Prague (Czech: Praha) is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. The city's historic buildings and narrow, winding streets are testament to its centuries-old role as capital of the historic region of Bohemia. Prague lies on the banks of the beautiful, meandering Vltava River that reflects the city's golden spires and 9th century castle that dominates the skyline.
This historic atmosphere is combined with a certain quirkiness that embraces the entire city. From the Museum of Czech Cubism to the technicolor Jubilee Synagogue; the castle to the river, Prague is a bohemian capital in every sense.
Confusingly, several incompatible district systems are used in Prague. Partially, different systems are from different historic periods, but at least three different systems are used today for different purposes. To make things even worse, a single district name can be used in all the systems, but with different meanings.
For purposes of this guide, the "old" district system is used. In this "old" system, Prague is divided into ten numbered districts: Praha 1 through to Praha 10. If you encounter a higher district number, a different system is being used. For example, Praha 13 is part of the "old" Praha 5 district. The advantage of the "old" system of ten districts is that it is used on street signs and house numbers throughout the city, so you can always easily determine the "old" system district you are located in.
Praha 1 is the oldest part of the city, the original 'Town of Prague', and has by far the densest number of attractions. Praha 2 also contains important historic areas. In this central area, the "old" district system (or any of the newer systems) is too crude to be practical, a finer division is needed. Traditional city "quarters" provide such a division. Their disadvantage is that they are somewhat incompatible with the modern district systems - although "quarters" are smaller than the "old" system districts, a single quarter can belong to two or even more districts. The advantage is that these central quarters are well known and widely used and identical with the homonymous cadastral areas shown on street and house number signs along the "old" district designation, allowing easy orientation.
Buildings in big cities in Czech Republic have two numbers, one blue and one red. The blue ones are the orientation numbers - it is the ordinal number of the building on its street. Historically these numbers always started from the end of the street which is closer to a river. As is normal in Europe, odd numbers belong on one side of the street and even numbers on the other. This allows you to find quickly the house you are looking for. The red numbers are related to the house register of the entire quarter (for example, Staré Město), and thus usually correspond to the order the buildings in that district were constructed. Most people do not remember them; if somebody says e.g. the house is in Dlouha str. number 8, they will usually mean the blue number. Red numbers usually have 3 or more digits.
- Old Town and Josefov Old Town (Staré Město)— The nucleus of the right bank, the oldest part of Prague. The whole Old Town belongs to Praha 1. Jewish Town (Josefov)— A small enclave within Old Town, the old Jewish ghetto. The whole Jewish Town belongs to Praha 1.
- Castle and Lesser Town Castle (Hradčany)— The historic nexus of the city, and the highest point on the left bank. Mostly belongs to Praha 1, although a small part belongs to Praha 6. Lesser Town (Malá strana)— The settlement around the castle; location of most governmental authorities, including Czech Parliament. Mostly belongs to Praha 1, although a very small part belongs to Praha 5.
- New Town and Vysehrad (Nové Město)— The district adjacent to Old Town, established in the 14th century. Large parts of the New Town belongs both to Praha 1 and Praha 2. A small part belongs to Praha 8. Vysehrad (Vyšehrad)— The site of the old Vyšehrad castle south of the medieval Prague. The whole Vyšehrad belongs to Praha 2.
- East bank of Vltava The East of Prague is on the east side of the Vltava River beside the Old Town and New Town districts. It consists of the numbered districts of Praha 3, Praha 4, Praha 8, Praha 9, Praha 10, Praha 11 and Praha 12. Most of the sites listed are in the cadastral district of Žižkov, which roughly corresponds to Praha 3.
- West bank of Vltava The West of Prague is to the west of the Vltava river.
A university student, Jan Palach became a Czechoslovakian martyr when he set himself ablaze in protest to the Warsaw Pact intervention against the Prague Spring reforms, which liberalised government policies and human rights restrictions. Palach died three days later from his injuries. Palach's funeral erupted into mass protests against the government. Many Czechoslovakians mourned Palach and sympathized with his ideals including Jan Zajíc, who killed himself in the same fashion as Palach to encourage his countrymen to fight the Warsaw Pact occupation of the Czechoslovakian nation. A little more than two months later, on Good Friday, Evžen Plocek also set himself ablaze in the town of Jihlava. However, Plocek's protest went largely unnoticed since his death was not reported by the media. In 1989, twenty years after Palach's death, large scale protests were held in what became known as Palach Week, a precursor to the Velvet Revolution later the same year.
This city of bridges, cathedrals, gold-tipped towers and church domes, has been mirrored in the surface of the swan-filled Vltava River for more than ten centuries. Almost undamaged by WWII, Prague's compact medieval centre remains a wonderful mixture of cobbled lanes, walled courtyards, cathedrals and countless church spires all in the shadow of her majestic 9th century castle that looks eastward as the sun sets behind her. Prague is also a modern and vibrant city full of energy, music, cultural art, fine dining and special events catering to the independent traveller's thirst for adventure.
It is regarded by many as one of Europe's most charming and beautiful cities, Prague has become the most popular travel destination in Central Europe along with Budapest and Kraków. Millions of tourists visit the city every year.
Prague was founded in the later 9th century, and soon became the seat of Bohemian kings, some of whom ruled as emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. The city thrived under the rule of Charles IV, who ordered the building of the New Town in the 14th century - many of the city's most important attractions date back to that age. The city also went under Habsburg rule and became the capital of a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1918, after World War I, the city became the capital of Czechoslovakia. After 1989 many foreigners, especially young people, moved to Prague. In 1992, its historic centre was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In 1993, Czechoslovakia split into two countries and Prague became capital city of the new Czech Republic.
The Vltava River runs through Prague, which is home to about 1.2 million people. The capital may be beautiful, but pollution often hovers over the city due to its location in the Vltava River basin.
Many Praguers have a small cottage (which can range from a shack barely large enough for garden utensils to an elaborate, multi-story dwelling) outside the city. There they can escape for some fresh air and country pursuits such as mushroom hunting and gardening. These cottages, called chata (plural form chaty, pronunciation of ch as in Bach), are treasured both as getaways and ongoing projects. Each reflects its owners' character, as most of them were built by unorthodox methods. Chata owners used the typically Czech "it's who you know" chain of supply to scrounge materials and services. This barter system worked extremely well, and still does today. Chaty are also sometimes used as primary residences by Czechs who rent out their city-centre apartments for enormous profit to foreigners who can afford to pay inflated rent.
Václav Havel Airport Prague, (IATA: PRG), +420 220 111 111, +420 296 661 111. Located 20 km (12 mi) northwest of the city centre, it generally takes about 30 minutes to reach the city centre by car. The airport is served by a number of airlines:
- Czech Airlines (ČSA) is the national carrier operating to many European and international destinations. They generally do not offer long-haul (intercontinental) flights, but as they are partially owned by Korean Air, they offer a code-shared direct connection to Seoul.
- Wizz Air is a low cost airline with a base in Prague operating to European destinations including London, and Tel Aviv.
- easyJet operates low cost services to European destinations.
- Jet2.com low cost services from Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds/Bradford & Edinburgh
- SmartWings to Europe, Turkey and Israel
- Swiss International flies to Zurich, Basel and Geneva.
- Aer Lingus from the Irish city of Dublin.
- Norwegian from Scandinavia.
- Delta Air Lines from New York.
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines 5 direct flights per day from Amsterdam.
- British Airways has 4 direct flights from London Heathrow daily.
- Brussels Airlines offers 3 flights a day to Brussels.
- Lufthansa offers 6 flights a day from Frankfurt and 4 from Munich.
