Written by Brad McLeod
First things first, I love Prague and really have zero legitimate complaints about my time there. I also only lived in the city for about six months, so I am by no means an expert. So, yeah, this headline is kinda click-bait. Everything I say is the worst is really just coming from a place of being a spoiled North American and these minor inconveniences or peculiarities are actually a big part of why I loved living in Praha/Prague/Prag.
Coming from Vancouver, Canada, I’m used to beautiful scenery, but when it comes to buildings, we’re pretty bland. You won’t find too many modern shiny high-rises in Prague. It’s all old-school Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau, with one weird Frank Gehry building for good measure.
Everything has a lot of history to it and where I lived, in the hip quarters of Žižkov, bright colours of paint turned otherwise dilapidated structures into a treat for the eyes.
Worst: Complicated Doors
Vintage architecture may be pretty sweet, but it isn’t always the most practical. I’m willing to look past the lack of elevators because I actually enjoy the exercise and think that those spiralling staircases look so cool, but I don’t know why all the doors have to be so confusing.
When you move into an apartment, you get handed a bunch of crazy looking keys and, if you’re like me, you will spend countless hours outside of doors just puzzling about how they can possibly be penetrated.
The Czech aren’t really known for their cuisine, but if you like meat and bread, buckle up. Or actually unbuckle up, because you’re going to pack on the pounds by devouring delicious meals like Goulash, Svíčková, and plenty of bread dumplings.
You can get these at any local pub, which are on almost every corner and the servings are enormous while still being affordable.
Worst: Vegetarian Options
Although the food is delicious, if you’re not a meat eater you could be in for a rough time. At any traditional Czech restaurant, meat is usually the main course. There is only one type of vegetarian option at almost every restaurant I went to and it is quite simply fried cheese.
That’s it, just a plate of different types of friend cheese. And tartar sauce for dipping. So, if you’re a vegan, well, you might as well eat at home.
An unexpected highlight of Prague is their well-behaved dogs. In the Czech Republic, man’s best friend reigns supreme and almost every pooch knew their way around the streets of Prague better than I did.
It’s rare for a dog to misbehave because they’re so well-trained that they’ll just sit outside of a corner store and read the newspaper while their owner is inside. And if you go up to a park like the one up on Letná, it is a dog-watchers paradise.
Worst: Transit Police
While seeing dogs riding the bus like it was no big deal was a daily highlight for me, the looming presence of police trying to catch fare-evaders was not. In Vancouver, we have turnstiles and getting busted for not having a ticket doesn’t really exist anymore.
But in Prague, they always seem to be watching because for some weird reason, they don’t wear uniforms. I once watched a tourist have their passport taken away by a police officer in street clothes and that certainly didn’t seem fun.
Best: Cheap Beer
One of the first things you’ll probably learn upon entry into the Czech Republic is the astonishing fact that a pint of beer is cheaper than a glass of water. Compared to Canada where a single Molson Canadian can run you up to 18 dollars at a hockey game, Prague is pumping Pilsner out of the tap for a dollar each almost everywhere you go.
This cheap, delicious beer certainly goes a long way to making Prague the city it is with a great nightlife and absolutely stellar hockey crowds.
Worst: Cheap Beer
As much as I like beer, my wimpy North American constitution apparently can’t handle the volume of alcohol that the Czechs consume. Staying sober on during the week or even taking the occasional dry weekend seemed like an affront to their way of life, but I couldn’t keep up.
Paying twice as much for bottled water at the pub was hard to stomach, but if you’re an expat trying to make it in Prague, you might have to do it now and then for the sake of your liver.