them are even free.
Or you can enjoy travel by boat in the historic centre of Prague. The nice surroundings include Pražské Benátky. Try to travel with Pražské Benátky Company and enjoy historic cruises as well as way to visit Charles Bridge Museum (Muzeum Karlova Mostu). Avoid the touts selling boat tours to tourists in the Charles bridge area, and check for everything online.
Prague is not very bike friendly city but the cycling infrastructure is slowly improving. Even though there are some bike lanes on the streets and bike paths, these usually pop out and end randomly. Also, Prague is quite hilly so biking is sometimes a bit challenging. If you still want the use a bike, you can use Rekola app, which allows you to use the bike for 15 minutes for free and then for 24 Kč every additional hour. For a longer ride, use mapy.cz to find a good route. Biking in the center is a pain, mainly because of the crowds and tramway tracks. There are however some nice biking paths, such as the one connecting the main railway station an Krejcárek through lower part of Žižkov district or along the rivers.
Tourist Information Centres
The city has 3 information centres in the city and another 2 at both airport terminals:
- 1 TIC - Old Town Hall (Staroměstská radnice), Staroměstské náměstí 1, ✉ email@example.com. January – February 09.00 – 18.00, March – December 09.00 – 19.00. The main tourist information right in the city centre.
- 2 TIC - Na Můstku, Rytířská 12, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 09:00 – 19:00.
- 3 TIC - Wenceslas Square, Wenceslas Square. 10:00 - 18:00. Information booth right on Wenceslas Square.
- Individual listings can be found in Prague's district articles
- 1 Prague Castle. This, the biggest ancient castle in the world according to Guinness World Records, rises like a dream above the city offering beautiful views of the areas below. Also on site is the St. Vitus Cathedral with its lookout tower, the Castle Picture Gallery, several palaces and museums and the beautiful Royal Garden, among others. You can also watch the Presidential Guard, and the changeover of the guards on duty on the hour. A Prague castle ticket is 350 Kč and an audio guide costs a further 350 Kč..
- 2 Charles Bridge. Connects Old Town with Lesser Town. Its construction started in the 14th century and it is one of Prague's most beautiful structures. During the day, it is a bustling place of trade and entertainment, as musicians busk and artists sell their paintings and jewelry.
- 3 Old Town (Staré město). Prague's historic centre includes numerous historic buildings and monuments, most notably the famed 4 Astronomical Clock (Orloj), the pure Gothic 5 Týn Church, the mural-covered 6 Storch building, and the Jan Hus monument. Nearby, the Estate Theatre is a neoclassical theatre where Mozart's opera Don Giovanni was first performed. Old Town features many historical churches (St. James Church, Church of Our Lady before Týn among others) and some other interesting historical buildings like the Old Town Hall.
- 7 Josefov. This historic Jewish ghetto is interesting for its well preserved synagogues. The Old New Synagogue (Czech: Staronová synagoga) is Europe's oldest active synagogue and it is rumoured to be the resting place of the famed Prague Golem. Another interesting synagogue is the Spanish Synagogue, a highly ornamental building of Moorish style. Other attractions include the Old Jewish Cemetery, which is the oldest in Europe, and Kafka's house. The Old New Synagogue is not a part of the Jewish museum, so if you wish to see everything, it is recommended that you buy a combined pass to all of the Jewish attractions for 480 Kč.
- 8 New Town (Nové město). New Town was established as an extension of Old Town in the 14th century, though much of the area has now been reconstructed. The main attraction here is Wenceslas Square, a rectangular commercial square with many stalls, shops and restaurants. At the top of the square is the National Museum which is well worth a look (see below). Midway down this historic boulevard, one finds trendy discos and Art Nouveau hotels, as well as quaint parks and arcades, while just off the beaten path are some wonderful panoramic views (Henry Tower), romantic restaurants and the dazzling, Disney-colored Jubilee Synagogue.
- 9 Lesser Town (Malá strana). Across the Vltava River from the city centre and leading to the castle, this quarter also offers beautiful streets and churches (of which St. Nicholas Church is the most renowned). The Lennon Wall, which used to be a source of irritation to the communist regime, is also found here, near a Venetian-like canal with water wheel and close to the Charles Bridge. On 17 November 2014, the Lennon Wall was vandalised by a group of art students and painted over in white.
- 10 Prague Dancing House (Tančící dům, also known as "Fred and Ginger"). One of the most fascinating architectural expressions of Prague co-designed by Vlado Milunic and Frank Gehry. Accessible from metro station.
- 11 Petřín Lookout Tower (Petřínská rozhledna'). A smaller version of the Eiffel Tower on the top of Petrin Hill overlooking Prague. Climbing the tower costs 120 CZK for a standard ticket or 60 CZK for discounts. Paid lift available (60 CZK).
- 12 Prague Zoo. To get there, take metro to , then bus 112 which terminates at the Zoo. Nearby is the Troja Chateau (Trojský Zámek) with a large garden displaying various sculptures and a Botanic Garden (Botanická zahrada Troja) with a tropical greenhouse.
- Czech National Gallery (Národní galerie). Its most important collections are in the Sternberg Palace (up to the Baroque), St George Convent (Czech Baroque and Mannerism) and Veletržní Palace. The first two are located near and in the castle respectively. Do not confuse them with the Castle Picture Gallery (see above) which is worth visiting on its own right.
