Václav Havel Airport Prague (PRG), 16 km (10 miles) northwest of the city centre, is Prague’s only international airport. Terminal 2 serves the Schengen zone: mainly Continental EU countries and Switzerland. Terminal 1 serves other destinations, including the UK and Ireland. The airport is well served by international airlines, with direct connections to major European cities, plus many Middle Eastern cities. There are normally no direct flights to North America, although Czech Airlines (ČSA) and Delta sometimes offer flights to New York (JFK) or Atlanta over Christmas and summer holidays. Travellers from the UK should check EasyJet, Smartwings, Ryanair or Wizz Air for inexpensive fares. Direct flights from London take 2 hours, and 9 hours from New York.
Both the terminals are modern, well-maintained structures, with shops, restaurants, ATMs, car rental offices and tourist information booths.
They are both connected by buses, minibuses and taxis to the town centre. Prague Public Transit bus No. 119 runs regularly from 4:30am to midnight and departs from just outside the arrivals area of both terminals. Take it to the line’s last station, Nádraží Veleslavín, then switch to metro line A into the city centre. Tickets (Kč32, good for both the bus and metro) can be bought at public transport booths inside the terminals, or from orange ticket vending machines (have local currency handy). An option is the AE bus to the main railway station (60Kč – tickets from the driver). Taxis line up outside the arrivals halls of both terminals and cost about Kč650 to the centre.
Major European rail routes serve Prague, and international trains to the city are comfortable and a good alternative to flying, with couchette sleeping facilities. Most international trains arrive at Prague Main Railway Station (Praha hlavní nádraží), which is also on metro line C. It has shops, restaurants, ATMs, left luggage facilities and a taxi stand, and is 10 minutes on foot from Wenceslas Square.
Buses are well priced, comfortable and your best option for long trips on a budget. Most major international and domestic bus services, including Eurolines and Flixbus, operate from Prague’s Florenc Bus Terminal. This lies at the intersection of metro lines B and C and is easily accessible from all parts of the city. Tickets can be bought at booths inside the terminal or, occasionally, directly from the driver. Bus and plane tickets can also be purchased online from the Student Agency. A good motorway and expressway network serves the city: D8 and D5 connect it to Germany, while D1 connects it to Poland and Slovakia. Note that there are no toll booths; instead, a motorway usage vignette (sticker) must be fixed on the windscreen. Buy this at the border or fuel stations near it. See Czech Motorways for further information. Headlights must be used even during the day. In Prague, it is best to leave your vehicle in one of the guarded car parks (look for the “P+R” symbol) outside the city and use public transport.
Operated by the Prague Public Transport, the underground metro system is fast, efficient, and, with a little practice, easy to navigate. There are three lines: A (green), B (yellow) and C (red). Buy tickets at newsstands or at vending machines (have coins ready) and validate them at stamping machines at the top of metro escalators. Ticket checks by inspectors are frequent and you’ll pay a spot fine of Kč800 if caught travelling without a valid ticket.
Prague’s trams make it easy to see the city while saving on shoe leather. The schedules can be a bit tricky to read, however. Reroutings are frequent. Buy tickets in advance – they are available all over the city from newsagents and vending machines at metro stations. Validate your ticket by inserting it into a stamping machine on entering the tram.
Buses serve outlying areas – they are mostly banned from the centre to ease vehicular traffic. As with the metro and trams, riders must validate their tickets by using the punching machines on the bus. For some stops, riders must notify the driver of their intention to get off by pressing a button near the door.
Public transport tickets are transferable and valid for the metro, trams, trains, funiculars, and buses. Full price tickets (Kč32) are valid for 90 minutes; reduced priced tickets (Kč24) last 30 minutes and are usually sufficient for most trips. Children aged 6–15 pay half price. One-day (Kč110) and three-day (Kč310) passes are available and will spare you the trouble of buying individual tickets for each journey. Tickets can be purchased from news-agents as well as from vending machines installed at metro stations and some tram stops.
Walking or taking the metro is often a better option for getting around the city centre but taxis are relatively cheap and convenient for moderate to long hauls. Fares start at Kč40 and rise by Kč25 per kilometre. Most short journeys will cost you less than Kč200. Never hail a taxi on the street due to the risk of getting a rogue driver. Instead phone a reputable radio taxi, such as Modrý Anděl, AAA Taxi or CityTaxi, or book on their website.
Prague’s city centre was not designed for the volume of traffic it sees now. The streets are narrow and winding and parking is scarce. If you do decide to drive, keep right, wear a seatbelt and be aware that traffic violation fines are payable on the spot. Illegally parked cars are clamped or towed away by vigilant traffic wardens.
While there are numerous bicycle routes, cyclists do not usually have their own lanes and must share the road with cars, which can prove hazardous. The cobblestones can also be hard going. Praha Bike and Biko Adventures rent out bikes and offer cycling tours.
Walking is the best – and often the only – way to see much of the city. The centre is only about 4 km (2.5 miles) from end to end and many of the historic sights are in pedestrian zones. Wear flat-soled comfortable shoes, watch your step on the cobblestones, and keep a look out for trams that have priority of crossing even over pedestrians.