Is Prague really that bad?

Sep 4th, 2012, 11:37 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Well that's absolute bollocks. Evidently your friends are fools or incompetent travelers.

Here's the thing about menus, they USUALLY have prices on them. If not, then you don't dine there. It's not difficult. If you dine someplace that has a menu with prices and the meal prices don't match your recollection, then you call them on it.

Around Old Town Square (and Hotel U Prince) you can find many meals not worth the price. But 3-4 blocks away, you can find relative bargains.

Prague has had a rep for taxi scams since the Iron Curtain was removed. Considering that the trams go everywhere and the metro trains hit most of the high points, there's no real need for taxis. Prague is not the size of London or even Paris, you can walk through each major neighborhood (Mala Strana, Hradcany, Nove Mesto, Stare Mesto, Josefov) or more in a day.

Your husband is overreacting and will miss out. If he wants to avoid every European city that has pickpockets and taxi scams, he won't cross the pond.

If I can figure out how to stay in Barcelona, the pickpocket capital of Europe, for five nights without any trouble despite (1) an apartment two blocks from La Rambla, and (2) touring with two small children who look like my wife causing innumerable distractions that are manna for pickpocketers, you can figure out how to avoid trouble in Prague, which is far tamer.
BigRuss is offline  
Sep 4th, 2012, 12:10 PM
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ny - I am assuming this was in response to my post:
"Sorry - the cafes in old town square do charge prices much higher than in the side street - just like those in san marco in Venice. It;s not a scam - they're charging for the view..."

No need to apologize as it appears you have done nothing wrong

Anyway, I never said anything about the experience at the old town square restaurant was a scam. I never said that they shouldn't charge more for a terrace table or that they shouldn't expect people to order more than beers to sit down. All I said was that this was something we experienced and that it could be a source for some of those stories about being charged double if you don't speak Czech, or whatever.
november_moon is offline  
Sep 4th, 2012, 12:21 PM
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"I don't think one should expect special favors such as to get a terrace table for free rather than the higher price. It is normal for restaurants or cafe in many cities to charge more for certain real estate, I don't dare how many seats are empty, there are two menu prices, this is normal.

I wouldn't eat at a place without menus, and I've personally never encountered one in Prague."

Dual menu prices may be normal in some places, but this isn't normal everywhere. In many parts of the world, the price is the price regardless of where you sit. Not knowing about this practice, someone could assume that the rules are different for locals and tourists rather than for different real estate in the restaurant - and then stories develop about tourists getting charged double. This is, of course, my reason for relaying the story.

As for places without menus, we didn't encounter that either. In the case I mentioned, there were menus - the waiter just didn't want to show them to us. I suspect the reason was that he had in fact overcharged us for the beers and didn't want us to be able to check the prices on the bill against those on the menu. Of course there could have been plenty of other reasons, but for a few dollars difference, we didn't think it was worth the persuing.
november_moon is offline  
Sep 4th, 2012, 01:03 PM
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For detailed information about Prague taxis, including what not to do.

If you wander 3-5 minutes off the tourist spots, you will find much more affordable restaurants, and they tend to be very authentic.

Rounding off, the Czech crown is about 20 to the dollar. Use this number for a simple reference as to what you will pay.

Pubs mostly take cash only. Tips are generally, in Prague from zero to 10%. Don't expect waiters and the like to be jovial. It seems their culture is a bit more dour. Probably from all the years under Communist rule.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Sep 4th, 2012, 02:29 PM
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"dual many prices ..not normal everywhere...

normal in Madrid and Barcelona
danon is offline  
Sep 4th, 2012, 03:00 PM
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Shall we start a list danon - everywhere that we have all been that dual menu prices are and are not the norm?
november_moon is offline  
Sep 4th, 2012, 05:27 PM
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danon/november_moon - what are dual menu prices in Barcelona? What does this mean?
adrienne is offline  
Sep 4th, 2012, 05:39 PM
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OK, there are thieves and scammers everywhere! I went to Prague last year and NEVER experienced anything what your friend has described! Just be cautious and don;t act like a stupid tourist! Check your restaurant bill, ask how much would your order cost prior to ordering! And Taxis, you can only take a registered cabs non-registered fake cabs will rip you off, the same like anywhere in the world! Ask your hotel to arrange airport pick up for you, it is about 20 EU and very safe! Go and enjoy Prague, it is the most amazing place in the world!
kaza777 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2012, 05:49 PM
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"dual many prices ..not normal everywhere...

Paris cafés have three prices for drinks: Standing at the counter, inside seating, and outside seating.
Michael is online now  
Sep 4th, 2012, 05:59 PM
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For taxis, I used Prague Airport Shuttle to get from the airport into Old Town. Owned by an expat American, the drivers speak English and give you a bit of a tour on the way to your destination.