- TAP offers daily direct flights from Lisbon and Oporto.
- Iberia offers 3 flights daily from Madrid.
- Germanwings offers daily flights from Cologne/Bonn.
Getting into the city from the airport
- Public buses offer connections to several metro stations, from which you can travel to the city center in a total travel time of 45 minutes. Public transport tickets, which are valid on the buses, metro, and trams can be bought from kiosks called Public Transport in the arrivals halls (07:00-21:00, credit cards accepted), the DPP kiosk in the arrivals area of Terminal 1, or the vending machine next to the bus stop outside the terminals. Tickets are available in time increments of 30 minutes (24 CZK), 90 minutes (32 CZK), 24-hours (110 CZK) or 3-days (310 CZK). You can also buy a 90-minute ticket from the bus driver, but it costs 40 CZK. You can transfer between the buses, metro, and tram for no additional charge as long as your ticket has not expired. Remember to validate your ticket as soon as you get on the bus by sticking it into a yellow machine with green glowing arrow, or you may be subject to a fine of 800 CZK if you are caught. Info on the schedules and routes can be obtained here. Buses that operate between the airport and the metro stations are as follows:
- Bus #100 to Zličín - Metro Line B (18 minute ride). Departures every 12-30 minutes from 5:41-23:36.
- Bus #119 to Nádraží Veleslavín - Metro Line A (17 minute ride). Departures every 5-20 minutes from 4:23-23:44.
- Bus #191 to Petřiny - Metro Line A (24 minute ride) and metro B Anděl (48 minute ride). Departures every 24-40 minutes from 4:57-23:11.
- Night Bus #510 going via Arbesovo náměstí (36 minute ride) and I. P. Pavlova (42 minute ride). Departures from the airport every 30 minutes from 23:57-3:57.
- Airport Express (bus operated by Czech Railways): These buses leave the airport every 30 minutes; the first one at 05:46 while the last one at 21:16 at a price of 60 CZK per person (or less, if bought as a part of railway ticket further into Czech Republic). Tickets are available from the driver. They will take you to the railway and metro station Dejvická and Masarykovo nádraží. The last stop will be Prague's main train station ("Hlavní nádraží" which is commonly abbreviated in Czech as "Praha hl.n."). From there the bus operates back to the airport. Schedule: at this page or here
- Cedaz bus: (but in fact the owner is AAA taxi) These buses operate from 07:30 to 19:00 every half hour. They will take you into the city centre to the "V Celnici" street. Fares are 150 CZK per person.
- By shuttle: Various companies run shuttle services to the hotel and back. They can be found at the airport arrival halls. They usually charge around 400 to 500 CZK for trip and in general are a bit cheaper than the taxis.
- By taxi: The most comfortable method to reach the city centre will cost around 650 to 850 CZK with AAA Taxi. They have an exclusive contract with Prague airport and taxis waiting outside. For a bargain, call one of their competitors listed in Get around Taxi section or Prague Airport Transfer, Book Taxi Prague or Prague Airport Shuttle, an expat owned and operated taxi service or shuttle to the nearest metro station Dejvicka.
- By private cars: Many companies offer private transfers for fixed prices - to the hotel, apartments, etc. and back. This service must be booked in advance because driver will be waiting directly to you. They usually charge around 500 to 600 CZK for trip and in general are a bit cheaper than the taxis. Chosen companies: Transfer-Service.cz, Prague Airport Shuttle, Transfer Prague, 24-ATP.
- By rented cars: If you are planning on exploring the Czech Republic beyond the city of Prague, you may want to consider renting a car at the airport. Numerous rental companies have their desks at the airport (in the ground floor of Parking C) and allow pickup and return directly there.
Prague is well connected to European EC train network, however there is no Czech high speed rail and so the maximum train speed is 120–160 km/h (75-99 mph), but usually the speed is much lower at about 70 km/h. While international and intercity services are generally reliable, assume delays of more than few minutes when using local trains.
- Berlin: 4½h, EC trains every 2 hours
The train line from Berlin to Prague passes through Saxon Switzerland, and for a couple of hours the passengers are treated to a series of beautiful alpine river valleys, surrounded by rocky escarpments and mountains.
Trains from Nuremberg have connection from Munich in Schwandorf a vice versa. The trains are quite slow, so alternatively you can use non-stop bus Nuremberg–Prague operated by German Railways (3¾h, every 2 hours).
- Vienna: 4¾h, EC train roughly every 2 hours
- Bratislava: 4h, EC train every 2 hours; one night train Metropol
- Budapest: 7h, 5 EC trains a day; night train Metropol
- Warsaw: 8¼h, EC Praha; 11h, night train Šírava
- Krakow: 6h-6.5h, 2x daily LeoExpress (train connected with coach in Bohumin)
All international trains arrive at Praha hlavní nádraží (the central station, abbreviated to Praha hl.n.) which has a connection with Metro Line C. The station has undergone a major refurbishment in 2010.
Beware of the taxi drivers operating from the (official-looking) taxi rank alongside Praha hl.n.; they will attempt to charge a fixed price of CZK1760 for a trip within the city center zone, or more than this if you want to travel further.
The park in front of the main train station is a haunt for some of the city's undesirable elements and should be avoided after dark. If you do have to come through on foot, it's best to avoid coming through the park and approach from the Southeast along Washingtonova. As you get to the corner of the park there's a police station, so the likelihood of running into problems from this direction is minimalised.
The main bus station for international buses in Prague is Florenc, in Praha 8 (metro lines B and C). It is located east of the city centre. In June 2009 a new terminal building was opened.
The second largest bus station is Na Knížecí, located next to Vltava river at west bank, south of city center. It is connected to Anděl metro station (line B). It is used mostly by regional busses.
Other, less frequently used bus stations are at Nádraží Holešovice (metro C), Dejvická (A), Zličín (B) and Černý most (B).
Eurolines, Ecolines, Student Agency and Orange Ways connect Prague to major European cities. Since the liberalization of the German long distance Bus market almost all major operators offer routes to/from Prague. Deutsche Bahn offers an IC Bus from Strasbourg via Mannheim Heidelberg Nuremberg and Plzen as well as one from Munich, DeinBus drives from Munich via Regensburg and Plzen, Flixbus goes from Berlin (via Dresden) as well as Linz Munich and Regensburg to Prague. Meinfernbus goes from Dresden, Nuremberg and Graz (via Vienna) to Prague. Tickets for the German operators can all be bought online or paid in Euros at the bus (higher rates apply, only possible if there are still seats)
Prague has highway connections from five major directions. Unfortunately, the highway network in the Czech Republic is quite incomplete and some highways are old and in poor condition. Thus, the highway connection from Prague to the border of the Czech Republic is available only in two directions: southeast and southwest.
The southwestern highway (D5; international E50) leads through Plzeň to Germany. The D5 highway continues in Germany as A6. Riding from the state border to Prague takes about an hour and a half (160 km / 99 mi).
The southeastern highway (D1) is the Czech Republic's oldest and most used highway but is in a rather poor condition. It leads through Brno to Bratislava in Slovakia. It offers a good connection to Vienna, Budapest and all traffic from the east. It runs for 250 km (155 mi), and usually takes over two hours.
To the northwest, you can take highway D8 (E55), but it is not complete to the German border. It ends now at Lovosice (about 60 km (37 mi) from Prague and starts again in Usti nad Labem and continues to the northern Germany via A17 (Dresden, Berlin, Leipzig).
