Do's And Dont's While In Prague

Prague

is one of the most beautiful cities you come across in Europe. It is a very popular destination for tourists, however, it can also be dangerous if you are not careful. I've lived in Prague for 2 years while studying so I feel confident that I can give you some advice and hopefully save you some money and trouble.

Language

The main language is Czech, many people in Prague speak German and these days a lot of young people can speak English since its being taught in schools.

However, it is really appreciated by locals if you can spit out a few Czech sentences. Look up some common Czech phrases on the web or get a book. Don't try to just yell at them in English and expect that they will be cooperative.
Driving a car

Unless you absolutely love using maps and driving do not drive in Prague. It is a very old city, the streets are usually one way and it is being repaired all the time so the rules keep changing pretty much every day. I used to drive there but only routes which I knew 100%... or at least 90% and I know many locals just would not drive there.

The other problem is parking in Prague. After the fall of communism, the amount of cars in Prague doubled or tripled (I'm not sure exactly) but the point is that it is hard to park on the streets and expensive in car parks. Also if you just park your car where you are not supposed to, the local city police will clamp your car or tow it away. Either way it is not much fun dealing with them.

If you must drive, make sure you organize your parking with the hotel or motel or whatever and then take public transport to get yourself around.
Public transport

If you can, avoid using taxis. There are signs at the airport to use only their taxis. It is there for a very good reason. Unfortunately local taxi drivers have a bad habit of overcharging. I've heard a story of a tourist being charged $US 400 for taking a taxi from the bottom of Wenceslas Square to the top (you could walk it in about 10 minutes).

If you must take a taxi, use only authorized taxis and make sure the meter is turned on. Also it is better to agree on a fee before.

The best way I found is to use the local underground (Metro). It is very cheap, fast and gets you to most places you would want to go.
Where to eat & drink

Going to a restaurant in the heart of Prague can be expensive even by western standards. Try to avoid those restaurants and cafes in the main tourist areas, instead ask locals where there is a good restaurant with local cousine or track a few hundred meters away from the main tourist tracks. You will find really good restaurants with a fraction of the cost.
Money

Even though Czech is now a member of EU they still use crowns. You will need to have some cash as most small business still operate on cash basis and I would not just give them my credit card. If you want to use a credit card, make sure that the shop/restaurant/hotel or whatever is a reputable business. There are some problems with credit card fraud.

I've found that the best exchange rate you can get is to use your debit card and withdraw money from local ATM's. Just make sure you are in a well guarded area when you make a withdraw.

Don't ever change money with people on the street.
Crime

Prague's worst problem are petty thieves. Always make sure you close all your bags, don't have your money or passport in back pocket and be on alert. I would also suggest to reduce the amount of jewelery you put on. Thieves usually concentrate in main tourist areas and work in teams. So even if you get the guy who just took your wallet he usually manages to pass it onto his team mate. Also never leave valuables in a car on unattended bags. When leaving hotel room always make sure to lock it.

The other problem is prostitution. After 10PM main tourist areas are lined with girls happy to see you. Although prostitution is illegal, the local police turn blind eye. Do not pickup any girls from the streets especially if they are not Czechs, it can be very dangerous. You could end up without any money and maybe with some bonus disease.