Several parts of Prague have marked bike lanes (look for yellow bike-path signs). Still, with its cobblestones, tram tracks and multitudes of pedestrians, Prague has a long way to go to catch up with far-more-bike-friendly cities such as Vienna or Amsterdam.
- Nearly everyone wears a helmet, and this is always a good idea.
- The black market for stolen bikes is thriving, so don't leave bikes unattended for longer than a few minutes and always use a sturdy lock.
- Cycling is prohibited in pedestrian zones such as on Charles Bridge and in part of the city centre. Technically you could be fined up to 1000Kč, but more often than not, the police will simply tell you to dismount.
- Bikes are transported free of charge on the metro, but cyclists are required to obey certain rules. Bikes can only ride near the last door of the rear carriage, and only two bikes are allowed per train. Bikes are not permitted if the carriage is full, or if there’s already a pram in the carriage.
There's no regularly scheduled water transport along the Vltava River, though several companies operate pleasure cruises on the river.
Prague Boats Offers one-hour cruises year-round from Central Prague to outlying Vyšehrad.
Prague Steamboat Co Runs various cruises from March to October from the centre to various points up and down the Vltava River.
Prague Venice Runs entertaining 45-minute cruises in small boats under the hidden arches of Charles Bridge.
Bus & Tram
To supplement the metro, the Prague Public Transport Authority (DPP) operates a comprehensive system of trams (streetcars) and buses that reach virtually every nook and cranny in the city. The DPP website has a handy 'Journey Planner' tab in English to enable you to plan your route.
- Trams are convenient for crossing the river and moving between neighbourhoods.
- Buses are less useful for visitors and normally connect far-flung residential neighbourhoods to nearby metro stations or the centre.
- The system uses the same tickets as the metro and metro rides can be combined with rides on both trams and buses, provided the ticket is still valid.
- Always validate an unstamped ticket on entering the tram or bus.
- Trams and buses run from around 5am to midnight daily. After the system shuts down, a smaller fleet of night trams (51 to 59) and night buses rumbles across the city about every 40 minutes (only full-price 32Kč tickets are valid on these services).
Schedules & Re-routing
Prague's transport system is excellent but prone to frequent rerouting and line cancellations brought on by construction and maintenance. Depending on the day or the week, some trams disappear, others are rerouted and, mercifully, a few stay the same – but figuring out which is which is nearly impossible.The Prague Public Transport Authority website lists changes, but you need to know the system well to get much out of it. If you do find yourself on a tram that zigs when it should have zagged, just settle in and enjoy the ride.
Key Tram Routes
No 22 The classic tram line that climbs to Prague Castle from Malá Strana, though you can board it in Vinohrady, at Národní třídá, or Národní Divadlo (National Theatre) too.
No 9 One of Prague's busiest cross-city tram routes, linking Žižkov, the main train station, Wenceslas Square, the National Theatre and Smíchov. Transfer to line No 22 at Národní třídá, Národní Divadlo or Újezd.
Car & Motorcycle
If you've brought your own car, don't even think about trying to use it for getting around Prague. Car travel in the centre is often restricted, and the warren of one-way streets takes years of driving to get to know well. The only exception might be to destinations outside the centre or to cross town, but even then you'll have to contend with soul-crushing traffic jams. Instead, find a secure place to leave your vehicle for the duration of your stay and use public transport.
Foreign driving licences are valid for up to 90 days.
Unleaded petrol is available as natural (95 octane) or natural plus (98 octane). The Czech for diesel is nafta or simply 'diesel'. The market price for petrol is about 34Kč per litre.
Small local firms tend to offer better prices than major international companies, but are less likely to have fluent, English-speaking staff. It’s often easier to book by email than by phone. Typical rates for a Škoda Fabia are around 800Kč a day, including unlimited kilometres, collision-damage waiver and value-added tax (VAT). Bring your credit card as a deposit. A motorway tax coupon is included with most rental cars.
Most of the major international car-hire companies operate in Prague and have desks at Václav Havel Airport Prague.
Prague’s metro is operated by the Prague Public Transport Authority, which has information desks in both terminals of Prague's Václav Havel airport and in several metro stations, including the Můstek, Anděl, Hradčanská and Nádraží Veleslavín stations. The metro operates daily from 5am to midnight.
The metro has three lines:
Line A (shown on transport maps in green) Links the airport bus to Malá Strana, Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square and Vinohrady.
Line B (Yellow) Cross-river route from Smíchov in the southwest to central Náměstí Republiky and Florenc bus station.
Line C (Red) Links main train station to Florenc bus station, Wenceslas Square and Vyšehrad.
The most useful metro stops for visitors include:
- Hlavní nádraží (main train station)
- Malostranská (Malá Strana)
- Můstek (Wenceslas Square)
- Muzeum (National Museum)
- Staroměstská (closest to Old Town Square)
Taxis in Prague are an easy and relatively affordable way to get around town, though scams are an ever-present risk.