- Czech National Museum (Národní muzeum). An association of various museums. The main building is at the Wenceslas Square and is dedicated to natural history. Other branches include museums of the Czech composers Dvořák and Smetana, Czech Music Museum, Historical Pharmacy Museum, Prince Lobkovicz' Collection at the Prague Castle, Czech Ethnographical Museum and Naprstek Anthropological Museum.
- 16 Prague City Gallery. A museum of modern Czech arts divided between several sites most of which are in the old town. Its main building is the House of the Golden Ring at the Old Town Square featuring 20th century Czech art in a beautiful medieval edifice. 19th century Czech art is exhibited at the Troja Castle.
- 17 DOX - Centre for Contemporary Art. Newly opened gallery for modern arts, modern EU gallery style. Huge white building with lot of exhibitions, installations and interesting objects to see. Located at Poupětova 1, Praha 7 near industrial district Holešovice (subway red line C) is quite long way from the center but definitely worth to see. You can check the exhibitions during day (around 1-2 hr) and on the trip back to Holešovice visit the legendary underground grown up Cross Club.
- 18 Jewish Museum. This covers six separate places (four synagogues, the Old Jewish Cemetery and the Memorial Hall) but does not include the Old-New Synagogue, although entrance tickets can either include or exclude the last named. The Old-New Synagogue is expensive in relation to the museum but in view of its age, it's worth including it. The Memorial Hall is particularly moving with exhibits of the writings of children in death camps.
- 19 Prague City Museum (Muzeum hl. m. Prahy), Na Poříčí 52, Praha 8. Has several branches throughout town. An absolute must-see for the incredibly detailed cardboard model of nineteenth century Prague by Anton Langweil. The detail is amazing, even down to the colour of the doorways and the design of the windowsills.
- There are plenty of smaller museums. Among them are the Museum of Miniatures at the Stahnov Monastery, Toys Museum and Musical Automata Museum at the Prague Castle, Postal Museum, and more touristy Wax Museum, Torture Museum and Beer Museums in the Old Town.
If you are visiting several attractions, you may be able to save money by buying a tourist card. Be discerning, as the passes often list as inclusions destinations that are free to visit anyway, and include lesser attractions. Make sure you will save money on the places you want to visit.
- Prague Card. Available for 2, 3 or 4 days. Includes a bus city tour and a river cruise. Free entry to Prague Castle - St.Vitus Cathedral, Royal Palace, Golden Lane, St.George's Basilic; Free entry to Jewish Museum - synagogues and famous Old Jewish Cemetery (6 sites). In total free entry to 50 attractions and discounts on over 30 attractions. Free guidebook with information about the attractions in 7 languages 1.550 Kč, 1.810Kč, 2.080 Kč.
- Welcome Card TVCzechia. Grants admission to all the Prague Castle short tour, which normally costs 250 Kč. Many of the town's museums and galleries—including all branches of the National Gallery and the National Museum—are also included, and over four days you can easily see 3 times the card's value. As such, this is an excellent choice if you're planning on visiting a lot of museums. The only major attraction that is not included is the Old New Synagogue and Jewish Museum. 990 Kč..
- Prague City Pass. Free entry to various attractions in Prague within a 30 days period, various 25% discounts, sightseeing tours. Prague Castle – Old Royal Palace with Vladislav Hall, St. George‘s Basilica, Golden Lane with Daliborka Tower, St. Vitus Cathedral. The ticket is valid for 2 days from first entry. Jewish Museum in Prague – Maisel Synagogue, Spanish Synagogue, Pinkas Synagogue, Old Jewish Cemetery, Klausen Synagogue, Ceremonial Hall. The ticket is valid for 7 days from first entry. 1390 Kč..
- National Gallery Gift Ticket. If you are an art lover and you are staying in Prague for a longer time, a dárková vstupenka (gift ticket) for National Gallery may save you money. The ticket is valid for a year and is valid in all exhibitions (both permanent and non-permanent) of National Gallery. Number of visits is not limited. A gift ticket for one person costs 650 Kč, for two persons 1000 Kč. For 240 Kč you can have one-person ticket valid for two days in all "Old Art" exhibitions of National Gallery (Šternberk Palace, Schwarzenberg Palace, St. Anežka Convent), basic entry for these three galleries bought separately would cost you. 450 Kč.
- Individual listings can be found in Prague's district articles
Take a walk along the Royal Way of Prague.
Opera and ballet have quite a tradition in the city, even though there are often overlooked by young locals and instead frequented by tourists. The main opera and ballet venues are operated by the National Theatre company, which is owned by the government. Tickets can be bought on the company website, the best seats tend to sell out, so it is better to shop in advance. It is customary to wear decent clothing when going to National Theatre venues (black suit), but this is not enforced. Main venues are (all of these are as well worthy of just seeing from the outside)ː
- 1 Národní divadlo (National Theatre). - This is the original National Theatre building. The interior of the building is very decorative, and a sight of its own. Sometimes hosts operas and ballets, but mostly plays in Czech language – English subtitles are often available. Students receive a 50% discount on tickets.
