How to Buy Tickets for Trips near Prague Easily

suburban train Czechia

Are you going on a trip somewhere close to Prague? Did you know that there is an easy way of buying tickets for travels around Prague and the surrounding Central Bohemian Region? (By the way, that’s quite a large area!) It’s very convenient, and can even save you some money. Locals approved! Read on! 😉

Prague Integrated Transport (PID) Tickets

In Prague and Central Bohemia, there is a unified system of public transport called PID (stands for Prague Integrated Transport). It includes all public transport means in Prague (metro, trams, city buses, and trains), as well as suburban buses, and most trains operating in the Central Bohemian Region.

Within this network, you can travel with a single ticket. For example, let’s say you want to travel from the Prague city center to Bezděz Castle (located in Central Bohemia). You’ll buy a ticket before getting on the first public transport mean (e.g., a tram in Prague). This ticket will be valid until you get off the train at your destination in Bezděz.

All you need to know is what kind of ticket to buy, and for what price.

PID ticket fares

The price of a ticket depends on two things. The first one is the number of zones you’ll be traveling through. The other is the amount of time you’ll need for the journey.

In the PID system, there are 13 zones altogether. Prague counts as four zones (don’t ask my why). In addition to Prague zones, there are 9 outer (suburban) zones, which are arranged as rings around Prague. The zone closest to Prague is zone 1, followed by zone 2, etc.

PID ticket zones
PID zones (source: PID)

A ticket for a specific number of zones is always valid for a certain amount of time. The more zones you buy, the longer validity you get. During that period, you can travel within the specified zones as much as you like. If you need to spend more time in these zones, just buy a ticket with a longer validity (i.e., a ticket for more zones).

number of zones:2345678910111213
validity (hours):0.511.522.533.544.555.56
price (CZK):1824324046546268768492100
PID ticket fares (source: PID)

What zone is my destination in?

Now, we are familiar with how it works. But how to find out what zone your trip destination belongs to? Well, it’s quite easy. There are two ways how to figure it out.

The first option is going to the PID website. Look for your connection there. Together with the search result, you’ll get the information on zones (the blue numbers next to departure time), and the ticket price (below):

PID timetable
Connection from Prague Main Station to Bezděz (source: www.pid.idos.cz)

A comfier way is to install an app on your phone. That app not only allows you to search for a connection and get info on the zones. You can buy your ticket in that app straight away!

That mobile app is called PID Lítačka, and it’s the official application of the Prague Integrated Transport. You can download it for both iOS and Android.

Buying PID tickets in PID Lítačka app

If you have the PID Lítačka app, it’s easy to pay for the ticket with your payment card. Before paying, the app will ask you to set the time the ticket will be valid from. This option can be set to immediately / at a specific time (according to the search result). Alternatively, you can buy the ticket in advance and activate it later manually.

Caution! ☝️ Internet connection is required to buy and activate the ticket! Once you’ve bought and activated it, you don’t need to be online anymore.

After the purchase, you’ll get the ticket as a QR code. You will show this code later to the ticket inspector or the driver after getting on a bus. Don’t forget to charge your phone battery before you set off! If your phone dies, you’ll not have any proof that you have purchased the ticket.

Buying paper PID tickets in vending machines

If you don’t trust your phone (because it’s an old guy 😊) or if you just prefer buying paper tickets, don’t worry! In Prague, PID tickets are sold in vending machines. They are located at the metro entrances and often also at the tram/bus stops. For the most part, you’ll be able to pay for the ticket with your payment card. Some older vending machines accept only coins.

If you buy the ticket in a vending machine, don’t forget to validate it before the journey! The stamp machines are yellow boxes with a narrow hole. You’ll find them inside a bus/tram, at the metro entrance, or somewhere at a train station. Put the ticket inside the machine, wait for a sound signal, and that’s it! Just to be sure, check if there is a stamp on it.

ticket vending machine Prague
Ticket vending machines in Prague and a stamp machine

Buying PID tickets outside of Prague – from the driver!

In the suburban areas, you can buy the PID ticket from bus drivers. On trains, conductors only sell the train company tickets (but they recognize valid PID tickets).

If you buy your ticket from the driver, you don’t have to validate it. There is a time stamp on it already.

In case you need to transfer, make sure that the driver sells you the right ticket. Otherwise, you may have to buy another one after you change. On a bus, you can sometimes pay with a card. But you can’t make a mistake if you also have some cash on you.

Bus drivers usually don’t speak much English (and if they do, they feel ashamed doing so, haha). For you, it may also be hard pronouncing Czech names. So, if you feel like, write the name of your destination (or the number of zones) on a piece of paper. Then, show it to the driver.

Troubleshooting buying paper PID tickets outside of Prague

At the train stations outside of Prague, you might have a hard time buying or validating the PID ticket. The ticket vending machines are located only at the larger train stations close to Prague. That’s why I recommend buying the paper ticket for your way back in advance in Prague.

But, there can be another problem. Many train stations (especially these further from Prague) don’t even have the stamp machine 🤦. So, even though you have a paper ticket, you can’t validate it. In these cases, you will probably have to buy a regular train ticket at the station.

But wait, some trains do have the stamp machine on board. Confusing, huh? Even for the locals… 😤

Luckily, you can check your options before you head off on your trip. In the picture below, you’ll see all train stations integrated into PID.

The stations marked with a black point do have a stamp machine. The blue-marked ones don’t have any stamp machine, but there is one on board the train. The red ones are bad. At these stations, the stamp machine is neither at the station nor on the train. The small pink square indicates stations equipped with a ticket vending machine. If the station name is underlined, it means they sell the PID tickets at the station ticket office:

PID railway
Train stations integrated into PID (source: PID)

Is it even worth it?

Now, you probably ask: is it even worth the sweat? It seems so complicated! 😅 My answer is – it’s up to you!

If possible, I always buy the PID ticket in my PID Lítačka app. I like it, because I don’t have to buy several separate tickets (e.g., one for the Prague metro, and the next one for a train). And it’s always cheaper! If you travel a short distance, you won’t save much. But if you travel to Bezděz with the PID ticket, it will save you 100 CZK! (=🍺🍺🍺! 😜)

At the very end…

Keep in mind: Not all buses and trains are integrated into PID. Especially on most fast trains and long-distance coaches, they don’t recognize PID tickets. If you search for a connection on the PID website or in the PID Lítačka app, you’ll only get results for PID-integrated trains and buses.

If you want to be more flexible or if you need to travel outside the Central Bohemian Region, use the IDOS.CZ search engine. Read more about it in my post about Czech timetables!

Are you still here? If you have managed to read the whole post, write me a comment! ⬇️😉🙃😂

2 Comments

  1. Jitka

    Very informative… definitivně velká pomoc s plánováním… problem je teď že manžel je v wheelchair a já si myslím že Praha ještě není na wheelchair připravená..🤔🤔🤔😥

    • Nikola

      Oh, I see… Sorry to hear that…
      It depends, where are you going to. In Prague, getting around by public transport is not a problem even for disabled people. But sidewalks are often quite tricky, with too many barriers. And riding over the cobblestone pavement can’t be much fun either.
      I found two online maps showing the accessibility of various places, maybe they could be interesting for you:
      https://mapybezbarier.cz/en
      This one is in Czech only:
      https://www.vozejkmap.cz/

      And thank you for your comment Jitka! I guess I could make a post on this topic! 🤔

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