prague

10 places to avoid in Prague

Prague has a lot to offer both to newbies and experienced tourists: from art nouveau architecture to graffiti, from street festivals to pub crawling. Still there are places that may ruin the visitor’s impression from Prague. My friend Tanya Galitskaya, who works as a tour guide in Prague for many years, has put together a list of such potential disappointments (link to Russian original on Pretty Prague website), and I translated it to English.

1.Palladium Mall

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The mall is always crowded and incredibly badly planned – especially the escalators and stairs between floors. If you just need something specific and you know exactly, which shop are you heading to, then Palladium is fine. But if you like long relaxed shopping days, exploring all shops of the mall and stopping for coffee breaks, it is worth to go a bit further from the center to Chodov of Cerny Most that are much better organized and user-friendly.

2. Passage near Charles Bridge

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The passage is so awful that it even does not have a name, but you may still need to face it eventually. If you are walking along the embankment of the right bank of Vltava heading to Charles Bridge from 5-storey Karvoly Lazne night club or you urgently need a WC, which are in short supply in this area, you would eventually have to enter this passage. The Renaissance buildings of city mill and water tower from the outside make a remarkable contrast with this dirty and noisy place with cheap souvenirs and fake Bohemian crystal glass vases. The currency exchange would rip you off half of your money and the pickpockets would finish the work.

3. U Medvídků Restaurant

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This place near Tesco on Národní třída is known for its X-beer, the strongest in the city, and traditional Czech cuisine, but the beer is undrinkable and the “cuisine” is represented by roast pork knuckle and ribs, which are simultaneously lardy and overcooked. The waiter’s face is sour as if your presence is a personal insult to him. The waiters may change, but the face expression seems to be part of the brand. And with the time the food becomes more and more expensive and less and less eatable.

4. Ham roasting-jack on Old Town Square

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Another experience of expensive and unsavory food that you need to be aware of. The roast looks attractive and authentic, so many tourists go for it. The price is shown for 100 grams, and by default you would be treated with a half a kilo “portion” of pork paying around CZK 400 (USD 15) for the salted meat burning hot from outside and cold from inside. If you still wish to try it, ask the man for 100 grams, not “a portion”.

5. Fashion Arena Outlet

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Fashion Arena is an outlet village, located at the outskirts of Prague. Unfortunately, the choice of clothes and shoes there is not impressive and the discounts are not so high as expected in an outlet. You may buy a good pair of sneakers or some sports clothes there, but otherwise the place is not worth a visit. And the food there is disgusting.

6. Concerts in Municipal House 

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Municipal House (Obecní dům) is a massive building with a green dome near the Powder Tower. The building itself is beautiful, although some may call it over-decorated. There are indeed quality symphonic concerts in a stunning hall named after Czech composer Bedrich Smetana. But if you buy the concert tickets from a promotion guy near the entrance, you will end up sitting in a small unremarkable hall on uncomfortable wooden chairs and listening to some amateur musicians playing Vivaldi. So if you looking for a high-quality concert, buy the ticket to Smetana’s hall yourselves in the Municipal House official ticket office located to the left from the entrance.

7. Park near the Main Railway Station

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The park proudly named after Czech lyrical poet Jaroslav Vrchlický is unofficially named “Sherwood of Prague” for its modern analogue of Robin Hood’s band of merrymen: homeless people, drug addicts and gypsy pickpockets. If you decide to have a picnic in the park and a nap afterwards – you would wake up without your money, mobile phone and camera. The park is also known as a center of gay prostitution.

8. The Narrowest Street

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This one is not awful, just overrated. It is a nameless passage now leading to Čertovka restaurant (also nothing special). The street is so narrow that it has a traffic light for pedestrians – you should press the button and wait for a green light to enter the street, since two people would not be able to bypass each other on it. The passage was initially intended for easier access to the river and slowing down a potential fire spreading. So this is actually an entertaining experience if you are already nearby, but not worth a special visit.

