How not to irritate locals: 10 simple dos and don’ts  when visiting Prague

Dos and don’ts in Prague. This topic has been on my blog bucket list for a while. I thought about it every time I went downtown and saw locals glowering at the travellers just because they were unintentionally doing something wrong. Czechs tend to get irritated easily. Sometimes with very obvious stupid things, sometimes with unexpectedly silly details. Let me share with you 10 steps on how to get along with Praguers. 10 simple dos and don’ts in Prague.

Who creates this blog for you?

I am Dana, Prague local and also owner / guide for Prague Behind The Scenes, small independent touring company. Besides guiding my relaxed Prague tours, I also enjoy writing about my hometown. Today about why we are sometimes frowning at you.

A bit about us, Czechs

Czechs are very laid back people. In fact you don’t have to be afraid of any personal verbal or physical insultations. We tend to keep our thoughts and opinions for ourselves. But we can frown and look pissed off like a pro!! These are some of the reasons….  

1. Escalators: always stand on the rights side

Everytime when using moving stairs (escalators), please make sure you are standing on the right side. Left side is a “fast track” for people who want to walk up or down. Sometimes people are rushing (I know it myself) and when somebody is standing with a suitcase on the left side and his friend on the right side and block the way from both sides, it´s….a bit irritating. Only during the peak hours you may see people standing on both sides. However, we always feel a bit inappropriate whendoing that.

Level of irritation: 80 %

Dos and don'ts in Prague
Dos and don’ts  in Prague: always stand on the right side of the escalators. The left side is a fast track for walking.

2. Volume down: music, voice, whistling.

Yeah, we are kinda snowflakes in this way, sorry. Very sensitive to noise and any type of noisy, extravagant behaviour in all the shared areas like cafĂŠs, restaurants, shops, sights…. We especially don´t like too much noise on public transport as in general we are very quiet people. Most passengers just look into their phones, read a book or just think and relax. They don’t enjoy listening to noisy conversations of others. Whistling indoors is also considered very impolite – as well as blowing a chewing gum bubbles indoors. And one more importat thing: when getting on a tram / metro / bus, people getting off go first! Please wait aside of the door until all the passengers leave the vagon, then get on.

Level of irritation: 80 %

Dos and don'ts in Prague
Dos and don’ts  in Prague: please try not to be noisy on public transport.

3. Please don´t call us Eastern Europe

I know we were part of the former Eastern Block for many years but It’s been almost 35 years since the regime changed. And this Eastern Europe sticker evoke a bit pejorative connotations. Geographically – we are located in the middle of Europe. Central Europe is much better name 🙂  

Level of irritation: 70 %

4. Prague is not a cheap bar or amusement park for adults

Prague is an extremely popular destination for various stag / hen parties or pub crawls. Many tourists come here just to enjoy affordable alcohol, nightlife and to go wild. Sometimes too much. Please understand that people are still living and working here and Prague downtown is not a playground for adults. Ok, wear a pink bunny costumes or diapers in the public that’s how you probably want to represent your country, just please don’t vomit or pee in the public, don´t climb any statues, don´t make mess, don´t ride scooters when you are totally drunk.

Level of irritation: 100 %

Dos and don'ts in Prague
Please don´t step, climb, pose on memorials and sculptures. This is a Winged Lion Memorial, It is dedicated to the Czechoslovak airmen who served in the Royal Air Force (RAF) during World War II. I found this photo online as an example of what not to do here. Unfortunately it´s a picture of one local tour company.

5. Dos and don´ts in churches, historical buildings and concert venues

In churches, museums, historical buildings it´s considered impolite to wear caps and sun glasses. Just to show a regeral respect it´s recommended to take off your cap everywhere indoors. If you plan visiting a concert, ballet or opera, it´s also very much recommended to dress up (smart casual is usually absolutely fine – but jeans, t-shits, sneakers – rather not).

Level of irritation: 60 %

dos and don'ts  in prague
Dos and don´ts in Prague: It´s polite to take off your cap and sun glasses before entering a church.

6. Offer your seat to women, elderly, disabled, pregnant or really small kids

It’s always nice when a man offers a seat to a woman on a busy tram or metro, no matter how old/young she is. It’s just nice. What I personally absolutely hate is when all men are sitting and women are standing above them. Regarding the very small kids – yes, their legs are young and fresh:)) but it´s safier for them to sit.  

Level of irritation: 70 %

dos and don'ts in prague

7. Please don´t leave here the “love locks”

They will end up in a metal scrap anyway. Seriously, this is not romantic, it´s just stupid. The railings, banisters, lamp posts, fences are all scratched from the padlocks and the river is full of the rusty keys.   

Level of irritation: 80 %

dos and don'ts in Prague
Dos and don’ts in Prague: lovelocks, you lock your love here and we throw it away. In a scap. Sorry.

8. Don´t drink / eat your own food in cafÊs or beer gardens

It´s ok to eat and drink anywhere else. But it´s absolutely innapropriate to consume your own food or drink in cafÊs, restaurants or places that belong to some business owner. Maybe nobody will tell you anything, maybe nobody will notice that, but this is one of the top don´ts in Prague.

Level of irritation: 100 %

dos and don´ts in prague
Please support local businesses and don´t eat your own food (drinks) in their premises.
It´s impolite. Especially after the long pandemic break they need paying customers. Photo: Kuchyň na hradě

9. “Historical” cars

They are replicas designed couple years back in Poland. Locals don´t like them because they are huuuge and make the downtown traffic even worse. The tourists are probably feeling like kings but locals are just rolling eyes.

Level of irritation: 60 %

dos and don'ts  in Prague
Dos and don’ts in Prague: so-called vintage / historical cars.

10. Plastic bottles and food waste

Tap water is 100% safe here. I highly recommend  travelling with your own reusable water bottle – thermo flasks are best – and making refills whenever you can.  Feel free to hydrate yourself also in Prague streets. During spring, summer and autumn, there are many drinking fountains with cold tap water for free. You don’t have to buy anything. Especially plastic bottles. Thank you for helping us to reduce the single-use plastic waste. And also food waste. This really hurts. Seeing tourists dumping so much food. Garbage bins are literally overflowing with food downtown (chimney cakes, sausages, unfinished coffee, unfinished beer, bread…) and that’s not right.   

Level of irritation: 70 %

Tap water is 100% safe here. You can even use public drinking fountains for re-fills (during the spring, summer and autumn).

And that´s it. Hope this blog post wasn´t too negative. Czechs are fun people (especially after the first beer), just a little bit conservative. If you are interested in learning more about us and about Prague, feel free to drop me a line or just come on my tours:-)

Dana, owner and guide for Prague Behind The Scenes | small-group tours and experiences.

Did you like my tips? You can support my small local business by buying me a virtual coffee. Thank you so much for your help and kind support.

Where to next

5 unique hidden gems of Prague Old Town often missed by tourist (and even locals!)

Souvenirs from Prague: 8 original gift ideas with made in the Czech Repulic label

Prague in 1 day: what to see and do

Where to exchange money in Prague and how much?

Things not to do in Prague: 11 local tourist traps

For more tips and inspiration you can also follow my Instagram profile or join one of my off the beaten track tours.