Most readers of The Prague Review live in the Czech Republic and have probably figured things out already. For those planning to visit, or have just arrived, we hope this article will help.
Prague is a city for almost everyone. The historic centre is on the UNESCO list of World heritage sites, but there are also plenty of restaurants, bars and clubs. Walk a few kilometres from the centre and you’re surrounded by nature.
Arriving by Plane
Flights land at the modern Václav Havel Airport – named after the president who was elected in 1989 after the fall of communism.
The taxis that wait outside the two terminals are a little more expensive than one that you book in advance, but they’re convenient when you have a lot of luggage. Expect to pay 800 Czech crowns (32 Euros or US$33) for a ride to the centre. If you’re travelling light, purchase a transport ticket for 40 Kč and hop on the 119 bus to metro Nádraží Veleslavín, then take the metro (in the direction of Depo Hostivař) to one of the stops in the centre, such as Můstek.
You can buy your 40 Kč ticket from the information centres in each airport terminal, or from coin-operated machines by the bus stop. Stamp your ticket in the machine when you board and you have 90 minutes journey time included – more than enough to get you to your central Prague destination. Avoid the Airport Express bus as that requires a separate ticket and is slower than the 119 bus and metro combination.
A good option is to download the Lítačka app produced by the Prague transport authority https://app.pidlitacka.cz/ – you can purchase single tickets, or tickets that are valid for 24 to 72 hours. You can download the app before you arrive and even schedule a time when you want your ticket to start.
Arriving by Train
Most intercity trains arrive at Praha hlavní nádraží (main station). It’s possible to walk into the centre from the station, or there is a metro station. Don’t take a taxi from the taxi rank as these are notorious for ripping off tourists.
You can purchase a 40 Kč ticket metro ticket from coin-operated machines at the station, or download the Lítačka app described above.
Travelling around the city
The tram and metro system are reliable, extensive and relatively inexpensive. However, the centre is small and very walkable. Take at least one tram ride, such a number 22 from Národní divadlo (National Theatre) up to Pražský hrad (Prague Castle) and walk back down the hill. Keep your valuables close as the 22 is also known as the pick-pocket tram due to the popularity with tourists.
If you decide to use a taxi, never take one that is sitting on the street, especially from outside Prague’s main station (Hlavní nádraží) or around the Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí). Instead, book using an app such as Uber.
The local currency is the Czech Koruna Kč. Almost everywhere accepts credit cards. If you have to use an ATM machine, avoid those marked Euronet, as they will offer poor exchange rates, plus charge for withdrawals. There are very few honest exchange offices and so best to avoid them all.
Never change money in the street. Criminals will give you expired Belarusian Roubles in exchange for your legitimate currency.
Restaurants and Bars
Czech beers are some of the best in the world. Take a seat, put a coaster in front of you and someone will bring you a beer. Look for the Lokál chain of pubs for local beer prices and decent pub food https://lokal.ambi.cz/en/signpost/ . If you’re looking for a luxurious cocktail bar, visit Bar & Books Týnská, just five minutes from the Old Town Square. https://www.barandbooks.cz/tynska/
You’ll find every type of world cuisine in Prague and venues ranging from fine-dining to good local food. Here are a couple of favourites:
- Great value and quality local food: U Dobré Myšlenky. U Dobré Myšlenky is a great Czech restaurant, just a short walk from the Výtoň or Palackého náměstí tram stops. http://www.dobramyslenka.cz/ – our review here.
- A hidden gem Italian: Cicala. Aldo Cicala founded this excellent Italian trattoria back in 1997. You’ll still find Aldo at the restaurant, supported by an array of family members, some of whom weren’t even born when the place opened. http://www.trattoria.cz/en/ – our review here.
- Fine dining in the centre: V Zátiší. V Zátiší does fine dining well and for less than more expensive cities such as London and Paris. Just a short walk from the Old Town Square or Charles Bridge. https://www.vzatisi.cz/en/ and don’t forget to join their loyalty club to receive 10% discount https://www.zatisigroup.cz/en/zatisi-club-en – our review here.
Try some Czech
When visiting any country with a different language, it’s always a good idea to learn hello, goodbye, please and thank you. Almost everyone working in the Prague hospitality industry can speak English, but they’ll appreciate just one word of Czech.
Hello (Good day) = Dobrý den (do-bree den)
Goodbye = Na Shledanou (nas-khledanow)
Please (also you’re welcome) = Prosím (pro-seem)
Thank you = Děkuji (dye-ku-yi)
Lastly, don’t refer to the country by its official name (Czechia) as most Czechs still use the more popular ‘Czech Republic’ or ‘Česká republika’.