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Air travel and airports

The largest airport in the Czech Republic is Prague-Ruzyně. There are smaller international airports in several other towns and cities. Most flights from Czech airports are international services, as it is better to use other modes of transport for domestic travel.

Prague-Ruzyně

Vaclav Havel Prague Airport, Ruzyně ( www.prg.aero ) is situated some 10 km from Prague and has three terminals. North Terminal 2 handles flights from so-called Schengen countries, while North Terminal 1 is for flights to and from other countries. The South Terminal handles government and military flights. The airport has been greatly expanded since 1989.

Facilities at the airport

Ruzyně Airport has the usual facilities passengers need such as exchange offices, ATMs (cash machines), electronic information boards, restaurants, shops and travel agencies, where you can book hotel accommodation. The airport also provides for more demanding clients who can make use of a VIP service.

Getting to Prague-Ruzyně

To get to the airport, passengers can use the city’s buses, a taxi or their own car. Bus 119 departs from Dejvická metro station on line A (20 min), and the 100 leaves from Zličín station on line B (15 min). In 2005 a special AE (=Airport Express) service began operating from Holešovice railway station to Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, and runs from 5am until 10pm at 30-minute intervals. Tickets on this service cost 45 crowns.

Czech Airlines

The Czech national flag carrier is Czech Airlines (CSA) ( www.csa.cz ). CSA links Prague with the majority of European capital cities and with major hubs in North America.

Other international airports

Other international airports include Brno ( www.airport-brno.cz ), Ostrava ( www.airport-ostrava.cz ), Carlsbad ( www.airport-k-vary.cz ) and Pardubice ( www.airport-pardubice.cz ).

An interesting fact

Small airports

There are several smaller local air fields dotted around the Czech Republic (for instance in Klatovy, Kunovice, Mnichovo Hradiště and Olomouc to name just a few), which are used for transport, by the emergency services or as sports and cultural venues.

Tips for visitors

At small airports visitors can take sightseeing flights or even try a parachute jump.

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Rail travel

Lying in the very centre of Europe, the Czech Republic stands at a crossroads where many international rail routes meet (EuroCity, InterCity and SuperCity services). The train is an ideal way to get around the Czech Republic, as it has one of the densest rail networks in Europe. The overwhelming majority of services are operated by Czech Railways.

Timetables

Timetable information and ticket prices can be found at www.idos.cz.

Discounts on Czech Railways

Czech Railways provides passengers with a number of group discounts for two people or more travelling together. The discount increases the greater the number of people travelling (up to a maximum of 30 people). You can also save money by using a so-called ‘kilometre bank’ (a book containing 2000 km of prepaid rail travel). Buying return tickets also brings a saving (valid until midnight next day). When buying tickets, passengers must request the relevant discount.

An interesting fact

A new feature on Czech Railways ( www.cd.cz ) is the Pendolino train which now links Prague with Ostrava, Vienna and Bratislava. The train can travel at up to 180 kmph, and is the fastest and most comfortable service in the Czech Republic.

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Bus and coach travel


International coach services link large Czech cities such as Prague, Brno and Ostrava with cities in Europe. Domestic coach services often use comfortable modern vehicles.

Tips for the visitor

You can look up any service on the internet using the IDOS system ( www.idos.cz )
You can book a ticket on any of the 3000 domestic and international services at www.amsbus.cz. Tickets can then be picked up at any AMS office.

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Rules of the road

Rules of the road in the Czech Republic are very similar to those in other European countries. On 1. 1. 2008 new stricter rules came into force intended to make Czech roads much safer. EU and international driving licences are both recognised in the Czech Republic.

The main rules

? Drive on the right.
? Seatbelts must be used.
? Headlights must be switched on all day, year round.
? Children (smaller than 150 cm and weighing less than 36 kg) must be placed in a child seat at all times.
? Cyclist younger than 18 must wear a helmet.

Speed limits

In the Czech Republic different speed limits apply in different environments (built-up areas, roads outside built-up areas and motorways). Unless stated otherwise, the following speed limits apply in these areas:

130 kmph on the motorway
50 kmph in built up areas
90 kmph outside built-up areas

Fines

Fines for going slightly over the speed limit (up to 20 kmph over the limit in built-up areas and 30 kmph outside of built-up areas) range from 500 Kč to 2000 Kč (20-70 euros).

Police checks

When stopped by the police, drivers must show their passport or other ID (citizens of EU member countries), driver’s licence (EU or international) and the vehicle documents (MOT certificate, third party insurance certificate and green card insurance document).

Alcohol and drugs

The Czech Republic operates a zero tolerance approach to the use of alcohol and other drugs prior to driving a motor vehicle. If any substance is found in a driver’s blood, this can lead to up to 3 years in jail and a fine of 25-50 000 Kč (900-1800 euros). The same fine applies if a driver refuses to undergo a breathalyser or blood test.

Using a mobile telephone behind the wheel

In the Czech Republic drivers are prohibited to hold a mobile phone in their hands while driving or to wedge the phone between ear and shoulder. You can be fined (50-90 euros) for breaking this rule. Drivers can only make and receive telephone calls using hands-free equipment.

