Prague travel tips to help you have a good time in this lovely city.
Is Prague the prettiest city in Europe?
Paris had claimed title many decades back, but many say this medieval seat of Bohemian kings is even prettier. With ancient bridges, pastel houses, Vltava River, historical squares, look out towers, and one of the largest castles in the world – Prague is definitely bejeweled.
By the way, Prague is called “Praha” in the Czech Republic and is also called the City of a Hundred Spires. There are many other nicknames too but my favorite is “the heart of Europe” because it is in Central Europe. Funnily enough, there are 4 different cities in the USA that are called Prague or Praha.
If you’re visiting Europe then you should definitely include the loveliest city of the continent in your itinerary. Here are some essential Prague travel tips that will help you plan your trip:
Travel Tips for Prague
- Currency in the Czech Republic
- Currency Exchange Scams in Prague
- Traveler SIM Card in Prague
- Prague Weather and Best Time to Visit
- Public Transport in Prague – Metro and Trams
- Liftago, Uber and Local Taxies in Prague
- Typical Travel Costs in Prague
- Avoiding Crowds in Prague – Charles Bridge and Old Town
- Sunset Spots in Prague
- Get Out of the Centre
- Trdelník is not a Czech Dessert
- …And Neither Are These Russian Dolls
- Instead, Buy These Local Souvenirs in Prague
- Czech Dumplings Are Not What You Think
- Absinthe in Prague.. or Slivovice?
- Prague Neighborhoods
- Spas in Prague – They’re Very Naked!
- Get out of Prague – Regiojet is Awesome
- Day Trips from Prague
- Prague Main Train Station
- Where to stay in Prague?
- Watch Honest Guide for Prague
Currency in the Czech Republic
No, the currency of the Czech Republic isn’t Euro but is Czech Crown. Yes, it is basic info but I was surprised to see so many travelers who didn’t know when they arrived here. – haha. The locals mostly say “Koruna” instead of “Crowns”. The abbreviation is CZK or Kč. 1 Euro is currently 25 Czech Crowns but check the latest currency rates.
The coins are available in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 denominations, while the notes are in 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000. Why am I telling you this? You will know the answer in the next point.
Currency Exchange Scams in Prague
There are a few exchange offices that claim “0% commission” but charge an exorbitant “exchange fee” when you exchange with them. Make sure you not only ask the exchange rate but the final amount that you will get for your money.
Another horrible currency exchange scam in Prague is that many touts walk around exchange offices and catch a hold of tourists. They offer a rate that’s too good to be true but give out old currency that’s not accepted anywhere. Check Czech National Bank website to see which notes are currently in circulation.
There are some really good currency exchange offices that actually charge no commission, so I recommend you head to a few of them, ask and then exchange. A few locals recommended I visit eXchange in Kaprova. Normally I prefer withdrawing directly from an ATM but I got a horrible rate when I did. Avoid EuroNet ATMs because they charge a fee.
Traveler SIM Card in Prague
If you’re coming to Prague from another European Union country, you don’t need a local SIM card in Prague. My German SIM worked very well here.
If you’re looking to buy, then I will give you a few options. Vodafone offers a 10 GB data SIM card for visitors for 800 CZK, which is valid for 30 days. There is not much price difference between the 4 GB and 8 GB one. Vodafone SIM cards are available at the airport and many supermarkets.
Prague Weather and Best Time to Visit
Prague is good to visit throughout the year and you can enjoy all the seasons. Winters are cold but the city looks charming under the magic of snow. Spring and autumn are the best months to visit because Prague looks very colorful, the weather is not too cold and the city is not extremely crowded.
Like most of the European cities, Prague tends to get extremely crowded in the summer months. I visited Prague in summer and it was warmer than usual because of the unexpected European heat wave.
Public Transport in Prague – Metro and Trams
Prague metro is well spread out and will get you just about anywhere you want in the city. The metro system is not confusing at all and most likely you won’t need to take any other mode of transport at all. There are just 3 metro lines in Prague – A (Green), B (Yellow) and C (red).
The best part is that you can get a combined ticket for the metro train, tram, and even buses. A 30-minute ticket is for 24 CZK and a 90-minute one is for 32 CZK. You won’t need the 90 minute one in 90% of the cases. A full day ticket is for 110, which only makes sense if you’re making more than 4 journeys.
The metro ticket machines in Prague CAN BE confusing and will ONLY accept coins. On the left are the normal fares and on the right are child fares. The first button is for a 30-minute ride and you need to put coins after pressing the button so that you can get your ticket.
Wait, it doesn’t end here. You HAVE to stamp and validate your ticket before entering the platform. The ticket validator machines are generally yellow or orange in color. You may just miss them because the locals don’t stop there since they have a monthly or annual pass. If you get caught traveling in the metro without stamping your ticket then you will have to pay an expensive fine.
Liftago, Uber and Local Taxies in Prague
Even though the metro in Prague can get you literally everywhere, you may need to take a taxi if you’re carrying a lot of luggage. Also, if you’re more than 2 people then taxis are more economical. App-based taxi services in Prague are super comfortable!
