The scariest thing we saw when in Prague was the numerous drunken rowdy groups of (mainly) British men on Stag Weekends. For those of you not familiar with this term, it is a boys weekend away before one of them gets married.
Prague is a very popular destination for these groups as the beer is pretty cheap, and places to drink it are plentiful.
We spotted our first groups at the airport in London - the matching shirts were a bit of a giveaway…and cringed as we sat near one (already drunk and rowdy) group on the flight to Prague.
You will spot them all over the city….though not too early in the day as they are trying to sleep off their hangovers so they can start drinking all over again at lunch.
We observed one group of (both old & young) blokes enjoying several beers at a riverside bar. We noticed that one of the older gentlemen suddenly almost fell into the river…it seems he was throwing up and almost lost his balance…nice. See it you can see him in the picture. If this was your Stag event - apologies!
When using the public transport in Prague please make sure to always have a validated ticket. Ticket inspections by PIT (Prague Integrated Transport) persons occur quite often. The penalty fare is about 400 CZK, whereas the normal fare for a single ticket is only 12 CZK (2003).
Around the astronomical clock a large crowd always gathers, this one was at about 1 am . . . and guess what . . . the clock didn't even do it's thing.
I think that it is a bit of an anti climax even when it does go through the motions, symbolic perhaps but not very exciting.
Visiting Prague, it is inevitable that you will be meeting lots of other tourists. Reading my other pages on more remote places, you'll notice that I am quite wary of mass tourism. Why do I like Prague then, despite the tourist crowds? Well, first of all, people and cities simply belong together, there's nothing unnatural about it. That's really different from places like the Scottish Highlands, where solitude and quietness are a key feature. A busload of package tourists being released on an otherwise serene scenery is very disturbing. A busload of package tourists in Prague is just a couple of more people.
Having said that, a couple of places in Prage can be annoying due to crowds: The Golden Lane, Charles Bridge and the streets leading there from the Old Town Square, the space in front of the Astronomical Clock.
If you visit Prague in the summer, you will do so with a million others. Old Town Square will be jammed with hungry and thirsty tourists. At mid-day and sunset the Charles Bridge will be so crowded that it resembles a Los Angeles freeway. The Prague Castle will host hundreds of tour groups each and every day.
But in summer the weather is most predictable and it stays light until close to 10:00 p.m. And if you sneak away from the major sights you can always find a quiet cafe to rejuvenate your spirits. Don't let the crowds keep you away or get you down--remember, to others you are also part of the faceless masses.
It's very easy to get ripped off in Prague, especially in the many middle-class restaurants on the main tourist routes. They charge you 200 crowns for a Gulas and 90 crowns for a pint of beer and you'll pay it without much hesitation because it's still very reasonable compared to the prices where you come from. But it's at least four times as much as the comparable quality would normally cost in restaurants off the beaten path.
If you pay more than 35 Crowns for a beer, it's a sure rip-off! And 35 Crowns is still very, expensive. Most people in Prague cannot afford to shop and eat in any of the downtown restaurants. Just for comparison' sake: A normal employee will earn around 10000 Crowns per month, that's approximately 300 Euros or Dollars.
Cedaz minibus is safe and good means of transportation between airport and city centre stop. They also offer "extra" service to bring you to hotel from that stop for extra payment.
Watch out - they will not hesitate to take 120 CZK and drive two blocks to your hotel Mariott. Find out if your hotel is near "Namesti Republiky" - maybe you can easily walk to hotel, or much faster/cheaper will be to take metro or tram!
If you make the decision to rent a car whilst in Prague then you really need to be careful about reading the small print if you rent one off a Czech company.
You will inevitably get a Skoda, which you MUST inspect closely before driving away for any damage and clearly write it down on the hiring documents.
Even more importantly you will need to check if the car is only insured in the Czech republic (you may be planning on visiting Germany or Slovakia), and exactly what the cover is in the event of accidents of theft.
I've heard tales of people being hauled through the courts for the full cost of replacement car when it was stolen !
When arriving in Prague do not get into a cab until you know exactly what the fare is going to be. The drivers will rush up to you and load all your luggage into the car and get you all settled and seatbelted and then tell you that the trip is going to cost some exorbitant amount. Cabs in Prague from the airport or from either of the main railway stations to most of the city centre and suburban hotels should cost no more than around CZK500 (about 15 Euro).
We got caught and paid 980CZK (31 Euro) for a 4 minute ride. When taking a cab back to the airport or railway station ask your hotel desk clerk to book one for you with a confirmed price. They know where the honest ones are to be found.
I've heard of people who have been overcgraged on fines on the metro and elsewhere.
A little common sense is required to amke sure that they are doing their job correctly.
Most importantly they must have their badge with a 4 digit number, and they MUST produce (if asked) an I.D card with a matching number.
Fines for not having a ticket are up to 800 Crowns only, but it is worth knowing they are reduced by 50% if you pay on the spot.
Other fines are only up to 200 Crowns - again reduced by 50% if paid on the spot.
Always get a reciept and a note of the number of the inspector.
If you are driving then be aware that it is illegal to overtake a tram in Prague unless it is actually moving, and you can overtake on the right hand side.
Not only would you lay yourself open to abuse, but a hefty fine as well.
If you really muck things up, you really would not like to see pictures of cars that have been rammed by an irate tram driver.
Also remember that trams have priority in all circumstances - in Prague they really are the kings of the road.
Too late to add a photo of our luggage in the trunk or backseat of my car for it was stolen in less than 5 minutes, just enough time to check in our hotel
We explicitly looked for a hotel with a guarded parking but still the time of checking in was sufficient to steal all our stuff.
So please be very careful in Prague as its reputation for thiefs & pickpockets is genuine.
I was a bit shocked at the prices in Prague, I was expecting to be able to pick up bargains whilst I was out there, but I cannot really recommend anything now that is good value, even the Russian nested dolls are not an especially cheap purchase, and those are better off bought in Russia, purely on the basis that it’s nicer to buy a Russian Doll in Russia.
Cut glass too is a Czech speciality, but this is a lot more expensive than I had been led to believe. Perhaps if you go out of Prague, these things get cheaper?
Generally, although Pargue was once cheap, it is fast catching up with Western prices. I think it is still cheap if you want a weekend in an alcoholic haze mind!
Note:- The picture of the Russian Dolls here shows English Football Teams, Football here means proper football that is played with the feet (I believe it is referred to as soccer in some places around the globe), and not something where you dress up in armour and throw the ball about...
Please be careful to read all instructions when using the metro, I spent nearly 20 mins working out how to do it correctly, and still got it wrong. I bought my ticket but did not put it into the machine at the top of the escalator and when I decended I was approached by an inspector as my ticket for 12 cr was not stamped, I was instantly fined 400cr, that was a big fine for a silly mistake, dont do the same as me, follow ALL instructions.
The station is a dingy underground split level place with no natural light ,full of drug dealers ,drug addicts ,alcoholics and the homeless as well as sex shops and porno theatres. Sadly at some point you'll probably have to go there but don't say i didn't warn you.
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