What NOT to Do in Prague

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Earlier than you come to Prague, you should know what NOT to do in Prague! I’ve been residing 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 truly know? Prague is completely different from the stereotypes. Whilst you get immense worth for cash right here, it’s positively not the dirt-cheap getaway it was once 20 years in the past, neither is it only a place to come back to celebration.

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

And in case you 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! Take into account this your Prague survival information.

(And in case you’re planning a visit to Prague, don’t miss my guides on uncommon issues to do in Prague and the 17 finest 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 affordable getaway.

Up to now, Prague was held up as the final word low cost getaway of Europe. Folks got here right here to remain in grand inns for reasonable, have good meals for reasonable, and celebration all evening lengthy for reasonable.

I actually fell into that class as soon as. Once 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 unquestionably cheaper than Paris, London, and the Nordics, it’s not the dirt-cheap getaway it was once. Up to now 20 years, Prague has gone via a metamorphosis, including way more high-end eating places and inns, 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 inform you, that was an affordable getaway. I used to be SHOCKED how less expensive it was than Prague! You could possibly get an entree at a pleasant restaurant for only a few euros! Certain, Italy may be very costly in touristy areas like Florence and Venice, however much less touristy components of Italy might be extraordinarily low cost.)

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

The most cost effective tank pilsner (a.okay.a. GOOD Czech beer) in Prague is at a pub referred to as U Glaubiců, the place half liter beers value 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 incredible 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 celebration. It’s particularly fashionable 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 bunch 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 will not be as tolerant of vile habits as they was once. And now whenever you land on the airport, you’ll discover huge indicators telling individuals to maintain issues quiet after 10:00 PM.

My recommendation? Keep in mind that individuals reside right here. And in case you’re going to celebration, persist with the town middle. DO NOT e-book an residence 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 deliver your euros.

The Czech Republic truly 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 at least one US greenback.

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

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

I exploit my US bank cards for the overwhelming majority of my purchases in Europe. You should utilize bank cards in most locations in Prague, too. In the event that they ask you which ones forex to cost — CZK or USD — all the time 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, and so they make a incredible nonalcoholic beverage possibility. Actually, plenty of eating places are all the time switching up their lemonades of the day — mango, lime, purple currant…

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

So in case you ask a server what sorts of lemonades they’ve right now and so they say, “Raspberry, ardour fruit, and lemon,” solely the lemon one truly comprises lemon.

Moreover, malinovka is one thing you’ll usually see in pubs — it’s a candy raspberry soda (technically a lemonade by Czech requirements!), usually accessible 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 may be very a lot a part of Central Europe. Mentioning to a Czech that you simply’re in Japanese Europe just isn’t a great way to make mates — in truth, will probably be taken as an insult.

Consider it this manner: 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 along with your neighbor, and also you point out that you simply got here to Philly since you all the time needed to go to New England.

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

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

(For the file: Japanese Europe contains Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Romania, Moldova, and Bulgaria. Central Europe contains 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 trip public transit and not using a ticket.

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

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

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

You should purchase tickets on board the trams and buses when you’ve got a contactless bank card. You may also 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 in case you’d like! This ticket is nice 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’ll be able to’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.

You need to completely strive some Czech dishes whereas visiting Prague — however Czech meals can also be fairly heavy, and I personally discover it powerful consuming a couple of conventional Czech meal per week.

As an alternative, reap the benefits of Prague’s very good worldwide eating scene. It’s considered one of my favourite issues about residing in Prague!

I wrote a Prague restaurant information lately, and this represents the fruits of my years exploring the restaurant scene with my crew of foodie mates.

You’ll be able to get pleasure from inventive high-end tapas at El Camino, Neapolitan-style pizza at Manù, fiercely contemporary sushi at Yamato, Georgian specialties at Sunday Terrace, and much, way more.

I particularly suggest getting your fill of Vietnamese meals whereas in Prague. We’ve a big and vibrant Vietnamese group right here, and it’s uncommon to discover a European metropolis with incredible 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 important when making a toast in Prague. Make sure that to look the individual within the eye as your glasses clink. If not, you’re doomed to seven years of dangerous intercourse!

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

In case 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. In case you have just a little 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 really like about them — and residing 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 ensure you’re on time to satisfy a Czech individual. Folks are inclined 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 among the most lovely 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 suggest staying in a single day. You’ll be able to see my information to Český Krumlov right here.

Karlovy Differ is an exquisite and romantic spa city an hour and 45 minutes from Prague, stuffed with 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 japanese 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 in case you solely have time for a day journey from Prague, my prime decide is the city of Kutná Hora, well-known for its bone church and colourful buildings, simply 50 minutes by prepare from Prague. However in case you’re an enormous Czech beer fan, you could 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 types. The title change solely went via in 2016, so it’s nonetheless a current replace.

It’s not a tragedy in case you name it Czechia, and even some Czechs even favor to make use of the time period Czechia, however you’ll slot in with the plenty in case you 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 would possibly assume that that’s the nice beer.

It’s not. Staropramen is extensively acknowledged as a neighborhood beer that isn’t that nice. It’s type 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 very best Czech beer that the town has to supply.

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

And don’t overlook the beautiful microbreweries that dot the town! Two that I really like are Dva Kohouti in my neighborhood of Karlín (they often make New England IPAs, which makes me really feel at house!), 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 overlook to analysis when you’ve got dietary restrictions.

Sure, you’ll be able to completely get by in Prague in case you comply with a vegetarian or vegan or gluten-free food regimen. Nevertheless it’s not as simple right here as it’s in Berlin or New York or Bangkok, for instance.

Conventional Czech eating places might be particularly difficult. Generally 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.

A minimum of our second hottest delicacies is Vietnamese, which presents much more to select from in case you don’t eat meat, cheese, or gluten!

That being stated, the Czech Republic is a part of the EU, so there may be allergen labeling on menus. That makes it rather a lot simpler to know in case you can eat one thing.

Both approach, 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 should select a spot shortly.

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

Don’t anticipate the very best 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 lovely, festive, and far nicer than something you’ll discover in America.

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

For my part, a few of the finest Christmas markets are literally moderately 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 it’s best to keep away from Prague at Christmas? Under no circumstances! One of the simplest 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 plenty of completely different locations have a good time the vacation.

So maybe plan a Christmas journey that takes you from Berlin to Vienna, or Munich to Budapest, stopping in Prague alongside the way in which and permitting you to get an excellent 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 desserts — roasted over coals, coated with sugar and cinnamon, generally stuffed with ice cream, generally accessible in plenty of different flavors.

There’s only one downside — they’re not truly Czech! They’re Hungarian! Somebody began making them in Prague and so they actually caught on!

As an alternative, 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. For those who’re utilizing a overseas card to withdraw money, you’ll be charged a a lot larger fee.

As an alternative, 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 nice to make use of.

(Actually, it’s an excellent 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 overlook to tip when paying for meals.

Right here within the Czech Republic, it’s commonplace 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 the town middle.

I discover it curious that the overwhelming majority of tourists to Prague solely go to the town middle — the Outdated City and the New City — and by no means enterprise past it. That’s an enormous 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 quite a lot of them have structure as fairly as it’s within the Outdated City, however have a decidedly much less touristy ambiance.

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 checklist?