The Main Train Station is probably the train station you’ll use most for day trips from Prague. If you are arriving to Prague on a train, you’ll arrive there and you can also use it for all the major connections within the Czech Republic and internationally (to Slovak Republic, Poland, Germany, Austria and further field).
120 00 Vinohrady-Praha 2
You can find the Main Train Station – Hlavni Nadrazi on Wilsonova Street, few minutes walk from the top of Wenceslas Square, nestled at the bottom of Vinohrady Prague District and also a 20 min walk from Masarykovo Train Station and about 20 min walk from Florenc Bus Station.
You can also take tram or underground from these station, but I’m just mentioning that they are in a walking distance if you’d prefer that to a public transport.
How to get to the main train station
Undeground – Metro
The train station has it’s own underground stop (Hlavni Nadrazi) on the C line.
You can also reach the station using trams no. 5, 8, 9, 15 or 26, night trams 92, 95 or 58 which stop about 5 minutes away on the other side of the small park in front of the train station.
There are also bus lines (stopping right in front of the old part of the building on Wilsonova Street)no 905, 907, 908, 911 or AE.
Walk from Florenc Bus Station – about 20 minutes through not so pretty part of Prague as you’ll need to walk under the main road bypass.
Walk from Masarykovo Nadrazi – about 20 minutes through an older part of Prague and the park in front of the main station.
Walk from Zizkov through the new train station underpass.
Walk from Wenceslas Square – 10 minutes walk pass the main National Museum, new building of the museum (formally a radio station) and Opera building.
Walk from the centre of Prague (Old Town Square) – this is only about 20-25 minutes walk and I do this often as taking the public transport means changing at least 1-2 times (depends on if you are getting the tram or underground) and it works out about the same, plus you can’t really escape the crowds.
You can either find your way to the bottom of the Wenceslas Square and then walk up and take a left when you get to the top.
If you are feeling adventurous walk through the side roads. Star at the Old Town Square, then first to the Estates Theatre on the Ovocny Trh (Fruit Market Square) and then take any road that will cut through the parallel roads, for example, Havirska – Na Prikope – Nekazanka – Jindriska – Jerulazemska – cross the Havlickovy Sady Park in front of the main train station and you are there!
If you take this route you’ll see some amazing Prague houses from the end of 19 century, Jindriska Tower, Church of st Jindrich and Kunhuta and also the most colourful synagogue in Prague as well as plenty of interesting (and independent) shops and coffee places. I always think that’s a pretty cool way to arrive at the main train station!
Getting from prague main train station to Vaclav Havel airport
The Airport Express bus (‘AE’) is a direct shuttle bus (using low level buses with plenty of luggage space) to Prague’s Vaclav Havel airport and runs every 30 minutes. This bus runs 24/7, so you can get to the airport any time you need. The journey takes about 40 minutes and the only stops are Airport Terminal 1 and Airport Terminal 2.
The only snag is that normal public transport tickets are not valid on this particular bus and you have to buy tickets from the driver as you enter the bus. The tickets are 100 CZK one way per person and you can pay by card or with cash.
- Slovak Republic – Bratislava, Zilina, Poprad, Kosice etc.
- Austia – Vienna, Graz, Linz
- Germany – Munich, Regensburg, Berlin, Dresden etc.
- Poland – Krakow
- Ukraine – Kyiv
- Belarus – Minsk
- Russia – Moscow
The ticket offices at the Hlavni Nadrazi are hidden underneath the top floor and not as you’d expect them on the way to the trains.
When you arrive at the station, you can check your train time on the large departure boards and then continue down the stairs (or use an escalator) to the ticket offices, which are in the middle of more shops.
The ticket offices are usually divided into ‘International Tickets – Mezinarodni Listky’ and National – Vnitrostatni Listky’ booths. It’s all written in English and Czech, so you should be fine to find the right place.
I think they will still sell you your ticket even if you are in the wrong queue, but I usually find that the international tickets booths are always slower (as people’s tickets are more complex with seat reservations and buying ticket for a particular dates etc.).
You can buy your train ticket using cash (Czech currency only) or card (any major debit or credit card).
Regio Jet Trains
Regio Jet trains are the yellow ones that you might see sometimes on the platforms. These are run by a private company and you need to buy your ticket in their own ticket offices (right next to the official Ceske Drahy – Czech Trains ticket office) or you can use their app on your smart phone.
These trains are usually long distance trains going to places such as Pardubice, Brno, Olomouc, Ostrava and also Vienna or Slovak Republic. In summer Regio Jet also runs trains to Croatia, which is popular sea side destination for many Czech families for a summer holiday.
The main train station facilities
As you’d expect there is pretty much everything you’d expect at the train train station. There are a couple of restaurants, plenty of coffee places, fast food chains, but also a small (but not overpriced) supermarket, which is open until late.
There is also a large bookstore, which has travel books, maps and a section of English books too.
If you have the time, you can have a coffee in the old part of the train station, where the cafe is set in the old ticket booths.
There are a couple of places you can leave your luggage at the train station. As you enter the main train station, there are some newly installed self-service luggage storage boxes and if you have a smaller to medium bag, this is certainly a convenient place to store them for a day or so.
The main luggage storage place is as you go to to the first platform, opposite the main toilets – if you keep right as you enter the main train station. You pay depending on how big your luggage is (more how much it weights) and how long you want to keep your luggage stored for.
