The currency of the Czech Republic is the koruna, plural koruny or korun. The currency code CZK is often used both internationally and locally, but the local symbol is Kč (for koruna česká). More often, however, you will see amounts simply chalked up as “37,-” without adding “Kč”. One koruna consists of 100 haléřů, (previously abbreviated to hal. ), but since October 2008, coins have only been issued in whole koruna values.
Coins are issued in 1 Kč, 2 Kč, 5 Kč (all stainless steel), 10 Kč (copper), 20 Kč (copper) and 50 Kč (copper ring, copper core). Banknotes are issued in 100 Kč (aqua), 200 Kč (orange), 500 Kč (red), 1000 Kč (purple), 2000 Kč (olive green) and 5000 Kč (green-purple). Have a look at some sample tickets [www]. Please note that the 20 Kč and 50 Kč banknotes, the haléř coins and the older 1000 Kč and 5000 Kč banknotes from 1993 are not legal tender.
Some department stores (especially large chains) accept euros, and it is also quite common for hosting providers to give the price in euros. Shopping areas along the Austrian border and petrol stations throughout the country give change in euros, but supermarkets and similar shops in the centre of Prague (and probably in other cities as well) only give change in Kč, even if they accept euros.
Never change money on the street. When you are in Prague, do not change money in tourist exchange offices either. The “real” exchange rate you should look for can be found here [www]. There is no “black market” with better rates, but chances are you’ll end up with a worthless roll of paper. Be very careful when changing money at a small exchange kiosk. They will try tricks to get you a bad exchange rate. Ask for the total amount you will receive and do the math yourself. Don’t rely on “0% commission” in big letters (often there is an addition “only for the sale of CZK” in small letters, and buying CZK always involves a commission). This website [www] gives you a good overview of locations and reliable exchange rates.
Generally, exchange offices at airports, train stations and main tourist streets do not offer good rates. Residents exchange money in exchange offices located in less frequented areas, e.g. around the streets “Politických vězňů”, “Opletalova” or “Kaprova”. In some cases, you can get a better rate by using ATMs instead of changing money. You can also try a bank like Česká spořitelna – there is a small commission, but the rates are much better than those of the “tourist trap” exchange offices.
Department stores throughout the country accept Visa and EC/MC cards, as do all tourist shops in Prague.
Although it is customary to tip in the Czech Republic, this has little to do with the size of the note, but is more a sign of appreciation. It is customary to round the note a few crowns to make it equal. Outside of places regularly visited by foreigners, it is not customary to leave a “tip” on the table after a meal in a restaurant; the locals might even object.
The tip in tourist restaurants is 10% and is usually not added to the bill. Don’t be fooled by the percentages at the bottom of the bill – according to Czech law, a receipt must show the VAT paid (21% in most cases) – VAT is already included in the final amount and you must add 10%. It is normal to tip the waiter before you leave the table. Tipping is not obligatory – if you are not satisfied with the service provided, don’t bother tipping.