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Prague Main Train Station: Picks, Pans, and Tips

Prague Main Train Station (Praha Hlavni Nadrazi) is the biggest and busiest train station in the Czech Republic. If you visit Prague, chances are you’ll spend some time at this large train station. Here are some tips for making your visit efficient.

 The outside of Prague Main Station (formerly known as Wilson Station)

The outside of Prague Main Station (formerly known as Wilson Station)

TIP: Check out the train schedule before you go.

The website has both English and German versions identifiable by the flag in the lower right corner (hint: Americans, sometimes you need to click on the Union Jack if there is no Stars & Stripes).

 Prague Main Station. Interior, on the track

Prague Main Station. Interior, on the track

TIP: Check in on FourSquare.

Of all the mobile apps I use when traveling, FourSquare is consistently the most useful. By checking in you get access to tons of useful and relevant tips from other users. If you are uncomfortable broadcasting your geo data, you always have the option of doing it off the grid. FourSquare also unlocks a lot of targeted sales and discounts when you check in at restaurants, hotels, and tourists sites. I saved money on concert tickets by checking in to a Sheraton. I really think FourSquare is the Triple A alternative for the mobile generation, complete with discounts. It’s also very helpful at restaurants where the cuisine is unfamiliar.

Afternoon light streams in the windows of Prague’s old Art Nouveau station & Praha Clock. In the old part of the main station

Tip: Avoid the official taxi ranks. Seriously. Avoid official taxi ranks at Prague Main Station.

Taxi drivers in Prague are notorious for overcharging travelers. Usually when traveling abroad “official” taxis are the most honest; this is not the case at the fficial taxi ranks in Prague Main Station. I had drivers at both attempt to charge me 4 times what it should for a ride to Old Town.  If you need a taxi, instead head to the parking lot across from the main entrance, which you reach via stairs.  There I found honest, metered taxis waiting here that would plug my destination address into a GPS and tell me a metered rate before I got into the cab. This metered rate was 25% of what the “official” taxi drivers wanted to charge.

Additional Taxi Tip: ask your hotel or hostel for a recommended taxi service that is the most fair, and keep that card with you if you need to call a cab.

Tip: Consider having a car pick you up.

If your train arrives at a late hour, or you are traveling alone and hesitant about train stations in general, contact your hotel before you go and ask about having a hotel car pick you up. It’s more expensive than a taxi, but if you don’t want to deal with the hassle, it’s often money well spent.

Need to find a place with Wifi? Tip: hit Starbucks… or Burger King.

While I usually don’t recommend fast food chains, I recently discovered that most Burger Kings are in this part of the world offer free wifi. You can buy bottled water instead of a Whopper. A friend of mine met his driver there (his train arrived at a late hour and he had the hotel send a driver).

Tip: If you forgot any essentials for your trip, or need a pharmacy, use the one at Prague main station.

The station was remodeled in 2011 and is a great place to shop for everything from clothes to electronics.  I had difficulty locating a pharmacy in Old Town, and needed some medication. Fortunately, There is a large pharmacy complete with English speaking pharmacists in Prague main station. There is also a large health food store for any alternative health needs (Travel Tip: probiotics are great for traveler’s tummy).

Art Nouveau details at Prague Main Station. The roof of the former booking hall is now a cafe

The roof of old Prague Station. Crumbling and magnificent.

Art Nouveau details at Prague Main Station. The roof of the former booking hall is now a cafe & The roof of old Prague Station. Crumbling and magnificent.

Tip: Spend a little time checking out the old, domed roof of the original station. While most of the station is modern and efficient, there is a bit of the old left in tact. If you find yourself with a little time to spare, go explore the original domed art deco roof of the main station. It’s reached via stairs before the first platform.It’s crumbling Art Nouveau details are absolutely spectacular in the afternoon light and completely contrast to the rest of the modern station, which was renovated in 2011.

 Prague station statues

Prague station Art Nouveau statues