Prague Travel Guide

 

About Prague - general info

Heart of Europe: Prague

Prague Center of Europe Discover Prague and Czech Republic: its culture, heritage, people living here, politics or economic situation.

Find out what makes Czech Republic one of the most dynamic countries in Europe and why it is so attractive for tourist and business visitors.

Just take Prague: Czech capital and the political, cultural and economic centre of the country. In recent years, Prague has become one of the hottest tourist destinations in Europe. Several factor contribute to its attractiveness: the entry of the Czech Republic to the European Union in May 2004, its perfect geographical situation (many refer to Prague as the Heart of Europe), and, of course, the beauty and splendour of historical monuments. Some people are attracted also by moderate prices or cheap beer.

TIP: Find out more about history of Prague.

Getting there

By plane: At the time, Prague has one international airport, around 20 km north-west from the city centre. The Ruzyně airport can be reached by various means of transports. Please count with at least 40 minutes to get to the airport.

TIP: Find out more about Prague Airport and Flights to Prague.

By train: Main Train Station (in Czech Hlavní nádraží or Wilsonovo nádraží) is the largest train station in Prague, located almost in the city centre, only 5 minutes walking to the Wenceslas Square. Most of the international trains (from north Germany, Berlin, or other central European cities such as Bratislava, Vienna or Budapest) depart and arrive at Prague-Holešovice train station, that is located three metro stops from the Main Train Station.

Other train stations include Prague-Smíchov (for trains from south-west direction) and Masarykovo nádraží (mostly for domestic trains) near the Sqaure of Republic. These train stations are mostly used for long-distance train in relation to Prague, they are not commonly used as suburban means of transport, but recent decisions of Prague City Hall plan with greater promotion of train transport from short distances for everyday life.

TIP: Find out more information about Arriving to Prague by train.

By bus: Most of the international buses terminates at the Želivského metro station, but there are various place in Prague, where your bus can arrive. Almost all of them are by metro stations. The central bus station for most domestic bus lines (and some international lines) is by the metro station Florenc near the city centre.

TIP: Find out more information about Arriving to Prague by bus.

By car: Please refer to the special section of the web for more information on arriving to Prague by car.

TIP: Find out more about Prague city transport system

Prague Geography and orientation

Prague is virtually in the middle of Czech Republic, just in the heart of it. It sits on the Bohemian plateau, and the Vltava river (Czech longest river, that flows into Labe, or in German, Elbe some 35 kilometres north from Prague) divides the city into two parts.

Prague city center consist of five historical towns – Old Town (Staré Město), Jewish Town (Josefov) and New Town (Nové Město), which are located on the right bank, and Castle Area (Hradčany) and Lesser Quarter (Malá strana), both on the left bank of Vltava river. Several bridges, including well known Charles bridge (Karlův most) connects both parts.

It is easy to understand Prague. Almost all historical monuments and city attractions are located within these five historical parts of Prague. It compact, so it is perfect for walking everywhere, or using quite good system of public transport.

TIP: Find out more about Prague historical centre

Some basic facts about Prague:

  • Area: 496 sqkm
  • Population: 1,184,000
  • Administrative division: 10 municipal areas, 57 municipal parts
  • Geographical situation: north latitude 50° 05', east longitude 14° 27', height above sea level 235 m (average)
  • Time zone: Central European (GMT+1), summer time - Central European +1 (GMT+2)

Climate

Prague has continental climate, with rather cold winters (average temperature in January 0° C, 32° F) and summers tending to be sunny and warm (average temperature in July + 19°C, 70° F). The ideal period to come to Prague is late spring (April or May) and September or early October.

However, this winter (2006/2007) seems quite extraordinary, as the temperature rarely drops below zero. It makes it ideal to visit Prague also in January and February, as the weather allows even long walks through Prague city centre.

Language

The official language is Czech. It belongs to West Slavic languages (along with Slovak and Polish). Czech is spoken by most people in the Czech Republic and by Czechs all over the world (the estimate says about 12 million native speakers in total). Czech is very similar to Slovak language and also to Polish.

English and German are widely spoken. While German is known by elderly people, many younger people have quite good knowledge English as their foreign language. Some people also understand Russian.

Currency

The official currency in Czech Republic is Czech Crown (CZK or Kč - Koruna česká). Even if Czech Republic entered the European Union but the country hasn't yet joined the European Monetary union and the single currency.

Nevertheless in many gift-shops, restaurants, hotels and in some supermarkets Euro is accepted at quite good rates. Especially in the central parts of Prague and most tourist areas.

Use of the credit cards is recommended and ATM can be found almost everywhere in Prague. Exchange rate in mid-March 2007 is around: 1 EURO = 27,70 CZK, 1 USD = 20,70 CZK.

Opening hours

Opening hours in most banks, shops and public institutions are 9am to 6pm. Some shops are closed on Sunday, but there is no restriction on opening hours, so you will find many shops and malls (see Prague's shopping centres) later in the night and on Sundays as well.

Banks have slightly shorter opening hours. Museum and galleries are usually closed on Mondays (Prague castle stays open daily, Jewish museum is closed on Saturdays).

Public holidays

There are seven public holidays and several commemorated days in the Czech Republic. The most remarkable ones include the Day of Czech Statehood (28 September) and the Day of Establishment of the Independent Czechoslovak Republic (28 October). See Czech public holidays and other important days for more information.