We travelled on the metro in Prague several times and found it fairly clean and easy to use.
It runs from 5am till Midnight everyday, with frequent services on its three lines. Tickets can be bought from machines at the stations, from the ticket counter or from news-stands.
There are a few different ticket options. Single non-transfer tickets allow you to travel up to 4 metro stops, but not to transfer from one line to another….like we did until we worked it out…. Single-transfer tickets are valid for one hour after validation, on all lines.
Make sure you have a valid ticket….we ran into ticket inspectors a couple of times during our stay.
A metro map can be downloaded via the website link.
To reach downtown Prague from Ruzyne airport, the cheapest option is to buy a timed bus/metro/trolley ticket, good for an hour, a day, etc. The booth is near the airport exit. Validate the ticket in the yellow box on the airport bus, which runs every 10 minutes. At "Dejvicka," get off the bus, go down the stairs, insert the same ticket in the turnstile and get on the Metro. The whole trip takes 45-50 minutes.
But first things first. Go to currency exchange and pick up some koruna (Kc). Don't exchange large sums of money . There are plenty of places downtown that charge no commission and offer a better exchange rate. But a word of caution: Don't be tempted by guys who approach you in the street and offer what sounds like a great rate. They are rip-off artists. A friend of mine was dumb enough to fall for it. The "money-changer" walked off with a few hundred dollars of his, leaving him with a large wad of out-of-circulation bills from another country.
Next, head for tourist information. Ask for a free map and have the clerk circle the location of your hotel. If you plan to use public transportation, ask the clerk to write the names of the stops on a slip of paper for you. From my experience, you will be very lucky to find anyone who speaks English - or ANY language other than Czech. In fact, most of the people I tried to get directions from on the street walked right past me, as if I were invisible. Since I don't look very suspicious, and I was traveling with my little daughter, I found it a bit strange. A holdover from Communist times, or something. But we did find our way in the end - and armed with that slip of paper (do you really think anyone is going to understand your feeble attempts at Czech pronunciation?) - so will you.
Try this only if you have a small piece of luggage and arrive at a normal daytime hour. If you are traveling with several other people, have heavy bags or come in late at night, a taxi or shared van outside the airport will make more sense (remember to settle on a price beforehand).
Taxi's are quite expensive in Prague so we took a bus from the airport up to the main town of Prague. We got the 119 bus outside the terminal building which is easily found. Make sure you buy your ticket inside the airport before you get on. Its only 20 CZK per person.
The journey is only around 10 minutes long and is alot cheaper than a taxi. We were quoted between 600-850 CZK to go to the Old Town so save your money and take the bus.
Ok, we got to Prague. Now, how do we get to our apartment???Again VT came to the rescue. I checked out transportation tips and came to the conclusion that CEDAZ AIRPORT was the way to go. After picking up our luggage, we headed for ground transportation and looked for the kiosk which read "TRANSPORT INFORMATION" ---"MINIBUS CEDAZ". A very friendly, helpful lady who spoke perfect English helped us. The Cedaz shuttle would not only take us to our apartment but we could also pre-arrange our pick-up back to the airport. So that is exactly what I did. For 480CZK ( good for up to 4 people going to the same address) and 400CZK (if you pre-arrange and pay for your return trip -- Total 880 CZK or $46.00 CDN or app. 30 Euros. I must say that we were VERY satisfied with this service as we were promptly picked up at 5:00a.m. the day of our departure. After all the stories I read about Prague Taxi drivers this was THE way to go.
Travel time was 30 to 40 minutes to our apartment in Praha 2.
Prague has an excellent public transport system with a metro underground system,trams and buses with frequent services to most city and metropolitan areas. On arrival at the main train station or airport I recommend you purchase a transport card which will be valid on all public transport. These cards are very cheap, the 7 day card costs 280Kc which is approx Euro 13. We purchased on arrival at Holesvoice central train station and used public transport for the 7 day stay , including train and bus to the airport on departure. A 3 day card costs Kc220.
