Saturday, March 2, 2024
Czech Republic Travel Guide - Travel S Helper

Czech Republic

travel guide

The Czech Republic, often known as Czechia, is a nation state in Central Europe, bordered on the west by Germany, on the south by Austria, on the east by Slovakia, and on the northeast by Poland. The Czech Republic has a land area of 78,866 square kilometers (30,450 square miles) with a climate that is mostly temperate continental. It is a unitaryparliamentary republic with a population of 10.5 million. The capital and biggest city is Prague, which has a population of about 1.2 million. Bohemia, Moravia, and Czech Silesia comprise the Czech Republic. The Czech state began as the Duchy of Bohemia under the Great Moravian Empire in the late ninth century.

Following the collapse of the Empire in 907, the Pemyslid dynasty shifted the center of power from Moravia to Bohemia. The duchy was admitted to the Holy Roman Empire in 1004, renamed the Kingdom of Bohemia in 1198, and expanded to its maximum size in the 14th century. Apart from Bohemia, the king of Bohemia controlled the Bohemian Crown’s territories, he had a vote in the election of the Holy Roman Emperor, and Prague served as the imperial seat between the 14th and 17th centuries. In the 15th-century Hussite Wars, sparked by the Bohemian Reformation, the kingdom suffered economic embargoes and fought five crusades declared by the Roman Catholic Church’s authorities. Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the whole Crown of Bohemia, together with the Archduchy of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary, was progressively incorporated into the Habsburg Monarchy. The Protestant Bohemian Revolt (1618–20) against the Catholic Habsburgs precipitated the Thirty Years’ War, during which the monarchy strengthened its authority, reinstituted Catholicism, and implemented a progressive Germanization program.

When the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved in 1806, the Bohemian Kingdom became a member of the Austrian Empire, and the Czech language enjoyed a resurgence as a result of popular romantic nationalism. In the nineteenth century, the Czech lands developed into the monarchy’s economic powerhouse and became the nucleus of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, which was established in 1918 after the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire during World War I. In World War II, Germany controlled the Czech portion of Czechoslovakia, which was freed in 1945 by the forces of the Soviet Union and the United States. The Czech Republic lost the bulk of its German-speaking population after the war. Czechoslovakia’s Communist Party won the 1946 elections. Czechoslovakia became a one-party communist state under Soviet control after the 1948 coup d’état. In 1968, growing discontent with the government culminated in the Prague Spring, a reform movement that culminated in a Soviet-led invasion. Czechoslovakia remained occupied until 1989, when the communist government fell and a multiparty parliamentary republic was established.

Czechoslovakia was peacefully dissolved on 1 January 1993, with its component nations being the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004; it is a member of the United Nations, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Council of Europe. It is a developed nation with an advanced economy, a high quality of life, and a high standard of living. According to the UNDP, the nation ranks 14th in terms of inequality-adjusted human development. Additionally, the Czech Republic is ranked as the sixth most peaceful nation in the world, with a good record of democratic government. It boasts the European Union’s lowest unemployment rate. The Czech Republic is a small nation with a long and dramatic history. Czechs, Germans, Slovaks, Italian stonemasons and stucco craftsmen, French merchants, and Napoleon’s army deserters have all lived and worked here, influencing one another. For decades, they worked together to develop their land, producing works that adorn this tiny nation with hundreds of old castles, monasteries, and elegant homes, as well as whole cities that seem to be complete artifacts. The Czech Republic is home to a plethora of architectural marvels as well as stunning woods and mountains.

Czech Republic - Info Card

Population

44,700,000

Currency

Algerian dinar (DZD)

Time zone

UTC+1 (CET)

Area

2,381,741 km2 (919,595 sq mi)

Calling code

+213

Official language

Arabic

Czech Republic | Introduction

Geography Of Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is mostly located between latitudes 48° and 51° N (with a tiny region north of 51°) and longitudes 12° and 19° E.

The Czech terrain is very diverse. To the west, Bohemia consists of a valley drained by the Elbe (Czech: Labe) and Vltava rivers, bordered by mainly low mountains, such as the Sudetes’ Krkonoe range. Snkaat 1,602 m (5,256 ft), the highest peak in the nation, is situated here. Moravia, in the country’s east, is likewise very mountainous. It is mostly drained by the Morava River, although it also includes the Oder River’s headwaters (Czech: Odra).

The Czech Republic’s water flows to three distinct seas: the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Black Sea. The Czech Republic also rents the Moldauhafen, a 30,000-square-metre (7.4-acre) property in the heart of the Hamburg Docks that was given to Czechoslovakia under Article 363 of the Treaty of Versailles to provide a location for commodities carried down river to be transferred to seagoing ships. In 2028, the region reverts to Germany.

The Czech Republic is a phytogeographic province of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom, located in Central Europe. The Czech Republic’s land is split into four ecoregions, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature: Western European broadleaf forests, Central European mixed forests, Pannonian mixed forests, and Carpathian montane conifer forests.

The Czech Republic has four national parks. Krkonoe National Park (Biosphere Reserve), umava National Park (Biosphere Reserve), Podyj National Park, Bohemian Switzerland are the oldest.

The river basins of the Elbe (Czech: Labe) and the Vltava for Bohemia, the Morava for Moravia, and the Oder for Czech Silesia match nearly perfectly with the three historical territories of the Czech Republic (previously the core counties of the Bohemian Crown) (in terms of the Czech territory).

Climate In Czech Republic

The climate of the Czech Republic is temperate continental, with pleasant summers and cold, gloomy, and snowy winters. Because of the landlocked location, the temperature difference between summer and winter is quite large.

Temperatures in the Czech Republic fluctuate significantly depending on height. In general, when one ascends higher in height, temperatures drop and precipitation rises. The wettest region in the Czech Republic is near Bl Potok in the Jizera Mountains, while the driest is the Louny District northwest of Prague. Another significant aspect is the location of the mountains, which results in a wide range of climates.

The average temperature at Snka’s highest point (1,602 m or 5,256 ft) is just 0.4 °C (31 °F), while in the lowlands of the South Moravian Region, the average temperature may reach 10 °C (50 °F). The average temperature of the country’s capital, Prague, is comparable, but this is affected by urban influences.

January is typically the coldest month, followed by February and December. During these months, snow is common in the highlands, as well as in large towns and lowlands. Over the months of March, April, and May, the temperature typically rises quickly, particularly in April, when the temperature and weather tend to fluctuate greatly during the day. Spring is also marked by high river water levels caused by melting snow, with occasional floods.

July is the hottest month of the year, followed by August and June. Summer temperatures are typically 20 °C (68 °F) – 30 °C (86 °F) higher than winter temperatures. Summer is also marked by rain and thunderstorms.

Autumn usually starts in September, while it is still warm and dry. Temperatures often dip below 15 °C (59 °F) or 10 °C (50 °F) in October, and deciduous trees begin to lose their leaves. Temperatures often hover around the freezing mark towards the end of November.

The lowest temperature ever recorded was 42.2 °C (44.0 °F) at Litvnovice near eské Budjovice in 1929, while the hottest was 40.4 °C (104.7 °F) in Dobichovice in 2012.

The majority of the rain occurs throughout the summer. Sporadic rainfall is fairly consistent throughout the year (in Prague, the average number of days per month with at least 0.1 mm of rain ranges from 12 in September and October to 16 in November), although concentrated heavy rainfall (days with more than 10 mm per day) is more common from May to August (average around two such days per month).

Demographics Of Czech Republic

According to preliminary census data from 2011, the majority of Czechs (63.7 percent ) live in the Czech Republic, followed by Moravians (4.9 percent ), Slovaks (1.4 percent ), Poles (0.4 percent ), Germans (0.2 percent ), and Silesians (0.1 percent ). Because ‘nationality’ was an optional field, a significant percentage of individuals left it blank (26.0 percent ). According to some estimates, the Czech Republic is home to about 250,000 Romani people.

According to the Czech Statistical Office, there were 437,581 foreigners in the country in September 2013, with the largest groups being Ukrainian (106,714), Slovak (89,273), Vietnamese (61,102), Russian (32,828), Polish (19,378), German (18,099), Bulgarian (8,837), American (6,695), Romanian (6,425), Moldovan (5,860), Chinese (5,427), British (5,413), Mongolian (5,30 (4,562).

During the Holocaust, the Nazi Germans nearly exterminated the Jewish population of Bohemia and Moravia, which numbered 118,000 according to the 1930 census. In 2005, there were about 4,000 Jews in the Czech Republic. Jan Fischer, the former Czech prime minister, is of Jewish background and religion.

In 2015, the total fertility rate (TFR) was projected to be 1.44 children born per woman, which is lower than the replacement rate of 2.1 and one of the lowest in the world. In 2015, unmarried women accounted for 47.8 percent of all births. In 2013, the average life expectancy was predicted to be 77.56 years (74.29 years male, 81.01 years female). In 2007, immigration boosted the population by almost 1%. Every year, about 77,000 individuals immigrate to the Czech Republic. Vietnamese immigrants first arrived in the Czech Republic during the Communist era, when the Czechoslovak government welcomed them as guest laborers. There were about 70,000 Vietnamese in the Czech Republic in 2009. The vast majority opt to remain in the nation indefinitely.

Chicago had the third biggest Czech population, behind Prague and Vienna, at the beginning of the twentieth century. According to the 2010 US census, there are 1,533,826 people in the United States who are of full or partial Czech ancestry.

Religion In Czech Republic

The Czech Republic has one of the world’s least religious nations, ranking third only behind China and Japan in terms of atheistic population proportion. Historically, the Czechs have been described as “tolerant, if not indifferent to religion.” Following the Bohemian Reformation, the majority of Czechs (85%) became supporters of Jan Hus and other regional Protestant Reformers. After the Habsburgs reclaimed control of Bohemia, the people were forced to adhere to Roman Catholicism. During the Communist period, the Catholic Church lost the majority of its followers, and it continues to lose in the contemporary, continuing secularization.

According to the 2011 census, 34% of the population claimed no religion, 10.3% were Roman Catholic, 0.8 percent were Protestant (0.5 percent Czech Brethren and 0.4 percent Hussite), and 9 percent practiced other denominational or nondenominational religions (of which 863 people answered they are Pagan). 45 percent of the population did not respond to the religious question. From 1991 to 2001, and again in 2011, allegiance to Roman Catholicism fell from 39 percent to 27 percent, then to 10 percent; devotion to Protestantism fell from 3.7 percent to 2 percent, then to 0.8 percent.

According to a Eurobarometer Poll conducted in 2010, 16 percent of Czech citizens said they “believe there is a God” (the lowest rate among European Union countries), 44 percent said they “believe there is some sort of spirit or life force,” and 37 percent said they “do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God, or life force.”

According to Eurobarometer’s latest surveys on religiosity in the European Union in 2012, nonbelievers/agnostics are the biggest group in the Czech Republic, accounting for 39 percent of Czech people. Christianity accounts for 34% of Czech people. Catholics are the biggest Christian group in the Czech Republic, accounting for 29% of Czech nationals, while Protestants account for 2% and Other Christian account for 3%. Atheists make up 20% of the population, while the undeclared make up 6%.

Language & Phrasebook in Czech Republic

The primary language is, unsurprisingly, Czech. As there is a large Slovak population, the Slovak language is often heard, and both languages are mutually intelligible up to a degree. Czechs are extremely proud of their language, therefore you won’t find many signs in English even in Prague (outside of the main tourist areas). Many elderly people, particularly outside of major cities, are also unable to communicate in English, so it’s a good idea to learn some Czech or Slovak before you arrive. However, since English has been taught in most schools since 1990, most young people speak at least some of it.

