Prague Airport to City Centre: All Options

Most visitors arrive to Prague via Prague International Airport (PRG), also known as Václav Havel Airport (named after the first post-revolution Czech president) or Ruzyně Airport (named after the nearby district Ruzyně, pronounced ru-zzy-nye). At present it is Prague’s only airport for scheduled flights.

Prague Airport Location

The airport is located on the north-western edge of the city, just off Prague’s circular motorway (or the section that has been completed, to be precise). You can see the location on the map below:

Airport to City Transport Options

The good thing is that it is much closer than airports in most other cities. The bad thing is that there is no metro or train connection to the city centre. That leaves you with the following options:

  • Buses – cheap (start at CZK 32 = EUR 1.20), frequent (every 6 minutes during the day), operating 24/7; may be slow and hard to navigate for some (there are several different bus lines from airport to city)
  • Taxis & private airport transfer operators – comfortable but often not that much faster than the buses (they take the same streets) and of course much more expensive; risk of being overcharged, especially with smaller operators
  • Airport transfer provided by your hotel – like the above, you will probably pay a big premium for the convenience
  • Someone else (a friend) picking you up with a car – obviously the best but not available to most tourists; free parking up to 15 minutes

Generally, if you don’t have the friend with car option and don’t have money to waste spend on a taxi, the bus is a no-brainer. Personally I have flown to or from this airport many times and I have only taken a taxi once or twice – everything else was bus or car. So let’s start with the buses.

Buses from Airport to City Centre

Unlike some other European cities there are no specialised airport bus shuttle operators like Terravision or Easybus (probably because the distance is too short and competition too cheap for them). All the airport buses are operated by Prague local authority owned public transport company, named Dopravní podnik hlavního města Prahy, or DPP (it means “transport company of the capital city of Prague”). It also operates the metro and all trams and local buses in the city.

This means that:

  • The airport bus tickets are very cheap and also valid in metro and trams.
  • Schedules, price lists and ticket machines are primarily designed with Prague residents in mind. Therefore, finding the right bus number and buying the right ticket may be difficult for a first-time visitor.

Which Number to Take?

At present (June 2016) there are 4 different bus lines (and 1 night bus line) from the airport to different places in the city:

Bus 119: Prague Airport – Nádraží Veleslavín (Metro)

This bus is the best option for most people. It is the most frequent service (every 6 minutes during the day) and connects the airport with the nearest metro station, Nádraží Veleslavín (line A – green). Travel time from the airport to the metro station is 15-17 minutes. From Nádraží Veleslavín there is direct metro connection to the most popular tourist areas: Prague Castle / Lesser Quarter (4 stops), Prague Old Town (5 stops) and Wenceslas Square (6 stops). Total travel time by bus and metro from the airport to Prague city centre is about 30-35 minutes.

Bus 100: Prague Airport – Zličín (Metro)

Bus number 100 goes from the airport to Zličín, the terminus of metro line B (yellow). Travel time from airport to the metro station is 16-18 minutes. From Zličín there is again direct metro connection to Prague city centre. However, the metro ride from Zličín is longer than from Nádraží Veleslavín by approximately 10-15 minutes (it is 12 stops from Zličín to Wenceslas Square). Furthermore, the bus 100 has longer intervals (15 minutes) than the 119. Conclusion: bus 119 is better for most people, except perhaps for those staying around Anděl or Karlovo Náměstí, which are metro stations on line B and also quite popular tourist areas.

Bus 191: Prague Airport – Petřiny (Metro) – Na Knížecí

This one also gets you to metro line A (Petřiny) or B (Anděl / Na Knížecí), but I don’t recommend it because unlike the 119 or the 100:

  • Travel time is longer (20-25 minutes to Petřiny and 50 minutes to Anděl)
  • Intervals are longer (every 15-30 minutes)
  • Departures from the city to airport are more frequent, but only about 1 in 3 buses goes all the way to the airport; others terminate earlier. This may be quite confusing for a visitor. Avoid.

Bus AE: Prague Airport – Náměstí Republiky – Main Train Station

The bus “AE” (Airport Express) can take you directly from the airport to the city centre, namely to Náměstí Republiky (a busy square and popular tourist area at the border of Prague Old Town) or Hlavní Nádraží (central train station). Overall travel time is approximately the same as with the bus 119 + metro (35 minutes to Náměstí Republiky), but with the AE there is no change. Downside is that the tickets are a bit more expensive (CZK 60 one way – more details below) and the service is also less frequent (every 10 minutes in the morning and around noon; every 15 minutes in the afternoon).