- 2 Stavovské divadlo (The Estates Theatre). - Oldest theatre building still standing in the city. Mozart's Don Giovanni premiere was conducted here, and Don Giovanni opera is still often on the repertoire, as are other operas, plays and ballets.
- 3 Státní opera (State opera). - This historic building of the former German Theatre now serves as the State Opera, hosting mainly operas and ballets.
There are many other theatres in Prague, but these usually only offer plays in Czech language. Classical music concerts are often conducted in numerous churches, especially in the centre.
- Prague Spring. The most famous classical music festival in the Czech republic
- Prague Advent Choral Meeting.
- Signal Festival. A weekend in October, during which many historic buildings are lighted by spectacular video-mappings and many light-and-sound installations are set up at different places in the city centre, Vinohrady and Karlín.
River cruises are both popular and varied, from one hour cruises to long evening cruises with dinner or music. To get the right price, find a boat only, do not buy anything from the touts near Charles Bridge. If you want to cruise the river for the smallest price possible, you can use a public transportation ferry.
- Wine Boat, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. The 1-hour cruise includes a visit of Prague Venice river canal as well as wine tasting of local wines.
- Prague Steam Boats (Pražská paroplavba), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Offer one hour cruises, as well as cruises to the Zoo and full day cruises to Slapy water dam. If you have the time for a 3-hour dinner cruise, you will certainly enjoy viewing the city from the river, while savouring a great dinner.
- Cruise Prague. Offers a wide range of regular and private cruises.
- JazzBoat. Combines cruising and jazz concerts.
- Watch football: the city's leading team is SK Slavia Praha. They play in the First League, the top tier of Czech football, and often qualify for European tournaments. They play at the 21,000 capacity Eden Arena, which is also the usual venue for international matches; it's 5 km southeast of the old city centre. The city's other First League sides are AC Sparta Prague (at Generali Arena, 1 km north of the centre) and FK Dukla Prague (at Stadion Juliska in the northern suburb of Dejvice).
- We Bike Prague, Konviktska 7, 11000 (Prague 1), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 09:00 - 19:30. With We Bike Prague team you can easily discover the city of Prague and the area around. Very good quality bike to rent for you self guided trip in the city and multidays trip trough the countryside. We Bike Prague is also specialized in long distance bike trip. Good bikes, panniers and maps can be rented for your cycling holiday in the Czech Republic.
- BIKO Adventures Prague, Vratislavova 58/3, Vysehrad (Praha 2), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 09:00-13:00, 15:00-19:00. BIKO offers mountain bike, road bike and outdoor activities off the beaten track in Prague and in the Czech Republic. From easy to advanced. High end bike rental: touring bikes, hardtail and full suspension MTB, road bikes, e-MTB.
- 4 Prague Tours Center, Michalska 12, Prague 1 (Malé náměstí square less than 200 meters), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A free offer for the visitors of Prague: the Prague Tours Centre is offering free connection and charge up of your electric bikes and Segway PT. While connected, the devices are guarded by a supervisor and, in the meantime, you can take walk around Prague, visit a museum or your preferred restaurant. In the Prague Tours Centre the tourists have a possibility of depositing their bikes together with baggage which they do not want to carry or leave in the streets. The Prague Tours Centre also offers facilities for washing your bike or borrowing a complete bike repair kit for free.
- Running Tours Prague (Running Tours Prague). available 24/7. Activity for those into running who want to explore the city and stay fit. It shows runners of all abilities around the city's musts while on the run. A traveling runner introduces the best of the Prague to their running shoes and feels just like a local runner. It usually takes 50–120 mins and 7–13km. Your running in Prague is 100 percent customizable as to date, time, pace and distance. from US$15.
The streets around Old Town are full of gift shops geared towards tourists, selling Bohemian crystal, soccer shirts and other mass-produced memorabilia. The thoroughfare between Charles Bridge and Old Town Square is particularly bad, turning off into one of the laneways you can find exactly the same merchandise for half the price. If you are looking for some decent souvenirs, try to get off the beaten path. Street vendors can have some unexpected treasures and there are plenty in the Charles Bridge area. Prints of paintings and good quality photos are very popular, and a really good way to remember Prague. Don't bother buying overpriced furry hats and Matryoshka dolls, though, because they have nothing to do with Prague - they are Russian in origin, and their sellers are just trying to capitalize on unknowing tourists.
In December, the squares host Christmas Markets selling a mix of arts, craft, food, drink and Prague memorabilia. The markets are an attraction in their own right and a great place to pick up a more unique memento of the city. There is a small market in front of the Palladium Mall that is open even in the spring.
There are several large shopping malls in Prague, you should take "Na Prikope" street - the 18th most expensive street in the world (measured by the price of property), with famous shopping arcades "Cerna ruze" (Black rose) and "Palac Myslbek" and many shops. If you are looking for souvenir shops, you will find them in the city's historical centre - mostly around Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square and Prague Castle. There are many other shops offering Bohemian crystal - especially in the centre near the lower end of Wenceslas Square.
The other typical (if rather expensive) Czech goods is the garnet jewellery - typical Czech garnet stones (gathered near the town of Turnov) are dark red and nowadays are produced by a single company - Granat Turnov - and if you buy genuine traditional Czech garnet, you should get a certificate of authenticity. "Pařížská" street goes from Old Town Square towards the river - and includes some of the most luxurious (and expensive) boutiques in Prague.
