New map gives Prague visitors tips and tricks for blending in with the locals

The new edition of the Use-It map promotes sustainable tourism as well as exploring outside the city center. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 20.07.2022 11:59:00 (updated on 20.07.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

A new free map aims at opening Prague up for young visitors and others who want to experience the city more like a local.

The recommendations in the Use-It Prague map aren’t advertisements. They were made by nine long-time Prague residents who worked on the map for four months. There are dozens of places off the beaten track and some hiding in plain sight to explore.

The creators also want to motivate tourists to be considerate toward the locals. "We are interested in the ecological, but above all socio-cultural dimension of sustainable tourism. We see it as a significant negative that locals are moving away from the center because of tourism. ... We believe that if we humorously encourage tourists to behave like locals, they will empathize with them better and treat them with respect," Eva Křížová, the coordinator of the Prague project, said.

Tips for blending in include giving up your seat to an elderly person on public transit. They also tell you that “trdelník” a.ka. chimney cakes are not traditional, and they recommend getting local souvenirs instead of Russian stacking dolls. Also frowned upon are pub crawls, electric scooters, and Thai massages.

Use-It map. Photo: Jůzit.
Use-It map. Photo: Jůzit.

There is also a little bit on drinking etiquette: “Make eye contact with each person you’re raising your glass with. Seven years of bad sex await you if you don’t. If you are drinking beer, tap your mug on the table after clinking.”

Over 60 recommendations cover obscure and hidden coffee shops, lunch spots, old-school pubs, music clubs, odd museums, and other hangouts. The map, since it is aimed at visitors, is in English. The authors also explain why you shouldn’t be afraid of the Žižkov Tunnel, what a “paternoster” is and where to find one, and various types of popular Czech food.

The map also provides three walks to get to know the city better. The local mood walk includes cubist-style buildings, Vyšehrad, and the hidden garden Ztracenka. The walk oddly ends at náměstí Bratří Synků. The Bohemian walk takes people through Žižkov, Vinohrady, and Vršovice and of course includes the hipster hangout Krymská Street.

The tourist classic walk, though, is a bit questionable. It provides an alternate route to Prague Castle that uses the bridge Mánesův most instead of Charles Bridge and a somewhat roundabout path through Malá Strana that takes you up into the upper reaches of Petřín before cutting over to the Castle. While you would certainly avoid the crowds, you miss the historical house signs and other attractions of the Royal Route. And the path through Petřín is rather steep.

The map makers do, however, suggest seeing the Charles Bridge in the early morning or late evening when it is less crowded.

The Prague map has been published for over 10 years by the non-profit organization Jůzit, which is part of the Europe-wide Use-It project.

"Thematically, this time we focused more on sustainable travel and lifestyle, which is what the mesh bag on the cover of the map refers to. We point out, among other things, that this Czech invention from the 1920s is trendy again," said Petr Semkin, coordinator of the map team.

Travelers can pick the maps up at the official Prague information centers, at the Pražské kreativní centrum, in the House at the Minute on Old Town Square, or at selected accommodation facilities. It is also available for download on the Internet. This time, there is a QR code that will take them to a website with more information about Prague. The project was supported in part by the Prague City Hall as well as from donations.

Other Czech cities also have their own Use-It map. New editions of the maps for Brno and Ostrava were published at the beginning of the summer. The team in Zlín is also currently working on another map.

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