The Prague subway system is fast, clean, efficient, cheap, and goes just about everywhere you want to go. Occasionally, a transfer to a tram is required (ex - tram 22 for the Castle Quarter). It is an entirely Russian built system, but new lines, stations, and cars are being planned with the new German cars expected in 2008. The three lines meet for free transfers at 3 stations downtown on the Old Town side of the river, with 2 crossing at each of the three. Signage is excellent, primarily based on the last stop in the direction the train is running. Signs in the trains indicate the next stop. The trains run every 2 or 3 minutes during the day and no more than 5-8 minutes apart on off hours.
BEST SUBWAY MAP - includes major tram transfer points - download at www.dpp.cz/download/schema-metro-v-praze.pdf.
Fares - individual and transfer tickets, allowing for 1 ride with or without transfer, and timed are cheap, 70 cents to one dollar. But for the tourist, buying the longer term passes is a great move allowing for usage on the subway, trams, and busses without limit. For 3 days about $10 US and just 3 or 4 more dollars for 7 days. For most people staying in the Old Town Hotels and particularly for those nearest the Nam Republicky station where transfers are necessary to go almost everywhere, the passes are a superb buy. All tickets are sold in the stations most reliably.
WARNING - the Prague subway in the center of town is one of the most deeply buried in the world. The escalators are steep and fast and take some getting used to even for those trained on New York City subways. Custom dictates that those not moving stay to the right so that others can pass on the left.
The main train station in Prague has a left luggage facility located in the basement. It's a couple of dollars a day if you want to leave it behind the counter with the people and little cheaper if you want to store it one of the lockers. Personally, I like the luggage room because in the 10 times that I have been to Prague I still haven't figured out how to work the darn lockers. I left my suitcase there for three weeks once. It was my souvenir suitcse and instead of lugging it across town I would wait until I acummulated enough souvenirs and then I would take them to the station and store them in the suitcase. Worked out well and by the end of the third week I was only out about $30. To me, at the time, that was worth it because it was a long walk to the hostel and I was exhausted by the end of that trip.
There is nothing like a Funicular. Any quirky method of transport that saves you wasting your precious sight-seeing energy by having to climb up steep hills is ok by me!
Prague's cheerful green and white Funicular has been in operation since 1891. It transports you from Ujezd, down near the river, up to the top of Petrin Hill, offering great views of the castle along the way.
Running everyday at around 10 minute intervals, the funicular is pretty popular and the queue can get very very long...perhaps you may have to walk instead...but think of the extra beer you can justify then!!
I found walking to be the best way to get around in the center of the city, but if you want to travel longer distances, the subway is fast and efficient.
There is one thing to be careful about: make sure you have enough coins for the ticket machine as there is usually no one selling tickets at the station and the stands/shops refuse to give you change from notes to coins, even if you want to make a purchase!
It once took us about 1 hour to get enough change to buy tickets for 3 people.
As someone mentioned in an earlier tip, these are the most common ticket prices.
24-hour ticket 70,- CZK
3-day ticket (72 hours) 200,- CZK
7-day ticket (168 hours) 250,- CZK
15-day ticket (360 hours) 280,- CZK
The funicular railway runs up and down Petrin Hill.
A really good way to get up the hill if you are like me and do not like walking up hills!!!
You can use an ordinary tram/metro ticket for the ride.
Be warned there are no cash kiosks at the top so make sure you have enough money or spare tickets for the way down.
Originally we planned on driving to Prague, but we could not find a rental company that would let us take a rental car to Prague. Plan B was to find a Bus Tour to Prague but there were no Tours available in our time frame. Plan C was to take a train to Prague which would take 12 hours and app. cost 260 Euros. So our dear friend Jen (Co-Air) suggested we fly. To our amazement we found SMART WINGS had a flight from Amsterdam to Prague for 268.70 Euros for the two of us and it was only a 1 hour & ten minute flight. "Book it Danno"
Prague International Airport is located in the Ruzyne quarter, 20 km NW of the city centre.
Prague has so called "integrated transportation system". This means that the same tickets are valid for all kinds of public transportation - metro, trams and buses.
There are 3 metro lines, 26 daytime and 9 night tram lines and many bus lines.
Metro lines are A, B and C,
Tram day lines are numbered 1 - 26, night lines ahave numbers 51-59 (interval 30 minutes),
Bus lines 100 - 499, night buses 500-
Hold firm after entering metro/bus/tram - they go abruptly and fast!!
