Prague is the capital of Czechia, as well as the historical capital of Bohemia. Its rich history includes being the main residence of several Holy Roman Emperors and an important city in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Consequently, Prague has been a great European cultural and political center over the centuries.
Last year, 8.8million people visited the city, making it the 4th most visited European city, after London, Paris, and Rome. Here’s what you need to know to kick-off your visit to Prague with the right foot:
Czech Crown/Koruna = CZK = Kč
Although Czechia is an EU country and part of the Schengen Area, it did not adopt the common currency. Some touristic establishments accept Euros, but unless you want to get ripped off with their exchange rates, get yourself some Korunas. For very rough “top of the head” calculations, consider 1€ ~ 25-30Kč.
My advice is to pay with a credit card as much as possible and make one single withdraw for small expenses… Usually, the equivalent to €20/day works out fine and I won’t have much leftover crowns when I leave.
ARRIVING in Prague
If you arrive by plane, you’ll land in Václav Havel Airport Prague (PRG), only 16km away from the inner city, aka the area around Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí). Note that there’s no direct rail connection but many accommodations (not just fancy ones) offer transfers from/to the airport. The options, in order of cost/benefit, are:
- Airport Express: direct connection with Prague Main Railway Station (Praha hlavní nádraží) with journey time of approx. 25min on a dedicated bus with space for luggage. This requires a special ticket (45 Kč) that can be purchased online, from the driver, DPP counter or Visitor Center in Arrivals Hall).
- Regular bus line 119*: running regularly at few-minutes intervals, with journey time of approx. 15min to Veleslavín, where you can change to Metro Line A. Ride the subway for 5 stops and you’ll arrive at Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí). Tickets must be purchased before boarding.*
- Taxis into the inner city will typically cost you between 600-700 Kč (~23-27€). The two official airport operators are Fix Taxi and Praha Taxi. You can get a discount on the latter if you book through their website or app.
- Regular bus line 100*: running regularly at few-minutes intervals, with journey time of approx. 18min to Zličín, where you can change to Metro Line B. Ride the subway for 12 stops and you’ll arrive at Můstek station, only 900m away from Staroměstské náměstí. It could be practical if your accommodation is around Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí) or closer to a line B station.
*The regular bus lines (119 and 100) are part of the public transport system of Prague. Tickets must be purchased before boarding, from the ticket machine at the bus stop, Prague Public Transit operator (DPP) counter or Visitor Center. If you hold a pre-paid pass or time card, they cover this route too. Read the “Getting Around” section for more info.
The ideal arrival in Prague is by train. In this case, you’ll probably arrive at the Main Railway Station (Praha hlavní nádraží — Praha hl.n.), the main international and inter-city terminal. The station is connected to a subway stop of the same name (line C). This line doesn’t run directly into the Old Town, so you might as well go on foot too (only 1.5km away), especially if the weather is nice and you are not carrying heavy bags. You can find more info on the station and its offered services here.
GETTING AROUND Prague
The public transport system is operated by Dopravní podnik hlavního města Prahy (DPP) and includes the subway, suburban trains, trams, and buses.
It’s important to note that if you are staying in the city center proper and will visit the basic spots, you will barely need to take any transport: just from/to airport or train/bus station and maybe one to go up to Prague Castle. But if you prefer to not really think about that, just go for the one- (110 Kč) or three-day (310 Kč) passes.
However, if this is too much for your needs, a single ticket (valid for 90min) costs 32 Kč, while a short-term (valid for 30min) costs 24 Kč.
Buy them at machines in any subway station and don’t forget to validate it! The checks are so extensive here that they might as well install fixed controls.Prague_Trams and Metro Map