Prague is a very beautiful city, however, it has its downfalls. I got a lot of international friends coming to my hometown and saying that they don’t understand why was this so expensive and things like that. Very often they speak about taxi services. The thing is that taxi in Prague are not really expensive but drivers are using the fact that tourists know nothing about this. Taxi scams are not the only ones in Prague. There are more of them and because I don’t want anyone to fall for them, here is the list of scams in Prague and how to avoid them.
Common scams in Prague
First and perhaps most common scams are about a taxi. Getting a taxi without paying more money than necessary is a problem almost everywhere and Prague is not an exception. Here is the common scenario: You wouldn’t know where you are, so you would hop in the taxi to get you to the hotel or any other location. The taxi driver is going to use the fact that you don’t know where you are and he is not going to turn on the taximeter and in the end, he would ask price that is ridiculously high.
Another scenario. You would check if the driver is turning the taximeter on, but you are still on an unknown location and he is sure of it. So chances are, he might do a little detour and drive a little bit longer, just to get some extra money out of it.
Here is how you get out of it. First of all, Prague has great public traffic and getting a taxi isn’t necessary even during the night. So catch one of those beautiful trams and enjoy the ride, Google maps can tell you where to hop off and navigate you. If you are not sure about this, perhaps get an Uber, where you can see the price ahead. If you absolutely have to get a taxi, call this one, they have fair prices and are very nice.
This is another biggie. The Czech Republic doesn’t have euro. We have our own currency called koruna in Czech you will see is “česká koruna”. So what is this scam about? Well, there is a lot of little changing places, that are not even necessary registered for money exchange but they look like a place where you can exchange money. However, they would ask for 25% of your commission. And that is a lot.
Another thing that I also witnessed is people standing outside of money exchange and telling you, that you have to exchange with them because there is a big line inside. Very often they would exchange your money for something you cannot even use in Czechia. For example Russian rubble.
And lastly, there is a lot of ATM’s that would offer money exchange, but would take 15% for it. Also, the minimal withdrawal amount is very high. Don’t take from these. Just try to find a nice and suitable place. One of them is this one. Otherwise, just go to some Czech bank, they can probably do it the best.
This one is my favorite. There are a lot of people who are falling for these just because it looks like a thing. When getting around famous places in Prague, for example around the royal route from the last post, you get to see some museums. A lot of them are called for example a museum of beer or a museum of chocolate. The thing is, they might seem like museums, but it is a little bit controversial. Most of the time you would pay some money (say 300 czk/about 10 dollars) and then you could enter a big room where is nothing else but chocolate/beer. Is it a museum? I leave this up to you. It is certainly not something that locals would visit.
If you want to visit the museum, visit the national gallery or Kafka museum. We have a lot of interesting ones, but these are not one of them. If you feel like visiting something with beer, some breweries offer tours. And that is way memorable than going to some random livingroom.
Scams with Prague souvenirs
Perhaps one of the most common mistakes in Prague is to buy souvenirs from random street vendors. There are some things there that are not even Czech. Like absinthe? Not Czech at all. Also, those little dolls where you open them and then you have more even smaller dolls. Definitely not Czech, those are Russian souvenirs. Very often you can also buy something from weed, which is not even legal, and most definitely not something that is symbolizing the Czech Republic.
So please don’t buy these. If you want to buy something typically Czech, go to the supermarket and buy a beer or Czech cookies. A lot of souvenirs can be found in proper places like around the castle and similar.
And last but not least. Scammy restaurants are not uncommon. Did you just find a place where they say that they will serve something local but they don’t have prices on the menu? Don’t go there. Very often, you would get charged extra or the food will be just overpriced. Czechia is a generally cheap country, and you shouldn’t pay more than 10 dollars for a meal and by that, I mean fancy meals. 10 dollars is a little bit pricey for locals.
So once you see a menu just with pictures but no prices, run away from there. Czech pubs with the best food don’t even look that fancy, it is something that we kept from communist time. But it is a true Czech experience and in a way, it is fun.
Despite all those downfalls, Prague is a really beautiful place to visit. It is just about having common sense and being careful.
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