Jan272017

Quick takes on Prague

8 o’clock on a Friday night in Prague and I don’t want to sit in my hotel room writing Loyalty Traveler. But in this publish or perish world of blogging I do want to share a little bit of Prague with much more to come when I am back home again in Monterey.

A month ago or so Kelley and I watched House Hunters International when a woman was looking for an apartment in Prague. We both agreed that she should take the apartment right by the Old Town Square.

After two days in Prague, I now change my mind. I have walked through Old Town a couple times to snap photos of the beautiful architecture, however, I find the city a much more interesting place when I am in places with far fewer tourists.

Prague has an incredible number of tourists and many of the streets and alleys are quite small and crowded, especially when you are forced to remain on the sidewalks as vehicles pass through the street congestion.

Prague Old Twon Square

My hotel is about 2 miles from Old Town and I enjoy this upriver area for its pubs, cafes and restaurants where I have yet to run into any American or British tourists.

Another big difference is the price of food and drinks are 50% more or even double in the Old Town tourist area compared to what I find 1/2 mile away from the main tourist sites.

Prague is a cheap destination. In the Old Town area a 0.5L beer is 45 to 60 CZK. The exchange rate is 25 CZK = $1.00 US Dollar.

Away from Old Town, average beer prices tend to be around 25 to 35 CZK or $1.00 to $1.40.

Restaurant main courses are $10 to $15 in several of the Old Town restaurants I saw and more like $5 to $8 away from Old Town at a pub or midscale restaurant.

IMG_5282

My $6 burger may not look like much, but it was 1/2 pound beef with bacon and cheese. Today I had a Turkish Donar box loaded with vegetables for $3 and an Indian Restaurant dinner main course with naan and beer for $9.

I have seen several segway shops around town, but no segways on the streets. I read a news story that segways were banned in Prague recently due to the tourist crowds and road traffic congestion making it too unsafe to ride segways.

Charles Bridge-1

14th century Charles Bridge is one of the city’s main attractions.

Charles Bridge

Difficult to get photos of any of the saint statues without several tourists standing in front of them taking photos, many with selfie-sticks. And this is January when the temperature is below freezing.

I was in Prague summer 2015 and there were an astounding number of tourists. Prague had over 6 million international tourists in 2016, mostly April to October.

The Czech tourism minister’s office is promoting other parts of Prague for tourists in 2017 with walking maps and tours away from the city center. I spent most of my day walking outside the main tourist zone.

Prague castle is actually best viewed from a distance in my opinion.

Prague Castle

 

 

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. @Robert P. Staying at Park Inn Prague and the burger place is two streets closer to the Vlatava River at my local pub U Vorare, the only pub I visited twice in Prague since I loved its vibe and decor – http://www.restauraceuvorare.cz.

    Small locals’ pub with a basement with several pink floyd murals and city scape scenes. They have great art in the place and a full page cover photo of Chuck Berry on the food menu. I’ll do a post on the place since I got lots of nice mural photos from inside.

    Their main beer is Svijany. That was Kelley’s favorite in Bratislava and I know she would have wanted to be drinking there with me.

    There were all kinds of hotel deals in Prague, like InterContinental Prague Old Town was only $85 per night and if I had stayed there I would have received a $100 MasterCard with the current IHG promotion, but I did not like the sterile, modern architectural look of the place in its surrounding of historic buildings. Rolls Royce dealership on the ground floor is definitely not my kind of vibe.

    Park Inn Prague was $44 night on Club Carlson 2-for-1 weekend rate.

    I underestimated the beer prices in Old Town. On Friday night, after the big crowds died down, I checked out several Old Town pubs to see prices at many pubs were 70 to 90 CZK for a 0.5L beer and the highest price I saw was the pub directly across from the Astonomical Clock charging 139 CZK for a 0.5L beer.

    Svijany, Gambrinus, Pilsner Urquell, Kozal, Staropramen are all fine lagers and the most common beers seen. Staropramen is a Prague Brewery beer.

    http://www.staropramen.com/age%20gate?retUrl=/en/

    As I walked into Old Town last night I came across more than a dozen pubs totally packed. Finding a happening pub was no problem. Finding a pub with an empty seat was the main issue. Tourist oriented Old Town pubs were not as happening as the locals’ pubs between there and Park Inn Prague area.

  2. Grateful that we went in March 1996, way before it became a hot spot, and long before cellphone cameras and selfie sticks. It was a wonderful experience, the Charles Bridge was almost empty, and while they were just starting to ramp up for tourism in those days, it was a fun trip. Great memories.
    I would love to go back, but it would have to be during the winter to avoid the larger tourist crowds.
    Late November-early December is actually one of my favorite times to be in Europe.

  3. I visit Prague a lot. Usually I’ll stay there 10 days to 2 weeks and drop in to other big cities like Paris, London, Budapest, Berlin or Vienna for a couple days coming or going.

    I’ve stayed at the Park Inn when rates were low on Carlson and gotten one of their few enormous suites. I wouldn’t care for their regular rooms as they are very small and the hotel is somewhat removed from the center.

    I usually stay at the Clarion Prague City on points which comes out to about $70 tax and breakfast included. It is a very nice 4 star boutique hotel on a trendy square near the center and right by two subway stations.

    I avoid old town at all cost and would never stay there. Herds of tourists crammed into alley-like streets.

  4. btw- There are many new fine restaurants in Prague and Brits travel there for food since it’s usually about $10. The restaurant in the Park Inn is very very nice.

  5. @tassojunior – My room was a good size on top floor 5 with a large patio deck. Not a suite, but plenty of room.

    I liked the location of Park Inn. Ten minutes walk to Vysehrad, Prague’s second castle with fantastic 360 views of city and probably 5% or less of the tourists crowding Prague Castle.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vy%C5%A1ehrad

    Two Clarion properties in Prague, Clarion Prague City and Clarion Prague Old Town are only 8,000 Choice Privileges points. I walked by Old Town hotel and convenient location for that area.

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