Prague has quite a neat public transport system consisting of metro, trams and buses. I have never had any difficulties navigating the city as everything is pretty clear. I spent more than a week in Prague and used all means of transportation available, so I came up with a useful guide to Prague public transport.
If you stay in the city center and do not plan any day trips, you can pretty much see everything on foot. Still, there are some places like Vysehrad or Petrin Hill that will require taking tram. I will expand on it below.
NB: I found a useful guide to Prague public transport in one of the metro stations. If you see it, take it. It comes in ten languages and has loads of info on metro, trams and buses. This is how it looks:
Now, let’s get to the point 🙂
Some of the links below may be affiliate links, meaning that I will get a small commission (it won’t cost you anything!) if you click and book tours or accommodation.
Prague public transport: metro system
I am used to the fact that in any big city with metro system the metro is the best means of transportation. My belief was shaken in Prague 🙂
You see, there are only three metro lines in Prague: A (green line), B (yellow line) and C (red line). While they run through the city center and down to Vysehrad, I did not find the metro system very convenient for everyday use, so I opted for trams.
I stayed in the historical center of Prague, right next to Charles Bridge and did not have to use transport to get to the main sights, but if you stay farther, you might find it useful. After all, trains are quicker as they do not get stuck in traffic jams.
Trains run from 5 AM till midnight. If you travel off peak times, expect that it might take up to 10 minutes till the next train. This info comes useful if you decide to take metro to the airport. During peak hours, trains run every 2-4 minutes.
What I like about Prague metro is that the system is clear, the trains are nice, and it takes to almost every bus and railway station in the city. And it is a quick way to get to the city center after getting off the airport bus.
You can download the map from here.
Things to know:
– Tickets must be validated at yellow boxes that are usually located at escalators. There is no way to validate tickets on board!
– Stations are announced, and usually there is an electronic display with the current and next stations names.
– There are ticket machines at every metro stop.
Prague public transport: tram system
In my humble opinion, trams are the most convenient means of transport in the city. They cover a bigger area than the metro and they run to pretty much every interesting spot of Prague.
Trams are comfortable and, considering that I never travelled during peak times, there was always a seat available 🙂
And the best thing? Trams run 24/7, but during the night period from 12:30 AM to 5 AM the waiting time is 20-30 minutes. Keep in mind, that at night you will not see the same tram numbers as during the daytime. At night trams with numbers from 91 to 99 run around the city. Download the map of night trams here.
Things to know:
– Tickets must be validated at yellow boxes on board.
– There is no way to buy tickets on board.
– Don’t expect to find ticket machines at every tram stop, so better have a spare ticket on you or go to the nearby metro station.
– I saw in one tram only – I think it was tram 18 – a ticket machine that allowed to buy tickets on board, but with a contactless card only. I guess it is not a usual thing.
Prague public transport: bus system
I always find bus systems confusing. Like, in every city there are so many bus routes that I do not even start to understand or remember anything 🙂 Just think of London 🙂
The bus system of Prague is quite extensive and covers the whole city. The bus network is much wider than the tram one, so buses will come really handy if you stay far from the city center.
I took the bus twice only in Prague: to get from the airport to a metro station and back to the airport.
Just like trams, buses operate at night. The route numbers are between 901-960 range. Night operation starts at 12:30 AM and lasts till 4:30 AM. The waiting time can be up to 1 hour.
What I liked about the buses, or, better to say, the airport bus, is that there is an electronic display with stops. It came really handy as I was not sure I would understand them announcing the stops.
Download the map of day and night buses here.
Things to know:
– Tickets must be validated at yellow boxes on board.
– Apparently, bus drivers sell tickets on board. They are more expensive but I don’t know the exact price.
– Don’t expect to find a ticket machine at every bus stop.
– Don’t forget to press the red STOP button at your stop 🙂
Where and how to buy and the cost
Luckily, in Prague there is a single ticket that can be used in any means of transport. I really appreciate this fact, considering that in my city we have different tickets for trolleybuses and buses. This is how the ticket looked in 2018:
The best place to buy tickets is at the ticket machines at metro stations. Pretty much every metro station is equipped with the machines. Just like I said before, not all tram and bus stops have ticket machines, so always have a spare ticket if you don’t want to get stranded. I somehow assumed that there should be ticket machines everywhere, and, to my surprise, when I came to Prague late after a day trip and had to take the tram back to my hostel, there was not one 🙂 Fortunately, I remembered that I could buy it at the metro and, luckily, there was one nearby 🙂
The ticket machines are usually of red or yellow color, and the majority accept coins only! There are some machines at the airport and the metro stations that accept cards, and I saw one at Malostranské náměstí tram stop. Not all ticket machines give change. The morale: have coins on you always 🙂
Other places to buy tickets are tourist information centers, news stands and tobacco shops.
