Guide to Prague
Specially written by a foreign Prague resident for HCPP 2019 attendees.
Version 1.4 - Updated October 4, 2019 23:23 CEST
Hi! I’m Travin Keith, a resident of Prague for over two years. Though I’ve spent a lot of time traveling outside of Prague since moving here, (in fact writing this in another country) I’ve spent some time getting to know the city better, taking some “crash courses” by spending extensive time in various districts of the city. My goal of this guide is to help you have a great time in Prague in addition to enjoying a great event. With one exception that I will note when I do, I am not affiliated with any of the recommendations I will give in this guide and do not receive any form of financial compensation from them.
Exchange rates as of Oct. 1:
1 CHF = 23.60 CZK
1 GBP = 29.05 CZK
1 EUR = 25.75 CZK
Unless you have a CZK bank card, avoid the use of EuroNet ATMs in the airport or in the 1st district (or anywhere, really). They tend to have either hidden charges by giving you a bad exchange rate or having high service fees. Sometimes you’ll end up losing up to 25% of the money. Locals do not get this, so just because you see a local use the ATM doesn’t mean that you should. I have not tried Revolut yet for this, but have heard reports that you might just be able to withdraw without a problem or extra charges. In any case the fees or possibility of fees should be mentioned. Try using bank ATMs instead that are within your network but if you don’t find one, read the charges and exchange rate properly.
Credit and Debit cards are accepted widely in Prague (and some places take Bitcoin!). It is a good idea to carry around some cash if you plan on going around especially outside the first district, however, but I almost never carry more than 500 CZK.
There’s a two-way ATM at Paralelni Polis that can be used if you wish to get crypto to buy stuff at HCPP, or if you need to sell crypto to get CZK for purchases outside the event. Information about the locations of the ATMs can be found here. Some people have given me personal recommendations for ATMs as well and confirmed their availability (Thanks to true_libertine) will expand this as people send me confirmations.
Na Příkopě 852/10
The ATM is inside the casino, and the people there are fairly nice.
I have not personally had any positive interactions with currency exchange places, but if you need to change currencies to CZK, the folks at the Honest Guide YouTube channel have some recommendations. Remember, you don’t need to carry that much cash around with you in Prague unless you plan to go on some shopping spree. As mentioned in the ATM section, I almost never carry more than 500 CZK. However, the most important thing to know is to NEVER do currency exchange with strangers on the street. (thanks to Elkim for the important reminder)
Arriving at the Train Station
If you arrive by train at the main train station (Hlavni Nadrazi), avoid taking the taxis that are stationed there. Though some operate properly, a lot of them try to take advantage of tourists. I tested this out myself, though I had no intention of getting on, and asked for a ride somewhere 5 minutes away, and they asked me for 500 CZK (about EUR 20) before the ride began.
Instead, I recommend taking the metro which is right below the train platforms. When you get out of the platforms, there should be signs pointing you to the metro. In any case, as long as you are going downwards, you are likely going in the right direction. The line that stops in the main train station is the C line, which is colored red, and so are the signs. From there you can take the direction of Haje to transfer at Muzeum for the A line or the direction Letnany to transfer at Florenc for the B line. There are also trams and buses outside. Google maps or Pubtran should tell you which to take.
If you wish to take Uber or Bolt, first take the stairs down from your platform and head towards the main area. Find the escalators going up ( if you’re in the middle, there’s one to the left and one to the right), then exit through the old main entrance while enjoying the atmosphere of the old main train station. After exiting, you’ll see some buses in front of you. Take a right on the sidewalk and walk towards the parking lot. Wait here for your driver.
Arriving at the Airport
If you arrive by airport, it should be fairly straightforward and easy, especially if you’re coming in from the Schengen area, which means you will be in Terminal 2. If you aren’t, then you’ll be in Terminal 1, unless you’ll be coming by private plane, in which case you’ll be in Terminal 3 :) Unfortunately, I’ve only been in Terminal 2, so I cannot give advice for Terminal 1, but walking to Terminal 2 is easy and relatively short.
