All about Prague Airport
I recently had a reader write me about Prague Airport. She was coming in on an international flight and was a bit anxious. She had heard about corrupt Prague taxis and didn’t want to be scammed. What were the different ways of getting to the city center and how much do they cost?
Lissette and I are regulars to Prague Airport (officially Vaclav Havel Airport). We usually take Uber downtown. But our reader was an elderly person and wasn’t familiar with Uber.
Since I had to go to the airport I decided to look into a few things that would be useful to our reader.
The first thing you should know is that there is nothing to worry about. Prague Airport is well organized. In fact they’ve made a lot of improvements in recent years that make navigating it simple. And there are several ways of getting to the city center, none of which include getting scammed.
Useful resources in the Airport when you arrive
Most travellers, after picking up their baggage, will find themselves in Terminal 1 (Note: Terminal 2 is for flights coming from the Schengen, Terminal 1 everything else).
On your right, just steps away when you’ve passed through customs, is the Tourist information counter (Prague City Tourism) which is pictured below. If you have questions, want to get a map etc this is where to get it. Right next to it is a Taxi counter. If you really want to take a taxi (you might want to look at the other options I cover before you do that) you can book it here. It works by meter and will cost you about 30 Euros to get to the city center.
But before you decide to take a taxi, there are other useful resources in the airport.
One of the first things we usually do is go to the Vodafone outlet in Terminal 2. It’s a 5 minute walk from arrivals in Terminal 1. This is where we get ourselves a SIM card. A SIM card with a phone number and internet usually comes out to about $15 US and it’ll be good for a month (and will work in other EU countries if you’ve got plans to be out of the Czech Republic). They’ll install it for you and usually within 10 minutes you’ll have it working.
Also very close to the Vodafone is a large Billa grocery store. Maybe you’ve just arrived from a long flight and just want to go to your apartment or hotel and have your own food. This is the place to get it.
Now that you have a SIM card, you may want to order an Uber. The best place to take it in Prague Airport is on the 2nd floor of Terminal 2. Just exit entrance E (or D). Once you’ve called your Uber this is where they’ll pick you up. The cost to the city is usually about 20 Euro.
The other way of getting to the city is public transport. It is both the cheapest and the quickest way to get to the city center.
To do this go back to the Arrivals section of Terminal 1 (I recommend taking public transport from Terminal 1 instead of 2 because you’ll be getting in the bus first and will have more place to put luggage and to sit down).
Buying your public transport ticket
You’ll come across the booth pictured above. This is where you buy your public transportation ticket. It’ll cost you 32 Czech Koruna ($1.40 US) to get to the city center. It’s a good idea to buy multiple tickets. Most people buy 2 types of tickets: the ones for 32 Kc (which are good for 90 minutes) or tickets for 24 Kc ($1.05 US) which are good for up to 30 minutes. We find that most of the time our trips around Prague take less than 30 minutes so we usually stock up on those (not the case though coming from the airport. You’ll need a 32Kc ticket).
You can also buy your tickets at the machines right next to the exit in front of Arrivals (pictured below). Machines can look intimidating but if you follow the instructions it’s really very easy.
Your ticket will look like this.
Once you’re done, just walk out the front door and follow the signs for the bus. It’ll take you about 1 minute to get to the bus stop. Validate your ticket. You’ll see the yellow validation boxes at the bus stop. Put the ticket in following the direction of the arrow of the ticket. You can also validate it on the bus where you’ll see similar validation boxes.
There are two buses, the 119 and the 100 which both go to different metro lines. Find out where you have to go and take the most appropriate bus.
Bus 119 takes you to Nádraží Veleslavín on Line A (the green line)
Bus 100 take you to Zličín on Line B (the yellow line)
Either way it’ll take approximately 20 minutes for the bus to get to the metro station. About 15-20 minutes later (depending on your metro stop) you’ll be where you want to be downtown.
Summing up the ways of getting from Prague Airport to the City Center.
Taxi. If you have heavy luggage and don’t have an Uber account. About 30 Euros to the city center.
Uber. Also if you have heavy luggage. About 20 Euros to the city center.
Bus. If you don’t have heavy luggage (you’ll have to deal with stairs when going into the metro). 32 Kc (about $1.40 US). It’s also the fastest method.
Time? We usually stay near the Jiřího z Poděbrad metro station which is further than downtown. Because of traffic, it usually takes 55 minutes by taxi/Uber. With Public transport it took me 45 minutes. If you’re getting out downtown somewhere the total trip will take you about 40 minutes.
However you do it, there’s no reason to get stressed. Prague’s Airport is nicely laid out, spacious, and well-organized. If you have any questions go to the Tourist Information Center in either terminal and they’ll happily help you out with any questions.
Related: 3 Days in Prague
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