The best way to travel in Prague is by public transportation. The Prague metro, trams and buses are cheap, easy to use and very reliable.
Inside each metro station you will find coin operated machines that dispense individual tickets. You may also find new machines that accept credit cards.
The ticket system is easy to navigate and use. Here are a few examples of tickets you might use on a short stay in Prague.
Short Term Ticket: 24 CZK, 30 minutes. These
are for short journeys, but can be very useful since you
might only need to go one direction before returning later
in the day. They are valid 30 minutes from the time you stamp the ticket.
Basic Ticket: 32 CZK, 90 minutes. These tickets are the most common choices. If you go to a shop and ask for tickets, these are the standard ones. You can use them up to 90 minutes which makes them very flexible. But, if you're going just one way to the castle, for example, you might consider the cheaper short term ticket above.
1 Day Ticket: 110 CZK, 24 hours.
These are great if you know you're going to use the metro
system extensively over one day. But, it's often just
better to buy single basic tickets.
3 Day Ticket: 310 CZK, 72 hours. These are perfect for a weekend stay, etc. Buy these and you don't have to worry about tickets for awhile. These allow the free accompaniment of one child (6 - 15 years).
Both 1-day and 3-day tickets are time sensitive, just like the shorter tickets. Stamp them in the yellow machines just the same.
To be honest, many young children and seniors are often overlooked by ticket controllers. But technically they need tickets too. Children means someone between 6 and 15 years and Senior is anyone over 60.
Rates for Children and Seniors:
Short Term Ticket - 12 CZK, 30 minutes
Basic Ticket - 16 CZK, 90 minutes
1 Day Ticket - 55 CZK, 24 hours
3 Day Ticket - 310 CZK, 72 hours (no discount available)
You can now buy single tickets via SMS on most mobile phones, making travel in Prague even easier. Send the corresponding codes to the number 902 06 and you will receive an SMS with your ticket details.
DPT24 for 24 CZK,
DPT32 for 32 CZK, 90 minutes
PLEASE NOTE: not all foreign mobile phones will work with the SMS system.
There are three metro lines in Prague: A (green line), B (yellow line), C (red line). The metro operates from 5:00 AM to midnight. They are highly efficient with stations near most points of interest.
The metro stations in the center of Prague are quite deep underground. They have long escalators and sometimes stairs going down to the platforms. Only some have elevators.
Most stations have an attendant in a booth upstairs. You can buy tickets here or try to get information. But, I have noticed that they likely won't speak English.
There are numerous trams that cross the city. For me, trams give travel in Prague its soul and character. To ride a tram and daydream is a treat.
Here are some important notes to keep in mind when enjoying riding the trams.
The Nostalgia Tram No. 41 crosses the city on weekends from April - October. It starts at the Public Transport Museum and ends in the beautiful Stromovka Park. It's a unique throwback experience and definitely worth taking. And, it's especially enjoyable if you are traveling with kids.
The tram passes various attractions as well including Prague Castle and Wenceslas Square. Tickets are unique to this tram only. They are purchased directly on the tram from the conductor. Standard tickets are not valid on this tram.
Buses are another reliable way travel in Prague. But, generally you won't use them much in the city centre.
They usually are used to access other residential, suburban areas and harder to reach places outside of the city. But this means they can be great for day trips from Prague. Many villages, castle ruins and chateaus can be found quite readily by bus.
It's easiest to have a ticket ready and use it like you would for a tram or metro ride. But you can buy them directly from the driver for 40 CZK. If you are traveling outside of Prague, check the fare schedules to verify which ticket is appropriate.
Lastly... it's customary to stand up for very small children and older people in Prague - especially on the bus. It's harder for these people to stand and hold firmly while the bus is moving.
Prague's funicular is a great way to access Petřín. The route has three stops and is perfect if you don't want to walk up the hill. Standard tickets apply. The nearest tram stop is Ujezd which is located at the base of the hill in Mala Strana.
At the top you'll find a couple of great stops for kids and adults alike. There's a fun House of Mirrors (Bludiště), Prague's version of the Eiffel Tower and Stefanik's Planetary Observatory.
Petřín Park has a number of trails to stroll
along and gorgeous views of Prague
Castle. and Malá Strana. You can stop in the
middle and lounge at the outdoor cafe or grab an ice cream
or beer in the garden at the top.
Warning: the funicular is very popular especially when the weather is good in high-tourist season. So expect a good line if you show up during the day. Mornings and evenings are ideal.
Public transport in Prague is operated by DPP (Dopravní podnik). Their web site for more information is very useful and has English pages here.
There are a number of transport info centres at various metro stations. These are particularly helpful if you have specific questions or need other help. You can find English speaking assistance at some, specifically at the airport and main train station.
DPP Infoline.: +420 296 19 18 17