Transport around Prague
Public transport is by far the most efficient way to get around Prague, or to give your weary feet a break after walking around its maze of cobbled streets. The network of metro, tram and bus lines, operated by the Prague Public Transport company (DPP), makes it easy to travel between most points in the city in under half an hour. The network covers a wide swathe of the most popular areas as well as connecting to the ring of residential districts beyond the main drags.
Travelling by public transit in Prague is also a great way to see a bit of the city’s unique history, be it metro stations that used to function as nuclear-fallout shelters or bell-ringing trams that provide views of the some of the city’s best sights.
The DPP’s website, available in English (Dpp.cz/en
), provides maps and up-to-date info about fares and scheduling changes. The website Idos.cz, which also has an English version, allows you to type in a start point and destination and will give you the best public-transit options. Likewise, the Android app Pubtran (Czech Public Transit) is downloadable for free on Google Play and performs the same searches.
To travel by metro, tram or bus, you will need a paper ticket, a time-specific pass or a refillable Opencard. Paper tickets are available from the yellow machines located in the vestibules of all metro stations and several (but not all) tram and bus stops. They can also be purchased at newsagents (called tabák
s) around town. There are two increments: for a direct journey of under 30 minutes with no transfers, a 24 Kč ticket is needed; for 90 minutes of travel, including unlimited transfers, a 32 Kč is needed. A daily pass costs 110 Kč and is available from the ticket sellers inside the metro station, while the longer-term Opencard, for which you have to fill out a form and submit photo ID, is available through the website Opencard.praha.eu.
Tickets for 30 minutes or 90 minutes are also available by texting ‘Dpt 24’ or ‘Dpt 32’ to the number 90206, which responds with a virtual ticket. Paper tickets must be validated after purchase using the yellow boxes at the metro entrance and on trams and buses. You should be aware that tram and bus drivers cannot sell or validate tickets.
Because there is no turnstile system, ticket inspectors are common, and those caught travelling without a ticket face a fine of 800 Kč payable on the spot.
Reduced tickets are available from all the same sources for children, seniors and students. If you’re carrying a large piece of luggage or travelling with a dog, an extra ticket of 16 Kč is necessary.
The same ticketing system applies for the funicular that runs from Újezd up to Petřín Hill.
Prague’s metro system comprises three lines, coded by both colour and letters. A fourth line, as well as additional stops on existing lines, are under construction. The green (or A) line is the shortest and runs northwest to northeast, and includes the stops for Old Town (Staroměstská), Lesser Town (Malostranská) and New Town (Můstek and Muzeum), as well as the end station Dejvická, which connects to the No. 119 bus to the airport. The yellow (or B) line is the longest, while the red (or C) line is the newest, running north to south, roughly.
The metro runs about every five minutes between 05:00 and midnight, with fewer trains on Sundays and public holidays. About half of the system’s stations are handicap-accessible, including most of the stops on the red line.
The dense network of trams is a hallmark of Prague, as the traditionally red, electric-run cars crisscross most of the city. While the tram and bus schedules can be difficult to decipher, they helpfully say which stops are along each route and the travel time. Many of the busiest tram stops now have electronic boards saying which trams are arriving next.
Trams run throughout the day and night, with a more limited but regular service of night trams traversing the most popular routes between midnight and 05:00.
Buses are primarily useful for travelling to suburban neighbourhoods not otherwise serviced by tram or metro, although there are plenty of connecting buses between routes.
By far the most scenic and fun way to travel, there are several river ferries that run from fixed points across the Vltava. These provide views of the Dancing House and Prague Castle, among other highlights. For example, there is one that goes between Dětský ostrov (Children’s Island) to the National Theatre, making stops at Slavonic Island and Shooting Island. More info is available on the city’s portal, Praha.eu.
Prague taxis in general don’t have a great reputation, so it’s best to call ahead to a trusted company, such as AAA Radiotaxi (Aaataxi.cz) or City Taxi (Citytaxi.cz). Both companies offer standard, well-marked rates (of about 26 Kč per kilometre), the possibility to order by text message, and English-speaking dispatchers and drivers.