Popular shopping malls
- 1 Arkády Pankrác. A small-ish shopping center with mostly higher-class shops, hypermarket and food court - right at the metro station.
- 2 Atrium Flora (Palác Flora), Vinohradská 2828/151. Medium-sized shopping mall with IMAX cinema in the top floor. Tram/metro station .
- 3 Centrum Černý Most, Chlumecká 765/6. A huge shopping mall with hypermarket and cinemas, located slightly further away from the centre at metro station . IKEA and other big shops nearby.
- 4 Centrum Chodov, Roztylská 2321/19, ☏ . The biggest shopping mall of the country, with hypermarket. Located slightly further away from the centre at metro station .
- 5 Letňany. A relatively remote shopping center, used mostly by the citizens living in the surroundings. It's quite big nevertheless, with a further big shopping malls in the vicinity.
- 6 Metropole Zličín, Řevnická 1. Medium-sized mall with a cinema, hypermarket Interspar, fast foods, huge parking lot and near the metro/bus station . IKEA nearby. If you are hungry after your flight, take a bus 100 from the airport to Zličín and then just walk few metres to this mall and buy something to eat.
- 7 Nový Smíchov, Plzeňská 8. Big shopping mall with 2-floor Tesco hypermarket, a cinema, a number fast food restaurants on the top floor and very close to metro/tram station .
- 8 Palladium, nám. Republiky 1 (Tram/metro station ), ☏ . In the city centre, next to the main city (shopping) streets. It's one of the newest - and perhaps most luxurious shopping mall. It's complex inside, so you'll need a while to walk through it. No cheap options to eat, unless you buy some food in Albert supermarket on the lowest floor (-2). On the top level (+2) are some moderate to expensive restaurants.
- 9 Šestka, Fajtlova 1. A shopping mall 1 station from the Prague Airport, but otherwise very far away from the center. Ideal for last minute shopping before your departure, also because it's far less busy than other shopping centers. Take bus 191 from metro station.
The official currency of the Czech Republic is the Czech Crown (koruna), abbreviated as Kč, with the international abbreviation CZK.
The current exchange rate can be found at the official website of the Czech National Bank
Sometimes it is also possible to pay with euros (hotels in the centre of Prague, McDonalds, KFC, Marks & Spencer - also accepts British pounds, Albert and Billa supermarkets, etc.), but the exchange rate may be slightly unfavourable and change is almost always given only in Kč. Dm-drogerie markt (cosmetics and health food) and New Yorker (clothing) stores accept euros at good rates, while souvenir stores take euros and US dollars at poor rates.
In Prague, especially around tourist sights, there are plenty of exchange offices with very bad rates and misleading advertisements (often advertising 0% commision, but providing only nearly half of the official exchange rate). Good rates are found for example:
- Banks such as Česká spořitelna have acceptable rates, but charge a commission.
- Around Main Railway Station (Hlavní nádraží) - exit the station, left across the park, to street "Politických vězňů". There are about 5 offices, mostly Arab-owned, and offer very good rates even for smaller amounts, and even better or negotiable for higher (over €1000, US$1000 or such). Actively avoid offices located inside the main station : exchange rates are abysmal there.
- Near "Staroměstská" subway station, at exchange.cz offices.
Make sure you do not exchange money with strangers offering good rates on the street. You are likely to end up with a different currency, such as Hungarian forint, and no way of getting your money back.
- Individual listings can be found in Prague's district articles
Weekday lunch menu
Every weekday between 11:00 and 14:00 you can enjoy a discounted lunch menu in almost every restaurant in Prague. As a tourist you'll encounter a few barriers: the menu is in Czech only and the waiters will be reluctant to present you with a copy of it unless you explicitly ask for it: 'denni menu, prosim'. After that it's up to your luck on what to pick, but it's going be a nicely cooked typical meal and will cost under 150 Kč, sometimes a soup included as well.
Lunch is traditionally the main meal in Prague. Czech cuisine is typically based around pork or beef with starchy side dishes such as dumplings, potatoes, or fries. Fish is not as popular, though these days it is widely available. Popular Czech desserts include fruit dumplings (ovocné knedlíky), crêpes or ice cream. Trdelník has also become popular in Prague, especially among tourists, with many small bakeries selling the sweet bread encrusted with sugar and chopped walnuts. Most restaurants become very crowded during lunch and dinner, so consider making a reservation or eating earlier than the locals.
The tip should be about 10 to 15% - in cheaper restaurants or pubs you can get away with rounding up the note or leaving a few extra coins. Otherwise, it's customary to leave at least 20-40 Kč or €1-2. Taxes are always included in the price by law. Many restaurants in heavily-touristed areas (along the river, or with views near the castle) will charge a cover or "kovert" in addition to your meal charge. If this is printed in the menu, you have no recourse. But a restaurant will often add this charge to your bill in a less up-front manner, sometimes after printing in the menu that there is no cover. Anything brought to your table will have a charge associated with it (bread, ketchup, etc.) If you are presented with a hand-scrawled bill at the end of the meal, it is suggested that you take a moment to clarify the charges with your server. This sort of questioning will usually shame the server into removing anything that was incorrectly added. Some waiters might be impolite especially to people from eastern Europe. Pay no attention to this, and simply find another restaurant.
