Chelsea fans guide to Prague

While our International Ground Guide is undergoing some maintenance ahead of the new season, we thought we'd provide our usual service of advice and information for travelling supporters in brief blog form.

Once up and running again our ground guide will cover all manner of information from travel options to hotel advice, eating and drinking suggestions to practical tips on getting around, along with safety and security advice and anything else we think will be of use to travelling supporters. 

In the meantime, while the below might not necessarily have all the information you'll be after if you're heading out to Istanbul this week, we're always available to help - just drop us an email if you have any questions.

We'll do our best to find out what you need to know, either from our own vast experience in covering England and Wales games abroad, or from our friends at Football Supporters Europe.

The Stadium

The Eden Arena (pictured above), like the 'usual' host of the Super Cup, the Stade Louis II in Monaco, is somewhat on the small side - it'll fit 21,000 souls rather snugly in its all-seater confines.

Home to Slavia Prague, and Bohemians (as well as the European home of Viktoria Plzen) it is located in the Prague 10 disrict on Vrsovice, one of the city's main avenues, around 2 miles southeast of the city centre. It is well served by tram routes (look for the 'Slavia' stop on tram routes 7, 22, 24, 55, 57 and 59) and is easily reachable in a taxi.

The City

Prague is split up into 13 districts, but unfortunately for the tourist passing through you're unlikely to see numbers 11-13 on any street signs, because the signs pre-date the new system and refer to the old districts, which were numbered 1-10. In this guide we'll refer to the old system to avoid any confusion. As you can see from this map, the city centre and vast majority of the sights are in district 1, while the south of the city centre is in district 2. The Old Town Square is in Prague 1, for instance.

The Main Sights

Prague castle, on the left bank of the Vlatava, is one of the biggest ancient castles anywhere in the world. At one of the highest points in the city it offers wonderful views back across the river towards the city centre. Entrance fees are around £14 (350 Koruna), and that gets you access to the castle, its grounds, the art gallery and the royal gardens.

Back in the city centre, no trip to Prague is complete without checking out the Charles Bridge and the Astronomical Clock. The 14th century bridge is one of Prague's best known sites, and during the day is a real tourist-trap. The Staré město or Old Town Square is where you'll find the Astronomical Clock (pictured below) and as the centre of the Old Town a number of Prague's oldest buildings, including Gothic churches such as Tyn Church, and the Jan Hus monument.

Prague is also home to a large Jewish quarter (known as Josefov) where you will find a lot of ancient synagogues, as well as the Jewish Museum.

In the new town, you'll find Wenceslas Square which is home to the National Museum and a number of shops, restaurants and market stalls.

Getting Around

Prague is best covered on foot, although this is not without its problems. The majority of streets in the old town are cobbled, and therefore not the easiest for those with mobility issues.

If your feet are failing you, then don't worry as Prague has an excellent public transport system. There are three metro (underground) lines that run from around 5am to midnight, and cover big sections of the city, particularly into the suburbs. If it's only a short journey you're making, the city's tram network is your friend.

Single journey tickets (30 minutes validity on the metro, 20 mins on bus/tram) cost around 60p. These are only valid for one mode of transport. If you want to change on your journey from metro to tram, for instance, a 75 minute ticket will set you back a quid and allow you to transfer. 24 hour tickets (available in some metro stations and shops) cost around £4.

It always pays to keep some coins handy as most ticket machines do not accept notes. All tickets have to be validated, otherwise you run the risk of being stopped by an inspector and fined a hefty amount. Tickets are to be punched into machines on trams and buses, or at the machines that you'll find at the entrance to the metro stations and platforms.

The temptation will always be there to hop a few stops for free because you can, but if you get caught it's the thick end of a £25 fine for what would have cost you a matter of pence.

Trams run throughout the night, although on a greatly reduced service (roughly every half an hour on most routes). All trams depart from the central Lazarská stop, so this is your best bet if you're heading

If you are getting a taxi between destinations, insist that it is run on the meter and ask for a receipt at the end (which the driver is obliged to give you). They are less inclined to rip you off if you have a receipt! If you want to avoid being ripped off then it's always best to call for a taxi if you can, rather than hailing one in the street. If time is not of the essence, a safe bet is usually to pop in to the nearest hotel/restaurant and ask them to phone one for you.

If you want to carry around a couple of numbers to phone yourself, then use:

AAA Radiotaxi, +420 222 333 222
City Taxi, +420 257 257 257
Taxi Praha, +420 222 111 000

Eating and Drinking

Prague is a drinker's paradise - if you like beer, that is. Home to Staropramen, Pilsener Urquell and countless other micro-breweries, Czech beer is among some of the finest you'll find in Europe. And while Prague is pricey compared to the rest of the country, there's still some bargains to be had - just keep away from the tourist traps.

The difference in price can be quite startling - a quiet, backstreet bar will likely serve you a half litre of pilsener for around 20 Koruna (about 70p) while head to Wenceslas Square or somewhere else suitably salubrious and the price can treble or quadruple. By English standards most places are still affordable (£2-3 a pint is common). As in England, most pubs are open from roughly 11am to 11pm, although some of the swankier bars will be open to the early hours of the morning. There's enough clubbing action, for those who indulge, to keep you going until the sun comes up, too.

You want some recommendations? Check out Prague Pubs, particularly their 'Traditional Czech Bars' section - dozens of local hostelries reviewed and rated.

If you've got time, a tour round the Staropramen brewery is worth a shout, too - standard fare of showing you how they make the goods before supplying you with a few tipples at the end.

English and Irish Pubs

Flannagan's Irish Bar at Wenceslas Square is one of the largest Irish bars in Prague. Four giant screens dominate the centre of the bar, showing football and other live sports events. Live bands also entertain some nights.  The Dubliner Irish Bar at Tyn 1 in the Old Town has everything a typical Irish pub abroad does: lively music, loud atmosphere and a good array of beers. There's also a couple of large screens and a bunch of smaller ones showing Premier League and International football.

Rocky O´Reillys Bar on Stepanska 32 in the New Town will keep you supplied with cool Guinness and Kilkenny on tap. A well known bar, it fits in with the standard formula of music + pub grub + tv screens = stag do!

Thanks to Flickr user raised for the image used in this blog, reproduced under Creative Commons licence.