To the northeast, you can take highway R10 (E65). It is strictly speaking a motorway, not a highway, but it has four lanes and differs little from a highway. It leads from Liberec to Turnov. It is not regarded as an important access route, as there are no major cities in this direction (Zittau in Germany, some cities in Poland), but it offers a good connection to the Czech mountains Jizerské hory and Krkonoše (Riesengebirge) with the best Czech skiing resorts.
To the east, you can take the newly completed D11 (E67), which goes to Hradec Kralove. It leads to Poland.
Czech highways are under development (D8 and D11 are being extended, D3 to České Budějovice and Linz is supposed to be completed in 2020) so things will get better. Unless there are road works, there are only seldom traffic jams on Czech highways, with the exception of D1 near Prague (and near Mirosovice (direction to České Budějovice and Linz, and Brno, too)).
Prague suffers from heavy traffic and on week days the main streets are one big traffic jam. Moreover, Prague doesn't have a complete highway outer ring yet. It is a really good idea to use the P+R (park and ride) parking places, where you can park your car for a very small fee and use public transport.
The P+Rs are situated near all highways and are well marked. Note that traffic wardens are rife and parking in most residential streets in and around Prague city centre (even after dark) without a valid permit will result in a parking fine. In particular, avoid blue-marked areas which are parking-restricted area if you don't want your car to get towed away within the hour.
Public transportation is very convenient in most of the areas visitors are likely to frequent. One key thing to note if you are staying outside of the city centre is that public transport buses do not enter the historic districts (Old Town, New Town, Lower Town, etc.), so as to prevent air and noise pollution. One must transfer to a cleaner and quieter electric-powered tram or a metro before reaching historic areas.
Prague is renowned as a very "walkable" city. For those who enjoy seeing the old and new city by foot, one can easily walk from Wenceslas Square to the Old Town Square, or from the Old Town to Charles Bridge and the Castle District. However almost all of the streets are cobbled, rendering it very difficult for disabled or elderly travellers to get around effectively. Also, pedestrians should enter crosswalks carefully in Prague, as drivers are not as likely to yield as they are in other European cities.
Remember that in the Czech Republic, it is illegal to cross at a pedestrian crossing on a red man, and if caught this incurs a fine of 1000CZK.
The public transit around Prague consists of three metro lines (green line A, yellow line B and red line C), over twenty tram lines (numbered using 1- or 2-digit numbers), buses (3-digit numbers), ferries, a few train lines (numbered S1 to S9), and even one funicular, all using the same tickets.
The tram and bus schedules are posted on the stops, and the metro (its schedule is posted in station) operates from early in the morning (around 05:00) until approximately midnight. Buses (lines no. 100-299) and trams (lines no. 1-26) start earlier and end later to connect to metro. Between 11PM and 1AM, be aware that some trams carrying passengers take different routes to get to their garage. When travelling at night, always check schedules on-line beforehand, and you may even find a shorter route to your destination than normally available.
When planning a journey, if you know the names of your stops, you can use the official journey planner at , or a smartphone app (two good ones for Android are Pubtran, which is free of charge but uses your data plan to find connections, or CG transit, which allows you to download the timetables into your phone for a small charge and then use them offline).
If you don't know the name of your stop, you can plan your journey either using Google Maps or with the map at . You can also look at several public transport maps at and , but be aware that at any given moment there are several lines closed for renovations, which is refflected by the online planners but may not always be included in the static maps.
Prague public transport is fast and efficient when you know how to use it. Sometimes you have to change a few times - the schedule website is the best way to plan your trip. If you get lost, you can take any bus / tram, all lines pass through a metro station where you can orient yourself.
These tickets may be of interest to visitors (prices valid from July 2011):
- 24 CZK – full ticket: 30 minutes (transfers allowed), children get 50% discount
- 32 CZK – full ticket: 90 minutes (transfers allowed), children get 50% discount
- 110 CZK – 24-hour ticket, children get 50% discount
- 310 CZK – 3-day ticket (72 hours), you can take one child free of charge with you
Children under 15 years get the discount. Children under 10 years travel free of charge. (But must have an id card with age and photo if older than 6.)
As you can see, the 24-hour or 3-day tickets are not economical unless you plan to travel more than 4 times a day for 90 minutes (6 hours).
Tickets can be bought at various places:
- ticket machines - sell 24, 32, 110 CZK tickets. Most ticket machines accept coins only (but return change). In some central locations such as the central train station, there are new touch-screen ticket machines that accept coins, 100 CZK and 200 CZK notes as well as VISA and MasterCard credit cards ("classic" as well as contactless cards) and their debit versions (Problems can occur with foreign debit cards).
- tobacco shops, convenience stores - usually 24 and 32 CZK tickets only
- Prague Public Transit offices - usually located at Metro stations (and the airport), sell all kinds of tickets
- bus (but not tram) drivers - sell the 32 CZK tickets for a higher price of 40 CZK
- all Czech Railways ticket offices - sell the 110 CZK tickets (validity is printed on the ticket, so ask them to set it to the date and time you need)
- EC/IC trains - sometimes the conductors of these trains offer the 110 CZK tickets for sale before arrival to Prague
- via SMS - service is available only for the Czech GSM operator customers
- using the SEJF app - available for iOS and Android. Customers can top up the app's wallet using a payment card, no Czech GSM number is needed. The ticket is only valid on trams, urban buses and in the Metro, not on S-Train services. The DPP website has no information whether SEJF tickets are valid in the funicular. However, this is likely, as the funicular is operated by the company that also operates urban buses, trams and the Metro.
Validate your ticket by slipping it into one of the yellow boxes in the tram, bus or ferry, as soon as you board. In the metro, on the S-trains and on the funicular, the validators are in stations instead of the vehicles. After having changed the tram/bus, there is no need to validate it again. Be sure to keep it handy until it expires.
Tickets are not checked upon boarding, but uniformed or plain-clothed ticket inspectors often make the rounds asking to see your ticket. One problem is false inspectors who most often ride the trams between "Malostranske Namesti" and Prague Castle - these deceivers can be detected by asking for the identity card and badge which should be possessed by every inspector. An unstamped ticket is invalid - it will be confiscated, and you will incur a 700 CZK fine. Even though "riding black" seems easy in Prague, you should invest in the cheap ticket for the simple reason that Prague's transportation works perfectly and it functions on the honor system – help it stay that way.
Be aware that some buses (number 300 to 499) and all S-trains go out of the city, so they work a little differently, because normal tickets are valid only within the city limits. You have to show your ticket to the bus driver or train conductor and possibly buy another ticket from them, if you plan to go out of the city. The most popular site reachable this way is the Karlštejn castle (train S7, leaving the main station every 30 minutes).
Public transport continues at night and it's fairly extensive . Night trams or night buses (00:00 to 05:00; lines beginning with the number 5 and 6 for the bus going out of city) usually come every 30 minutes. Every 15 minutes during this time, trams leave the central exchange stop of Lazarská in the centre of Prague. All night trams go through this stop. You can easily change tram lines here if nowhere else. At all night exchange stops, trams and buses wait for the connecting tram/bus.
Do not underestimate how close to the footpath the trams will be when they reach the stop. It's safer to take a few steps back before the tram arrives, as wing mirrors could cause injury for taller people. In the Metro, you should stay behind the dashed safety line on the floor about half a meter from the edge of the platform. On an escalator, it is customary to stand on the right side and walk up on the left side. When you use public transport in Prague, keep in mind that it is good etiquette to let elderly people, pregnant women or disabled people sit down.
Shared minibus airport service is cheaper alternative to regular door-to-door private transfers. One can find easy-to-follow website at various websites.
