Western European, US and New Zealand nationals can stay in the Czech Republic for a period of up to 90 days as long as they have a passport which is valid for the duration of this period. UK citizens can stay up to 180 days. Nationals of Australia, Canada and South Africa must obtain a visa which is valid for a period of between 30 and 90 days, depending on your nationality. Citizens of all other countries, or those intending to work or study, in the country should contact their nearest Czech embassy.
The unit of currency in the Czech Republic is the Koruna (crown), plural Koruny (Kè).
Czech is the official language of Prague. Many people, especially students and those working in the tourist industry, also speak English and sometimes German.
Prague has a continental climate with cold winters, very warm summers and moderate rainfall. Springs and summers are the wettest seasons. It tends to be sunnier than the rest of Western Europe.
Health care in the Czech Republic is free to EU citizens in case of an emergency, although not to citizens from non-EU countries. In case of an emergency dial 155 from anywhere in the country.
Prague is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST).
Usual business hours are 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, including banks. Most shops are open on Saturday morning. Offices, services and stores are closed on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. Restaurants and grocers should stay open during these times.
There are a number of tourist information services in Prague who will give you a friendly welcome. German is most widely spoken but English is also common.
Cedok is the former State owned tourist information service and is helpful for the budget traveller. Some of the offices can be found in the following places.
Cedok Na Prikope 18, Prague 1
Tel: 24197411 or 24197203.
P.I.S Pražská Informaèní Služba (Prague Info Service)
Various locations at:
The Old Town Hall (tel. 24 48 25 62; English tel. 54 44 44)
Na Pøíkopĕ 20, Prague 1
Hlavní Nádraží (Main Railway Station)
Malostranska vez (Lesser-Town Bridge Tower)
Summer Monday-Friday 9am-7pm, Saturday-Sunday 9am-6pm; Off season Monday-Friday 9am-6pm, Saturday-Sunday 9am-5pm.
Value added tax is 5% on food and up to 22% on hotels and restaurants.
There are many exchange counters but rates vary. Cheque-points usually charge a 10% commission. Komerèní Banka Na plíkopw 33 buys notes and traveller’s cheques for 2% commission, open Monday-Friday 8am-5pm. ATMs are scattered all over the city.
The normal electricity supply is 220 volts.
The code for the Czech Republic is your international access code plus 420. Prague’s area code is 2. In Prague phone cards sell for 150Kc per 50 units at kiosks, post offices and some exchange counters. Use them in the blue card phones.
Prague’s main is Jindøišská 14. (Metro A or B to Mùstek).
In restaurants do not leave a tip on the table as this is considered offensive. To tip, round up your bill and state the total amount (meal price plus tip) to the waiter as you pay.
It is worth noting what the public holidays are in the Czech Republic before you go cause banks and shops usually shut for the day. In the Czech Republic they take place on January 1st, Easter Monday, May 1st and 8th, July 5th and 6th, October 28th, November 17th and December 24th, 25th and 26th. It is a good idea to check the particular area too as certain towns and cities also shut down during special events.