What NOT to Do in Prague

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Earlier than you come to Prague, you have to know what NOT to do in Prague! I’ve been dwelling in Prague for a number of years now, and I completely love how nice life is right here.

However as I put together to welcome dozens of family and friends from the US to Prague for the primary time, I’m going over what vacationers ought to REALLY know earlier than arriving right here.

So what ought to individuals really know? Prague is completely different from the stereotypes. Whilst you get immense worth for cash right here, it’s undoubtedly not the dirt-cheap getaway it was 20 years in the past, neither is it only a place to come back to get together.

Moreover Prague has so many cool locations outdoors town middle, and an unbelievable meals scene, however so many individuals by no means go that far, sticking to town middle and Czech dishes.

And if you happen to cheers with water, or pour new beer right into a half-full glass…effectively, you’re not going to draw any GOOD consideration in Prague.

So let’s have a look — what NOT to do in Prague! Contemplate this your Prague survival information.

(And if you happen to’re planning a visit to Prague, don’t miss my guides on uncommon issues to do in Prague and the 17 greatest Prague eating places!)

Skyline view of Prague, little church towers poking over the landscape in front of the river.

Don’t assume Prague is an inexpensive getaway.

Up to now, Prague was held up as the last word low-cost getaway of Europe. Folks got here right here to remain in grand lodges for affordable, have good meals for affordable, and get together all evening lengthy for affordable.

I personally fell into that class as soon as. After I first visited Prague with my examine overseas roommates in 2004, we gorged ourselves on sushi as a result of it was so less expensive than in Italy!

Right here’s the factor, although — whereas Prague is certainly cheaper than Paris, London, and the Nordics, it’s not the dirt-cheap getaway it was. Up to now 20 years, Prague has gone by way of a change, including much more high-end eating places and lodges, and loads of companies now cater to rich Czechs and moneyed guests.

(This previous winter, Charlie and I traveled to Palermo, Sicily — and let me let you know, that was an inexpensive getaway. I used to be SHOCKED how less expensive it was than Prague! You might get an entree at a pleasant restaurant for only a few euros! Positive, Italy could be very costly in touristy areas like Florence and Venice, however much less touristy elements of Italy could be extraordinarily low-cost.)

And one other factor — the beer in Prague is not cheaper than water. So many vacationers like to repeat this, but it surely hasn’t been true for many years! (Again then they handed a legislation saying that SOMETHING needs to be cheaper than beer.)

The most affordable tank pilsner (a.okay.a. GOOD Czech beer) in Prague is at a pub referred to as U Glaubiců, the place half liter beers price 43 CZK ($2 USD). Elsewhere in Prague, tank pilsner prices 55-60 CZK ($2.50-3 USD).

Beer in Prague remains to be low-cost, particularly contemplating its improbable high quality — I began laughing with pleasure once I purchased a spherical for me and 6 of my mates for lower than $20 — however not fairly cheaper than water.

People sitting on benches underneath leafy trees, facing the Vltava River in Prague.

Don’t be an obnoxious, badly behaving vacationer.

For many years, Prague has been a well-liked spot for vacationers coming to drink and get together. It’s particularly in style with British stag events. The place else are you able to drink beer this good for this value?

You continue to see these stag events. A gaggle of British males strolling down the road, considered one of them dressed up as a large child or a ballerina, all of them off their faces. If it’s late at evening, they could be singing on the prime of their lungs.

It’s not nice for these of us who reside right here.

However the metropolis has been cracking down on this type of vacationer habits. Bars and golf equipment usually are not as tolerant of vile habits as they was. And now whenever you land on the airport, you’ll discover large indicators telling individuals to maintain issues quiet after 10:00 PM.

My recommendation? Keep in mind that individuals reside right here. And if you happen to’re going to get together, stick with town middle. DO NOT e-book an house in a cute residential neighborhood. We reside in these neighborhoods as a result of they’re quiet and away from the insanity.

Murray the gray tabby cat flops in the dining table, his paw next to a few Czech bills, like he's swimming in money.
Murray is coming to steal your Czech crowns.

Don’t convey your euros.

The Czech Republic really doesn’t use the euro — as a substitute, we use the Czech crown (koruna). Over the previous few years, the speed has fluctuated between 21-24 crowns to 1 US greenback.

It’s not the best factor to calculate in your head, so I like to recommend downloading the Forex app and opening it whenever you need to double-check a value.

And no, you possibly can’t use US {dollars} right here both. (You don’t suppose this is able to have to be mentioned, however I’ve seen sufficient Individuals making an attempt to pay with USD throughout Europe!)

