With its fascinating history, grand Gothic and Baroque architecture and its laid-back bohemian attitude, the Czech capital offers plenty for a weekend break or even longer. It’s well-served by an extensive metro, tram and bus network, but there’s nothing quite like a traditional horse-drawn carriage ride through the Old Town, or a river cruise up the Vltava. For this and more, check out our guide to getting around Prague.
Getting to the city centre from Prague Airport
Vaclav Havel Airport is six miles from the city centre. The easiest way to reach the city hotels and attractions in the historic Old Town is by taxi or shuttle service. There are several companies which offer a shuttle (shared or private) between the airport and city centre, including CEDAZ, which has minibuses leaving every 30 minutes throughout the day from the Terminal 1 and 2 arrival halls. It costs around CZK 150 (£5) each way and you can buy tickets from the driver.
If you choose to pick up a cab straight from the airport, be aware that Prague taxi drivers have a reputation of overcharging tourists. Make sure you choose a reputable company, such as Fix Taxi, which offers one-way rides to or from the city at around CZK 650–700 (£20–£25). Book online or via the yellow taxi stand in arrivals hall of the airport terminal.
If you’re travelling on a budget, the cheapest way to reach the city centre is by combining bus and metro. From the airport, hop on a 119 bus, which runs from outside the airport terminal to Nádraží Veleslavín metro station for direct routes into Old Town.
Prague has an integrated ticket system for the metro, bus and tram network, so you can get around the city using one ticket.
Central Prague is compact and much of the Old Town is pedestrianised, including Charles Bridge, Prague Castle and Old Town Square, so the best (and often the only) way to see Prague’s medieval heart is on foot. The streets and narrow lanes of this part of the city are charmingly cobbled, so don’t forget to pack comfortable shoes. Most attractions and historic areas are well-signposted, but download a walking tour app for a variety of different routes and explore the city at your own pace.
Prague has an extensive and well-managed metro system run by the Prague Public Transport Authority (DPP). It has three lines, A, B and C, and is remarkably easy to navigate, even for first-time visitors. The service runs from 0500–2400 seven days a week. The main stations are Staroměstská for Old Town Square, Můstek, for Wenceslas Square, Muzeum for the National Museum, and Malostranská for Malá Strana.
Tickets and passes are sold from machines in metro stations and at some tram stops, as well as newspaper stands and tourist information offices, and they cover the metro, trams and buses. If you’re planning to travel a lot over a short stay, it’s worth buying a day pass. Note that you’ll need an extra ticket if you’re carrying a large suitcase or backpack.
When travelling on the metro, tram or bus, all passengers need to punch the ticket before travelling to validate it. In metro stations, most ticket-punching machines are found at the top of the escalators. On trams and buses, you can find them by the doors. Be warned, ticket inspectors are rife and will issue on the spot fines if caught riding with an validated ticket.
Once you’ve punched in, tickets are valid for 90 minutes whether you travel by bus, tram or metro or all three. There’s also a cheaper short-term ticket that’s valid for just 30 minutes.
Prague’s bus network is as extensive as the tram and metro, but it can be a little confusing for visitors. Check out the DPP website, which has a journey planner to make things a bit easier. If you’re there for just a short break, you’ll probably just get around on the metro, tram or on foot.
There’s also a choice of city tour buses, which offer a hop-on, hop-off service around the city and tick off iconic Prague sights including the Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square, Prague Castle and Charles Bridge.
After the metro, the second easiest way of travelling around Prague is by tram. Like the metro, it runs from 0500–2400 daily, and there’s a night service which runs less frequently.
The most useful trams for tourists are the Number 22, which runs between Prague Castle and Malá Strana and takes in the National Theatre, and the Number 9, which links the main train station, Žižkov, to Wenceslas Square and the National Theatre. Tickets can be bought at metro stations, some tram stops and tourist information offices, and can be used on the metro and bus too.
A popular way to see the city is from the beautiful Vltava river which winds through the centre. There’s a regular boat service from Kampa Dock or Rašínovo nábřeží to Prague Zoo. Alternatively, book a river cruise such as Prague Boat tours which departs from Piers 5 and 6 near the Charles University Faculty of Law building (nearest metro stop Staroměstská) which takes in Charles Bridge and Prague Castle. There are various cruise routes and packages, some with refreshments included, and you can even book a whole boat complete with captain if you really want to do it in style.
Alternative ways to explore the city
Prague is very hilly and traffic can be heavy outside of the pedestrianised areas of Old Town, so cycling can be a bit intimidating. However, cycle lanes are becoming more prolific in some areas and there are various bike hire and guided cycle tour companies, including Praha Bike, which also offers electric bike tours and rentals.
Horse and carriage
It might not be the quickest (or the cheapest) form of transport, but certainly the most romantic way to explore the Old Town is by horse-drawn carriage. The carriage rides have become an iconic sight in Prague and prices vary depending on the tour but can start from around CZK 250 (£9).
Alternatively, a Segway tour of the Old Town is becoming an increasingly popular way to see the city. There are several tour options on offer, including Segway tours. You can book a private or a group tour, one of which whizzes you around the city as the sun sets.
Car hire and taxis
Taxis in Prague are prolific and usually reasonably priced. Make sure you hail an official registered yellow taxi and check the meters. Alternatively, book a private taxi from a company such as AAA Taxis via the app or by phone. App-based car shares such as Uber are also available in Prague.