Living in Prague ?
Transportation and Driving in Prague
Public Transportation in Prague
The city’s fastest and most popular means of transportation is the Prague metro. Its three lines — green, yellow, and red — serve a total of 57 stations. Trains run in intervals of two or three minutes during peak hours and four to ten minutes in the off hours. Keep in mind that the metro runs from five in the morning to midnight every day.
A familiar sight in Prague is the red-and-white tramvaj rumbling through the city’s narrow lanes. Prague has more than 900 of these tram cars, covering every district of the city. Other means of public transportation in Prague include buses and the funicular to Petřín Hill, a popular recreation spot.
There is a common ticketing system for all means of public transportation around the city, including the Petřín Hill funicular. The fares vary depending on the length of the ticket’s validity, the age of the passenger, and whether the ticket was bought from the driver or the ticket dispenser. A basic single ticket valid for 90 minutes is 32 CZK for adults. A monthly pass cost 550 CZK for adults.
Taxis with (Not So) Special Rates for Foreigners
Prague’s taxi drivers do not have the best of reputations. There are regular complaints, coming especially from tourists and other foreigners, of having been charged way more than the usual rate. Recently, the situation has been improving, partly due to the city’s efforts to enforce stricter rules for drivers.
Nevertheless, it is always better to order a taxi over the phone rather than simply hailing one on the street. The dispatching offices will give you the estimated fare in advance. The good news is that regular taxi fares are still way below what you would be paying in other capital cities. On top of this, thanks to the city’s extensive and inexpensive public transportation system, you shouldn't find yourself in need of a taxi too often anyway.
Traversing the Narrow, Cobbled Streets of Prague
Driving your own car in Prague is, of course, also an option for expats. Non-EU nationals with a long-term visa or permanent resident status need to check whether they have to exchange their foreign driver’s license for a Czech one upon arrival. Should you need it, you can apply for a Czech driver’s license at Prague’s City Hall. The standard fee is 50 CZK, but an expedited process will cost you around 500 CZK.
International driver’s licenses are also accepted, but only in combination with a national driver’s license. Licenses issued in other EU countries or the EFTA member states are valid in the Czech Republic. Expats from countries bound by the following treaties can use their national license to drive in Prague:
- Agreement on Road Transportation signed in Geneva on September 19, 1949
- Agreement on Road Traffic signed in Vienna on November 8, 1968
The USA, for example, is not a contracting party to both treaties. Check to see if your country has ratified both treaties by browsing the UN Treaty Collection. There is good news for foreign drivers: though busy, Prague does not have as many heavy traffic and chronic congestion problems as a lot of other cities. However, Prague has its very own obstacles for drivers: cobblestones, extremely narrow streets, and trams, which always have the right of way.
The country’s highways are toll roads. Drivers wishing to use them have to purchase a sticker, which they can stick to their windshield. These dálniční známky can be purchased at border crossings, gas stations, and some post offices.
Getting There and Back Again
Prague’s Václav Havel Airport is located a mere ten kilometers west of the city center. Václav Havel is the busiest airport in Central Europe. It is served by over 50 international airlines and there are daily connections to major European destinations.
The city is also the hub of the Czech railway system. From Prague’s main station, hlavní nádraží, there are regular connections to all parts of the Czech Republic as well as to Poland, Slovakia, Germany, and Austria.
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