Prague is a beautiful city but…. Do you want to fall in love with Prague or become a victim of tourist traps? Not everything in Prague is a must see. There is couple of things that you may easily skip without regretting it such as Golden Lane at the Prague Castle, Klementinum Library – visit the Strahov Monastery Baroque library instead and the overpriced Lokal restaurant at Dlouha street.
And here is why…
Golden Lane, sure, you want to see the entire Prague Castle. But do you really need to get caught to Golden Lane tourist trap? You can stick your head in to see the tiny little houses. But you should know that once you enter the Lane there is no way back. You have to march together with hundreds of other people, enjoying the Prague “souvenirs” as well as screaming and shouting visitors who just realized that there is no chance to escape the lane. Yes, there is a little house where Franz Kafka apparently visited his sister or some other sources state that Kafka actually lived here.
You have several ticket options. Either you can just stroll through Prague Castle, stick your head into the Cathedral for free without getting to the section for paying visitors. Or you can buy Circuit B giving you access to the entire Cathedral visit, Old Royal Palace, St. George Basilique and Golden Lane. All of that at CZK250. It is all worth it but the Golden Lane.
On Klementinum library. OK, there are rumors that this library is the most beautiful library in the world. Maybe. One would even like to find out. However, one would have to be able to see the place. All what you will be able to do is guessing that there is a beautiful library somewhere in the darkness. The guide will not let you in, he/she will reluctantly switch on the lights and will check whether you are not making any photos. I would recommend, visiting the Strahov Monastery library instead. A baroque gem. With a special arrangement, you can go in the Theological and Philosophical halls of the library and admire the baroque beauty and art of book making. Without that special arrangement you will see just a Cabinet of curiosities which is OK but nothing what you want to climb up the hill for, the Baroque halls is what you really want to see.
And my last recommendation for your Prague “skip it list” is the Lokal restaurant at Dlouha street. The idea behind this restaurant is the reminiscence of a communist pub. In fact it is an overpriced place with ordinary food and poor service at tourist prices. I am sure you will see number of recommendations in your guide books but there are other places where you can enjoy Czech traditional meals and beer at reasonable prices. Don’t let anybody to fool you.
You may want to try some Czech food at one of these places or go on and follow the locals …
And then of course the Charles Bridge. OK, I get it, you want to see IT, you do not want to skip IT and you would be grumpy leaving Prague without seeing IT. Go early in the morning, I mean really early at 7am or even earlier, in exchange you will enjoy the bridge (almost) alone, and believe me, it really is worth it, the Charles bridge is magic.