If you're on the look out for fast food, you won't be able to move without tripping over street vendors serving Czech style hot dogs and mulled wine in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square in New Town. If you're after Western-style fast food, the major chains also have a large presence in Wenceslas Square and the area immediately around it. Most beer halls also serve light snacks or meals. Definitely try the hot dogs (párek v rohlíku) - they're very different to the version you get in the West. Small, hollowed-out French baguettes are used for the bread, filled with mustard and ketchup, and then the frankfurter is inserted afterward. This turns the bread into a convenient carry-case and means you don't get ketchup all over your hands. Make sure you get mustard, even if you don't normally like it - unfortunately the hot dogs are somewhat flavorless and need that extra bit of kick. Prices range from around 15 Kč for a small one to 45 Kč for the terrifying-looking 'gigant'. Note that the size of hot dog relates to girth rather than length.
Be careful when ordering food without looking at the prices. There are many places in the center which are known for charging horrible prices to people who did not look into the menu. Charging more than 170 Kč for a basic local lunch is too much. Especially restaurants with large outdoor spaces at Old Town square are known for charging extraordinary prices for a simple meal. If a restaurant advertises itself as "Czech" and "traditional" too much, it might be another sign of potential rip-off - truly traditional restaurants never advertise themselves as traditional.
Another common scam connected to food is charging for food by weight. They, for example, say that the price is 100 Kč, but do not mention that the price is for 100 grams, leaving you to pay 400 Kč for a basic meal. This is especially common at the Old Town square, at the stalls with 'Prague Ham'.
Czech is the official language of Prague and the Czech Republic. Simple words and phrases in other Slavic languages (for example Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian, Bulgarian and Polish) are also commonly understood. Slovak and Czech are very similar and mutually intelligible.
Most young people speak English very well, you will also have no problem speaking English at restaurants and bars. Many restaurants have English menus. Russian is widely understood by people who were attending school before the Velvet Revolution in 1989, but the language is too different from Czech to be understood without study. In addition, some people may dislike using Russian even if they know it because of the Soviet occupation of the Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Communist history in general. Many Czechs also have some knowledge of German. People studying after 1989 and even some older people can speak English. However, learning Czech will surely endear you to the locals.
See the Czech phrasebook.
- Individual listings can be found in Prague's district articles
Pubs (in Czech "hospoda") abound throughout Prague, and indeed are an important part of local culture. The exact brand of beer usually vary from pub to pub, and recommendations are difficult to give as natives are usually willing to argue at lengths about their preferences. The most internationally recognized beers are Pilsner Urquell (Plzeňský Prazdroj) and Budweiser Budvar (Budějovický Budvar). There are other brands famous among Czechs like Svijany. If you are looking for a beer brewed in Prague, go for Staropramen. Usual prices for a half-liter glass are between 25 and 40 Kč, based on the brand and locality, while certain restaurants at tourist areas like the Old Town Square are known to charge more than 100 Kč for a euro-sized glass. There's also a booming craft beer scene with many brewpubs in the city.
In Prague it is customary, especially at beer halls, to sit with a group of people if there are no free tables, so go ahead and ask if you can join.
There are also numerous night-clubs in Prague. Not all of them are good, it is often quite difficult even for locals to find the right one, as some are often overpriced, empty or just bad. Locals tend to go to clubs at around midnight, mostly on Friday and Saturday, but Wednesdays and Thursdays are often also OK. In summer, any day of the week should be fine, as there are many foreigners. Most of the night-clubs are in the centre of Prague, although there are some a bit further, mostly aimed at local students. Nightclubs are generally much more expensive than pubs, with beer costing between 50 and 100 Kč. Entrance fees should be small, do not pay more than 100 Kč for entrance unless there is some really good DJ playing.
It is very common to see people drinking outside. It is forbidden to drink at many public places (you can find a map with all 837 of them here). There are however many public parks where it is not forbidden to drink and where it is very popular to drink. Young people often predrink in parks or at riversides and then head to some club in the center. Even if you drink on places where it is forbidden, police will probably not bother you, but they might use it against you if you are too disruptive to your surrounding.
Prague has also many excellent tearooms (in Czech čajovna) which serve different kinds of teas from around the world. Shishas (hookas) are often smoked in these tearooms (smoking ban does not apply to shishas) .
Save your money and find the bars yourself - you might be surprised at the discoveries you make away from the tourist circus.
- Individual listings can be found in Prague's district articles
Prague has a wealth of accommodation options, many of them within walking distance of the town center. Peak season generally runs from April to October and a major influx of visitors can be expected during New Year as well. Prices for accommodation can be up to twice as high in the peak season and reservations are advised. Otherwise, the main train station, Hlavní nádraží, has an accommodation booking service for hotels and hostels upstairs. Normally, tax and breakfast are included in the room rate.
Around Hlavni Nadrazi, the main train station, there are many touts offering cheap accommodation. Many are Czech residents renting part of their apartment for extra cash. Prices don't vary much between them, but some may not be trustworthy so be cautious.