Try to avoid getting taxi on the street (public transportation is always the better option in Prague) and if you have to, try to negotiate the price in advance. If you take taxi on the street, you should know that maximum price designated by city council per kilometre is 28 CZK/km (approx €1,3). It's advisable to call one of the major Prague Taxi services:
- AAA Radiotaxi, +420 222 333 222 . (20-24 CZK/km)
- City Taxi, +420 257 257 257 . (24-28 CZK/km)
- Halo Taxi, +420 244 114 411 . (24 CZK/km)
- Kurýr Taxi, +420 241 090 090 . (20 CZK/km)
- Modrý anděl, +420 737 222 333 .(21-23 CZK/km)
- Prague Airport Transfers, +420 800 870 888
- Bohemia Prague Airport Transfers, +420 773 066 880
- Profi Taxi, +420 844 700 800 . (26 CZK/km)
- Sedop, +420 841 666 333 . (23 CZK/km)
- Speed Cars Praha, +420 224 234 234 . (21 CZK/km)
- Taxi Praha, +420 222 111 000 . (24 CZK/km)
- Taxi Premier, +420 777 092 045 . (17 CZK/km)
Since 2014 mobile taxi apps have become widespread in Prague. The advantage of using a taxi app is that you always get a fair price, all payments are done by card, there's no need to call anyone, and you can get a taxi at any time in less than 10 minutes.
- Liftago, the local equivalent to Uber, with slightly cheaper prices. New clients get a 300 CZK bonus for signing up. App available for Android and iOS.
- Uber, the global taxi giant. If you already have an account from any other country, you can use it in Prague as well. App available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
Deceptive taxi drivers are another trap that can badly surprise a tourist. Mostly they charge more than they should. The municipal council has been trying to solve this problem since the Prague mayor dressed up as an Italian tourist and was repeatedly overcharged. The most frequent cases of cheating happen between the railway station or airport and hotel. If you must take a taxi, and cannot call one directly or call your hotel for a referral, the best way to find a reputable one may be to look for a hotel and ask them to call a taxi. (Most hotels in Prague have a "deal" with taxi services or they have their own "hotel taxi" which usually charges you 50% or more than the taxi companies listed above.)
Taxi drivers at the railway station may show you a printed card that details the "fixed fares" for travel within the city. This is completely false. Don't fall for it.
Always insist on having the taxi-meter turned on and ask for a printed receipt once you leave the taxi. The receipt should have the driver's name, address and tax identification number included. Even though you ask for a receipt the taxi-meter could be tampered with using the so-called "turbo", which will cause the taxi-meter price to go sky high.
If you decide to flag down a taxi on the street make sure you stop a car with the logo of one of the major companies. It's not a bullet proof solution, but at least you have some chance to get some satisfaction from the taxi dispatching company.
About two years ago, an information desk was set up on most taxi stands in the city, with orientation prices to most popular destinations from that stand. But there is a flaw in the local law, which actually allows some of the taxi companies renting the taxi stands (specifically around Old Town square) to charge VERY high prices (about 99CZK/Km). There is an ongoing lawsuit regarding this, however the practice still hasn't stopped. The most infamous company in this regard is a recently created AAA Taxi s.r.o. deliberately creating its name to resemble regulated and popular AAA Radiotaxi Praha, however AAA Taxi cabs charge up to four times more for a ride, they even do not provide services to Czech customers . Visitors are advised to use the services of proved phone-order taxis, as they are even reports of robberies with street cruising taxis .
If you don't speak Czech, then be prepared: There is about a 50% chance you will be cheated by the driver, if you hail a taxi in the city center. So be always on watch as that is a standard warning in any guide book about Prague.
If you are convinced you got overcharged by the taxi driver, mark the car ID numbers (license plate, taxi license number on the car door, driver name, etc.) and contact the company which the driver is working for (if any) or police. The problem is that you have to testify against the driver, which is kind of hard when you're on the other side of the world. Try to avoid suspicious taxis and when in doubt, walk away and catch another taxi.
Another alternative is to use some of the chauffeured services companies like Prague Airport Transfers s.r.o. or FEBA Trade Limousine Car Service or even cheaper but as reliable HFS s.r.o. - 123-Prague-Airport-Transfer.com, or Transfer-Prague.com.
Some hotels offer taxi services. Make sure to compare the price with other companies. Some hotel taxis are cheap but others are more than twice the price and the car is not always identified as being a taxi. (Most of hotels in Prague have "deal" with taxi services or they have own "hotel taxi" and usually charge you by 50% or more than companies written above)
You can travel down the famous Vltava River (Moldau, in German), which inspired writers and composers such as Smetana and Dvorak.
The Prague Steamboat Company offers sight seeing cruises as well as trips to the Prague ZOO or the Slapy River Dam.
Or you can enjoy travel by boat in historic centre of Prague. Nice surroundings, which include Pražské Benátky, is very amazing to visit it. Try to travel with Pražské Benátky Company and enjoy historic cruises as well as way to visit Charles Bridge Museum (in Czech language - Muzeum Karlova Mostu).
It is now possible to rent a Segway in Prague. It is a fast and convenient way to get around in the city center. In Prague, a person on a Segway is considered a pedestrian, not a motorist, so Segways are only allowed on the sidewalk. Segway rental costs between €30 and €45 per hour.
- Individual listings can be found in Prague's district articles
- Prague Castle. This, the biggest ancient castle in the world according to Guinness World Records, rises like a dream above the city offering beautiful views of the areas below. Also on site is the St. Vitus Cathedral with its lookout tower, the Castle Picture Gallery, several palaces and museums and the beautiful Royal Garden, among others. You can also watch the Presidential Guard, and the changeover of the guards on duty on the hour. A Prague castle ticket is 350 CZK and an audio guide costs a further 350 CZK.
- Charles Bridge. Connects Old Town with Lesser Town. Its construction started in the 14th century and it is one of Prague's most beautiful structures. During the day, it is a bustling place of trade and entertainment, as musicians busk and artists sell their paintings and jewelry.
- Old Town (Staré město); Prague's historic centre includes numerous historic buildings and monuments, most notably the famed Astronomical Clock (Orloj), the pure Gothic Týn Church, the mural-covered Storch building, and the Jan Hus monument. Nearby, the Estate Theatre is a neoclassical theatre where Mozart's opera Don Giovanni was first performed. Old Town features many historical churches (St. James Church, Church of Our Lady before Týn among others) and some other interesting historical buildings like the Old Town Hall.
- Josefov; this historic Jewish ghetto is interesting for its well preserved synagogues. The Old New Synagogue (Czech: Staronová synagoga) is Europe's oldest active synagogue and it is rumoured to be the resting place of the famed Prague Golem. Another interesting synagogue is the Spanish Synagogue, a highly ornamental building of Moorish style. Other attractions include the Old Jewish Cemetery, which is the oldest in Europe, and Kafka's house. The Old New Synagogue is NOT a part of the Jewish museum, so if you wish to see everything, it is recommended that you buy a combined pass to all of the Jewish attractions for 480 CZK.
- New Town (Nové město); New Town was established as an extension of Old Town in the 14th century, though much of the area has now been reconstructed. The main attraction here is Wenceslas Square, a rectangular commercial square with many stalls, shops and restaurants. At the top of the square is the National Museum which is well worth a look (see below). Midway down this historic boulevard, one finds trendy discos and Art Nouveau hotels, as well as quaint parks and arcades, while just off the beaten path are some wonderful panoramic views (Henry Tower), romantic restaurants and the dazzling, Disney-colored Jubilee Synagogue.