The majority of Czechs speak a second and, in certain cases, a third language. English is the most commonly spoken language, particularly among young people. German is most likely the most commonly spoken second language among the elderly. Under communist control, Russian was required in all schools, thus most individuals born before 1975 spoke at least some Russian (and often pretty well). However, the communist period and the Soviet-led invasion of 1968 (as well as today’s Russian-speaking criminal gangs) have given this phrase a bad connotation. It is particularly ineffective with younger people since, contrary to popular belief, it is not mutually intelligible with Czech (beyond few comparable terms and short phrases), and English has largely replaced it as the preferred foreign language. Other languages, such as French or Spanish, are taught at certain schools, but don’t rely on it. Some basic phrases or short sentences in other Slavic languages may also be understood (Polish, Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian, etc.)

The Czech and Slovak languages are very difficult for English speakers to comprehend since, like their sisters, they may be tongue-twisting languages to learn (particularly Czech) and need time and effort to master, especially if you are unfamiliar with other Slavic languages, such as Russian. However, if you can master the alphabet (and the corresponding letters with accents), then pronunciation is simple since it is consistent – Czechs and Slovaks enunciate every letter of a word, with emphasis on the first syllable. The combination of consonants in certain words may seem to be mind-bogglingly difficult, yet it is well worth the effort!

The Czech language contains many regional dialects, particularly in Moravia. Some dialects are sufficiently dissimilar that they may be misinterpreted even by a native Czech speaker from another area. However, all Czechs understand and should be able to speak standard Czech (as spoken on TV, printed in newspapers, and taught in schools) (but some are too proud to stop using their local dialect). Some of them can’t even speak basic Czech yet can write it well.

Czech and Slovak vocabulary are close, with a few terms that are not understandable. The younger generation born after Czechoslovakia’s breakup is growing apart in the two different nations, and they have difficulty understanding one another.

Internet & Communications in Czech Republic

The GSM standard is used by three major mobile phone carriers, and its coverage is excellent (except in some remote, mostly uninhabited areas). If roaming with your own operator is too costly for you, or if you wish to have a Czech phone number, you may get an anonymous prepaid card from any of the three major carriers. However, pricing systems are often very complex, and some research may be required to discover the best option (even with prepaid cards, operators offer a variety of plans that include different extra ‘packages’). GPRS and EDGE are generally supported, while 3G network support is in its early stages (O2, Vodafone and T-mobile, mostly in Prague). The fourth operator (U:fon) utilizes proprietary standards and requires you to purchase specialized gear from them.

There are still some phone boxes around, although they are progressively disappearing with the introduction of mobile phones. Some still take coinage, but the majority need a prepaid telephone card.

You may dial emergency lines for free from any phone (even without a card). The global emergency number 112 is operational and may be used; however, you will only reach a telephone operator who will need to call the actual emergency service on your behalf. To save time, contact the appropriate agency directly: 150 for firemen, 155 for medical emergencies, and 158 for state police.

Wifi is accessible in the majority of restaurants and cafés, particularly in bigger towns. Starbucks, KFC, Gloria Jeans Coffee, and Costa Coffee, in particular, provide free access. You may have to ask a waitress for the pass. There are also some hotspots on the streets, and certain city districts (for example, Prague) provide free wifi access to everyone. However, such coverage is often sluggish and inconsistent, and you may be required to establish an account (using a web browser and the website it is automatically routed to) in order to utilize it. There are also numerous internet cafés in most major cities.

Economy Of Czech Republic

The Czech Republic has a sophisticated, high-income economy, with a per capita GDP rate that is 87 percent of the average for the European Union. The Czech Republic, the most stable and affluent of the post-Communist nations, had yearly growth of more than 6% in the three years before the onset of the current global economic crisis. Exports to the European Union, particularly Germany, and foreign investment have driven growth, while local demand is recovering.

The majority of the economy, including banking and telecoms, has been privatized. According to a 2009 poll conducted in collaboration with the Czech Economic Association, the majority of Czech economists favor continuing liberalization in most areas of the economy.

The nation has been a part of the Schengen Area since 1 May 2004, and on 21 December 2007, it eliminated border controls, fully opening its borders with all of its neighbors (Germany, Austria, Poland, and Slovakia). On January 1, 1995, the Czech Republic joined the World Trade Organization. In 2012, almost 80% of Czech exports went to other European Union member countries, while more than 65% of Czech imports came from them.

With a GDP of $342 billion, the Czech Republic would be the world’s 49th biggest economy by 2050.

The Czech National Bank, whose independence is guaranteed by the Constitution, is in charge of monetary policy. The Czech crown is the national currency, and it was freely floating until November 7, 2013, when the central bank temporarily fixed the exchange rate at 27 crowns per euro to combat deflation. The Czech Republic agreed to adopt the euro when it joined the EU, although the timetable has yet to be decided.

The Czech education system is presently ranked 15th in the world, higher than the OECD average, according to the Programme for International Student Assessment, which is administered by the OECD. In the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom, the Czech Republic is placed 24th.

koda Auto (automobiles), koda Transportation (tramways, trolleybuses, metro), Tatra (the world’s third oldest vehicle manufacturer), Karosa (buses), Aero Vodochody (airplanes), and Jawa Motors are among the leading Czech transportation businesses (motorcycles). According to http://www.worlddiplomacy.org “Elections in 2013 resulted in the formation of a new administration in the Czech Republic. Although the economy began 2013 fairly poorly, it recovered significantly in the following quarters, and most recently (Q1,2015), the economy had the strongest GDP growth in the whole EU, clocking at 2.8 percent compared to Q4,2014, or 3.9 percent “year after year.”

Czech GDP growth in November 2015 was 4.5 percent, giving the Czech economy the best growth rate in Europe.

The Czech Republic has the lowest unemployment rate in the whole European Union, at 4.1 percent.

Entry Requirements For Czech Republic

Visa & Passport for Czech Republic

  • As a Schengen signatory state, non-EU/EFTA nationals who qualify for a visa exemption may only remain in the Schengen zone (including the Czech Republic) for a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period.
  • Non-EU/EFTA citizens whose home country/territory had an existing bilateral visa exemption agreement with the Czech Republic prior to the full implementation of the Schengen acquis, however, the maximum length of stay on a visa exemption as stipulated in the bilateral agreement continues to apply rather than the Schengen regulations. In practice, this implies that non-EU/EFTA people may visit the Czech Republic visa-free for up to 90 days and are not restricted by the Schengen restriction of 90 days in a 180-day period.
  • Non-EU/EFTA citizens whose home country/territory had a bilateral visa exemption agreement with the Czech Republic prior to joining the EU include: Andorra, Argentina, Brazil, Brunei, Costa Rica, Chile, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong SAR, Israel, Japan, Macao SAR, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Uruguay.

The Czech Republic has signed the Schengen Agreement.

  • Border restrictions are usually not required between nations that have signed and implemented the pact. This covers the majority of the European Union as well as a few additional nations.
  • Before boarding foreign planes or boats, passengers’ identities are typically checked. Temporary border restrictions are sometimes used at land boundaries.
  • A visa issued to any Schengen member is also valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty.
  • For additional information on how the system operates, which countries are members, and what the criteria are for your nationality, please visit Traveling Around the Schengen Area.

Travel document requirements

Passports and national identification cards for EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens must only be valid for the duration of their stay in the Czech Republic.

Passports/travel papers must be valid for at least 90 days beyond the anticipated duration of stay in the Czech Republic/Schengen Area for all other nationalities.

Foreign nationals staying in the Czech Republic for more than 30 days must register with the Alien and Border Police within 30 days of their arrival. If you stay in a hotel or similar establishment, the lodging operator should handle this registration for you.

Children under the age of 15 who are listed on their parents’ passports are permitted to travel with them. A second passport is required after the kid reaches the age of 15.

More information on what makes a valid and acceptable travel document for the purpose of entering the Czech Republic may be found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic’s website.

How To Travel To Czech Republic

Get In - By plane

Václav Havel Airport, situated approximately 10 kilometers west of the center of Prague (Praha in Czech), serves as a hub for Czech Airlines (SA), a SkyTeam member.

Brno (with flights to London, Moscow, Rome, Bergamo, Eindhoven, and Prague), Ostrava (with flights to Vienna and Prague), Pardubice, and Karlovy Vary (with flights to Moscow and Uherské Hradit) are the other international airports.

There are many low-cost airlines that fly to and from Prague (e.g. EasyJet from Lyon). Ryanair flies from London and Bergamo to Brno. Nuremberg (200km) and Munich (320km) in Germany, Vienna (260km to Prague, 110km to Brno) in Austria, Wroclaw (200km) in Poland (may be a good option if you want to travel to the Giant Mountains), and Bratislava (280km to Prague, just 120km to Brno) in Slovakia are all neighboring airports.

Airport transfers

You may use the following options to go from Ruzyn Airport to the center of Prague and beyond:

  • PragueTransfer Minibus service is available. Prices vary from €25 for a four-person party to €180 for a 49-person party.
  • AirportShuttle.cz Minibus service is available. Prices vary from €9 for a single person to €3 per person for a group of 15 (i.e. €45).
  • Airport Express Czech railroads provide a public bus service. The price of a ticket is 50 K. This bus makes two stops at Terminals 1 and 2. It takes 35 minutes to go to Metro line A (“Dejvická station”) and the Prague Main Train Station.
  • Public bus lines Tickets cost 32 Kč and may be bought at the arrivals halls of Terminals 1 and 2, or through ticket machines located at bus stops. Tickets may also be bought from the driver directly for 40 Kč. None of these services will take you directly to Prague’s center, but will instead transport you to the closest Metro station, from where you may continue to the city center. The ticket is valid for 90 minutes on all buses, trams, and Metro and must be stamped upon entry. The following routes serve the airport:
    • 119 It comes to an end at the “Nádra Veleslavn” Metro Station. To get to the city, use Metro line A.
    • 100 In 18 minutes, it arrives at the “Zlin” Metro station in western Prague. To get to the city, use Metro line B.
    • 510 Every 30 minutes, a night service is provided. It takes 42 minutes to go to the south of the city but passes close to the center (“Jiráskovo námst” or “I.P. Pavlova” stations).
  • Taxi Airport-approved service. The rates are 28 Kč per kilometer + 40 Kč each trip.

Get In - By bus

International bus service is available from several European cities, with direct connections from Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Switzerland, and Austria, among others. Eurolines and Student Agency provide excellent service. PolskiBus provides low-cost tickets from Poland. Almost all modern long-distance bus companies in Germany, as well as Deutsche Bahn, provide buses from different locations in Germany or Austria to Prague; for a price list, see this German website. Because the industry is still extremely young and dynamic, businesses may stop operations or re-emerge at any time.

Get In - By train

International rail service is available from the majority of European countries, with direct connections from Slovakia, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Belarus, and Russia; in the summer, it is also available from Romania, Bulgaria, and Montenegro.

From Germany

Every two hours, EC trains run from Berlin or Hamburg to Prague and Brno through Dresden and Bad Schandau in Saxon Switzerland. Cologne, Frankfurt, Karlsruhe, Copenhagen, and Basel are all served by direct overnight sleeper trains. If purchased in advance, cheap tickets to Prague (and sometimes to Brno) are available on the German railroads website. The prices range from €19–39 for a seat to €49 for a couchette.

