Prague (Praha), is the capital of Czechia or as it is more commonly known outside Europe, the Czech Republic. It is renowned as the city of 100 spires and once you visit you will know why. There has been a settlement in the region of Prague since the Paleolithic age, it was the historic capital of Bohemia and is currently one of Central Europe’s most visited destinations.
Prague is easily accessible by plane, train, bus, car and boat.
All of the major airlines and many of the European based budget airlines have regular flights to the city.
We recommend The Man in Seat 61 travel blog for researching train trips and just follow the links from the page to book tickets.
GoEuro is a great option for finding bus fares around Europe. We have found that going direct to the company might result in cheaper fares.
Check for routes and times on GoEuro and if you are travelling on a budget check in with the company website too.
There are many river boat cruise companies that offer services to and from Prague, The Cruiseweb site is a good place to start your research.
Czechia is a member of the European Union and the Schengen Area, meaning that many tourists will not require a visa to visit.
If you are a citizen of a non-EU country you will need to be aware of EU and Schengen Area tourist visa restrictions. Essentially those from Schengen member states are able to travel with in the Area for up to 90 days in any 180 days. You can read more about the Schengen area visa requirements here. It is essential to be aware of these requirements BEFORE you plan your travel.
If you do require a visa, all the details how to apply for a visa, can be found here.
Districts of Prague
Before heading off to explore, we recommend you familiarise yourself with the districts of Prague. They have a fascinating street numbering system, we found wiki travel the best way to understand the concurrent numbering systems.
Essentially you need to know:
- Buildings in big cities in Czech Republic have two numbers, one blue and one red.
- Most people refer to the Blue Number when giving an address
- Historically, the Blue numbers started from the end of the street closest to the river
The historic Praha 1 and 2 are best discovered by wandering. Make your way down small side streets, with no set direction and as much time as you can give it, on your way to your chosen destination.
The architecture, sculpture and art in the streets of Prague are best seen by walking and the river side walk is worth doing daily, if you are able. We loved both sides of the river in the historic districts and spent much of our week there lost-ish on the way to somewhere.
The walking Food Tour is an absolute must to discover new and traditional restaurants, bars, cafes, arcades and monuments. You can read about our tour and get links to the places we visited in our blog post. And best of all you are walking off at least a few of those calories you will consume and walking costs you nothing.
The next time we are in Prague we will be seeing more of David Cerny’s creations on a free walking tour designed by PragueGo.
The Crawling Babies below are located in Kampa Park-which is a must do walk along the river to the Kafka Museum where you can more of Cerny’s work. You can find details in our Traveller’s Tale.
We think Baia from Red Fedora Diary, has the published the perfect one day walking tour. It is for all levels of fitness, to see the sights of Prague in a day. We would break this up into a couple of days, adding time for wandering and getting “lost”.
Prague has an excellent, well connected and safe public transport system made up of buses, trams, underground railway, ferries along the river and the Petrin Hill funicular.
It is known as Prague Integrated transport (PID). Be sure to download the app by clicking on the link.
It is useful to note that in order to prevent noise and air pollution public buses will not enter historic areas of the city e.g. Old Town, New Town, Lower Town. You can transfer to a quieter electric alternative in most of these areas.
From the airport to the city there are many buses that connect with the metro system, you can be in the city within 45 minutes. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket centre in the arrivals hall or at the machine near the bus stop.
The Prague Public Transport Co have a trip planner and it is reasonably easy to use. We prefer to use offline maps, Here WeGo or Googlemaps to find public transport, which nicely shows you how far you have to walk.
In March 2017 Tram Number 23 commenced operation in the historic centre of Prague, it is serviced by vintage trams and perfect for getting around. It runs from 0830hrs until 1900hrs, daily all year round.
The taxi driver’s in Prague appear to have a poor reputation, however we have not experienced this.
Again we recommend taking a look at wiki travel . It has some very good advice about reputable companies and some of the scams that a small mafia appear to be running.
There really is no need to use a taxi in Prague, the public transport is excellent.
Uber is not legal in the Czech Republic but operates as do Liftago, however they may be more expensive during peak times.
Prague has 120km of bike paths and tracks. There are many bike rental companies and tours available. The Rekola bike sharing system looks great but we have not used the system.
There are some small ferries included in the public transport tariff system and of course there are many companies offering tours on the Vltava River.
You can now buy one SIM card in the European Union and not attract roaming fees as you travel throughout the EU economic zone, which is a bonus if you are planning to travel in multiple countries.
For a short term visit there are multiple companies offering pre paid options for purchase as the airport.
We have used Vodafone and it’s affiliates across Europe.
Prague has an accomodation style for every budget from couchsurfing to 5 star hotels.
We used AirBnb and for a very reasonable price stayed in a comfy stylish apartment in a great location, you can find the link in our Traveller’s Tale.
If you are a first time user of AirBnb, just click this link for a discount code.
We loved the food and the beer in Prague, some of the best tips for places to eat and drink came from our AirBnb host, we make sure to ask about places in the neighbourhood.
