Emerging from the fog of communism in the late eighties, the Czech Republic has burst into the spotlight as one of Europe’s hottest destinations. Prague, westernised and cosmopolitan, is a beautiful city of spires and a visual feast of medieval, baroque and art nouveau architecture. However, leave the city behind and you will find a magnificent undulating landscape of mountains and plains, forests and farmland.
Czech Republic Facts & Tips
Did you know?
- Czech people are the world’s highest consumers of beer. Australia is number 4!
- In 1993, the country of Czechoslovakia divided into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, in a split known as the ‘Velvet Divorce’.
- The Czech Republic has the highest concentration of castles and medieval charm than anywhere else in the world.
- Sigmund Freud, the famous psychologist and psychoanalyst was a Czech. He was born in Freiberg, Moravia, in 1856.
- Being a landlocked country, it shares its borders with Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland.
- President Havel is the first president of the Czech Republic and previously Czechoslovakia to remain in the post for his full term of office. Some have died in office, some have resigned through ill health and some have been ‘encouraged’ to resign.
- The most popular sports in the Czech Republic are ice hockey, football, sport shooting, tennis, basketball and handball.
Visas & Passports
Australian passport holders travelling to Czech Republic do not need a visa at this time.
We require that your passport is valid for travel for at least six months from the date you are planning to return to Australia. Your passport must be valid to travel internationally and must be machine-readable. You also need to carry a valid return ticket on you.
Whether travelling on an Australian passport or the passport of another country, all travellers require visas for a number of countries, and it is your responsibility to secure what may be required before departing Australia. You can consult with your travel agent, but it is also recommended that you check the foreign embassy website for your respective destination as it can also provide you with useful information.
Australian Embassy in Czech Republic:
Solitaire Office Building
110 00 Prague 1
Ph. +420 2 2172 9260
Fax. +420 2 09657 8352
The official currency of Czech Republic is the Koruna (or crown). Notes come in denominations of Kč 5,000, 2,000, 1,000, 500, 200, and 100.
The recommended currency to take to the Czech Republic is the Koruna or the Euro. Ensure you change a small amount into small denominations.
Advise your bank of your travel plans so that they can make a note of it, otherwise they may cancel your credit card as a safety measure due to the overseas transactions. Also make a note of the 24-hour emergency contact number of the bank or building society which issued your credit card in the unlikely event that your card is lost or stolen.
Whenever possible use ATMs when the banks are open (Mon – Fri) so that if a machine ‘eats’ your card you can then deal with it straight away. It is always advisable to carry a supply of cash in addition to your credit card.
If you don’t have Koruna’s or Euro’s with you on arrival, we advise you to exchange some money into the local currency at the airport even if the exchange rate is not the best, this way you’ll have money to get a drink, snack or give a tip during those first few hours of arrival. Your guide will be able to advise you on the best places to exchange money.
Small change is also useful for paying for toilets while on tour which is customary in many places outside of Australia.
- The price of a cappuccino in Prague is approximately €2.50 - €3.
- The price of an inexpensive lunch is approximately €10.
- The price dinner in a moderate restaurant is approximately €25.
- The price of a beer in a local pub is approximately €4.50 - €5.
Main meals in the Czech Republic usually consist of beef or pork, and sometimes fish, served with potatoes or rice or dumplings. Sauerkraut is used in recipes including soup. Other soups are potato soup and liver dumpling soup. Dumplings are also served sweet. Desserts include strudel and pancakes. Gingerbread and pastries are popular. The Czech Republic is famous for Pilsner beer and Budweiser Budvar. Wine is also produced and stronger drinks include a herbal liqueur and plum brandy.
Important: When dining at buffets (i.e. breakfast) please refrain from taking food away with you to ‘save’ for later! If you feel that you’ll need snacks between meals, pack some dried fruit, nuts, muesli bars etc.
If you have specific food allergies and/or preferences, we highly recommend you take every precaution before your tour, including carrying a small card with your food allergy listed in each language of every country you are travelling to show to table staff when ordering. Whilst we take all dietary requirements seriously, due to the serious nature of potential allergic reactions, it is your responsibility to be as prepared as possible.
Winters in the Czech Republic tend to be very cold with snow, while summers are often mild and wet. The best time to visit is from May to September when days are warm and nights cool. The European summer is the tourist high season.
Want to get out and explore on your own?
Prague is a wonderful city to walk around. It also has an excellent public transport system with trams, buses and trains – all of which are inexpensive. Taxis are also relatively inexpensive compared with other European cities.
When catching taxis, have small change on you and choose one with a meter, if it doesn’t have one then negotiate the price before getting in. Also, ask your guide or hotel staff the names of reputable taxi companies.
So, you’d love to bring home a special souvenir from the Czech Republic…
Souvenirs include Bohemian glass and crystal, porcelain, wooden folk carvings, hand-embroidered clothing, and food items. There are a number of excellent shops specialising in glass and crystal, while various associations of regional artists and craftspeople run their own retail outlets. Other special purchases include pottery (particularly from Kolovec and Straznice); china ornaments and geyser stone carvings from Karlovy Vary; delicate lace and needle embroidery from many Moravian towns; and blood-red garnets and semiprecious stones from Bohemia.
Czech’s always appreciate polite manners and punctuality.
Tipping in restaurants is very much appreciated.
Celebrations & Public Holidays
In keeping with its long history and rich, diverse culture, the Czech Republic has many festivals happening throughout the year. These are as varied as the Colours of Ostrava Music festival to the Karlovy Vary International Film festival and the Summer Shakespeare festival. In autumn, Bohemia comes alive with the Harvest Festival and in spring, Prague celebrates with the Spring International Music Festival.
Other national public holidays to be aware of include:
- New Year’s Day
- Easter Friday and Easter Monday
- Labour Day (May 1st)
- Liberation Day (May 8th)
- St Cyril and Methodius Day (July 5th)
- Day of Memory (August 21st)
- St Wenceslas Day (September 28th)
- Independent Czechoslovak State Day (October 28th)
- Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day (November 17th)
- Christmas Eve
- Christmas Day
- Boxing Day
Czech Republic Highlights
Prague is a city of stunning scenic beauty. The capitals of many other European nations were flattened or heavily damaged during World War II, but Prague survived intact. Thanks to the city’s role as a focal point of culture and commerce for nearly a millennium, it retains evidence of the many nationalities that have influenced its course in history. Gothic and baroque spires, art-nouveau facades and even cubist structures reflect a crucible of German, Italian, Flemish and Bohemian artistic movements. At one time the seat of the Holy Roman Empire and at another the citadel of the Habsburgs, Prague sustains a reputation as a vital political, cultural and economic centre.
Located in the southern Bohemian region of Czech Republic, Cesky Krumlov is an incredibly picturesque medieval town which made the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1992. Lying in a valley with the Blansko Forest to the north and the hills of the Sumava to the south west, the town is most famous for its castle, built by the Lords of Krumlov around 1253. The castle complex itself features forty buildings, well-manicured gardens, the impressive Baroque Theatre, courtyards and a moat! The Old Town has over 300 heritage protected buildings including century’s old town houses, inns, shops and cafes. A stroll along the narrow cobblestone streets of the Old Town makes you feel like you’ve been transported back through time.
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