German Railways operates fast non-stop buses between Nuremberg, Munich, and Mannheim and Prague, which are completely integrated into the German railway fare. If you have an InterRail or Eurail card, keep in mind that these buses need a reservation.

There are four daily trains from Munich to Prague, although they are slower than the bus described above due to the sluggish and twisty (but scenic) track near the southern Czech border. The cheapest option is to combine a Bayern Ticket  (€21 for one person, €29 for groups of up to five persons) to the Czech border with a Czech domestic ticket.

Consider purchasing a Bayern-Böhmen-Ticket or a Sachsen-Böhmen-Ticket if you cross the border by local train (not EC or EN). If you live near the Czech-German-Polish border, you may take advantage of the ZVON transportation system’s single fare.

From Poland

There is just one direct EC train from Warsaw to Prague and Ostrava, as well as direct sleeper trains from Warsaw and Kraków. The midday train ticket costs €19–29 if purchased at least three days in advance. There is no such low-cost option for night trains, but you may utilize a difficult combination.

There are just a few local trains in addition to the long-distance trains. A semi-fast train from Wroclaw to Pardubice may be helpful for long-distance travel.

Local trains (not IC or EC) sell a special cross-border ticket (Polish: bilet przechodowy) that is valid between Czech and Polish border stations (or vice versa) and costs just 15 K or PLN2. You may purchase it from the train conductor (or totally disregard it if the conductor does not appear before you reach the opposite border stop, which occurs) and mix it with domestic tickets from both countries. You may take advantage of the ZVON transport system uniform fare along the Czech-German-Polish border.

From Slovakia

Trains run frequently between Czechia and Slovakia, which are both former Czechoslovakia. Every two hours, EC trains run from Bratislava to Prague and Brno, and every two hours from Ilina to Prague and Ostrava. There is one train each day that connects Banská Bystrica, Zvolen, and Koice to Prague and Ostrava. All of these cities also offer an overnight sleeper train link to Prague.

A one-way ticket to Prague from Bratislava costs €27 and €42 from Koice. CityStar is a return program that offers a (approximately) 30% discount. Slovak railroads now offer cheap online SparNight tickets in advance – for example, a day train from Bratislava to Prague costs €15 and a night train from Koice to Prague costs €27.

From Austria

Railjet trains run every two hours from Graz and Vienna to Prague and Brno. There are two direct connections from Linz to Prague and two more with a change at eské Budjovice.

If purchased at least three days in advance, cheap tickets to Prague, Brno, and Ostrava are available on the Austrian Railways website. The fare starts at €19 for Vienna-Brno and rises to €29 for Vienna-Prague and Linz-Prague.

If you cross the border on a local train (not an IC or an EC), you may get a reduced return ticket EURegio.

Cheap ticket combinations

Full-price international tickets are very costly, therefore if no commercial deal suits your requirements, you may save money by combining domestic flights:

  • Purchase a domestic ticket from Germany/Austria/Slovakia/Poland to the Czech border and then ask the Czech conductor for a Czech domestic ticket beginning at the border point (the fee for purchasing the ticket on the train is 40 K). Remember that there is a substantial group discount beginning with two people. Conductors on foreign trains should accept payments in euros, according to the Czech Railways website.
  • On weekends, in addition to the regular Czech domestic ticket, a network ticket called SONE+ may be purchased online for 600 K. (valid up to 2 adults and 3 children for one weekend day). This ticket must be printed online or shown on the screen of your laptop.

The names of the border points are as follows:

  • from Berlin: Schöna Gr.
  • from Vienna: Břeclav Gr.
  • from Linz: Summerau Gr.
  • from Bratislava: Kúty Gr.
  • from Nuremberg/Munich: Furth im Wald Gr.
  • from Košice: Horní Lideč Gr. (trains via Vsetín) or Čadca Gr. (trains via Ostrava)
  • from Warszawa and Kraków: Zebrzydowice Gr.
  • from Wroclaw: Lichkov Gr.

How To Travel Around Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is serviced by the multimodal IDOS traveler router, which includes all Czech trains, buses, and municipal transportation, as well as numerous rail and bus lines from other countries.

Get Around - By bus

Student Agency buses are an inexpensive and convenient way to travel between Prague and other major cities. These buses are typically quicker and less expensive than Czech railways (not considering discounts). This is minor on certain lines (for example, Prague to Brno), but on others, such as Prague to Karlovy Vary or Liberec, there is no direct rail link, thus buses are by far the best choice. Normally, you do not need to reserve a seat, however it is advised if you are traveling from or to Prague on Fridays or during holidays. Seats may be reserved online via the Student Agency website. Apart from this operator, there are many more bus companies that connect Prague with other cities, towns, and even distant villages on a regular basis. The majority of buses depart from the primary bus station at Florenc, although additional significant bus stations can be found at Na Knec (metro station Andl), ern Most, Zlin, and Roztyly, all of which are next to metro stations.

Local bus transport between small towns and neighboring villages is often provided by firms called SAD (district name), a relic of the communist-era national state-run enterprise eskoslovenská Autobusová Doprava. On local buses, you just tell the driver where you want to travel and pay the fee as you board.

Get Around - By car

Czech drivers may seem aggressive at times, particularly in Prague, but they are far from the “craziness” seen in other southern European nations.

The Czech Republic has a zero tolerance policy for alcoholic beverages. Driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of any quantity of alcohol is prohibited, and breaches are harshly penalized.

To travel on the well-maintained highways, however, you must buy a toll sticker unless you are riding a motorbike. In 2014, these stickers cost 310 Kč for ten days (for cars weighing less than 3.5 tonnes), although they may be bought for longer periods of time (1 month for 440 Kč or 1,500 Kč for a year). If you don’t have a toll tag on your vehicle and travel on the highways, you may face a hefty charge (at least 5,000 Kč).

Make ensure that you get the proper toll sticker: there are those for cars weighing less than 3.5 tonnes and those for vehicles weighing between 3.5 and 12 tonnes. Vehicles weighing more over 12 tonnes must utilize an on-board unit (“premid” unit) to pay distance-based tolls.

Many roads are always being improved, but if you want to be inexpensive and quick, travel on the highways as much as possible, but if you want to go to isolated areas of the nation, you will have to use side roads that may be a bit rough at times.

In the Czech Republic, speed limits are typically 130km/h on highways, 90km/h off highways, and 50km/h in towns. Petrol is cheaper than the rest of Europe (36 Kč/€1.40), although it is more costly than in the United States due to high taxes.

Even during the day, the usage of daytime running lights or dipped headlights is required all year. Failure to have your headlights on while driving may result in a fine from the police.

Get Around - By car

Trains in the Czech Republic are mainly operated by the state-owned enterprise eské Dráhy (Czech Railways). RegioJet (a subsidiary of Student Agency) started running modernized trains between Prague and Ostrava in 2011. LeoExpress joined them on the Prague-Ostrava route in 2012.

Trains go to even the most distant parts of the Czech Republic, and unlike buses, they typically run on a regular basis during off-peak hours and on weekends. However, outside of the renovated major corridors, the quality of travel remains often the same as it was in the 1970s, making it difficult to go to regional towns or villages, since trains prefer to wander about the countryside.

Train categories

  • Osobní (Os) – Local trains are sluggish and often stop. Suburban trains near major cities are included.
  • Spěšný (Sp) – quicker than “osobni”, generally avoids small settlements
  • Rychlík (R) – Trains that go quickly and stop in important cities are more frequent than trains that travel longer distances.
  • Expres (Ex) – “Rychlk” that is quicker and generally a little cleaner
  • Eurocity (EC) – International trains are very contemporary (but fully usable for intra-state travel as well), quick, and only stop in large cities.
  • Supercity (SC) –The fastest trains operated by Czech Railways, providing free Wi-Fi access in addition to other amenities, operate exclusively on the Prague – Ostrava line and need either a special ticket or a CZK200 seat reservation in addition to a regular one. With a comparable or higher quality of service, it competes with privately-owned LeoExpress (LE) and InterCity (IC) “Regiojet” trains.

Train tickets

Tickets should be purchased in advance online – [www] for Czech Railways, which operate trains on all national and international long-distance routes, as well as the vast majority (99 percent) of local railways, or [www] (Czech only) and [www] for privately-held companies, which operate trains only on the Prague-Ostrava long-distance route. In each instance, there are many benefits to purchasing at the box office: tickets are cheaper when purchased in advance, and the system automatically suggests the lowest option (sparing you the trouble of going through the, often byzantine, tariffs). Visiting the ticket office is only required when paying with cash or when special rates (such as sleeping car bookings) are not available online. Tickets bought online do not need to be printed: it is generally sufficient to show the conductor the pdf file on the screen of a laptop or tablet. The primary drawback of purchasing tickets online is the need to provide the traveller’s name and the number of a government-issued picture ID, such as a driver’s license or a passport.

The standard rail ticket price on D trains, which is always available even just before departure, may seem discouraging (about 1.40 K per kilometer), however Czech Railways (D) offers many discounts. Return tickets are discounted by 5%, and a group of travelers (even two people are deemed a “group”) is handled approximately as “first person pays full price, others pay half price.” As a result, request “skupinová sleva” (group discount) and/or “zpáten sleva” (price reduction) (return discount).

Regular travelers may use the In-karta IN25 ČD loyalty card for 150 K (3 months), 550 K (1 year), or 990 K. (3 years). It provides a 25% discount on regular and return train tickets, as well as a 5–25% discount on online tickets. Its cost will soon pay for itself. At the ticket desk, you must fill out an application form and submit a picture. You will instantly get a temporary paper card and may begin taking advantage of the discount. You will get a plastic chip card in three weeks.

The ČD website has a comprehensive list of deals.

You may select between three competing railroad carriers on the route between Prague and Ostrava: the government Czech Railways (running both regular “Ex” and premium “SC” trains) and privately-held IC RegioJet and LeoExpress (LE) trains. When it comes to pricing, the LE, Ex, and IC trains are roughly similar (around 295 K), but the SC trains are often approximately 100 K higher. SC is the quickest, closely followed by LE, while IC and Ex trail behind. The on-board service on the LE and IC trains is superior.

Travel tips

If you travel in a group on weekends, you may purchase a Group weekend ticket that allows you to travel on Saturday and Sunday without restrictions. It is eligible for a party of up to two adults and three children. The ticket is usable on all trains, including IC and EC, but you must purchase a seat reservation in SC for an extra 200 K. (or less, for less-frequented times). The whole-network version costs 600 K, whereas the regional variation costs between 200 and 275 K. Buying online and printing the ticket yourself saves you 3% and allows you to skip the wait at the station.

Despite the fact that several railway stations have been restored and updated, the remainder is still reminiscent of the Soviet period. There is no need to be frightened, but try to avoid them in the late hours of the night. Trains are a popular mode of transportation for both students and commuters, and they are usually safe (regular police guards are posted on fast trains). As a result, particularly during peak periods (Friday and Sunday afternoons), the main rail axis Praha-Pardubice-Olomouc-Ostrava is packed, and seat reservations are advised.

Prague has a strong network of local trains named Esko that link it to its suburbs and neighboring towns (S-Bahn). Prague public transportation tickets (for example, 32 K for 90 minutes) are valid on these trains (Os and Sp category) for travel within the Prague region.

If you wish to visit the dining car on a Czech Railways (eské dráhy) train (the blue one), attempt to do it while the train is still inside the Czech Republic. While on the train, you can have several excellent and tasty meals (including classic ones like “Svková”) for about 150 K. You will be charged almost double the amount if you purchase when the train is outside of the Czech Republic. This is not a fraud; it is the company’s official policy.

