As beautiful as Paris, as bohemian as Amsterdam, and with Europe’s best beer, Prague is a gem.
It’s a European favourite – at times it feels like half the world’s travellers are on Charles Bridge. But explore its cobbled lanes a little further and you’ll find the real Prague; boho galleries, traditional bars, gothic spires and bijou cafes.
Arriving at Václav Havel Airport Prague
Prague’s only airport is about nine miles (15km) from the city centre. It takes about half an hour to get from the airport into the city by public transport, and 20–40 mins by car, depending on traffic.
You buy your ticket before you get on a bus, tram or train. You can choose from a selection of tickets or passes at a public transport information booth at the arrival halls of Terminals 1 and 2 (cheapest). You can also get tickets from an automat or the driver. Follow the signs in the airport to either the Airport Express bus, which takes you to the main station in Prague. There are also a couple of buses that will take you to Metro line A or B. Bear in mind that there’s limited space for luggage on public transport.
If you have large or heavy luggage, you can find a taxi through a contact counter in Terminal 1 and 2’s arrivals hall, and then follow signs to departure points. If you’re hiring a car, you’ll find all car rental offices in a separate hall on the ground floor of Parking C. You can also book airport transfers in advance through your hotel or a private company.
Food and drink
There was a time when Prague was laughably inexpensive for foreign visitors. While popular areas have capitalised on growing tourism, you can still eat and drink like a local fairly cheaply.
Traditional Czech dining
Czech food is hearty, filling and goes well with beer. One dish that you must try is steak tatare served on garlic toast. Roast duck, pork schnitzel, goulash and dumplings also appear on traditional menus. Visit an authentic farmer’s market, and try chlebicek, the uniquely Czech open-topped sandwich, and sweet doughy treats kolache and buchty. It’s easy to find excellent local restaurants; simply avoid those targeted at tourists. Service is included when you're eating out, but a tip isn’t, so leave the waiter about 10% of your bill.
Pivo prosim (pee-vo pro-seem) means ‘beer, please’, a vital phrase in Prague! It’s not just about the pils – excellent microbreweries and craft beers follow the famous brands of Pilsner Urquell, Staropramen and Budvar. Brewing and drinking beer is something of a national past-time, and Czechs love to pair food with their beer, rather than the other way round. You’ll find ‘beer snacks’ in most pubs in Prague, meat or cheese and a condiment, such as ham with horseradish cream or pickled sausage with chopped onion.