Prague Castle and Charles bridge

General information

Visiting the Czech Republic is like an entering fairytale or stepping back in time. Architecture, monuments, and landmarks have been impeccably conserved and restored throughout the centuries. It’s easy to see why tourists flock to the city.

But living in the Czech Republic isn’t all fantasy. There are some important aspects to Czech lifestyle and culture that you should be aware of before making the leap to live here. It will help you make the transition seamless, ensure that you respect the local customs, and keep you informed in order to make wise decisions.

LANGUAGE:

The official language is Czech. It is considered a Slavonic language. Slavic languages are divided into three branches: eastern, western and southern. Czech belongs to the western Slavonic family, along with Slovak, Polish, and Wendish.

RELIGION:

The Czech Republic is a secular state. Every single citizen has the right to enjoy her/his religion, freely. However, the number of people practicing religion is relatively low. More than 50% of the population describe themselves as agnostic or atheist.

CLIMATE:

The Czech Republic has four seasons. The climate ranges from warm summers at around 24° and cold winters averaging -7°

CURRENCY:

Consult an authority on exchange rates. The Czech crown has several increments of value. Coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 CZK/Banknotes: 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 2,000 and 5,000 CZK. To locals, it is called the koruna, abbreviated as Kč, but in English, it’s known as CZK.

LOCAL CUISINE AND CZECH BEER

Czech are big meat and beer drinkers. Food is prepared with great care and pride.

Be prepared for hearty, homemade soups (polevka) sturdy enough to be a meal itself and thick sauces over meat and vegetable dishes that are accompanied by dumplings (knedlíky). There are sweet and savory knedlíky; sweet ones are usually plum, apricot, or strawberry served with butter, cream, and sugar. Pancakes (palačinky) are also a favorite even eaten as a meal at lunch or dinner time, topped with cream (Smetana) and fruit (ovoce). Koláče is a sweet pastry filled with fruit, cheese, or poppy seeds ubiquitous in any bakery window.

Other big hits with locals and foreigners alike are:

Potato pancakes (bramboráky), fried cheese (smažený sýr), and open-faced sandwiches (chlebíčky).

Be prepared for hearty, homemade soups (polevka) sturdy enough to be a meal itself and thick sauces over meat and vegetable dishes that are accompanied by dumplings (knedlíky). There are sweet and savory knedlíky; sweet ones are usually plum, apricot, or strawberry served with butter, cream, and sugar. Pancakes (palačinky) are also a favorite even eaten as a meal at lunch or dinner time, topped with cream (Smetana) and fruit (ovoce). Koláče is a sweet pastry filled with fruit, cheese, or poppy seeds ubiquitous in any bakery window.

Other big hits with locals and foreigners alike are:

Potato pancakes (bramboráky), fried cheese (smažený sýr), and open-faced sandwiches (chlebíčky).

Meals can be heavy, so an after-meal digestive helps, Becherovka is the top pick.

Beers are strong. There are three styles to sample; světlé (pale), polotmavé (amber), and tmavé/černé (dark/black). Although there is a fourth category that sets the Czech Republic apart, it’s a half pale and dark blend called řezané. The total number of Czech breweries are 435. The most popular local beer brands are Pilsner Urquell, Gambrinus, Kozel, Staropramen.

TIPPING:

A tip of 5-10% is appreciated in any restaurant with table service, although not mandatory.

TRANSPORTATION

Public transportation is highly efficient, clean, and organized. Tickets can be bought at vending machines, newsagents, and other small shops. It is cheaper to buy a monthly or seasonal ticket. Before entering the metro, bus, trolley bus, or tram, passengers must have a ticket and the ticket must be validated (stamped by yellow boxes).

A ticket inspector may check the validity of tickets at any time during the journey on any number of the systems or lines. She/he is authorized to ask the passenger to present a valid ticket. This means the ticket must be stamped. It must not be double stamped. And it must be valid by dates. Inspectors will confiscate invalid tickets and collect a fine. These fines can range from 1,000czk to 1,500czk.

You can get seasonal Litacka ticket online here

TAXIS

Unfortunately for taxi drivers and taxi businesses, the shift has been made to Uber. Why? Because taxis are very expensive. In a city with plenty of convenient public transportation and all night trams, taxis are not advisable. In actuality, Prague, for the most part, is very walkable. If you do wish to use a taxi, make sure the driver has a proper ID and proper meters. Be warned that prices vary greatly between companies and charges for distance. Call a company rather than pick one up on the street, if possible.

