Czech Republic Travel Tips
Banks are open Monday to Friday 08:00-18:00. Some banks close early on Fridays. Shops are generally open Monday to Friday 09:00-18:00, Saturday 09:00-12:00. Some shops are open on Sunday.
Koruna (CZK) or Crown= 100 haler. Notes are in denominations of CZK5000, 2000, 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50 and 20. Coins are in denominations of CZK50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1, and 50, 20 and 10 hellers.
The import and export of local currency is limited to Kc200,000 or 10 golden coins. The import and export of foreign currency is unlimited.
Currency information was correct at the time of writing; however the Czech Republic may adopt the Euro as currency. Check with the closest Czech embassy for current status.
The US Dollar and the Euro are the easiest currencies to exchange. Banks tend to have the best rate of exchange and charge the lowest commission (2%). Travel agencies and post offices also take a 2% commission, while hotels usually charge 5% commission. Moneychangers are often conveniently located and advertise great exchange rates; however they charge a high commission of up to 10% and/or undisclosed ‘handling’ fees. Banks are your safest bet.
Traveller’s checks from American Express, Thomas Cook and Visa are accepted at most banks and are relatively easy to replace if lost or stolen. Major banks typically charge 2% commission on cashing traveller’s checks. Prague has both American Express and Thomas Cook offices which will change their own traveller’s checks without charging commission.
To avoid additional exchange rate charges, traveller’s checks should be issued in US Dollars, Euros or British Pounds Sterling.
Euro checks are widely accepted with a check guarantee card.
Credit& Debit Cards:
Major cards such as American Express, Diners Club, Discover, Visa, MasterCard and others may be used to withdraw local currency from most ATMs, get cash advances from banks and are also accepted in some hotels, restaurants and shops. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.
Generally 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Most major hotels have standard international two-pin razor plugs.
The following goods may be imported into the Czech Republic without incurring customs duty tax:
200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco (if over 16 years of age); 1 litre of spirits and 2 litres of wine (if over 18 years of age); 50g of perfume or 250ml of eau de toilette; gifts up to a value of 175 euro (if over 15 years of age) or 90 euro (if under 15 years of age); foods, fruits, flowers and medication for personal use.
The export of cultural heritage pieces is only possible with prior approval by the Czech Ministry of Culture.
There are no required vaccines for entering the country. Tick-borne encephalitis exists in rural forested areas during summer months. Immunization against hepatitis A and B is sometimes advised.
Tap water is normally chlorinated, yet may cause mild abdominal upsets. Bottled water is strongly advised and widely available. As clean as it may look, do not drink water from rivers or lakes as the water may contain viruses that can cause stomach ailments. Milk and dairy products are generally pasteurized, but not always. Eat food which is hot all the way through, avoiding buffet style meals.
Medical care in Prague, Brno and Bratislava is generally quite good and the chances of finding an English speaking doctor are high. Few doctors speak English outside the major cities. Medical training, standards and hygiene may not be what most Westerners are accustomed to, though they are adequate for routine problems. Embassies and upmarket hotels can usually recommend doctors or clinics. Travel insurance is advised.
Pharmacies are widely available and can dispense typical over the counter medicine and vitamins; however they are not good for filling most Western prescriptions. Be sure to bring along an adequate supply if necessary.
EU and Switzerland nationals are entitled to free or reduced-cost necessary treatment upon presentation of a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Each country has different rules about state medical provision. Some restrictions apply, depending on your nationality.
The official language is Czech. English, German and Russian are also spoken.
The Czech Republic generally has a low rate of crime. However, street crime such as pick-pocketing and occasional mugging is a problem, especially in major tourist areas in Prague and on public transportation. Incidents of violent crime, while still relatively infrequent, are becoming more common in Prague.
Travellers should also be aware of the reported use of rohypnol, and other tranquilizing drugs in the Czech Republic. Caution should be used when accepting drinks from strangers at bars or clubs. Travellers should exercise caution and awareness while riding trains, trams or metro, where most crime occurs. Keep a copy of your passport in a safe place separate from the passport itself.
Visitors should be alert to the potential for overcharging by taxis, particularly in areas frequented by tourists. Radio-dispatched taxis are often much more reliable. It is also advisable to set the price in advance.
If you need the police, dial 158.
When dialing from within the country, all numbers must consist of nine digits.
Country code: 420
Directory assistance: 1180 and 1181
International access: 00
GMT + 1 GMT + 2 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October.
A passport valid for at least three months beyond the length of your stay is required by all, except for EU nationals holding a valid national identity card.
Without a visa, nationals of the UK can visit the Czech Republic for up to 180 days. Citizens of the EU, New Zealand and the USA can visit for up to 90 days. Australians, Canadians and South Africans must obtain a 90-day tourist visa from an embassy outside the Czech Republic. Visas are not issued at airports or border crossings.
Most other nationalities must apply for a visa at their nearest Czech Republic embassy or consulate well in advance.
Within three days of arrival in the Czech Republic, all foreigners are expected to register at the local police station. Most hotels will do this for you, but you should enquire with your hotel upon arrival.
For more information on visas visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website at www.mfa.cz