Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in the whole of Europe. It attracts millions of tourists every year. But together with the popularity, the number of scams and tourist traps also grew with time.
After visiting Prague a couple of times and talking to locals about the situation, I came up with a short list of things to avoid when visiting this marvelous city, so you can enjoy your trip nice and safe.
The first item in this list is not a scam per se, but something to keep in mind. The Prague Oroloj is, of course, a marvel of engineering and has a loaded history attached to it; but it does not justify looking at it for hours in the middle of a crowded square.
You can see in the image above the number of people that stop there just to look at the clock or take pictures of it during the night. First of all, if you go during the day the crowd will be almost unexistent, if you go early in the morning before the sun rises, even more so. Second of all, there are many other marvelous places in Prague that deserve as much attention (or perhaps even more).
If you are exploring the Prague old town, chances are you are going to walk in front of this clock at least 5x per day, so don’t just stop and stare for hours, it is not worth it and honestly a bit cringe.
See the delicious Trdelník in the picture above? Doesn’t it look delicious? Doesn’t it make you drool? Yeaaaah, this is actually a Kürtőskalács (chimney cake) I ate in Budapest.
You will see these being sold everywhere in Prague, and tourists buying them in mass, thinking it’s a traditional Czech snack. In reality, they have little to do with Czech culture and have been recently imported from Hungary.
I am not so sure why tourists bought into this trap, but now it’s a mania (check it on Instagram). The worst part is that these knock-offs are not even that tasty, and a good part of them end up in the trash bins of the city.
Do yourself and the city of Prague a favor, instead of getting a Trdelník, simply enter one of the many Lokáls across the city and enjoy real traditional Czech food and beer.
Now, this is an important one to keep in mind, in case you don’t wanna get robbed of almost half your money. Yes, we are talking about money exchange companies in Prague.
A lot of exchange places (and this includes machines, especially) have huuuuge commission rates for the conversion of currencies. These rates can be as high as freaking 50%, which is absurd.
And please, UNDER ABSOLUTE NO CIRCUMSTANCE exchange money with random people in the street. There is a great chance you are buying old Belarussian rubles that are not even usable in Belarus anymore, which means you are losing 100% of your money, and thus being robbed.
In case you want a place where you are 100% safe when converting your cash, you should look for one of the shops from Exchange. They are very trustworthy and can be found in many places around Prague. The one in the image above is on the Franz Kafka square, near the Old Town square.
Buying Marijuana (or Cannabinoids in general) in the Czech Republic is a crime. And yes, you can be arrested for it. So when you see the many shops around the city center selling Marijuana leaves and green souvenirs, you are being sold just that: a green souvenir with no cannabis inside.
Prague is not a drug paradise, as it is sometimes advertised in cringe movies. There are plenty of other things to enjoy in the city and to go there to try to get a cheap ‘trip’ is disrespectful to the history and culture of the place. If you wanna have fun with your friends, you are much better off going for a beer taste test of some of the many great traditional beers from the country.
Similar to the situation with Cannabis is the one with Absinth. You will see stores throughout the whole city selling these green Absinth bottles for very cheap.
Although Absinthe is currently legal in the Czech Republic, believe me, it is not this cheap. Most of these stores are selling cheap Vodka with green colorants inside. Yeah, what a bummer.
How to know if you are drinking real Absinth? You can easily recognize a licorice flavor coming from its Anise and Fennel contents, while a substance called Wormwood will make you a bit extra drunk when compared to other distilled drinks. Absinth absolutely does not taste like Vodka.