Travel to the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is situated in the centre of Europe, with Germany to the west, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south and Poland to the north. It’s the bridging country between Western Europe and Eastern Europe.
The capital city of Prague is the major highlight of Czech Republic, with very few travelers venturing outside of the city. Dubbed the ‘city of a thousand spires’, Prague attractions include churches, a fairytale castle, medieval bridges, a large town square with Astronomical Clock and quaint cobbled lanes. There’s also a mix of museums, old breweries and a buzzing nightlife.
For travelers that can tear themselves away from the capital city, there’s quaint towns in the Sudeten Mountains, breweries and hilltop ruins to explore. Along with rolling vineyards, underground bars in Moravia, majestic castles, national parks, medieval towns and elegant spa resorts. There are endless places to visit in the Czech Republic.
Travel tips for the Czech Republic
Visa Requirements for the Czech Republic
Czech Republic is part of the Schengen agreement, which allows most of the EU citizens to enter the country with only their ID. When entering by air from a non-Schengen country, you will be expected to fill out a brief form which includes an address in Czech Republic. You can just use the address of your hotel.
Visitors from certain countries like the USA, Canada and New Zealand can visit visa-free for up to 90 days in Czech Republic. EU nationals whose stay in the Czech Republic will exceed 30 days are required to register within 30 days of their arrival in the Czech Republic with the Foreign Police. A stay of longer than 90 days for non-EEA or non-Swiss citizens usually requires a visa, which you need to get before your trip.
Other nationals, like those from Russia, Asian countries and South Africa, will need to apply for a Schengen Visa before arriving in Czech Republic. Check with the Embassy of the Czech Republic on your Czech Republic visa requirements, if any, on this website.
Important Cultural Information
While Roman Catholic is the most popular religion in Czech Republic, the large majority of the country is not affiliated with any religious beliefs. Czech is the only official language of the Czech Republic. Other languages that can be heard here include Slovak, German, Polish and Romany.
The usual social norms apply when interacting with others. It is polite to greet strangers, including shop owners when you walk in. While Czech mannerisms may seem brusque at times, you will often come across a friendly smile or someone with a light joke. You should greet new people with a handshake, maintaining eye contact. When visiting someone’s house, it is customary to remove your shoes before entering. You may be offered slippers to wear (pantofles).
Czechs enjoy meeting in pubs and sharing local Czech beer – during the summer months there will often be several beer gardens and festivals around the country. Some families who live in the cities will leave for their summer houses during the warm months.
Popular Czech cultural traditions include celebrating names day, St. Joseph’s Day (19 March), The Burning of the Witches (30 April), Czech Easter and Christmas.
Banking & Money in the Czech Republic
The koruna (crown) is the currency of the Czech Republic. The currency code is CZK, but the local symbol is Kč. Coins are issued in 1 Kč, 2 Kč, 5 Kč (all stainless steel), 10 Kč (copper-colored), 20 Kč (brass-colored) and 50 Kč (copper-colored ring, brass-colored center). Notes are issued in 100 Kč (aqua), 200 Kč (orange), 500 Kč (red), 1000 Kč (purple), 2000 Kč (olive green) and 5000 Kč (green-purple).
Some major stores will accept Euros, but it’s always better to rather have the local currency. The largests banks in Czech Republic include Česká spořitelna, Komerční banka, ČSOB and UniCredit Bank CZ.
To exchange money, there are plenty of ATMs. The sign for an ATM in Czech Republic will read Bankomat. Credit cards are well accepted all over. But it’s always useful to have a few notes, especially in the countryside or for tipping at restaurants.
Medical Emergency Information
If there is an emergency, you can call 112 from any phone at no cost. This will get you in touch with the police, firefighters and ambulances.
The national emergency numbers for the Czech Republic are:
- 150 – fire brigade
- 155 – rescue/ambulance
- 156 – metropolitan police
- 158 – police
Make sure to get good travel insurance for Czech Republic beforehand. Compare options with both WorldNomads and SafetyWing.
Wi-Fi and Internet in the Czech Republic
There are three main network operators in Czech Republic: T-Mobile, O2 and Vodafone. All three have 3G/4G (plus hi-speed mobile data services options) equipment.
You will find several shops selling SIM cards around Czech Republic, including in the smaller towns. You can either search for shops for the different networks, or for convenience stores that sell SIM cards. The process is relatively quick and easy in Czech Republic, you don’t have to show identification (though, take with just in case).
Another option is to rent a mobile MiFi device, your own hotspot. You can buy these devices online or at the airports.
Wi-Fi is available most restaurants, cafes, hotels, shopping centres, central areas and the airport. Look out for ‘Wi-Fi’ or ‘@’ signs on the doors. Make sure to set-up a VPN (like ExpressVPN) before using public Wi-Fi spots.
You will also find a few coworking spots in Czech Republic, with most based in Prague and a few in other cities like Brno, Olomouc and Ostrava.