I was told to use AAA Taxi when a taxi is needed within Prague. Have your hotel or restaurant call them. In any regard, do use a metered taxi. I don't feel that they AAA ripped me off at all. Only had to use them once or twice.
joannyc is offline  
Sep 4th, 2012, 06:55 PM
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It means if you have a meal inside the restaurant or outside ( patio or terrace ) , the price is usually higher
Actually, I don't remember seeing the same practice in many countries.
danon is offline  
Sep 4th, 2012, 08:51 PM
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We've been living here for 1 year now and have started onour second. It is no different than many of the other CEE countries we have lived in, and very similar to Portugal as well. Our preferred taxi is ProfiTaxi and their number is 261 31 41 51. The fare from the airport to Vinohrady and Prague 1 should be about 800 czk. Whatever taxi you use should always be metered. If you don't have much luggage, taking the bus and the metro is very, very easy from the airport.

Restaurants in the old town will charge more, but that is location, location, location. No different than anywhere else.

Several of my expat friends have had their wallets lifted, in places as diverse as a tram and the Marks & Spencer in an upscale mall. Be aware of your personal space and if you can't, keep your hand on top of the opening to your purse. It is no different than most other places in Europe.

I may be biased, but I think Prague is a pretty nice place to visit.
SloJan2 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2012, 09:17 PM
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<< I may be biased, but I think Prague is a pretty nice place to visit.>>

I thought Prague was the one of the best places that I have EVER visited!

Would love to be able to retire there someday.
joannyc is offline  
Sep 4th, 2012, 09:41 PM
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Just GO, OK? You can come back and thank all of us later.
Dukey1 is offline  
Sep 5th, 2012, 02:17 AM
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For those who say they've never had a problem with taxis from the airport, that's because those taxis are regulated. Taxis in the city are not. The biggest problem is at the train station where taxi service is notoriously...mmmm...entrepreneurial. Caveat emptor to the nth degree. If you're arriving by train, arrange for one of the reputable companies to pick you up. Re restaurants and cafes, we never had any problems.

And to kaza777 who wrote "Just be cautious and don't act like a stupid tourist!" -- that was uncalled for and unworthy. There is a big difference between being a first-time visitor and being "stupid". And even stupid (whatever that means) tourists don't deserve to be ripped off. There are lots of tourists coming to our town and I don't have carte blanche to rip them off just because they've done or said something clueless. I sincerely hope you're not in a hospitality or customer-facing business.
LoungeLizardess is offline  
Sep 5th, 2012, 03:24 AM
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I loved Prague. We arrived by train and did have trouble with the taxis at the station wanting far more than the ride into old town should be. My sister was willing to pay but I was so mad I refused, insisting I'd rather walk etc. Finally one cabbie came up and offered us a reasonable flat rate into town.

The metro there is amazing, clean and easy to figure out. But the tourist centre of Prague is tiny and very easy to get everywhere on foot. More fun that way as well.

Never noticed any scams or pickpockets, very few people begging.

All meals and drink were ordered from clearly laid out menus, no surprises.

I'd return in a minute if given the opportunity.
lucyp is offline  
Sep 5th, 2012, 03:58 AM
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OP's friends knew only a part of the situation in Prague. Did someone wrote above 20% of the truth? Helpful, somewhat as a warning. And it's up to OP to check and look for further facts to avoid the problems, that she did starting a thread here and got answers. Taxi, yes, better be careful. There are ways to ride a taxi without ripped off, etc. And there are some notorious rip off restaurants/cafés, I can name a few, (if you read Prague forum on tripadvisor, you might see those)Mystic Café near the castle, Trinity Café at Wenceslas Square, etc. These places are annoying ( and a bit amusing as long as i don't get scammed myself ;-) ) but otherwise, most places are normal and they will charge you normally.

> very few people begging ..

Haven't you seen this?
This is very common. I thought this a bit embarrasing and made me uneasy at the beginning. My first visit to Prague was in late 90's and then last 10 years, I have been returning there at least once every year. Obviously I love that city and personally I have never had any problem so far.
kappa1 is offline  
Sep 5th, 2012, 04:20 AM
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I was with LSky.. I thought this thread was going to be about how to get all the other visitors out of town! I would sign up for that, it was my only disapointment with our visits. Obviously, with this concentration of tourists and services for them in a small charming city, there are going to be a few friction points.
Friendship_Bay is offline  
Sep 5th, 2012, 06:21 AM
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We saw people begging on the street like that too. Not a lot, but some. I can see how that could make people uncomfortable who aren't used to that sort of thing.
november_moon is offline  
Sep 5th, 2012, 07:26 AM
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@LoungeLizardess, relax yourself! Nobody is insulting anyone, it was a figure of speech. Being stupid can be interpreted in various ways, in this context it meant to be cautios and act respectfully to the locals, something a lot of North Americans forget to do. They scream at locals and get frustrated easily simply because they think they are being always ripped off. So, stop picking on every word and enjoy life, you only have one! Cheers!
kaza777 is offline  

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