Renting a car in Prague.
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Renting A Car In Prague: All You Need To Know In 2024 + Tips

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If you are visiting the Czech Republic and thinking about renting a car in Prague, this essential guide covers everything you need to know. 

It includes the pros and cons of hiring a car in Prague, the best places to hire a rental car, the documents you will need and day trip ideas for when you have your car. However, if you decide that car rental in Prague is not for you, we have also included information on how to get around the city without a car

Prague has a rich historical and cultural heritage, and it offers incredible Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance architecture. It has a lively food scene, cheap (but awesome!) beer and a varied, vibrant nightlife. Prague is also a great base from which to explore the surrounding fairy tale castles, scenic landscapes and historic sights of the Czech Republic. 

Plus, all this comes at a much cheaper cost than other European capital cities. Prague is a unique, budget-friendly destination that we guarantee you will love. 

Being from Holland and Poland, we often find ourselves road-tripping between our home countries, and in this post, we are sharing our expertise related to hiring a car in Prague.

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Should I Rent A Car In Prague?

If you are thinking about renting a car in Prague, it is important to think about the pros and cons of car rental in Prague.

Before parting with your money, you need to investigate the costs involved and research where you will be able to park. You also need to be realistic and assess your level of driving experience and how confident you feel driving a Prague car rental in this busy, unfamiliar city. 

The following points will help you choose whether to rent a car in Prague or not. 

Advantages of renting a car in the Czech Republic

✅ Renting a car in Prague gives you the ultimate flexibility. You can go where you want when you want to and not have to rely on public transport schedules. 

✅ Using a car rental in Prague means you can avoid using public transport or taxis. You won’t have to queue and wait for transport in bad weather, nor travel to a timetable or drag your bags on and off buses and trains.

✅ Car rentals in Prague can be useful if you have mobility issues or are travelling with kids and strollers. 

✅ Using a Prague rental car enables you to take easy day trips from the city. You can see and explore more of the Czech Republic than just its capital and visit places that would be difficult or time-consuming to reach on public transport.  

Disadvantages of renting a car in Czech Republic

⚠️ Like most other European cities, Prague roads are very busy. There will be congestion and slow-moving traffic at any time of the day. If you use a rental car in Prague, you may find that you do not travel as smoothly or as quickly as you might have hoped. 

⚠️ If you are a solo or budget traveller hoping to rent a car in Prague, prices may not be within your budget. Unless you can split the cost with another traveller, it may prove more cost-effective for you to travel by Prague’s cheap and reliable public transport system rather than hire a car. 

⚠️ If you are set on car renting Prague, parking will prove challenging. There are only a handful of city centre car parks in which you can park. These car parks charge between €2 – €4 per hour, which is more than a ticket on public transport will cost. Therefore, a full day of parking for sightseeing could prove costly. 

Due to the problems you will encounter driving and parking in Prague, we feel it is not worth the stress, hassle or cost to hire a car in Prague for city centre sightseeing. 

We recommend doing your Prague sightseeing on foot or by public transport. Wait to hire your car when you are ready to leave the city and take day trips into the surrounding area or explore the rest of the Czech Republic. 

This is what we chose to do, and it worked perfectly for us. 

Rent A Car In Prague: Logistics

Hiring a car in Prague.

What is the best way of renting a car in Prague?

If you are planning on renting a car in Prague, it is essential to book well in advance of your trip. This is even more important if you are travelling in peak season or wish to rent an automatic car. Booking in advance will also help you find the best budget car rental in Prague. 

We use and trust Discover Cars. We would not recommend them to you for Prague car hire if we did not think they were a reliable, dependable company. 

Discover Cars is an easy-to-use comparison website. It quickly compares the cars available for your travel dates and lists the cars in order of price and review ratings, so you know you will find the best cheap car rentals Prague has to offer for your trip.  

Using the easy filter engine shows us exactly the type of cars we want to hire. Then the detailed specifications prove useful for helping us decide which car we should book. Plus, we like the fact there are no hidden fees on Discover Cars. 

Discover Cars also offers free cancellation so we can book our cars months in advance of our trips and be reassured that if our travel plans change, we will receive a full refund. 

How much does a car rental In Prague cost?

The cost of car hire in Prague will vary according to the model and size of the car you choose to book, but generally, cheap car rental in Prague is possible if you book well in advance.  

As Prague is a popular year-round destination, we found the cost of renting a car in Prague did not change significantly between the high and low seasons or around major holidays such as Christmas. 