From July 1st, 2011 prices are as follows:
**Basic ticket (unlimited transfers, 90 minutes after stamped)-- 32 CZK,
**Limited transfer options ticket
For trams and buses: valid for 30 min. from validation, with no transfer options.
For metro: valid for 5 stations (excl. boarding station; transfer station is counted as a single station). Travel time must not exceed 30 min. after validation ) -- 24 CZK
**24 hours (1 day )-- 110 CZK
**3 days (72 hours)-- 310 CZK
All tickets validity is counted from the actual time printed on the ticket when validated.
Unfortunately, 5, 7 and 14 days passes which were even better value are not available anymore. :-(
You can look up connection or find detailed schedule for each stop as well as prices for tickets using web page http://www.dpp.cz/
Connection search will give you several options from one stop to another (use "Terminal 1" or "Terminal 2" for Airport)
Our preferred way of getting around Prague was by TRAM. It was a fun and economical way of travelling around the city. We bought a few strips of tickets that cost 12CZK each and each ticket was good for an hour of travel. You validate your ticket using the little machine located on the tram, when you first get on the tram and from that time you have an hour.
Public transportation is well organized and extensive. We never waited more than 15 minutes for a tram to arrive. On the last day in Prague we still had some tickets left, so we just went on different trams until our hour was used up. Fun!!!
I found out later that we could have had a 24 hour pass for 70 CZK or a three-day pass for 200 CZK.. Usually we walked to the Centrum, so we wouldn't miss anything and took the tram back to our apartment, which had a stop right in front.
Tickets can be purchased at the metro stations, at newspaper and magazine stands, from vending machines and at other locations.
There are a few transport options to get to/from the Ruzyne Airport to the city centre - bus & metro or bus & tram, taxi or mini-bus airport transfer.
We arrived in Prague fairly late one evening and decided the easiest option for us was to catch a taxi. There is a taxi desk in the Arrivals Hall for Airport Cars (220 113 892) where you can book and pay in advance for your cab. I really like this method as then you don't get that feeling that the taxi driver is ripping you off. At a cost of around 500Kc, it was a small price to pay to be deposited in front of our apartment and not have to wander about a strange city dragging our bags, particularly as it was close to midnight.
On leaving Prague we opted for the Cedaz Minibus Airport Transfer, at a cost of 90Kc per person. The small white vans depart every 30 minutes between 5.30am - 9.30pm, from a bus stop at Namesti Republiky, dropping you off outside the Airport Arrivals Hall. Drivers are friendly and English speaking.
Several trains leave Prague every day for Vienna. When I set about acquiring a ticket or even some precise details about the exact timetables, prices, departure points etc., I could not believe the confusion levels I encountered. No matter how many websites I accessed and how many queries I made on travel forums, I was drowning in a sea of misinformation. Between different carriers, different routes and different points of origin, it seemed impossible to arrive at the simple conclusion of where to book your ticket. For this reason I am deliberately not posting any website references here. Instead I will just share what I know to be hard and fast information.
At 13.35 and 17.30 daily, there are trains to Vienna from Holesovice Station in Prague. You do not have to book your ticket in advance and your ticket will be cheaper if you purchase it at the station on the day. BUT, if like me you want the security of knowing your seat is reserved and the luxury of not queuing up, you can book a ticket in your own country. I bought mine in Iarnrod Eireann's European Reservations Dept in Dublin and they charged me a EUR10 processing fee. The ticket itself cost Eur 42 + an extra three to reserve a seat.
Holesovice Station is a good choice for travelling from as it's reasonably small and easy to navigate. It's on the Mala Strana side of the river and you can get there by red line (C) on the metro. The Prague-Vienna train left from platform 2 and took 4 hrs. 30 minutes. 2nd class seats were quite comfortable but when the carriage was full, leg-room wasn't exactly generous.
Border crossing on the 1.35 train is at Breclav and guards come aboard the train to check your passport. Arriving at Sudbahnhoff in Vienna, just cross the street and tram D ( 2) will take you straight into the Ringstrasse.
The telephone mumber is for Holesovice Station.