The Czech version of Uber is called Liftago and I used it a few times. You just need to put your pick up and drop locations, and the drivers send you the best prices that you can pick. On the other hand, the locals warned me that if I hail a taxi from the street directly, they would overcharge me or scam me. Thankfully, never experienced this.
Typical Travel Costs in Prague
Prague isn’t as expensive as most of the European cities and you can do a lot here even on a shoestring budget.
A room in a five star will cost you around €200 and a mid-range room can be from €50 to €150. You won’t end up spending more than €10 per person in a good restaurant if you eat well. The cost of attractions is not high.
If you’re on a backpacker budget, then a hostel in Prague can cost you 15 – 20 euros. One time metro ticket is 1 euro. Food from the street (hot dog) can be as low as 1 euro too. Food in a decent restaurant will be for around 5 euros. Beer is cheap and is really good. You can easily do your day in less than 50 euros if you want to.
Avoiding Crowds in Prague – Charles Bridge and Old Town
Do you know what are the most popular things to do in Prague? Visiting the Charles Bridge and the Old Town! That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit these places at all but get there before the others do.
If you’re thinking of heading to the Charles Bridge for Sunset Photography, forget it because you will only capture people. Instead, wake up super early and get there before the sunrise. The same is the case with the Old Town too. I even wrote a guide about how to experience Prague in 2 days and have mentioned touristy spots during early hours.
- Prague Castle: Skip the line entry ticket and transfers
- Old Town Hall & Astronomical Clock Tower Ticket: This ticket costs EUR 10 in 2022 and has the best of the old town. See Prague’s oldest town hall. Visit the Gothic chapel and the staterooms, see at the inner mechanism of the astronomical clock, and view into the extensive underground space below the Old Town Hall building.
The Lesser Town (Mala Strana) in Prague wasn’t crowded as the Old Town when I visited. In fact, I even found a few empty streets to myself. And hey, I found the Lesser Town area to be very beautiful. I spent most of my time in Jiřího z Poděbrad area because it wasn’t crowded.
Sunset Spots in Prague
As mentioned in the last point, avoid the Charles Bridge and the Old Town at sunset time. Instead, I will give you two options that are actually public parks – Letna Park or Riegrovy Sady. Hanavský Pavilion in at Letná Park is a good spot.
I enjoyed Riegrovy Sady so much that I went there on two occasions to watch the sunset. The view from here is definitely one of the top sights in Prague. You can carry something to eat and drink and put your mat on the garden to watch the sunset in Riegrovy Sady.
Alternatively, the city has a few lookout towers. Head to Petřín Tower, it is Prague’s “mini Eiffel Tower”. The line outside it tends to get long at sunset time, so check below for a special “skip the line” ticket.
You can also go on top of the Žižkov Television Tower for the sunset view. I personally did not go (even though I was staying pretty close to it), but I have heard it is great.
To see all the places I love in Prague, check out this diary I’ve created with Wowanders. Wowanders is a travel diary app that both lets you easily save the details of all the places you visit on your travels, while also making it easy to share your recommendations with others.
Get Out of the Centre
Most of the travelers get stuck in Prague’s center and don’t end up exploring anything beyond the Old Town and the Charles Bridge. Prague is a beautiful city and even the lesser-known areas are amazing.
I spent most of my time in and around Jiřího z Poděbrad Square because I really enjoyed the chilled out vibe there. Moreover, the restaurants were definitely cheaper here. The streets were NOT full of souvenir shops and I actually saw some lovely boutiques.
Trdelník is not a Czech Dessert
Yes, it looks pretty and you will see an insane amount of vendors selling Trdelník in the touristy areas but it is not a local delicacy. It has kind of become one of the most popular Instagram accessories for photos in Prague. It actually originated in a town called Skalica in Slovakia.
…And Neither Are These Russian Dolls
Somehow a lot of souvenir shops in Prague (and other European cities) sell Matryoshkas dolls, which have nothing to do with Prague or the Czech culture. Many travelers get fooled into thinking that they’re buying something local. Would you buy a saree when you’re visiting Germany?
Instead, Buy These Local Souvenirs in Prague
If you want a locally made souvenir, then you should buy crystals, Moser glass, blue onion patterned porcelain or my favorite – Czech puppets. While glass or porcelain souvenirs are fragile to carry, marionettes and puppets are easy to carry.
Czech Dumplings Are Not What You Think
I’m from Asia and dumplings are very different from where I come. There’s usually a dough coating with a filling inside. If you are from Asia and order dumplings in the Czech Republic, then you’re in for a shock. You will receive a plate with pieces of bread and meat.
Absinthe in Prague.. or Slivovice?
A lot of travelers buy Absinthe in Prague, which is actually from Switzerland. Absinthe – the Green Fairy is highly regulated in most of the countries and is sold without thujone there. However, in the Absinthe in the Czech Republic has thujone so it is near its true form. But the Czech Absinthe doesn’t have anise or herbs, so it is better to buy it from France or Switzerland. Buy it in Prague only if you’re not visiting France or Switzerland. Keep it mind that many shops in Prague sell overprized Absinthe.