For example, using Discover Cars, the cost of hiring a five-door Hyundai i30 for one week in the peak season month of July costs from £131 / €150. It is the same price for one week in February and for one week over Christmas. 

This works out to be just £19 / €21 per day, so if shared between a group, car rental in Prague is very cost-effective. 

However, if you want a luxury car rental, Prague prices are much higher.

For example, a five-door Mercedes Benz E will cost from £617 / €710 for one week in July, which is a huge increase in price from a perfectly acceptable Hyundai i30! 

So, if you want cheap car rentals in Prague, don’t opt for a premium vehicle!  

Extra charges to be aware of

If you want to explore beyond the city, renting a car in Prague is a great idea.

If you want the time-saving and ultimate flexibility of a 🌟one-way car rental in the Czech Republic, you will be charged significantly more than a return car hire from Prague. 

For example, a one-week hire for a Volkswagen Golf with a pick-up / drop off to one of the Prague airport car rental depots costs from £112 / €129 in July. 

If you were to drop the same car for the same week back at Ostrava Airport in the Czech Republic, the cost would increase significantly to £199 / €229. 

One extra charge that is easy to avoid is the 🌟penalty for not filling up your rental car with petrol before you drop it off at the depot. If you drop off your rental car with an empty tank – or with less petrol than the amount you started with – you will be charged a penalty fee in addition to the cost of refilling the tank. 

Plan ahead to avoid last-minute stress and panic searching for a petrol station. We advise using an online map to work out where you can fill up the route back to the rental depot. 

Furthermore, if you want to rent a car in Prague and use multiple drivers, you will be charged an 🌟additional fee for each extra driver

However, we think this fee is worth it. Sharing the driving shares the stress and allows each of us a chance to relax and enjoy the scenery during our road trips. 

Plus, as we unfortunately know from experience, you can get sick whilst travelling, so having more than one driver able to drive the car covers us should one of us be taken ill. 

Shall I rent a car in Prague Airport?

We recommend picking up your car rental in Prague airport only if you are ready to leave the city for day trips or are heading off immediately to explore the rest of the Czech Republic. 

If you are solely staying in Prague, we don’t think you should use either a downtown or Prague airport rent a car facility. You do not need a car for Prague city centre sightseeing. 

When you are ready for renting a car in Prague, you can return to one of the car rental Prague airport depots or choose a downtown depot. We found that there were similar rental prices between the two locations; the airport wasn’t cheaper than downtown Prague. 

Wherever you choose to rent your car from, we recommend booking in advance with Discover Cars to secure the best price and avoid disappointment. 

Is it easy to drive in Czech Republic?

In our experience, we found the Czech Republic easy and safe to drive in (though we are used to driving on the right-hand side of the road). British, Australian and New Zealand drivers may find it more challenging. 

Road conditions in urban areas are generally good, and there is adequate and accurate signage (though be prepared for some signs written in Czech without a translation). 

If you drive on Prague city centre roads, expect heavy, slow-moving traffic, and you may experience some aggressive, impatient drivers. 

Rural roads may be less maintained than urban roads, so take care when driving in rural areas, especially at night. Generally, we advise against driving at night for safety reasons. 

Rental Car Prague: Requirements 

When you decide on renting a car in Prague, make sure you have somewhere to park.

Can I rent a car in Prague with a US driver’s license?

If you are planning on renting a car in Prague using a U.S. license, you will be pleased to know that this is the only license you need. 

You must be over 18 – though some rental companies will require you to be over 21 – and have held your U.S. license for at least one year. You will also need to show a valid passport. 

However, if you rent a car in Prague and plan to drive it into neighbouring Poland, Austria or Slovakia, you will need an additional International Drivers Permit. These countries bordering Czechia do not allow you to drive solely using a U.S. license. 

Can I rent a car in Prague with a UK driver’s license?

Yes, you can hire a car in Prague and drive around the country using a UK driver’s licence. As long as your driver’s licence is in a Roman script, you do not need an International Driver’s Permit. 

You must be over 18 or 21 and have held your UK licence for at least one year

We advise double-checking in advance with your chosen rental company if you are under 21 or over 70

What documents do I need to drive a rental car in Prague?

As in most other countries, renting a car in Prague requires showing original documentation. You must show the original copies of your valid home driver’s licence plus a valid passport. Copies will not be sufficient. 

Do I need insurance for renting a car in Czech Republic?

Yes, it is mandatory to have third-party liability insurance AND fire insurance if you are driving in the Czech Republic / Czechia. 

Most rental companies include third-party liability insurance (known as Povinné ručení in Czechia) in their rental prices, but we advise checking before you leave the rental depot.

