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driving to and in Prague/Czech republic, straightforward?

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driving to and in Prague/Czech republic, straightforward?

We are planning a little roundtrip during 2 weeks in early june. Travelling from the UK, using my own car (a VW Passat) I am planning for one of our first longer stops to be Prague. This will mean entering the country from the north (near Dresden), or maybe the West and then trying to follow major roads to Prague, where I hope to book a hotel with parking available.

So, how easy is it to drive through the Chech republic, quality of roads, unusual traffic rules I have to be aware of and what to expect with regards to road behaviour other road users.

Once arriving at prague should it be quite easy to navigate through town to where ever we find our hotel? (any area we need to aim for?)

after Prague i am planning to drive south to Croatia, to the Plitvice lakes.

thanks for advice

gerbo

Berkshire, United...
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1. Re: driving to and in Prague/Czech republic, straightforward?

You will need to buy a motorway sticker, keep your lights on all the time, obey the speed limit..not much else, it's quite simple.

I think the AA website will give you all information.

Make sure you buy a decent GPS.

This might be helpful

expats.cz/prague/…

Edited: 04 January 2014, 16:39
Berkshire, United...
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2. Re: driving to and in Prague/Czech republic, straightforward?

rac.co.uk/travel/…

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3. Re: driving to and in Prague/Czech republic, straightforward?

as well, the extreme center is pedestrian zoned.... mind the signage, as there is zero tolerance if you mistakenly drive across Vaclav Square..the authorities are waiting.

Prague center is walkable and relatively compact..metro/tram/bus are affordable and reliable so you could opt to stay out of the immediate center.

Edited: 04 January 2014, 16:54
Prague, Czech...
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4. Re: driving to and in Prague/Czech republic, straightforward?

I replied to your post in the German forum with advice on driving from Dresden to Prague. You also mentioned coming from the west - the road from Nuremberg to Prague is much faster than the road from Dresden, where the highway isn't finished yet. But you should take whatever Google Maps tells you is faster.

Once in Prague, it is easy, as the others have said. Just know that Czechs drive very fast and often exceed the speed limit. If you do, you will probably be pulled over. Czech policemen like to target foreign cars, especially those funny British ones with the steering wheel on the wrong side:-)

Regarding driving south, I replied to your other post but you haven't acknowledged that one yet.

Brno, Czech Republic
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5. Re: driving to and in Prague/Czech republic, straightforward?

Choose a hotel outside the centre of Prague and use public transport to get in. It may be easy for those who are initiated, but certainly not for a first-timer. Parking in the centre is limited and expensive if you can find it. All signs are in Czech of course, so you might find that your car has gone to the car pound if you put it in the wrong place at the wrong time ... Basically a car is of little use in central Prague, and is an expensive burden. This is also true in many continental European cities where public transport tends to be excellent and cheap, and cars are more or less actively discouraged.

There is a zero tolerance on drinking and driving, and this even goes for the morning after - the slightest amount will land you in trouble, so ideally you should have a teetotaller behind the wheel :)

Have you ever driven in central Europe before? If not, beware of the give way rules. Trams take precedence over everything and they will not stop if you are in the way. Also the give way from the right rule catches a lot of people out - you have to watch out for the yellow diamonds at each junction, some of which have a diagonal line through it. If you ignore the latter, you might find a car come screaming out from a side road from the right, even if you think you are on the main carriageway. There are no road marking to warn you of this, just the diamonds. You also have to beware of the green lights for pedestrians which aren't always visible - for example if you are turning left at a junction on a green, pedestrians may also have a green, so you have to stop and let them pass, because they take precedence as well. Many of these rules are the same in Austria.

Austrian drivers can be aggressive, and police like to stop foreign cars on the slightest pretext. Make sure you have a vignette for the Austrian Autobahns, also for Slovenia. If you go through Hungary, then you will need a matrica (electronic token for Hungarian motorways - buy at the border).

Roads can be very busy going into Croatia and towards the beaches, but you might miss the main rush. It isn't fun being caught in enormous traffic jams when it is 40C outside.

Berkshire, United...
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6. Re: driving to and in Prague/Czech republic, straightforward?

I think Croatia was answered on another thread

tripadvisor.co.uk/…54969972

and trams don't run as they want but to traffic rules as well...please don't overdo this safety stuff after all there are thousands of foreign drivers on the continent....

Brno, Czech Republic
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7. Re: driving to and in Prague/Czech republic, straightforward?

It can be disconcerting to have a tram coming at you with bells blaring - if you are on their tracks, they take no prisoners - and it is essential to know the pitfalls as it certainly isn't all plain sailing. I just remembered another one - if a tram is at a tram stop you MUST stop before the yellow hatched area to let passengers on and off. This doesn't apply if the stop is on a designated island. Also a 'stop' sign means just that, and by law you have to put your hand brake on, even though it might seem inconvenient to do so - I don't know how many people actually do it, though. I've been fined a couple of times in Slovakia for that one.

The aforementioned give way from the right can also apply on some roundabouts (luckily there aren't many of them) which can cause confusion.

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8. Re: driving to and in Prague/Czech republic, straightforward?

We just got back from two weeks in Prague, Salzburg and Budapest. Found the major highways to be in great condition. As others have mentioned, each country requires a vignette (motor sticker). Since we were only driving for a week, we just got the "minimum". You can get them around the border at a gas station. Not much English is spoken, but you can get the message across. They are used to it.

No right turn on red like in the US. Don't know your UK rules.

Everyone does drive very fast, so be aware.

GPS is essential! We would have been dead without it.

We got lucky on parking - in Budapest we parked on the street, in Salzburg behind an old church and on the street in Prague. But we were lucky. Normally city parking is $25-35 a day. In Prague on the last night we stayed at the Hilton outside of the City Center and again, were lucky to find a place on the street for the night. Although it is fun to stay in the Little Quarter or Old Town, you will pay for it with the parking fees. If you can find an apartment or hotel outside, you can take the subway or tram into the city - SOOOOO easy to get around on public transportation and it is part of the fun and adventure.

Have a great time.

Prague, Czech...
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9. Re: driving to and in Prague/Czech republic, straightforward?

this is really easy, but you should know the rules, no worries for uk plates, too many on the road, advice to have cam installed on front windscreen, helps you in case of accident, rules check on this web: royalrent.cz/car_rental_Prague_car_hire_Czec…

GPS is very helpful, streets are in czech lang., before you park the car outside the city, be sure the ticket price is cheaper then to park in the center.

10. Re: driving to and in Prague/Czech republic, straightforward?

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