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Czech Republic

CZECH REPUBLIC TRAVEL GUIDE

The Czech Republic (officially known by its short name, Czechia) is a small landlocked country in Central Europe, situated southeast of Germany and bordering Austria to the south, Poland to the north, and Slovakia to the southeast.

 

Born in 1993, after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia - ever since it’s been on the map for every tourist. With good reason as the country has something for everybody. If you’re a night bird and keen on being entertained, Prague is perfect; if you’re mad about history and want to visit some of the best museums, cathedrals and chateaux in Europe, you’ll have plenty to gaze at. Loads of mountains, forests, lakes, and rivers for anybody who’s fond of the great outdoors.

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  • Capital: Prague
  • Currency: Koruna (CZK)
  • Area: total: 78,866 km²
  • Population: 10,69 million (2020 est.)
  • Language: Czech
  • Electricity: 230V/50Hz (European plug)
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BEST TIME TO VISIT CZECH REPUBLIC

The Czech Republic lies within the Atlantic-continental area of the moderate climate zone of the northern hemisphere. In general, the climate is continental, with short, fairly hot summers and chilly winters. Spring can be the best time to visit, as the days tend to warm quickly, with consistently pleasant, mild weather for most of May. This is also the blossom season when the fruit trees that line so many Czech roads are in full flower. Autumn is also recommended, with clear and settled weather often lasting for days on end in September and October. With much of the country heavily forested, this is also a great time to appreciate the changing colours of the foliage.

 

  • May - Prague comes alive with festivals from classical music to fringe arts.

  • July - Karlovy Vary shows off its arty side at the sleepy spa town’s annual film festival.

  • December - Prague's Christmas Market draws visitors from around the world.

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CZECH REPUBLIC WEATHER SYNOPSIS

The Czech Republic lies within the Atlantic-continental area of the moderate climate zone of the northern hemisphere. Cool Summers; Cold, Cloudy, Humid Winters

Czech Republic

SEASONS AT A GLANCE

Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists. 

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Peak Season

Shoulder Season

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BEST TIME FOR

SNOW SPORT IN CZECH REPUBLIC

The snow sports season in the Czech Republic can start in November and last until April.

HIKING & CYCLING IN CZECH REPUBLIC

The best time for outdoor activities in the Czech Republic is from May to October with very pleasant weather during the months of June, July and August.

BEACH OPTIONS IN CZECH REPUBLIC

It may surprise you that the Czech Republic has a few "beaches" on the shores of its lakes, such as Lhota Beach, Zlute Lazne, Lipno Dam Beaches, Nudist Beach, Hostivarska Prehrada, Komarovsky Rybnik & Smichov Beach.

SURFING IN CZECH REPUBLIC

KITESURF IN CZECH REPUBLIC

If you're a competent kitesurfer, you can even kite in the Czech Republic, on the Rozkos Lake, with the best winds from April to October.

BEST TIME FOR

The snow sports season in the Czech Republic can start in November and last until April.

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TRAVEL SAFETY IN CZECH REPUBLIC

Always consider the current safety risk of each destination and do not travel without travel / medical insurance. For the latest travel health notices and recommended precautions click

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Travel Safety

HEALTH RISKS IN CZECH REPUBLIC

Be aware of possible health risks in 

Czech Republic

Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.

Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.

Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.

CZECH REPUBLIC TRAVEL COSTS

You don’t have to be too concerned that a trip to the Czech Republic would cost you too much money. As expected prices are higher in Prague than in other parts of the country - especially during peak season. While the Czech capital is more expensive than the rest of the country by 50-100%, it’s still a great value compared to many other European capitals.

 

To save money, and experience what most tourists never do, you should consider staying at a pension just outside of Prague. Celakovice is a pleasant 25-minute train ride through the countryside. With 10,000 residents, this riverside village has all the amenities you need: a town square with a church-bell tower, restaurants, bakeries, delis, butchers, and even a supermarket. For around $40 a night you can stay at a fully furnished apartment with a kitchen, couch, and bath located right on the main square. The train to Prague departs twice an hour and costs $5 for a return ticket. Staying at a pension enables you to make your own meals and relax in the sleepy town when you need a break from the crowds of the big city.

 

If you are on a budget, Prague is a city where there is no great reason for you to spend any money on admission to attractions. Prague is best experienced on your feet and from the street. The buildings and statues are the museums. The underground restaurants and the deliciously cheap beer they serve is your entertainment. The Old Town square is free, the Charles Bridge is free, walking up to the castle and sitting on the royal lawn is free.

Cost & Spending

CZECH REPUBLIC TRAVEL TIPS

Buses are often faster, cheaper and more convenient than trains. Note that many bus routes have reduced frequency (or none) on weekends.

Check bus timetables and prices at http://jizdnirady.idnes.cz. For comfortable, low-cost bus travel you can also have a look at FlixBus who runs the largest bus network in Europe

 

In Prague, many (though not all) buses arrive at and depart from Florenc bus station. Be sure to double-check the correct station and try to arrive at the station well ahead of departure to secure a seat. Buy tickets from the driver.