Taking bikes or pets on the train

The standard bike ticket costs 25 Kč for one train or 50 K for the whole day. You are responsible for loading and unloading your bike. Long-distance trains (with the suitcase sign in the schedule) offer a baggage wagon where the train personnel will look after your bike, however the ticket is 30 K for one train or 60 Kč for the whole day. Some trains (shown in the schedule with a squared bike or suitcase emblem) need a mandatory reservation for bikes for 15 Kč at the counter or 100 Kč from train personnel.

Smaller pets in cages or bags are allowed to travel for free. Larger dogs must wear a muzzle and be leashed. Prices are 15 Kč each train or 30 Kč for the whole day.

Get Around - By bicycle

The Czech Republic is a great cycling destination. There are many lovely rural roads, cycling designated routes, and attractive towns along these paths (always with a bar…), it’s simple to find your way, and the trains offer bicycle racks in the luggage compartment for when you feel weary. Try riding in South Moravia (near the Austrian border), where there are hundreds of well-marked routes that will take you through magnificent landscape full of vineyards, wine cellars, and colorful towns.

Border mountains (Krkonoe, umava, Jesenky, etc.) are also becoming more popular among mountain bikers. There are generally no fences along the trails, but stick to the roads or designated bike routes since these mountains are National Parks/Reserves and riding “off the beaten track” may result in a fine.

CzechCycling.info [www] is a non-profit website that provides cycling information for the city of Prague and its surrounding regions. Mapy.cz [www] is another good source – alter the map (through Zmnit mapu – Turistická) to show bicycle routes in violet hue.

We Bike Prague provides guided and self-led bike tours throughout the Czech Republic.

Get Around - By thumb

Hitchhiking is extremely prevalent, and some vehicles stop even when they are not supposed to.

Take care to make a distinct motion with your thumb pointing upwards. A motion that seems to be pointing to the ground may be misinterpreted as a request for prostitution.

If you’re hitchhiking across the Czech Republic from the south to the German town of Dresden, avoid traveling to or beyond Prague unless you’re in a ride that’s going all the way to Dresden. Because Prague lacks a large and continuous beltway, people must navigate a ring of major and minor roads to travel around the city from south to north. As a result, the vast majority of traffic you will encounter is heading towards the city. After Prague, the main highway becomes a two-lane mountain route through small towns, with the vast majority of traffic being local, and foreign visitors reluctant to stop.

Try a letter-sized (A4) piece of paper with the destination written on it so it is obvious where you want to go.

Destinations in Czech Republic

Cities in Czech Republic

  • Prague is the Czech Republic’s capital and biggest city, having a vast and attractive historic center.
  • Brno — the largest city in Moravia and its former capital, it has several excellent museums, the annual Moto GP Grand Prix, the annual international fireworks festival Ignis Brunensis, the second-largest historical centre in the Czech Republic (after Prague), the second-largest ossuary in Europe (after the Catacombs of Paris), one of the largest exhibition centres in Europe, the oldest theatre built in Europe, and the oldest theatre built in Europe.
  • České Budějovice Is a lovely big city in South Bohemia.
  • Český Krumlov — a lovely ancient town in South Bohemia that has the country’s second largest château.
  • Karlovy Vary is a historic (and largest) Czech spa resort that is particularly popular with German and Russian tourists.
  • Kutná Hora is a historical town known for its renowned Saint Barbora church, ancient silver mines, and the Chapel of All Saints, which is adorned with hundreds of human bones.
  • Olomouc is a riverfront university town with a thousand-year history and the Czech Republic’s second-largest historical center.
  • Ostrava has a thriving local subculture as well as a lengthy history of coal mining and heavy industries.
  • Pilsen is the biggest city in West Bohemia and the birthplace of the Pilsner Urquell beer.

Other destinations in Czech Republic

  • Bohemian Paradise: (Český ráj) A area north-east of Prague with towering rock formations and lonely castles. Although Jičín, the gateway city, is a fascinating destination in its own right, Turnov is closer to the majority of the castles and rock formations. The ruined castle Trosky’s twin towers are a landmark of the region and may be climbed for spectacular views.
  • Karlštejn Castle and the Holy Cave Monastery: A hike to the renowned castle as well as an off-the-beaten-path monastery.
  • Krkonoše: (Giant Mountains) The highest mountains in the Czech Republic, bordering Poland. The most prominent Czech skiing resorts, such as Pindlerv Mln, are located here, but are regarded expensive by locals.
  • Litomyšl: A lovely little village in East Bohemia. The town’s Renaissance main square and castle are among the most beautiful in the Czech Republic, and it has been home to many significant and influential artists, including composer Bedich Smetana, sculptor Olbram Zoubek, and painter Josef Váchal. Every year, the château hosts two international opera festivals.
  • Mariánské Lázně: In Western Bohemia, there is a spa town.
  • Mutěnice Wine Region: Some of the finest vineyards in the Czech Republic, far off the main path.
  • Nové Město na Moravě : Ski resort for cross-country skiing. The Tour de Ski event is held here.
  • Terezín: A red-brick baroque castle on the Ohe River, 70 kilometers north of Prague. During WWII, it was utilized as a Jewish ghetto and concentration camp.
  • Znojmo: The Rotunda of the Virgin Mary and St Catherine has the Czech Republic’s earliest frescoes.

Things To See in Czech Republic

UNESCO sites

  • Prague is the capital, and it has an amazing historic center (and famous monuments such as the Astronomical Clock, Charles Bridge, and Prague Castle).
  • Olomouc is a lively university town with the second biggest historic center in the Czech Republic after Prague.
  • Český Krumlov – Lovely city with a castle.
  • Holašovice – town with a maintained baroque style
  • Telč – renaissance town that has been beautifully maintained
  • Zelená Hora – church with a distinct baroque style
  • Litomyšl – chateau renaissance and historic center
  • Kutná Hora – The town is a silver mining town with a Gothic cathedral and other attractions.
  • Vila Tugendhat in Brno
  • Třebíč – preserved jewish quarter
  • Lednice-Valtice Area – cultural landscape with chateaus, castles, ponds, and gardens…
  • Kroměříž – Garden and Arcbishop Palace

Castles and chateaux

In the Czech Republic, there are around 2000 castles, castle ruins, and chateaux. There will be a castle or chateau nearby no matter where you go in the Czech Republic.

Castles

Castles are iconic features of the Czech countryside. Most castles are located on top of a hill and provide a great view of the landscape. Some of the castles are simply ruins, while others have been well-preserved with original interiors, furnishings, and so on. For example, the most picturesque and intriguing are: Loket Castle, Karlštejn Castle, Kost Castle, Rabí Castle ruin, Český Šternberk Castle, Bezděz Castle, Křivoklát Castle, Bouzov Castle and Pernštejn Castle.

Chateaux

Every Czech town, whether Renaissance, Baroque, or Neo-Classical, has its own castle. As an example: Konopiště’ Chateau, Valtice Chateau, Lednice Chateau, Hluboká nad Vltavou Chateau, Kuks Chateau, Mikulov Chateau, Vranov nad Dyjí Chateau, Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou Chateau, Červená Lhota Chateau, Děčín Chateau and Orlík Chateau.

Churches

The Czech Republic is home to a plethora of magnificent churches. The Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle is perhaps the most significant. It is significant to the Czech people since it was the coronation and last resting site of Bohemian monarchs. It houses a repository housing the most valuable relics of the country as well as the bones of the patron saint, Wenceslaus.

Another Gothic gem is the massive St. Barbara’s Church in Kutná Hora, which is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. St. Barbara is the patron saint of miners, which is especially fitting in Kutná Hora, which rose to prominence in the Middle Ages as a result of its vast silver mines.

Among the other highlights are Pilsen’s St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral, Hradec Králové’s Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Olomouc’s Saint Wenceslas Cathedral, and Brno’s Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul.

Monasteries

  • Kladruby Monastery
  • Brevnov Monastery
  • Plasy Monastery – cistercian
  • Vyssi Brod Monastery

Pilgrim places

  • Svata Hora u Pribrami
  • Hostyn

Others

  • The Macocha Caves, located north of Brno, are well worth a visit. A guided tour of the caverns is available, which will take you through a maze of twisting tunnels with close-up views of stalactites and stalagmites. The trip concludes with an underground river boat ride.
  • The Battle of Austerlitz – Slavkovské bojiště is one of the most significant occurrences in European history in the nineteenth century.
  • Brno’s Technical Museum (nice and modern)
  • Lakes under Palava (mountains). These lakes are really river dams, but they are great for sailing and fishing (you must have a fishing license) since they are teeming with large fish.
  • Mikulčice archaeological site, historic capital of the Great Moravian Empire (c. 900 AD).

Things To Do in Czech Republic

Hiking

The Czech Republic has a great and complex trail blazing system, with designated trails almost everywhere. Choose a hiking region, get a hiking map (the finest brand is “Klub eskch turist,” 1:50000 military-based maps covering the whole nation, available in most major bookshops), and go.

Swimming

Many locations in the Czech Republic are ideal for swimming, and there are many approved public swimming spots (known as koupalit). A list of swimmable locations may be found here: [www]. However, keep in mind that in hot weather, the quality of the water in certain areas may fall below EU standards.

Nudism/naturism

Despite being a landlocked nation, the Czech Republic has several nudist/naturist beaches around lakes. A complete list may be found at [www]. Full nudity is allowed on other beaches, although it is uncommon and generally occurs in less-crowded areas.

Food & Drinks in Czech Republic

Food in Czech Republic

The overwhelming majority of excellent restaurants in big cities take credit cards (EC/MC, VISA), but don’t be shocked if a handful do not. When entering the restaurant, look for the appropriate card logos on the door or ask the waiter before ordering. In certain restaurants, Czechs pay using special meal tickets (stravenky), which are tax-favored and subsidized by employers. You won’t be able to acquire these tickets unless you work in the Czech Republic, so don’t be shocked if you see them.

Traditional local food

Traditional Czech cuisine is substantial and satisfying after a long day in the fields. It’s hearty and fatty, and it’s fantastic in the winter. There has recently been a trend toward more light cuisine with more vegetables; traditional heavy and fatty Czech food is no longer consumed on a daily basis, and some individuals shun it altogether. Nothing, however, complements the great Czech beer as well as some of the finest examples of traditional Czech food, such as pork, duck, or geese with knedlky (dumplings) and sauerkraut.

A typical day’s major meal (typically lunch) consists of two or three items. The first course is a bowl of hot soup (polévka). The second dish is the most significant portion, and it is usually centered on some meat and a side dish (both served on the same plate). The third, optional course is something sweet (with coffee) or a tiny vegetable salad or something similar.

There are many types of soup (polévka) in Czech cuisine. The most popular are bramboraka – potato soup (sometimes with forest mushrooms), hovz vvar – clear beef soup (sometimes s játrovmi knedlky – with liver dumplings), guláovka – thick goulash soup, zelaka – thick and sour cabbage soup, esneka (strong garlic soup, very healthy and tasty, but do not eat this before kissing), kula Drková polévka is a unique instance that is not for everyone (tripe soup). The traditional Christmas soup is ryb polévka, a thick fish soup prepared from carps (including the head, some innards, roe, and sperm).

Some soups are served with bread, and tiny croutons are occasionally placed into the soup shortly before eating. Soup may also be consumed as the sole course, particularly for a modest supper.