I take advantage of my US bank cards for the overwhelming majority of my purchases in Europe. You need to use bank cards in most locations in Prague, too. In the event that they ask you which of them forex to cost — CZK or USD — at all times select CZK. You’ll get a markup in the event that they convert the value.

A glass of bright yellow lemonade filled with passionfruit seeds at a Vietnamese restaurant.

Don’t anticipate lemon in your lemonade.

You’ll discover lemonades (limonady) on most Czech menus, they usually make a improbable nonalcoholic beverage choice. In actual fact, a lot of eating places are at all times switching up their lemonades of the day — mango, lime, pink currant…

There’s only one factor. Lemonades within the Czech Republic don’t comprise lemon! They’re simply glowing water with fruit juice added. Until the menu explicitly says that it accommodates lemon, it doesn’t comprise lemon.

So if you happen to ask a server what sorts of lemonades they’ve right now they usually say, “Raspberry, ardour fruit, and lemon,” solely the lemon one really accommodates lemon.

Moreover, malinovka is one thing you’ll typically see in pubs — it’s a candy raspberry soda (technically a lemonade by Czech requirements!), typically obtainable on faucet.

A city skyline with foggy Prague castle along the river, part of the sky blue but fog covering everything.

Don’t name Prague Japanese Europe.

The Czech Republic could be very a lot a part of Central Europe. Mentioning to a Czech that you simply’re in Japanese Europe shouldn’t be a great way to make mates — in reality, will probably be taken as an insult.

Consider it this fashion: Think about that you simply make a journey to Pennsylvania. You’re hanging out in Philadelphia, sitting at a bar in Heart Metropolis, making dialog together with your neighbor, and also you point out that you simply got here to Philly since you at all times needed to go to New England.

See how ridiculous that sounds? That’s what it appears like whenever you name Prague Japanese Europe!

Oh, and undoubtedly don’t name it Czechoslovakia, both. We’ve been velvetly divorced from our jap neighbor for 30 years now.

(For the report: Japanese Europe consists of Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Romania, Moldova, and Bulgaria. Central Europe consists of Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, the previous Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia) and Albania.)

A red and white tram crossing a bridge in Prague.

Don’t journey public transit with out a ticket.

Prague is a metropolis the place you don’t have to indicate your ticket when boarding transportation, and there aren’t even turnstiles to get on the subway. As a substitute, there are fare inspectors that hop on board often and test to see that everybody has a ticket for that journey.

Due to this, loads of vacationers find yourself confused and find yourself hopping on the tram with out shopping for tickets.

How typically do fare inspectors hop on board? I might say most likely one in each 15-20 journeys. Even so, you don’t need to be caught with out a ticket, as a result of the wonderful is steep. And I do know many vacationers who tried to play dumb (or, let’s be sincere, cry) and bought fined anyway.

You should buy tickets on board the trams and buses when you’ve got a contactless bank card. You too can purchase tickets on the machines at entrances to the metro.

However what I like to recommend is that you simply obtain the PID Litačka app earlier than you arrive in Prague. On right here you should buy single tickets for 30 or 90 minute journeys, or for twenty-four or 72 hours. Or for a month if you happen to’d like! This ticket is sweet for tram, bus, or metro.

Remember the fact that YOU MUST ACTIVATE THE TICKET and IT TAKES TWO FULL MINUTES TO ACTIVATE. They do that so you possibly can’t simply press the activate button when the fare inspector seems.

A bowl of Vietnamese pho next to a bowl of noodle and a plate of roasted pork and rice.

Don’t solely eat Czech meals.

It’s best to completely attempt some Czech dishes whereas visiting Prague — however Czech meals can also be fairly heavy, and I personally discover it robust consuming a couple of conventional Czech meal per week.

As a substitute, benefit from Prague’s excellent worldwide eating scene. It’s considered one of my favourite issues about dwelling in Prague!

I wrote a Prague restaurant information not too long ago, and this represents the fruits of my years exploring the restaurant scene with my crew of foodie mates.

You may get pleasure from inventive high-end tapas at El Camino, Neapolitan-style pizza at Manù, fiercely recent sushi at Yamato, Georgian specialties at Sunday Terrace, and much, much more.

I particularly advocate getting your fill of Vietnamese meals whereas in Prague. Now we have a big and vibrant Vietnamese neighborhood right here, and it’s uncommon to discover a European metropolis with improbable Vietnamese eating places in each route!

Learn Extra: 17 Finest Prague Eating places

Two glasses of rose wine clinking in front of a garden in Prague.

Don’t cheers with out making eye contact!