Travel Tips

SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF CZECH REPUBLIC

As the country's primary city, Prague naturally dominates most visitors' itineraries, and for good reason. It's the perfect irony of Prague: you are lured here by the past but compelled to linger by the present and the future. A mix of the Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Brutalist, and Socialist, the capital is arguably one of Europe's most photogenic cities. If Prague's seasonal legions of tourists wear you down, that's OK. Just drink a glass of the country's legendary lager, relax and rest reassured that quiet moments still exist: private dawn on Charles Bridge, the glorious cityscape of Staré Město or getting lost in the intimate lanes of Malá Strana.

 

Enjoy the “Golden City of a Hundred Spires” during the early evening, when the light is warm and the colours are rich. Good viewpoints include the following:

  • The garden terrace in front of Strahov Monastery, above the castle.

  • The many balconies and spires at Prague Castle.

  • Villa Richter restaurants, overlooking the city from just below the castle past the Golden Lane.

  • The top of either tower on Charles Bridge

  • The Old Town Square clock tower.

  • Hotel u Prince’s rooftop dining terrace overlooking the Old Town Square.

  • The steps of the National Museum overlooking Wenceslas Square.

  • The top of the Žižkov TV tower, offering spaceship views of the city, in the Žižkov/Vinohrady neighbourhood east of the city centre.

Highlights
What To See & Do
Travel Map

BOHEMIA

The Czech Republic's western province boasts a surprising variety. Český Krumlov, with its riverside setting and dramatic Renaissance castle, is in a class by itself. Big cities like Plzeň offer urban attractions like great museums and restaurants. The spa towns of western Bohemia, such as Karlovy Vary, were world-famous in the 19th century and retain an old-world luster.

 

Outside of Prague, Český Krumlov is arguably the Czech Republic's only other world-class sight and a must-see. From a distance, the town looks like any other in the Czech countryside, but once you get closer and see the Renaissance castle towering over the undisturbed 17th-century townscape, you'll feel the appeal; this really is that fairy-tale town the tourist brochures promised. Český Krumlov is best approached as an overnight destination; it's too far for a comfortable day trip from Prague.

 

Largely overlooked by tourists, nearby České Budějovice presents an enjoyable old town with its Ottokar II Square a center point, surrounded by buildings from the last 600 years.

 

The city of Pilsen, home to its famous style of beer, is a blue-collar city, although its city center is a mix of old and new, pleasant and unpretentious. Pilsen's Gothic St. Bartholomew Cathedral presents fantastic views of the entire city and surrounding countryside.

 

MORAVIA

The Czech Republic’s eastern province, Moravia is the yin to Bohemia’s yang. If Bohemians love beer, Moravians love wine. If Bohemia is towns and cities, Moravia is rolling hills and pretty landscapes. The Moravian capital, Brno, has museums, but the northern city of Olomouc has captivating architecture.

 

Olomouc is one of the Czech Republic’s most underrated destinations. There’s great nightlife, fuelled by a cosmopolitan student population, and a gorgeous series of central squares that would rival any European city. The city's medieval astronomical clock, destroyed by the Germans in World War II, was remade as a Socialist Realist clock during communism; instead of parading saints and religious allegories are peasants, scientists, and workers. Olomouc's impressive medieval walls mixed with parkland makes for a pleasant trip.

 

Fiercely proud Brno, the country's second-largest city, often culturally and economically competes with Prague in a rivalry spanning centuries. Home to many students and with an active nightlife, Brno presents a compact and explorable old city center, overlooked by both its impressive Špilberk Castle and the Gothic St. Peter and Paul Cathedral. Despite being metropolitan, Brno possesses a more relaxed atmosphere than Prague does, and is known throughout the republic for its high quality of life.

 

Near Brno is the Macocha Abyss, a massive sinkhole in the Moravian Karst, home to a narrow river gorge, an underground river, and a large cave system.

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What To Eat

WHAT TO EAT IN CZECH REPUBLIC

WHAT TO EAT IN CZECH REPUBLIC

Traditional Czech cuisine relies heavily on meat-based dishes served with a side of bread dumplings or potatoes. Must-try dishes include goulash, svíčková, and pork knuckle.

 

Soups - Polévka (soup) is the most essential part of a meal. Some of the thick soups for a cold day are zelná or zelňačka (cabbage), čočková (lentil), fazolová (bean), and dršťková (tripe—delicious if fresh, chewy as gum if not). The lighter soups are hovězí or slepičí vývar s nudlemi (beef or chicken broth with noodles), pórková (leek), and květáková (cauliflower).

Beer - Modern pils (light, amber-colored lager) was invented in the city of Plzeň in the 19th century, giving Czechs bragging rights to having the best beer (pivo) in the world.

Dumplings - Every culture has its favourite starchy side dish; for Czechs, it’s knedliky – big bread dumplings that are perfect for mopping up gravy. They come in plain or potato (bramborové) varieties, are meant to be drowned in gravy (dumplings never accompany sauceless dishes), and are eaten with a knife and fork. Sweet dumplings, listed in the dessert section on a menu.