How to buy: select the ticket in the menu, insert the coins and get your ticket 🙂 If you need more than 1 ticket, press the button as many times as many tickets you need. If you need a discounted ticket, press the button next to ‘Discounted’ on your right and then select the ticket.
There is a mobile app called PID Lítačka that allows buying tickets. Naturally, it means that you can buy them using bank cards. I have not used the app myself, so can’t really comment.
When it comes to the cost, there are two main types of tickets:
– The ticket that costs 32 CZK is valid on all means of transport for 90 minutes. It means that within 90 minutes after its validation you can use it again when you change, say, from bus to metro.
– The ticket that costs 24 CZK is valid on all means of transport for 30 minutes. You can use it in the same way as the ticket above.
– 1-day pass costs 110 CZK.
– 3-day pass costs 310 CZK (not available for sale in ticket machines. Look for it at tourist information centers, some train stations and metro stations like Museum or Můstek).
– Children 6-15 years old and people 60-70 years old get the above mentioned tickets for half the price (except the 3-day pass). Make sure you have some identification card if you are entitled to discounted prices.
– Children up to the age of 6 and people older than 70 do not pay.
How to get from Prague airport to the city center
Actually, this is very easy, easier than I imagined. And I am not talking about taxi. Actually, taxi is never my first choice, though I understand there are situations when the taxi is the only option. While I don’t have any info on taxis, I know that they have Uber in Prague, though I don’t know how safe it is and how honest drivers are. FIX TAXI and Taxi Praha are recommended by the airport’s website.
Here we are going to talk about public transport. The best way to find how to get to the city center is to check the website of the respective airport. The one in Prague is officially called Václav Havel Airport, and this is the link to public transport options.
My plane landed in Terminal 1. I had just a backpack and no desire to pay for taxi, so I chose to go by bus. I bought the ticket at the machine in the arrivals terminal – it is right at the exit – and went to the bus stop in front of the terminal. Make sure you are at the right stop: next to the one I needed there was a stop to take passengers to the other terminal. I took bus 119 to Nádraží Veleslavín (station terminus of the bus) and from there, using the same ticket, took metro line A to the city center. As I was staying in the city center, this was the most convenient way.
Bus 100 will take you to Zličín, the station terminus of the metro line B. Bus 191 can take you close to Petřiny station on the metro line A and Anděl station on line B. More info is here.
How to get to the landmarks of Prague
If you stay in the center of Prague, the tourist attractions are easily accessible on foot. Like Charles Bridge is very close to Klementinum, the Astronomical Clock and the Old Town Square. Prague Castle is about one kilometer away from Charles Bridge. Letna Park and Jewish Quarter are not far from the Old Town Square.
But there are some places that will take some time to get to on foot. Take Vysehrad, for example. It is 3 kilometers away from Charles Bridge. The best way to get there from the bridge is to take tram 17 or 18. I took tram 18 and got off at Ostrčilovo náměstí stop as it is closer to the castle.
To get to the famous Dancing House from Charles Bridge take tram 17 and get off at Jiráskovo náměstí stop.
Petrin Hill is a special case. The closest tram station is Újezd, where trams 12, 15, 20, 22 and 23 stop. When you get off the tram, go to your right in direction of U Lanové dráhy Street and next to the park you will see the entrance to the funicular. The funicular is a train that takes passengers up the hill. It has two stops along the way: Nebozizek and Petrin. You need to get off at Petrin stop if you intend to go to the top of the hill. Luckily for everyone, you can use your tram ticket on the funicular, so there is no need to buy one. Just make sure that it is valid. I bought the 90 minute valid ticket and came to Újezd by tram 12 and used that ticket for the funicular.
In any case, I have a piece of advice for everyone: use Google Maps to get directions. I always use it, it is pretty accurate in showing what public transport goes to a specific place. Or, even better, get yourself that guide on Prague public transport I mentioned above.
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