Your Travel Guide To 2024 Ice Hockey World Championship In Prague

Are you coming to Prague to watch the 2024 Ice Hockey World Championship in May? We've got you covered. Read our local guide to explore all you need to know before you hit the road. From transport through restaurants and bars to the hockey venue, here's how to get the best of the Czech capital.

O2 Arena Prague will play host to the 2024 Ice Hockey World Championship Foto: MICHAL ŠULA / MAFRA / Profimedia

From Locals for Hockey Fans: Your Travel Guide for Prague and the 2024 IIHF World Championship

There are hundreds of travel guides for Prague. It's one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, renowned for its preserved architecture. But how about a tailor-made online guide for hockey fans? Let's dive into it to set you up for your 2024 IIHF World Championship experience.

How to get to Prague – by plane, bus, car, train – and how to get around the Czech Capital

Flying will likely be the most convenient option for travelers. Located in Europe's heart, Prague is accessible from anywhere. And if you're planning an overseas trip, the Václav Havel Airport has direct connections with all major European hubs such as London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and more.

There are multiple ways how to get from the airport to the city center

  • Airport Express bus to the central station may be a reasonable option. Find details about fares here.
  • Taxi prices had been infamous in the past (and sometimes still may be a ripoff in Prague), however, Uber is now an official contractor operating at the airport, which entails a certain assurance you won't be ridiculously overcharged.
  • Regular cab is, of course, still an option, although likely not as viable as Uber.
  • Public transport from the airport to the center may be too complicated for visitors, but still remains an option. There are no trains, trams or subways going straight from the airport, which means you'd need to use one of the regular bus lines first, then transfer to metro or tram stations or switch to another bus line, depending on your destination. A travel planner is available at https://www.dpp.cz/en.

Driving to Prague might be a preferable option for fans from places within a few-hour drive from the Czech border. While it offers a certain freedom to get anywhere and explore different parts of the Czech country, the downside may be street parking. Moving around the city is more convenient via public transport (more on that below), and street parking is often restricted, so you'll likely need to rent space in a parking garage.

Though, if you still prefer to drive to Prague, you will appreciate the online system for highway tolls. There are no vignettes (stickers) anymore; everything is electronic, so you can buy one-day, weekly, or longer passes beforehand or from your phone while on the road.

Bus or train. You can also reach Prague via international bus or train rides. The Czech rail system is less smooth and fast than you may be used to from countries like France or Switzerland. Yet, it still provides a reasonably decent option to reach the Czech capital. Berlin is less than a five-hour train ride from the Prague main station, for example.

Buses connect Prague with plenty of European destinations, too, so you might find a cheap FlixBus or other companies' routes that suit your Worlds timetable and itinerary.

How to get around Prague: Public transport is the best way

Alright, forget the part about how the airport is not too accessible by public transport. When you make it to the city, public transport is easily the best option to move around. For one, you'll fade car traffic, which, at times, can be unbearable – especially during peak hours.

Moreover, Prague's public transport is elite, that is the simplest way to put it. Constantly ranked one of the best-integrated transport systems in Europe, Prague is thoroughly connected via three subway lines and numerous tram and bus lines.

Short intervals will also help your travels. During the day, you don't really need to plan much, if you're in Prague proper. Subway and the vast majority of tram and bus lines run every 5-10 minutes, so you'll never have to wait too long to catch the next ride.

Another great advantage to using Prague public transport is that it's fairly cheap. A complete breakdown of fare pricing is available at https://www.dpp.cz/en/fares/fare-pricelist#prague-adult.

You can purchase single-ride tickets (30-minute or 90-minute), which still allow you to interchange between lines and vehicles however you want inside the time limit. These tickets can be purchased on board the tram, but be aware that if you use the subway, you need to get the ticket first before heading down to the station (as you need to mark it at the yellow posts upstairs).

You can also buy a daily pass or weekly pass; these are available at vending machines at every subway entrance. Once again, the ticket will permit you to use the entirety of Prague's integrated transport system, including buses, trams, subway, and even ferries across the Vltava River.

Also, you can get your public transport tickets via the Lítačka mobile app. Find more details at https://pidlitacka.cz/en.

Sometimes, you might prefer to use Uber, Bolt, or a taxi service such as Liftago, as it may be a cheap and direct way to get you where you need to be. But the hockey arena (O2 Arena) is easily accessible via public transport; it's located near the Českomoravská station (metro line B, highlighted in yellow on maps), and there are bus stops and tram stations within a short walking distance as well.

