Vacationing In Prague: Here’s What You Need To Know
Prague is an increasingly popular tourist destination for adventurous Americans looking to expand their horizons, see beautiful and historical landmarks, and enjoy a distinct cultural cuisine – and to truly experience this fine city, you’ll need to stay a while. So pack your bags, arm yourself with some basic Czech, and get to the airport posthaste with these 4 tips in hand. Knowing the do’s and don’t’s of the Czech Republic will help you get the most out of your visit.
Choose The Right Lodgings
When choosing a place to stay in Prague, skip the chain hotels and look for unique, local accommodations. You’ll have a better experience and won’t feel as though you could be in L.A. or Shanghai because every Hilton is similar.
For those seeking high-end lodging, we recommend staying at Le Palais Art Hotel Prague, which features Italian art accents alongside a fine collection of Czech artists. The hotel dates back to 1897, giving the architecture Belle Époque flair, and it’s located just minutes from the famed Wenceslas Square.
At a lower price point, there are plenty of beautiful hostels in Prague as well as AirBnB accommodations, which are great ways to extend your trip at a limited cost. In fact, we suggest renting out your home on AirBnB and staying here for a week or more to get a real feel for the city.
Talk To The Locals
Everyone who comes to Prague knows they shouldn’t miss out on important sites like Prague Castle or the Charles Bridge, but a truly successful visitor knows how to find the hidden treasures of this city – and trust, us, there are many of them. Ultimately, the best way to find out about little-known destinations is to talk to the locals.
If you’re staying at a hostel or AirBnB, your hosts are likely to have great insights into the places many tourists overlook, so start there, but don’t be afraid to chat with people in the cafes or the public squares. First, though, learn the niceties of Czech conversation.
In the Czech Republic, most common English conversation openers aren’t useful so don’t ask people how they are or comment on the weather. Instead, consider asking about any pets they might have, about outdoor activities, or sports. These are popular ice breakers here and will help you engage strangers on friendly terms.
Don’t Say Czechoslovakia
This may seem simple, but for those who grew up before the dissolution of Czechoslovakia – that was in 1992 – it can be hard to make the linguistic switch. With that in mind, then, when talking to locals, unless you’re a scholar of politics or history with a lot of time on your hands, don’t start a conversation about the political history of the Czech Republic’s name.
People have complicated feelings about their separation from Slovakia on a federal level, and there are additional levels of debate over whether the current name should be the Czech Republic or Czechia. Just don’t go there. There are lots of other things to talk about.
Eat A Hot Dog
Czech hot dogs are not like New York dirty water dogs. No, this is seriously good eats and an iconic food in Prague. More like a traditional sausage, Czech hot dogs are served stuffed inside a baguette with ketchup and mustard. They’re still street food, though, and perfect for a cheap lunch on the go. If you skip out on the hot dog, you’re actually missing a significant part of the area’s culinary offerings.
Prague is a beautiful city with so much to see and do, but much of the appeal comes from learning some Czech and engaging with the locals. Hang around public areas, talk to your hosts, and take the road less traveled – we guarantee something amazing will be at the end of it.