Arrival in the Czech Republic
Prague’s Vaclav Havel Airport (PRG) is the largest and busiest airport in Czech Republic, located about 10km west of the city centre. It is the most common airport to enter into the country via. Other international airports in Czech Republic include Brno (BRQ), Ostrava (OSR), Pardubice (PED), and Karlovy Vary (KLV).
All major airlines in Europe fly to the Czech Republic, with direct connections to many European cities. Czech Airlines is the country’s national airline. There are also direct flights to Czech Republic from Seoul, Dubai, New York, Toronto, Moscow, Beijing and Shanghai, among other routes.
Check Expedia for available flights to Czech Republic
You can also arrive via train, international train services run from most points in Europe to Prague. There are direct trains from Germany, Austria, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Belarus and Russia. CD is the national train carrier in the country.
It is also possible to arrive by bus in Czech Republic, with a number of bus services offering intercountry bus routes. Some of top bus service providers to consider include Eurolines (covers most of Europe), RegioJet (Czech-based carrier), LEO Express (Czech-based carrier), Flixbus (German-based carrier), Lux Express (Estonian-based carrier), Ecolines (Latvian-based carrier) and Orangeways (Hungarian-based carrier).
Drivers can enter the Czech Republic through a multitude of roads from neighbouring states. If traveling by car, consider hiring a car through Europcar.
Areas of the Czech Republic
Most international travelers to Czech Republic won’t travel much further than the outskirts of Prague. They are missing out, as there are so many other interesting and wonderful places to visit in Czech Republic.
Prague is the capital city of the Czech Republic along with being one of Europe’s main tourist destinations. The city is most famous for its beautiful historic centre, which is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This is the area around Prague, offering some great day trips from Prague. Highlights here include the castles of Karlštejn and Konopiště and the medieval town of Kutná Hora.
Southern Bohemia is one of the most picturesque regions within Czech Republic. It features historic towns and man-made lakes and is a popular biking destination. Český Krumlov is one of the most visited towns in this region.
If you are looking for a spa holiday, then Western Bohemia is where you need to go. Karlovy Vary is the most popular and can be reached within a day trip from Prague.
Eastern Bohemia offers great hiking opportunities, particularly in the Bohemian Paradise nature reserve and in the Giant Mountains. There are also castles and charming towns to visit.
Southern Moravia is home to the second largest Czech city, Brno. It’s also home to some of the country’s best wine, stunning chateaus, castles and six UNESCO-protected sites.
This is a highly industrial region, including Czech Silesia. Though, it also offers great hiking opportunities within the Jeseníky Mountains. The city of Olomouc is also home to many valuable historical sights.
Transportation in the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic has an extremely dense railway network, mostly operated by the national carrier České dráhy (ČD). The train network extends across the country, with major hubs in Prague, Brno, Pilsen, Pardubice, České Budějovice, and Ostrava. Prague and Ostravo both feature a urban Esko (commuter rail) trains which connects the train stations with outside suburbs. There are also private train operators (namely RegioJet and LEO Express) offering various routes within the country.
Czech rail travel is cheap, affordable and largely reliable, when compared to Western European standards.
There is also a complex bus network in Czech Republic, offering services across the country. RegioJet is the most well-known bus carrier, while there are also several other smaller bus companies.
Prague public transport options include trams, buses, metro, ferries and cable cars. Cycling and walking on foot are other popular ways of getting around the city.
Accommodation in the Czech Republic
There are endless options for where to stay in Czech Republic. You will find a mix of accommodation options, including hostels, boutique hotels, apartments and high-end luxury hotels.
Spa resorts in Czech Republic are extremely popular, with some of the best being in Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně and Luhačovice.
When looking for where to stay in Prague, you don’t necessarily need to stick to places within the city centre. The extensive tram and metro system means that you are never too far away from anything, so you don’t need to be restricted to any particular areas. Just double check that there is a tram, bus or metro stop within a comfortable walking distance from your hotel. Art Deco Imperial Hotel, The Emblem Hotel and Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spa are amongst the best place to stay in Prague.
If you’re traveling during peak season or holidays, it is best to book your accommodation in Czech Republic in advance.
Food & Dining Guide for the Czech Republic
Potatoes, meat, vegetables, and gravy – food in Czech Republic is hearty, comforting and quite delicious. Soups are also very popular dishes and can be eaten as a meal by itself, or sometimes as a starter before the main meatier dish.
Some traditional Czech foods to try include:
- Vepřo-knedlo-zelo – a very traditional meal of roast pork, dumplings and stewed cabbage.
- Pecena Kachna – this is similar to the above, but is a roast duck leg. Duck is quite a popular meat in Czech cuisine.
- Svíčková – roasted sirloin with a creamy sauce, topped with whipped cream and a few cranberries.
- Bramboračka – potato soup, sometimes served with wild mushrooms.
- Knedlíky – these are dumplings. There are many different kinds of dumplings – some are served as a side dish, some in soup or some can even be a meal by itself. Bramborové knedlíky are potato dumplings – which you should also try!
- Guláš – similar to Hungarian goulash, but made with fewer vegetables and more meat.
- Smažený Sýr – fried cheese served with fries, salad or bread. Mostly sold by street venders in Prague.