The taxi fare rates are regulated in the territory of Prague The following are the set maximum prices: Boarding (Base Fare): 40 CZK Driving: 28 CZK per kilometer Waiting Time: 6 CZK per minute.

No additional surcharges can be added to the maximum price.

Best Ways to Get From Prague Airport to the City Center

Prague Airport is located approximately 18 kilometres and about 30 minutes from the city center.

  1. Public transportation – 1.5 USD(32CZK)/per person. It is the cheapest option. You should take the bus 119 to Nadrazi Veleslavin where you must transfer to subway line A and can continue to downtown. You should buy a ticket for 90 minutes, 32 CZK.
  2. Airport Express bus – 3 USD(60CZK)/per person. You can buy a bus ticket from the Bus driver. It takes you directly to downtown, Main Train station, and subway hlavní nádraží
  3. Uber or Bolt. Both companies offer a ride for fixed prices. From Prague airport to City center, Uber Pop or Bolt costs 373 CZK(19 USD). But you can use first-time promo codes and get discount for your ride. Uber discount code- yxewmyz5ue (5 usd/100 CZK discount) Bolt discount code – 4GW8P (7USD/150 CZK discount)

COST OF LIVING

Prague is one of the most affordable cities in Europe. Everything will depend on where you stay. This means each sector, city, and neighborhood varies considerably. The average living costs of students range from 400 USD/month, incl. meals, accommodation, public transport, and culture. That price can be slightly higher for those in professional fields.

Average costs

Meal at local restaurant150 CZK/7.5 USD
Beer at local pub30 CZK/1.5 USD
Cappucino at local cafe 30 CZK/1.5 USD
1 kg of Chicken meat 100 CZK/5 USD
1 kg of potatoes 20 CZK/1 USD
Cinema ticket150 CZK/7.5 USD
Swimming pool/hour 100 CZK/5 USD
Fitness membership/month700 CZK/35 USD
Home internet VDSL/month500 CZK/25 USD
Public transportation ticket/monthly550 CZK/23 USD or 130 CZK/6 USD(students)

ACCOMMODATION

Rental costs are between 13-18000 CZK, respectively. Of course, prices vary based on region and location, Prague is the most expensive. Most owners ask a deposit for 2 months in advance. Real Estate agencies charge 100% of rental amount, plus a finder’s fee in some cases. Useful links for self flat hunters include the following: Sreality.cz and bezrealitky.cz. It’s advisable to use a real estate agency service to avoid the common housing scams.

Student Dormitory/month5000 CZK/200 USD
Flatshare and Private Room in flat7000 CZK/350 USD
Private flat – 1 bedroom + studio with kitchen 14 000 CZK /700 USD

Czech Immigration Rules

When you enter the Czech Republic, you are obliged to register with the Foreign Police in the Czech Republic.

In case you are an EU citizen, you need to register if you are going to be in the Czech Republic for more than 30 days, or you risk being fined by the Police.

Citizens from “third countries” need to register with the Foreign Police within 3 working days upon their arrival to the country.

As an EU citizen, you do not have the obligation to apply for the certificate of temporary residence. It is up to you if you decide to get this certificate issued if you intend to stay in the Czech Republic for more than 3 months. However, there are certain processes that require even an EU citizen to have this residency certificate, e.g. when you are resident of Prague quarter with prepaid parking zones and you are the owner of a car, some employers require this when you need to apply for a business visa to certain countries, etc.

Each Third country citizen who decided to live temporarily in the Czech Republic must have long term residency permit or long term visa. You can check types of visas here

Most common immigration rule mistakes of EU citizens. More info

Biggest immigration rule mistakes of Third country citizens. More info

Taxes and Financial bonuses

Corporate Income Tax19%
Personal Income Tax15%
Value Added Tax (VAT)10 to 21%
Corporate Road Tax CZK 1,200 to CZK 4,200

Health and Social insurances of employees

TypeEmployer %Employee %
Health insurance9.04.5
Retirement insurance21.56.5
Employment insurance fund1.20
Sickness insurance2.30
Total34.011.0

The Czech social and financial tax system is always fair with the residents who are fair with the system! Whether you are a foreigner of the Third country with long term or permanent residency, EU citizen or you are simply a Czech citizen, the social and maternity support doesn’t  have any discrimination about your legal status if your taxes have been officially paid and the rules are the same for all people who are officially living in a good status in the Czech Republic. Each family with kids can claim a Tax refund every year and Maternal Bonuses for newborns.

