Information & Facts
Sightseeing in the Czech Republic gets you the very best of classical Europe combined with the charm and spark of a truly original country. Most visitors spend their time in Prague, enjoying the beauty of the medieval buildings and evocative scenery of the river-front location, while sampling the cultural delights of the dynamic live music and theatre scene.
Beyond Prague is a host of delights unjustly neglected by foreign visitors. These include world-class attractions such as picturesque Ceský Krumlov, the fascinating ossuary of Hutna Korta and Karlsbad, the queen of the Czech republic's many spa resort towns.
The most popular time to visit is over the peak summer months of July and August, although Prague in particular can get very crowded. Spring - April to June - has mild weather and warm days and is probably the ideal time to visit.
Punctuality is vital in the Czech business world and dress should be smart and conservative. Initial greetings are usually formal, with a firm handshake. Titles and surnames are used, unless otherwise indicated. There is generally some small talk to establish rapport at the beginning of meetings; be polite and courteous. German is the most common foreign language used in the Czech Republic but English is widely spoken by younger generations. Translators are available and any attempts at speaking Czech will be appreciated. Deals can take a long time to manifest due to significant bureaucratic red tape and it is important to be patient. Business hours are usually 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday and some businesses close during the month August.
Winters in the Czech Republic tend to be very cold with snow, while summers are often mild and wet. The best time to visit is from May to September when days are warm and nights cool. The European summer is the tourist high season.
The international access code for the Czech Republic is +420. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). Area codes are not required, and the first two digits of the number indicate geographical location. There are high surcharges on international calls from hotels; it is cheaper to use the public telephone boxes - phone cards can be bought from newsagents. The local mobile phone operators use GSM networks and have roaming agreements with all major international operators, except those in the USA. Internet cafes are available in the main towns.
Drunken behaviour and drinking in public is punishable by law.
Travellers to the Czech Republic over 17 years and entering from the EU do not have to pay customs duty on 800 cigarettes, or 400 cigarillos, or 200 cigars, or 1kg tobacco; 10 litres of spirits with alcohol content over 22%, or 20 litres of alcoholic beverages with alcohol volume less than 22%, or 90 litres of wine or 60 litres of sparkling wine, or 110 litres of beer. Travellers arriving from non-EU countries do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco, or a proportional assortment of these; 1 litre spirits or 2 litres wine; 50g perfume or 250ml eau de toilette; and food, fruits, medications and flowers for personal use. Other goods to the value of EUR175 per adult and EUR90 per child under 15 years are allowed.
Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Round two-pin plugs with a hole for a male grounding pin are standard. Most sockets also take the standard European two-pin plugs.
There are no vaccination requirements for international travellers, and no major health risks are associated with travel to the Czech Republic. A reciprocal health agreement with the UK entitles citizens with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to free emergency health care, however medical insurance is still advised. Visitors to forested areas should seek medical advice about immunisation against tick borne encephalitis.
Czech is the official language but English and German are also widely spoken.
The official currency is the Czech crown, locally known as the Koruna (CZK), which is divided into 100 haler. Most credit cards including American Express, Diners Club, Visa and MasterCard are accepted, but it is best to have cash handy when travelling away from Prague and the main tourist centres. Travellers cheques and foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and some hotels; commission is highest in hotels. Banks are closed on weekends. ATMs (known as 'bankomats') are becoming more common in Prague and are probably the best way to obtain local currency at a good rate and without commission. The Czech Republic is still cheap compared to the rest of Europe, though the gap is closing.
The borderless region known as the Schengen area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. All these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option, and which allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all the aforementioned countries. All visitors must hold an onward or return ticket, or proof of sufficient funds to buy a ticket, and all documents required for onward travel. They must also fill in and sign a border-crossing card, and be able to show proof of the following at the request of the Authority of Aliens Police Service: (i) sufficient means of support for the duration of their stay: (a) at least CZK 1,010 per day, if stay does not exceed 30 days, (b) at least CZK 34,300 if stay exceeds more than 30 days (amount increases by CZK 4,640 for each additional month of intended stay), (c) CZK 101,000 if stay is for business purposes and exceeds 90 days; (ii) documents confirming financial security (credit cards, bank statements, etc.); (iii) documents confirming accommodation for the period of stay in the Czech Republic, unless another accommodation arrangement is provided; (iv) valid health insurance, with complete coverage. Requests concerning finances and accommodation can be confirmed by an official invitation verified by the Authority of Aliens Police Service, not longer than 180 days from its verification. Nationals of Switzerland and EEA Member States, as well as holders of diplomatic visas or travel documents, are exempt from these considerations. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
The majority of visits to the Czech Republic are trouble-free, although the country has a risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which it shares with the rest of the world. Petty theft is on the increase, especially in Prague, and visitors should be vigilant about their belongings particularly on public transport and around the main tourist sites.
GMT +1 (GMT +2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).
Tipping in restaurants is optional and no service charge is added to bills. Gratuities of 10% are expected if the service is good. Taxi drivers are tipped by rounding up the fare at the end of the journey.