PRAGUE - GETTING AROUND
Prague is a great walking city and we recommend that you wear comfortable shoes and hit the cobblestones. The main sightseeing areas of Prague are separated by the Vltava River. On the left bank there is the Prague Castle area and Lesser Town. The right bank is home to the Old Town, the Jewish Quarter and the New Town. Spanning the Vltava River and connecting the Old Town and Lesser Town is the beautiful Charles Bridge.By Metro
The Prague Metro (operated by the Prague Public Transport Company, referred to in Czech as the Dopravní podnik hlavního města Prahy, or DPP for short, www.dpp.cz/en) is efficient, clean and easy to use. Its three lines consist of about 65 km of tracks, running mostly underground and 61 stations. It is safe and reliable, but pickpockets can be an issue, especially for tourists, so pay close attention to your bags, wallets and purses on the platforms and in crowded Metro cars.
The three lines of the Prague Metro currently are: Line A (Green) runs east to west from Depo Hostivar to Nemocnice Motol and has 17 stations. Line A should eventually run all the way to the Prague Airport, which is currently serviced only by bus. Line B (Yellow) runs east to west from Cerný most to Zlicín and has 24 stations. Line C (Red) runs north to south from Letnany to Háje and has 20 stations.
There are three transfer stations in the city center where two subway lines intersect: Mùstek (lower end of Wenceslas Square) is where lines A and B intersect. Muzeum (upper end of Wenceslas Square) is where lines A and C intersect. Florenc (main bus station) is where lines B and C intersect. These are transfer points from one line to another. Each transfer route is clearly marked and takes 3-5 minutes walking time.
Trains run from around 5:00am until midnight. Night trams and buses must be used when the metro is closed. Trains arrive in 1-3 minute intervals during the peak hours of the morning and afternoon commute and in 4-10 minute intervals in the off hours. The time that has elapsed from the moment when the previous train left the station can be seen on the clock at the head of the tracks. All stations are equipped with escalators and about two thirds of all metro stations allow access for the disabled.
By Tram and Bus
With 142 km of tracks, trams (tramvaj) cover a large area of Prague and ridership is clocked at just under one million each day. Daytime trams run from 4:45am until 1:00am in 8 - 10 minute intervals (8 - 15 minutes on weekends). Night trams (numbers 51 - 58) run from midnight until the 5 o`clock hour, in 40 minute intervals.
Tram 22 follows one of Prague`s most scenic routes, passing by the National Theater to Staromìstská and Malostranská metro stations, and continuing up to the Belveder, Prague Castle and Pohorelec, with some stunning views along the way. The Nostalgic Tram no. 91 (nostalgická linka è. 91) is a historic tram that runs on weekends and holidays from April through mid-November. The tram leaves from Vozovna Stresovice every hour from noon until 5:30pm and continues through the city center. The ticket costs 35 CZK for adults and 20 CZK for children under 15.
Buses (autobusy) cover the outskirts of Prague and areas where trams or the metro do not run. Daytime buses run from 4:30am until midnight in 6-8 minute intervals in peak hours, 10-20 minute intervals in the off hours and 15-30 minute intervals on weekends. Night buses (numbers 501-513) run from around midnight until 4:30 am at 30-60 minute intervals.
Getting around Prague by public transportation is so easy and convenient that you may never need to use a taxi. Taking a taxi is a good idea only when you are traveling with a lot of luggage, it is freezing cold, you need to get to a distant part of Prague, or you need to travel at night when the subway isn`t running and the trams and buses run less frequently.
Unfortunately, taxi drivers in Prague have a reputation for overcharging and dishonesty. But if you follow a few simple rules you shouldn`t have a problem. First, don`t get into a taxi that is parked in front of the train station or at a tourist site. These are often waiting to prey upon tourists and are known to charge very high rates. If you need to catch a taxi on the street, make sure it is a registered taxi. The yellow roof lamp must be permanently installed and must say `TAXI` in black letters on both sides. The driver`s name, license number and rates should be printed on both front doors.
Try to find out how much your ride should cost BEFORE getting in the car. You can even pay in advance if the amount sounds reasonable. If you`re ordering a taxi by phone, which is your best bet, you can get a price estimate or even the exact fare from the dispatcher. Once in the car, make sure that the rate on the taximeter corresponds to the price list posted in the car. If it doesn`t, bring it to the driver`s attention or have him stop the car, so you can get off. The driver should offer a printed receipt. If he doesn`t, you have the right to request one or refuse to pay the fare. If in doubt, order a taxi by phone from one of these reliable and courteous taxi companies: AAA Radiotaxi (tel. 14 0 14 or 222 333 222), City Taxi (tel. 257 257 257), Profi Taxi (tel. 261 314 151), Halotaxi (tel. 244 114 411) or Sedop (tel. 281 000 040).
The funicular to the top of Petrín Hill starts at the Újezd tram stop (trams 12, 20, 22) in Malá Strana and runs daily from 9am to 11:30pm (11:20pm from November to March) in 10-15 minute intervals. To take the funicular, use the same public transport ticket as you would on trams or the metro.
Prague has a growing number of specially marked bike lanes, including a long and popular run that follows the Vltava River south of the center from the National Theater and another that starts around the Prague Zoo and follows the Vltava northward toward Germany. The city`s ubiquitous cobblestones make mountain bikes (with fat tires) the natural choice. Two companies in central Prague specialize in rentals: Praha Bike, Dlouhá 708/24, Prague 1 (tel. 732-388-880) and City Bike, Králodvorská 667/5, Prague 1 (tel. 776-180-284).By Boat
Seeing Prague from the Vltava River as dusk descends is a truly unique experience. The historical center with its famous monuments presents itself from a different perspective, surrounded by reflections on the water. On the longer cruises, you will go by several islands on the Vltava and see a part of the embankment that you would not normally visit. There are evening cruises that include dinner, drinks and live music. Please ask during the booking process if you can book a sightseeing tour. If you want to book said tour on your own, some reputable companies include Prague Boats (www.prague-boats.cz) and Prague Venice (www.prague-venice.cz).By Car
Driving in Prague isn`t worth the money or effort. The roads are crowded and the high number of one way streets can be incredibly frustrating. What`s more, parking in the center is often restricted and available only to residents with prepaid parking stickers and the price of gas (benzín) costs much more than you`re accustomed to paying. All in all, you`ll find the ease and efficiency of public transportation to good to pass up. On the other hand, if you are planning on taking any day trips or touring the countryside then we suggest you pick up your rental car as you depart the city to avoid excessive rental/parking expenses. Alternatively, you may consider renting the car in a town where you will be visiting and then traveling there by train and picking up the car once you arrive.