The second dish (main course, hlavn jdlo) of a meal is typically the renowned heavy and fatty portion, very commonly based on pork, but sometimes beef, chicken, duck, or other meat. The side-dish (the entire meal including the side-dish is presented on one plate) is an important component of most main courses – typically boiled or baked potatoes, fries, rice, pasta, or the most characteristic side-dish of Czech cuisine – knedlky.

Knedlky (dumplings) come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most types are served as a side dish, while others with stuffing are served as a main course. The most popular variety, which is always served as a side dish, is houskové knedlky (bread dumplings). These are baked in a cylinder form and then sliced into circular slices approximately 8 cm in diameter that resemble white bread. Houskové knedlky are served with Czech classics such as gulá, which is similar to Hungarian goulash but with a thinner sauce and less spicy; Svková na smetan, which is beef sirloin with a creamy root vegetable (carrot, celeriac, parsnip) sauce, served with a tablespoon of cranberry sauce, a slice of orange, and whipped cream; The latter goes well with the world-famous Czech beers, including Pilsner Urquell, Gambrinus, Budvar, Staropramen, Velkopopovick Kozel, and Kruovice. If you happen to come across a bar that serves Svijany, you should certainly order it since it is widely regarded as one of the most delicious brands in the world.

Bramborové knedlky (potato dumplings) are another popular kind; the slices are smaller and more yellow in color, and are always served as a side dish. Roasted meat (for example, pig or lamb) with spinach and bramborové knedlky, or duck with sauerkraut and bramborové knedlky (or a mix of bramborové and houskové knedlky). Less frequent are chlupaté knedlky (hairy dumplings, although there are no hairs, don’t worry), which are prepared in the form of balls rather than slices. They are often served with roasted pork and either sauerkraut or spinach.

Other Czech dishes include peená kachna, which is roast duck served with bread or potato dumplings and red and white sauerkraut; moravsk vrabec, also known as ‘Moravian Sparrow,’ but which is actually pork cooked in garlic and onions; smaen kapr, which is fried carp breaded and served with a very rich potato salad and eaten on Christmas Eve; and peené vepové koleno, If you must, hranolky – french fries – are available. And, of course, there’s the omnipresent zel (raw cabbage), which goes with everything. Game is also quite excellent, and meals such as kan, wild boar, baant, pheasant, and jelen or da, both kinds of deer, are available. Almost usually served with dumplings and red and white cabbage, or as gulá.

Unless you’re in the countryside, don’t anticipate a broad variety of zelenina, vegetables – peppers, tomatoes, and cabbage are the most frequently seen side dishes, typically presented as a tiny garnish.

Visitors may be startled to see “American potatoes” on the menu. These are really spicy potato wedges.

Meals you usually don’t get in restaurants

In general, the best way to really experience Czech food is to be invited to a dinner at someone’s house. However, it is not that simple since people nowadays want to cook simpler and more cosmopolitan meals. Traditional Czech food is often saved for Sundays or certain festivals, or is made by elderly grandmother when her grandchildren come. This isn’t a rule, but it is a frequent occurrence. Traditional Czech cuisine at ordinary restaurants, even the best ones, is seldom comparable to what the old grandmother provides. This is not to say that the cuisine is terrible or unappealing, but it lacks something that home cooking can offer. The food may be great in luxury restaurants specializing on Czech cuisine, but the opulent style and innovative changes by the chef often do not match the manner of the old grandmother. Again, this is not a hard and fast rule. You may sometimes praise a restaurant’s cuisine “as though my grandmother cooked it.”

Some meals are typically not offered at restaurants or bars, but are prepared at home and are worth tasting if you have the chance. Brambory na loupačku (“peeled potatoes”) is an inexpensive and easy dish that is often prepared in the countryside. Whole unpeeled potatoes are cooked in a large pot and served in the pot or in a bowl at the table. Simply remove a hot potato from the stove, peel it yourself, season it with salt, butter, and/or curd (tvaroh), and eat it. Drink it with a glass of cold milk. It may be very delicious for such a simple dinner, particularly when served in the countryside after a day spent outdoors and talking about it.

Foraging for mushrooms in woods is a common pastime in the Czech Republic. Unsurprisingly, the mushrooms that have been gathered are consumed. In restaurants, only grown mushrooms are often utilized. If wild mushrooms are offered at a restaurant, they are typically just as a side dish. Homemade mushroom dinners, on the other hand, are a totally other story. Smaženice (the term is based on the verb’smait’ – to fry), also known as mchanice (to mix), is a typical example – wild mushrooms, the more varieties the better, are cut to tiny pieces, combined, and stewed (with some fat, onion, and caraway). The mixture is then finished with the addition of eggs. Bread is served with smaenice. Smažené bedly are fried entire caps of parasol mushrooms covered in breadcrumbs. Černý kuba (meaning “black jimmy”) is a traditional Christmas fasting supper consisting of dried mushrooms and peeled barley. Houbová omáčka (mushroom sauce) is also popular, especially with meat and bread dumplings. Fresh or dried mushrooms complement bramboračka s houbami well (potato soup with mushrooms). Kulajda is a mushroom and cream soup. Because they include a limited quantity of mushrooms, soups and sauces are the most probable forest mushroom dishes to find at a restaurant.

Be cautious if you wish to harvest mushrooms on your own. There are hundreds of kinds, some of which are extremely delicious, some of which are just edible, and others of which are toxic or even lethal. A species is also used as a hallucinogenic drug. A delicious and edible species may resemble a dangerous one. If you are unfamiliar with mushrooms, you should be accompanied by an expert mushroom picker.

Beer snacks

Try traditional beer nibbles, which are sometimes the only meal offered in certain bars (hospoda, pivnice) and are intended to be washed down with a good beer:

  • Utopenec – (Czech for “drowned man”) is a pickled sausage made with onion, garlic, and other vegetables and spices.
  • Zavináč – (rollmop) a rolled-up slice of pickled fish, usually herring or mackerel, stuffed with different pickled vegetables (sauerkraut, onion, sometimes carrot or pepper).
  • Tlačenka s cibulí – (brawn with onion) a piece of haggis-like beef pudding topped with fresh onion slices. Because of the vinegar, it may be very acidic.
  • Nakládaný Hermelín is a pickled Brie-like cheese that is often seasoned with garlic and chilli.
  • Pivní sýr is a soft cheese with a strong, Cheddar-like flavor. You should mash the cheese with a splash of beer and serve it on traditional Czech bread – Šumava (the name of a region in South Bohemia) is the most popular bread, a very delicious thick loaf made from rye and carroway seeds.
  • Tvarůžky or Syrečky – Traditional cheese with a powerful fragrance and a flavor that must be acquired. Often deep-fried, but may be eaten on its own with chopped onion, mustard, and toast. Beer is sometimes added to the marinade (‘syreky v pivu’). This cheese has virtually little fat by nature (less than 1 percent ).
  • Romadur – Cheese with a pungent fragrance that is typical. Aroma and Tvarky are similar, but Romadur is a distinct kind of cheese.
  • Matesy s cibulí – Cold fish (soused herring) served with onions.

If you want a warm, larger, and more complex dinner that goes well with beer, try some of the traditional Czech dishes made with fatty meat (pork, duck, or goose) with sauerkraut and knedlky (dumplings). A whole pork knee with horseradish and bread (ovarové koleno s kenem) is another great choice.

Sweets

Czechs like sweets, but their purchasing habits vary from those of France, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Some traditional delicacies have become mass-market productions for visitors, while others are very difficult to obtain.

On the street

  • Lázeňské oplatky – Spa wafers from Mariánské Lázn and Karlovy Vary (important spa towns in Western Bohemia known by their German names of Marienbad and Karlsbad) are intended to be eaten while “taking the waters” at a spa, but they’re as delicious on their own. Other notable spas include Karlova Studánka (a favorite destination of former Czechoslovakian President Václav Havel), Frantikovy Lázn, Jánské Lázn, Karviná, Teplice, and Luhaovice. They are most readily found not just in spa destinations, but also in Prague. You may eat them straight from the package or cooked and iced with sugar, cinnamon, and other spices.
  • Trdlo or trdelník – is offered at specific sell-points across Prague’s streets. It’s an egg and flour sweet roll in the manner of the Middle Ages.

In restaurants

  • Jablkový závin or štrůdl, – Apple strudel, also known as jablkov závin or trdl, is often served warm with whipped cream.
  • Medovník – a newbie who has rapidly spread across most eateries A gingerbread, honey, and walnut-filled brown high cake.
  • Ovocné knedlíky – Fruit-stuffed dumplings that may be served as a main dish or as a substantial dessert. The smaller ones (‘tvarohové’) have plum, apple, or apricot filling, while the larger ones (‘kynuté’) have strawberries, blueberries, povidla (plum jam), or other fruits. Knedlky are served with melted butter, tvaroh (curd cheese) and sugar icing, and whipped cream on top.
  • Palačinka – Unlike French crepes, these pancakes are typically thicker and offered with a variety of fillings such as chocolate, ice cream, fruit, and whipped cream.

Cukrárna

Try the vast range of delicious cream cakes often available in a Kavárna (a café) or a Cukrárna (a bakery) (a shop which sells all things sweet together with ice cream and drinks, found throughout the Czech Republic and often the only place open in small towns and villages on Sundays). Due to their common history as part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, Czech cakes are comparable to their Viennese counterparts. Try Vdeská káva (Viennese coffee), which is served with a mountain of whipped cream.

  • Rakvička (literally, a little coffin) is a light, crispy cookie with cream.
  • Větrník is a circular cream cake in the manner of a French éclair,
  • Punčák is a sugar-glazed rum-soaked yellow/pink biscuit cake.
  • Laskonka is a sandwich cake made with coconut and cream, among other things.

Home made

  • Bábovka – Bábovka is a classic cake that is similar to marble cake in that it is quite dry and is typically served sprinkled with icing sugar.
  • Buchty are traditional buns filled with tvaroh (curd cheese), mák (poppy seeds), or povidla (plum jam)
  • Koláče – popular flat tarts covered with a variety of sweet fillings such as tvaroh, povidla, mák, fruit jams, chopped apples, and almonds. Their size varies from bite-sized (‘svatebn koláky’) to pizza-sized (‘Chodsk kolá’ or ‘frgál’), with numerous ingredients mixed into an intricate design.

Vegetarian food

It is no longer as difficult to get a vegetarian dinner in the Czech Republic as it previously was. Most restaurant menus, at least in tourist regions like as Prague and the Bohemian Paradise, have a vegetarian meals category (bezmasá jdla or vegetariánská jdla) with 2-3 choices. People’s interpretations of’vegetarian’ vary, and it’s not unusual to see dishes like “broccoli bacon” or prawns labeled as “vegetarian dinners.” Vegetarian options in traditional restaurants are generally restricted to fried cheese, dumplings (knedlky), omelette, potatoes (boiled, baked, fried, or as ‘potato pancakes,’ and sometimes a Greek salad or cooked vegetables. Be aware that vegetables must almost always be ordered separately, even if they seem to be part of the dish: for example, the vegetables mentioned in a menu item named “potato pancakes with vegetables” are most often a garniture consisting of a few lettuce leaves and a slice of tomato.

Foreign cuisine restaurants, mainly Italian and Chinese, may offer meatless meals such as vegetarian spaghetti in larger cities.