Public transport map: Subway + tram stations (click the image for full-size map)

Map - Prague metro and tram stations

Public transport map: Subway + bus lines (click the image for full-size map)

Map - Prague metro lines and bus lines

Czech currency: What to be aware of, do you need cash and where to get it?

The Czech Republic is a member of the EU, which makes traveling easier for – well, pretty much anyone, and especially for visitors from other countries in the Schengen area.

That said, our country is not a member of the monetary union, which means we don't use Euro as a currency. Some places, such as hotels and restaurants (in the city center), might accept Euro, but you'd typically get a bad rate.

  • Czech Koruna (Česká koruna) is the currency we use.

While the rate obviously keeps changing, the rule of thumb is that 1 Euro is worth about 25 CZK (a little less these days). If you remember that, you'll have an approximate idea about prices at grocery stores, restaurants, and all.

Hotels, convenience stores, and hockey arenas will accept contactless payments (credit cards, mobile pay etc.). The majority of restaurants will allow credit card payments too, though you may see some places – especially in the F&B sector – that operate on a cash-only basis. So it may be useful to have some Czech cash on hand.

If you need to get cash in Prague, withdrawing money from an ATM machine is the simplest option. However, we strongly advise you to be careful which ATM you use. The city center has certain ATMs with horrendous exchange rates, so try to avoid those (for instance, the blue-and-yellow Euronet ATMs).

Three important points to avoid getting ripped off:

  • Use ATMs from regular banks, such as Česká spořitelna or ČSOB, and you'll have fair rates and pay only small transaction fees or whatever your original bank's deal with foreign banks is.
  • Apply the same awareness if you prefer to get cash at a brick-and-mortar exchange office. There are many solid places that run fair business, but unfortutely, there are also a ton of scam sites that prey on tourists' information or lack thereof – especially in the city center. Fade places that scream 0% commission, and always, always remember the 25-1 rule. If you see you're getting 15 crowns for a euro, you know it's a ripoff.
  • Never exchange cash with people on the street. They are scammers with worthless money. If you plan to get cash, always use either an ATM or a regular exchange office.

If you haven't stumbled upon the Honest Guide YouTube channel yet, you'll definitely enjoy checking it out as you'll learn invaluable information and excellent tips just about anything concerning Prague.

Where to stay in Prague – accommodation options include hotels, Airbnb, and more

Like in any other major city, there are numerous options for accommodation, from five-star hotels through Airbnb apartments to cheap hostels. Each traveler has their own preferences and budget limits, so we won't get too much into many details.

What we can recommend is to look for certain areas where to stay. Prague is not too big, so downtown will be within 30-40 minutes from most locations, even those on the edge of the city limits. That may be helpful for those coming on a tight budget; as always, places further from the downtown area will be typically cheaper.

If you don't necessarily look for a place in the Old Town, the Wenceslas Square, or right next to the hockey arena, we recommend trying to find spots that are close to any of the metro line B stations. That way, you'll have a very smooth connection with both the city center and the arena.

Looking for a cool neighborhood near the arena? Check out Karlín

One particular location that stands out to us is a neighborhood called Karlín. The area boasts tons of great restaurants, cafes, and beer spots with tremendous value – and it's very close to the arena too (5-10 minutes by public transport or a short walk). If you want to enjoy excellent dining options not situated in overpriced tourist-centered locations, Karlín is definitely a desirable spot to hit during the Worlds.

Food options in Prague – our selection of favorite restaurants and bars near the O2 Arena and more

As you'd expect, Prague has numerous food options, from fine dining to cheaper restaurants and fast-food joints. And we don't pretend to be better than Google or Yelp reviews, where you can find whatever you need, tailored to your taste, location, and many other preferences.

But here are several restaurants and bars we, as locals, enjoy – all within a reasonable distance from the O2 Arena. Most of them offer plenty of delicious meals ranging from 10-20 euros.

Restaurants within 15 minutes walking from the O2 Arena:

Restaurants a short ride away by public transport:

Favorite beer spots and bars in Prague:

Looking for a quick bite? Galerie Harfa food court is across from the O2 Arena

Moreover, the Galerie Harfa shopping mall is located right next to the O2 Arena, so you can grab a bite at the food court. If you prefer fast-food chains, we like Bageterie Boulevard. It's a Czech chain and their sandwiches are decent (don't forget patatas!), so if you're looking for a sub, any BB is your spot.