After getting your bags and going through the customs check, to your right there will be a new tourist service desk that can help you get to your hotel or Airbnb via public transportation. If you already know how to get to your hotel or Airbnb, there will be some ticket machines to your left, as well as a ticket counter. To get to the buses, take exit A. I do not recommend taking an airport taxi as their rates are quite high. If you want to take Uber or Bolt instead, take the elevator or escalators upstairs to Departures and then take door E or D (your app will tell you) and then call them from there. They might already be parked there as well, so keep an eye out. If you need WiFi, the airport has free WiFi. If it’s too slow, go inside to Departures and wait until the driver is near. There is an extra charge the airport has imposed (indirectly) on Uber and Bolt but this cost is now factored in the app and your fare estimate.
If you want to stock up on some groceries, there’s a grocery store (Billa) if you keep walking to the left, in the same direction of exit A, but just a bit further.
Prague has a fantastic public transportation system, and I recommend you give it a try. Some of the stops on the Metro like the one of Jiřího z Poděbrad on the A-line (green) also have a very fast escalator that sometimes can substitute for a carnival ride :) The metro and trams are also usually on time and I’ve only had a few occasional problems. If you have a problem with directions though like me, then you can take the metro to a place and then take Bolt or Uber, which would come out to a much lower total bill. In the first district though, I recommend walking as there are many one-way streets that can make your trip longer in the car than on foot. In other cases though, Bolt or Uber is quite reasonably priced and I’ve generally not had any problems using them. Just be mindful of the address you entered, as one time I entered an address and I went outside of Prague by accident…
Ridesharing and Taxis
“Ridesharing” companies are active and most drivers have applicable business registrations. Sometimes, a taxi will show up as some of them are also on the app.
Bolt (Formerly Taxify)
This one is not used so much by tourists as most use Uber. I recommend using both and then using which is better for you (rates vs wait time). Usually during the summer I almost only use this but in October it’s more 50/50. If you want to try it out (and want to support me a bit) use the promo code BAP13 and you and I will receive CZK 100 in credits :)
This is not really a “ridesharing” app as they call taxis. Usually more expensive than Uber or Bolt, but sometimes have shorter wait times.
You can pay with cash.
I generally don’t take taxis in Prague due to the reputation of some (not all) taxi drivers taking advantage of tourists. Though I live in Prague, I don’t “look” Czech and don’t speak Czech beyond basic words, so I’ve had some taxi drivers try to swindle me. Walking away isn’t usually a problem though. Basic rule of thumb - if a meter isn’t used, don’t use them. Since Liftago calls taxis already anyway, I recommend using them instead.
Public transportation costs (tram, metro, and bus are all together):
30 minutes - 24 CZK
90 minutes - 32 CZK
24 hours - 110 CZK
72 hours - 310 CZK
Most main tram and metro stops have ticket machines that accept contactless cards, but in the less-frequented stops, they either have none or the ones that only accept coins. You can buy tickets beforehand and activate them by entering them into the machines available at the metro stops or on the trams and buses themselves.
Though the system relies on the honor system, there are random checks, especially in areas of high travel activity. For example, the airport bus stops at Veleslavin, where I have been checked more than the rest of Prague combined.
Prague’s public transportation system is one of the best I’ve seen in this world :)
Prague Metro Map (Color coded)
Prague is a very safe city considering it’s size. It’s not a “small-town-dont-need-to-lock-doors” level, but overall I haven’t had problems, even walking at 2 AM through relatively dodgy/sketchy areas. However, still be mindful of your belongings of course. If you have an emergency, dial 112 for general emergencies and 155 for rescue (ambulance).
Sights to See
The following are just some of the sights I recommend to check out. If I didn’t or forgot to add something, it by no means implies that it isn’t good.
Charles Bridge and Tower
A staple in sightseeing in Prague. This place gets really crowded. It’s essentially the most visited place in Prague for tourists. However, its impact is strongest when there aren’t a lot of people. So go early in the morning if you can.
Kind of automatic. It has a lot of entrances, but take the one in Prazsky Hrad. Tram 22 and 23 go there. If you prefer the subway, you might be tempted to take the Hradcanska subway stop, but that’s an uphill walk to the castle. Better to take Malostranska instead, but really, the tram is the best choice.