Drinks in Czech Republic

Beer

The Czech Republic is the birthplace of modern beer (pivo in Czech) (in Plze). Czechs are the world’s biggest beer consumers, consuming about 160 litres per capita each year. It’s a necessity to stop by a cozy Czech bar for supper and a few drinks!

Pilsner Urquell (Plzesk Prazdroj), Budweiser Budvar (Budjovick Budvar), and Staropramen are the most well-known export brands (freely translatable as “Oldspring”). Other well-known native brands include Gambrinus, Kozel, Bernard (a tiny traditional brewery with extremely high quality beer), Radegast, and Starobrno (made in Brno, the capital of Moravia). Svijany and Dobanská Hvzda are two more excellent beers to try. Although many Czechs are picky about beer brands, visitors seldom notice a major difference. Remember that genuine Czech beer is only available on tap – bottled beer is a whole other experience. High-quality beer is almost likely available at a hospoda or hostinec, which are simple taverns that offer just beer and light food. Take a seat and order your drinks when the waiter arrives – coming to the bar to order drinks is a British tradition! But beware: the beer’s handling is much more essential than its brand. Even the best beer may be ruined by a lousy bartender. The best option is to ask local beer connoisseurs for recommendations or just join them.

Beers are often categorized based on their initial sugar content, which is measured in Plato degrees (P/°). The change is most noticeable in the final alcohol concentration. Normal beer is about 10° (such as Gambrinus and Staropramen, which have a 4 percent ABV), while lager is at 12°. (such as Pilsner Urquell, which results in about 4.75 percent ABV). The latter is more powerful and more costly, so mention which one you want when you place your purchase.

Czech beer is not like the effervescent lagers seen in other nations. Instead, it has a robust, hoppy, almost bitter flavor that pairs nicely with heavier meals such as duck or pig with dumplings or strong cheeses. When it is served, it always has a thick head on top, but do not be afraid to drink “through” it; it is fun and it slowly disappears anyway; however, do not drink the beer too slowly as the fresh cold taste (especially in hot summers) quickly fades – the “true” Czech connoisseurs do not even finish this “tepid goat,” as they call it.

The correct beer is only available in half-litre brown glass bottles with a sheet-crown top when purchased in a store. Experienced earthy beer consumers consume it straight from the bottle. Some brewers also distribute large (two-liter or 1.5-liter) plastic bottles, although these are regarded barbaric and degraded by Czechs, and the better breweries mock such a practice. Sheet-can beer is also regarded as an alien.

Wine

Wine (vno in Czech) is another popular beverage, especially wine from Moravia in the country’s south-eastern region, where the climate is more suited to vineyards. White wines are often the best since growing circumstances are more favorable for them. Try Veltlínské zelené (Green Veltliner), Muškát moravský (Moravian Muscatel), Ryzlink rýnský (Rhine Riesling), or Tramín (Traminer) for white wines, or Frankovka (Blaufrankisch), Modrý Portugal (Blue Portugal, called for the grape, not the nation), or Svatovavřinecké for red wines (Saint Lawrence). Try ice wine (ledové vno), which is produced after the grapes have frozen on the vines, or straw wine (slámové vno), which is made by allowing the grapes to mature on straw) – these wines are more costly and taste similar to dessert wines. Bohemia Sekt, a sweet, fizzy wine akin to Lambrusco that is popular among Czechs, is also popular during festivities. A wine bar (vinárna) or a wine store (vinotéka), which occasionally includes a small bar area, are the finest locations to get wine.

Spirits

Becherovka (herb liqueur, comparable to Jägermeister, tastes of cloves and cinnamon, and is drank as a digestive), slivovice (plum brandy, extremely popular as a pick-me-up), hruškovice(pear brandy, less fiery than Slivovice), and other spirits are available. Almost every kind of fruit may be used to make spirits (Plums, Peaches, Cherries, Sloes, etc.). Czech tuzemský rum (produced from sugar beet, not sugar cane as in Cuban rum, and marketed under names such as Tuzemák to comply with EU market regulations). Be cautious since they are all around 40% alcohol.

Non-alcoholic

Fruit sparkling waters (as well as coke waters) are often referred to as limonáda in Bohemia or sodovka in Moravia. Draught “limonades” of different varieties used to be a relatively inexpensive and widely accessible beverage in common taverns in rural and trekking regions. Now, more costly “Cola-Fanta-Sprite” options like draught or bottle Kofola are typically available. Kofola, a coke-like drink, is very popular, and some Czechs consider it to be the greatest thing the communists ever given them.

Mineral waters are popular, although they have a distinct mineral flavor. Try Mattoni or Magnesia, both of which taste like regular water but promise to be beneficial to your health. Ask for perlivá if you want bubbles. Ask for neperlivá if you don’t want it carbonated. Jemn perlivá – “lightly bubbled” water – may be seen from time to time. Many restaurants do not distinguish between “sparkling water” and “sparkling mineral water.” Sparkling water (without flavor) is known in Bohemia as sodovka (sodová voda, soda water) and in Moravia as sifon.

Typically, certain fruit juices are also available.

Tea and coffee are also available at most restaurants and bars. The bacis type of coffee is turecká káva (Turkish coffee) with grounds, although drip coffee, instant coffee, or milky coffee, particularly with whipping cream (vdeská káva, Viennese coffee) are also available. A broader selection is available at cafés (kavárna) or tea rooms (ajovna). Cofes are frequented by elders, women, and intellectuals; tea rooms have an easterly ambiance and have been popular with non-alcoholic young people in recent decades.

Cold and hot non-alcoholic drinks are provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week at vending machines at numerous railway and metro stations and other locations.

Others

Restaurants and bars do not provide complimentary water. Not surprisingly, since beer is the national drink, it is generally the cheapest drink you can purchase, with costs ranging from 15–60 K (€0.50-2) per half litre, depending on the pub’s tourist appeal. Drinks are delivered to your table, and each one is typically recorded on a tiny piece of paper that is placed on the table in front of you so you can keep track of what you’ve consumed. When you’re ready to go, ask the waiter for the bill; he or she will figure it out based on the amount of marks on the page. In crowded bars, it is customary for people to share tables, and before they sit, Czechs will inquire Je tu volno? (Is this seat free?).

Try svařák, hot mulled wine offered in all pubs and at Christmas markets, grog, hot rum and water served with a slice of lemon – add sugar to taste, and medovina, mead, which is often served hot and is especially excellent for warming up during a chilly winter market. Finally, if you’re planning a trip to Moravia, try burčák, a summer or early fall specialty. It is a very young wine, typically white, that is hazy and still fermenting during the time when the wine is very sweet and smooth to sip. It ferments in the stomach, so the alcohol level at the moment of consumption is unclear, but it is typically high, sneaks up on you, and is extremely moreish. Czechs believe that it should only be consumed fresh from the vineyard, and many tiny private winemakers are devoted to it, staying up late waiting for the wine to reach the “burák” stage. It may be found at wine festivals throughout the nation, as well as markets and wine bars.

Money & Shopping in Czech Republic

Currency

The Czech Republic’s currency is the koruna (crown), plural koruny or korun. The currency sign K (for Koruna eská) is used both globally and locally, while the currency code CZK is often used both internationally and locally. However, it is more common to see quantities written as “37,-” with no “Kč” appended at all. One koruna is made up of 100 halé (haléřů), (used to be shortened to hal.), but from October 2008, coins have only been produced in full koruna values.

Coins are available in denominations of 1 Kč, 2 Kč, 5 Kč (all stainless steel), 10 Kč (copper-colored), 20 Kč (brass-colored), and 50 Kč (copper-colored ring, brass-colored center). Notes are available in denominations of 100 Kč (aqua), 200 Kč (orange), 500 Kč (red), 1000 Kč (purple), 2000 Kč (olive green), and 5000 Kč. (green-purple). Keep in mind that all 20 Kč and 50 Kč banknotes, halé coins, and older-style 1000 Kč and 5000 Kč banknotes from 1993 are no longer legal tender.

Some significant shops (mostly larger chains) take euros, and it’s also quite usual for lodging providers to offer prices in euros. Although change is provided in euros in shopping areas near the Austrian border and at fuel stations across the nation, supermarkets and comparable shops in central Prague (and presumably other cities) return just Kč, despite accepting euros.

Currency exchange

Never exchange money while walking along the street. Also, if you’re in Prague, avoid exchanging your money in tourist-oriented exchange offices. There is no “black market” with higher rates, but you are likely to wind up with a roll of useless paper. When exchanging money at a tiny exchange kiosk, use extreme caution. They attempt to employ deception in order to provide you with a poor exchange rate. Request the entire amount you will get and recalculate it yourself. Do not put your faith in large letter signs that say “0 percent commission” (often there is an “only when selling CZK” amendment in small letters, and buying CZK still includes a commission).

In general, exchange offices in airports, train stations, and major tourist streets do not provide competitive rates. Locals exchange money in exchange offices in less-frequently visited locations, such as the “Politickch vz,” “Opletalova,” or “Kaprova” streets. In certain instances, utilizing ATMs instead of converting cash may result in a higher rate. At a pinch, you may also try a bank like eská spoitelna – there will be a little fee, but the rates are considerably better than in the “tourist trap” exchange offices.

Major businesses across the nation, as well as all tourist shops in Prague, accept Visa and EC/MC.

Tipping

Although tipping is traditional in the Czech Republic, it has nothing to do with the amount of the bill and is more of a token of gratitude. To make the bill even, it is customary to round it up by a few crowns. Aside from locations frequented by foreigners, leaving a “tip” on a table after a meal at a restaurant is not the norm; in fact, locals may protest to it.

Tipping at tourist restaurants is customarily 10% and is not usually included to the bill. Don’t be misled by the percentage numbers at the bottom of the bill; according to Czech legislation, a receipt must indicate the VAT paid (21 percent in most instances) – the VAT is already included in the final price, and you should add 10% to this. It is customary to leave a gratuity for the waiter before leaving the table. Tipping is not required; if you were dissatisfied with the services provided, do not tip.

Traditions & Customs in Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is a country in Central Europe, along with Slovakia, Austria, Poland, and Hungary. It is often erroneously referred to as a “Eastern European” nation in Western Europe and North America, and most Czechs are extremely sensitive about this—many would even pre-empt the ignorance of certain visitors by asking, “What region of Europe would you say the Czech Republic is in?” Answer “Central Europe,” not “Eastern Europe,” to be on their good side!

Czechs dislike it when outsiders mistakenly believe that their nation was a member of the Soviet Union or the Russian Empire – both of which are untrue – despite the fact that it was a part of the Soviet Bloc and, before 1918, an Austro-Hungarian province. Commenting on how “everything is very inexpensive here” seems to be dismissive of the country’s economic situation.

If you are educated about the Czechoslovakian communist government after WWII, keep in mind that this is still a sensitive topic for many people, and it is easy to offend people in conversations about it.

Czechs are among the world’s most godless population. This is particularly true in big Bohemian cities. Don’t assume that anybody you don’t know believes in God or is a Christian. Respect it, and your religion will be honored as well.

When entering and leaving a small business, always say hello (Dobr den) and farewell (Na shledanou).

When eating with a host’s family at a restaurant, it is usual for them to pick up the bill, which is contrary to most Western norms. Don’t expect them to, but don’t be shocked if they do.

Always remove your shoes before entering a Czech home. When entering the home, Czechs typically wear slippers or sandals rather than their outside shoes. Depending on how traditional the host family is, they may insist on you changing into house shoes right away as a hygiene precaution, but this is uncommon. They will, at the absolute least, give you some to keep your feet warm.

