Discover Prague for less

Prague has long had a reputation as a top-notch budget getaway city – and although the days of jaw-dropping low prices are over, the Czech capital won’t punish your wallet like many other destinations can. Europeans.

Its good value for money is partly due to the affordability of some key ingredients for a great vacation, namely public transport, food and beer. It also doesn’t hurt that the city’s medieval center is akin to a free-wheeling open-air gallery, where Gothic grandeur, startling street art and ancient flower gardens can all be admired for free. .

Still, it helps to have some money-saving tips handy if you want to stick to a budget. Here are some ways to cut your costs when visiting Prague.

Flying is often the cheapest way to get to Prague

Most major European airports, and some smaller regional airports, offer regular low-cost flights to Prague. Book well in advance for the best deals, and be aware that some routes don’t operate in winter. If you’re connecting via a European capital, do some research before booking a cheap flight from an airport on the other side of town, as transfer fees could negate any airfare savings.

The plane is generally cheaper than the train. That said, if you want to gorge on scenic views and visit a few different towns along the way, it’s worth investigating train tickets; a single seat from Brussels to Prague can be had for as little as €35 ($40).

Travel from the airport to central Prague for less than $2

Prague’s public transport system is safe, reliable and excellent value for money. Using the network to get from the airport to the center of Prague takes around 50 minutes, and although a bus-to-metro transfer is required, the journey costs only 40 Kč ($1.80). You can buy tickets at the visitor information desk or at the vending machines in the terminals. (Be sure to check your bank’s charges before using your debit or credit card abroad.)

Visiting Prague in winter brings low prices and few crowds © Mark Read / Lonely Planet

Visit in winter for half price accommodation

Apart from the festive month of December, winter in Prague is a cold and calm season. That peace of mind not only means fewer people drifting off to your photos, but also big savings on accommodations, with some hotel rates dropping to half their August peaks. Of course, these winter deals come with a trade-off: shorter days and freezing temperatures make it harder to relish the city’s free but mostly outdoor entertainment. One possible solution is to invest in a sturdy winter wardrobe and plan an occasional stop at a beer cellar or café.

Stay out of the center

Whatever the season, you’ll find compelling accommodation prices by booking at least a few months in advance and looking beyond Prague’s cobbled center. The districts of Karlín and Holešovice are well served by trams and metro, and their colorful buildings house a choice of simple holiday apartments and friendly hostels. Staying in either neighborhood means being close to great nightlife without risking falling into a tourist trap.

Backed by Nové Město (New Town), leafy Vinohrady is perhaps one of the most sought-after (and expensive) addresses for locals and expats alike, though it also offers its share of impeccable holiday stays. and economic. Hostel One Míru offers guests free city tours and serves free family dinners.

A parade of vintage red trams passes through the historic center of Prague
Explore Prague by tram and metro with a cheap day pass © J. Lekavicius / Shutterstock

Determine which ticket is right for you

Transit tickets last 30 or 90 minutes, with one- or three-day passes also available. Once validated, all allow you to switch between metros, trams, buses and ferries within the given time. One- and three-day passes also include the Petřín Funicular, which otherwise costs 60Kč ($2.70)

It’s worth checking the various prices and making rough calculations based on the route to maximize value for money; whichever ticket you choose, you’re guaranteed to get a bargain. Keep in mind that the knotted lanes of Staré Město (Old Town) and Malá Strana (Little Quarter) are compact and pleasant to explore on foot.

To take a walk

Pack a pair of your most practical shoes and discover Prague on the ground floor – for free. If you need a little help getting your bearings, it’s possible to book walking tours that run on a tip-only basis. Prague Extravaganza will take you past the elegant Art Nouveau facades and fairytale Gothic towers of Prague’s Old Town and Jewish Quarter. Their knowledgeable guides also run regular walks over Charles Bridge and up to the free courtyard and garden complex of Prague Castle.

Two boys with hats, scarves and a teddy bear walking the cobblestone streets of Prague
There’s no better – or more cost-effective – way to explore Prague than on your own two feet © Tatyana Tomsickova Photography / Getty Images

Look for lunch specials

The trend for weekday lunch specials arose in response to many office workers in Prague receiving food stamps and benefits. Luckily, you don’t need to dress in formal attire to enjoy the discounted meals. Instead, keep an eye on the court deni menu (daily menu) offered by many restaurants between 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., on which a soup costs about 50 Kč ($2.30) and a small main course is 110-140 Kč ($5-6.50).

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eat vietnamese

Prague’s large Vietnamese community means you’re never too far from an authentic, value-for-money bowl of pho. Head to Phở Bar ​​on Národní or throng Pho Vietnam Tuan & Lan in Vinohrady to try some of the best noodle soups in town. In addition to comforting broths, Bao Bao serves affordable dishes bao Generous bread rolls and dishes. Deli Viet, off Wenceslas Square, offers quick service and filling portions.

Drink local beer

The Czechs produce some of the best beer in the world, served at equally competitive prices. Pilsner Urquell, Budvar, Gambrinus and Kozel are popular beers, and a big 500ml tanker of these local lagers will set you back around 50 Kč ($2.30) in a downtown pub. For even more reasonable prices, head to the outlying districts: the student town of Žižkov has a well-deserved reputation for offering a cheap and loud night out.

Men raise their glasses of beer in a toast at an open-air pub in Prague
The great value – and great taste – of Czech beer is worth toasting © Gabriel Kuchta / Getty Images News

Bring a picnic blanket

Despite the excellent value for money of many Czech restaurants, you can still save a few crowns by packing a picnic. Keep an eye out for branches of Albert, Billa or Tesco supermarkets for reasonably priced groceries. Alternatively, indulge your senses with a visit to a farmers market. On Saturday mornings there are seasonal fruits, pieces of fresh bread, jams, honey and all kinds of pastries in Naplavka; it is also worth browsing through the farmer’s market in Jiřího z Poděbrad from Wednesday to Saturday. Bring your loot to the grassy slope of Riegrovy sady and dine while admiring the spire-filled horizon.

If whipping up your own feast sounds complicated, get a chlebicek. These traditional open sandwiches are the ultimate in inexpensive Czech fast food. The versions sold by Sisters Bistro and Ovocný Světozor are worth the lunchtime queues. Alternatively, popular butcher Naše Maso sells meatloaf sandwiches and sausages cooked with homemade mustard for less than 100 Kč ($4.50).

Choose your attractions wisely

Both the Prague City Pass and the Prague CoolPass promise free and discounted entry to some key museums as well as guided tours. While you can argue which offers better value for money, neither offers good returns unless you work hard to cram most of the included attractions into your itinerary.

Daily costs

Hostel dorm: 450–900Kč ($18–40)
Basic room for two: 1100–2200Kč ($50–100)
Self-catering apartment (including Airbnb): from 1,400 Kč ($60)
Public transport ticket: 30Kč for 30 minutes ($1.4), 330Kč for a 3-day pass ($15)
Coffee: 60 Kč ($2.70)
Traditional open sandwich (chlebicek): 40Kč ($1.80)
Dinner for two in a traditional Czech restaurant: 400–1200Kč ($18–$55)
500 ml glass of Pilsner Urquell beer in a pub: 40-60 Kč ($1.80-2.70)

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