#LifeInCzechia When traveling around Czechia you’ll need to figure out which type of transportation is best for you to get around. In doing so you’ll find that there are several options. Planes, trains, buses, trams, the list goes on and on. Depending on where you’re attempting to travel, the location will affect the number of options that you have to choose from, so it’s very important that you do research on how to get to the destination and how you’ll get around while you’re there.
Travel Between Cities or Countries
Traveling by train is common within Czechia. In most places within Czechia, there are train stations making it easy and convenient to get from one place to the other. You’ll also find that Czechia is well connected with neighboring countries so traveling outside of Czechia may be easier to do so by train. When purchasing train tickets you don’t always have to buy your ticket in advance, you also have the option of purchasing them at the station. However, it would make the process easier to purchase your tickets online in advance.
There are several different types of train lines within Czechia. They are:
- InterCity (IC)
- Osobní (OS)
- Spěšný (Sp)
- Rychlík (R)
- Expres (Ex)
- SC SuperCity
- Eurocity (EC)
These types of trains travel between larger cities. You’ll find that they travel on main lines to cities like: Praha, Brno, Breclav, Ostrava, and Opava. If you’re trying to travel to smaller cities this is not the train for you as they only stop at the larger cities. However, they do provide fast journey times. One thing to keep in mind is that some of the InterCity trains are used as substitutes for SC Pendolino services. The trains that are often substitutes run from Prague to Ostrava. Another thing to know about the SC Pendolino trains is that the train route that travels from Ostrava to Prague to Cheb is also classified as an InterCity train.
Example of what an InterCity Train may look like
When booking your tickets you’ll find that the trains consist of two different coaches, 1st class and 2nd class. Reservations are possible on these trains but they aren’t required on most lines.
On the SC Pendolino substitute trains traveling from Prague to Ostrava seating reservations are required. If you’d like to take a first class carriage you’ll find they have an open plan arrangement, where there are only three people in a row. When taking a second class carriage you’ll find one of two seating arrangements. The first one is six seats in one compartment or another open plan arrangement with four seats in a row.
Osobní trains may be considered commuter trains. If you’re attempting to visit some of Czechia’s smaller cities this is the type of train you’ll want to take. Osobní trains are regional trains and they stop at all stations. These trains are slower and run about every 1-2 hours. Also, when taking this type of train there will most likely only be one type of carriage, 2nd class. If you buy tickets for this type there won’t be an option for seating reservations.
Example of what an Osobní Train may look like
This type of train is similar to the Osobní however they have quicker journey times and fewer stops. These trains will normally only stop at larger cities and villages. Spěšný trains travel along the same route as Osobní trains and often only have second class carriages however, in some cases they will have 1st class as well. Again like the Osobní trains no seating reservations are possible.
Rychlík trains are long distance express trains. They’re also similar to Osobní trains as they go at a slower speed and make frequent stops. However these trains are still faster than the other regional trains, they go at a slower speed than Expres, InterCity, and Eurocity trains. On the more popular routes you’ll find “Rx” trains which are the same as “R” trains just with a higher level of comfort. These trains typically run every two hours and have two carriage types, 1st and 2nd class. While seating reservations are not required you have the option of choosing between the two carriage types.
Rychlík Train Seating Example
These trains run on several routes within Czechia and on international routes as well. If you’d like to travel outside of Czechia by train then this may be the train you’re looking for. Expres trains provide service to Germany, Austria, Poland, and Slovakia. The carriages also have two classes. The second class carriages either have six seats or four seats in an open plan arrangement. The first class carriages have three seats per row and are either in compartments or open plan arrangements. When traveling through Czechia seat reservations are possible but they aren’t required. However, when traveling to Poland seating reservations are required.
SC SuperCity Trains
SuperCity trains are national long distance trains. They travel faster and run almost every two hours from Prague. Seating reservations are mandatory when taking this train. These trains tend to be more comfortable and traveler friendly.
Eurocity trains are international train lines. These trains reach Poland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia. When traveling within Czechia seating reservations aren’t required but they are recommended during weekends or holidays and if you’re traveling in groups of three or more. Eurocity trains are similar to Expres trains because when traveling to or from Poland seating reservations are mandatory. You’ll find that all Eurocity trains have first and second class seating. Second class seating consists of four seats per row in open plan arrangements or six seat compartments. First class seating typically consists of three seats per row and have open plan arrangements.
Example of Eurocity Train may look like
If you plan to travel via train during the months of July and August you should look into summer tickets. With this type of ticket you’ll have unlimited travel aboard all of the trains for a time period of one to two weeks. However these tickets are tied to one person and cannot be used on others. The tickets will cover second class travel. You can also get a discounted price if you’re a Karta card holder and have a valid application or if you’re an ITIC card holder.
