All you need to know about public restrooms in Prague
When I am asked for pointers when visiting Prague, one of my first is… get Czech money and make sure you have change. I have heard the responses: “I’ll just use euro,” “I can use my credit card,” “I have too many different kinds of change already…”
I get it, I really do. But… there are two things you will always need the local change for – public transportation and the toilets. We have covered public transportation in one of our previous blogs. Today, we will help you with the other. In Prague, you often have to pay for the toilets.
In Europe, this isn’t a surprise, but for many other countries, this is a new thing. In North America, if you are walking in a city and have to stop for “natures call,” you just pop into a fast food place, gas station or even a hotel. Not so here. You are paying and, most of the time, there is no way around it.
Here is what it looks like the first time. You walk up to a window with a woman sitting inside. There will be a tray. She expects you to put 10 CZK in the tray. Not euro, not asking for change for a bill, not pleading to go without change. They are little old ladies for the most part, but they have seen two World Wars and Communism; they are not afraid of you in any way. You should be afraid of them. Remember, they are guardians of the water closet! Floors are moped, paper stocked, and toilets cleaned. You will pay to enter their kingdom!!
I will admit that was a bit of hyperbole, however, I have experienced a few that are that way. I have been at the urinal, when a woman came in to mop the floor of the men’s room. She didn’t care that men were inside. The floor was dirty and she was going to clean it.
Another occasion a friend and I went to a restroom as it was being closed. The lady had already cleaned and closed the women’s room and was starting on the men’s room. When my friend, a female, asked where she could go, the woman pointed at the stales in the men’s room. So, me and another guy at the urinals, my friend in a stale, and the cleaning lady all at once. I think you see my point.
I know what you’re thinking, “I can get around it.” Yeah, I thought that too. Run to a McDonald’s? No, they have a machine that gives a receipt to use against your purchase. So it is good if you are planning to eat there. Hotels and restaurants? Not many hotels have restrooms on the ground floor. Restaurants will simply say no. Coffee shops? Many have a code on the door that will be on the receipt when you purchase something. Even the metro has bathrooms (noted as WC). Now, here women pay 10 CZK, but in some of them, men only pay 5 CZK if they are only doing number 1. If you are there for the full experience, then it will be 10 CZK. Don’t think you can lie either, they have the toilet paper.
My point, they have been at this a long time and have seen it all. So, what do the locals do?
When they have that urge, it might just mean time to stop at a café and enjoy a beverage and maybe a snack. Maybe it is time for a quick beer or even a little lunch. Since most shopping malls have free restrooms, maybe itʼs time to wander into one.
Now, I will add that, in the tourist area, there are many more rest stops available in most neighborhoods. You will find WCs on the street corner, near some of the tourist sights, and, as I said earlier, in almost all of the metros. Overall though, you will, at some point, need change if you are out in the city for long.
So, come to Prague, see the sights, learn the history, and try the food but… bring a bit of Czech change. It will make your visit a lot easier. Most tour guides can cover this issue if you have any questions. We plan our tours with restrooms in mind.
Here’s a list of ones you may need to visit on your travels. The costs may change but as of now, it is correct.
- Old Town Square
- Týn Church (at the entrance): almost always a short line but it moves quickly. 10 CZK
- The Starbucks opposite the Astronomical Clock: at the very back – a slot machine. 10 CZK
- Charles Bridge (Old Town Side): Charles Bridge Museum – I suggest this one only for an emergency in summer, because there are insanely long lines, but in winter itʼs fine. If you purchase coffee or pastries at their café, the restroom is for free, otherwise 20 CZK or 1 Euro.
- Prague Castle
- the most notable is the one next to St Vitus Cathedral. Please, be sure to have change (I have been sent away for exact change). 10 CZK.
- The Starbucks in front of the main gate to Prague Castle. 10 CZK.
- Any fast food place. Go first to the bathroom, the machine will give you a receipt that you can use for consumption afterward. Usually 10 or 15 CZK.
- Almost any metro station. They are old but mostly clean. 5 to 10 CZK for men, 10 CZK for women.
January 22, 2019