The Czech Republic Travel Guide

By Admin | Last Updated September 04, 2019

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country, surrounded by Germany in the west, Austria in the south, Slovakia in the east and Poland in the north. The Czech Republic was formally formed on 1st of January 1993. Prague is the capital of Czech Republic. The Republic is also known as Czechia. About 10.6 million tourists visited the Czech Republic in 2018, more the half a million above the number of visitors in 2017. Incidentally, the population of The Czech Republic is also about 10.6 million. The tourist influx is mainly from Germany, making up about 20% of the total, followed by the Slovaks, Polish and the Chinese. Tourists from the USA ranked a close 5th. Internal tourism is also on the rise as the number of Czech tourists and foreign tourists were the same. Booking.com has ranked The Czech Republic as the ‘second most welcoming country’, after Austria. Tourism and travel contributed to 7.8% to the GDP of The Czech Republic.

Though newly formed, The Czech Republic has a rich history of nearly a thousand years. Bohemia, a part of the The Czech Republic, was a force to reckon with in the medieval times. There are 14 UNESCO World Heritage sites in The Czech Republic. Apart from these, the regions of Bohemia and Moravia attract tourists.

Fairy tale medieval castles, national parks, beautiful small towns, historic cities, caves, waterfalls, forts, gardens and natural wonders are all part of The Czech Republic. There is something for everyone. While in The Czech Republic, enjoy and soak in nature. The modern cities and towns, both Baroque and Gothic, have a touch of medieval times in them. Visit the castles, churches, cathedrals. The natural spas are believed to have healing powers. Adventure seekers can have the thrill of kayaking, cycling, trekking, skiing or snowboarding, depending on the seasons. Bohemian history is all around with the charm of Moravia. The icing on the cake is Prague.

The Czech Government officially approved the short name of the The Czech Republic as Czechia in 1993.

Czechia – Quick Facts

  1. Official Name – Czech Republic.
  2. Area - 78867 square kilometers or 30450 square miles.
  3. Population - 10.6 million (2017).
  4. Currency – Czech  Koruna (CZK).
  5. Official Language – Czech.
  6. Capital – Prague.
  7. Government – Unitary Parliamentary Constitutional Republic/
  8. Religion - Of the total population 39.8% are Atheist, 39.2% are Roman Catholics, 4.6% are Protestant.
  9. Main Industries - Engineering, Electronics, Motor Vehicles, Metallurgy, Machinery, Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals.
  10. GDP - $242.052 billion (2018).
  11. Castles – The Czech Republic has more than 1500 castles. There are some unique ones too – Prague Castle is the biggest (in the world too), Orlik is on a volcano above a lake, Cesky Krumlow is perched on a stiff cliff.
  12. Contact Lens and Sugar Cubes were invented by the Czechs.
  13. The Czech Republic has been home to many multinational companies like Mobil, Zara. Bata, Budweiser and Skoda are local to The Czech Republic.
  14. Important cities in Europe like Berlin, Vienna, Budapest, Munich, Milan are easily accessible from The Czech Republic as it is located right in the middle.
  15. The Czechs drink more beer than anyone else in the world.

Top 10 Reasons to Visit The Czech Republic

Castles There are more than 2000 castles in The Czech Republic. Many are in ruins but others are perfect and beautiful. Some of them are oldest in the world. Visit the castle in Prague, the largest in the world.
Architecture & History The Czech Republic has a rich history. The importance of the Moravians and the Bohemians were quite significant in European history. Architecture developed under the many dynastic rules. Palaces and buildings were built in different styles. The towns are magical.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites The 12 sites out of 14 are reasons enough to visit the country. The Czech Republic has more UNESCO sites than Egypt or Thailand or Austria. The sites here are not mere buildings but centers. Cesky Krumlov is an example with city as a whole as UNESCO site.
Spa The spa towns in The Czech Republic are world famous. Mineral springs and natural therapeutic resources not only rejuvenate the body but the soul also. Karlovy Vary not only is a famous spa town but also host International Film Festival. Check out the beer themed spas at Prague.
Beer & Wine The Czechs have the highest per capita consumption of beer in the world. The Czechs have been brewing beer for over a millennium now. Pilsner and Budweiser are famous. With over 19000 hectares of vineyards in Moravia, The Czech Republic is also a leader in fine wine.
Nature The Czech Republic, though a industrialized nation, is a green one too. There are forests, parks, vast countrysides, spectacular landscapes, natural wonders. All these are just a little outside the cities.
Adventure Hike or walk the trails, ski in the Alps, cycle along the picturesque villages, explore the deep caves and visit the natural parks.
Great Prices The Czech Republic is cheaper than most other European countries. Good hotel rooms are available for around 50 Euros while you can satiate your hunger for only as 20 Euros. Beer, here, is the cheapest in Europe. Transportation tickets cost 4 Euros.
Location Located in the heart of Europe, The Czech Republic is easily accessible. You can reach any other European city from Prague within a few hours. Add to that, the transportation system is great.
Peaceful & Safe The Czech Republic is quite peaceful and safe country. Crime rate is low and the Global Peace Index rates The Czech Republic at the 10th position in its list. 
List of Famous Czechs – Sigmund Freud, Oskar Schindler, Milos Forman, Martina Navratilova, Ivan Lendl, Petra Nemcova, Franz Kafka, Gregor Mendel.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in The Czech Republic