I’d recommend you to try Slivovice and consider buying it instead. Slivovice is a locally produced brew that you can buy in the Czech Republic. It enjoys a status of Moravian national drink. It is very strong and the alcohol content is 50%. It is mostly served in shot glasses.
Prague’s neighborhoods have both names and numbers. However, confusingly an entire neighborhood can be two numbers and one number can be more than 2 neighborhoods.
The numbers start from Praha 1 to Praha 10 but to make things even more confusing, there is an old number system too and some buildings display that instead.
Most of the travelers visit the Praha 1, which is the Old Town (Staré město), Jewish Town (Josefov), some part of the Prague Castle (Hradčany), some parts of the Lesser Town (Malá Strana) and some parts of the New town (Nové město) too.
It is easier to understand the neighborhoods by just looking at the names: Praha North, Praha East, Praha West, Praha South, Castle (Hradčany), Lesser Town (Malá Strana), Old Town (Staré město), New town (Nové město), Jewish Town (Josefov), and Vyšehrad.
Spas in Prague – They’re Very Naked!
I have been to spas before but Czech spas have a different level of nakedness. You can’t get inside with your clothes but you will be given the flimsiest towel to wrap around you, which is basically just a piece of cloth. No, there aren’t robes.
You can wrap them around your waist because they are not big enough to wear as full body sarongs. No, the Czech spas are not usually gender segregated.
Don’t misunderstand me – I don’t have anything against human body or nudity. However, these are the things I like to know before visiting and I bet some of you do so too.
Get out of Prague – Regiojet is Awesome
Yes, it is lovely but don’t spend all your time in the capital city. Instead, head out to the quitter towns such as Pardubice or National Parks such as the Bohemian Switzerland.
The best way to travel out of Prague is by RegioJet train. I traveled to Ostrava by the government-run České dráhy but booked the privately run RegioJet when I visited Pardubice. I was so amazed at the difference in service and comfort.
Living in Germany, the trains are extremely expensive and the service standards are not at all like Czech trains. The cost of my train rides in the Czech Republic was a fraction of German train tickets AND there was a hight-speed free Wifi, free tea/coffee / water, and even a porter service. Every seat had a plug point.
Day Trips from Prague
The Czech Republic is not so massive geographically, so you won’t spend much time when you travel from Prague to another destination in the country. In any case, I have handpicked a few day trips from Prague to the nearby areas. Check them out:
- Bohemia and Saxon Switzerland Full-Day Tour from Prague – Saxon Switzerland National Park, historic Bastei Bridge over the River Elbe, Kamenice Gorge.
- Bohemian Switzerland National Park – Hiking Tour from Prague – Pravcicka Gate, Bastei Bridge, etc, in the Bohemian Switzerland National Park.
- Bohemian Paradise UNESCO Geopark: Prachov rocks city, Kost Castle, Bohemian Paradise Geopark.
- Český Krumlov and České Budějovice Day Trip from Prague – Cesky Krumlov Castle and the famous Black Tower of Ceske Budejovice in South Bohemia + lunch
- Karlovy Vary Full-Day Tour with Lunch from Prague – historic Czech spa town of Karlovy Vary, Hot Spring Colonnade + 3 course lunch.
- Kutna Hora and Bone Chapel Tour – historic buildings of the Kutna Hora, macabre Bone Chapel, Hrádek Castle + More
All these day trips include transportation to and back from Prague but I highly recommend you check all the details before booking, in case the terms have changed.
Prague Main Train Station
If you’re getting out of Prague, then most likely your train will depart from Praha hlavní nádraží. (Hlavní nádraží. means “the main railway station” by the way.)
Here’s the thing – the platform number where your train will depart from, will NOT be displayed on your ticket. It will ONLY be displayed around 30 minutes before your journey in the main station. It gets even more confusing because the platform numbers are alphanumeric.
From what I learned, don’t look for exact directions but just follow the signs that say “all platforms” and look for your number. Once you’re there, then ask for the alphabet part of your platform. A girl from Brno helped me because she said the platform numbers are super confusing!
I’m used to German trains where I don’t have a fixed seat but I can get into most of the coaches and sit anywhere. That’s not how it works with Czech trains. You need to find your coach and your seat.
If you want to stay right next to the Old Town, then check out Hotel Residence Agnes – it is a 4-star hotel that’s the highest ranked by other travelers in Prague. You can read the reviews about this hotel on TripAdvisor before booking.
The Old Town gets a little crowded but I really liked the Lesser Town where I was able to find a few empty streets. I highly recommend Hotel Pod Věží in this area that is also a 4-star. This hotel has an extremely charming balcony that overlooks the Charles Bridge. Go check out the reviews by other travelers who stayed here.
Watch Honest Guide for Prague
The BEST thing that you can watch before reaching Prague is Honest Guide’s Prague Playlist. Their videos are entertaining and will give you a lot of important information about Prague. From where to eat, what to do and where to party in Prague, their massive playlist has info about ALL the things to know before visiting Prague.
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