Eye contact is crucial when making a toast in Prague. Be sure to look the individual within the eye as your glasses clink. If not, you’re doomed to seven years of unhealthy intercourse!

Moreover, don’t cross arms when toasting, and undoubtedly don’t toast with water — it’s thought-about unhealthy luck.

When you have a glass of water, glowing or nonetheless, simply smile and nod as individuals cheers round you. Folks will perceive.

Moreover, don’t pour new beer into your outdated beer. When you have a bit little bit of beer left in your glass, end the entire thing earlier than refilling it.

Old Town Square in Prague, surrounded by candy-colored buildings, gothic church towers, and the metal-layered astronomical clock.

Don’t be late.

Czechs are extraordinarily punctual individuals. It’s one of many issues I like about them — and dwelling right here has actually made me a extra punctual individual! (What a change from New York, the final place I lived, the place everyone seems to be late on a regular basis and blames the subway.)

So be sure you’re on time to satisfy a Czech individual. Folks are likely to arrive precisely on time, not 5 minutes early.

A view of the church towers and orange-roofed buildings of Cesky Krumlov
Český Krumlov is without doubt one of the most stunning locations within the Czech Republic.

Don’t ignore the remainder of the Czech Republic.

There are such a lot of cool locations to go to within the Czech Republic — but the overwhelming majority of vacationers pop into Prague for just a few days, and that’s it. Ensure that’s not you!

So what are some good locations value visiting within the Czech Republic?

Český Krumlov is a beautiful metropolis in South Bohemia, two hours from Prague, that appears straight out of a fairy story. Whereas many individuals go to as a day journey, I strongly advocate staying in a single day. You may see my information to Český Krumlov right here.

Karlovy Fluctuate is a lovely and romantic spa city an hour and 45 minutes from Prague, full of candy-colored buildings and set within the hills. That is one other good in a single day journey.

Brno is a enjoyable little metropolis in Moravia, within the jap a part of the nation, and makes an awesome cease between Prague and Vienna. There are many cool eating places and cafes, and it’s cheaper than Prague.

And if you happen to solely have time for a day journey from Prague, my prime choose is the city of Kutná Hora, well-known for its bone church and colourful buildings, simply 50 minutes by prepare from Prague. However if you happen to’re a giant Czech beer fan, it’s possible you’ll need to go to Plzen to tour the Pilsner Urquell brewery!

A grassy square in Prague surrounded by pastel apartment buildings, the tall metallic TV tower in the background.

Don’t name it Czechia.

Sure, Czechia could be the official title of the nation — however the overwhelming majority of Czechs nonetheless name the nation the Czech Republic. “Czechia” is the phrase we placed on authorities varieties. The title change solely went by way of in 2016, so it’s nonetheless a current replace.

It’s not a tragedy if you happen to name it Czechia, and even some Czechs even favor to make use of the time period Czechia, however you’ll slot in with the lots if you happen to name it Czech Republic.

A giant billboard above a street, looking like a person drinking an enormous Staropramen beer.

Don’t drink Staropramen.

Czechs love their beer; that a lot is evident. And also you’ll see Staropramen branding in every single place — on umbrellas, in pubs — and also you may assume that that’s the nice beer.

It’s not. Staropramen is broadly acknowledged as an area beer that isn’t that nice. It’s sort of just like the Bud Mild of the Czech Republic — they spend a ton on promoting, however the precise product is a far cry from high-quality beer.

So what must you drink as a substitute? Tank pilsner. Tank pilsner represents the perfect Czech beer that town has to supply.

Pilsner Urquell is the gold normal; drink it when you possibly can. Únětice is one other native model value making an attempt (and visiting their brewery, simply outdoors town, is considered one of my favourite uncommon issues to do in Prague).

And don’t neglect the stunning microbreweries that dot town! Two that I like are Dva Kohouti in my neighborhood of Karlín (they often make New England IPAs, which makes me really feel at residence!), and Automat Matuška in Dejvice, a brand new “nanobrewery” that actually impressed me after my first go to.

Dining outdoors: a table covered with a chicken sandwich, a plate of kimchi, a roasted quarter chicken, a bright orange cocktail and a beer.

Don’t neglect to analysis when you’ve got dietary restrictions.

Sure, you possibly can completely get by in Prague if you happen to comply with a vegetarian or vegan or gluten-free weight-reduction plan. However it’s not as simple right here as it’s in Berlin or New York or Bangkok, for instance.

Conventional Czech eating places could be particularly difficult. Typically the one vegan merchandise is a bramborák (a potato pancake, generally with onions or garlic, cooked in oil). The go-to vegetarian dish in Czech delicacies is smaženy syr — fried cheese.