Fire insurance (or KASKO) is also usually included, but again double check before you get on the road. 

Do I need a credit card?

It is a little tricky to park your Prague rental car in Vinohrady.

A credit card is not essential for renting a car in Prague, as you can rent a car using a debit card. 

However, we do not advise paying for your car with a debit card as rental agencies will take a ‘blocking fee’ (a type of protection money) in case you return the rental car with damage. 

Unlike a credit card, this blocking fee is taken off your debit card in cash. The cash is then returned to you when you return the car in good condition. 

However, if, like us, you have a monthly spending cap on your debit card, the blocking fee will count towards it, so it could affect your access to money during your trip. 

Can you rent a car in Prague and drive abroad?

Yes, you can rent a car and drive abroad, but only with a prior agreement with your rental car company. We advise getting this permission in writing or in an email as backup evidence. 

You can expect to pay an additional fee for crossing a border to cover additional insurance and taxes. Plus, in the Czech Republic, you may find some companies don’t want you to take the car into Austria. If in doubt, ask before you rent the car. 

As mentioned above, if you hold a U.S. license and want to drive your Prague rental car across the border into either Poland, Austria or Slovakia, you can only do so if you hold an International Driver’s Permit (IDP)

As more than 150 countries accept the IDP, we advise getting one of these low-cost permits if you can, especially if you are a frequent traveller. 

You can get an International Driver’s Permit in the United States if you are over 18 years old and hold a valid U.S. licence. It is quick and easy to apply for an IDP online or at any AAA office.

Practical Tips For Hiring A Car In Prague + Driving in the Czech Republic

Renting a car in Prague.

If you are planning on renting a car in Prague during your trip, the following tips will help you have a safe, smooth and enjoyable trip.

🚗 Get a full insurance cover

The third-party and fire insurance, which is mandatory in order to drive a car in the Czech Republic, is good insurance, but it is not great. For complete cover – and for peace of mind – we always recommend buying full insurance cover. 

A comprehensive full insurance policy will cover you and your passenger for any injuries you incur from an accident, plus any damage to the rental car. It will also protect any third-party cars, passengers or property who are involved in an accident with you. 

It is essential to read the policy carefully – including the boring small print – as it is important to know exactly what you are and what you aren’t covered for. 

There may be restrictions in the policy that could invalidate your claim should you be involved in an accident.  

🚗 Record the condition of the car

A few minutes spent recording the condition of your rental car before you leave the depot could save a lot of time, stress and money later on. 

Start by checking the damage that is already noted on the rental agreement paperwork. If this recorded damage is worse than the paperwork suggests, ask a rental car employee to change the paperwork and sign off on any changes.  

Then, carefully check the rest of the car for any other damage that might have been missed. Take close-up photos or videos of the exterior and interior of the car, especially potential problem areas such as the front and rear bumpers, the windscreen and headlights.

If you see any damage, no matter how small, ask a rental agency employee to add it to the paperwork and to sign and date it. We advise saving a copy of the photos and videos in case you lose your phone.  

Mala Strana in Prague has various parking restrictions.

🚗 Parking in Prague

Take it from us: parking in Prague is not easy, and it’s not fun! On-street and secure undercover parking in the city centre is very limited. There are only a handful of large city centre car parks.

Parking in Prague city centre car parks can be reserved in advance and paid for online with a credit card at MrParkit.com

On-street parking in Prague city centre is divided into zones. Blue zones are for residents only (who have valid parking permits), so look for orange short-term parking zones or purple long-term parking zones. 

You will need to buy a parking ticket for these zones from a ticket machine or pay online at MPLA.  We advise carrying some cash in case the machine does not accept a card. 

Remember to only park in orange and purple coloured parking zones and to note how long you can park before you walk away from the car. 

Don’t park in a blue zone unless you want to receive a fine or have your rental car towed away! 

🚗 Do I need a vignette for the Czech Republic?

Yes, you will need a vignette to drive on motorways (highways) in the Czech Republic. Some rental companies will supply a vignette with the rental car, but some don’t, so make sure you check before setting off on your Czech road trip. 

The vignettes can last 10 days, 1 month or 1 year. You can buy them at self-service kiosks dotted around the country, in person at Czech post offices, at some petrol stations, at border crossings or online at Edalnice. Electric, hybrid and hydrogen vehicles are exempt. 

Compared to other European countries, the Czech vignette pass is relatively cheap. It costs CZK 310 / €13 for 10 days, CZK 440 / €18 for 1 month and CZK 1,500 / €62 for 1 year. 

