With many different options for getting around in Prague, expats can rest assured that they will be able to get wherever they need to go in the city with relative ease. While expats will easily be able to navigate the city centre on foot, those wanting to venture further than Prague 1 can make use of the city’s world class public transport system.
Public Transport in Prague
When travelling around Prague, expats will have the metro, tram and buses at their disposal. All of these networks are affordable and efficient and will get expats where they need to go in no time.
The metro, tram and bus systems are integrated, and expats will therefore be able to use the same ticket for any of these networks, as well as for transfers between them. The tickets can also be used on boats and the funicular up to Petrin Hill. Tickets are extremely affordable and can be purchased from vending machines at metro, bus and tram stops, as well as in some shops and information centres. They will need to be validated in a machine at the stop or station before boarding. While some buses and trams do sell tickets on board, not all of them do, and choosing not to pre-purchase and validate a ticket is therefore a risk. There is also a top-up card, called Litacka, which is a good option for those who plan on staying in the city for a while.
The metro is the fastest way to get around the city and will have expats where they need to go in a matter of minutes. It operates every day between midnight and 5am and runs every two to 10 minutes, depending on the time of day. The metro has three lines, A (green), B (yellow) and C (red), and travels around the city centre as well as to the suburbs in the outlying districts.
The Prague tram network has 24 lines that run throughout the entire city. While the trams are a great way to get around Prague, expats will also have the added benefit of being able to see the beautiful city sights while on their journey. The regular tram schedule begins at 4:30am and runs until midnight, when the night schedule takes over. Night trams run infrequently, usually only once per hour, and only on select lines.
Buses service the outlying districts and the neighbourhoods in between the centre and these districts. Although the bus network is generally reliable, it is slower than the tram and metro and whether the bus arrives on time is dependent on the traffic. That said, they are a useful means of transport for those living further afield as they connect to nearby metro stations, from where people can transfer to the metro network, provided their ticket is still valid. The bus service also runs regularly between 4:30am and midnight, after which the night service takes over. Night buses only take particular routes and come around once an hour.
Taxis in Prague
Taxis are the most expensive mode of transport in the city but can be a quick way to get around outside of rush hour or at night when the tram and bus schedules decrease to particular routes. Although this has improved in recent years, expats should be wary of taxi drivers trying to rip them off. One way to avoid this is by calling a taxi company to order a taxi, as opposed to hailing one off the street. Expats should always make sure the taxi driver turns on the meter at the start of the ride and that they receive a receipt once they’ve reached their destination. A few reputable companies are AAA Radiotaxi, ProfiTaxi and SEDOP.
Uber is also available in Prague and is often cheaper than the local taxi companies. Uber is also helpful to avoid translation problems.
Driving in Prague
With many different transport options available, and at a good price, owning a car in Prague is more hassle than it’s worth. While it may be useful to have a car for day and weekend trips out of the city, it's quite unnecessary in Prague itself. Nightmarish traffic during rush hours, an extreme parking shortage and a city centre populated with one-way streets are just three of the reasons to ditch the car and use public transport to get around Prague.
Those who do wish to drive in Prague, however, should keep in mind that their foreign licence may not be valid in Prague for longer than two months, after which they’ll need an International Driving Permit or a Czech licence. Expats should watch out for pedestrians on the streets as they always have the right of way, no matter if the traffic light is green. All car lights must be on while driving and expats must keep an officially recognised first aid kit in their car at all times.
Cycling in Prague
Although cycling is not a popular mode of transport among the locals, expats will find that there are cycling lanes incorporated into many of the sidewalks in the city and they are also able to cycle in most of the pedestrian zones in the centre. A deterrent for the locals is the hilly nature of the city, as well as the affordability of Prague public transport. That said, the number of cyclists is rising. Expats are able to take their bikes on a few of the transport networks, such as the metros and buses, but there are strict rules about where on the vehicle the bikes are allowed, as well as when.
Walking in Prague
Walking is one of the preferred ways to get around the city centre, for locals and expats alike. Weather and time permitting, expats should invest in a pair of sturdy shoes, as the cobbles can cause feet to ache after a while. There is no better way to see the sights and take in some fresh air than on foot.