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Prague in March...driving vs. flying, hotels, crystal.....help!

Prague in March...driving vs. flying, hotels, crystal.....help!

Old Jan 14th, 2001, 09:02 PM
diane michlig
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Prague in March...driving vs. flying, hotels, crystal.....help!

My daughter and I have four or five days in Prague this March. What to expect for weather, crowds? Can we rent a car there. We are comfortable driving having driven all over Italy even Naples. What about B @ B's
Where to look for crystal? Is Fodor's the best guide book. Any info greatly appreciated. We are spending most of our time at a spa outside Padua Italy but cannot resist going to Prague. We will probably fly United/Luftansa and they are offering the $89 to fly from city to city. So we are thinking of doing it that way and then renting a car for getting around or maybe a private guide. What are your thoughts?
Thanks Diane and Allison. Mom and daughter on a birthday celebration ...Yeah!
Old Jan 15th, 2001, 02:39 AM
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H Diane,
No need for a car in Prague, parking is horrific and public transport fabulous. There are plenty of trains and buses to visit other parts of the CR. We found crystal at Karlstejn, a small town just outside of Prague much cheaper than in Prague. But it is fun to shop around anyway. No need for a guide, just get a good guide book and a city map. Wear comfortable shoes, the cobblestones are murder on the feet. Here is the address for my photo album of our holiday there. Just copy and paste.
Old Jan 15th, 2001, 03:58 AM
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I agree with Peg--the crystal shopping is substantially cheaper in Karlstejn than it is in Prague. In addition, there are at least 50 crystal shops lining both sides of the street that winds its way up to the castle. Karlstejn is a short and inexpensive train ride (about $1.20) from Prague's Smichov train station.

I agree that Prague's traffic is fierce, but very manageable with a good street map. (The Czech Tourist Office in NYC gives out one of the center city that even has the traffic lights and street directions marked.)

If you want to go farhter afield,(such as to Cesky Krumlov, Cesky Budejovice, Telc or Karlovy Vary), it is much substanially faster with a car than with public transport.

We've rented a car in Prague and drove out of the city into the countryside, and have also brought a car into the Czech Republic and have never had a problem with driving anywhere in the country.

If you have been comfortable driving in other European countries, I believe you will do just fine in the Czech Republic.

Old Jan 15th, 2001, 07:01 AM
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You will not have the high season crowds but Prague has tourists. As the other posters have stated, you don't need a car but it should not be a problem. Try nethotels.com or www.avetravel.cz for good hotel/penzion listings. As for crystal, if you stay in Prague, a college exchange student said that the department stores had the better prices. You will enjoy. I don't think you need a guide. The only caution is pickpockets at the train station nearest Wenceslas Square. The symphony/opera hall is redone and very inexpensive. There are daytrip tours but I don't know if they will have started up again in March (they stop 10/31).
Old Jan 15th, 2001, 06:46 PM
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We were in Prague this past March and the weather was fairly pleasant--just needed a light jacket most days. We took a train in and out so can't comment on driving. There are tons of crystal shops and we bought quite a bit and had it shipped home. While I'm sure the prices might be lower outside the city we found the prices much lower than in the states and were delighted with our purchases. Fodors is a good guide book--we used the pocket guide to carry around.
Old Jan 27th, 2001, 04:37 PM
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About shipping the crystal home.....how long did it take for you to get it and was it all in one piece? I've read so many pro's and con's about shipping purchases home like that you don't get them. And did you have it shipped right from the store or did you mail it yourself?

Thanks for your help.
Old Jan 27th, 2001, 08:44 PM
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There is a huge good quality crystal shop right near the main Old Town Sq that is called Crystalex (Male Namesti 6). I did not look thoroughly in dept stores, but I was in one, and it had some cheaper quality crystal, more novelty items like ashtrays, candy dishes, but nothing extensive--if you just want souvenirs or cheap gifts, that might be okay, although I wasn't in the largest Prague dept stores. I paid for shipping to the store just because I could not deal with lugging stuff around on planes as I was alone and could not carry much, although it was expensive to ship. Crystalex has a shipping firm called Spedia that does it and I was very leery having stupidly bought crystal and had it shipped from Ireland before from a so-called quality shop, and they shipped the wrong product and did not pack it well so one piece broke--it took me one year plus multiple complaints including writing to the Irish Consumer Affairs dept to get them to send me replacement pieces (even though I had purchased insurance). I risked it again in Prague as crystal was so cheap I figured it was worth the gamble (high quality crystal wine glasses for about US$5, I know they're about $40 here). Anyway, you can trust Crystalex, their shipping was outstanding--it did take a long time, though, I was a little worried (about 6-8 wks), but all arrived here fine eventually. I have heard there are good cheap crystal outlets near Karlstejn, also. I also bought a beautiful contemporary pink/amber crystal vase that was only about US$10. The shipping approximately doubled the cost, it's true, but $10 a glass was still cheap to me. I think I paid about $35 to ship that vase and a set of 6 wineglasses. One of the best shops is Celetna Crystal, also near Old Town Sq--it is not cheap but very very good, as is Moser (they have two stores), if you want the best. For dept stores, I think Kotva (?) near the Namesti Republicky metro stop has a good crystal/glass selection, but I didn't go there. There are plenty of B&Bs (at least private indiv. renting rooms) in Prague, but I stayed at a regular hotel so can't recommend one of those personally. The Cloister Inn is supposed to be a good reliable budget choice and within walking distance of Old Town Sq (www.cloister-inn.cz). If you do have a car with you, a friend of mine found a sort of B&B on the Lesser Town side of the bridge that had parking, which is rare; it was decent and cheap, the Hotel Julian; that area is still very nice and pretty convenient.
Old Jan 28th, 2001, 05:21 PM
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Everything arrived in one piece and it took about 6 weeks for it to arrive. I can't remember the exact cost. I also can't remember the name of the store but it was near the old town square and was two stories. It was not the least expensive place we looked but we wanted specific types of things and they seemed to have the best and most quality selection.

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