Prague Travel Guide
Why? Prague has come alive and undergone a modern renaissance as one of Europe's most desirable destinations, with its cobblestone streets and spires making for an outdoor museum, and its new galleries, clubs, restaurants, shops and cafes filled with enthusiastic young Czechs making the most of the 'new' Prague. A holiday in Prague is now a trendy experience with a traditional Czech flavour.
When? Midsummer is high season for a holiday in Prague, but this has the disadvantage of bringing in thousands of visitors to bask in the sunny weather. The best time to travel to Prague is in spring (April/May) or autumn (September/October) when the crowds have thinned and the weather is still pleasant.
Who for? Travel to Prague for a refreshing city break to experience a vibrant sojourn in one of Europe's great cities.
More Info: All the tips and advice you need for a great holiday in Prague are contained in our Prague travel guide, which you can print out and take with you. The guide is updated regularly ensuring you have up-to-date information about the major attractions, events and even the best restaurants in this remarkable city.
The Czech Republic's capital and international showpiece, Prague is one of the most popular destinations in Eastern Europe. Its attraction lies in the physical beauty of the city with 600 years of architecture amazingly untouched by war. The centre has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it demands to be explored on foot, an entire outdoor museum of history and a haphazard mixture of splendid architecture.
In the 14th century Prague enjoyed a reputation of being one of the most important cities in Europe, but after the Second World War it disappeared completely behind the Iron Curtain. Since the 1989 Velvet Revolution and the end of Communism, Prague has thrown off the years of repression with alacrity and is returning to its earlier grandeur, enticing tourists with its fairytale quality and romantic atmosphere.
The historical centre of the city is compact and its attractions are all within easy reach. The core comprises the Castle District (Hradany) west of the River Vltava, and the Old and New town (Star Mesto and Nov Mesto) to the east, joined by the famous Charles Bridge. The Castle District situated on the hill overlooking the city incorporates the main attractions, including the Castle itself and the Cathedral. The Old Town is a maze of alleyways, cobbled streets and passages winding their way towards the beautiful Old Town Square, Staromestsk Nmest. Josefov Ghetto, the old Jewish Quarter, is enclosed within the old town. The New Town, in contrast, is modern and has been laid out in wide boulevards, most famously Wenceslas Square, the fashionable shopping boulevard leading up to the foot of the grand National Gallery.
The city's cultural scene also features high on the list of things to do in Prague, with classical music concerts, opera and ballet, as well as the many art galleries around the city. It is constantly adding small new museums to its summertime list, often strange but curiously interesting. This beautiful city, a 'symphony in stone', built along the river and on the surrounding hills, has never ceased to capture the hearts and imagination of visitors, painters, photographers and poets.
Time: GMT +1 (GMT +2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).
Electricity: 230 volts, 50Hz. Round pin plugs with a hole for a male grounding pin are standard. Most sockets also take the standard European two-pin plugs.
Money: The official currency is the Koruna (CZK), which is divided into 100 haler. Most credit cards including American Express, Diners Club, Visa and MasterCard are accepted, but it is best to have cash handy when travelling away from Prague and the main tourist centres. Travellers cheques and foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and some hotels; commission is highest in hotels. Banks are closed on weekends. ATMs (known as 'bankomats') are becoming more common in Prague and are probably the best way to obtain local currency at a good rate and without commission. The Czech Republic is still cheap compared to the rest of Europe, though the gap is closing.
Currency Exchange Rates
CZK 1.00 = A$ 0.06C$ 0.05NZ$ 0.07 0.02US$ 0.05R 0.34Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.
Language: Czech is the official language but English and German are also widely spoken.
Entry requirements for Americans: US citizens must have a valid passport (must be valid for at least 90 days beyond period of intended stay). A visa is not required for stays of up to three months.
Entry requirements for UK nationals: British citizens must have a passport. No visa is required for a stay of up to six months for travellers holding a British Passport endorsed British Citizen or 'holder has the right of abode in the UK' or 'holder is entitled to re-admission to the UK'. If passport is endorsed British National (Overseas), then a visa is not required for a stay of up to three months. In all other cases, passports must be valid at least 90 days beyond expiry date of the visa. A visa is required.
Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadians must have a valid passport (must be valid for at least 90 days beyond period of intended stay). No visa is required for a stay of up to three months.
Entry requirements for Australians: Australian citizens must have a valid passport (must be valid for at least 90 days beyond period of intended stay) required. A visa is not required for a stay of up to three months.