Not less than our second hottest delicacies is Vietnamese, which provides much more to select from if you happen to don’t eat meat, cheese, or gluten!

That being mentioned, the Czech Republic is a part of the EU, so there may be allergen labeling on menus. That makes it quite a bit simpler to know if you happen to can eat one thing.

Both means, when you’ve got dietary restrictions, I like to recommend doing a little bit of analysis on eating places with good vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free choices. It’s good to have just a few prepared behind your pocket in case you have to select a spot shortly.

The Prague Christmas markets, with viewing platform in front of a Christmas tree and church towers.

Don’t anticipate the perfect Christmas markets in Europe.

This one is a bit controversial. I do know lots of people who’ve come to Prague particularly for the Christmas markets, that are stunning, festive, and far nicer than something you’ll discover in America.

Nonetheless…I’ve been to a LOT of Christmas markets in Europe, and Prague isn’t one of many higher ones. They’re wonderful, however they pale compared to what another cities have to supply.

In my view, a few of the greatest Christmas markets are literally fairly near Prague — Vienna (4.5 hours by prepare), Dresden (2 hours by prepare), Munich (5 hours by prepare), and Nuremberg (4 hours by bus) are most likely my 4 favourite Christmas market cities in Europe. I haven’t been to the Berlin Christmas markets but, however I hear they’re additionally nice (4.5 hours by prepare).

Does that imply you must keep away from Prague at Christmas? By no means! One of the best ways to plan a Christmas market journey in Europe is to have an itinerary taking you thru a number of cities by prepare or bus, permitting you to see how a lot of completely different locations rejoice the vacation.

So maybe plan a Christmas journey that takes you from Berlin to Vienna, or Munich to Budapest, stopping in Prague alongside the best way and permitting you to get a superb cross-section of Christmas markets.

Five roasting chimney cakes of various doneness rotating on a grill.

Don’t select a trdelnik for a Czech deal with.

All through the Outdated City in Prague, you’ll see trdelnik stands in every single place. Trdelniky are chimney truffles — roasted over coals, lined with sugar and cinnamon, generally full of ice cream, generally obtainable in a lot of different flavors.

There’s only one drawback — they’re not really Czech! They’re Hungarian! Somebody began making them in Prague they usually actually caught on!

As a substitute, go for a vetrnik — a Czech caramel cream puff. These are my favourite Czech pastries and yow will discover them in every single place!

I particularly love the one at Gardens Restaurant, considered one of my favourite uncommon issues to do in Prague. Mysak, Eska (solely at lunch) and Cafe Savoy have notable ones, too.

A room with floor-to-ceiling rooms casting pink and blue light at sunset.

Don’t use Euronet ATMs.

These are a few of the commonest ATMs you’ll see across the metropolis middle. When you’re utilizing a international card to withdraw money, you’ll be charged a a lot greater fee.

As a substitute, select an ATM connected to an actual financial institution. Three of the frequent banks you’ll see in Prague are CSOB, Raffeisen, and Unicredit. These ATMs are wonderful to make use of.

(In actual fact, it’s a superb behavior to solely use ATMs connected to banks whenever you journey. In case your card will get eaten at a financial institution ATM, it may be recovered. If it’s eaten by a comfort retailer ATM, you’ll by no means see it once more!)

A chic Prague cafe with painted green leaves decorating the ceiling.

Don’t neglect to tip when paying for meals.

Right here within the Czech Republic, it’s normal to supply an additional 10% or so on prime of the price of your meals. If a invoice involves 500 crowns, for instance, simply say, “5 hundred and fifty,” and the server will thanks, then scan your card.

If it’s a small buy, like a espresso, it’s frequent to tip with just a few cash. Just a bit one thing additional.

A pink, purple and blue sunset on the park in front o
Karlín, so near the middle and but a world away.

Don’t simply go to town middle.

I discover it curious that the overwhelming majority of holiday makers to Prague solely go to town middle — the Outdated City and the New City — and by no means enterprise past it. That’s a giant distinction from different European cities.

So what must you do? Go exploring! 4 cool native neighborhoods with enjoyable eating places, cafes, parks and extra are Vinohrady, Dejvice, Karlín (my neighborhood!), and Letná. And loads of them have structure as fairly as it’s within the Outdated City, however have a decidedly much less touristy environment.

Take pleasure in your hipster goals. These locations could be the spotlight of your Prague go to.

Extra on the Czech Republic:

Extra on What NOT to Do:

Have you ever been to Prague? What else would you add to this record?