496 sq km
235 m (average)
Greenwich Mean Time plus one hour (two hours in summer): Time in Prague is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in New York. (7 hours ahead of central time in Chicago, etc.) Prague uses the 24 hour clock, so the numeral 1 on a US watch would be read as 1
in the early morning or 13 in the afternoon, etc. Transportation timetables and
schedules will use this method of representation of time. (designations of AM
and PM are unnecessary)
Czech, a Slavic language closely related to Slovak and Polish, is the official language of the Czech Republic. Learning English is popular among young people, but German is still the most useful language for tourists. Don't be surprised if you get a response in German to a question asked in English.
The country code for the Czech Republic is 42.
The city code for Prague is 02.
To find out what's on for the month and to get the latest tips for shopping, dining, and entertainment, consult Prague's weekly English-language newspaper, The Prague Post. It prints comprehensive entertainment listings and can be bought at most downtown newsstands as well as in major North American and European cities. The monthly Prague Guide, available at newsstands and tourist offices provides an overview of major cultural events and has listings of restaurants, hotels, and organizations offering traveler assistance.
Breakdowns (154 or 123).
Take a pair of sturdy walking shoes and be prepared to use them. Dress shoes will present considerable problems on the cobblestone streets of Prague.
Many items that you take for granted at home are occasionally unavailable or of questionable quality. Take your own toiletries and personal hygiene products with you. Few places provide sports equipment for rent; an alternative to bringing your own equipment would be to buy what you need locally and take it home with you. In general, sporting goods are relatively cheap and of good quality.
Bring an extra pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses in your carry-on luggage. Contact lens wearers should bring enough saline and disinfecting solution with them, as they are expensive and in short supply
Average Temperatures (In Fahrenheit):
January - March
April - June
July - September
October - December
When to Go:
The tourist season runs from April or May through October; spring and fall combine good weather with a more bearable level of tourism. Bear in mind that many attractions are closed November through March. Prague is beautiful year-round, but it might be wise to avoid midsummer (especially July and August) and the Christmas and Easter holidays, when the city is crowded with visitors, provided there is flexibility in the travel schedule.
Czech Republic Holidays:
1 January - New Year, Independent Czech State Renewal Day
March or April (varies) Easter Monday
1 May - Labor Day
8 May - Liberation Day (1945)
5 July - Cyril and Methodius Day - the Slavic Christianity Prophets
6 July - Master John Hus burning at the stake (1415)
28 September - Czech Statehood Day
28 October - Independent Czechoslovak State Proclamation Day (1918)
17 November - Day of Fight for Freedom and Democracy
24 December - Christmas Eve
25 December - Christmas Day
26 December - St. Stephen's Day
Electricity: 220V, 50 Hz Electrical sockets take plugs with two round prongs or sometimes three. American appliances will need a plug adapter and will require a transformer if they do not have a dual voltage capability. Most hotels will supply guests with an ironing board and iron if requested.
The unit of the Czech money is Ceska Koruna, or Crown, abbreviated KCZ or CZK
(for Koruna Ceska). The crown is divided into 100 Haler, or Heller (h). Notes
come in 5000, 2000, 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50 and 20 KCZ denominations and coins
in 50, 20, 10, 5, 2, and 1 KCZ and 50 h sizes. All old notes from the days of
the united Czechoslovakia ceased to be a legal tender in the Czech Republic in
October 1993, so beware of being offered Czechoslovak currency. The Czech crown
is now freely convertible on world currency markets;
exchange rates are fixed daily on the Prague Stock market.
The best place to exchange is at bank counters, where the commissions average 1%-3%, or at ATMs. The koruna
is fully convertible and can be purchased outside the country and exchanged into other currencies. Ask about current regulations when you change money, however, and keep your receipts.
Between the airport and town by bus:
The Cedaz minibus shuttle links the airport with N√°mest√≠ Republiky (a square just off the Old Town). It runs hourly, more often at peak periods, between 6 AM and 9:30 PM daily and makes an intermediate stop at the Dejvick√° metro station.
The Czech complex of regional bus lines known collectively as CSAD operates its dense network from the sprawling main bus station on Kriz√≠kova (metro stop: Florenc, lines B or C). For information about routes and schedules call 02/2421-1060, consult the timetables posted at the station, or visit the information window, situated at the bus unloading area (open weekdays 6 AM-7:45 PM, Sat. 6-4, Sun. 8-6). The helpful private travel agency Tourbus, in the pedestrian overpass above the station, dispenses bus information daily until 8 PM. If the ticket windows are closed, you can usually buy a ticket from the driver.