When asking for directions, referring to Czech cities and localities by their previous German names (e.g., Budweis instead of eské Budjovice) may create confusion and be seen as insulting and disrespectful to the Czech people.

Moravia

The overwhelming majority of Moravians are not offended by the term “Czechs,” and consider themselves to be both. If you are learning Czech, be aware of the intricacies and subtle distinctions between the words Čechy (Bohemia) and Česko (Czech Republic) (Czech Republic). A Moravian may object to the word Čechy (Bohemia) being used to refer to the whole Czech Republic, much as a Welshman would object to his nation being called England. Because there are no major separatist groups in Moravia, and there is no ethnic strife, it is much more probable that you will be showered with love and loaded with wine just for attempting to speak Czech.

Culture Of Czech Republic

Art

The Czech Republic is famous throughout the globe for its handcrafted, mouth-blown, and hand-decorated art glass and crystal. Alphonse Mucha (1860–1939) was a well-known Czech painter and decorative artist, best known for his art nouveau posters and his cycle of 20 huge paintings titled the Slav Epic, which depicted the history of Czechs and other Slavs. As of 2012, the Slav Epic may be viewed at the Veletrn Palace of the National Gallery in Prague, which houses the Czech Republic’s biggest art collection.

Architecture

The oldest surviving stone structures in Bohemia and Moravia are from the 9th and 10th centuries, during the period of Christianization. The Czech territories have used the same architectural styles as the rest of Western and Central Europe since the Middle Ages. The Romanesque style was used to build the oldest still surviving churches. It was superseded by the Gothic style in the 13th century. In the 14th century, Emperor Charles IV brought renowned French and German builders, Matthias of Arras and Peter Parler, to his court in Prague. During the Middle Ages, the monarch and nobility constructed several fortified castles, as well as many monasteries. Many of them were damaged or destroyed during the Hussite wars.

The Renaissance style crept into the Bohemian Crown in the late 15th century, when the earlier Gothic style was gradually blended with Renaissance features (architects Matj Rejsek, Benedikt Rejt). The Royal Summer Palace, located in a freshly created garden of Prague Castle, is an excellent example of pure Renaissance architecture in Bohemia. Spacious châteaux with beautiful arcade courtyards and geometrically organized gardens are evidence of the widespread acceptance of the Renaissance in Bohemia, which included a large inflow of Italian architects. The emphasis was on comfort, and structures designed for amusement purposes also emerged.

The Baroque style expanded across the Crown of Bohemia in the 17th century. The architectural designs of the Czech nobleman and imperial generalissimo Albrecht von Wallenstein from the 1620s are particularly noteworthy. Andrea Spezza and Giovanni Pieroni, his architects, represented the most current Italian manufacturing while also being extremely creative. Czech Baroque architecture is regarded as a distinct element of European cultural heritage due to its breadth and exceptionality. The Bohemian lands were one of the main creative hubs of the Baroque style in the first part of the 18th century. The evolution of the Radical Baroque style established in Italy by Francesco Borromini and Guarino Guarini in a highly unique manner was finished in Bohemia. Jean-Baptiste Mathey, Frantiek Maxmilián Kaka, Christoph Dientzenhofer, and his son Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer were among the leading architects of the Bohemian Baroque.

Bohemia created an architectural oddity in the 18th century – the Baroque Gothic style, a fusion of the Gothic and Baroque styles. This was not just a return to Gothic elements, but a whole new Baroque metamorphosis. Jan Blaej Santini-Aichel was the primary exponent and creator of this style, who utilized it to renovate medieval monastery structures.

The revival architectural styles were extremely popular in the Bohemian monarchy throughout the nineteenth century. Numerous churches were restored to their supposed medieval look, and many new structures in the Neo-Romanesque, Neo-Gothic, and Neo-Renaissance styles were built. At the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century, a new art style – Art Nouveau – emerged in the Czech lands. The most well-known Czech Art Nouveau architects were Osvald Polvka, who built the Municipal House in Prague, Josef Fanta, who designed the Prague Main Railway Station, and Jan Kotra.

When Czech architects tried to translate the Cubism of art and sculpture into building, they added a unique style to the world’s architectural history. During the early years of independent Czechoslovakia (after 1918), a distinctively Czech architectural style known as ‘Rondo-Cubism’ emerged. It is unmatched in the world, together with pre-war Czech Cubist architecture. T. G. Masaryk, the first Czechoslovak president, brought renowned Slovene architect Joe Plenik to Prague, where he renovated the Castle and constructed several other structures. Functionalism, with its austere, progressive shapes, took over as the dominant architectural style in the newly formed Czechoslovak Republic between World Wars I and II. One of the most remarkable functionalist masterpieces has been maintained in Brno – Villa Tugendhat, built by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Adolf Loos, Pavel Janák, and Josef Goár were the most important Czech architects of the time.

Following World War II and the Communist takeover in 1948, Czechoslovakian art was heavily influenced by the Soviet Union. The Hotel International in Prague is a stunning example of so-called Socialist realism, the Stalinist art style popular in the 1950s. The Brussels style (named after the Brussels World’s Fair Expo 58) was a Czechoslovak avant-garde creative trend that gained popularity during the 1960s political liberalization of Czechoslovakia.

Even now, the Czech Republic does not shy away from the most cutting-edge international architectural styles. A number of projects by world-renowned architects testify to this reality (Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, Ricardo Bofill, and John Pawson). There are also modern Czech architects whose work can be found all over the globe (Eva Jiiná, Jan Kaplick, for example).

Music

The musical history of the Czech lands originated from the earliest church hymns, the first traces of which can be found between the 10th and 11th centuries. The first significant pieces of Czech music include two chorales, which served as anthems in their day: “Hospodine pomiluj ny” (Lord, Have Mercy on Us) from around 1050, unquestionably the oldest and most faithfully preserved popular spiritual song to have survived to the present, and the hymn “Svat Václave” (Saint Wenceslas) or “Saint Wenceslas Chorale” from around 1250. Its origins may be traced back to the 12th century, and it remains one of the most popular religious hymns to this day. The song was considered as a potential option for the Czechoslovak national anthem in 1918, during the start of the Czechoslovak state. Some historians attribute the hymn “Lord, Have Mercy on Us” to Saint Adalbert of Prague (sv.Vojtch), bishop of Prague who lived between 956 and 997.

The richness of musical culture in the Czech Republic is rooted in a long-standing high-culture classical music heritage spanning all historical eras, particularly in Baroque, Classicism, Romantic, and contemporary classical music, as well as traditional folk music from Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia. Czech artists and composers have been inspired by real folk music from the early days of artificial music (e.g. polka which originated in Bohemia). Among the most notable Czech composers include Adam Michna, Jan Dismas Zelenka, Jan Václav Antonn Stamic, Ji Antonn Benda, Jan Ktitel Vahal, Josef Mysliveek, Antonn Rejcha, Bedich Smetana, Antonn Dvoák, Gustav Mahler, Josef Suk, Leo Janáek, Bohuslav Martin, Alois Hába, Miloslav Kabelá and Petr Eben, not

Czech music may be regarded helpful in both the European and global contexts, having co-determined or even determined a newly coming period in musical art, most notably the Classical era, as well as by original attitudes in Baroque, Romantic, and contemporary classical music.

The most well-known music festival in the country is the Prague Spring International Music Festival of Classical Music, which serves as a permanent platform for the world’s best performing artists, symphony orchestras, and chamber music groups.

In 2007, the Czech Republic became the first country to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest. They qualified for the grand final for the first time in 2016, finishing 25th.

Theatre

Czech theatre has its origins in the Middle Ages, namely in the cultural life of the Gothic era. The theatre had a significant role in the national awakening movement in the nineteenth century, and it subsequently became a component of contemporary European theatrical art in the twentieth century. The original Czech cultural phenomena emerged towards the end of the 1950s. Laterna magika (The Magic Lantern) was the idea of famous cinema and theater director Alfred Radok, resulting in performances that merged theater, dance, and film in a lyrical way, and is widely regarded as the first multimedia art project in the worldwide arena.

Film

The Czech cinematographic heritage began in the second half of the 1890s. Peaks of production during the silent period include the historical drama “The Builder of the Temple,” as well as the social and sexual (quite controversial and original at the time) play “Erotikon,” directed by Gustav Machat. Early sound film era of Czech film was very productive, especially in mainstream genres with special roles of comedies by Martin Fri or Karel Lama, but drammatic movies, especially famous romantic drama film “Ecstasy” by Gustav Machat, and romantic “The River” by Josef Rovensk, were more internationally successful.

After the repressive period of Nazi occupation of the country and early communist official dramaturgy of socialist realism in movies at the turn of the 1940s and 1950s, with a few exceptions such as “Krakatit” by Otakar Vávra or “Men without wings” by Frantiek áp (awarded the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or in 1946), a new era of Czech film began with outstanding animated films by important film directors. At the end of the 1950s, another Czech cultural phenomena emerged. Laterna magika (The Magic Lantern), a project that resulted in performances that integrated theater, dance, and cinema in a poetic way, is regarded as the first multimedia art project in an international setting (mentioned also in “Theatre section” above).

The so-called Czech New Wave (also Czechoslovak New Wave) gained worldwide recognition in the 1960s. Milo Forman, Vra Chytilová, Ji Menzel, Ján Kadár, Elmar Klos, Evald Schorm, Vojtch Jasn, Ivan Passer, Jan Schmidt, Juraj Herz, Jan Nmec, Jaroslav Papouek, and others are associated with it. Long, sometimes spontaneous conversations, dark and bizarre comedy, and the occupation of non-actors were hallmarks of this movement’s films. Directors strive to maintain natural mood while avoiding polish and artificial scene layout. The director Frantiek Vláil is a distinctive personality of the 1960s and early 1970s with original text, profound psychological effect, and exceptionally high quality art. Marketa Lazarová, dol vel (“The Valley of the Bees”), and Adelheid are among the aesthetic high points of Czech movie production. In a renowned 1998 survey of Czech cinema critics and publicists, the film “Marketa Lazarová” was named the all-time greatest Czech film. Jan vankmajer, a filmmaker and artist whose work crosses many mediums, is another globally well-known author (at the beginning of his career, he was associated with the above-mentioned project “Laterna Magika”). He is a self-described surrealist renowned for his cartoons and features, which have inspired numerous artists across the globe.

The films The Shop on Main Street (1965), Closely Watched Trains (1967), and Kolya (1996) won Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, while six others were nominated: Loves of a Blonde (1966), The Fireman’s Ball (1968), My Sweet Little Village (1986), The Elementary School (1991), Divided We Fall (2000), and (2003). The Czech Lion is the highest honor bestowed for Czech filmmaking accomplishment.

The Barrandov Studios in Prague are the nation’s biggest film studios and one of the largest in Europe, with numerous famous film locations around the country. Filmmakers have flocked to Prague to film scenery that is no longer available in Berlin, Paris, or Vienna. The city of Karlovy Vary served as a backdrop for the James Bond film Casino Royale, which was released in 2006.

The Karlovy Vary International Cinema Festival is one of the oldest in the world and has grown to become the premier film festival in Central and Eastern Europe. It is also one of the few film festivals that has received competitive status from the FIAPF. Febiofest, Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, One World Film Festival, Zln Film Festival, and Fresh Film Festival are among the other film festivals conducted in the country.