- Lesser Town (Malá strana); Across the Vltava River from the city centre and leading to the castle, this quarter also offers beautiful streets and churches (of which St. Nicholas Church is the most renowned). The Lennon Wall, which used to be a source of irritation to the communist regime, is also found here, near a Venetian-like canal with water wheel and close to the Charles Bridge. Note that on 17 November 2014, the Lennon Wall was vandalised by a group of art students and painted over in white.
- Czech National Gallery (Národní galerie). Its most important collections are in the Sternberg Palace (up to the Baroque), St George Convent (Czech Baroque and Mannerism) and Veletržní Palace. The first two are located near and in the castle respectively. Do not confuse them with the Castle Picture Gallery (see above) which is worth visiting on its own right.
- Veletržní Palace, Dukelských hrdinů 47, Praha 7 - Holešovice. 19th century and modern art.
- Convent of St Agnes of Bohemia, U Milosrdných 17, Praha 1.
- Museum of Czech Cubism (House of the Black Madonna), Ovocný trh 19/Celetná 34, Praha 1.
- Czech National Museum (Národní muzeum). An association of various museums. The main building is at the Wenceslas Square and is dedicated to natural history. Other branches include museums of the Czech composers Dvořák and Smetana, Czech Music Museum, Historical Pharmacy Museum, Prince Lobkovicz' Collection at the Prague Castle, Czech Ethnographical Museum and Naprstek Anthropological Museum.
- Prague City Gallery. A museum of modern Czech arts divided between several sites most of which are in the old town. Its main building is the House of the Golden Ring at the Old Town Square featuring 20th Century Czech art in a beautiful medieval edifice. 19th Century Czech art is exhibited at the Troja Castle.
- Jewish Museum. This covers six separate places (four synagogues, the Old Jewish Cemetery and the Memorial Hall) but does not include the Old-New Synagogue, although entrance tickets can either include or exclude the last named. The Old-New Synagogue is expensive in relation to the museum but in view of its age, it's worth including it. The Memorial Hall is particularly moving with exhibits of the writings of children in death camps.
- Prague City Museum (Muzeum hl. m. Prahy), Na Poříčí 52, Praha 8. Has several branches throughout town. An absolute must-see for the incredibly detailed cardboard model of nineteenth century Prague by Anton Langweil. The detail is amazing, even down to the colour of the doorways and the design of the windowsills.
- There are plenty of smaller museums. Among them are the Museum of Miniatures at the Stahnov Monastery, Toys Museum and Musical Automata Museum at the Prague Castle, Postal Museum, and more touristy Wax Museum, Torture Museum and Beer Museums in the Old Town.
If you are visiting multiple attractions, you may be able to save money by buying a tourist card. Be discerning, as the passes often list as inclusions destinations that are free to visit anyway, and include lesser attractions. Make sure you will save money on the places you want to visit.
- Prague Card. Valid for 4 days and grants free entry to over 50 attractions in the Prague area. You will receive a book with information on all the included attractions and many discounts (Prague Walks excursions, airport transfer, shopping, Mucha and Kafka museum etc.) and a voucher for each attraction. You can only enter the attraction with a valid card and a voucher. The card does not include public transport. You can visit Prague Castle (350 CZK), Old Town, Malá Strana and Charles Bridge historical towers and other attractions, Observatory (20 CZK), small copy of Eiffel Tour (100 CZK) and Mirror Maze at Petrin Hill, Vysehrad all castle including his casemates and gallery, many New Town Museums and Galleries and several castles outside centre of Prague. You will not save much with this card. 790CZK.
- Welcome Card TVCzechia®. Grants admission to all the Prague Castle short tour, which normally costs 250CZK. Many of the town's museums and galleries—including all branches of the National Gallery and the National Museum—are also included, and over four days you can easily see 3 times the card's value. As such, this is an excellent choice if you're planning on visiting a lot of museums. The only major attraction that is not included is the Old New Synagogue and Jewish Museum. 990CZK..
- Prague Pass. Free entry to various attractions in Prague within a 1 year period, various discounts, sightseeing tours and 72 hours of public transport, including metro, tram, bus, funicular, and train. Vysehrad and its casemate (catacombs) and basilica, take a boat trip through Prague on the river Vltava (Moldau), effortless up in the TV tower with the best panorama of Prague or enjoy a ride on the Petrin hill cable railway. The whole city in one hall (perfect model in 1:480 scale) - a time travel to the past in Prague’s historical most significant museum. Don't fear the sharks and marvel at the blaze of colors in the Sea World Aquarium, a ride at a performance of a Black-Light-Theater or let your soul swing at a concert in a church. River Navigation Museum, Army museum, Aviation museum and the UNESCO certified auto museum "PRAGA".... all for free! (Some of them however have free entry anyway !). Also in the pack is a free map of Prague and a program guide booklet as well as a free welcome present. You will also receive discount coupons for several discounts of up to 50% for guided sightseeing- and city-walking tours, Mozart museum, galleries, concerts, internet use, computer games, real laser game or for Rent a Car (25%). 860CZK..
- National Gallery Gift Ticket. If you are an art lover and you are staying in Prague for a longer time, a dárková vstupenka (gift ticket) for National Gallery may save you money. The ticket is valid for a year and is valid in all exhibitions (both permanent and non-permanent) of National Gallery. Number of visits is not limited. A gift ticket for one person costs 650 CZK, for two persons 1000 CZK. For 240 CZK you can have one-person ticket valid for two days in all "Old Art" exhibitions of National Gallery (Šternberk Palace, Schwarzenberg Palace, St. Anežka Convent), basic entry for these three galleries bought separately would cost you. 450 CZK.
- Individual listings can be found in Prague's district articles
Take a walk along the Royal Way of Prague.
There are many opera and Black Light Theatre companies in Prague. There are several performance groups that cater to tourists. They aren't strictly to be avoided, but common sense should tell you that the opera advertised by costumed pamphleteers is not going to be up to truly professional standards.
- AghaRTA Jazz Centrum, Železná 16, Praha 1.
- Black Light Theatre, Národní třída 25, Praha 1.
- Jazz Republic Club & Bar, 28. října 1, Praha 1.
Would you like to try to escape from a room just like in a character in a movie or a video game? You (and your team) are put in a room or a labyrinth of rooms, from where you need to "escape" by finding hidden keys, codes and other clues to get onwards.
- Cryptex Praha, Korenskeho 3, Praha 5. Cryptex Praha is one of the most challenging escape games in Prague. If you want to play, you have to make a reservation in advance on their website and show up on time to play. They offer free game-play for the teams who make it without help and cheating.
- Getaway Prague The real-life escape game, Blanická 9, Praha 2, ☎ +420774978220, e-mail: email@example.com. Getaway Prague is one of the best escape game in Prague, located in the center, 100m from Namesti Miru metro station. The game requires good observation skills, logical thinking and good communication among the players. Great fun to spend an hour during the day! Booking in advance is required and can be made online or via phone! 40 EUR for couples or 50 EUR for max 5 person.
- Prague Spring. The most famous classical music festival in Czech republic
River cruises are both popular and varied, from one hour cruises to long evening cruises with dinner or music.
- Cruise Prague. Offers a wide range of regular and private cruises.
- JazzBoat. Combines cruising and jazz concerts.
- Prague Flights. Offers sightseeing flights by airplane, helicopter or in hot air balloon and tandem skydiving.
- Treasure Hunt Prague, ☎ +420 542 211 935, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Treasure Hunt Prague is a dynamic team competition, that makes use of modern technology and GPS-enabled tablets and lets you visit a wide range of Prague's historical monuments in a record time. Suitable for larger groups and companies.