Prices – for small bag you’ll pay approx £2 – 60 CZK for 24 hrs and for a large bag it’s approx 3,50 – 100 CZK for 24 hrs
The left luggage office is open every day from 6 am to 11 pm, but do check when your train connection is, so that you can pick up your baggage before the office closes at 23 hod or 11 pm at night.
There are a couple of toilets – the main one is opposite the left luggage office. You need to pay to enter (last time I’ve checked it was around 20 CZK). It’s worth mentioning that they also have showers there (for an extra cost), which I think it it’s great if you are travelling on the trains for a while and haven’t reached your destination or accommodation yet!
Extra tip – if you are catching a train and you are either short of money or time, wait until you get on the train. The toilets are reasonably equipped with everything you need (water, paper towels etc) and they are free.
Few practical things you might like to be aware of
There are 7 platforms at the Main Train Station, but they are often divided into South and regular number.
If your train platform comes up with say 3 J it means it’s from the south (jih) side of the platform (basically on the right). If the platform comes up with 3 S, it means it’s from the north side (Sever) of the same platform (left side along the platform). Confused much? Yep, me too!
The main thing is to follow the number – say platform 3, take any underpass and then look up again on which side is your train before you go up to the top of the platforms. Sometimes you might need to walk up quite a bit towards one end of the platform before you see your train.
Don’t worry every train platform has the trains displayed and there are also display boards on each train, so you should be fine getting to the right train.
The main train station is always busy, which unfortunately attracts people who might not have your best interest at heart. Please keep all your belongings with you, never leave them unattended and be careful with your purse and money always keeping them safe on your person.
If you walk through the park, you’ll also notice a lot of homeless people and people who sleep rough or beg for money. They are usually fairly harmless and keep themselves to themselves, but if anyone approaches you, just politely decline and calmly walk away.
There are charities and social workers regularly working with these people, so don’t feel that they have no option, then just to be there.
There is a police station at the train station (located on the right-hand side up the first flight of stairs) if you have any problems or needed any assistance.
The Main Train Station History
The Hlavni Nadrazi – The main station was open in 1871 and was originally called the Franz Josef Station (since the Franz Joseph 1 was then the king of Austrian-Hungarian Kingdom which incorporated Bohemia and Moravia at the time).
It’s now called the Hlavni Nadrazi – Main Station, but it was also very briefly (1945-48) called the Wilson’s Station – Wilsonovo Nadrazi (after then President of USA Woodrow Wilson). We always used to call it Wilsonovo Nadrazi as do many people, especially tramps and people you’ll see heading into the countryside camping on Friday afternoon.
Another nickname is ‘Hlavak’ (just main/top), which is used by most people when they talk, although you probably won’t find it written anywhere.
The original train building (designed by A. V. Barvitius and V.I. Ullmann) unfortunately hasn’t survived. It was 150 metres long, had two large towers and more than 22 doors that opened to the train platforms. It was so beautiful, that it was nicknamed the ‘ Chateau Train Station’.
At the beginning of the 20 century the existing train building wasn’t sufficient anymore and the railway company wanted to build a new departure and arrival building.
The current art nouveau style station building was finished in 1909 following a design of a talented architect Josef Fanta. The main entry building with ticket offices (now cafe place) was beautifully decorated with paintings of different towns within Bohemia (presumably that you could reach by train).
There were also restaurants and waiting rooms for public and private waiting rooms, which were used by important guests, such as Tomas Garrigue Masaryk (the Czech president), Thomas Edison, Le Corbusier or Charlie Chaplin. These private waiting rooms were beautifully decorated and are still sometimes opened to public during a special open days.
At the beginning of the 20 century the two wing canopy was also build to cover the platforms (at the time there were 1-4 platforms).
During first 10 years of 20th century the railways company started to experiment with electric locomotives and by 1928 the main train station was fully upgraded to electric rails.
You can still find old outer buildings (going towards the Zizkov hill) like Krenovka (on Husitska Street) that were part of the railways. Krenovka is a large building that was used for keeping locomotives overnight to charge them up.
You can also walk or cycle on the old Prague – Turnov train track, which was closed in 2008 (and re-routed via the newly opened tunnel in the Vitkov Hill), where you can see more of the old track and old railway buildings.
The new extension to the building under the main road bypass was build in the late 70s and at the same time the underground station was opened.
Hlavni Nadrazi underground station is the oldest one on the Prague underground. The work on this station started in 1967 and fully opened in 1974.
When you visit today, you’ll notice that there are platforms on both sides of the tunnel and the underground (and not in the middle like at most Prague underground stations). This is because originally the plan was to build an underground tramway system, but by the time the government agreed the plans they were changed to the underground system.
The bypass road was also build at the time, which meant that you couldn’t enter the main train building from the park or previous road anymore. Most people would agree that it wasn’t the most elegant solution to the station upgrade.
Further upgrades to the interior of the main station were done in the 2011 and made the building (inside) a little brighter and nicer place to wait for your train.
A new underpass was opened at the end of the 7th platforms which leads you to Zizkov. This is quite a good shortcut if you live or stay in that part of the town.
If you go to platform 1 you’ll be able to see a statue of children with suitcases, which commemorates the children transportation to England organised by Nicholas Winton to help them to escape the horrors of second world war and to keep them safe.
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