As our first location on our European adventure, we could not have picked a better place than Prague. We spent a wonderful four days exploring all of the crevices of this historic city. Lucky for you, we also put together this wonderful guide to put your anxiety at ease as you begin a new adventure in a new county.
What to Expect
Our most most pressing question – and the primary source of our anxiety – was what should we expect. This is our first time in Europe and, other than our layover in London, we have never been immersed in another country’s culture; especially a country whose citizens do not speak english. In Prague, you can generally assume that most people under the age of 30 speak a fair amount of english. More thank likely, they speak WAY more English than the Czech you speak. They explained their fluency in english as a necessity to work in most industries in Prague, specifically the tourist attractions and restaurant industry. However, you should learn a few basic Czech words before you go.
Hello: Dobry den – “doh-bree-den” Or Hi: Ahoj
Good bye: Na shledanou – “nah–shleh-da-na)
Please: prosim – “proh-seem”
Thank you: Dekuji “djah-kwee”
English – Anglicky – “uhn-glik-skee”
Yes – ano – “Ah-no”
No – ne – “neh”
Prague is generally regarded as a very safe city. We never felt threatened or unsafe, even when walking around late at night. That being said, always be alert and aware of your surroundings.
Prague is a very walkable city. While the public transportation is excellent, it is not necessary as most of the places you’ll want to visit are generally located within a 3 mile radius. One thing we did not have the luxury of doing was walking before our trip. I would suggest going on a LONG walk daily before your trip or bring a large bottle of ibuprofen for muscle soreness. We walked about 10 miles a day.
We also took the subways, which are really nice, user friendly, and highly accessible from most places in the city. There are 3 lines (A,B, and C) that traverse the inner city and trains arrive every 2.5 minutes like clockwork. Even though the signage is in Czech, it is so well crafted that you will not have a problem getting to your destination. We recommend identifying your nearest stations before the trip, but most locals are wonderful with tourists and will tell you how to get to where you’re going!
Tourism is thriving in Prague! Expect to see people from all over the world. There are very clear tourist districts that are crammed with people, restaurants, and (lots) of souvenir shops, but you can easily escape the commotion by walking down a side street here and there. Prague is generally overflowing with tourists in the summer months, so if you don’t mind the cold, we suggest a trip in the late spring or early winter!
In and Around Prague
I want go slightly into the things you will see but instead of telling you about them, I’d rather show you!
Alcohol is sold everywhere. You can generally find fantastic food, coffee, wine, and liquor in one shop. Also, you can take alcohol to go and drink on the streets as long as you are not visibly intoxicated. Discovering this rule was my favorite because in order to translate “intoxicated”, the locals would throw their head back and wave their arms around. Hilarious!
Tipping in Prague is not required but you generally leave 10%. If you are using a credit card, make sure to ask them to include the tip in the amount; there is no tip line to fill in after the card is charged. It’s also a good idea to keep about 100 korunas on you for tipping, waters, or subway passes if you don’t have a 24 hour pass. The exchange rate is about 25-1, so basically keep 4 dollars on you.
Finally, since most people speak english, be careful of what you say!
Don’t Be Surprised
There were so many things in Prague that made our heads spin! Here are a few things that aren’t common (or legal) in the United States.
Graffiti everywhere. There is graffiti all over Prague. On streets, sidewalks, century-old monuments. Everywhere. Graffiti is not the same as in America; it does not mean the area is unsafe or gang territory. Graffiti is just a part of the streets of Prague.
The occasional public pot smoker – you will encounter this, so be aware. Marijuana is not legal, per se, but apparently no one really cares. We finally asked a waitress about the legality of marijuana when the guys at the table next to us began rolling a joint unapologetically. The waitress basically said, it’s not legal, but it is tolerated.
Dogs, dogs, and more dogs. First off, don’t worry, their owners are close by. In Prague, dogs generally are “walked” without leashes, there are dogs in the subways, there are dogs in the restaurants. I am not talking about a tiny poodle named Spartacus being toted in a purse; there will be German shepards under the table, Bulldogs running loose on the street, and labs patiently waiting for their owners to catch up. We loved it, but were definitely caught off guard!
Finally, I just want to thank our AirBnB host, Stepan. Our apartment in Karlin was unreal. Here are a few photos and a link to his AirBnB Posting, if you’re going to Prague there is not a better choice!
Prague was an amazing trip! We cannot wait to go back. If you have any questions feel free to contact us! We’re off to Milan!