Lots of places around the castle is free to enter as well. There are some guided tours as well, but I’ve never been on them. Haven’t heard complaints either though.
The St. Vitus Cathedral is the highlight, in my opinion.
Here’s the official guide to get to the castle.
Nice Baroque place in Prague that’s a bit on the outer-areas of the city, but not actually far away. I haven’t been there yet, but it’s one I always recommend as it’s quite different from most of the other sights of the city.
Not really a tourist spot, but if you like zoos, this one is pretty good. I’ve been here twice. Decent food options as well. Here’s a link to their ticket prices.
Wencelas Square (+ Museum)
You can get here with either the Museum or Mustek stops, with the latter being on the north east side. Lots of shops around here, though most are what I would consider tourist traps. But some of the “inner” cafes and stuff some locals go to. Go to this map compiled by these two cool guides in Prague (more on them further below) to find them.
Old Town Square
Lots of tourists here as well, but worth a visit. Closest stop is Starometska. The 600 year-old astronomical clock is here.
National Monument on Vítkov
Bit of a walk up here, but the views are quite nice. Should be free. There’s a museum there as well.
Bit of a walk up here as well, but the views are also nice. Free to go. Oh, and yeah, huge metronome.
Other Sights to See
These sights have been recommended by others that I have not been to, so cannot describe them much. However, they are still worth considering! (Thanks to dimitrist for the suggestion)
Museum of Communism (V Celnici 1031/4)
A museum presenting how communism was like in Prague after WWII. Here’s the link to their website.
Restaurants and Bars
Note: This list is not ranked in any way other than the order of which I remembered them. This is also in no way an exhaustive list of good restaurants in Prague, which has many dining options that I have not had the chance of trying.
Portfolio - Havlíčkova 1030
This is my favorite restaurant in Prague. I recommend going here for lunch as their meals are of great value, though dinner is awesome too of course, but is much more pricey. Their soups are almost always top notch (only one time I wasn’t too big of a fan) and almost everything they have packs a good flavor punch. Dessert options are pretty good too.
Salabka - K Bohnicím 57/2
A bit out of the way, but if you go to the Troja palace or Prague Zoo, it’s a good place to go to as it’s about a 10-15 minute walk away. Just make sure to check out salabka.cz and their schedule to see if they’re open at the time you want to go as they sometimes have events. Their menus are set menus, which can get a bit pricey, but honestly worth it for a nice dinner or lunch.
Restaurace U Bansethů - Táborská 389/49
Best duck in Prague, period. Bring cash though as sometimes they can’t accept card. Oh, and they have interesting beers. Get ready with Google Translate though, as this is a legit Prague restaurant with no English menus. Great prices as this restaurant is for locals. Oh, the duck they have comes from their own farm.
Lokal - Many branches
Nice place to get Pilsner Urquelle and a range of Czech dishes with English menus. Not overpriced either, but the one on Dlouhá 33 tends to skimp on the portions. I recommend the Smažený sýr, aka deep fried cheese. They have theirs aged for 4-6 weeks. If you really like cheese, I recommend trying the Olomouc cheese. Not all of the Lokal branches have this though.
Hilton Prague - Pobřežní 1
Only go here if you want the Svickova, a very traditional Prague dish. It’s more expensive here than anywhere else in Prague, but I have yet to find one of similar quality. Next to the fried cheese, Svickova is my favorite Czech dish.
BEEF BAR - Na Perštýně 357/10
If you’re looking for a simple but amazing cut of beef, this is the place to go to. Most people don’t bother because it looks like a meat shop when you first go in, but it’s a pretty good restaurant as well. Nothing too fancy, though the prices are a bit higher than what normal Czech prices are, but the quality of the meat is superb.
The PUB - Many branches
Beer taps. On the table. Need I say more? You pay per 0.1 L and it’s the same price as many bars. You can also buy food, but I have not tried it.
Dva kohouti - Sokolovská 81/55
This is a bar that a lot of locals go to. Not many tourists come here as it’s not even marked as a bar on Google Maps, which I think might be intentional. Lots of beers that are local and some snacks to go along. There’s a Lokal on the other side (south) of the place, so you can go there to eat, then here to drink.