Even during peak season, dorm rooms in hostels close to the city center can be had for around 350 Kč (€14) per person per night. Prague has its share of rough and ready youth hostels with a party vibe, but there are many with a more relaxed atmosphere and some housed in beautifully restored buildings as fancy as any hotel. Many hostels also offer private rooms, with or without shared bathrooms, for much cheaper than a pension or hotel room. There is a boutique design hostel movement with many hostels rivaling hotel accommodations.
For those looking for something a little different, a 'botel' (boat hotel) may be an appealing option. Usually relatively well placed, with gorgeous views. Most are moored on the south of the river in Praha 4 and 5, but the best is to stay in Prague 1, next to monuments to visit by foot, in the Lesser Town district (Mala Strana) or in the Old Town (Stare Mesto). Prices vary from €20 to €120 per person.
It is quite easy and cheap to buy a local SIM card with 3G access. Packages vary so check before purchasing.
Many hostels and hotels offer free internet on shared computers or over a wireless network, so ask before you shell out extra at one of Prague's many internet cafes.
Almost all McDonald's and KFC fast food restaurants offer unsecured, free WiFi networks to paying customers. Most other restaurants and cafes offers free WiFi as well, often without advertising - check for network with name of the establishment and ask the personnel for password.
- Club Net Cafe, Americká 39, Vinohrady, Prague 2 (Metro station ). 10-24. Drinks and snacks sold 55 Kč/hour.
- Internet Cafe Interlogic, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Budějovická 13, Praha 4. 10:00-22:00 daily. 12Mbit/second internet connections, couches and drinks. 1 Kč/min.
- Blue Mail, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Konviktská 8, Praha 1, (Old Town). M-F 10:00-22:00, Sa Su 10:00-23:00. The first five minutes is free and an hour of access will set you back 81 Kč.
- Jazz Republic, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 28 října 1, Prague 1 (Old Town). The nearest metro station is Můstek on the A and B lines. Everyday 15:00-0:00. Jazz Republic offers two MacBooks and internet access for free use by guests. Concerts start at 21:00, and the MacBooks are usually taken away by 20:00. Wi-Fi stays on until the place closes at around 1:00.
Prague is probably the best place for foreigners to look for a job because there are many multinational and English speaking companies. It is also easy to get a job teaching English because of a high demand. For more information on working in the Czech Republic, see Czech Republic#Work.
The most common crimes in Prague by far are car theft and pickpocketing: the prevalence of car theft and vandalism pushes up the crime statistics of Prague. But it even if you do not drive any cars, pickpocketing is common in Prague, and some violent crimes do occur in this city. You are seriously warned not to provoke drunken people as it will pose yourself in extreme danger. Overall Prague is a relatively safe city and with normal common sense one should be able to avoid problems; even at night a woman can walk alone. There are no "no go" areas. The only area with a high concentration of homeless is in front of the central station.
Theft and pickpocketing
Begging occurs at the city's top tourist attractions and in some of the main public transport hubs. Don't carry a wallet or purse in the back pocket of your pants; always keep an eye on your items; don't put all your money in one place; don't show your money or valuable things to anybody. Better safe than sorry so take enough precautions for yourself. Understand that number of 'not truly homeless' professional beggers is depressingly high.
Be aware of teams of pickpockets that lurk outside metro stations, overcrowded trams, Charles Bridge, Wenceslas Square and the Old Town Square. They usually work in teams of 3-5 and look for lost or distracted tourists. Backpacks are especially interesting to them. Many of those groups use underage children as pickpockets because they are not liable according to Czech criminal law.
Due to the low incidence of violent crime, the threat of pickpockets has been played up as a great problem. However, common sense and basic precautions can keep most people safe from pickpockets. If you have a camera, try not to wear it openly. Always close and secure your backpack and try to keep an eye on it. Be especially careful not to fall asleep in tram or metro. Wear your wallet in a safe place (like inner pocket of your coat), never put it into your rear pocket or any other place where it can be easily stolen.
Be astute on sleeper trains, as bag robberies are on the increase between major stations. Ask for ID from anyone who asks to take your ticket or passport, and lock backpacks to the luggage racks. Keep valuables on you and maintain common sense.
If you enter the metro (usually at night), you may find a team of con artists at the stations, saying that they are metro clerks and, after examining your ticket for some time, that it's invalid so you'll have to pay a fine of 500 Kč (1000 Kč if you argue with them). So if you happen to see them and you're sure that your ticket is valid, tell them to call the police, or call them yourself. Remember that Prague Metro ticket inspectors have to produce their badge (see here for badge and ID card specimen) in order to check your ticket and issue a fine; if they don't do this as soon as they approach you then, they are almost certainly fakes.
Possession of drugs has been historically a grey area under the Czech jurisdiction. Since early 2010, though, the dubious term "an amount more than small" has been finally transformed into absolute values based on the actual judicial practice and it is no longer an offense to carry less than 15 g of marijuana, 5 patches of LSD, 1 g of cocaine, etc. It is still a criminal offense to possess more than the allowed amount of drugs. Bear in mind that for possession of lesser amount you might be still fined by public authorities as it is an offense (even though not criminal one).
Be careful with money exchanges. Exchange your money in banks or official tourist information centres and avoid exchange offices. Never deal with a street money-dealer: they offer better rates but frequently try to swindle you by giving you money from another country, such as Russian rubles or old Bulgarian leva.