Cuisine

The Czech cinematographic heritage began in the second half of the 1890s. Peaks of production during the silent period include the historical drama “The Builder of the Temple,” as well as the social and sexual (quite controversial and original at the time) play “Erotikon,” directed by Gustav Machat. Early sound film era of Czech film was very productive, especially in mainstream genres with special roles of comedies by Martin Fri or Karel Lama, but drammatic movies, especially famous romantic drama film “Ecstasy” by Gustav Machat, and romantic “The River” by Josef Rovensk, were more internationally successful.

After the repressive period of Nazi occupation of the country and early communist official dramaturgy of socialist realism in movies at the turn of the 1940s and 1950s, with a few exceptions such as “Krakatit” by Otakar Vávra or “Men without wings” by Frantiek áp (awarded the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or in 1946), a new era of Czech film began with outstanding animated films by important film directors. At the end of the 1950s, another Czech cultural phenomena emerged. Laterna magika (The Magic Lantern), a project that resulted in performances that integrated theater, dance, and cinema in a poetic way, is regarded as the first multimedia art project in an international setting (mentioned also in “Theatre section” above).

The so-called Czech New Wave (also Czechoslovak New Wave) gained worldwide recognition in the 1960s. Milo Forman, Vra Chytilová, Ji Menzel, Ján Kadár, Elmar Klos, Evald Schorm, Vojtch Jasn, Ivan Passer, Jan Schmidt, Juraj Herz, Jan Nmec, Jaroslav Papouek, and others are associated with it. Long, sometimes spontaneous conversations, dark and bizarre comedy, and the occupation of non-actors were hallmarks of this movement’s films. Directors strive to maintain natural mood while avoiding polish and artificial scene layout. The director Frantiek Vláil is a distinctive personality of the 1960s and early 1970s with original text, profound psychological effect, and exceptionally high quality art. Marketa Lazarová, dol vel (“The Valley of the Bees”), and Adelheid are among the aesthetic high points of Czech movie production. In a renowned 1998 survey of Czech cinema critics and publicists, the film “Marketa Lazarová” was named the all-time greatest Czech film. Jan vankmajer, a filmmaker and artist whose work crosses many mediums, is another globally well-known author (at the beginning of his career, he was associated with the above-mentioned project “Laterna Magika”). He is a self-described surrealist renowned for his cartoons and features, which have inspired numerous artists across the globe.

The films The Shop on Main Street (1965), Closely Watched Trains (1967), and Kolya (1996) won Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, while six others were nominated: Loves of a Blonde (1966), The Fireman’s Ball (1968), My Sweet Little Village (1986), The Elementary School (1991), Divided We Fall (2000), and (2003). The Czech Lion is the highest honor bestowed for Czech filmmaking accomplishment.

The Barrandov Studios in Prague are the nation’s biggest film studios and one of the largest in Europe, with numerous famous film locations around the country. Filmmakers have flocked to Prague to film scenery that is no longer available in Berlin, Paris, or Vienna. The city of Karlovy Vary served as a backdrop for the James Bond film Casino Royale, which was released in 2006.

The Karlovy Vary International Cinema Festival is one of the oldest in the world and has grown to become the premier film festival in Central and Eastern Europe. It is also one of the few film festivals that has received competitive status from the FIAPF. Febiofest, Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, One World Film Festival, Zln Film Festival, and Fresh Film Festival are among the other film festivals conducted in the country.

There’s also a wide selection of regional sausages, wurst, pâtés, and smoked and cured meats. Whipped cream, chocolate, and fruit pastries and tarts, crêpes, creme desserts and cheese, poppy-seed-filled and other kinds of traditional cakes such as buchty, koláe, and trdl are all popular Czech sweets.

Sports

Many Czechs are fans of their favorite teams or people, and sports play an important role in their lives. Ice hockey and football are the two most popular sports in the Czech Republic. Tennis is a prominent sport in the Czech Republic as well. Basketball, volleyball, team handball, track and field athletics, and floorball are among the many other sports with professional leagues and organizations. The Czech ice hockey team won gold at the 1998 Winter Olympics and has won twelve gold medals at the World Championships (including six as Czechoslovakia), including three consecutive gold medals from 1999 to 2001. In all, the nation has 14 gold medals from the summer Olympics (plus 49 as Czechoslovakia) and five gold medals from the winter Olympics (plus two as Czechoslovakia).

Czechoslovakia’s national football team was a regular performer on the international stage, appearing in eight FIFA World Cup Finals and finished second in 1934 and 1962. In addition, the squad won the European Football Championship in 1976, finished third in 1980, and earned Olympic gold in 1980. Following Czechoslovakia’s breakup, the Czech national football team finished second (1996) and third (2004) in the European Football Championship.

Sport generates powerful surges of patriotism, which typically peak several days or weeks before an event. The Ice Hockey World Championships, Olympic Ice Hockey Tournament, UEFA European Football Championship, UEFA Champions League, FIFA World Cup, and qualifying matches for similar tournaments are regarded the most significant among Czech supporters. In general, every international match involving the Czech national ice hockey or football teams garners interest, particularly when it is played against a long-standing opponent.

Tennis players from the Czech Republic include Tomá Berdych, Lucie afáová, Kvta Peschke, Wimbledon Women’s Singles champions Petra Kvitova and Jana Novotná, 8-time Grand Slam singles champion Ivan Lendl, and 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova.

Hiking is a prominent Czech sport, particularly in the Czech highlands. The Czech term for “tourist,” turista, also means “trekker” or “hiker.” For novices, there is a one-of-a-kind waymarking system, one of the finest in Europe, owing to the more than 120-year-old history. A network of about 40,000 km of designated short- and long-distance trails traverses the whole nation and all of the Czech highlands.

The Czech Republic men’s national volleyball team won a silver medal at the 1964 Summer Olympics and two gold medals at the FIVB Volleyball World Championships in 1956 and 1966.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Czech Republic

Stay Safe in Czech Republic

Taxi drivers: Caution: Before using a cab or using a reliable business, negotiate the price (e.g. Liftago, Uber). Taxi drivers in Prague are notorious for driving you the longest route possible in order to make more money. The Prague City Council has enacted new rules that require all legal cabs to be painted yellow. Public transit is also extremely inexpensive, quick, and dependable. In Prague, the metro operates until midnight, and night trams run all night, all of which congregate at Lazarská, a major tram station.

Pickpockets: Keep an eye on your pockets, particularly if there is a throng (sights, subway, trams, in particular numbers 9, 10 and 22) Keep an eye out for huge crowds crowding you. Be wary of pickpocket gangs operating in Prague: they are mostly male, but women are sometimes present; all are very overweight and depend on their sheer bulk and quantity to confuse visitors. They typically run on the trams 9, 10, and 22, as well as the major metro stations, usually just as passengers get on and off or on the escalators. Do not take out your tickets until explicitly instructed to do so. Also, keep your wallet and money securely secured and separate at all times. Don’t confront them since they may get hostile, but keep a watch out for them. Pickpocketing prosecutions are uncommon since the authorities must capture the pickpocket in the act of committing a crime.

Prostitution: In the Czech Republic, prostitution is not prohibited. However, as a legal business, prostitution does not exist. Prostitutes do not pay taxes, and the state does not control prostitution. The health risk is particularly significant in low-cost brothels or on the street. There have also been reports of prostitutes giving their clients a drink laced with sleeping drugs and then taking everything from them. Pay attention to the prostitute’s age; paying a person under the age of 18 for sex is a criminal crime (otherwise the age of consent is 15).

Marijuana: Marijuana is basically illegal in the Czech Republic, but it is quite popular especially among young people. In case the police catch you smoking or possessing marijuana, you want to be very polite with them. The reason is that by the current law, possessing only a “larger than small” amount of marijuana is a criminal offence. A “larger than small” amount of marijuana is defined as more than 15 g.

Ghetto-like localities inhabited prevalently by pure gypsies are feared also by common fellow citizens. In such places, there is somewhat increased danger of pockets, robbery or rape. Whole quarters are affected in some cities of North Bohemia (Most, Litvínov, Ústí nad Labem) or in Ostrava. In last decades, number of homeless people occupying many outlying areas permanently increase but they are not very dangerous usually.

Stay Healthy in Czech Republic

Over-the-counter medicines, such as aspirin, are not sold in grocery shops. You must visit a pharmacy (lékárna), which is typically open from 08:00 to 19:00 Monday through Friday. In larger cities, there are 24-hour pharmacies, and you should be able to locate an address for the nearest one to you displayed in the window of the nearest drugstore to you. If you’re in Prague, the most central 24-hour one is in Prague 2 – on the intersection of Belgická and Rumunská streets – they distribute both prescription and non-prescription medicines out of hours from a tiny window on Rumunská – ring the bell if no one is present.

Tap water is safe to drink, particularly in Prague, but the quantity of chlorine added may be very high in small villages.

Nemocnice na Homolce, Roentgenova 37/2, Prague 5, is a renowned hospital in Prague (tel 257 272 350). There is a foreigners’ clinic (Cizinecké oddlen) with English-speaking receptionists who can help you arrange appointments. The majority of physicians know some English, and the quality of treatment is extremely good.

Ticks (Ixodes ricinus) throughout Central Europe and portions of the Czech Republic may transmit Encephalitis or Lyme Borreliosis. Ticks lurk in grass and shrubs, so remain on paths and check exposed skin after a walk. Encephalitis vaccination is available and recommended. If you wish to go bushwhacking, make sure you have the necessary vaccinations and wear long pants. A decent bug repellent (including DEET) may also be beneficial.

Ticks will attach to any soft, warm, well-perfused region of your body (undersides of knees and elbows, skin around ankles, groins, neck area, behind your ears, etc.) and suck your blood until they develop to approximately 1 cm in size. Never attempt to scratch or pull a tick off since doing so may cause a severe illness. The earlier the tick is removed, the lower the risk of illness. Ask a doctor to remove a tick for you, or do it yourself: grease your finger with any fatty lotion and gently wiggle a tick from side to side until it wobbles free. To prevent infection, never crush or burn it before flushing it down the toilet. Keep an eye on the afflicted area: if you see a larger red patch forming there in the coming months, contact your doctor right once and inform him that you may have acquired Borreliosis. It is hazardous, although it is treatable with medicines in the early stages. Be warned that the American Borreliosis vaccine is unlikely to work against European strains (B. afzelii and B. garini). It is worth noting that ticks may be found in city parks, including those in Prague.

Asia

Africa

South America

Europe

North America

Read Next

Brno

Brno is the second most populous and biggest city in the Czech Republic, the largest Moravian city, and the historical capital of the Margraviate...

Ceske Budejovice

In the Czech Republic, České Budějovice is a statutory city. It is the biggest city in South Bohemia, as well as the region’s political...

Cesky Krumlov

Český Krumlov (German: Krumau) is a lovely town of 14,600 people in Southern Bohemia, Czech Republic. The town, like Prague, is located on the...

Krkonoše

The tallest and most visited mountain range in the Czech Republic is the Krkonoše Mountains (the Giant Mountains). They run along the border with...

Liberec

Liberec is a Czech Republic city. It is the fifth-largest city in the Czech Republic, located on the Lusatian Neisse and flanked by the...

Olomuc

Olomouc (Olomóc or Holomóc in the local dialect, Olmütz in German) contains the Czech Republic’s second biggest and second oldest historic protection zone (after...

Plzen

Plzeň, sometimes known as Pilsen in English and German, is a city in the Czech Republic’s western Bohemia region. Approximately 90 kilometers (56 miles)...

Prague

Prague is the Czech Republic’s capital and biggest city. It is the 14th most populous city in the European Union. It is also Bohemia’s...