- We Bike Prague, Konviktska 7, 11000 (Prague 1), ☎ +420 773912010, e-mail: email@example.com. 9AM - 7:30PM. With We Bike Prague team you can easily discover the city of Prague and the area around. Very good quality bike to rent for you self guided trip in the city and multidays trip trough the countryside. We Bike Prague is also specialized in long distance bike trip. Good bikes, panniers and maps can be rented for your cycling holiday in the Czech Republic.
- BIKO Adventures Prague, Lidicka 8, Andel (Praha 5), ☎ +420 736441710. BIKO offers outdoor activities off the beaten track in Prague and in the Czech Republic. Real mountain bike private tours from easy to advanced in and around Prague, to Karlstejn castle and in Singltrek pod Smrkem, the best MTB trails in central Europe, with high level MTB rental. Hiking to the Czech Paradise, a Unesco heritage site. The office is in Lidicka 8, Andel, easy reachable by feet,yellow metro and several trams. BIKO is open all year long from Monday to Sunday. There are different price options according to the tour level (easy or advanced), the number of participants (1 person or 2+) and the bike options chosen (you have your own bike, standard and high level MTB).
- Prague tours center, Michalska 12, Prague 1 (Malé náměstí square less than 200 meters), ☎ +420 602277060, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A free offer for the visitors of Prague: The Prague Tours Centre is offering free connection and charge up of your electric bikes and Segway PT. While connected, the devices are guarded by a supervisor and, in the meantime, you can take walk around Prague, visit a museum or your preferred restaurant. In the Prague Tours Centre the tourists have a possibility of depositing their bikes together with baggage which they do not want to carry or leave in the streets. The Prague Tours Centre also offers facilities for washing your bike or borrowing a complete bike repair kit for free.
- Running Tours Prague (Running Tours Prague). available 24/7. Activity for those into running who want to explore the city and stay fit. It shows runners of ALL abilities around the city's musts while on the run. A traveling runner introduces the best of the Prague to their running shoes and feels just like a local runner. It usually takes 50–120 mins and 7–13k. Your running in Prague is 100 percent customizable as to date, time, pace and distance. from USD15.
The streets around Old Town are full of gift shops geared towards tourists, selling Bohemian crystal, soccer shirts and other mass-produced memorabilia. The thoroughfare between Charles Bridge and Old Town Square is particularly bad, turning off into one of the laneways you can find exactly the same merchandise for half the price. If you are looking for some decent souvenirs, try to get off the beaten path. Street vendors can have some unexpected treasures and there are plenty in the Charles Bridge area. Prints of paintings and good quality photos are very popular, and a really good way to remember Prague. Don't bother buying overpriced furry hats and Matryoshka dolls, though, because they have nothing to do with Prague - they are Russian in origin, and their sellers are just trying to capitalize on unknowing tourists.
In December, the squares host Christmas Markets selling a mix of arts, craft, food, drink and Prague memorabilia. The markets are an attraction in their own right and a great place to pick up a more unique memento of the city.
There are several large shopping malls in Prague, you should take "Na Prikope" street - the 18th most expensive street in the world (measured by the price of property), with famous shopping arcades "Cerna ruze" (Black rose) and "Palac Myslbek" and many shops. If you are looking for souvenir shops, you will find them in the city's historical centre - mostly around Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square and Prague Castle. There are many other shops offering Bohemian crystal - especially in the centre near the lower end of Wenceslas Square. The other typical (if rather expensive) Czech goods is the garnet jewellery - typical Czech garnet stones (gathered near the town of Turnov) are dark red and nowadays are produced by a single company - Granat Turnov - and if you buy genuine traditional Czech garnet, you should get a certificate of authenticity. "Pařížská" street goes from Old Town Square towards the river - and includes some of the most luxurious (and expensive) boutiques in Prague.
Popular shopping malls
- Palladium, nám. Republiky 1, ☎ +420 225 770 250. situated directly in the city centre, it's the newest and perhaps most luxurious shopping mall. No cheap options to eat, unless you buy some food in Albert supermarket on the lowest floor (-2). On the top level (+2) are some moderate to expensive restaurants. Tram/metro station Namesti Republiky.
- OC Chodov, Roztylská 2321/19, ☎ +420 272 173 600. a huge shopping mall with hypermarket located slightly further away from the centre at metro station Chodov.
- Šestka, Fajtlova 1. new shopping mall just 1 station from the Prague Airport. Very far away from the centre but ideal for last minute shopping before your departure. Take bus 191 from Petřiny metro station.
- Atrium Flora (Palác Flora), Vinohradská 2828/151. medium-sized shopping mall with IMAX cinema in the top floor. Tram/metro station Flora.
- OC Nový Smíchov, Plzeňská 8. big shopping mall with 2-floor Tesco hypermarket, a cinema, a number fast food restaurants on the top floor and very close to metro/tram station Anděl.
- Metropole Zličín, Řevnická 1. medium-sized mall with a cinema, hypermarket Interspar, fast foods, huge parking lot and near the metro/bus station Zličín. If you are hungry after your flight, take a bus 100 from the airport to Zličín and then just walk few metres to this mall and buy something to eat.
The official currency of the Czech Republic is the Czech Crown (koruna), abbreviated as Kč, with the international abbreviation CZK. The current exchange rate can be found at the official website of the Czech National Bank
Sometimes it is also possible to pay with Euros (Hotels in the centre of Prague, McDonalds, KFC, Marks & Spencer - also accepts British pounds, Albert and Billa supermarkets, etc.), but the exchange rate may be slightly unfavourable and change is almost always given only in Kč. Dm-drogerie markt (cosmetics and health food) and New Yorker (clothing) stores accept euros at good rates, while souvenir stores take both euros and US dollars at poor rates.
In Prague, especially around tourist sights, there are plenty of Exchange offices with very bad rates and misleading advertisements. Banks such as Česká spořitelna have acceptable rates but charge a commission. Best rates are found around Main Railway Station (Hlavní nádraží) - exit the station, left across the park, to street "Politických vězňů". There are about 5 offices, mostly Arab-owned, and offer very good rates even for smaller amounts, and even better or negotiable for higher (over 1000 EUR, USD or such). Make sure you do not exchange money with strangers offering good rates on the street. You are likely to end up with a different currency, such as Hungarian forint, and no way of getting your money back.
- Individual listings can be found in Prague's district articles
Weekday lunch menu
Every weekday between 11AM and 2PM you can enjoy a discounted lunch menu in almost every restaurant in Prague. As a tourist you'll encounter a few barriers: the menu is in Czech only and the waiters will be reluctant to present you with a copy of it unless you explicitly ask for it: 'denni menu, prosim'. After that it's up to your luck on what to pick, but it's going be a nicely cooked typical meal and will cost under €5, sometimes a soup included as well.
Lunch is traditionally the main meal in Prague. Czech cuisine is typically based around pork or beef with starchy side dishes such as dumplings, potatoes, or fries. Fish is not as popular, though these days it is widely available. Popular Czech desserts include fruit dumplings (ovocné knedlíky), crêpes or ice cream. Trdelník has also become popular in Prague in recent years, especially among tourists, with many small bakeries selling the sweet bread encrusted with sugar and chopped walnuts. Most restaurants become very crowded during lunch and dinner, so consider making a reservation or eating earlier than the locals.
