Planning a trip to Prague? This beautiful and historic city, located in the heart of Europe, draws millions of visitors each year. The heart of Prague has ancient sights and historical wonders, but travel a little outside the city, and you’ll find stunning viewpoints, sprawling green space, and local bakeries and beer halls. No matter what brings you to Prague, it’s important to know what to expect - and what not to do - before visiting.
One of the most common questions I get when people visit the Czech Republic is, “Is Prague safe?” It’s a fair question. Most people want to know whether they will be able to walk around Prague during the day and during the night without worrying or looking over their shoulders.
My answer: Yes! Prague is one of the safest cities in Europe. I have personally never felt unsafe while walking around Prague, both day and night. In fact, the Czech Republic is known for their low crime rates and its overall safety. Of course, the country still struggles with some minor crime (mostly pickpocketing), but otherwise, it’s perfectly safe.
When most tourists arrive in Prague, they tend to stick to the well-worn parts of the city: Old Town and the surrounding areas. Prague is so much bigger than the touristy parts of the city, though, and many of the best parts of Prague are often found off the beaten path.
For example, the city’s zoo is situated on the outskirts of Prague and some of the city’s most beautiful parks (and best restaurants!) are not located right downtown. The good news: public transit is cheap and easy to access, and you can head outside of the prime tourist spots with little effort.
Prague is full of places to exchange money, especially in the center of town. I always tell visitors to steer clear of these currency exchange businesses, which often promise too-good-to-be-true deals and pack in hidden fees. Instead, take money directly from a bank’s ATM (check out Raffeisen, for example, or Česká spořitelna). Their exchange rate is often much better.
If you do insist on using one of these currency exchanges, make sure to ask for the final amount in writing before handing over cash. In addition, insist on a receipt. If you have been given a bad deal, you have three hours to turn around and cancel the transaction.
When you walk through Prague’s most touristy areas, you’ll encounter the chimney-shaped cake called trdelník. These baked goods call themselves Czech, but the truth is that they aren’t Czech… they’re actually Hungarian. There’s no shame in devouring one of these tasty treats (who can dislike dough and cinnamon sugar?!), but you should really make an effort to try some of Czech Republic’s traditional food.
Czech baked goods are not as sweet as traditional American foods, but they’re equally as delicious. One of my favorites? The classic koláč, a palm-sized disk covered with a creamy topping and lots of seasonal fruits. If you want to try the best Czech bakeries in Prague, check out Eska or Kus Koláče (but expect to wait in line a little).
It’s the age-old question when traveling: to tip, or not to tip. In Czech Republic, tipping is not the norm - at least, not the way it is in the U.S. In the U.S., you might tip 15% or 20% to your servers. In the Czech Republic, it’s far more common to round up the bill. For example, if the bill comes out to 375 CZK, I would round up to 400 CZK.
In Prague, most restaurants will try and convince foreigners that it’s common to tip, like in the U.S. However, it’s not - and local Czechs would never tip 15% or 20% on the bill. When I’m in the countryside and I tip that much, the servers are genuinely confused. So when you visit, try and remember to round up the bill.
Local Czechs have one big pet peeve: when people use “Czechoslovakia.” Try and avoid calling the country Czechoslovakia, especially around Czechs. The state ceased to exist in 1993, when Czech Republic was formed. The use of “Czechoslovakia” brings up memories of the immediate times post-communism, and demonstrates a general lack of awareness about the country.
Last Updated 28 August 2022