After a long flight, you’ve finally arrived in the enchanting city of Prague. Before you left home, you booked a great room, chose some amazing sites to visit and planned out a basic itinerary. But, now that you’re here… how do you get to those sites? How do you get to your room? How do you even get out of the airport?
Figuring out public transportation in a new country can be a little daunting, especially if you don’t speak the language. Fortunately, Prague has one of the easiest transportation systems to navigate in the world. With a little pre-planning, you’ll be able to enjoy the magic of the city without feeling burdened by transportation hassles.
Prague has a centralized transportation system. That means that one ticket will get you on to trains, buses, and those quintessentially European trams. You can buy a ticket at any metro station and most tram stations, or, if your phone is equipped to send and receive local messages, you can use Prague’s local Sejf app. But, wherever you purchase your ticket, make sure to get it validated as soon as possible or you may find yourself saddled with a hefty fine. Validator boxes can be found in metro stations by the escalators or stairs and at the entrances to trams and busses.
Once you’ve got your stamped ticket in hand, the city is yours to explore! If you want to get to tourist attractions quickly, the Metro (subway) may be your best bet. Consisting of three lines (the A, B, and C, or green, yellow, and red, as they’re often referred to), the Metro will get you exactly where you want to go in as little time as possible. Trains run from 5 am – 12 midnight every 2-4 minutes during peak hours and every 4-10 minutes during off-peak hours and weekends. Easy-to-read maps are displayed on every platform and car, and, if you need help reading them, most city dwellers speak at least enough English to assist you.
For a more scenic ride, come above ground and catch a tram. Prague has one of the oldest tram networks in the world. While the original trams were pulled by horses, today’s trams zip along electric wires throughout the city. Trams arrive every 8 minutes during peak times and every 10-15 minutes during off-peak hours and weekends. Another benefit to trams is that they keep buzzing along well after the Metro has closed at midnight.
While trams and the Metro are ideal ways to travel to main attractions in Prague, more adventurous travelers may want to go off-the-beaten-path. Buses are the best way to travel to lesser-known locations. They run in 6-8 minute intervals during peak hours and 10-20 minute intervals during off-hours and each stop has a clear display of times and destinations.
Buses are also the most affordable way to get you out of the airport and into the city to start your adventures. There are a number of buses that run from the airport to the center of town. Most travelers find Bus No 119 to be the best option as it travels to the northernmost end of the Metro line, making frequent stops along the way. There is also an Airport Express which delivers you directly to Hiavni Nadrazi, Prague’s main train station.
But, the truth is, after a long flight, all those options may seem a little overwhelming. An important part of traveling is to use your energy and resources wisely. Your arrival day may be the best time to splurge on one of the many taxis waiting outside. A taxi will get you out of the airport and straight to your room where you can rest up for all the travel adventures ahead.
Whatever mode of travel you choose, make sure to remember your travel manners. Czechs are known for being polite while commuting and will expect you to act similarly. Offer your seat to elderly people and pregnant women, don’t be loud or disruptive, and if you have luggage, head to the back. If you are courteous and respectful, you should find the locals more than happy to help you navigate your travels.
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