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Useful information about Prague

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Beer - Pivo

In the Czech Republic 85% of the population are agnostic, but they have found an alternative to religion...BEER!

Czech's drink more beer per capita annually (150 litres in 2009), than any other country. The reason...it's so good!

Czech beer comes in two main strengths: 10° (4.1% ABV) like Gambrinus Svetly and 12° (4.4% ABV) like Pilsner Urquell.

In just about all pubs (or 'hospodas') it is normal to be served at the table not at the bar. Just take a seat and in some places, placing a beer mat in front of you will automatically get you a beer! The waiter may leave a 'tally' on your table marking the number of beers / drinks you consume.

A hospoda will serve beer in two sizes: 300ml (maly pivo - small beer) or 500ml (velky pivo - large beer). It must always be served with a good head (on the beer!!), from this you can tell if the beer is fresh.

The legal age for drinking is 18. Please do not be offended if you are asked for proof of your age, the fine for serving under-age drinkers is not light. So, just be pleased you look so young!

The price you pay for a beer will depend or whether you have one of 10° or 12° and if you drink in a local 'hospoda' or a tourist trap. As a tourist you are likely to be given a 12° beer unless you ask otherwise, this may be due to the waiter thinking you will appreciate the stronger beer or because it's more expensive...you decide which!

And one last thing about your beer; Never, ever, pour the remains of a previous beer into a fresh one. This is an absolute no, no in Czech beer etiquette! And why spoil a good beer?


Tipping

When presented with the bill / check you should tell the waiter how much to take including a tip. A Czech would normally 'round up' by a small amount, but for tourists a tip of 10% would be quite normal.

A tip is not normally left on the table as it is considered impolite, but if you do forget to include it when paying, I'm sure it will be appreciated!

An exception to the above is when you are given your bill / check in a folder in which you place your cash or credit card.

A service charge is not normally added to the bill unless you are in one of the better restaurants but it is always advisable to check.

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POZOR!

If a local shouts out 'Pozor!' take note, it means 'attention' and could be a warning!

Here are some things to be aware of:

Trams have priority - even over pedestrians!

Just because you are on a pedestrian crossing, it doesn't mean the vehicle coming along will stop. Czech drivers have their own rules of the road!

As in any city, beware of pickpockets, especially on the metro and trams (no.22 to and from Prague Castle is a favourite of their's). Also around the Astronomical Clock, on the hour, when it is crowded and 'does it's thing' and everyone is looking up!

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Money

Czech currency is the Koruna, more commonly referred to as the Crown. International symbol CZK, domestic symbol Kc.

Denominations of the Crown are:
Coins; 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 & 50
Notes; 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 2,000 and a whopping 5,000!

The 'Haler' (1/100 of a Crown) is no longer in circulation. It is however, still used in some prices for low cost items such as those you might find in a bakers. If you pay in cash, the price will be rounded up or down. If you pay by debit or credit card, it will be charged according to the actual price.

Do not use money changers who approach you in the street, the money on offer will either be fake, a currency other than Czech Koruna or money laundering or some other scam.

Some money changing kiosks across town may appear to have a good rate - but they will display the rate at which they SELL a particular currency and NOT the rate at which they will BUY the currency. If you do use these money changers you must ask how much you will get first. Note: Small amounts can earn an even poorer rate of exchange than advertised.

We recommend using eXchange situated at; Namesti Franze Kafky 2, Praha 1, Josefov - near the Old Town Square. Map

There is also the option of many ATM's. If you use an ATM I suggest you obtain and 'odd' amount. If you were to ask for 4,000CZK you will most likely receive 2 x 2,000 notes, each the equivalent of being a 83EUR / 118USD or 73GBP note! Which, if your just paying for a beer, will not put you in the waiters good books - unless of course you were giving them a big tip!

