Prague

Arrival & Transport

Getting around

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Prague is well-connected regarding transport, with its own airport just 20 km from the city centre. The city also boasts a comprehensive and easy-to-use public transportation system, which some visitors won't even find necessary thanks to most attractions being within easy walking distance of one another (not to mention walking being one of the best ways to enjoy Prague).

In this section you'll find all you need to know about getting in and out of Prague, as well as around the city with general ease.

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Airport

Otherwise known as Prague Airport...

Buses

Car rental

Expect to pay from 450Kč/day for a car but this one will come emblazoned in advertising and if you’re not fussy about perceived image, the Škoda Fabia is a great and cheap drive. You must be over 18 to drive, and you must carry your driving licence, a vehicle registration card and an ownership certificate or rental agreement at all times. Most foreign driving licences are honoured, including those issued in Canada, USA and the EU. New Zealand and Australian drivers should have an international driving licence. In the city, the speed limit is 50km/h, while outside urban areas, the speed limit is 90km/h and for highways 130km/h. Seatbelts are compulsory in the front and back seats and lights must be switched on at all times.

Public transport

Prague’s public transport system (Dopravní podnik) is efficient, fast and reasonably clean. With three metro lines, 22 tram routes and 9 night trams you won't need the bus routes that avoid the centre. Keep in mind that the centre of Prague is easily accessible on foot.

Tickets, valid for all means of transport, can be purchased from the numerous vending machines at all metro stations, major tram stops and news stands. You always need to validate your ticket yourself by stamping it in the machines at metro entrances and on trams. The most common ticket is the 32Kč transfer ticket, which is valid for 90 minutes after validating. The 24Kč non-transfer ticket is meant for tram rides under 30 minutes with no changes, or in the metro for up to 5 stations (changes allowed) from the departure station within 30 minutes. We suggest you save yourself time by buying a handful of these on arrival. If you're planning to stay a bit and explore, get the one-day pass (110Kč)or a three-day pass (310Kč). Children under 6 travel free; and tickets are half price up to 15 years old. Large pieces of luggage (including rucksacks) cost an extra 16Kč while dogs ride the rails (with a muzzle) for free. Fines for non-validated tickets are 800Kč if paid on the spot or pay 1,000Kč later.

Trams trundle around town every few minutes; useful lines are N°22 which runs from the centre up to the rear entrance of the castle, saving you the uphill walk and N°17 which runs along the river and close to Old Town Square. The metro connects the two main train stations and Florenc bus station to the centre and runs up to just after midnight, after which the night trams (the warm mobile home to many a smelly tramp) take over, zipping in all directions from the Lazarská stop (H-5) every half hour. Tram timetables are on the red signs at each stop and is generally correct.

Beware of Prague's ultra-professional pickpockets, especially on trams N 22 and 18 and in busy metro cars; consider waiting for the next train if it looks squeezed.

For more information visit Dopravní podnik's excellent website with English and German information on routes and schedules, at www.dpp.cz, or call tel. 296 191 817.

Airline offices

More and more airlines, low cost or scheduled, are flying out of Prague's developing airport.

Funicular Railway

Parking

Parking is tricky in Prague with many cars, narrow streets and tram drivers who do not take kindly to being delayed by badly parked cars. Be careful of the Denver Boot - Prague's version of the wheel clamp.

Road & Tow service

Is at hand...

Taxis

The starting rate should be about 25Kč, and 20Kč per kilometre after that (34Kč/25Kč respectively if you hail an honest one on the street). From central Prague, a ride to the airport has risen to about 600Kč; a short ride in the city centre should be about 130Kč, a ride to one of the surrounding districts up to 200Kč.

There's really no need to agree beforehand on a price (a good way to get ripped off) if you simply phone one of the reliable taxi companies listed below who will usually have a car ready under ten minutes. Else, hail only their cars if you must.

Tourist Information

Trains

Prague has two main railway stations. Praha Hlavní nádraží (main station) and Praha Holešovice. Hlavní nádraží is architecturally fabulous (in the Jugendstil tradition) although you won’t know it until you exit its underground nightmare. The second station, Praha Holešovice is used by trains on the main Berlin - Prague - Vienna/Bratislava route.

Travel agencies

These travel agents deal with incoming services for groups and individuals: Accommodation, transport, guiding, tours, excursions, etc.

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