Czech Banks and Bank Account

To open a new bank account in the Czech  Republic, the rules are strict, especially for foreigners. Proof of a legal relationship to the Czech Republic is required. This can come in several of the following forms: residency permit, matriculation letter from university or other studies, lease agreement, or long term visa.  

Be advised that there are service fees for most physical banks. Online banking is becoming more popular and might not have fees. Some floating banks don’t have service fees and are popular with foreigners.  If you wish to avoid these fees, be sure to ask before starting the bank account application process. Most foreigners are satisfied with Fio Bank, Airbank, or Equa Bank.

In the case of getting mortgage and purchasing a home , Non-EU citizens must have proof of income and permanent residency in place.

Communication

Mobile Internet and Phone Calls

Prepaid sim cards are slightly more expensive in the Czech Republic than other EU countries. Buy a sims card according to your needs, some have monthly activation of unlimited calls or with a data plan activated by a special code from the operator. There are 3 main operators and 9 virtual operators and all provide different services, so ask what is available and choose based on which suits you better. All operators offer discounts for 2-year contracts. Main operators are Vodafone, T-Mobile and O2

Postal services

The majority of Czech post offices are open from 8 am to 7 pm on work days. However, the Main Prague post office is open from 2 am to 12 am (Prague 1, Jindřišská 14) and also has weekend hours. Take a ticket for the appropriate service you require. To send postcards and letters, buy stamps at the post office and slip them into a post box on any street corner.

Medical care and health insurance

The healthcare system, including health insurance, is similar between the Czech Republic and other European countries. All medical treatments costs are covered by health insurance companies. Each resident is required to have health insurance at all times.

Public health insurance is government run and funded whereas commercial health insurance is a product of international insurance corporations.

Public health insurance is earned by enrolled health insurance organization and is available to the following residents: Czech and EU citizens, US citizens who have registered trade license and access to a business visa, third country nationalities employed at Czech companies or who have permanent residency in the Czech Republic.

Foreigners who do not fall under any of these categories must have commercial health insurance according to the Czech law of Act No. 326/1999 Coll. If you have any doubts, ask us.

Customs, Traditions and Public Holidays

The Czech Republic wears its pagan, Medieval past on its sleeve and very close to the heart. Each year, there are dozens of festivals and traditions that keep their culture alive (and well).

Easter’s braided whips (pomlázka), November 2nd trip to visit the dead, and witch burning are just a few of the traditions still observed in the Czech Republic.  

The dance called the verbuňk has been cited by UNESCO as part of the Czech Republic’s heritage. There are other traditions, like pole dancing, fish harvesting (výlov rybníku), an effigy of Morena (Slavic goddess of death), tied to a pagan past that is still practiced today. Read about them

Public holidays

People usually don’t work on these days. Schools, shops, banks, post offices, and hospital outpatient departments are closed.
JANUARY 1 Foundation Day of the Czech Republic in 1993
EASTER MONDAY Easter Holiday
MAY 1 Labour Day
MAY 8 Liberation Day: the end of World War II
JULY 5 The feast of St. Cyril and St. Methodius: the arrival
of the Christian missionaries sent from the Byzantine
Empire to the Czech Lands
JULY 6 Jan Hus Day: commemoration of the religious
reformer’s death at the stake in 1415
SEPTEMBER 28 St. Wenceslas’ Day: in remembrance of the patron
saint of the Czech State
OCTOBER 28 Czechoslovak Statehood Day: this day commemorates
the establishment of democratic Czechoslovakia in 1918
NOVEMBER 17 Freedom and Democracy Day – commemorating the
anti-Communist demonstrations of 1989
DECEMBER 24 Christmas Eve
DECEMBER 25, 26 Christmas Holidays

Vocabulary

Dobrý denGood day/Hello
Na shledanou Good bye
DěkujiThank You
PromiňteExecuse me
Jak se máte?How are you?
Jmenuji seMy name is…
Mluvíte anglicky?Do you speak english?
AhojHi and also bye
Ano Yes
NeNo
No(short version of Ano)Yeah
KadeřnictvíHairdresser’s
LékárnaPharmacy
Pozor!Watch out!
SměnárnaExchange office
HospodaPub
KinoCinema
Zavřeno/OtevřenoClosed/Open
Muži/Páni(WC)Men
Ženy/Dámy(WC) Ladies