The Czech Republic has a long history of brewing and food culture, U Pinkasu has been producing great quality food and Pilsner since 1843. The menu caters is a little meat heavy but some of the recipes have been in use since they opened and for comfort food during winter you couldn’t go past it. Try the Pig’s Knee between two with a side dish. Find your local pub, there will be one within a block or two of you and have the local menu for lunch. Our local in 2017 was Restaurace U Svateho Filipa A Jakuba, the people were friendly, the beer was great and the food was excellent, traditional food and clearly pretty popular for lunch and dinner. Try the garlic soup.
The Café Lounge is located right near the famous and often busy Cafe Savoy, in Mala Strana. We had a very enjoyable and quite long brunch here, a great atmosphere to enjoy great food and coffee while you plan your day.
As we mentioned previously in this guide, The Eat with Locals Food Tour in Prague is, in our opinion, a must do if you are interested in finding out more about the city and it’s food culture. Our blog post contains a list of the food places we visited and we will return to many of them in future. Why don’t you click on the links, choose a couple and visit yourself. The steak tartare at Naše Maso is the best we have had.
Self catering is easy in Prague, most of the supermarkets are located within local neighbourhood and there are speciality Delis’s, butchers and grocers. The speciality stores a quite a bit more expensive than the supermarkets but worth it for excellent cheese, meat products and wines. Groceries are relatively cheap for Australian’s travelling to Prague. We use the Expatistan cost of living comparison site to help us set our budget and assess our cost of living in cities across the world. During warm weather there are plenty of great spots to take your own meal and enjoy a picnic. There are drinking in public places laws in Prague but if you are enjoying a quiet wine with your picnic you are unlikely to be troubled by the Police. They will however to take a dim view of loud drunken behaviour.
Havel’s Market (Havelske trziste) is located in the city centre and a whilst it is a bit touristy, you can pick up yummy pastries, warm and spicy apple cider in winter or fruit and vegetables while you are on your way home from sight seeing.
We fell in love with the Urquell Pilsner during our stay in Prague, as they tell it they invented and perfected Pilsner.
Slivovitz is the traditional plum brandy of the Czech Republic, it is very warming in winter. Don’t forget to say na zdrohvi.
JJ Murphy’s Irish Pub is the perfect place to pop in for a pint on your way down the hill from Prague Castle.
Finding a “local” pub for a cheap meal and quality beer is easy, our local was just a half a block away. People were friendly, the atmosphere was casual and welcoming at Restaurace U Svateho Filipa A Jakuba.
We recommend the Red Pif wine bar for finding out more about Czech wines and to grab a bottle of very good red wine.
As in every city there are amazing small cafes doing a quiet trade in Prague, we have to recommend the cakes and coffee at Cafè Kafiko. The coffee was good but the cakes, just go and have a slice of the walnut cake.
Customs and Culture
The Prague Guide has a number of informative articles about the current social expectations, norms and customs in the Prague and the Czech republic. There are also tips for social etiquette such as tipping and using public transport.
The Czech Republic (Czechia) is a member state of the European Union but has not adopted the Euro, the accepted currency is the Czech Koruna (CZK). The currency symbol is Kč, it is commonly referred to as the Czech Crown.
The coins are in dominations from 1-50 and bank notes 100- 5000.
We recommend using the XE.com app on your smartphone for currency conversion.
There is no need to purchase currency prior to arriving in the country as ATM’s are widespread in the airport and train stations.
There are many money changing scams operating in Central Europe and you should NEVER exchange money on the street. We recommend you read the Wikitravel MONEY section, prior to travelling for the best tips on exchanging currency in the city.
Travel insurance is a must when you visit the Czech Republic. The Czech Tourism website health section advises that visitors with a European Health Insurance Card and those from other states should have travel insurance in place. Without travel insurance in place EHIC holders are entitled to “essential care” and may incur additional fees and charges.
Visitors from non EHIC eligible countries without travel insurance will be expected to pay in cash on the spot for care.
The hospital and health care system is highly rated within Europe, however for some visitors the aesthetics of the system can be challenging. Cath has some experience with hospitals in Prague and would agree with the author from A Basic Guide to Czech Healthcare for English Speakers about the aesthetics. For traveller’s from countries with newly built health infrastructure some of the buildings are a little run down but the staff and care are of an excellent standard.
Do ensure that you have a translation app if you require health care, it will save you and the staff some stress if you can communicate easily.
Czech is the offical language of Czechia and spoken by a majority of the population. English is widely spoken by young people and in bars, restaurants and cafes you can find English menus, however in smaller pubs or cafes you may not.
As always we try to learn a few phrases and Na Zdoroví, is a must. Find out why in A must do for Foodies in Prague.
Google Translate is our translation app of choice . Download the Czech files before you arrive.
Thank you- Děkuji
Cheers- Na zdoroví
In our humble opinions there are just too many great sights to see in Prague, every street is an architecture lover’s delight, there is history around every corner and it is a romantic fairytale city.
There are 2 blog posts we think you should check out before you visit Prague, as well as ours of course.
Red Fedora Diary-The Perfect One-day Walking Tour in Prague
I am a Foodie Traveller-The Diamond-Prague City Break Guide
On the list for our next visit
Prague is a city that invites another visit and exploring more of Chechia is certainly in our travel plans, we hope you find it the same. We are planning our next trip for late summer into autumn, as our last trip was in winter.
Here is our list for next visit, which we think will be in Summer or Autumn
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