  1. The Czech Republic has 14 UNESCO World Heritage sites. But the sites are not of natural wonders or beauty but cultural. One is shared with Germany. The list is as under:
  2. Landscape for Breeding and Training of Ceremonial carriage Horses at Kladruby nad Labem
  3. Erzgebirge / Krusnohori Mining Region
  4. Gardens and Castle at Kromeriz
  5. Historic Center of Prague
  6. Historic Centre of Cesky Krumlov 
  7. Historic Centre of Telc
  8. Holasovice Historical Village Reservation
  9. Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc
  10. Jewish Quarter and St Procopius’ Basilica in Trebic
  11. Kutna Hora - Historical Town Centre with the Church of St Barbara and the Cathedral of Our Lady at Sedlec
  12. Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape
  13. Litomysl Castle
  14. Pilgrimage Church of St John of Nepomuk at Zelena Hora
  15. Tugendhat Villa in Brno

Visa

Schengen Visa is required to visit The Czech Republic. Online application can be made. The processing time is approximately 120 days from the date of the complete application is received (60 days in case of study). After the Embassy receives an approval of your application from the Czech immigration Police, you will be asked to deliver again your passport. The visa will be issued in approximately 3 days’ time.

Customs

The Czech Republic has different rules for tourists from EU countries and non-EU countries. Number of cigarettes/cigarillos, weight of alcohol & alcoholic beverages are different for EU members than non-EU members.  Flowers, food, fruits and medicines are allowed. Other goods of no more than 430 Euros can be taken to The Czech Republic. Animal products are not allowed barring from EU countries and a few other countries. There is however no restrictions in taking out anything from The Czech Republic except heritage/historical materials for which prior approval are needed.

Currencies above 10000 Euros should be declared if travelling to or from countries, other than EU countries.

There is no Airport Tax.

Getting In

Air – The Czech Republic is well connected by air, trains and buses. The capital city of Prague has direct air connections to all major European cities and also with Dubai, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Moscow and New York. Prague’s Vaclav Havel Airport, at about 10 km from the city, is the main airport of The Czech Republic with many low cost airlines of Europe flying in and out of it. There are international airports in Brno, Karlovy Vary, Ostrava and Pardubice. But these small airports cater to European destinations only.

Train – Prague is the main link of the trains connecting The Czech Republic to other European nations. There are direct rail connections to Austria, Belarus, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Russia and Slovakia. The trains are comfortable with modern facilities and reliable. Train travel is also cheaper. Some smaller cities are connected by train to cities of Poland and Slovakia.

Bus – The position of The Czech Republic in central Europe has made it hub of international bus service. Buses run from nearly all countries in Europe. Buses ply from as far as Norway, Estonia and Russia.

Car – The Czech Republic can be accessed by car also. The Schengen Agreement which has made away with checkpoints at borders and good road conditions has made car travel easy in this central European country. You can go to The Czech Republic from any neighboring country by car.

Beware of calling the Czechs as “Czechoslovakians”

Getting Around

Air – Only Ostrava is connected by air to Prague. But airfares are expensive and locals avoid this mode of transport. The national airline of The Czech Republic, CSA Czech Airlines, has terminated all national flights from January’2019.

Train – The Czech Republic is best travelled by train. Along with the national railways, there are other rail service providers. Almost all cities are inter-connected by the railways. The trains are modern, comfortable, reliable and above all, cheap. There are trains connecting the cities and also the city with its suburbs. Drinks and food offered on the trains are affordable. Tickets are available online as well as in counters.

Bus – Even the very small cities are well connected by the bus service. Buses are also comfortable, reliable and cheap too. The locals prefer bus service to the trains. Long distance buses offer entertainment, comfort and free water, tea or coffee.

Car – The Czech cities are well connected by road and you can visit different places by car. There are highways and smaller road too.

Cycle – The Czech Republic is a cycler’s paradise. Pleasant roads along beautiful villages with demarcated cycle tracks make cycling a unique experience. Moreover, trains and some buses have racks to carry the bicycles. But do not drink and drive or cycle. The law is harsh and there are routine checks.

For the adventurous, places in The Czech Republic can be visited on foot. You can get clearly defined and accurate maps. Roads are clearly marked and demarcated with road signs. Another way is hitchhiking though it is illegal on the motorways.

Visiting The Czech Republic in Different Seasons

Spring – March to May is the spring season in The Czech Republic. This is probably the best time to visit the country as weather is excellent and pleasant, very little rainfall, the days are long and there are less crowds. The snows melt by March and flowers start blooming. The Czech countryside is quite attractive at this time. A number of festivals are held in this season.

Summer – June to August, the summer months are the main tourist season. Tourists flock to The Czech Republic as well as other European countries. The days are long and hot with rains in between. Remember to carry a raincoat or umbrella. Prices are higher for everything and important tourist attractions have long queues. But this is the best time to visit the small towns and national parks.

