Leave your flip flops at home
In less than three days in Prague we managed to walk approximately 75,000 steps. My passion for flip-flop wearing is up there with football and kebabs but they’re not practical at all. The places you want to visit all have steps involved, and the streets themselves are mainly cobbled. If you plan on chucking a few pints into the mix as well it’s a recipe for a visit to the hospital.
Don’t worry about using public transport
Prague operates a one ticket for all scheme where you can ride the tram, underground metro and bus using the same ticket. Tickets are available for 30 minutes, 90 minutes, 1 day and 3 days. If you’re not keen on walking everywhere a day ticket costs 110CZK, around £4. Once you have bought your ticket you must validate (stamp) it at a machine, which will date the ticket.
There are only 3 metro lines so if you get a decent map it will be easy to navigate. HOWEVER… we found that most of the time it was simply quicker to walk. By the time we walked 5 minutes, caught a tram for 8 and another 3 minute walk, it would have only taken us 15 minutes to walk. In addition, there is very little access to public transport around Old Town and Mala Strana.
Google Maps is your friend
Linked to the previous tip, Google Maps is really well calibrated with walking routes and public transport. Really clever. What I would say though, is that if you need to be somewhere quick, Google doesn’t take into account the time in a metro station. Most metro stations are marked as a single point, whereas some stations can take a good 3-5 minutes to access the platform once you have entered a station.
Get to places early
When we arrived at Charles Bridge at 9am we were allowed a casual stroll across. When we returned after lunch there were 5x the amount of people around.
Similarly, the queue to pass security to get in to the castle grounds at 10:30am was long, and by that I mean queuing behind 400+ people in 35 degree heat.
Prague is a busy city all year round but especially so in the summer. Try and get to places as early as you can but be aware that you’ll rarely be able to sight-see without some length of time waiting.
Carry plenty of change
If you choose to make use of public transport, make sure you have a lot of change. The first time we wanted to catch the tram we only had notes and after 5pm most manned ticket booths are closed. Coins are available in 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1CZK with a 50 worth about £2.
We didn’t use transport much but would recommend getting a 3 day ticket, if you’re out late it can be a long walk back to your hotel. Prague public transport runs through the night so with a bit of planning you can save a fair few Krona on taxis.
More importantly, you are going to want to use the loo at some point when gallivanting all day. Be aware that most public toilets – if you can find one – will charge you around 10CZK (40p) and even some food outlets are not free to use.
Worst case scenario is that you have a bit left over to waste in the airport. We were glad to chuck our remaining change into a collection on our EasyJet flight that will be donated to Unicef.
Hydration is key, be it beer or water!
As several tour guides told us, in Prague it is cheaper to buy beer than water, but you have to go to the right places. As expected in the old town area and restaurants you can pay up for £4 a pint but there’s no reason why you should pay more than 50CZK (£2), you just have to go off the beaten track a little.
Similarly for water and soft drinks, try to avoid the main tourist spots. A small bottle of water can cost up to £2 whereas popping in to a Lidl can get you 2 litres for 12p
… And finally …
Remember that you don’t have to pay attention to any of this! I’m sure you’re trip to Prague will be a lot different to ours and if your idea of enjoying your trip with a bottle of red by the river, then go for it. With so much available to enjoy, make a rough list of things you don’t want to miss, but expect things not to go exactly to plan!