Prague tourist traps
Prague is one of the most visited European Cities. Tourism is very important source of income for many Prague inhabitants. Unfortunately not all people who are involved in tourist industry are honest and not all of them offer services of value. Like anywhere else in the world, there are some tourist traps in Prague,too.
The worst of them are, according my opinion, these:
- Overpriced cabs
There are various taxi companies and their pricing is various too. All cabs have to have a taxameter, but as I always say to my clients, some taxameters simply tend to work a bit faster then the other ones. This means that a car provided with a taxameter doesn´t quarantee fair price. The worst taxi drivers gather at the Main Railway station and at the Old Town Square - please do not hire them! Another bad sign are lonely standing cabs near the main tourist atractions such as the Charles bridge or right bellow Prague Castle steps. These drivers are waiting for their victims = tourists tired of that walking and sightseeing...Use taxis waiting at the official taxi stands at the Wenceslas Square, Malostranske square or Franz Kafka square (just a few steps from the Old Town square in front of the Nicholas church) , ask your hotel or a restaurant to reserve a cab for you or simply call 14014 or +420 222 333 222. It belongs to the biggest taxi provider AAA taxi. They have clean cars, reliable drivers, fair prices and they speak English. Other thing you can do is to use an mobile application of Liftago Taxi. It is Czech company similar to Uber, but they use professional and licenced drivers only.
- Overpriced restaurants
There are many nice restaurants with reasonable priced food in Prague. But there are also many ovepriced restaurants serving food of very poor quality. Most of the bad ones are obviously situated in the historical centre where thousends of tourists march day and night. Try to avoid restaurants situated at the main tourist routes, such as Karlova street or Old Town square. Be aware if you see somebody trying to entice you to some restaurant or showing you menu in ten languages provided with colorful pictures of "typical Czech dishes". A good restaurant doesn´t really need this kind of advertisment.
- Exchange offices
Not all exchange offices offer good rate. Their billboards are often so complicated and tricky that is hard to understand how much you will get. Check the official rate in advance and when changing always make sure how much you will obtain before you handle to them your money. Use ATM machines or pay with credit cards. The worst exchange office is on the corner of the Old Town Square and Železná street, right in front of the Astronomical Clock.
- Karlova street
This is a real tourist hell ! The street is main connection between the Charles Bridge and the Old Town Square. It´s packed with stores selling "typical" Czech souvenirs (usually made in China), Russian matrjoška dolls (which have nothing to do with our culture) etc. It is a personification of a tourist trap.
- Some street performers
Do you think that a person covered with silver paint standing right in the middle of a busy street or young guy puffing big bubbles and making a sidewalk on which he is standing slippery is an art? I don´t. If you are of the same opinion please do not support these buskers. There are many other interesting performers such who deserve you attention. E.g. various jazz bands or young musicians performing at the Charles Bridge.
- Trdelnik pastry
That is something I really hate. Trdelnik a pastry made of simple yeast dough sold as "traditional Czech goodie" at every corner. It is not Czech at all. And it has no tradition either. It is just a great business nothing else. Nobody have ever heard about it some 20 years ago. If you want to taste some Czech pastries, go to a local bakery and buy Kolache (in Czech written kolače).
- Concert tickets sold by people dressed in historical costumes on streets
These are usually so called "concerts for tourists only". Mediocre quality for relatively high prices. Nothing for real admires of classical music. There are plenty of quality concerts given in various concerts halls, just ask your guide or the tourist office situated at the Old Town Hall.
Well, I think that this is maybe enough for today. I don´t want to scare you too much...