Edited by Emma White.
From impressive historical landmarks, to unmissable tourist attractions, beautiful architecture, world class restaurants and breathtaking scenery, Prague is worth visiting for anyone looking for an enchanting city break. When visiting for the first time, there are a few Prague dos and don'ts to consider, as well as a number of other essential things to know when visiting Prague. To kickstart your trip, take a look at this Prague travel guide for information on all the things you should know before arriving. Here are my top Prague travel tips to prepare you for a stress-free holiday and to help you explore the city like a local.
Getting from the airport
You’ve found the perfect accommodation, bagged yourself some cheap flights and you’re now planning how to get to your hotel from the airport once you land. Airport transfers can be quite expensive are often a source of anxiety for those travelling to new places. Travelling to Prague center from the airport can be very simple and doesn’t actually have to cause you any stress at all. Many people opt for a taxi transfer due to convenience – it’s way easier to pop your bags in the boot, show the driver your destination address and sit back and relax. However, when you get there and see the number on the meter, you’ll probably wish you’d looked at alternatives. My advice is to buy a ticket for public transport at the airport and use the metro or bus depending on where you’re staying. You can also take the Airport Express bus, which runs between the airport and Hlavni Nadrazi, Prague's main train station. You should then be able to walk or take the metro a short distance to your hotel.
Many people visiting Prague for the first time presume that the local currency used in the Czech Republic is the Euro; they arrive at the airport with their plastic wallets filled with fresh notes only to find that, despite being part of the EU, we in fact use Czech koruna and they should definitely have checked before coming! The current exchange rate is about 30 CZK to 1 GBP. When it comes to exchanging your currency, I’d advise you not to change it up at the first kiosk you see when you land at the airport, they’re usually the most expensive as they know tourists will be eager to get their cash once they step off the plane. Instead, wait until you reach the city and find a local bank, take cash from an ATM (you will probably be charged a handling fee by your bank and it should only be a small percentage) or exchange before you come.
Another one of the important Prague things to know is the city’s tipping policy. Similarly to most other European countries, tipping in Prague restaurants is appreciated but not obligatory. For larger parties, you might find that a service charge is included in your bill at the end of your meal, however it is still optional. Although not obligatory, with so many amazing restaurants in Prague serving delicious authentic food, I’m sure that you will feel compelled to give thanks to the talented chefs and staff for introducing you to the best of Czech cuisine! The usual tip amount to tip is between 10% and 15%.
One of the most important things to know when visiting Prague is that the city is very easy to navigate on foot and most Prague attractions and top things to do are within walking distance of each other. Providing you nor your fellow travelers have any health limitations, you could go the whole trip without having to use any public transport. But if you do need to use public transport, you’ll be glad to know that the metro and bus systems are easy to use and understand, and more importantly, very cheap! The metro starts at every day at 5am and runs all day until around midnight. Most of the metro system is also whee-chair and buggy friendly. There are night buses that run throughout the night once the metro has closed, however us locals don’t really use these. If you’re out late at night I would recommend using Uber rather than the buses. Prague is safe at all hours of the day but I think it’s better to be cautious, and it’s probably easier to hop in an Uber than trying to work out which bus goes where – especially if you’ve been sipping a few Czech beers or fruity cocktails!
Many people in Prague speak basic English and almost everybody involved with tourists will be able to converse fully with you in English when needed. Thanks to the country’s language policy in schools, anybody under the age of 40 will have had English lessons at school at some stage. Despite this, locals do appreciate it when tourists make the effort to speak their language. Learning a few basic words and phrases in Czech before travelling to Prague is a good idea and will help you to mingle with locals during your visit. “Hello” in Czech is Dobry den (dobreh den), “Yes/No” is Ano/Ne and “Thank you” is Dekuji. To ask how much something is you would say Kolik? And to ask “Where is…?” you say Kde je…? These are just some of the phrases that will come in handy as you visit the city.
Tips for drinking beer
Prague is perhaps one of the only cities in the world where drinking beer is literally cheaper than drinking water! If you find yourself paying more than 30-40 CZK for a pint of beer, you’re paying too much. There is an endless list of places to get great local beer but there are also many tourist traps which like to make money by selling bad, overpriced beer to unwitting tourists. Don’t get caught out! For a taste of the freshest beer, look out for a tank pub or tankovna (such as Bredovsky Dvur), where the beer is served fresh from the brewery and unpasteurized, giving it a richer, more complex flavor. “Cheers” your fellow travelers the Czech way by raising your glass, looking the person in the eye and saying “Na zdravi” before briefly setting your glass on the table and then drinking.
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