Football is the most popular sport on a global basis, and if you’re travelling to Prague there are numerous teams located throughout the city. There are four Prague based clubs that currently ply their trade in Synot Liga, the Czech Republic’s 16-team premier division. The most successful of these are AC Sparta Praha and SK Slavia Praha, having enjoyed significance domestic dominance in both the Czech Republic and Czechoslovakia during the last hundred years, as well as a fierce rivalry since 1896. The two Prague derby fixtures are undoubtedly the highlight of the season, although Slavia have not performed too well in recent years with FC Viktoria Plzeň challenging Sparta for the title. The two other teams are the well supported Bohemians 1905, who compete with Slavia in the lesser known Vršovice derby, and FK Dukla Praha, who enjoyed success in the 50’s and 60’s, although struggled since the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. Additional notable games obviously include the other Prague derbies, which can quite often be passionate affairs, in addition to any European ties. Lower league teams include FK Viktoria Žižkov and FK Slavoj Vyšehrad. The season runs from August to May, with a winter break between December and late February or early March. The Czech National Team play their games in various cities throughout the country, including: Prague, Plzeň, Olomouc, Teplice and Ostrava. However, when in Prague they usually play at The Generali Arena, although have played a handful of games at the Eden Arena. Below is a brief overview of the major football teams and venues within Prague, and the transport options for getting there (see Google map).
Having won twelve league titles and six national cup finals, they are the most successful team in the Czech Republic, and regularly compete in the Champions League or Europa League. They play their home games at the Generali Arena, situated next to Letna park, which was renovated in 1994 to meet international standards. It has a current capacity of 19,784 and been formerly known as the Letná Stadium, Toyota Arena, and more recently, the AXA Arena. Tickets can be purchased from the box office at the arena, or via the ticket portal website, with prices vary dependent on opposition, competition and section of the ground. The quickest way to get there from central Prague is to take the metro from Staroměstská to Hradčanská (line A), and from there, it’s a ten minute walk to the stadium. Alternatively, tram #8 or #26 from Náměstí Republiky, or tram #12 from Malostranské náměstí, will take you directly to the stadium. You can walk from the Old Town Square to the Stadium via Letná Park in about 30 minutes, although it’s a fair hike up the hill (especially on a hot day). There are a reasonable number of places to eat and drink within a short walk of the ground, especially towards Hradčanská or Letenské náměstí. One option worth investigating is Lokál nad Stromovkou, which is one of five pubs in the Lokál chain within Prague, serving express meals and fantastic beer tapped from the tank.
Pragues second most successful team are SK Slavia Prague having won three league titles and three national cup finals. They play at the Eden Arena, previously known as the Synot Tip Arena, located in Prague’s Vršovice district. It opened in 2008, and is the newest stadium in the Czech Republic with a capacity of 20,800. Tickets cost between 200 and 420 czk depending on the fixture and section of the stadium, and can be purchased from the box office before games. Alternatively, it’s straightforward to buy e-tickets on the ticket portal website. The easiest way to Slavia from the centre is by tram #22 from Národní třída (or Malostranská) or #24 from Wenceslas Square. If coming from Anděl then take tram #4 or #7. The nearest metro station is Želivského (line A) which is around a 15 minute walk, although bus #150 operates between Želivského and Kačerov (line C) metro stations. If coming from the Florenc area, then bus #135 is your best bet. Praha-Vršovice train station is around a 20 minute walk. The immediate surrounding area is predominantly residential, thus there are not an abundance of places to eat and drink, although there are a couple of restaurants and traditional smokey pubs. Additionally, the stadium has a sports bar, MacDonald’s, and a hotel; and the adjacent shopping centre has a food court on the second floor. However, the best local area to go pre- and post-match is around Vršovické náměstí and the streets of Moskevská, Krymská or Kodaňská, where you will find an array of bars, cafe’s and restaurants. It’s at most a 15 minute walk.
Also located in the Vršovice district are Bohemians 1905, who play their games at Ďolíček. The story behind this club reached a pivotal point in 1927 when they were on tour in Australia. As a leaving gift, the Australians gave them two live kangaroos to take back to Czechoslovakia. One can only imagine the hilarity of their sea journey back to Europe. Upon their return, they duly changed their name to Bohemians, as they were known as whilst in Australia, and adopted the image of a kangaroo as their club crest. Despite being a relatively small club with limited success on the pitch (their last league success was in 1983), they have a passionate following and regularly attract crowds of between four and five thousand – an excellent choice for the neutral fan. Tickets cost between 100 and 230 czk depending on the fixture and section of the stadium, and can be purchased at the stadium or online at ticketpro. You can get to Bohemians by tram #7 or #24, or alternatively tram #22 or #4 to Vršovické náměstí. The Praha-Vršovice train station is less than a five minute walk away. As with Slavia Praha, the best local area to go pre- and post-match is around Vršovické náměstí and the streets of Moskevská or Kodaňská, which is at most a five minute walk from the ground.
The final Prague based team in the top division is FK Dukla Praha who play their home games at Stadion Juliska in the Dejvice district. The original Dukla Praha was founded as an army club in 1948 and thus had access to the best players during their mandatory military service, although that association came to end in 1994 after relegation from the premier league, and the club ceased to exist in 1996 after merging with FC Portál Příbram. The current side were formed in 2001, and eventually returned to the premier league in 2011 where they have remained ever since. Tickets cost 140 or 160 czk and can be purchased at the stadium or online at ticketportal. The most direct route to the stadium from central Prague is to Nádraží Podbaba by tram #8 from Náměstí Republiky or #20 from Malostranská. Alternatively, some local trains stop at the Praha-Podbaba station. There are a few places to eat and drink near the stadium, although there is a greater selection area around around the Dejvická metro station (line A). One place worth seeking out is Na Urale, which serves traditional Czech fare and excellent beer, and is a 15-20 minute walk or short tram journey to the stadium.
Additional teams and stadia
There are a number of lower league teams throughout the city, including FK Viktoria Žižkov and FK Slavoj Vyšehrad, who currently ground share at FK Viktoria Stadion (tram #5, #9, #26 to Husinecká). Another venue occasionally used for football matches is Stadion Evžena Rošického on Petřín Hill in the Strahov district, and is the national stadium. It has a capacity of 19,032 although its use is predominantly historical having hosted numerous clubs during times of stadia redevelopment, in additional to the Czech Cup Final until 2009. The adjacent Velký strahovský stadion is no longer used for competitive sport, although with a capacity of 220,000, is the largest sports stadium in world. To get here take the Petřín funicular or tram #22 or #25 to Malovanka, near Prague castle. You can also take buses #143, #176, or #191 to Stadion Strahov.