🚗 Book your car in advance

Prague is a popular year-round tourist destination, so if you are planning on renting a car in Prague, we advise booking your car in advance.

This means you can secure the type of car you want and at the best price. 

Plus, if you book through Discover Cars, you will have the reassurance of free cancellation should your trip plans change. 

🚗 Stay within speed limits

Speed limits in Prague and the Czech Republic are 130 kph / 81 mph on motorways and highways and 90 kph / 55 mph on major open roads outside built-up areas. 

In built-up residential areas, the speed limit is 50 kph / 31 mph. Watch out for lower speed limits around schools and playgrounds. 

Road Rules of the Czech Republic

There are a few other road rules worth knowing about. 

Firstly, there is a zero-alcohol policy in the Czech Republic. You must not have ANY alcohol before getting behind the wheel of your car. There are fines and penalties if you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol. 

Using mobile phones whilst driving is strictly prohibited, and everyone in the car must wear a seat belt at all times. You must drive using dipped headlights throughout the Czech Republic. 

Car horns must only be used as a warning to prevent an accident. In Prague city centre, using a car horn is not permitted between 9 pm and 5 am in summer months and between 8 pm and 6 am in winter months. 

Best Places To Visit With Rental Car In Czech Republic

After renting a car in Prague, you will be wondering where the best places are to visit on a day trip. The following recommendations for day trips from Prague are based on our recent visit to the city. 

📍Český Krumlov

Cesky Krumlov from Prague

Český Krumlov, south of Prague, is the second most visited location in the Czech Republic. 

The UNESCO World Heritage Site is a charming hilltop town sitting above a bend in the Vltava River. The town has been remarkably preserved over the years, and its narrow, cobbled streets are a joy to wander. 

Visit the 13th-century Český Krumlov castle, the colourful picture-perfect buildings lining Unity Square and the Gothic and Renaissance buildings of the Latrán quarter. 

You will spend hours happily getting lost and soaking up the charm and architecture of this lovely town. It is compact compared to Prague and is easily explored on foot. 

There are lots of churches, galleries and museums to explore. If you want to learn more about the history and culture of the Šumava region, we recommend visiting the Regional Museum (Regionální Muzeum v Českém Krumlově).  It also offers a great view of the Castle. 

  • Distance from Prague – 172 km
  • Drivetime from Prague –  2 hours 10 minutes (using toll roads)

📍Bohemian Switzerland

If you rent a car Prague airport, you can visit Bohemian Switzerland.

Bohemian Switzerland is a national park in the Elbe Sandstone mountains north of Prague. If you like hiking, biking and the great outdoors, you will love this scenic park. 

There are woodland sections, gorges, ravines and rivers to explore. Highlights include canoeing along the Elbe River, visiting Pravčická brána (the largest natural sandstone arch in Europe) and taking a gondolier boat ride through the sandstone gorge

The park is free to enter; you just pay for any activities you wish to do. 

  • Distance from Prague – 128 km
  • Drivetime from Prague – 1 hour 40 minutes (using toll roads)

📍Kutná Hora

Kutna Hora from Prague

Kutná Hora is a small town east of Prague, which was once the centre of the silver mining industry. 

The town is most famous for its 12th-century Cistercian monastery, Sedlec Abbey. The abbey is renowned for its Baroque architecture and, together with Kutná Hora town centre, it is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Another unmissable site is the eerie Sedlec Ossuary. The ossuary (or chapel) is located underneath the unassuming cemetery church of All Saints. 

The chapel is ‘decorated’ with the bones of between 40,000 and 70,000 people. There are bone chandeliers, skull garlands and a bone-constructed coat of arms. It really is a unique – but unsettling – place to visit whilst in the town. 

Other attractions include the Czech Silver Museum and the Cathedral of St. Barbara, part of which dates back to the 14th century. 

  • Distance from Prague – 84 km
  • Drivetime from Prague – 1 hour 2 minutes (on toll roads)

📍Karlovy Vary

Rent car Prague will allow you to visit  Karlovy Vary.

This elegant spa town west of Prague boasts over 80 hot springs. It is known for its ornate architecture and its ‘health tourism’. 

After wandering around the town exploring its buildings and churches, you can ‘take the waters’ for yourself at several day spas. For heated outdoor swimming, visit the Saunia Thermal Baths or if you want to indulge in some wellness treatments, visit the Elizabeth Baths. 

Don’t miss the Hot Spring Colonnade, a new building built in the mid-1970s. It is home to Pramen Vřídlo, a geyser that spurts 12m into the air. 

