How can I meet people in Prague (and elsewhere in Europe)?
September 27, 2013 2:40 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I are in Prague for three more weeks, as part of our plan to travel for several months in Europe (and beyond, we hope). We're interested in meeting people, especially locals, but we're not very good in bars and clubs.

I know this is a common type of question so let me give some specifics about us and some ideas we already have.

- We're both in our early 30's and pretty quiet, but we're trying to break out of our shells. We don't drink so that makes bars and clubs difficult (but not impossible, I guess).

- I've looked at Couchsurfing even though we have our own place here in Prague and generally prefer it that way. The whole CS ecosystem bewilders me a little bit but I'm going to see what I can do with it. A little hard since we don't have any CS experience on our profile at all.

- Meetup shows mostly groups that are devoted to specific hobbies that we don't have, or to expat networking groups.

- One promising thing is that we have a little tango experience, so I can try to find some milongas around here. But we're definitely just beginners and already a few months out of practice. Classes would be great but in my experience in the US they're expensive.

- We're both bookish and we like learning languages, so that might be another avenue to pursue. Learning some Czech would be a big bonus to me but again there's a money issue too.

Prague is our longest stay on our tentative schedule so we're focused on that, but I'd love to hear any general advice about meeting people outside of bars and clubs while traveling.
posted by Peter J. Prufrock to Travel & Transportation around Prague, Czech Republic (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Couchsurfing is a great resource for meeting people while traveling, whether you want to do overnight stays or not. The couchsurfing site should have local meetups and social events as long as you're in a major city. Drop by an event and you'll likely find a lot of friendly locals and other travelers. You can also put out a request in your city to see if someone would be interested in meeting for coffee or lunch. Having lots of good references from other CSers is only really important if you want to stay in someone's home. My experience has been that people will be very willing to meet for coffee or some other non-threatening publicly-located social thing if you're a newbie.

Language exchanges are a great, free way to meet locals and pick up a bit of a new foreign language. Basically, you'll meet up with a Czech speaker who wants to practice their English and you trade off teaching and talking with each other in your respective languages. Google "language exchange" and you can find various websites where people interested in this kind of thing list contact information. You can also put up an ad on the Prague couchsurfing page for this, too :)

Happy traveling!
posted by horizons at 3:07 PM on September 27, 2013 [3 favorites]

I used Couchsurfing to meet locals (it really doesn't require hosting or staying, seriously) all around South America. I never had any experience beforehand, but I went full hog in my profile, putting up pictures with me with friends, etc talking about my interests.

I went to meetups (they have things like museum trips, etc) and straight up direct messaged people to ask them for a coffee/hangout. I had some cool/awesome experiences doing that.
posted by sandmanwv at 3:08 PM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Using the Couchsurfing site is the best way to access a group of locals who are friendly and like showing off their home area to travelers. You definitely don't need experience/references on your profile to get started. Also, anyone you meet can put up a testimonial for you, they do not have to be people who hosted you. If you have other friends/family who are members of the CS site, they can put in testimonials for you even if you have not Couchsurfed with them. But I agree with the other answers that most people would be willing to meet you regardless of lack of references as long as you don't propose anything sketchy. If you need help navigating the site/how to get it set up, feel free to memail me.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 7:02 PM on September 27, 2013

You can try posting something to in the discussion sections, which normally has a mix of expats and Czechs. Facebook groups are also quite widely used here, I've had decent luck searching facebook for groups of interest to me in Prague. I would also suggest going to some of the many events that are going on - today is the last day of Živé město which is a fab neighbourhood-focused event.

And finally, feel free to send me a message and I would be happy to meet up.
posted by brambory at 1:59 AM on September 28, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers, everyone! It sounds like I should definitely give CS a shot for meeting people. And thanks for the other suggestions, too. I hope we get to meet a lot of friendly folks (or even just a few) in Prague in our remaining time here.
posted by Peter J. Prufrock at 4:07 AM on September 28, 2013

The Meetup groups that I have been part of in Europe generally include a lot of expats, but they are expats from everywhere around the world, so tend to be very interesting. Generally there are also some locals that have lived outside of the country a bit and like the international atmosphere that the Meetup groups bring. My experiences has been in Luxembourg and a few cities in Germany, so will likely hold for Prague as well.
posted by chiefthe at 7:41 AM on September 28, 2013

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