Prague City Guide - A Wandering Scribbler
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Prague City Guide

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Prague City Guide

map-praguePrague is the capital of the Czech Republic. It’s the largest city and also the most well known in the country.  It is full of history and many of the buildings remain as they were for centuries.  Remaining behind the Iron Curtain for most of the 20th century it remained untouched while many cities in Western Europe were destroyed during WWII.  

Transportation

By Air: Vaclav Havel Airpot (Formerly Prague Ruzyne): 20 km from city center.
Services most European cities and by many airlines.
Getting to and from Airport: The easiest way to and from the airport is a cab- 1.1.1 Radiocab taxi is recommended but it can be expensive so I suggest public transport.  Take bus 119 to the Dejvická Metro Station (24 minutes), bus 100 to the Zličin Metro Station (18 minutes), or bus 179 to the Nové Butovice Metro Station (45 minutes). At night bus 510 runs to the city center (40 minutes).  From the metro stations you can access the rest of the city easily.

By Bus: Prague is connected to most places in Europe by bus.  And though it is a slower and less comfortable way to travel I’ve found it extremely cost effective and used busses the most.
There are five bus stations in Prague. Florenc (Praha 8), Na Knižeci (Praha 5), Holešovice (Praha 7), Roztyly (Praha 4), and Černy Most (Praha 9).  All of the stations can be reached by metro or tram lines.  I traveled a lot when I lived in Prague and the station I used the most was Florenc.  It’s directly over the Florenc Metro station accessed by B and C lines.

By Train: Like I’ve said before, Prague is well connected in Europe.  Being basically in the center of everything tends to do that.  And by train it’s no different.  I’ve found that it’s easier and cheaper to go to the station to book tickets rather than online.
There are four important train stations: Hlvaní Nádraží (Main Railway Station) in Praha 2, Masarykovo Nádraží (Praha 1), Smíchovske Nádraží (Praha 5), and Praha Holešovice (Praha 7).  I’ve used the Main Railway Station (Hlavní Nádraží) and it’s easily accessed by metro and tram.

Public Transportationprague-metro-map

Metro: Metro is by far the easiest way around Prague.  There are three lines, A (Green), B (Yellow), and C (Red).  This is, by, far, the simplest metro I’ve ever used.  Signs are clearly marked and there are no confusing tunnels to walk through with a million different colors and names and options.  Trains run from 5 Am to midnight and are about 2-3 minutes apart.

Tram: Trams are a great way to get around Prague while also actually seeing the city. Metros are only so great to get around but they’re not fun for sightseeing.  Trams run from 4:30 AM to midnight and a separate night schedule runs the rest of the day.  Schedules are posted at every stop.

Bus: Busses are similar to trams in that they run from 4:30 AM to midnight (with busses 510 and 513 running at night) and also have give a good opportunity to see the city while moving around.  A schedule is posted at every stop.

Tickets for all three are the exact same.  They can be purchased in the metro stations from a machine or at a counter where available.  But I will advise that attendants I’ve seen don’t speak English very well, or don’t want to try to, so it’s best to know exactly what you want when going to the counter so you can say it in Czech or point it out on a sign.  There are single trip tickets that last 90 minutes after marking (about 24 Kč) and short term tickets 24 hours for 110 kč or 3 dye for 310 kč.

On trams and busses there are small machines that punches, or marks, your ticket for validity and there are small posts with the same machines just before going down the stairs to the metro.  But there usually aren’t attendants around to check.  When I lived there I had a long term ticket that I just kept in my wallet.  In 4 months of using the metro almost every day I was asked by attendants to see my ticket less than 10 times.  It is possible to skip buying a ticket but when caught without one it’s at least 800 kč, possibly more.

Major Sites

newtownprague.watermarkMonuments: 

  1. Prague Castle
  2. Charles Bridge
  3. Old Town Bridge Tower
  4. Old Town Hall
  5. The Astronomical Clock
  6. Old Jewish Cemetery
  7. Powder Tower
  8. St. Nicholas Church
  9. Petrín Tower
  10. Our Lady Before Tyn Church
  11. Vyšhrad

 

Museums:

  1. National Museum
  2. Jewish Museum of Prague
  3. Museum of Communism
  4. Mucha Museum
  5. Kafka Museum

Other

  1. The Globe Bookstore

Accommodation

Hostel

Masarykova Kolej- I stayed here when living in Prague.  It’s half a dorm for University students and half a hostel.  It’s pretty minimal but it does have a small “gym” with free weights and a bike, and a pretty good and cheap cafeteria open most of the day.  It’s also in the Dejvicka neighborhood so not in walking distance of the city center but public transport is cheap and really easy to use so the distance might be a nice change.

Goulash-recipeFood

Street Food
Anything around Wencelaslas Square or New Town.  The square stands are easy to spot and have numbered pictures.  The choices are basically sausages or fried food but they’re good for something quick.

For more on Czech Food Check out my Czech Food Guide.

 

What To Do

Most of the sites can be visited pretty quickly in Prague.  It’s a fairly compact city and even walking around is not difficult.  I suggest visiting Starometska (Old Town) and seeing the Astronomical Clock, Tyn Church and walk through the winding streets to New Town and Wenceslas Square.  There is plenty of touristy shops around New Town but to eat I would move away from there.  Even a few blocks over the prices drop considerably and you’re with locals.  From New Town I’d either walk or take a tram to Charles Bridge and walk across to Malostranska.  Malostranska has a few museums and many pubs and restaurants to try.  I like the small fruit and vegetable shops that can be found around here.  The prices are low and the produce seems fresh.  And you can end the day in Letna park, take either a metro, or tram up the hill toward the castle and to the park to enjoy a cheap (25 kč) beer and watch the sun set over the city.

Of course if you have more time you can visit the castle, Petrín Tower and the many museums but I think the most important thing for Prague is to walk around slowly, enjoy the quiet city and the preserved, beautiful architecture and history.

 

Have more info on Prague or want to chat with me? Leave a comment below!

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