Prague Airport: The Gateway Between the City of a Hundred Spires and the World
When traveling to the beautiful city of Prague, it’s very likely that you’d be going through the Prague Airport. Because it serves the Czech capital, this airport is one of the busiest in Europe and the largest in the country. Connecting over 100 international destinations, it’s truly a gateway between the former Bohemian capital and the world.
Prague Airport: A Quick Overview
Formerly known as Prague-Ruzyně due to its location near the Kněževes village, the airport was renamed the Václav Havel Airport Prague in 2012. Its current name is derived from Czechoslovakia’s last president and the Czech Republic’s first president, Václav Havel.
Its IATA airport code is PRG, and it’s located approximately 20 miles northwest of the city. It’s the sole civil airport in Prague, although there are three smaller airports and landing areas, which are mostly located in hospital compounds.
Because of this, the Prague Airport performs an important role in providing access to the city’s robust cultural, business, and everyday life. In fact, the airport handles all international flights, including Europe’s prominent airlines, as well as serving as a base for Czech Airlines and Travel Airlines.
The airport actually has four terminals, but most public passengers will only see two: Terminal 1, which services flights outside the Schengen area, and Terminal 2, which services flights within the Schengen area. The two are connected by a building for easy transfer between the terminals. Terminals 3 and 4 are reserved for military and private flights.
As the most prominent airport in the country, the Prague Airport offers a wide range of modern facilities that can make transit easier and more convenient for passengers, particularly business travelers, tourists, those traveling with children, and people with disabilities.
The airport is open 24 hours a day and offers free, unlimited Wi-Fi connection that passengers can access through its “prg.aero-free” network. Passengers can also find detailed information about their flights on the airport website: www.prg.aero. This site available in multiple languages besides English.
If you have queries or concerns, you can approach the Visitor Information Center or the Public Transport Information Center in the Arrivals hall of Terminals 1 and 2. These are open daily, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Currency Exchange and ATMs
Money exchange kiosks can be found in the Arrivals and Departures halls in Terminals 1 and 2, though rates are generally better in the city center. And although there are ATMs in the baggage hall, these generally charge a higher commission, so it’s better to wait until you’ve exited at the Arrivals hall.
While waiting for your flight, you can do some last-minute shopping in the 70+ stores, boutiques, and duty-free shops in the airport. In fact, a number of stores offer souvenir items that are unique to the Czech Republic, such as Czech crystals and Czech beers.
There are a number of restaurants, bars, and cafés in the airport where you can grab a delicious bite or chill out with a glass of wine or a cup of coffee. You can enjoy a fine dining experience on the Restaurant Praha at the second floor of the transit area. Its menu features a mix of Czech and international cuisine.
For those on a budget, there are self-service cafeterias at the transit area and the public area in the Arrivals hall that offer tasty, budget-friendly options.
In case you’re staying the night at the airport, there are seats with a footrest at the rest zone in Terminal 2. It can get pretty chilly in that area though, so be sure to have a blanket or jacket ready. Bring an eye mask as well, in case it’s difficult for you to sleep in lighted rooms.
Getting to and from the Airport
There are three public transport options to and from the airport: through the city mass transit, minibus service, and taxi. For mass public transport, the individual stops on the route are announced, with the stop you’re currently on being announced first. Pay attention to this to ensure you don’t miss your stop.
City Mass Transit
The Airport Express bus line, which is situated at the exit of the terminals, is the fastest public transport option from the airport to the Prague Main Train Station. It can get you to the city center in 30 to 45 minutes and is available in 30-minute intervals daily.
This bus service from the airport to the city runs from 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., although there’s no bus service at 6:00 p.m. From the city to the airport, the bus runs from 5:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
For those on a tight budget, the regular bus service is the cheapest option, although the ride takes longer, and you should know your stop.
The large capacity Bus 119 runs from the airport to the Dejvická Metro station on line A and vice versa in 10-minute intervals. Bus 100, which is meant to accommodate transportation of larger luggage, runs from the airport to Zličín Metro end station on line B in 15- to 30-minute intervals. At night, there are two bus services that continue operations.
You can purchase tickets from the ticket machines in terminals, in newsstands, and at Prague Public Transport counters. You can also buy tickets directly from the bus driver, although at a higher cost. There’s also additional cost for luggage.
The minibus service is the most convenient option to get to the city, though it’s generally much more expensive than the city mass transit. Microbus stands are located in front of the Arrivals hall. Unlike regular buses, there’s limited capacity in microbuses, guaranteeing a more comfortable ride.
For those who prefer to travel by taxi, there are cabs available outside the Arrivals hall. Registered taxis are operated by AAA RadioTaxi and Fix. There are some reports of tourists getting ripped off, so it’s better to pre-book your cab online or specify your preferred route to the driver.
If you want to rent a car instead, you can do so right at the airport, since all major car rental companies operate there. It’s even cheaper to rent from here directly because of this. Do take note that drivers must be at least 19 years old, though the rates become significantly cheaper if you’re at least 21 years old. If you’re staying for less than 60 days in Prague, you won’t need a special driving license. If you’re staying for more than 60 days, you’ll need an International Driving License permit.