When going on a vacation to any far off land, one usually, consciously or unconsciously roams around with the knowledge that things work the same way as they do back home, despite knowing that you’re stepping onto a place for the first time. This might hold you back and may also cause a few hindrances as things aren’t the same everywhere and each culture and continent is different and exquisite from one another. Learning about the place you’re visiting, their culture, and language and background all account for a surreal experience not just from a tourist point of view but also from the eyes of the people inhabited there. Whom you should consider as the most essential element which ensures your travel venture goes smoothly and establishes a bond with the place you’re visiting. In this case, the marvelous land of Prague. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you figure you’re way through Prague as a tourist.
1. Lining up for Queues
Lining up for queues is one of the most evident ways the localities find out that you’re not from around there. Moreover, it’s also a sheer waste of time to stand around in queues waiting for a long period of time. That just screams amateur tourists. Plan ahead or book your tickets beforehand, some even allow you to skip the queue.
2. Careful of Scammers
Prague is a mesmerizing place but make sure not to get completely lost in its magic as a few people would be waiting for you to lose yourself so that they could take advantage of you. Similar to other European destinations even in Prague, scammers and pickpockets would be at large and the moment they notice your guard is down, they’ll be on their toes to capitalize. It could happen in any way; one guy could be sweet-talking you about a random thing you found interesting, and another guy could sneak up slowly and steal your bag/purse and run off into the crowd. The mark of a smart tourist is to always have your guard up no matter how innocent or friendly the localities are. Be sure to be on the lookout in these places especially: Charles Bridge, the astronomical clock, the entrance of the castle of Prague and metro stations.
3. General etiquette
An important tip about visiting Prague is that people aren’t used to smiling at strangers or having small talk with strangers. But just because they seem expressionless or are not overly friendly doesn’t equate that they are bad/rude people. On top of this make sure to not greet people with English as it is not taken very well. It’s good to have a few Czech phrases in your mind when you need to order drinks or food even if you’re bad at it. The localities will respect the effort. Here are a few examples:
- Hello: Ahoj (Ahoy)
- Please: Prosim
- Thank you: Dekuji (Dye-kyu-yi)
4. Walk with a locality
A lot of the popular food showcased on Instagram or any social media from Prague is most probably not from the Czech Republic. A lot of them aren’t available locally and even if they are, it’s most probably not authentic. If you truly want to discover the various indigenous cuisines of the Czech Republic then a locality is your best guide. Prague is also quite famous for its craft beer. The old town of Prague has numerous dining hotspots which attract tourists like a moth to a flame. Having a locality that knows in and around the city is, therefore, an indispensable tool to have when visiting Prague. As a tourist, you need to search more information before travelling to Prague for the first time.
5. Currency ambiguity
Even though the Czech Republic is a part of the European Union. A few of the countries in the union opted to use their own currency and the Czech Republic was one of them. Czech Koruna is the currency over there. So remind yourself that Euros would not be able to fetch you more than a few awkward stares locally. Make sure to bring some Czech Koruna along with you as you drop in Prague or draw from a standardized ATM. Avoid using local currency exchange centers as they provide exorbitant and fake exchange rates and scam tourists.
6. Matryoshka dolls
A large multitude of people think Matryoshka dolls are a local toy found in the Czech Republic, but in reality, they are souvenirs from Russia. Basically, Matryoshka dolls are not considered a novelty item as they serve as a painful reminder of their former ties with the USSR and communism. The same is with fluffy soft hats with sickle and hammer symbols on them all of which act as a sort of communist memorabilia. There are however authentic souvenirs to such as Czech crystal glass, crystal beads, and handmade woodwork such as wooden toys.
7. Padlocks on bridges
Padlocks on bridges look romantic in movies and TV shows, but when you get down to the details you realize that they are nothing more than an overrated romantic expenditure that ultimately does more harm than good to the metal structure of the bridge. Especially in Prague, instead of spending 500 Koruna on a padlock, it could be well spent on something that is actually worthwhile. The reason being padlocks damage bridges by posing a lot of unaccounted for weight on the structure and the padlocks rust and also tarnish ruining the appearance of the bridge. For this reason, the authorities in Prague remove padlocks to prevent any kind of harm to such structures. The authorities, therefore, insist tourists be as invisible as possible when they visit historical sites.
Prague has quiet nightlife and is one of the most enjoyable across Europe. But you also need to make sure to be clever about where the night might take you. Go through reviews on trip advisor and other blogs/ websites to make sure whether the place you’ve chosen not only holds you attracted with its outlook but also shows no hindrances with respect to security or safety. Now you might be at least a bit familiar with how things work in Prague and what you need to look out for. Overall Prague is a place to visit and definitely a place to scratch off your bucket list for sure. Just make sure to plan ahead to thoroughly enjoy its glamour without lay backs.