The tip should be about 10 to 15% - in cheaper restaurants or pubs you can get away with rounding up the note or leaving a few extra coins. Otherwise it's customary to leave at least 20-40CZK or €1-2. Taxes are always included in the price by law. Many restaurants in heavily-touristed areas (along the river, or with views near the castle) will charge a cover or "kovert" in addition to your meal charge. If this is printed in the menu, you have no recourse. But a restaurant will often add this charge to your bill in a less up-front manner, sometimes after printing in the menu that there is no cover. Anything brought to your table will have a charge associated with it (bread, ketchup, etc.) If you are presented with a hand-scrawled bill at the end of the meal, it is suggested that you take a moment to clarify the charges with your server. This sort of questioning will usually shame the server into removing anything that was incorrectly added. It should be noted that some waiters might be impolite especially to people from the eastern part of Europe. Pay no attention to this, and simply find another restaurant.
If you're on the look out for fast food, you won't be able to move without tripping over street vendors serving Czech style hot dogs and mulled wine in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square in New Town. If you're after Western-style fast food, the major chains also have a large presence in Wenceslas Square and the area immediately around it. Most beer halls also serve light snacks or meals. Definitely try the hot dogs (párek v rohlíku) - they're very different to the version you get in the West. Small, hollowed-out French baguettes are used for the bread, filled with mustard and ketchup, and then the frankfurter is inserted afterwards. This turns the bread into a convenient carry-case and means you don't get ketchup all over your hands. Make sure you get mustard, even if you don't normally like it - unfortunately the hot dogs are somewhat flavorless and need that extra bit of kick. Prices range from around 15 crowns for a small one to 45 crowns for the terrifying-looking 'gigant'. Note that size of hot dog relates to girth rather than length. Try the trdelnik, a traditional tube-shaped pastry, which can be found at street vendors in Old Town for 50 crowns.
Czech is the official language of Prague and the Czech Republic. Simple words and phrases in other Slavic languages (for example Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian, Bulgarian and Polish) are also commonly understood. Slovak and Czech are very similar and mutually intelligible.
Most young people speak English very well, you will also have no problem speaking English at restaurants and bars. Many restaurants have English menus. Russian is widely understood by people who were attending school before the Velvet Revolution in 1989, but the language is too different from Czech to be understood without study. In addition, some people may dislike using Russian even if they know it because of the Soviet occupation of the Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Communist history in general. Many Czechs also have some knowledge of German. People studying after 1989 and even some older people can speak English. However, learning Czech will surely endear you to the locals.
See the Czech phrasebook.
- Individual listings can be found in Prague's district articles
Pubs (in Czech "hospoda") abound throughout Prague, and indeed are an important part of local culture. The exact brand of beer usually vary from pub to pub, and recommendations are difficult to give as natives are usually willing to argue at lengths about their preferences. The most internationally recognized beers are Pilsner Urquell (Plzeňský Prazdroj) and Budweiser Budvar (Budějovický Budvar). There are other brands famous among Czechs like Gambrinus. If you are looking for a beer brewed in Prague, go for Staropramen. Usual prices for a half-liter glass are between 20 and 35 CZK, based on the brand and locality, while certain restaurants at tourist areas like the Old Town Square are known to charge more than 100 CZK for a euro-sized glass. Don't be afraid to experiment with different beer brands, even if they are not mentioned in this article. There's also a booming craft beer scene with many brewpubs in the city. It's recommended to try them out! Check this list.
In Prague it is customary, especially at beer halls, to sit with a group of people if there are no free tables, so go ahead and ask if you can join. Prague has also many excellent tearooms (in Czech čajovna) which serve different kinds of teas from around the world.
Save your money and find the bars yourself - you might be surprised at the discoveries you make away from the tourist circus.
- Individual listings can be found in Prague's district articles
Prague has a wealth of accommodation options, many of them within walking distance of the town centre. Peak season generally runs from April to October and a major influx of visitors can be expected during New Year as well. Prices for accommodation can be up to twice as high in the peak season and reservations are advised. Otherwise, the main train station, Hlavní nádraží, has an accommodation booking service for hotels and hostels upstairs. Normally, tax and breakfast are included in the room rate.
Around Hlavni Nadrazi, the main train station, there are many touts offering cheap accommodation. Many are Czech residents renting part of their apartment for extra cash. Prices don't vary much between them, but some may not be trustworthy so be cautious.
Even during peak season, dorm rooms in hostels close to the city center can be had for around 350CZK (€14) per person per night. Prague has its share of rough and ready youth hostels with a party vibe, but there are many with a more relaxed atmosphere and some housed in beautifully restored buildings as fancy as any hotel. Many hostels also offer private rooms, with or without shared bathrooms, for much cheaper than a pension or hotel room. There is a boutique design hostel movement with many hostels rivaling hotel accommodations.
For those looking for something a little different, a 'botel' (boat hotel) may be an appealing option. Usually relatively well placed, with gorgeous views. Most are moored on the south of the river in Praha 4 and 5, but the best is to stay in Prague 1, next to monuments to visit by foot, in the Lesser Town district (Mala Strana) or in the Old Town (Stare Mesto). Prices vary from €20 to €120 per person.
It is quite easy and cheap to buy a local SIM card with 3G access. Packages vary so check before purchasing.
Many hostels and hotels offer free internet on shared computers or over a wireless network, so ask before you shell out extra at one of Prague's many internet cafes.
Almost all McDonald's and KFC fast food restaurants offer unsecured, free WiFi networks to paying customers. Most other restaurants and cafes offers free WiFi as well, often without advertising - check for network with name of the establishment and ask the personnel for password.
- Club Net Cafe, Americká 39, Vinohrady, Prague 2 (Metro station Náměstí Míru on the A line). 10-24. Drinks and snacks sold 55/hour.
- Internet Cafe Interlogic, ☎ +420 241 734 617, e-mail: email@example.com. Budějovická 13, Praha 4. 10:00-22:00 daily. 12Mbit/second internet connections, couches and drinks. 1CZK/min.
- Blue Mail, ☎ +420 222 521 279, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Konviktská 8, Praha 1, (Old Town). M-F 10:00-22:00, Sa Su 10:00-23:00. The first five minutes is free and an hour of access will set you back 81CZK.
- Jazz Republic, ☎ +420 224 282 235, e-mail: email@example.com. 28 října 1, Prague 1 (Old Town). The nearest metro station is Můstek on the A and B lines. Everyday 15:00-0:00. Jazz Republic offers two MacBooks and internet access for free use by guests. Concerts start at 21:00, and the MacBooks are usually taken away by 20:00. Wi-Fi stays on until the place closes at around 1:00.
Prague is probably the best place for foreigners to look for a job because there are many multinational and English speaking companies. It is also easy to get a job teaching English because of a high demand. For more information on working in the Czech Republic, see Czech Republic#Work.
The most common crimes in Prague by far are car theft and pickpocketing: the prevalence of car theft and vandalism pushes up the crime statistics of Prague. But it even if you do not drive any cars, pickpocketing is common in Prague, and some violent crimes do occur in this city. You are seriously warned not to provoke drunken people as it will pose yourself in extreme danger. Overall Prague is a relatively safe city and with normal common sense one should be able to avoid problems; even at night a woman can walk alone. There are no "no go" areas. The only area with a high concentration of homeless is in front of the central station.
Begging occurs at the city's top tourist attractions and in some of the main public transport hubs. Don't carry a wallet or purse in the back pocket of your pants; always keep an eye on your items; don't put all your money in one place; don't show your money or valuable things to anybody. Better safe than sorry so take enough precautions for yourself.