Most of the exchange offices are fair, but some, especially at the busiest tourist sites, may try to cheat customers with various tricks:
- especially near the Old Town square, some of them even have rates that are half of the normal
- offering favorable exchange rates, but with fine print below such as if you exchange more than €1000
- putting a huge board with "we sell" exchange rates to the shop window, which makes an impression of good rates, whereas the actual rate for buying CZK is much more unfavorable
When the customer finds this out at the counter and wants to cancel the transaction, the money-dealer refuses with an excuse "I have already printed the bill", implying it is too late. The police won't help you, typically referring you to the Czech National Bank, which supervises exchange offices, to file a complaint (which does not help you either).
Credit cards are widely accepted at all supermarkets, hotels and also in most tourist places. As in most countries you can find cards for ATM withdrawals with low or 0% fee and often for payment with Visa or MasterCard exchange rate only (which is same as rate of best exchange offices), there is no need to use exchange offices anymore in 21st century.
Always ask for the exact amount you will be given before accepting an exchange or handing over your money. If after the fact you feel that the transaction was unfair you have 3 hours to request a refund (no reason needs to be provided) which the exchange place is obliged by law to issue. Some places will pretend they don't know about this law, but the receipt they issue to you usually states this requirement in Czech and English. If your lawful refund is still being refused, the legally prescribed way to file a complaint is with the Czech National Bank, but in practice it is often best to find a nearby city police officer (městská policie) and politely ask them to accompany you to the exchange place and assist you in obtaining a refund.
While all ATMs (aka cash machines or bankomats) are safe to use, one company stands out for their shady tactics and morally grey business practices. Blue-and-yellow Euronet ATMs will offer abysmal exchange rates, will not carry small bills less than 1000 CZK and if you do not make a custom amount selection they will push you towards withdrawing outrageously high amounts such as 10 000 CZK (approaching 400 EUR). Unfortunately, they're by far most numerous, so using them sometimes cannot be avoided. If you have to use them it is generally best to:
- unless you are absolutely sure that it is a better deal, refuse the offered exchange rate; your card's exchange rate will be used instead, which is usually much more fair
- enter the custom amount you want and ignore the suggested amounts
- understand that if you need amounts less than 1000 or 2000 CZK any other brand of ATM will generally dispense 200 CZK bills
Or better yet, avoid cash and preferably pay by card.
Taxi drivers of Prague are a major "image issue". The risk of overcharging is greatly overplayed, however especially non-Czech speaking customers are often ripped off due in various ways. You can avoid such situation by following a few (common-sense) rules. Such as:
- Try to avoid suspicious taxis and when in doubt, walk away and catch another taxi.
- The most frequent cases of cheating happen between the railway station or airport and hotel, and around the Old Town square.
- If you are paying significantly more than 500Kč for a way from airport to city center, you are being ripped off. Rides within the center rarely surpass 200Kč.
- It is illegal for a taxi driver to refuse you a receipt in Prague.
- Even though you ask for a receipt, the taxi-meter could be tampered with using a so-called "turbo" button, which will cause the taxi-meter price to increase much faster than it normally would.
- If presented with an incorrect bill from a taxi driver, call the police on your mobile phone - the driver will quickly change his tune.
- Taxi drivers at the railway station may show you a printed card that details the "fixed fares" for travel within the city. This is completely false.
- Some hotels offer taxi services. Make sure to compare the price with other companies - some hotel taxis may be more than twice the normal price, and the car is not even identified as being a taxi.
An information desk may be set-up on some taxi stands in the city, with orientation prices to most popular destinations from that stand. But a flaw in the local law allows some of the taxi companies renting the taxi stands (specifically around Old Town square) to charge VERY high prices (about 99 Kč/km). The most infamous company in this regard is AAA Taxi s.r.o., deliberately creating its name to resemble regulated and popular AAA Radiotaxi Praha. But they charge four times more for a ride, and even do not provide services to Czech customers.
If you are convinced you got overcharged by the taxi driver, mark the car ID numbers (license plate, taxi license number on the car door, driver name, etc.) and contact the company which the driver is working for (if any) or police. The scammers are often "covered" by underground, so it's hard to deal with it once you pay and the taxi driver is gone. The problem is also that you have to testify against the driver - which is kind of hard when you're already on the other side of the planet.
That being said, number of app-based solutions offer cheaper, easier and more reliable service than traditional taxis without the ability of the driver to charge you an arbitrary amount. Consider using Bolt, Liftago or Uber instead.
If you find yourself in emergency, dial 112. The respondent should be able to respond in English, German, Polish, Russian and French in addition to Czech. You can also use 158 for police, 155 for ambulance or 150 for firefighters but you may not receive a response in languages other than Czech.
If you need medication at weekends or evenings, you can go to Lékárna Palackého, (Tel +420 224 946 982) the 24-hour pharmacy on Palackého 5 in the new town or to Lékárna U Svaté Ludmily, (Tel +420 222 513 396) on Belgická 37 (metro station).
If you need non-emergency (but still urgent) medical care outside of normal working hours visit Fakultní nemocnice v Motole (Motol University Hospital) which is the biggest and most advanced hospital in the Czech Republic. Main number is +420 224 431 111 and the hospital is located at V Úvalu 84, Praha 5 ( metro station).
