Prague Travel Tips
Keep in Mind...
- Don't forget your dictionary You can find some English-speakers around the more popular tourist districts, but having a Czech dictionary or phrasebook will help in breaking down the language barrier.
- Stick to the ATM Many businesses will change your U.S. dollars to koruny, the Czech Republic's currency, but you could face fees of up to 10 percent. Avoid the hassle by using a credit card or withdrawing money from an ATM.
- Keep a watch on your wallet Although Prague is a very safe city for its size, pickpockets are known to hover around tourist hotspots like the Charles Bridge. It's a good idea to carry your valuables in a bag that can be closed or at least in your front pocket.
A prosperous and bustling city, Prague now attracts more tourists than ever. But its picturesque downtown veils both a dark legacy and a resilient past; in its 1,100 years, Prague has withstood numerous overthrows, invasions, fires and floods. It's this reputation for survival and perseverance that has made the Czech capital so fascinating. Today, its storied churches, narrow streets, daunting hilltop castle and statue-lined bridges create the scene of an urban fairy tale. Even the most jaded traveler would have trouble resisting this city's charms.
Prague was once a hidden gem, overshadowed by its flashier neighbors to the west. But the city couldn't keep its marvels a secret for too long -- now, it's a haven for travelers wanting for an awe-inspiring experience at an affordable price. You can still find all of that today, with many top attractions -- including the famous Charles Bridge and the historic Prague Castle -- offering entry free of charge and many hotels offering rooms at a fraction of the cost of other major European cities. But this bargain-hunting legacy has a ticking clock on it -- recently prices have been on the rise. If you're hoping to find a fire-sale price, now's the time to do so.
How To Save Money in Prague
- Summer somewhere else Warm sunny weather draws thousands of tourists. And as the number of visitors rises, so do hotel prices. Plan to visit during the cooler months.
- Breakfast is the most important meal Many Prague hotels offer complimentary breakfasts. Consider this when making reservations.
- Dodge cabs Since price regulations were nixed in the late 1990s, taxi drivers have been known to prey on tourists' unsuspecting wallets. If you need to take a cab, call one in advance and ask your concierge how much you should expect to pay.
Prague Culture & Customs
The Czech Republic is a Parliamentary Republic that was established in 1993 following the Cold War. But Prague and the Czech state have been important centers of business, government and commerce for centuries. Czech citizens are known for being reserved yet friendly, too. In many Prague bars and restaurants, groups can share tables if there is room, even if they don't know each other. After eating, be sure to place your fork and knife side by side on your plate if you want the waiter to take your plate away.
Tipping 10 to 15 percent is common practice for good service. Like many European destinations, local Prague citizens respond kindly to travelers who try the local Czech language, so buy a phrase book before traveling.
The typical Czech meal is pork, cabbage and dumplings and is almost always accompanied by a finely brewed pilsner. Most meals are fairly mild and meat-based, and oftentimes the best -- and cheapest -- meals can be found in the local pubs during lunchtime. Prague also has several cafés and small eateries that are perfect for a small breakfast or a quick snack, especially in Staré Mesto (Old Town) and Lesser Town (Malá Strana).