Living in a city with such excellent public transportation options often means that the average resident doesn’t own a car and, even if they do have one, they often only use it for trips out of town. Another factor in deciding whether or not to own (or even rent) a car in the city is the availability of parking.
Prague, like many major metropolitan cities, has an abundance of lots where resident’s can pay to park for a monthly fee… but that fee is often nearly as high as the rents here and, if you live here, you know that’s super expensive. So what’s a resident to do? What if you have friends driving over from Germany or Austria? Where can they park?
The good news is that Prague is introducing a color system that is more easily defined throughout the city to help you figure it all out. Let’s dive in, shall we?
THE BLUE ZONE
If you live anywhere in or near the center, you know what a pain it is to park unless you’re going to, for example, Palladium (which, if you don’t know, features an underground lot). Those pesky Blue Zones are pretty much everywhere in every district. So frustrating, right? Except the goal of the Blue Zone is (not surprisingly) to reserve some spaces for residents in the area while simultaneously bringing in some money for each zone, meaning that a Blue Zone doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t park there if you don’t live in the area… but that you have to pay for the privilege and then move your vehicle at some point, leaving a space for a local.
The Blue Zones (delineated by a blue section painted curbside) are among those considered PPZ (Paid Parking Zones). Residents can purchase a permit for anywhere between three months and a year if they prove their permanent address in the respective area. The Blue Zones are monitored by the Prague ITMC (Institute for Technical Maintenance and Communication).
So, aside from buying a permit, how do you park in a Blue Zone without getting a ticket? It’s actually quite simple: Once you find a spot in a Blue Zone (if you find a spot in a Blue Zone), simply look up at one of the street signs and note the number on it. It’s usually a letter followed by a number for the district you’re in – say, P6 for Prague 6 as in the image above – and then a few more numbers. Next, go to the Virtual Parking Clock web app which you can find here: https://ke-utc.appspot.com/static/select.html?label=PRAHA Enter the letter/number combo and you can pay for up to three hours for that spot.
The city of Prague is divided into three price sectors which determine the cost of parking in any Blue Zone. For more information you can visit this site to see how much you might pay: http://www.parkujvklidu.cz/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Simplified_-pricelist.pdf with the average running about 40 CZK/hr.
If you’re one of the people zipping around on a moped or motorcycle, you’re in luck as parking is free for you. Likewise if you drive an electric car (though you’ll need to register your vehicle at the Prague City Hall).
THE PURPLE ZONE
The first thing you need to know about The Purple Zone is that it’s not noted by a purple line on the street. The line on the street will be white. But before you go thinking those city government people are crazy, there is a purple stripe on the signs in these areas (as in the image above). The so-called Purple Zone is for “mixed parking.” As with the Blue Zone, those who have a valid parking permit for the area may use the purple zone without limitation. If you don’t have a permit, you are allowed to park for a maximum of 24 hours and only after paying via the web app (again, located here: https://ke-utc.appspot.com/static/select.html?label=PRAHA) or by using a parking ticket machine. While the Blue Zone will not have the machine, a Purple Zone should have one nearby if you’d prefer to use it.
THE ORANGE ZONE
The last type of parking area in the city is the Orange Zone, noted by a dashed white line on the street and a sign with an orange stripe. These zones are considered short-term parking. Anyone can park in the Orange Zone for up to three hours. Again, you’ll need to pay to park there via the web app or a ticket machine.
If paying online for any of the above, you may pay with card or cash and in Czech Crowns or Euro’s.
Hours for paid parking zones are Monday to Friday, 8:00am – 8:00pm but this can vary depending on the area and may be different in different locations, so make sure to look for detail on the signage or on the parking machines. Outside of posted hours, parking is not regulated.
So there you have it. Now you can hopefully understand the parking situation in Prague and help your friends and family know where to park when they visit so you don’t have to figure out a sign like the one below which has become a meme about parking in Los Angeles.
As a final note, please consider leaving the car at home from time to time if you have one… after all, you’re probably already paying to park it near your flat… and encourage visitors to hop on a tram with you. They’re efficient, easy to use, help the environment, and they offer a great experience.
Happy parking, Prague people!