Because of Prague's liberal attitude and cheap prices, it's often considered "the drinking capital of Europe". This has raised many issues, with tourists being loud and making the center of Prague generally unlivable. This issue has spread to local politics, and it's likely that it will cause many regulations, with great impact on both tourists and party-going locals. Some regulations have already happened. However, it's possible to party in Prague without angering locals too much. To do so, it is often enough to use common sense, but please keep up in mindː
- When staying somewhere using AirBnB or similar service, please be mindful to your neighbors. If your are loud, you neighbors might call the police on you - this will not just cause problems for you, but also for you host. Also, it generally lowers the reputation of AirBnB, and leads to city government imposing restrictions on everyone staying in Prague after you, and might even lead to complete ban on AirBnB. If you go to Prague to party, it might be worth considering staying in a party hostel (there are many of them) and leave AirBnB to couples.
- If you heading to a pub or club, use their smoking room (clubs have them) or just don't smoke outside. If you really need to smoke outside, be quiet (especially after 22:00). Crowds of loud people in front of a club or pub might lead to this place being fined or even closed.
- When renting an electric scooter or such vehicle, use designated routes for cyclists or streets. Inconsiderate or illegal use of scooters, such as riding them on sidewalks, could lead to them being banned, as Segways after they became popular.
- Consider if you really need to rent a beer bike. If you need to, please do not take beer bikes after 22:00. If the police want to, they might fine you for drunk driving when using a beer bike.
Following this common sense might reward you. If you are quiet and polite, the police probably won't mind you drinking alcohol on the street or smoking weed openly, even though this is forbidden. If you are not, not just the police might bother you; you might as well contribute to Prague losing its liberal attitude.
Local foreign language media
- The Prague Post Weekly newspaper in English.
- Prague Daily Monitor. Website in English.
- Radio Prague. Multilingual radio station.
- Austria, Viktora Huga 10, CZ-15115 Prag 5, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. M-F 09:00-12:00.
- Brazil, Panská 5, 110 00 Prague 1, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 09:30-14:00.
- Finland, Hellichova 1, 11800 Prague 1, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. M-F 09:00-12:00.
- Germany, Vlašská 19, 118 00 Prague 1, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 08:30-12:00.
- The Netherlands, Gotthardska 6/27, 160 00 Prague 6 - Bubenec, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. M-F 09:00-12:00.
- United Kingdom, Thunovská 180/14, 118 00 Prague 1, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 09:00-17:00.
- United States, Tržiště 365/15, 118 00 Prague 1, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. appointment only.
Buses and trains are frequent and quite inexpensive and can get you to even the smallest village.
Practically every major European city can be reached by bus or train from Prague.
Regular buses are available to the following Czech towns, travel times in brackets:
- Brno (210 km; 02h05 in car)
- České Budějovice (152 km; 02h14 in car)
- Český Krumlov (179 km; 02h40 in car)
- Frýdek Místek (373 km; 03h37 in car)
- Hradec Králové (117 km; 01h28 in car)
- Jihlava (132 km; 01h25 in car)
- Karlovy Vary (127 km; 01h55 in car)
- Kroměříž (272 km; 02h34 in car)
- Liberec (112 km; 01h20 in car)
- Nový Jičín (346 km; 03h12 in car)
- Olomouc (284 km; 02h43 in car) — 284 km from Prague, but with a good train connection, former capital of Moravia, beautiful old city, famous medieval astronomical clock.
- Ostrava (377 km; 03h31 in car)
- Písek (107 km; 01h35 in car) — Beautiful South Bohemian town with the country's oldest bridge
- Pilsen (94 km; 01h18 in car) — Home of the world-famous Pilsener brewery
- Uherské Hradiště (283 km; 03h01 in car)
- Zlín (301 km; 03h08 in car)
For just a small selection of further places off the beaten path:
- Kutná Hora (84 km; 01h24 in car) — A once prosperous silver mining town in the 14th and 15th centuries with the fantastic Saint Barbara church, and the Sedlec Ossuary located in the suburbs, decorated with the remains of 40,000 human skeletons who were largely plague victims.
- Novosedly na Moravě (248 km; 02h30 in car) — Take a horseback trip through the vineyards of Moravia
- Vyšší Brod (205 km; 02h59 in car) — Three day canoe trip from the Sumava mountains through Český Krumlov
- Bohemian-Moravian Highlands (155 km; 02h04 in car) — Great mountain area for hiking, located halfway between Prague and Brno
- Beroun (36 km; 00h42 in car) — Small city located on the way to Plzeň, follow the Beroun river north to some beautiful villages
- Karlštejn castle and the holy cave monastery (47 km; 00h54 in car) — Hiking trip to the famous castle as well as an off the beaten track monastery
- Konopiště (50 km; 00h44 in car) — Archduke Franz Ferdinand's Castle located 40 km south of Prague
- Český Ráj (89 km; 01h09 in car) — Hike through forests and valleys filled with giant sandstone columns and cliffs in this park near Jičín.
- Orlík (85 km; 01h14 in car) — Orlík castle about 70 km from Prague. Near the Orlík dam and Zvíkov castle.