Planning Your Budget Trip to Prague in 3 Easy Steps
Prague is one of the most visited cities in Europe. It was one of the cheapest too, but prices are rapidly rising as the tourists flock to the city. That doesn’t mean that it is no longer possible to have a budget break in Prague, it just means you need to plan a little better.
Stay away from tourist traps and get accommodation in one of the outer districts, rather than in the centre, to keep costs down. There are so many attractions that you can visit for free, or for a very small fee, and beer is reputedly cheaper than bottled water in lots of places; so you can certainly have fun and enjoy yourself in this amazing city, whatever your budget.
Step 1. Decide On Your Main Attractions
Most of the main attractions are in Prague 1 – the central district. These include the 14th century Charles Bridge, which spans the river Vltava; the Old Town Square, which is always a lively, and bustling place; the Prague Castle, some of which you can see for free; and the Astronomical Clock, your visit to which should be timed so that you can watch the display. It takes place on the hour, every hour during the day.
You will also find some great things to see and do in the other outlying districts. For example, the Rieger Gardens (Riegrovy sady) in Prague 2, a huge expanse of parkland where you can relax and take in a fantastic view of the city; and the Dancing House in Prague 2, a modern take on Prague architecture. In Prague 3, you will find the Žižkov Tower, which at 216 metres is the tallest structure in Prague, and hosts a cafe, restaurant, and observatory. The national monument is also in Prague 3, at the top of Vitkov Hill, and again offers some amazing views across Prague.
If you are travelling out to other districts, or indeed travelling in to Prague 1 and 2 from your accommodation, don’t forget to take into account the travel costs. A day pass on public transport can be purchased for 110 CZK (~£3.49 / $4.31), and there are other options if you need your ticket to be valid for a shorter or longer time. Depending on your plans, it may be worth getting a Prague Card, which offers you free public transport for the duration of your card, entry into a selection of attractions, and a free bus tour. Visit praguecard.com for more details.
Before you even arrive in Prague, it is worth familiarising yourself with the lie of the land. This can help you work out the most cost effective route for your itinerary.
2. Decide Where to Eat and Drink Ahead of Your Stay
Avoid inflated tourist prices by seeking out establishments tipped by the locals. One example is Havelská Koruna (Havelská 21 and 23, 110 00 Praha 1 – havelska-koruna.cz), where you will find a wide range of traditional Czech dishes to choose from. Many of these are available for around 60 CZK each (£1.90) and include things like bacon dumplings, fried pork leg schnitzel, fried chopped steak with cheese, and pancake with chicken and spinach. You then mix and match as many of these dishes as you want to create your final meal. A basic 500ml of beer to go with your meal costs just 26 CZK, or 80p! Better quality beers are also available for not much more.
Another great local recommendation is the Lokál chain. They are a selection of modern Czech restaurants, that serve home made, hearty, traditional Czech food, all made from fresh ingredients from the local region. They also serve their own draught beer from tanks that are on display right next to the taps. Try the Lokál U Bílé kuželky (Míšeňská 12, 118 00 Prague 1 -lokal-ubilekuzelky.ambi.cz). Despite being so close to the Charles Bridge, it is still very reasonably priced at around just 180 CZK for a main meal (£5.71) and 47 CZK for 500 ml of their own Kozel black unfiltered beer (£1.49).
If you just want a quick stop to enjoy some cheap, basic grub, then the sausage stands around the city may do the trick. Wenceslas Square used to be buzzing with them, although many of them have now been removed as they had a bad reputation. Try the Prague sausage (Pražská klobása), and note the way that they insert the sausage into a hole that is drilled into the middle of the bun, rather than slice across the bun.
A word of warning though – keep your wits about you. The vendors are renowned for passing incorrect change back and ripping off unsuspecting tourists. In order to not let the experience turn sour, try paying with the correct change or remain vigilant if you do have to hand over a note.
3. Calculate How Much You Will Need
Although you are travelling to the EU, the Czech Republic have retained their own currency, the Czech Crown or Czech Koruna (CZK). It is advisable to pay in Korunas while you are there rather than Euros, although many establishments do accept both; as this will help you to avoid paying hefty exchange rates. Whatever you do, don’t confuse a Euro note with a Czech Koruna note, or you could end up paying 27 times the value of your goods.
Prices obviously vary wildly depending on where you go, but you can expect to pay an average of 32 CZK for 500ml beer in a local pub (£1.02/$1.25); 600 CZK for a meal for two at an average priced restaurant, including wine and starters (£19.03/$23.51), and around 1733 CZK for a budget to average hotel room for the night in June (£60/$67.91).
Plan ahead, noting the costs you are likely to incur visiting your desired attractions and restaurants, including transport costs, snacks, and a little extra for things that may catch your eye along the way. This way you won’t go too far off budget.
To help plan your trip, take a look at the infographic below from LoveMyVouchers.co.uk.
This features a summary of the main attractions and other activities, as well as your basic financials, to help you calculate how much you will need for your budget trip to Prague.