Maximum length of stay on a visa exemption
As a Schengen signatory state, in general, non-EEA citizens who qualify for a visa exemption can only stay for a maximum of 90 days in a 180 day period in the Schengen zone including the Czech Republic as a whole.
However, for non-EU/EFTA citizens whose home country/territory had an existing bilateral visa exemption agreement with the Czech Republic before it fully implemented the Schengen acquis, the maximum length of stay on a visa exemption as stipulated in the bilateral agreement continues to apply, rather than the Schengen regulations. In effect, this means that for these non-EU/EFTA citizens, they can spend up to 90 days in the Czech Republic visa-free and are not limited by the Schengen limit of 90 days in a 180 day period.
Non-EU/EFTA citizens whose home country/territory had an existing bilateral visa exemption agreement with the Czech Republic before joining the EU are: Andorra, Argentina, Brazil, Brunei, Costa Rica, Chile, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong SAR, Israel, Japan, Macao SAR, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Uruguay, the Vatican and Venezuela - but not Australia, Canada or the United States.
More information about these bilateral visa exemption agreements is available at this webpage of the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic under the 'Conditions for a short-term stay' section as well as this article. This document also provides a comprehensive list of visa waiver agreements with the Czech Republic some countries have unilateral, rather than bilateral visa agreements.
The Czech Republic is a member of the Schengen Agreement.
There are no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented this treaty - the European Union except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. But be careful: not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen members are part of the European Union. This means that there may be spot customs checks but no immigration checks travelling within Schengen but to/from a non-EU country or you may have to clear immigration but not customs travelling within the EU but to/from a non-Schengen country.
Please see the article Travel in the Schengen Zone for more information about how the scheme works and what entry requirements are.
International bus service runs from many cities in Europe with direct connections from Germany, Poland, Netherlands, Slovakia, Switzerland, Austria etc. Good service is offered by Eurolines bus company (http://www.bei.cz) and Student Agency (http://jizdenky.studentag...). Cheap tickets from Poland are offered by PolskiBus (http://www.polskibus.com/en).
Vaclav Havel Airport – located about 10km west of the centre of Prague, Praha in Czech, is a hub of Czech national carrier – Czech Airlines ČSA, a SkyTeam member.
Other international airports are in Brno with flights to London, Moscow, Rome, Bergamo, Eindhoven and Prague, Ostrava flights to Vienna (suspended, London, Paris CDG and Prague), Pardubice, Karlovy Vary flights to Moscow and Uherské Hradiště.
There are several low-cost airlines going to/from Prague e.g. EasyJet from Lyon. Ryanair flies to Brno from London and Bergamo and to Ostrava from London. Other nearby airports are Nuremberg 300km and Munich 320km in Germany, Vienna having a bus shuttle to Brno city 260km to Prague, 110 km to Brno in Austria, Wroclaw 200km in Poland might be a good idea if you want to go to the Giant Mountains and Bratislava 280km to Prague, only 120km to Brno in Slovakia.
In order to transfer from Ruzyně Airport to the centre of Prague and beyond, you can take:
PragueTransfer(http://www.praguetransfer.net) Minibus service. Prices range from €25 for a party of 4 to €180 for a party of 49.
AirportShuttle.cz(http://www.airportshuttle.cz) Minibus service. Prices range from €9 for an individual to €3 per person for a party of 15 i.e. €45
Airport Express(http://www.prg.aero/en/pa...) Czech railways public bus service. CZK60 per ticket. This bus stops at terminals 1 and 2. It connects to Metro line B "Náměstí republiky station", Train Station Masarykovo and to Prague Main Train Station in 35 minutes.
Public bus lines(http://www.prg.aero/en/pa...) Tickets can be purchased at the arrivals halls of terminals 1 and 2, or from ticket machines placed at bus stops for CZK32. Tickets can also be purchased directly from the driver for CZK40. None of these services are direct to Prague centre but will take you to the nearest Metro station, where you can continue to the city centre. The ticket is valid for 90 minutes in all buses, trams and Metro and needs to be stamped after entering the vehicle or while entering a compulsory ticket area. Routes servicing the airport are:119 Terminates in 17 minutes at the "Nádraží Veleslavín" Metro Station. Transfer to Metro line A for city.100 Terminates in 18 minutes at the "Zličín" Metro station. Transfer to Metro line B for city.510 A night service every 30 minutes. Goes to the south of the city, but passes near the centre "Jiráskovo náměstí" or "I.P.Pavlova" stops which takes 42 minutes.
TaxiAirport authorised service. Rates are CZK28 per kilometre plus CZK40 per journey.
Travel Document Requirements
For EU, EEA and Swiss nationals, passports and national identity cards only need to be valid for the period of their stay in the Czech Republic.
For all other nationals, passports/travel documents must be valid for a period of at least 90 days beyond the expected length of stay in the Czech Republic/Schengen Area.
EU nationals whose stay in the Czech Republic will exceed 30 days are required to register within 30 days on their arrival in the Czech Republic with the Alien and Border Police; other foreigners must register within 3 working days. In case you stay in a hotel or similar institution, the provider of the accommodation should arrange this registration for you.
Children inscribed in their parents´ passports are allowed to travel with their parents up to the age of 15. Once the child has reached the age of 15, a separate passport is necessary.
Visit this webpage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic for more information on what constitutes a valid and acceptable travel document for the purpose of entering the Czech Republic.
