By Tony Haslam
After finishing top of Group K, Liverpool will now face Sparta Prague in the second round of the Europa League, with the first leg being held on 17th February.
Liverpool – Prague
Unfortunately, you cannot fly directly from Liverpool to Prague. You can fly to Amsterdam and change flights there, however there are 10 hr waits in between, however we did find the following with KLM Airlines, flying out on Wednesday 16th February, returning on Friday 18th:
Manchester – Prague
There are flights from Manchester to Prague, but they are from Thursday – Sunday, flying out on the day of the match (17th) and returning on 20th February.
London – Prague
Those travelling from London airports will find it a bit easier to get there and back, with flights available from Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted (all flying out on Weds 16th, returning Friday 18th February)
The centre of Prague is about 20-25 minutes by car from the Airport, but don’t just jump in any taxi you find outside – many of them will try and rip you off. Instead, try and arrange something before you go, or there are buses from the airport but these will be busier around the days before and after the match. The following buses numbers from the airport head into the centre of Prague: 119, 100, 225, 179, or any that says ‘Centrum’ on the front.
If you’ve got time to spare before and after the game, then the main areas are Wenceslas Square and the Old Town Square. Wenceslas square in the daytime is a decent place to be, there’s plenty of bars in the side streets off the main road where you can get a pint pretty cheaply, and there’s enough restaurants, cafes and shops to get something to eat – but work out what you’re paying before you order as the places on the main street charge a bomb for something you can get cheaper round the corner. If you just want a KFC or McDonalds, they are signposted from the main street, or there’s a TGI Fridays restaurant at the bottom of Wenceslas square. There are a few supermarkets signposted from the main street too, if you don’t want to be paying to eat out the whole time you are there.
There’s a bar called Duplex which overlooks Wenceslas Square and is decent to sit off for an hour or two and get a few drinks down your neck. You can access it off the main street, and take a lift to the top floor. If you’re struggling to find out where it is, simply look up in the air; you can’t miss it (or if you do, it’s opposite Starbucks!).
If you want somewhere to watch the Champion’s League games the night before the Sparta Match, head down to the beer factory at the top of Wenceslas Sq. It’s a bit of a walk (and one you’ll learn to hate), but once you are there, you can pour your own pints at your table to save you queuing up, there’s a couple of big screens for the footy and there’s an electronic tally chart on the wall to see how many pints you and your mates have got through compared to the other tables, and it’s around a quid a pint of the local pilsner. There’s also a decent Irish pub called Rocky O Reilly’s just round the corner from the beer factory (although none of the staff are Irish!), which has quite a few screens for the footy, and does a decent breakfast for 250 CZK (about £7/8)
In the evening, you’ll want to stay away from Wenceslas Square at all costs, unless you want to be hassled constantly to go into bars, casinos and strip/’cabaret’ clubs. They all have staff working in the streets who won’t take no for an answer, and make it their mission to pester you until you either tell them to do one or cave in and go with them, but be aware that as soon as you get rid of one, the next one will come along trying to drag you into their club instead. The best advice we can give is to just ignore them altogether, don’t even let on to them if they ask you where you are going.
If you do decide to venture in to one of these places, check the menu before ordering drinks, otherwise you’ll get stung and end up paying £10 for a bottle of Heineken. Normally, a small can of beer can be bought for around £1.50, but this will be almost invisible on any drinks menu, so keep your eyes peeled before ordering anything.
Getting to the Stadium
The Generali Stadium is just under 2km from Wenceslas square in the centre of Prague, so you can either walk, get a taxi or a tram directly to the ground from the centre on Tram Line A (Hradčanská). The following trams go to the Stadium: 1, 15, 18, 25, 26 and 57.
The trams are notorious for pickpockets operating on them, so if there’s only a small group of you, stick together and keep an eye on each other’s belongings. A common trick is for two or three members of a pick pocketing gang to stand close to their target, and as soon as the tram hits a bump they will knock into them, and try and lift their wallet/phone at the same time. It is advisable to stay away from the trams at night, unless you’re with a big group of reds rather than just on your own. Another trick that has emerged on the trams is for groups to be pretending to be Metro staff, who will ask to see your ticket, claim it is invalid and then attempt to fine you around 500 CZK (£19/20) . If you have a valid ticket, tell them to call the Police, this should get rid of them.
If you want to get a taxi; try and agree a fee before getting in with the driver, or ask at reception of your hotel to book one for you, otherwise you will run the risk of being overcharged for what should have been a quick, cheap trip.
In the Winter months in Prague, it can be colder than the UK, average temperatures are just 1° for February in the daytime, while at night it can drop well below zero, so take a warm jacket with you.
The currency is Prague is the Czech Koruna, below is a guide as to what you get for your GBP:
- £5 = 145 CZK
- £10 = 290 CZK
- £20 = 580 CZK
- £25 = 725 CZK
- £50 = 1451 CZK
Should you need to contact the British Embassy for any reason, their phone number is: (420) 257 402 370