Traveling by Train:
Because European countries are compact, it often takes less time to travel city-to-city by train than by plane. Prague is about 5 hours by train from Munich, Berlin, and Vienna. The European East Pass is good for first-class unlimited rail access in Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. Also available is the Czech Flexipass, good for rail travel within the Czech Republic
for 5 days of travel within a 15-day period.
Passengers traveling to Prague by train typically pull into one of two central stations: Hlavn√≠ n√°draz√≠ (Main Station) or N√°draz√≠ Holesovice (Holesovice
Station). Both are on line C of the metro system and offer a number of services,
including money exchange, a post office, and a luggage-storage area.
Wilsonova tr√≠da, Praha 2
Partyz√°nsk√° at Vrbensk√©ho, Praha 7
Prague's second train station, is usually the terminus for trains from Berlin and other points north. Although it's not as centrally located as the main station, its more manageable size and location at the end of metro line C make it almost as convenient.
Prague contains two smaller rail stations.
Hybernsk√° ulice at Havl√≠ckova
Is primarily for travelers arriving on trains originating from other Bohemian cities or from Brno or Bratislava. Situated about 10 minutes by foot from the main train station, Masaryk is near Star√© Mesto, just a stone's throw from N√°mest√≠ Republiky metro station.
N√°drazn√≠ ulice at Rozkosn√©ho
Is the terminus for commuter trains from western and southern Bohemia, though an occasional international train pulls in here. The station contains a 24-hour baggage check and is serviced by metro line B.
Prague City Transport Fares
Traveling by city transport is only possible with a valid ticket. Passengers have to obtain their tickets before boarding the vehicle or entering the Metro system. Tickets can be bought at selected Metro stations or in Dopravni podnik Information Centers, hotels, at news stands, travel bureaus, department stores, etc. Single tickets can also be bought from the slot machines located at Metro stations or near some stops of surface transport. To see Prague properly, there is no alternative to walking, especially since much of the city center is off-limits to automobiles. And the walking couldn't be more pleasant-most of it along the beautiful bridges and cobblestone streets of the city's historic core. Before venturing out, however, be sure you have a good map.
Prague is a particularly fun city to bike in, when the crowds are thin. Vehicular traffic is limited in the center, where small, winding streets seem especially suited to two-wheeled vehicles. Surprisingly, few people take advantage of this opportunity; cyclists are largely limited to the few foreigners who have imported their own bikes. The city's ubiquitous cobblestones make mountain bikes the natural choice. Check with your hotel about a possible rental or try Cyklocentrum at Karlovo n√°m. 29, New Town and fax 02/294 312 www.cyklocentrum.cz
By Public Transportation
Prague's public transportation network is still remarkably affordable. In central Prague, metro (subway) stations abound. You can buy tickets from yellow coin-operated machines in metro stations or at most newsstands marked Tab√°k Or Trafika.
Hold on to your validated ticket throughout your ride--you'll need to show it if
a plainclothes ticket collector asks you.
By Bus \& Tram
The 24 electric tram (streetcar) lines run practically everywhere, and there's always another tram with the same number traveling back. You never have to hail trams, for they make every stop. The most popular trams, nos. 22 and 23 (the "tourist trams" and the "pickpocket express"), run past top sights like the National Theater and Prague Castle. Regular bus and tram service stops at midnight, after which selected routes run reduced schedules, usually only once per hour. Schedules are posted at stops. If you miss a night connection, expect a long wait for the next. Buses tend to be used only outside the older districts of Prague and have three-digit numbers. Both the buses and tram lines (which have two digits) begin their morning runs around 4:30am.
By Metro & Light Rail
Metro trains operate daily from 5am to midnight and run every 2 to 6 minutes. On the three lettered lines (A, B, and C, color coded green, yellow, and red, respectively) the most convenient central stations are Mustek, at the foot of V√°clavsk√© n√°mest√≠ (Wenceslas Square); Staromestska, for Old Town Square and Charles Bridge; and Malostransk√°, serving Mal√° Strana and the Castle District. The Prague Metro network consists of 3 lines designated by letters and differentiated in colour: green colour (Skalka station - Dejvicka station), yellow colour (Cerny most station - Zlicin station), red colour (Nadrazi Holesovice station - Haje station), with transfers possible at Museum station (lines A and C), Mustek station (lines A and B), Florenc station (lines B and C). Metro operates daily from 5 a.m. to 12 a.m.. The time interval between train departures is approximately 2 minutes during the rush hours and 4 to 10 minutes during off-peak hours.
AAA Taxi ( 02/3399) and Sedop ( 02/6731-4184). Many firms have English-speaking operators.
The Funicular onto Petrin Hill operates along the route Ujezd - Nebozizek - Petrin. The Funicular operates daily from 9:15 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. with traffic intervals from 10 to 15 minutes.