Autumn – The months of September and October are the fall season. This is also the best time to visit The Czech Republic as the weather is great, the crowds have thinned, the rains have subsided. There may be a little chill but now is the time for the spas. The thermal spas of Karlovy Vary are the go to place. Many festivals are held in this time.

Winter – From November to March, it is winter in The Czech Republic. The weather is cold with both rainfall and snowfall. Less tourists means more discounts. Barring the Christmas holidays, everything is cheaper. Visit during the Christmas as Prague, Brno or Olomouc has the finest markets selling different things.

Climate in The Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is a land locked country. The Mediterranean Sea is quite a distance away as is the North Sea. The climate is typical European continental. The summers are warm and dry with cold winters. Winter temperatures sometimes drop below the freezing point with cold winds and snowfall. The lowland areas also experience snowfall in winter. January is the coolest month. Summers are warm and mostly dry with July being the warmest month. May to September are the summer months which have warm days and cool nights though there can be sudden rains and thunderstorms. Rains are more in spring, autumns are wet and chilly with some sunshine too and winters cold with snowfall.

Month Temperature (Max / Min) in °C Rainfall (Days / mm)
January 2 / -4 20 / 12
February 4 / -3 20 / 15
March 8 / 0 28 / 16
April 14 / 04 33 / 16
May   18 / 08 69 / 17
June 21 / 11 67 / 17
July   23 / 13 69 / 18
August   23 / 12 66 / 16
September   19 / 09 39 / 15
October 13 / 05 24 / 16
November 06 / 01 32 / 17
December 2 / -2 26 / 14

 

Czechia by Regions

The Czech Republic can be divided into two major regions – Bohemia and Moravia.

  • Bohemia – The western and central part of The Czech Republic is the Bohemian Region. The northern Bohemian region has the mountains (Ore Mountains & Giant Mountains) with coal mining and industries. Winter resorts are aplenty here. East Bohemia also has the Giant Mountains with the highest peak of The Czech Republic, Snezka, located here. West Bohemia is mainly mountainous and forested. The Bohemian forest of Sumava, spa towns and the Pilsner beer are all part of West Bohemia. Forests, hills, The Vitava River source make up the South Bohemian region. Rafting is a major sport here in summer. The capital city of Prague is in Central Bohemia which also has extinct volcanoes and river valleys. Kutna Hora, Cesky Krumlov, Pilsen, Pardubice and Karlovy Vary are some of the main cities here.

The middle of The Czech Republic is occupied by the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands. Natural beauty and greenery are the two main aspects here.

  • Moravia – The eastern part of The Czech Republic, Moravia is divided into North Moravia and South Moravia. The North is the industrial region and full of hills and mountains. The South is laid back and rural. The summers are warm and there are plenty of vineyards. Plum brandy is famous here. Brno, Ostrava, Olomouc, Zlin are some of the main cities here.

Tips for First Time Travelers

  1. The currency of The Czech Republic is not Euro but Czech Koruna (CZK). Avoid money exchanging scams and carry some cash all the time. You can pay by card and also withdraw money from ATMs.
  2. Avoid unmarked taxis, they may be safe but will charge you more. Instead use Uber or Liftago. Take the help of hotel staff for calling taxis. But the best option is to use public transportation.
  3. Buy transportation ticket. It lets you access all modes of public transport like buses, metros and trams, unlimitedly.
  4. Get some comfortable shoes. Walking is the best way to see the cities, especially Prague. Streets are often old fashioned with cobblestones.
  5. Abide by local rules and laws. The Czech laws are quite harsh. Do not indulge in public display of affection, never cross the tram lines anywhere and discussing the communist past is a strict no-no.
  6. Visit the castles or other major attractions early in the morning. The castles, museums open early. Avoid weekends as there will be heavy rush resulting in long queues.
  7. Know the details like price, quantity, complimentary dishes, drinks before ordering in restaurants. Czech food is more of meat than vegetables. Though not compulsory, tips are expected. 10% is normal. Drink knowingly as alcohol content is high in Czech wines.
  8. Learning a few words of the local language will help.
  9. Avoid the City Center. The locals are mostly away from the City Centers and developed their own scenes around them. The prices are higher and tourist oriented.

‘ano’ mean yes in Czech language.

The Czech Republic on Budget

  • Accommodation – Budget hotels exist side by side to the high end ones in The Czech Republic. Make early reservations and try to avoid the tourist season of summer. There are hostels too.
  • Transportation – There are low cost airlines to Prague from other European cities. Apart from that, there are bus & train service also. While in The Czech Republic, avoid flights and rely on trains and buses. They are both reliable and cheap.
  • Dine & Wine – Restaurant food is considerably cheaper and the set lunch menu offered are quite affordable. Visit local pubs and drink, preferably Czech beer. The farmers market offers a wide variety of food which are both fresh and cheap.
  • Time to Visit – Visit during the spring or fall seasons as the summer months are expensive due to large tourist influx. Everything costs more during the tourist summer season. Discounts are available during winters barring the Christmas holidays.
  • Tours – Walking tours are mostly free and you can know a lot about the country. The Czech Republic has many beautiful and historical town and cities, other than Prague. Visit them.