Czech Words for Train Travel:
- Vlak = Train
- Nádraží = Station
- Vlakové Nádraží = Train Station
- Odjezdy = Departures
- Příjezdy = Arrivals
- Nástupiště = Platform
- Zastávka = Stop
- Jízdenka = Ticket
- Jízdenky = Tickets
- Místenka = Seat Reservation
- Pokladna = Ticket Window
Traveling via bus is another option. Within Czechia there are over 60 bus companies in 30 cities across Czechia but they mostly reside in Prague and Brno. The international bus routes reach several countries such as Slovakia, Austria, and Germany and in some cases Hungary or Bosnia and Herzegovina.If you’re traveling within Czechia to other cities there are 528 different combinations one could take. Tickets for buses can be bought in person or online however, it is more common to purchase tickets in advance online. Some buses will have stops along the way but there are some that are nonstop.
Some of the most common bus companies are:
Example of a FlixBus
Traveling by plane is best when you want to visit harder to reach countries like Spain, Italy, or England. There are eleven airports within Czechia however only a few of them have commercial operations. These airports have both international and domestic flights.
Image from Canva
The five airports you should be aware of are:
- The Vaclav Havel Airport Prague
- This is the busiest airport in Czechia since it’s located in Prague, Czechia’s most popular city and biggest city.
- Address: Aviatická, 161 00 Praha 6, Czechia
- Airport Code: PRG
- This is the second busiest airport in Czechia. It’s located a few kilometers outside of Brno’s city centre.
- Address: Letiště Brno-Tuřany 904/1, 627 00 Brno, Czechia
- Airport Code: BRQ
- Ostrava Airport
- This airport is also important to keep in mind. They offer both international and domestic flights and is the site of an annual military show.
- Address: Mošnov 401, 742 51 Mošnov, Czechia
- Airport Code: OSR
- Karlovy Vary Airport
- This airport is very small with only one terminal. Like Brno – Turany Airport this airport is also located a few kilometers outside of its city’s centre in Olsova Vrata.
- Address: K Letišti 132, 360 01 Karlovy Vary, Czechia
- Airport Code: KLV
- Pardubice Airport
- This airport serves the military but also serves civilians.
- Address: Pražská 179, Popkovice, 530 06 Pardubice, Czechia
- Airport Code: PED
Travel within Cities
Travel within cities is often easy and cheap through public transportation like trams or buses. You’ll find trams or buses in most of the larger cities within Czechia like Prague, Brno, Plzen and others. Traveling within cities by tram is reliable and simple. However, depending on which city you’re visiting the tram lines are different. This means it’s important to look into the tram system before visiting or living in that city.
Example of a Tram in Brno
Take Brno as an example:
The public transportation system includes trams and buses. The buses run 24 hours a day while the trams stop service at around 11 pm or 23:00. However the night buses only leave about every 30-60 minutes depending on the line.
During the work week, Monday through Friday, the intervals between most buses is 7-15 minutes while trams typically have 8 minutes between them. However, on weekends the intervals get a bit longer as buses take 10-30 minute intervals and trams take 10-15 minutes.
Buying tram or bus passes is a simple process. You can choose to buy a single ticket, recommended if you’re just visiting, or you can purchase an annual pass, recommended if you’re staying in any city for a long time. The single tickets depend on time, meaning a single ticket is either 15 minutes, 60 minutes, or 90 minutes. Each of these tickets costs under 30 Czech Crowns. There’s also the option of buying a šalinkarta which is a different type of travel pass. Depending on how long you plan on staying in Brno you can choose between the monthly, quarterly or annual pass. However, when you travel on the buses or trams you may be subjected to random inspections to make sure that you’ve purchased a ticket and aren’t traveling for free.
In some cases, you may even be able to get a discount. Elderly passengers over the age of 70 get to travel on the trams or buses for free. These passengers will have to provide identification if they are stopped by a ticket inspector. If you’re accompanying a child under the age of three then you may travel for free. One other “discount” is if you purchase an all day ticket then two people can use that ticket on the weekends.
As you can see the tram and bus system can be a little complicated if you haven’t done a little research beforehand. Before you travel anywhere make sure to look into public transportation so you know what to expect and if you have any issues try talking to the locals. You’ll learn more through those who use public transport every day than reading online.
As found in most places around the world you can also travel by car through car services like taxis or ride sharing services. A popular ride sharing service in Czechia is Bolt. Similar to Uber or Lyft, Bolt provides affordable transportation by car through their app. They also provide food delivery services and you can rent scooters through their app. However, I’ll get more into that in the next section. I would suggest using car services only late at night when you’ve missed the night bus or if you’re running late. While Bolt is cheap and affordable it’s still cheaper to use the public transport within the city. Taxis are also an option but they’re similar to Bolt, the main difference is that they charge different prices.
Example of what a Bolt Car may look like
You can also rent scooters or bikes around the larger cities. There are many bike sharing or scooter sharing services, one example is Bolt. Depending on which company the bike or scooter is from dictates the price. Some scooters can be 25 Czech Crowns a minute and are a good way to get around if you need to go a short distance and you can’t wait for a tram or bus. They’re also fun to ride so you should give them a chance at least once while you’re living or visiting Czechia.
Example of what a rideshare scooter may look like
Source of photos: Canva