Pedestrians

Pedestrians have right of way on crossings and drivers must stop and let them cross.

Age requirements for drivers in the Czech Republic

To ride a motorcycle up to 50 cm3 - 15 years of age
To sit in the front passenger seat - 15 years of age and a height of at least 150 cm
To drive a car - 18 years of age

Motorways and tolls

There are 878 km of motorways and other main roads in the Czech Republic. If you wish to travel along motorways in your own car, you’ll need to have a special vignette stuck to the front windscreen. These can be purchased at petrol stations and post offices.

Vignettes for vehicles up to 3.5 tons

1 week – 250 Kč
1 month – 350 Kč
1 year – 1200 Kč

Vignettes for vehicles from 3.5 to 12 tons
1 year – 8000 Kč
more information

Tolls

Since 1. 1. 2007 vehicles weighing more than 12 tons must be equipped with a special device which counts the number of kilometres they travel on the motorway. Prices range from 2.30 to 4.20 Kč/km (0,80-1,50 euros). From 1. 7. 2007 these vehicles will also incur a charge for using A roads. You will find more information on this on the Ministry of Transport website (www.mdcr.cz).

Accidents

Should you have an accident and the damaged caused reaches 50 000 Kč (1800 euros), or someone is injured, the police must be called to the scene (call 158). They will then draw up a report on the incident. Accidents must also be reported to the relevant insurance companies. In other cases, those involved in the accident are free to come to their own arrangements.

Roadside assistance

Insurance companies offer roadside assistance across Europe, and the number to call can usually be found on the policy itself. Therefore it is recommended that motorists seek assistance from the service associated with the insurance company with which the car or driver is insured.

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LPG

There are over 750 LPG stations in the Czech Republic. And there are never problems with valves: at Czech stations they have all different types of valves and attachments. As is the case elsewhere in Europe, the staff at the station fill the gas tanks themselves.

The cost of LPG in the Czech Republic

The price you will pay for LPG in the Czech Republic is around the average for Europe. A litre of gas costs around 14 Kč (50 cents).

Tips for visitors

Why not purchase a map of the Czech Republic showing all the LPG filling stations and which includes up-to-date information on opening times etc. The map is available at filling stations.

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Car hire

Tens of Czech and international car hire agencies operate in the Czech Republic. You can book a car over the internet, and it will be waiting for you at the airport. Just show your driver’s licence and passport or other ID at the car hire centre. The minimum hire period is usually 24 hours, and there is normally an age limit of 21. Cars hired from international hire companies can be returned in other countries around Europe.

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City transport

Every large town and city in the Czech Republic has its own transport company which operates a local transport network. At every marked stop you will find detailed timetables of the services that stop there. The timetable also usually shows the time it takes for the service to travel between the individual stops. On board the current station and next stop are usually announced. Buttons to open doors are becoming ever more frequent on city transport. They can be found on the doors themselves (on the tram and metro on both sides) or on hand rails inside the vehicle.

The Prague Integrated Transport System
Passengers can use buses, trams and three metro lines to get around town quickly,
A transfer ticket is valid for 75 minutes on all types of transport (tram, bus and metro) and costs 20 Kč (70 cents). With this kind of ticket, passengers can change as many times they wish and need to.

Tips for visitors

Plan your journey down to the last second at www.dpp.cz/idos.

An interesting fact

Take a trip on a unique funicular railway with superb views from Petřín Hill. Prague transport tickets can be used on the service.

The Prague Metro

The Prague underground system has a total length of 54.7 km. There are 54 stations on the three lines which each have a different letter and colour (A - green, B - yellow, C - red) and three of these are stations where passengers can change from one line to another (Můstek, Muzeum and Florenc).

Other towns and cities with local transport networks

All towns and cities across the Czech Republic have some sort of public transport system. Tickets cost less than in Prague, and the network always covers every part of the town. There are transport networks in Brno, Ostrava, Pilsen, Liberec, Olomouc, Ústí nad Labem and many other places across the country.

Tips for visitors

? If you are planning to stay in a Czech town for a longer period of time, why not find out about discounts available on the local transport network. For instance, in Prague 24 and 48-hour tickets can be purchased.
? When staying in one place for a long time, it is always better to buy a monthly, 3-monthly or even a year ticket.

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Taxi

Like anywhere else in the world, taxis can be hailed in the street or booked over the phone. Numbers for taxi companies in a given town are available at the airport, at railway stations and from hotels. A taxi must bear a TAXI sign on the roof of the vehicle and on the front doors the licence number, the name of the company and the tariffs must be stated. The metre must be switched on at all times.

Taxi fares in Prague

Taxi fares in Prague are regulated by the city authorities. Since 1 January 2007 the following fares have been in operation in Prague: basic tariff - 40 Kč (1,20 euros); per kilometre travelled -28 Kč (1 euro); per minute waiting time - 6 Kč (around 15 cents).

Tips for visitors

Always request a receipt from the metre. This will help you ascertain if you have been overcharged!

Taxis outside Prague

Taxis can be found all over the Czech Republic, especially in large towns and cities (Brno, Pilsen, Olomouc). Fares are lower than in Prague (usually by around a 1/3) and taxi fares are not regulated.

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