About Czech Republic:
Blanketed in fertile forest and charming villages, the landlocked Czech Republic is an enchanting pocket of Central Europe that exudes the spirit of the Old World. Its historical regions still today bear names that remind travelers of the world that was–Bohemia, Moravia, and Czech Silesia. They divide the country, respectively and approximately, into a western half, an eastern half, and a slice of the northeast.
The historic centers of Prague, Český Krumlov, and Telč are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites, for their painstaking preservation of their medieval squares and buildings. Once ruled with the iron fist of Communism as Czechoslovakia, a parliamentary republic emerged after the peaceful uprisings of 1989, famously known as the Velvet Revolution. The capital city is Prague.
Czech is the Czech Republic’s official language. While knowledge of the local language is not necessary, you may want to learn some fun and useful phrases to use during your walking tour. The effort seldom goes unappreciated and by trying some greetings and salutations with a smile, your interactions are likely to grow into rewarding exchanges. See the BBC Languages site for helpful hints.
Life in the Czech Republic
Shopping and banking hours: Smaller shops and stores, and those in smaller towns, are generally open Monday to Saturday from 8:00 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Shopping malls and supermarkets are open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Banks are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.
Meal times: Breakfast is served at hotels from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. In restaurants and cafés, lunch is served from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and dinner is usually served from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Tipping: In restaurants and cafés, it is customary to leave 10 percent of the total. For taxi drivers, 10 percent of the fare or rounding up is appropriate. For luggage assistance, about 20 crowns (korunas) per bag is customary.
Czech Republic public holidays: To assist in travel planning, it may be helpful to be aware of Czech public holidays, festivals, or calendars of events. See the Czech Tourism website for a list of public holidays and festivals.
Typical Czech cuisine is simple and hearty. Traditional dishes are wild mushroom soup or goulash (the region’s culinary strong points), or fried cheese with cabbage salad. Grilled, braised, or stewed meats (beef, pork, poultry, or wild game), accompanied by a potato dish, are popular dinner items, and are often served with either a cream sauce (called svickova) or a lighter sauce flavored with dill or tomato. Dumplings—often made of potato and flour and sometimes filled with fruit—are a Czech mainstay and specialty of the region.
Vegetarians can also be accommodated with selections prepared using ingredients plucked from any number of local farms. Of course, a Czech dinner would not be complete without a beer featuring the distinctive flavor of hand-picked Bohemian hops, ranking among the best in the world. (Read more about Czech beer here.) The country also produces several excellent wines in the hills of South Moravia.
The Czech Republic has a continental climate. From May through September, daytime temperatures range from the high 50s to the mid-80s. From late June to early September, the temperature will usually be in the higher end of this range. While generally sunny without being unbearably hot, the Czech Republic does experience some rainy weather in early spring and late fall. Evening and early morning temperatures will be cooler than daytime temperatures.
Average temperatures in Prague for the following months are as follows (high/low): May, 64°F/45°F; July-August, 73°F/53°F; September, 65°F/48°F.
U.S. citizens: Passports are required and must be valid for at least three months beyond the dates of travel. Visas are not required for stays of up to 90 days. For more information, see travel.state.gov.
The Czech Republic uses the koruna (CZK). The current exchange rate is 1 USD = 1 CZK. Exchange rates can vary greatly month to month, so we recommend you visit oanda.com for the latest.
Many businesses in Europe will no longer accept credit cards without PIN numbers (chip and pin cards). Contact your bank or your credit-card company for details on fees and card use when travelling, and to inform them of your travel destination and dates so they do not freeze your accounts when they see charges appear from a foreign country.
We recommend having a variety of payment options readily available to help you start your trip: ATM card(s), credit card(s), some U.S. dollars to exchange, and some euros in small denominations.
No immunizations are required to enter the Czech Republic. Requirements and recommendations change frequently, so always check directly with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC: cdc.gov/travel; 800-232-4636), a travel clinic, and/or your personal physician for the most current information. Plan ahead for immunizations, as some require administration several months prior to departure.
Electricity: Alternating current of 230V and 50Hz is used in the Czech Republic. Outlets take type-E plugs with two round pins and a hole or standard European type-C plugs with two round pins. For a full listing of electrical outlets worldwide, see electricaloutlet.org. If you are bringing your own hair dryer or other electrical device, you will need a travel converter, available at most hardware, travel, or consumer electronic stores. For laptops or an electronic device with a dual voltage switch, you will only need the adapter plug, not the converter.
Phone: The Czech Republic’s country code is “+420.” Cell phone coverage throughout the Czech Republic is extensive, but we cannot guarantee adequate signals on all American phone models or while on walking trails or in remote areas. For more information regarding international phone use, please refer to this blog post.
Internet: Internet access is generally very good in towns and villages; however, all of the hotels used on our tours do not necessarily provide it, or they provide it at an additional cost. Details regarding Wi-Fi availability in each hotel are available in the Itinerary Overview that you’ll receive once you’ve reserved.
The Czech Republic is in the Central European Time Zone, Eastern Standard Time plus 6 hours. For more information on worldwide time zones, see: worldtimezone.com.
A wealth of travel information is available at czechtourism.com.
The majority of international flights into the Czech Republic arrive at Prague’s Ruzynĕ International Airport (prg.aero/en/), with short connecting flights to other regions in the Czech Republic.
International Airports in the Czech Republic
- Brno-Tuřany Airport
- Karlovy Vary Airport
- Ostrava – Leoš Janáček Ostrava Airport
- Prague – Prague Václav Havel Airport
- Pardubice Airport
Czech Railways: Czech Republic’s national train company can be found at cd.cz/en/default.htm. You may book your train travel directly with them. Or, if you plan to travel for longer periods, consider Rail Europe, a U.S.-based company that provides schedules, reservations, and ticketing for all European train networks. Their multi-day, -week or -month passes in one country or combinations of countries may be a more economical and convenient choice. For more information, go to raileurope.com or call 800.622.8600.