9. Sokolska and Legerova streets

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Two wide and dusty highways cross the city on their way from Brno to Drezden and vice versa. Initially, the city intended to build an overpass, but then went for a cheaper option. Now these two streets have turned a nice central district near I.P.Pavlova to a pedestrian’s nightmare (and also to cheap meth’s dealer point). They are also the worst streets of Prague in terms of the air pollution according to 2010 study.

10. Lower Zhizhkov

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You may have read about a hippie atmosphere and stylish young people of Zhizhkov district – this actually relates to Upper Zhizhkov, its part to the south of Seifertova street. The northern part of Zhizhkov is dusty and unpleasant, full of pawnbroker shops, bodyshops and abandoned buildings with broken windows.

Photo credit: Praga Magica blog.


20 Comments

  • tom

    07.05.2016

    I too had some less-than-good-experiences in Prague, and I'm afraid I fell for #4 above (also some potatoes and cheese in the square, same experience).  I well respect bloggers who are not afraid to tell you what sucks, not just what rocks.  good job.

    Reply
    • Elena Nemets

      08.05.2016

      I love Prague with all my heart, have lived there for 3 years. And I honestly want that other travelers have great time in this wonderful city and avoid disappointments – they are really few in Prague, but still may spoil the experience.

      Reply
  • Tami

    08.05.2016

    Always good to know what I should avoid. Prague is on my list of places I'd like to visit, so this will come in handy.

    Reply
    • Elena Nemets

      08.05.2016

      Thanks! I would be glad if this list helps in practice.

      Reply
  • Well this is good timing, I'll be visiting Prague for the first time in October.  Thanks for sharing!

    Schedule

    Reply
    • Elena Nemets

      08.05.2016

      Enjoy your visit! Prague is great, it was actually difficult to find this 10 disappointing things 🙂

      Reply
  • Lara Dunning

    08.05.2016

    Prague is near the top of my travel list. Saving this list! Those foodie stops sound like places you definitely want to stay clear of. 

    Reply
    • Elena Nemets

      08.05.2016

      It should be! Great city with plenty of tasty food (unless you are a vegetarian, then you may have hard times…).

      Reply
  • Theresa

    08.05.2016

    I was in Prague a few years ago and while I loved the architecture and aesthetics of the city, I did not appreciate the way the locals treated me for my brown skin. My Polish friend tells me it's because I was misperceived as being a "troublesome" gypsy. At any rate, I did enjoy the concerts I attended, one of which was at a temple in the Jewish Quarter. One of the highlights of my trip. Thanks for your thoughts on the city.

    Reply
    • Elena Nemets

      08.05.2016

      Wow, this is really sad to hear! Czechs have problems with gypsies, true story, but this is no way a reason to mistreat people!

      Reply
  • Ha ha good to know! I like the idea for the post, instead of the boring usual "things to do" 😛

     

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    Reply
    • Elena Nemets

      09.05.2016

      Thanks! Will try to do more of those 🙂

      Reply
  • Angela

    08.05.2016

    Great idea for a post! I usually see things you SHOULD do, not things to AVOID! That ham roasting-jack is probably hard to pass up because I'm guessing it smells good when walking by!

    Reply
    • Elena Nemets

      09.05.2016

      Correct! Instead of trying this ham, it is worth trying "trdlo" – a sweet round pastry, also sold on the streets.

      Reply
  • christine

    09.05.2016

    I guess I did good during my trip becuase I didnt go to any of these! Haha 

    Reply
    • Elena Nemets

      09.05.2016

      Well done!

      Reply
  • Paul

    09.05.2016

    That's good to know, I've not been to Prague but my wife tells me it's great and didn't really have any problems with it. 

    Reply
    • Elena Nemets

      10.05.2016

      Most of people would not have any problems with Prague – it is a great city.

      Reply
  • Bernard Tan

    10.05.2016

    OMG! I totally hate it when there is tons of pickpockets in a certain area. And how would a fat person be able to pass the narrowest street.

    Reply
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    01.02.2017

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