Night Bus 510: Prague Airport – Karlovo Náměstí – I. P. Pavlova

All the services listed above (and the metro) operate approximately from 5am to midnight. If your arrival is late or your departure is very early in the morning, you may need to take the night bus. Its number is 510 and it takes you from the airport to Karlovo náměstí (Charles Square) or I. P. Pavlova square in the city centre. The former is good for transferring to night trams – the central night tram junction (Lazarská tram stop) is some 3 minutes’ walk away. The latter provides access to a few other night bus lines.

Prague Journey Planner / Connection Search Tools

There is a journey planner (connection search) available on the official DPP website.

Another useful journey planner tool is available at:
http://jizdnirady.idnes.cz/praha/spojeni/
For English language there is a little English flag in the bottom right corner of the search form. This website is also good to search bus and train connections in the entire Czech Republic. By the way, “jízdní řád” means timetable in Czech.

Prague Airport Bus Stop Locations

First you should know that there are 3 terminals at Prague Airport and each has its own bus stop. The bus stops are named Terminál 1, Terminál 2 and Terminál 3. All the above listed buses stop at all these three stops, except the AE which only stops at terminals 1 and 2. All the bus stops are situated right in front of the entrance to the respective terminals and well signed – you won’t miss your stop.

In general, Terminal 1 is for flights from/to outside the Schengen area (e.g. UK and non-EU flights). Terminal 2 is for intra-Schengen flights (EU except the UK). Terminal 3 is mainly for charter, private and government flights. Most visitors arrive to terminals 1 or 2, which are adjacent to one another.

How to Buy Bus Tickets at Prague Airport

The easiest way to buy bus tickets is from a machine directly at the bus stop. They work in the same way as ticket machines at other Prague stops and metro stations:

  1. First select the type of ticket and push the particular button.
  2. The machine will display the price and amount left to pay.
  3. Insert coins (coins from CZK 1 to CZK 50 are accepted, change is given).
  4. Wait for the ticket to be printed.
  5. Collect the ticket.

Very important: You must validate the ticket immediately after boarding a bus. Otherwise the ticket is invalid and you might have to pay a fine if checked. The validating machines are yellow and there are always several of them scattered around the bus. The validating machine prints current time at the bottom of the ticket. All tickets are limited by time and allow unlimited number of transfers withing the particular zone. When changing buses/trams/metro, you don’t validate the ticket again.

Which Ticket? Prices and Zones

The tickets listed below are valid on all the airport buses except the AE bus.

The most common single ticket costs CZK 32 (about EUR 1.20) and is valid for 90 minutes. This one is the best to buy when taking a bus from the airport to city centre.

There is also a cheaper single ticket for CZK 24, which is valid for 30 minutes only. This is generally insufficient time for travel from the airport to the popular tourist districts. The bus 119 takes 15-17 minutes to the metro, then expect 5-7 minutes for the change and about 10 minutes’ metro ride (to Old Town / Wenceslas Square). Note that some metro stations in Prague city centre are very deep under the surface and it takes very long time to get out. Your ticket must be valid until you leave the paid area, which always ends at the metro station entrance (not just until you get off a train).

Conclusion: Buy the CZK 32 ticket unless you’ve taken the journey before. The price difference is negligible.

Besides single tickets you can buy a 24-hour ticket (CZK 110) or a 72-hour ticket (CZK 310). These must also be validated the first time you board a bus or tram or enter a metro station.

All prices and conditions are valid in June 2016 and might change. Latest official information is available on the DPP website.

Prague Public Transport Zones

It is very simple and most visitors don’t need to worry about zones at all. All metro stations, all tram lines and all buses numbered 100-299 and night buses numbered 500-599 are within the basic Prague zone (marked “P”), with the above listed ticket prices.

Only if you take trains or regional buses numbered 300-499 you might get into a different zone and a more expensive ticket might be required.

AE Bus Tickets

Special prices apply for the AE bus service. A single ticket costs CZK 60 and you buy it directly from the driver (it is best to have the exact change ready). The ticket is not valid on any other bus, tram, metro or train. Official information here (DPP website).