Tourists Beware! - Warnings about Prague

Prague is a great place to visit, and a very safe city but a few warnings are in order. Thieves and Pickpockets: There are many who make their living from unaware tourists. Don't become their next victim. The busiest places for theives are the Old Town square, Charles Bridge and Prague Castle. Leave your passport and valuables in your hotel safe, and only carry what money you need for the day. Keep your camera and carry bag out of sight and out of reach of strangers when sitting down in a cafe.

Taxis: Prague is plagued with taxi drivers who try to ripoff tourists in various ways. Some will take you the long, long way, and other run meters that go way too fast. Either way you'll pay several times the appropriate fare. We recommend you negotiate the price to your destination in advance so you won't get ripped. Also you can call AAA taxi or Profi taxi who are much more reliable.

Money Changers: Never change money with someone you meet in the street. They will rip you off one way or another, often by passing off old bills that no one accepts anymore. Likewise the Money Exchange places all over town claim to offer you good exchange rates with no commission, but this is an outright lie, since they charge a huge commission on top of a lousy exchange rate unless you're changing Czech currency into something else. Best to use an ATM machine or a bank for money exchange.

Late Night: If you're wandering around the city late at night you're more likely to run across some unsavory elements that prey upon drunk and tired tourists and foreign residents. If you're alone, you're more at risk, and there have been recent incidents of people being mugged or murdered for just a few Euros. If someone demands your money and threatens you, the best thing is to hand it over, get away fast and find a policeman if you can. This kind of incident is sadly becoming more common, but it appears as though the public will soon demand more action from the government.

Gay Problem: Another situation where violence and death has reared its head concerns gay men seeking out young men for sex. At the moment there is possibly a serial murderer on the loose preying upon gay men looking for action. This is being completely downplayed by the gay community, but finally word is getting out and so we too will warn you to be very careful not to pick up young men in public places. There are safer clubs and you can probably get the latest info on this from them. Always play it safe!

Climate: Prague can get very cold in the winter, and gets a decent amount of snow. This certainly isn't the best time of year to visit, since you can't enjoy the outdoor cafes, but of course there are bargains galore on hotels and airfares then. It doesn't often get real hot in Prague, but some days in summer are wretched and there are few places that are air conditioned. This includes hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, etc. We were there on the hottest day of the year, in August, with nary a breeze to help out. So if you plan on coming then, you might want to be sure you have an air-conditioned hotel, lots of extra clothes (especially shorts) for 2 to 3 changes daily, a hat and plenty of sunscreen. If you find yourself desperate to cool off, try one of the tree-lined parks along the river, visit a cool cathedral or some of the larger department stores along Wenceslas Square.

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