Firstly, if you arrive at the airport there will be taxi desks located around the inside of airport. If you need a taxi be sure to stop here as they will arrange a taxi for you and will be able to provide you with a set price. While there will be taxis outside of the airport that you can just walk up to, they will not have set prices and could charge you more (as this unfortunately happened to me).
In general, when you are in Prague you (or your hotel/hostel/guide/etc.) should try to order a taxi ahead of time and determine a fixed price. Avoid waving taxis down on the street. If you do not call a taxi ahead of time, then ask for a price before you start going anywhere (it is not a good sign if they can not tell you an estimate) and tell them you will need a receipt when you get in as this will require them to use the meter.
2.) Other Methods of Transportation
Taxis in Prague have a bit of a bad reputation and it is fairly common for taxis to try and scam foreign customers. However, taxis are not the only mode of transportation. Prague does have Uber, along with buses, trams, and a metro. Also, if you are feeling up to it, Prague is a relatively safe and easy city to walk around with most of the popular sites about 15-20 minute walk from each other.
While you may have heard that you can use Euros or Czech koruna in Prague, this is very rarely the case. If you happen to find someplace that does accept Euros they will likely still prefer koruna and may ask you if you have any, or it will probably be more expensive.
Also, be cautious if you are converting your money as there are many currency conversion stops around the city that will charge very high exchange rates or mislead you with hidden fees (the locals will often refer to these as tourist traps). If possible, consider exchanging money in the airport, using your card(s), and/or making direct withdrawals.
Tips are used in Prague and average around 10%. But who do you tip? Typically the waiter/waitresses and other service staff (i.e., the porter) will expect a small tip. Tipping taxis is optional. Cash is usually the preferred method.
Take note that some restaurants will automatically add a gratuity charge, and in more touristy areas restaurants might include a larger than normal charge so you may wish to ask upfront.
5.) Pick-pocketers (crime)
As with many large cities, “professional” pick-pocketers are relatively common. There is no need to be overly paranoid, but do be sure to take some precautions (i.e., be sure your bag/purse is secure, keep it close to your side or front of your body, do not hang items on the back of chairs, etc.). Be especially cautious when in large crowds or touristy areas.
All cities have their share of crime, but Prague is considered a safe city. There are often people walking about, even in the later hours of the night. But, as always, do mind your surroundings and avoid being alone at night.
6.) Weed (drugs)
When walking about the city you may see some people casually smoking weed, possibly even on a main street with lots of people around. While many locals seem to be more lax about the drug and claim that the police will not bother people about it, it is illegal.
Many people in Prague do speak English. This is especially true in touristy areas and with the younger generation. There are also some signs in English to help you navigate about. (I only speak English – bad American – and had no problems in the city).
Prague is one of those cities that will be busy all year long. Fun fact, Prague is in the top 20 most visited cities in the world drawing roughly 5.81 million visitors per year. I was there in the middle of January, the supposed off-season, and there were still bountiful visitors. If you prefer to have more space, then try to visit popular sites (i.e., the Charles Bridge or Prague Castle) earlier in the morning.
Also, be aware, especially if you are traveling during the busy season but even during the off season, there will be lines at popular tourist sites (i.e., the castle) so schedule the waiting times into your timetable.
Prague is a very walkable city, with most of the main highlights being about a 15-20 minute from each other; so, bring some comfortable walking shoes and be aware that many of the streets and side walks are cobble stone so be weary of heels.
The weather is always important to be aware of and, of course, can change throughout the day. Be prepared and remember, layers are your friend. Also, you should take note that the castle and other highlights may be at higher elevations so they might be a bit more windy and chilly.
I was also warned by a local tour guide that the summers in Prague are ridiculously hot.
Of course whether you like the food in Prague will differ from person to person. I personally found it delicious. Since Prague is a huge international city, if you find that you do not like the local delicacies they will have options in just about every other nationality you can think of. There were also many options around for vegetarians and vegans.
The water is supposedly safe to drink from the tap. I did, and I am still kicking about. However, many locals do prefer to drink from bottles which is just something to keep in mind, particularly if you will be in Prague for a extended period.
I always get asked about souvenirs and it is always a difficult question to answer. With so many tourist shops it is hard to determine what would be a worthy souvenir. The popular ones in Prague seem to be Bohemian crystal (look for the store Blue Praha for locally made crystal), local artwork, hand made marionette dolls, matryoshka dolls, and Czech garnet.
Please note that the Czech garnet (a type of stone) is relatively rare and expensive. The stones you see in most stores are knock offs. Also, if there is not a specific sticker marking that something is made in Czechia then it is probably imported in which case you can just order something from Amazon. Also, you will see matryoshkas dolls everywhere which became extremely popular in the 90s. However, these dolls have nothing to do with Czechia and are actually Russian.
I personally bought a crystal swan, because of the shocking amount of beautiful swans in Prague as well as a few prints from local artists, a hand made clay house, and yes, a matryoshkas doll. I always collect a rock(s) and coins too! 🙂
13.) Popular Sights/Activities
- Prague Castle (includes St. Vitus Cathedral and Golden Lane)
- Charles Bridge
- Old Town Square (includes Stare Mesto cathedral)
- Astronomical Clock (which chimes every hour with little characters that move)
- St. Nicholas Church
- State Opera House
- National Theater
- Museums (depending on preference)
- Boating on the River
- Funicular Railway to Petrin Hill
- Perrin Hill and Observation Tower
14.) Castle Tickets and Security
Actually getting into the castle is free! When you walk in there will be a place where you can buy tickets to get to see ‘extra’ features of the castle such as the Golden Lane. However, depending on how much interest you have in the history of the castle you may or may not wish to purchase tickets. Also, you can get into St. Vitus Cathedral for free; however, there will be tickets that will allow you to fully walk about the cathedral whereas without the tickets you can get about halfway in (but still can see everything from afar).
There is a security stop that you will need to go through to get into the castle. They will search your bags and have you go through a metal detector. Obviously, if you have nothing dangerous on you then this wouldn’t be a problem.
Please share your experiences and thoughts below. I look forward to hearing from you!