Roast Pork - Move over beef, pork (vepřové maso) is king here. The classic Bohemian dish, seen on menus around the country, is vepřo-knedlo-zelo, local slang for roast pork, bread dumplings, and sauerkraut.

Braised Beef - Look out for svíčková na smetaně on menus. This is a satisfying slice of roast beef, served in a cream sauce, with a side of bread dumplings and a dollop of cranberry sauce.

Becherovka - A shot of this sweetish herbal liqueur from Karlovy Vary is a popular way to start (or end) a big meal.

Carp - This lowly fish (kapr in Czech) is given pride of place every Christmas at the center of the family meal. Kapr na kmíní is fried or baked carp with caraway seed.

LGBTQ IN CZECH REPUBLIC

The Czech Republic is one of the most liberal Central European countries with regard to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights. In 2006, it legalised registered partnerships for same-sex couples and a law legalising same-sex marriage is being considered by the Parliament as of 2019.

 

Czech law bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Czech Republic is regarded as one of the most tolerant Central European and former Eastern Bloc nations with an overwhelming majority of Czechs believing that homosexuality should be accepted by society. The capital city of Prague is famous internationally for its Gay Pride Parade, LGBT nightlife and openness.

Czech Republic

WHERE TO STAY IN CZECH REPUBLIC

When visiting Czechia for the first time, choosing the right area or region to stay in depends on your interests, whether it's exploring historical landmarks, immersing yourself in vibrant city life, or enjoying the natural beauty of the countryside. Here are some recommendations along with accommodation suggestions for each category: budget, mid-range, and luxury.


Where to stay in Prague:

Prague, the capital city of Czechia, is renowned for its stunning architecture, rich history, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for first-time travelers.

  • Budget: White Wolf House Hostel & Apartments - Affordable hostel located in the city center, offering dormitory and private rooms, free daily activities, and a social atmosphere, within walking distance of Prague Castle and Charles Bridge.

  • Mid-range: Hotel Residence Agnes - A mid-range hotel housed in a historic building, featuring cozy rooms, complimentary breakfast, and personalized service, situated near Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square.

  • Luxury: Aria Hotel Prague - A luxurious boutique hotel offering themed rooms inspired by music, gourmet dining options, a rooftop terrace with panoramic views, and a central location in the Mala Strana (Lesser Town) district.

Tips: To find the best value accommodation in Prague, consider visiting during the offseason (November to March) when prices are lower, and there are fewer tourists. Additionally, booking accommodation well in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons like spring and summer, is recommended to secure better rates.


Where to stay in Český Krumlov:

Český Krumlov is a picturesque medieval town nestled in the South Bohemia region, known for its well-preserved Old Town, stunning castle, and enchanting riverside setting. While there aren't many budget hotels in the town itself, there are several affordable guesthouses, hostels, and pensions that offer comfortable accommodations.

  • Budget: Pension Galko: This family-run pension is located in a historic building near the main square of Český Krumlov. It offers comfortable rooms with traditional Czech decor. Guests appreciate the warm hospitality and the delicious breakfast served each morning.

  • Mid-range: Hotel Old Inn - A mid-range hotel set in a historic building, featuring comfortable rooms, a restaurant serving Czech cuisine, and a central location near the castle and the Vltava River.

  • Luxury: Hotel Ruze - A luxurious hotel housed in a former Jesuit monastery, offering elegant rooms, gourmet dining options, a spa, and panoramic views of the town and castle.

Tips: To find the best value accommodation in Český Krumlov, consider staying outside the peak tourist season (July and August) when prices are higher, and attractions are more crowded. Additionally, booking accommodation directly with hotels or guesthouses and exploring package deals or promotions can result in better rates.


Where to stay in Karlovy Vary:

Karlovy Vary is a famous spa town in western Czechia, known for its healing thermal springs, elegant architecture, and annual international film festival. While it's known for its luxury spa hotels, there are also some budget-friendly options available.

  • Budget: Hotel Ontario: Situated in a historic building near the city center, Hotel Ontario offers budget-friendly accommodations with simple yet comfortable rooms. Guests appreciate its convenient location, cleanliness, and helpful staff.

  • Mid-range: Hotel Embassy: Located in the heart of Karlovy Vary, Hotel Embassy offers mid-range accommodations with elegant rooms and modern amenities. Guests appreciate its central location, friendly staff, and delicious breakfast buffet.

  • Luxury: Grandhotel Pupp - A luxurious hotel offering opulent rooms, gourmet dining options, spa treatments, and a casino, with a prestigious location along the Teplá River.

Tips: To find the best value accommodation in Karlovy Vary, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons (spring and fall) when prices are lower, and there are fewer tourists. Additionally, taking advantage of spa package deals or midweek stays can result in better rates and added benefits.


For hassle-free bookings, use platforms like Booking.com for competitive rates or Holiday Swap for unique homes worldwide. Ensure to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, and align your preferences with nearby activities such as surfing, snorkeling, or cultural exploration.

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