Possession of drugs has been historically a grey area under the Czech jurisdiction. Since early 2010, though, the dubious term "an amount less than small" has been finally transformed into absolute values based on the actual judicial practice and it is no longer an offense to carry less than 15 g of marijuana, 5 patches of LSD, 1 g of cocaine, etc. It is still a criminal offense to possess more than the allowed amount of drugs. Bear in mind that for possession of lesser amount you might be still fined by public authorities as it is an offence (even though not criminal one). Please also note that most bars will expect you to go outside if you intend to smoke a joint.
Be aware of teams of pickpockets that lurk outside metro stations, overcrowded trams, Charles Bridge, Wenceslas Square and the Old Town Square. They usually work in teams of 3-5 and look for lost or distracted tourists. Backpacks are especially interesting to them. Many of those groups use underage children as pickpockets because they are not liable according to Czech criminal law.
Due to the low incidence of violent crime, the threat of pickpockets has been played up as a great problem. However, common sense and basic precautions can keep most people safe from pickpockets. If you have a camera, try not to wear it openly. Always close and secure your backpack and try to keep an eye on it. Be especially careful not to fall asleep in tram or metro. Wear your wallet in a safe place (like inner pocket of your coat), never put it into your rear pocket or any other place where it can be easily stolen.
Be astute on sleeper trains, as bag robberies are on the increase between major stations. Ask for ID from anyone who asks to take your ticket or passport, and lock backpacks to the luggage racks. Keep valuables on you and maintain common sense.
If you enter the metro (usually at night), you may find a team of con artists at the stations, saying that they are metro clerks and, after examining your ticket for some time, that it's invalid so you'll have to pay a fine of 500 CZK (1000 CZK if you argue with them). So if you happen to see them and you're sure that your ticket is valid, tell them to call the police, or call them yourself. Remember that Prague Metro ticket inspectors have to produce their badge (see for badge and ID card specimen) in order to check your ticket and issue a fine; if they don't do this as soon as they approach you then, they are almost certainly fakes.
Be careful with taxi drivers, particularly from the train station. Taxis that are legally registered may still be mafia-run affairs that do their best to overcharge. It is illegal for a taxi driver to refuse you a receipt in Prague, so agree to a price before putting yourself or your luggage in the taxi. The risk of overcharging is greatly overplayed but just take the usual sensible precautions of only using taxi firms affiliated with the station or your hotel, or call a reputable company and wait. Finally, if presented with an incorrect bill from a taxi driver, call the police on your mobile phone: the driver will quickly change his tune. You can of course always ask reception, restaurant etc. to call taxi on the number you give them.
If you can't afford to haggle with cab drivers, you can always use public mass transit. The network is extensive and can take you almost anywhere in Prague 24 hours every day.
Be careful with money exchanges. Exchange your money in banks or official tourist informations and rather avoid exchange offices. Never deal with a street money-dealer: they offer better rates but frequently try to swindle you by giving you money from another country, such as Russian rubles or old Bulgarian leva.
Most of the exchange offices are fair, but some, especially at the busiest tourist sites, may try to cheat customers with various tricks. One of the them is offering favourable exchange rates, but with fine print below such as if you exchange more than €1000. Another trick is putting a huge board with "we sell" exchange rates to the shop window, which makes an impression of good rates, whereas the actual rate for buying CZK is much more unfavourable.
When the customer finds this out at the counter and wants to cancel the transaction, the money-dealer refuses with an excuse "I have already printed the bill", implying it is too late. The police won't help you, typically referring you to the Czech National Bank, which supervises exchange offices, to file a complaint (which does not help you either).
Credit cards are widely accepted at all supermarkets, hotels and also in most tourist places. As in most countries you can find cards for ATM withdrawals with low or 0% fee and often for payment with Visa or MasterCard exchange rate only (which is same as rate of best exchange offices), there is no need to use exchange offices anymore in 21st century.
Czech law is weak and orders exchange offices only to display the actual rates, which you might find somewhere in the office in small print. Therefore, if you decide to use an exchange office always ask for the actual rate you will pay before making the transaction before releasing any money out of your hand.
If you find yourself in emergency, dial 158 for police, 155 for ambulance or 150 for firefighters. You can also dial 112 for a general emergency call.
If you need medication at weekends or evenings, you can go to Lékárna Palackého, (Tel +420 224 946 982) the 24-hour pharmacy on Palackého 5 in the new town or to Lékárna U Svaté Ludmily, (Tel +420 222 513 396) on Belgická 37 (Metro A station Náměstí Míru).
Local foreign language media
- The Prague Post (weekly newspaper, in English)
- Prague Daily Monitor (website in English)
- Radio Prague (multilingual radio station, website)
- Austria, Viktora Huga 10, CZ-15115 Prag 5, ☎ +420 257 09 05-11, fax: +420 257 31 60 45, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mo-Fr: 9:00 - 12:00.
- Brazil, Panská 5, 110 00 Prague 1, ☎ +420 224 321 910, fax: +420 224 312 901, e-mail: email@example.com. Mo-Fr 9:30 - 14:00.
- Finland, Hellichova 1, 11800 Prague 1, ☎ +420 2511 77251, fax: +420 2511 77241, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mo-Fr 9AM-noon.
Buses and trains are frequent and quite inexpensive and can get you to even the smallest village.
Practically every major European city can be reached by bus or train from Prague.
Regular buses are available to the following Czech towns, travel times in brackets:
- Brno (210 km; 02h05 in car)
- České Budějovice (152 km; 02h14 in car)
- Český Krumlov (179 km; 02h40 in car)
- Frýdek Místek (373 km; 03h37 in car)
- Hradec Králové (117 km; 01h28 in car)
- Jihlava (132 km; 01h25 in car)
- Karlovy Vary (127 km; 01h55 in car)
- Kroměříž (272 km; 02h34 in car)
- Liberec (112 km; 01h20 in car)
- Nový Jičín (346 km; 03h12 in car)
- Olomouc (284 km; 02h43 in car) — 284 km from Prague, but with a good train connection, former capital of Moravia, beautiful old city, famous medieval astronomical clock.
- Ostrava (377 km; 03h31 in car)
- Písek (107 km; 01h35 in car) — Beautiful South Bohemian town with the country's oldest bridge
- Pilsen (94 km; 01h18 in car) — Home of the world-famous Pilsener brewery
- Uherské Hradiště (283 km; 03h01 in car)
- Zlín (301 km; 03h08 in car)
For just a small selection of further places off the beaten path:
- Kutná Hora (84 km; 01h24 in car) — A once prosperous silver mining town in the 14th and 15th centuries with the fantastic Saint Barbara church, and the Sedlec Ossuary located in the suburbs, decorated with the remains of 40,000 human skeletons who were largely plague victims.
- Novosedly na Moravě (248 km; 02h30 in car) — Take a horseback trip through the vineyards of Moravia
- Vyšší Brod (205 km; 02h59 in car) — Three day canoe trip from the Sumava mountains through Český Krumlov
- Bohemian-Moravian Highlands (155 km; 02h04 in car) — Great mountain area for hiking, located halfway between Prague and Brno
- Beroun (36 km; 00h42 in car) — Small city located on the way to Plzeň, follow the Beroun river north to some beautiful villages
- Karlštejn castle and the holy cave monastery (47 km; 00h54 in car) — Hiking trip to the famous castle as well as an off the beaten track monastery
- Konopiště (50 km; 00h44 in car) — Archduke Franz Ferdinand's Castle located 40 km south of Prague
- Český Ráj (89 km; 01h09 in car) — Hike through forests and valleys filled with giant sandstone columns and cliffs in this park near Jičín.
- Orlík (85 km; 01h14 in car) — Orlík castle about 70 km from Prague. Near the Orlík dam and Zvíkov castle.