Younger visitors will enjoy The Singing Fountain, which ‘dances’ to music every odd-numbered hour.  

  • Distance from Prague – 127 km
  • Drivetime from Prague – 1 hour 35 minutes (on toll roads)

📍Karlštejn Castle

Renting a car in Prague will allow you to visit Karlštejn Castle.

Karlštejn Castle, southwest of Prague, is everything you imagine a fairy tale castle to look like. Think ramparts, conical towers and spires! 

There are three tour options for the castle, so you can do one or all of the tours if you want to. Visitors can tour two floors of the Imperial Residence of Charles IV, the ornate Castle Chapels or climb the Great Tower for fantastic panoramic views. 

As the castle is one of the most visited castles in Czechia, we advise you to book your tickets online in advance on Karlštejn Castle’s official website.

  • Distance from Prague – 30 km
  • Drivetime from Prague – 42 minutes (depending on traffic)

How To Get Around In Prague Without A Car

Public Transport in Prague

If you have decided that renting a car in Prague is not for you, there are other options you can use for getting around Prague. 

Public transport

You can use metro, trams, buses, and ferry boats to travel around Prague city centre. Any public transport ticket can be used on all these forms of transport. A public transport ticket can also be used on the cable car to reach Petrin. 

Prague is divided into 13 public transport zones, though tourists will mostly only use the 4 central city centre zones. The cost of your ticket depends on which zones you are travelling in and for how long. 

For example, a 4-zone 90-minute ticket would cost CZK 40 / €1.65 for adults and just 10 / €0.40 CZK for children and students. Children under 6 travel for free. A 24-hour ticket costs CZK 120 / €5  and CZK 60 / €2.50 for concessions. 

With public transport this cheap, you can see why we recommend not hiring a car for Prague city centre sightseeing! 

Tickets can be bought from the yellow ticket machines at the entrances to metro or bus stations and at some bus and tram stops. Helpfully, the machines have an English translation. 

It is essential to validate (or activate) your ticket using the stamping machine once you board a bus or tram, but you only need to validate it once. You can also buy tickets online at Lítačka.

Is there Uber in Prague?

Yes, Uber operates in Prague, and it is a popular form of transport around the city centre. It is usually cheaper when compared to local taxis. 

You can order an Uber in Prague in the usual way via the Uber app.

To get an idea of Uber costs in Prague before you book a ride, visit the Uber Prague webpage. 

Prague By Bike Tour

Photo Credit: Viator

We think exploring Prague on a leisurely 3-hour bike tour is a brilliant introduction to the city. Your guide will bring you past all the major locations, stopping at each one for a short history and cultural talk. 

You can see a lot of the city in a short time, and the tour is a good way to get your bearings or to discover new places to revisit at a later time. 

You will visit the Old Town, the Jewish Quarter (Josefov), Obecni Dum, Wenceslas Square, Kampa Park, Mala Strana (where you stop for a coffee break) and the Charles Bridge, plus the Wallenstein Palace Gardens. 

The cost of this highly-rated tour includes your bike, a helmet and your guide. We think the tour is exceptional value for money. 

As the tour includes both traffic-free and traffic areas, you must be a confident bike rider. Children are also allowed on the tour with age-appropriate bikes available. 

Hop-On Hop-Off Bus

Photo Credit: Viator

A Hop on Hop Off Bus tour is a great way to get your bearings in a new city and to visit a lot of locations in a short amount of time. It is ideal for anyone with mobility issues or for people travelling with kids. 

The Prague Hop On Hop Off Bus has 7 stops, which cover all the major attractions. The 48-hour ticket also includes a 1-hour trip on the Vltava River and two walking tours around Prague Castle and the Jewish Quarter. 

On-board commentary is available in 28 languages. Plus, the bus is accessible for wheelchair users. 

Is Prague walkable?

Prague is a very walkable city. Personally, we feel it is easier to appreciate the city’s architecture when travelling on foot rather than passing by in a car or bus. In fact, much of the Staré Město or old town is closed to traffic, so walking will be your only option in some parts of the city. 

If you’re looking for ideas for walking trails to follow around Prague, Prague.eu has some good ideas, including several routes that are accessible by wheelchair users. 

Renting A Car In Prague: Final Thoughts

Prague is a fascinating year-round destination with many fantastic sights to explore. But we feel it is cheaper, easier and less stressful to explore Prague on foot or by its affordable, dependable public transport than to drive around in a costly rental car. 

If you’re thinking of renting a car in Prague, save it until you are ready to take day trips from the city and explore the rest of this remarkable country.