Cafe Imperial - Na Poříčí 1072/15
Really historic place, but a bit expensive. For lunch though you can have a good meal for about 15-20 bucks per person. Much better option than the tourist trap nearby that tries to look like a local Czech restaurant but charges about the same for extremely sub par food.
Na Jedli - Plzeňská 608/7
Great casual Czech restaurant. Lots of good options here. They also have the real Budweiser, not the fake American one.
ALE! Bar - Elišky Peškové 79/9 (DISCLAIMER: I have some affiliation with this bar due to Liberbeer)
Great bar in Prague with some classic Czech snacks with a rotating beer tap, though Liberale is always on tap. Beers are from various areas in the Czech Republic and most of them you won’t be able to find in other bars. Ask if Jarda (Pronounced Yar-dah) the owner is there. If he is, tell him Travin says hi.
Cafe Buddha - Balbínova 403/19 and Norská 602/14
Great Asian fusion restaurant. A bit upscale, but perfect for meetings or long lunches and dinners. The one at Norska is quite busy during lunch though.
Holešovická Kozlovna - Dělnická 1501/28 just a few meters from Paralelni Polis (Thanks to Lucas from Bitcoin Association Switzerland for the suggestion)
Good Czech restaurant with outdoor seating. They have well-priced lunch menus on weekdays as well. You can find them on the lower-left of this map image.
These restaurants have been recommended by those who provided some feedback to me (thanks true_libertine and derEremit). I either have not been to or do not remember being to these places, so unfortunately I cannot write much about their food. But if you are near them and looking for a place to eat, they are likely to be a great option!
U Fleků - Křemencova 11
The place seems to be quite large with 8 dining halls. Looks quite marvelous from the photos. They also brew their own beer and seem to have great reviews for the food. (How have I not been here?! I might try it myself soon..)
U Sadu - Škroupovo nám. 1282/5
Quite a relaxed-looking place with a kitchen that serves food until late in the evening. Online it says they have 10 beers on tap, which is sure to be a good thing!
Note: I am adding this as it was suggested (thanks to Evangelos Barakos) to include a section for those who wish to work in a cafe during their time in Prague, especially if they are staying for an extended time. Please note though that the cafes here are not necessarily quiet working cafes, though they may be at times. If you want a proper coworking space for short term use, there’s Paper Hub at Paralelni Polis.
Misto - Bubenečská 12
Quite a nice modern cafe. I've been here a few times over the past two years and can attest to their consistent quality, both of their standard offerings as well as their specials. It does get busy though, so make sure to go when it's outside of peak hours. They have meals as well as snacks. I can recommend their special hot chocolates.
Cafe Jirasek - Evropská 664/134
This one is a bit away from the main parts of the city. But if you want to go to a cafe away from any sort of tourist activity, this is one. They have meals here as well, but I haven't tried them. However, their lunch menus are pretty good value-wise. I haven't been here in a while though, but they seem to have only improved since the last time I've been there.
Můj šálek kávy - Křižíkova 386/105
I've been here a few times and it's always good. Sort of both a restaurant and cafe. Decent beer options as well. However, I've only been here for lunch, and it's always crowded, so don’t be around here for lunch or dinner if you’re looking to work through the day. There’s a Starbucks nearby as well.
Late Night Delivery
For any late night delivery I generally use Dame Jidlo. If you don’t have cash and can’t use their online payment system, they can even bring a terminal with them so you can pay with card when they deliver. The number of options go down though as it gets later, and some areas in Prague won’t have service anymore, so keep this in mind.
General Notes on Bars and Restaurants in Prague
I have never had bad beer in Prague. Only overpriced beer. For mainstream beers like Pilsner Urquelle, Staropramen, Budwiser, Kozel, Gambrinus, (all five are worth trying, and their different versions) I would never pay more than 55 CZK in most restaurants for 0.5 L. If it’s a bit upscale, then 60-70 is justifiable, but more is what I consider highway robbery. For special “craft” beers though, like the ones on rotating taps, 60-70, sometimes even 80 or more, can be normal (for 0.5 L). It just depends on the type of beer. Some are not microfiltered as well so their shelf life is quite short. Sometimes the bar you buy them at is the one making them, and they’re in very small batches.
