By Jennifer Leavy
Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, has it all. An eclectic bohemian nightlife, gorgeous architecture from every era mixed together, and a richness of history unlike any other city in Europe.
And while Prague is known as one of Europe’s more budget-friendly cities, there are still ways to spend a fairy tale weekend in the City of a Hundred Spires without spending all your euros.
Take the Bus
While flying could be faster, taking the bus is the more cost-effective choice. You get to meet the other people on your trip before it begins and will have plenty of time to relax and recharge before hitting Prague’s cobblestoned streets. Besides, while a long time on a bus doesn’t sound like much fun, you’ll have the chance to see the Austrian Alps, Bavarian countryside, and Czech woods as you cross the many borders between Prague and Italy.
Look for No Commissions
The Czech Republic doesn’t use the euro but a different currency called a koruna. While the euro is worth more than korunas (meaning you’ll receive more of the local currency than you pay in euros), and some shops in Prague will accept euros, it’s still wise to watch out for hidden fees or high commissions at the currency exchange stands.
Do A Tour
A Beer Tasting or Prague Castle Tour is a good way to avoid high commissions in Prague. If you show your ticket at any ForXchange vendor, you won’t have to pay any commission for your currency exchange. If your bank has no international transaction fees, then you can also withdraw korunas at an ATM in your hostel. Make sure you don’t exchange all of the euros on you, so you’ll still have some left over for when you return to your study abroad city (and for your meal breaks on the way back!)
Walk the Instagram Tour
So much to see, so little time (and cash). On the second morning of the trip, Bus2Alps offers a special “Instagram Walking Tour” that takes you to most of the city’s most famous and picturesque sights, like the John Lennon Wall, Old Town Square, and Charles Bridge. This is an excellent way to see all of Prague’s breathtaking churches and castles without needing to pay admission fees.
Purchase a Day Pass
Prague is a major European city with an excellent and efficient public transportation system. Taking the tram and metro is the best way to get around Prague, and chances are you’ll need to use it multiple times a day as you explore the city. It’s best to purchase two-day passes, which equal about 10 euros, at the start of your stay, as this is easier and cheaper than buying multiple 30-minute passes throughout the weekend.
Eat on the Streets
Prague is cold, during the winter months. You’ll be tempted to eat dinner inside a nice, warm restaurant, but don’t make the same mistake I did. You could pay extra for eating near the touristy spots. If you’re tired from your walking tour and don’t want to venture too far to find a cheaper place to eat, then eating outside is the best way to go.
In Old Town Square, in a small park near the Clock Tower, there is a line of stalls selling everything from hot wine to roasted pork and, of course, the irresistibly delicious, traditional Czech dessert called “trdelnik”, or chimney cakes. There are tables where you can stand with your hot, hearty meal and watch the lights go up in the Tyn Church, or simply enjoy the magic of Prague at night. It’ll be cold, but the warm food, lovely sights, and cheaper prices make it worth it.
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