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PIT (Prague Integrated Transport)

Tram / metro / bus tickets can be purchased at all metro stations using the ticket machines (coins only) and tobacconists. Your hotel may also be able to supply them. Tickets are valid for 30min, 90min, 24hrs or 72hrs. Tickets must be validated using the yellow machine at the entrance to the metro or on boarding the tram or bus.

It is possible to buy tickets using SMS but you must have premium rate enabled. Text the following to 902 06:
DPT24
for a 30 minute ticket costing 24CZK
DPT32
for a 90 minute ticket costing 32CZK
DPT110
for a 24 hour ticket costing 110CZK
DPT310
for a 72 hour ticket costing 310CZK

If you are traveling with luggage, it too should have a ticket costing 16CZK (although we have yet to hear of anyone actually buying a ticket for their case - even though there's a 200CZK fine for not having one!)

The metro system doesn't have barriers but inspectors do frequently check tourists as well as locals. The fine for not having a ticket or traveling on an expired one is 950CZK - reduced to 700CZK - if paid on the spot.

The metro starts at 05:00 and runs every 2-4 minutes in peak time and 7-10 minutes off peak. The last metro leaves the end station at midnight on Mon, Tue, Wed, Thur and Sun and at 1am on Fri and Sat nights (or Sat and Sun morning if you prefer!).

More information on the Prague transport system can be found here

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Taxis

Hailing a taxi on the street is not to be recommended. Taxi's in Prague have earned a bad reputation in the past and to avoid any problems it is better to either order one through your hotel / bar / club or use a 'Fair Place' taxi rank which are situated around town.

Alternatively, you can order a taxi by phone or online:
AAA Taxi on 14014 (press 1 for English) http://www.aaataxi.cz/Taxi-order/ or
City Taxi on 257 257 257 http://www.citytaxi.cz/en

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Al fresco

Eating and drinking outside is a really nice pastime and can be indulged all over Prague. Many pubs and restaurants will create temporary terraces outside during the summer. In residential areas these must be vacated at 10pm. In the rare event of you being allowed to stay on the terrace beyond 10pm, please be considerate to the neighbours and the owner and keep the noise down.

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Closing time

Although bars and pubs will publish a closing time, many will remain open so long as there are enough customers. That is, of course, so long as they are not causing a problem and still spending money!

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Yes, or is that No?

'Yes' in Czech is 'Ano',

'No' in Czech is 'Ne'.

Confusingly, the Czech's sometimes abbreviate 'ano' to 'no', just as in English one might say 'yep'!

So 'no' can sometimes mean 'yes'!

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Service

The Czech Republic is not renowned for it's service, so don't expect a cheery 'Hello' or 'Have a nice day!' It's not that the Czech's are glum (although some are!) but being formal or distant is out of respect for the customer.

Czech's have a very formal vocabulary with strangers. 'Hello' (Ahoy) may be quite acceptable between strangers in the likes of the US and UK, but in the Czech Republic it may take several years of knowing someone before the formal 'Dobry den' (Good morning) will be replace by 'Ahoy'.

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Shoes...leave them at the door!

If you are invited to the home of a Czech, always remove your shoes (boty in Czech) on entering. Your host may say not to bother but pay no attention...they never mean it! You may be offered sandals to wear, which are of course optional, just make sure you have no holes in your socks!

If you take flowers, they must always be an odd number (even are for funerals and graves) and never red carnations (a symbol of communism) or chrysanthemums, which are only given for funerals.

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Emergency numbers

Universal emergency number: 112

Fire: 150

Ambulance: 155

City Police: 156

Police: 158

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24 hour Doctors

Prague 1 & 2 (children): +420 224 947 717

Prague 1 & 2 (adults): +420 224 949 181

Prague 3 (children): +420 284 861 979

Prague 3 (adults): +420 284 862 149

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24 hour Pharmacies

Palackeho 5, Prague 1. Close to Wenceslas Square between metro stops: Mustek and Narodni trida Map

Belgicka 37, Prague 2. Nearest metro: Namesti Miru Map

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