Entry requirements for South Africans: South Africans require a visa as well as a valid passport (must be valid for at least 90 days beyond expiry date of the visa).
Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish nationals must have a valid passport or a special (Emergency) passport. No visa is required for a stay of up to 90 days.
Entry requirements for New Zealand nationals: New Zealand citizens must have a valid passport (must be valid for at least 90 days beyond period of intended stay). No visa is required for a stay of up to three months.
Passport/Visa Note: All visitors must hold an onward or return ticket and all documents required for onward travel, and proof of sufficient funds to cover period of intended stay. These must be produced on request at border crossing points. Visitors must sign a border-crossing card. Passports of all visitors must be valid at least 90 days beyond expiry date of the visa or 90 days beyond period of intended stay for visa exempt nationals.
Embassy or Consulate in US: Embassy of the Czech Republic, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 274 9100.
Embassy or Consulate in UK: Embassy of the Czech Republic, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7243 1115.
Embassy or Consulate in Canada: Embassy of the Czech Republic, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 562 3875.
Embassy or Consulate in Australia: Embassy of the Czech Republic, Canberra, Australia: +61 (0)2 6290 1386.
Embassy or Consulate in South Africa: Embassy of the Czech Republic, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 431 2380.
US Embassy or Consulate: United States Embassy, Prague: +420 257 022 000.
UK Embassy or Consulate: British Embassy, Prague: +420 257 402 111.
Canadian Embassy or Consulate: Canadian Embassy, Prague: +420 272 101 800.
Australian Embassy or Consulate: Australian Consulate, Prague: +420 296 578 350.
South African Embassy or Consulate: South African Embassy, Prague: +420 267 311 114.
Health: There are no vaccination requirements for international travellers, and no major health risks are associated with travel to the Czech Republic. A reciprocal health agreement with the UK entitles citizens with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to free emergency health care, however medical insurance is still advised. Visitors to forested areas should seek medical advice about immunisation against tick borne encephalitis. In March 2006, bird flu was discovered in wild birds in southern Bohemia; the risk to travellers is low, but close contact with live birds should be avoided and all egg and poultry dishes should be well cooked as a precaution.
Tipping: Tipping in restaurants is optional and no service charge is added to bills. Gratuities of 5 to 10% are expected if the service is good. Taxi drivers are tipped by rounding up the fare at the end of the journey.
Safety: The majority of visits to the Czech Republic are trouble-free, although the country has a risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which it shares with the rest of the world. On 1 August 2004 an explosive device in the centre of Prague injured 17 people, including tourists. Petty theft is on the increase, especially in Prague, and visitors should be vigilant about their belongings particularly on public transport and around the main tourist sites.
Customs: Some bars and restaurants in Prague will not allow access to bachelor or stag parties, and drunken behaviour in public is punishable by law.
Business: It is important to follow the correct business etiquette when in the Czech Republic. Initial greetings are usually formal, with a firm handshake. Titles and surnames are used, unless otherwise indicated, and it is usually women or elders who will initiate the change to a more informal relationship. Punctuality is vital in the Czech business world and dress should be smart and conservative. There is generally some small talk to establish rapport at the beginning of meetings; be polite and courteous. German is the most common foreign language used in the Czech Republic but English is widely spoken by younger generations. Translators are available and any attempts at speaking Czech will be appreciated. Deals can take a long time to manifest due to significant bureaucratic red tape and it is important to be patient. Business hours are usually 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday.
Communications: The international access code for the Czech Republic is +420. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). Area codes are not required. There are high surcharges on international calls from hotels; it is cheaper to use the public telephone boxes - phone cards can be bought from newsagents. The local mobile phone operators use GSM networks and have roaming agreements with all major international operators. Internet cafes are available in the main towns.
Duty free: Travellers to the Czech Republic over 17 years and entering from the EU do not have to pay customs duty on 800 cigarettes, or 400 cigarillos, or 200 cigars, or 1kg tobacco; 10 litres of spirits with alcohol content over 22%, or 20 litres of alcoholic beverages with alcohol volume less than 22%, or 90 litres of wine or 60 litres of sparkling wine, or 110 litres of beer. Travellers arriving from non-EU countries do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco, or a proportional assortment of these; 1 litre spirits or 2 litres wine; 50g perfume or 250ml eau de toilette; and food, fruits, medications and flowers for personal use. Other goods to the value of 175 per adult and 90 per child under 15 years are allowed. Guns brought into the country have to be accompanied by a license.
Message Edited by LL_Editor on 06-07-2007 03:53 PM