Try ordering Kozel, Staropramen, and Budweiser (not the American one) instead of Pilsner Urquell. My preference is Kozel (light for eating dark for just drinking or dessert) but try them out. They’re usually cheaper than Pilsner Urquell too.
I generally avoid restaurants in the first district other than the ones on this list as they tend to be overpriced for the quality they deliver. There are some other good ones that I have not mentioned though, but unfortunately I forgot their names. If you can plan ahead on where to eat, do that.
Lunch menus are taken quite seriously in the city and their value is usually quite good. They don’t say the discounts, but usually if they’re ordered at dinner the prices can be 25% to even 45% more expensive.
General Notes on Food and Drink in Prague
Trdlo/Trdelník is not considered to be a traditional Czech food. There’s loads of carts around that sell them claiming to be traditional. Yes, it is, in the Hungarian speaking part of Romania, where it allegedly originated from, among other Eastern European places, but not Prague. It can be tasty, but don’t buy it thinking it’s traditionally Czech.
Czech food is quite meat-heavy, but there are decent vegetarian options in most restaurants, especially with the fried cheese.
I almost always have “Nakládaný hermelín” (pickled camembert) together with beer. With Pilsner Urquelle, it really improves the flavor. You can buy this at almost any bar that serves snacks. If available, I also get the Škvarková pomazánka, which is pork greaves, intended to be spread over bread.
My favorite meat main dish is the Svíčková, with the roast duck (Pecena Kachna) and the pork knuckle both coming in a close tie for second.
Lots of stores serve Absinthe, but it’s not really a Czech drink. However, it’s quite good. If you’re going to TCConf.ro, I will be bringing a bottle to share.
Becherovka is a popular herbal bitter drink and digestive. It has some cinnamon-like flavor, though some say that it’s more like ginger. I quite like it and recommend that you give it a try!
Other General Notes (Some contributed by others, anonymously if not credited)
Do not accept drugs from strangers if they want to share with you - one of my friends ended up in a hospital because of an infection
The convenience stores in the first district are ripoffs. Try to find a grocery store like Billa, Zabka, Albert, or Tesco instead. The convenience stores (RELAY) in the metro stations are ok, but they are a bit more expensive than the grocery stores.
Beer bottles can be as cheap as 8 CZK in grocery stores.
Ano (anoh) is yes. Ne (neh) is no. Děkuji (Link to pronunciation) is thank you. Pivo (pee-voh) is beer.
Google translate says “Ahoj” (pronounced “ahoy”) is a way to say hi. This is true, but this is very informal and some Czechs will consider it rude if they are not your close friend. Say “dobry den” instead (dob-ree-den)
I might be updating this list as more people give feedback (or correct wrong information). I will be changing the version every time this is modified, starting at version 1.0. I will try to have a “changelog” at the bottom so you don’t have to read everything again.
If you want to spend more time figuring out visiting Prague, check out the videos from the Honest Guide YouTube channel. Their videos were very useful to me when I started living in Prague. The map of the cool shops in Wencelas Square was made by them.
Unfortunately if you are looking to get an anonymous sim card, this is not the place for it. I have a prepaid card and had to give up a decent amount of personal info plus my passport scan. (thanks goodc0re for the inquiry)
I will be speaking at 13:00 on Saturday at the Slévárna stage about the dehumanizing effects of immigration. I hope to see you there! Details of my talk are here. If you aren’t interested in the topic, I recommend attending the presentation of Luis Cuende, which will be at the same time as mine.
Thanks for reading my guide! I hope that this will be helpful for you in having a nice time in Prague!
Added information about the Honest Guide YouTube Channel
Added Currency Exchange section
Added airport information
Added Bitcoin ATM information
Added warning for street currency exchange
Added Gambrinus to mass-produced beer recommendations (thanks derEremit for the reminder)
Added other restaurant recommendations
Added information about fiat ATMs (thanks Zkittles for sharing some info)
Added suggested sights to see
Added Dáme jídlo