- The official rate for licensed cabs is 40Kč flag fall plus 28Kč per kilometre and 6Kč per minute while waiting.
- Any trip within the city centre should cost no more than 200Kč. A trip to the suburbs, depending on the distance, should cost 200Kč to 300Kč, and to the airport between 400Kč and 600Kč.
- When flagging a cab, look for a cab with its yellow roof lamp lit and raise your hand. Establish your destination and a likely fare before getting in, and make sure the meter is switched on.
- Alternatively, call or ask someone to call a radio taxi, as they’re better regulated and more responsible.
- Companies with honest drivers, 24-hour service and English-speaking operators include AAA Radio Taxi, ProfiTaxi and City Taxi.
- Liftago (www.liftago.com) is a reliable, locally owned ride-share service, where you download an app to your smartphone for ordering and paying for rides.
Tickets & Passes
A valid ticket or day pass is required for travel on all metros, trams and buses. Tickets and passes are sold from machines at metro stations and some tram stops (coins only), as well as at newspaper kiosks and DPP information offices at the Můstek, Anděl, Hradčanská and Nádraží Veleslavín stations.
- You must validate (punch) your ticket before descending on the metro escalators or on entering a tram or bus (day passes must be stamped the first time you use them). For the metro, you’ll see stamping machines at the top of the escalators. In trams and buses there will be a stamping machine in the vehicle by the door.
- A full-price ticket costs 32Kč per adult. A discounted ticket of 16Kč is available to children aged six to 15 years and seniors aged 65 to 70 (kids under six ride free). Full-price tickets are valid for 90 minutes of unlimited travel, including transfers.
- For shorter journeys, buy short-term tickets that are valid for 30 minutes of unlimited travel. These cost 24/12Kč per adult/child and senior. You’ll also need a 16Kč ticket if you're carrying a dog or for each large suitcase or backpack (more than 25cm x 45cm x 70cm); a 24-hour or three-day pass includes one such item of luggage.
- Bikes (metro only) and prams travel free.
- Day passes are available for one or three days and make sense if you're planning on staying more than a few hours. One-day passes cost 110/55Kč per adult/child and senior; three-day passes cost 310Kč (no discounts available for children or seniors).
- While ticket inspections are infrequent, getting caught without a validated ticket can be expensive. The fine if paid on the spot is 800Kč, or 1500Kč if paid later at a police station.
Using Automated Ticket Machines
The automated ticket machines at metro and some tram stops can be tricky to use. To get started, first press the button for the ticket you need – probably the 32Kč PLNOCENNÁ (full fare) at the top left – once for one ticket, twice for two etc. You will see the price clocking up in the display. Put your coins in the slot – as soon as the correct fare (or more) has been inserted, your tickets will be printed, and change given if necessary. If you make a mistake, press the STORNO (cancel) button and start again.
Walking is the best way to see the centre of the city. Indeed, much of the centre is closed to vehicular traffic, meaning walking is sometimes the only option for getting around. Cars and vehicles are prohibited from crossing Charles Bridge. Cobblestones and the long hill on the approach to Prague Castle play havoc with heels; the best bet is to opt for comfortable walkers or sneakers.
Prague has an integrated metro, tram and bus network – tickets are valid on all types of transport, and for transfers between them.
Extensive network of routes, best way for getting around shorter distances between neighbourhoods. Full service from 5am to 12.30am; limited service through the night.
Fast and frequent, good for visiting outlying areas or covering longer distances. Runs 5am to midnight.
Buses are not much use in the city centre, except for travelling to the airport or in areas not covered by tram or metro. They run from 4.30am to around midnight, plus limited night service.
Good value though prone to rip-off drivers in tourist areas, especially late at night. It's always better to order a taxi by phone than to hail one from the street.
Central Prague is compact and individual neighbourhoods are easily explored on foot.
Přeštupní stanice Transfer/interchange station
Přiští zastávka/stanice… Next tram stop/metro station is…
Mimo Provoz Out of service
When to Travel
- Public transport is usually crowded during weekday rush hours from 7.30am to 9.30am, and from 4.30pm to 6.30pm. However, services are also more frequent, with metro trains every two or three minutes, rather than the four- to 10-minute gaps during off-peak periods.
- Although the normal tram and metro network closes down between midnight and 5am, a night tram service continues to operate with trams every half hour or so. Only full-fare (32Kč) tickets and multiday passes are valid on night trams.
- On metro escalators, stand on the right-hand side and only use the left side if you want to walk up or down. Failure to observe this nicety can cause consternation among other users, especially during rush hour.
- The large seatless area at the tail end of older trams or in the middle section of newer trams is generally reserved for baby strollers – be sure to make room here if someone boards with a pram.
- Except in the oldest trams, you have to press a green button (marked dveře) to make the doors open; if you're at the front of the queue, press it quickly if you don't want to incur the wrath of those behind!