EC trains operate every two hours from Berlin or Hamburg to Prague and Brno. Direct overnight sleeper car serves Cologne, Frankfurt and Karlsruhe. Cheap tickets on these direct trains are available at German Railways website (http://www.bahn.de), if bought in advance. The price begins at €19–€39 for seat and €60 for couchette.
German Railways operate express non-stop buses every two hours between Mannheim, Nuremberg and Prague, fully integrated to German railway tariff. If you have an InterRail or Eurail pass, consider that these buses require compulsory reservation.
There are four daily trains from Munich to Prague with a followup from Nuremberg, but they are slower than the abovementioned bus, because of slow and curvy although pictoresque railway at southwestern Czech border. The cheapest way to use them is a regional Bayern-Böhmen-Ticket (http://www.bahn.de/region...), valid up to Pilsen, combined with a Czech domestic online ticket.
Similarly, there is a cheap local train i.e. not EC or EN connection from Dresden to Prague, changing trains at Bad Schandau and Děčín, taking advantage of Sachsen-Böhmen-Ticket (http://www.bahn.de/region...) or Elbe-Labe-Ticket (http://www.vvo-online.de/...).
In the vicinity of the Czech-German-Polish three country border, you may profit from the unified fare of the ZVON transport system (http://www.zvon.de/)
There is one direct EC train from Warszawa to Prague and two more to Ostrava, continuing to Vienna. There are also direct sleeper cars from Warszawa and Kraków. The promotion tickets for the trains costs €19–€29, if bought at least three day in advance, however Polish railways do not sell these tickets online, you have to visit the ticket counter. The regular oneway price from Warszawa to Prague is €70 return €105, from Kraków to Prague is €43 return €73.
There is no daytime direct train from Kraków to Prague, as the Polish rail track is not fast enough. However, Czech train operators provide a combined bus+train service. Regiojet promotion fares start at €15, Leo Express at €15, Czech Railways at €20. Czech Railways accept Interrail tickets as well.
Apart from the long-distance trains there are very few local trains. For long-distance travel a semi-fast train from Wroclaw to Pardubice can be useful.
In local trains not IC or EC, it is possible to buy a special cross-border ticket Polish: bilet przechodowy which is valid between the Czech and Polish or vice versa border stations and costs only CZK 15 or PLN 2. You can buy it from the conductor on the train or completely ignore it if the conductor does not emerge before you reach the other border station, which happens and combine it with domestic tickets of the two countries. In the vicinity of the Czech-German-Polish three country border, you may profit from the unified fare of the ZVON transport system: (http://www.zvon.de/).
As parts of former Czechoslovakia, the trains between Czechia and Slovakia are frequent. EC trains operate every two hours from Bratislava to Prague and Brno, and from Žilina to Prague and Ostrava. There are also daily trains from Banská Bystrica, Zvolen and Košice to Prague. All these cities also have a direct overnight sleeper car connection to Prague.
Regular oneway ticket to Prague costs €27 from Bratislava and €42 from Košice. There is a return discount of roughly 30% called CityStar. Slovak railways (http://www.zssk.sk/) also offer discounted online tickets in advance - e.g. the day train from Bratislava to Prague costs €15, Košice to Prague €18, and night train including couchette reservation from Košice to Prague €27.
Private rail operators Regiojet (http://www.regiojet.cz/) and LEO Express provide a single daily connection from Košice to Prague via Žilina as well, with discounted online tickets starting at €9 and €12.
Railjet trains from Vienna to Prague and Brno operate every two hours. From Linz to Prague there are two directs connections and three more connections with change in České Budějovice.
Cheap tickets to Prague, Brno and Ostrava are available at Austrian Railways website (http://www.oebb.at), if bought at least 3 days in advance. The price begins at €9 for Vienna-Brno, €19 for Vienna-Prague.
If you cross the border in a local train not IC, EC, you can take advantage of discounted return ticket EURegio (http://www.oebb.at/en/Tra...).
The full-price international tickets are quite expensive, so if no commercial discount fits your needs, you can combine domestic tickets to save money:
Buy a German/Austrian/Slovak/Polish domestic ticket to the Czech border point and then ask the Czech conductor for a Czech domestic ticket starting at the border point the surcharge for buying the ticket in the train is CZK 40. Remember there is a significant group discount starting from 2 passengers. According to the Czech Railways website, conductors on international trains should accept payments in EUR (http://www.cd.cz/vnitrost...).
On weekends, instead of the standard Czech domestic ticket, you can also buy online a network ticket called Skupinová víkendová jízdenka (https://www.cd.cz/eshop/n...) for CZK 600 valid up to 2 adults and 3 children for one weekend day. You have to print this ticket on your printer or present it on the screen of your notebook.
The border point names are:
from Berlin: Schöna Gr.
from Vienna: Břeclav Gr.
from Linz: Summerau Gr.
from Bratislava: Kúty Gr.
from Nuremberg: Furth im Wald Gr. trains via Schwandorf or Cheb Gr. trains via Cheb
from Munich: Furth im Wald Gr.
from Košice: Horní Lideč Gr. trains via Vsetín or Čadca Gr. trains via Ostrava
from Warszawa and Kraków: Zebrzydowice Gr.
from Wroclaw: Lichkov Gr.
The Gr. means a border point to distinguish them from stations with the same name.