Prague and bigger towns across the country offer a wide choice of non-Czech restaurants – like your usual pizza and Chinese places. You should also be able to easily find vegetarian options in the bigger cities.
You will come across a lot of beer drinking – the Czechs drink more beer per capita than anywhere else in the world! The most famous local brands include Pilsner Urquell and Budvar. When in Southern Moravia though, you should switch your drink of choice to wine – this region produces some great white wines!
Ten percent is usual for tips, depending on the establishment: give fifteen percent for more upmarket places.
You will most likely start off your trip to the Czech Republic in Prague. Attractions in Prague include the Old Town with its medieval buildings, Charles Bridge and the Prague Castle. The best museums in Prague include the Jewish Museum, Strahov Library, Mucha Museum, Museum of Communism, Franz Kafka Museum, The Museum of Decorative Arts and the Apple Museum.
There are loads of unique things to do in Prague, including various tours like an E-bike tour, Segway tour, running tour and bus tours. It’s also worth checking out the Prague Card which includes access to several of the city’s attractions – available for 2, 3, or 4 days.
Read our 3 day Prague itinerary and where to find the best views in Prague.
Outside of the capital city is Kutna Hora, known for its Gothic St. Barbara’s Church and Sedlec Ossuary, a chapel adorned with human skeletons. Further northwest is the spa town of Karlovy Vary, situated on the banks of the Ohře and Teplá rivers – the perfect place for a some R&R. Plzen is also worth visiting as it is home to the original Pilsner Urquell – take a tour from Prague. For some wine tasting, you need to head to Burcak and sample the Moravian wine.
Český Krumlov Castle in the Southern Bohemia region is definitely worth seeing.
The Czech Republic has some amazing hiking trails. Head to the Bohemian Switzerland National Park or the Šumava National Park to explore mountains, canyons and crystal-clear glacial lakes.
Things to do & see in the Czech Republic
Shopping in the Czech Republic
The Bohemian crystal is the most popular souvenir that people buy in Czech Republic. These can be used as anything from decanters to chandeliers. The garnet is another popular luxury item to buy as it is the country’s national gem. Other popular souvenirs to buy in Czech include wooden folk carvings and marionette puppets. You will find loads of souvenir stores in Prague around the Old Town and Wenceslas Square. The market at Old Town Square features some great handcrafted products. Another great spot to check out is along Golden Lane, where you can visit unique art and antique stores.
Boheme is a great designer outlet that features some unique fashion finds. Shopping malls in Prague include Chodov Shopping Centre, Palladium, Bila Labut, Nova Karolina, Avion Shopping Park, Galerie Vankovka and Novy Smichov, among others.
Shopping outside of Prague may be a bit cheaper, though with less variety.
You will find many pubs packed with locals drinking beer across the country (here’s the best beer gardens in Prague). Prague is the hub of Czech nightlife, with a diverse party scene. You will find a mix of nightclubs, bars and live music venues – catering for all tastes. The central districts of Old Town and Mala Strana feature loads of lively nightlife spots – mostly aimed at the tourist market. Wenceslas Square is a bit more of a dingy area with a collection of sports bars and strip clubs – often frequented by rowdy stag parties.
Some of the cities top clubs include Radost FX and Cross Club, located in the suburb of Vinohrady. This suburb also has a few cool cafes and hip cocktail bars. Other things to do in Prague at night include going to the theatre, ballet, opera or casino.
For a true local party scene, Brno is the place to be. This Czech city is home to thousands of university students who put up a lively cafe and club scene. The city also has its own opera and ballet venue in the National Theatre.
Safety Tips for the Czech Republic
As with most of Europe, Czech Republic is a safe country to visit. As always though, you should remain cautious and vigilant when traveling, especially when in crowds and popular tourist places. Pickpocketing can happen in the big cities, so make sure to keep your valuables close when in crowds or on public transport.
Another concern in Czech Republic, more so in Prague, is tourists drinking too much and doing silly things. The capital city is a hotspot for hen and stag parties, attracting many wild party goers over the weekends. Just be cautious, and if you find yourself in the middle of a wild party and don’t feel comfortable, rather move on to another bar.
Here’s a few Prague safety tips.
Ready to explore the great Czech Republic yet? This centrally located European country should be on all Eurotrip bucket lists – for its diverse scenery and interesting cultures. Did we mention that it is also one of the most affordable European countries to travel to? Well, it is. Especially for drinking – beer is cheaper than water in the Czech Republic!
There are so many places to visit in Czech Republic, beyond the capital city of Prague. Head out to explore the castles, churches and medieval towns scattered throughout the country. Nature lovers must be sure to head to the mountains for some hiking, while those looking to relax can check out the resort towns.
The best time to visit the Czech Republic is during the summer months when the days are long and weather is warm. The cities come alive with festivals and everyone is happy. Though, if you want to avoid the crowds then rather head there just after the summer rush – around September/October. Prague is also beautiful over Christmas, and there are skiing resorts during the winter months.
Travel tips for the Czech Republic