Think of this post as your transport cheat guide for Prague (Czech Republic). After reading it you’ll be whizzing round the city faster than you can say ‘Černokostelecka’.
Transport in another country can be a little daunting. If you brave public transport, you have to contend with a map of coloured squiggles showing subways, trams, metros, buses, trains and goodness knows what else. Not only that, but you also have the added confusion of station names and instructions being in a foreign language. Even if you opt for a taxi, how do you know which ones are safe to use or if you’re being ripped off?
I’m fresh back from a long weekend in Prague and whilst that doesn’t make me an expert, I would have loved someone to tell me all of this info. Here are my seven pearls of wisdom on public transport in Prague…
♥ Your feet work well
Prague is actually quite small. You can easily walk from the centre to Prague Castle, Petrin, Wenceslas Square, Charles Bridge, and Old Town Square (Astronomical Clock). It’s a bit of hill walk up to the castle and Petrin, but totally do-able. If your mobility is hot, don’t waste your money on a bus/metro/tram ticket for sightseeing days unless you plan to venture out of town.
♥ You don’t need an airport transfer (or taxi or shuttle)
When you exit the Arrivals Hall at the airport, before you exit out into the fresh air turn right where you’ll find the public transport desk. The staff are super friendly and speak excellent English. Buy a ticket (with cash or by card) as follows:
– Basic* – valid for 90minutes and costs 32Czech Crowns (approx £1);
– Short* – valid for 30minutes and costs 24Czech Crowns (approx 72p);
– One day – valid for 24 hours and costs 110Czech Crowns (approx £3.33);
-Three day – valid for 72 hours and costs 310Czech Crowns (approx £9.40);
* Unless you’re a super light packer, you’ll need to also get a luggage ticket for 16 Czech Crowns (approx 48p). The other two options include your luggage ticket.
In line with my first tip, I’d recommend buying two basic tickets (with luggage tickets) to get you from the airport into the city centre and then back again when you need to fly home. Compared to a taxi/transfer which would cost between £20-30, you’ll be saving loads of money.
♥ Get the 119 Bus
Once you’ve bought your ticket, leave the airport building through the main exit door. You’ll see a sign directing you to public transport. Turn to the right and wait at the stop for the 119 bus. It’s clearly sign posted. The buses seem to be every ten minutes or so. For the city centre, you’ll need to get off the bus at the last stop – ‘Dejvice’, which takes about twenty/thirty minutes, but first read the next tips.
♥ Your ticket is invalid without a stamp
You must stamp your ticket using the yellow machine on the bus. Don’t confuse this machine with the yellow one at the bus stop (that’s where you can buy tickets using coins) – after staring it for ages I can confirm it doesn’t stamp tickets. The machine on the bus will print a date and time on your ticket, which can therefore act as an indicator as to how much longer your ticket is valid for. If you’ve followed my recommendation in the second tip, only stamp one of your basic tickets. Stamp the second one when you start to complete your return journey.
♥ Yes, you really do need a ticket
If you want to use the buses, metro or tram then buy a ticket. I’m sure we’ve all cheekily not bothered in another country. In Prague you don’t have to pass through a turnstile (like in London) or even show the driver your ticket, so it can be tempting. However, there are undercover and uniformed inspectors who will ask to see your ticket at some point during one of your journeys. It happened to me. If you can’t show a valid stamped ticket, you’ll be fined on the spot. Playing the tourist card or citing you have no cash on you won’t cut it either. You’ll be marched to an ATM to get the money out. If you refuse, the police will be called and your penalty will escalate.
♥ Transfer to the Metro
When you leave the 119 bus, walk a few metres to the stairs that lead underground – it’s clearly signposted. There are three metro lines – A (green), B (yellow) and C (red). Leaving the bus at ‘Dejvice’, you’ll be at the A line. Use the free maps (available in the stations) to decide which stop you want. If you need a stop that is on another line (B or C), simply change at the stop that serves both lines (look for the coloured stop on the map). There are lots of clear signs and arrows so you know which metro to get on. When you’re on metro (and/or bus), you’ll see an electronic board telling you which stop you’re approaching. You’ll also hear a voice saying the name, but I think it is easier to look at the sign if you don’t speak the language. Don’t space out like I did otherwise you’ll miss your stop.
♥ Taxi with caution
At night switch to taxis if you’re not comfortable walking around at night. Once you’re in the city, the local charges shouldn’t be too much. However, I’d recommend that you pre-book a taxi through your hotel/hostel where possible. Don’t flag one down unless you really have to and if you do, make sure they switch the metre on. AAA Radio Taxi were recommended and good in my experience. Plus, the operators speak English. Call 222 333 222.
It’s a super easy and efficient transport system once you know what you’re doing and you shouldn’t really need to spend much money on transport at all.
If you want to download/print the tips for your trip use this PDF: Seven Pearls of Wisdom for Travelling in Prague. Happy travelling in Prague! Let me know how you get on. X