Arriving at Train or Bus Station
All international trains arrive either at Hlavní Nádraží – main train station (including the overnight train from London, via Brussels and Cologne) or at Praha Holešovice. Both are located on Line C of the metro and are served by several tramlines. The main train station is located only a few minutes from Prague’s city centre. At both stations you can find money exchange facilities (do not exchange money there unless you wish to pay 10% commission), ATMs, a 24-hour left luggage office and a tourist information desk. You are also able to book accommodation through some agencies there. The train station had a shameful reputation: many homeless people and people with a ‘criminal history’ did hang around there which has recently changed after train station renovation. Although Prague’s train stations are not extra dangerous, just be careful, as pickpockets operate here. Also remember, in summer some international trains tend to be full and you should book your seat at least a few days ahead. Getting into the centre of town involves one stop on the metro to the Muzeum stop, or about 10 minutes’ walk up busy Wilsonova.
Most of International and national bus services arrive at Florenc bus and metro station on the east side of the city. The Old Town is then just a 10-minute walk or the B and C metro lines next door can take you anywhere else you want to go.
Arriving by plane
Prague Airport (all international flights arrive here), is located 17km from the city centre and has all the modern amenities you would expect of a European airport. The journey from airport to city centre takes around 20 – 25 minutes by taxi, or around 55 minutes by public transport (buy 32 CZK, plus 16 CZK per luggage). Buses depart every 10 to 15 minutes from 4.30am to 11.30pm. A taxi to the city centre should costs around 600 CZK.
Passport Formalities, Visa Requirements
The Czech Republic is a member of the EU since 2004. There are different rules for citizens of other EU member countries than for tourists from other parts of the world. Everyone must carry ID at all times.
Citizens of EU member states need a passport or other ID document to enter the Czech Republic. The same is true for citizens of Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, who enjoy free movement around the EEA (European Economic Area).
Visitors from other countries require a passport with at least six months’ validity on the day of arrival and in some cases a visa. A list of states whose citizens require a visa to enter the Czech Republic can be found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
From 21. 12. 2007 the Czech Republic enter the so-called Schengen Zone. This group of counties have come together to enable people to cross their borders without passport controls. Despite this, however, a valid passport or other ID will still have to be carried at all times.
Travelling with animals
Some criteria must be fulfilled for travelling to and around the Czech Republic with pets:
- identification of the animal – a tattoo is possible or marking with a microchip; from 2 July 2011, the chip is obligatory for dogs, cats and ferrets
- passport for special-interest breeding animals – uniform document throughout the whole EU,
- vaccination against rabies – this is obligatory for animals from 3 years of age, serological examination for rabies – this is usually performed by a vet together with vaccination.
Customs checks at state borders ended on the date the Czech Republic joined the EU. Checks remained only at the outer borders of the EU. This is why you will only come across checks at international airports. Exemption of goods brought into the EU from customs duty, VAT and consumer tax relates to goods imported occasionally for personal use.
Goods are exempt up to the value of EUR 300 per person. When travelling by air, the limit is EUR 430 per person and for travellers up to the age of 15, the limit is EUR 200 per person. Tobacco products, alcohol and fuel are not included in the total level of exempt goods, nor are goods, which you bring in with you but intend to also take back with you or medicines for personal use.
In the case of tobacco products, exemption from customs duty, VAT and consumer tax applies for the following amounts: 200 cigarettes, or 100 cigars of up to 3 grams, or 50 cigars, or 250 g of smoking tobacco.
Import of alcohol is exempt from customs duty, VAT and consumer tax in the following amounts: a total of 1 litre of alcohol and alcoholic drinks with ABV of over 22% or undenatured alcohol with ABV of at least 80%.
- a total of 2 litres of alcohol and alcoholic drinks with ABV of up to 22%.
- a total of 4 litres of still (non-sparkling) wine and 16 litres of beer.
If you import cash in Czech or foreign currency, or cheques, vouchers exchangeable for cash, investment instruments, precious metals or stones at a value in excess of EUR 10,000, you are obliged to notify the customs authority of this in writing.