What about Trdelník? Czechs say NO

Prague is, sadly, famous for Trdelník. If you don't know what it is, you'll find out as soon as you walk around the city center. Trdelník is an overpriced pastry sold pretty much on every corner in the Old Town, the Lesser Town, and any other tourist-heavy place.

The vendors pretend it's Czech, traditional, and special. It's neither of them. The sweet cake has nothing to do with the Czech Republic or Bohemian history; it's a street ripoff.

Hey, we're not trying to tell you what to buy or not. If you want to try it, go ahead. There's nothing wrong with liking it. Just don't buy the story that it's a traditional Czech product; that's a blatant lie and scam on tourists.

O2 Arena Prague – Home of the 2024 Ice Hockey World Championship

It's been 20 years since Prague's O2 Arena opened. It remains one of the more modern hockey and concert facilities in the country and, most importantly, the biggest.

With a capacity of 17 or 18 thousand spectators for hockey games, you can expect similar views as at NHL grounds. The lower bowl is obviously more convenient than seats in the uppers, but even the nosebleeds provide a decent view of the ice.

Amenities won't surprise you either; restaurants, bars and all are sufficient, nothing spectacular but alright. As anywhere, the quality won't be up to the same level as at regular restaurants. Fortunately, a handful of them are only a short walk from the arena in case you prefer having a nicer meal before/after games over the inside-arena convenience.

As mentioned, O2 Arena is easily accessible via public transport, so you won't have any trouble getting in and out of the venue. Subway might be crowded for a while with the post-game rush, but the crowds disperse pretty fast. Get a beer inside or near the arena and, in 30 minutes, you won't rub shoulders with as many people on the subway and bus platforms.

If you have a chance to visit any host nation's game, we absolutely recommend you do it. The atmosphere should be nothing short of amazing, definitely better than what you'd find at most hockey venues around the world.

The Czechs are obsessed with the Worlds, it is the number 1 sporting event for them. The building will be packed to the gills and as a visitor, you'll enjoy the unique "Kdo neskáče není Čech" chant with the entire arena jumping up and down.

That said, most games involving the top teams will likely be sold out as well; the Czechs really love international hockey and they won't miss the opportunity to watch Canada, Finland or other top-tier nations in action.

What to do outside hockey: Prague Castle, Charles Bridge... surely you know the drill

You're coming to one of the historically richest and most preserved places in the world. So you won't have any trouble finding sight-seeing spots. Prague is known as the City of a Hundred Spires for a reason. Visit the Prague Castle, walk on the Charles Bridge, or just admire the architecture anywhere in the city. The entire historic center is listed as UNESCO's World Heritage Site. We don't need to elaborate on that, you'll figure it out.

Don't forget to visit the Prague Zoo, it's incredible

What we feel we need to point out, though, is the Prague Zoo. Consistently ranked one of the top 20 zoos in the world, it really is worth your time if there's no hockey on your schedule. It's huge, with many amazing animals, so if you want to spend time outside, hop on a bus at the Nádraží Holešovice station and have fun.

Looking for more sports? How about the biggest football game in the Czech Republic

And if you don't get enough of watching sports, the Czech soccer league will be culminating during the Hockey Worlds! You might enjoy attending a Sparta Prague or Slavia Prague home game. The old Prague rivals are the top two teams in the country, and it seems the title race might be a nail-biter all the way to the end of the postseason.

Sparta and Slavia will likely meet on May 11 or 12 in the championship group, so if you're coming to Prague for the start of the Worlds, you might want to bookmark the Derby pražských S, as we call it.

It's a spectacular event and a tremendous fan experience, although it might be difficult to get tickets: it's literally the biggest game in the country.

1️⃣How to get from the airport to Prague city center?

There are multiple ways to get from the airport, from buses to taxis. Read details about each option here.

2️⃣How do you use public transport in Prague?

Prague's public transport system is constantly ranked one of the best in Europe. Find out about prices, lines, and more.

3️⃣How much is Czech Koruna worth and where to get cash in Prague?

The Czech Republic uses its local currency. A euro si worth approximately 25 CZK. Fade ripoffs by reading useful information about Czech cash.

4️⃣Where to stay during Hockey Worlds in Prague?

Prague is not too big, so getting to the arena will take you under an hour from anywhere inside the city limits. Here's what we recommend.

5️⃣What are locals' favorite restaurants and bars near the O2 Arena in Prague?

Check out our list of favorite restaurants, bars, and beer spots inside the article.

6️⃣What other sports events can I visit in Prague during the 2024 IIHF World Championship?

Football season will culminate in May, so you may be interested in seeing the biggest match in the country.

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