Updated April 9, 2019
This is the first time I write a post citing only negative aspects of a city. I wouldn’t have imagined it would be on this particular one, which is one of my favorites in Europe. Before proceeding, don’t think is a dangerous city, but it is a crowded one where they try to rip off tourists continuously.
- First, no doubt, as I said, massification. It is truly overwhelming even in low season. The old town (Stare Mesto) is made up of narrow streets with many curves, so the flow of people is slow. The route between Staromestská Square and Charles Bridge must be done almost in procession. In front of the astronomical clock at o’clock time, people are literally packed.
- Free Tours. In many cities, especially in Central Europe, companies that conduct free tours through the city are beginning to proliferate, you just pay what you want. I discovered them in 2014 in Poland and did two, and found them a good deal: Krakow I liked it, so I did the whole tour and tipped; the one in Warsaw bored me so I just left after half an hour. In Prague I have not done any, because they have been established recently and I already knew the city since I came in 2012. The issue is that the guides that ‘capture’ visitors for free tours have become the main nuisance this time. The second day 13 guides came to us (I counted them) to offer their tours, and is not that they ask and if you refuse they leave you alone; as there are so many, they want to make sure you do not do the tour with another company, so they try to convince you again and again. We did not want to be rude but in the end, on more than one occasion we had to cut them same as you do to telemarketers when they want to sell you something. Apart from them, are the segway tours, which are also quite a nuisance.
- Currency exchange. Prague’s worst thieves are exchange offices and ATMs. Any exchange money place applies commissions from 10 to 25%. ATMs usually charge a % for using in addition to the possible commission of the bank of origin. In many businesses, paying by credit card adds also a surcharge. I recommend searching nearby tourist areas but not where the flow of tourists is; 2% commission we found in several places on Pod Bruskou street and U Luzickeho Seminare, near Malostranska metro station, halfway between the Charles Bridge and the road leading to the east entrance of the castle. Pay in euros or dollars can be fatal for your wallet.
- Safety and hazards: Prague is generally a fairly safe city, its crime rates are very low, and are close to those of cities with very good reputation in this regard, such as Geneva or Luxembourg.
- The risk of being in a violent situation is minimal, but there are many pickpockets in the main areas and the metro, trains and buses, although it is true that on this last visit in 2016 the city has seemed safer to me than in 2012.
- The park just off the central train station is the most notorious black spot in the city in terms of security; It is considered one of the few truly dangerous areas at night and there may be problems if it is crossed depending on the time of the day. Florenc Bus Station is also an area that reflects a pitiful and undeserved aspect of the city.
- Also, within the safety we have referred to in the previous paragraphs, it is considered one of the most dangerous neighborhoods Wenceslao Square, although it may seem strange; wide avenues and presided over by the National Museum, its side streets, especially Perlová (which curiously is next to the Lego Museum), normal during the dayday, become the red light district of Prague at night.
- Currently it is considered that there is no risk of terrorist acts.
- Taxi drivers. Competing against exchange offices for the title of swindlers in the city. The fact is that today all of us we have GPS in our mobile phones, so this is spoiling their party, but still they are famous for their detours and ability to get stuck into a jam, so it is not advisable to go by taxi unless absolutely necessary. If necessary, you should always call a taxi company, never stop one in the street. If the driver refuses to say the approximate price of the race, the meter does not match a price list that should be visible, or refuses to deliver a printed receipt of the cost, you can refuse to pay and get off the taxi. Three girls in my hostel in 2012, a taxi driver stuck them in a jam, charged them € 100 and they lost the concert they were going. When they told me, I told them they have been clearly ripped off and the worst is that they did not even believe it; they argued that there was indeed jam and that the driver was really nice to them at all times and seemed to be overwhelmed by the situation, until I held out the page of my travel guide which clearly said: Taxi drivers in Prague? Thanks, but no thanks. I don’t know what was the worst for them, if losing the money or the expression on their faces. Since Uber operates perfectly in Czech Republic, there is no reason to take a taxi.
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8 thoughts on “PRAGUE: DANGERS, PROBLEMS AND NEGATIVE ASPECTS”
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You’re absolutely right about the currency exchange. We were surprised to find that they do not favor the Euro and had to convert most of our Euros to CZK to avoid getting ripped off.
The taxi drivers are also scam-my. One of them actually had the nerve to ask for money when we stopped for directions near his parked taxi. That was a first for us.
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