The Czech Republic is home to classical music, fairy tale castles, and one of Europe's coolest capitals. It is a beautiful travel destination not only in the tourist summer months but also in autumn and winter. You can access the Czech Republic easily by train from other European countries or through the international airport in Prague. With a bit of patience, you can find modern apartments in residential neighborhoods without crushing your budget. And if you have time on weekends, Czechia has so many fairy tale castles, charming towns, and national parks that are easily accessible by train or bus. Let's have a look at what the Czech Republic has to offer.
🇨🇿 Entry requirements for the Czech Republic
- Visa: Valid Schengen visa.
- Insurance: Travel health insurance that matches the Schengen requirements. Your insurance policy needs a minimum amount of 30,000 Euros of emergency cover.
🌱 Travel health insurance for the Czech Republic
- Additional note: Covid-related entry regulations are lifted on April 10th, 2022. Please check your airline, train, or bus company for additional required documents.
🏡 How to find a place
The Czech Republic is a famous holiday destination, and therefore the country experiences high and low tourist seasons. In terms of accommodation, the best months to visit for example Prague are November, January, February, and March. Tourist peak season is the summer months of July and August. Tourist seasons have a big impact on accommodation prices.
- Airbnb: You find good short-, and mid-term (up to 3 months) rentals on Airbnb. As longer you plan ahead, as more options you will have. Prices on Airbnb will be highest during July and August, as these months are considered tourist peak season. Alternatively, try Flatio.com.
- Facebook: An alternative to Airbnb is the local Facebook group on studios, shared and private apartments in Prague. The group counts more than 29,000 members and is very active. You can find new listings every day. Facebook groups are good for mid-term, and long-term rental places.
- Agencies: If you are looking for a mid-term or long-term rental place, have a look for local serviced apartment agencies, e.g. Citybase Apartments. The advantage of contacting an agency is that they can offer you a range of apartments which is time-saving.
- Hotels: Especially when wanting to stay in a very particular neighborhood, street or district, it is useful to check Google Maps for hotels which you then can book on agoda, booking, or other suggested booking platforms.
- Coliving: Maybe you are looking for accommodation which connects you easily with other like-minded people? Then check out if Coliving is the type of accommodation that suits you best. In Prague, you can find coliving spaces, for example, WorkLounge, a coliving space with coworking locations in the hip neighborhood of Karlín, at Wenceslas Square in the New Town district, which is the city center of Prague, and in Smíchov, an upcoming and lively district at the river banks of the Vltava.
✈️ How to get to the Czech Republic
- Plane: The Václav Havel Airport Prague is the biggest international airport in the Czech Republic with many international connections to Europe, the USA, Asia, and the Middle East. The airport is located 12 km outside of Prague, and a taxi costs around 27 Euro to the city center. When entering the Czech Republic via plane, you can book the Welcome Pickup Service.
- Train: The Czech Republic is part of Eurail, a European railway network that allows travelers to easily cross European countries by train. Good to know: Prague - Vienna: 4 hours, Prague - Budapest: 7-8 hours, and Prague - Berlin: 4-5 hours by train.
- Bus: Similar to the well-organized railway network, Europe comes with a well-connected bus network, too. Find your connection on Rome2Rio or Busbud and get a first overview. An affordable and trusted bus company in Europe is Flixbus.
- Car: You can enter the Czech Republic by car. Please bring your driver's license, vehicle registration, and green insurance card with you.
🚌 Public transport in Prague
- City bus: Prague is a modern city with great public transport. You can purchase a multiple-day ticket which allows you to take the busses frequently and is useful if you stay in Prague for some days.
- Metro & Tram: Besides city buses, Prague provides trams and a metro, too. The interval for metros is 2 to 4 minutes, depending on the time of the day, and the tram interval is around 8 to 10 minutes. Intervals are different on weekends and during the night.
- Taxi: A safe and reliable form of transport is by taking a taxi, and you can find taxis in every big city, at train stations, central bus stops, at the airport, in smaller towns, and at bigger plazas or sites of interest. The fare starts at around 1.50 Euro and every km is about 90 cents. Make sure your driver knows the destination and is using the meter. You can pay for taxis in cash as well as with a card.
- Uber: The service works perfectly in Prague and is widely available. However, check out Liftago, a local ride-sharing application that allows easy card payments.
🏘 Where to stay in Prague
- Karlín: If want to live in an upcoming, lively, local, and dynamic part of the capital, that comes without the tourist masses, the district Karlín could be an interesting neighborhood. Karlín's Gallic architecture is more than a century old, the district has many old and tall trees and open and bike-friendly streets. Sandwiched between the hill and the river, Karlín has a beautiful park, an open square, many individual restaurants, bars, and cafés, as well as vintage shops, boutiques, and other retail. The former industrial district got popular after the century flood in 2002 which caused severe damage to the buildings and forced the repurposing of the old properties, for example, military facilities, storage, and factory buildings into multi-purpose event spaces, creative art workshops, as well as business and coworking facilities.
- Smíchov: Another upcoming district with industrial roots is Smíchov, located on the left bank of the Vltava river. Not as lively yet as Karlín, Smíchov's architecture gives a glimpse of Art Nouveau, Baroque, and Neo-Renaissance, paired with industrial charm and modern buildings. Multi-national businesses have their headquarters here, shopaholics splurge in the variety of shops, and boutiques, and long-term residents seek the green parks and river promenades for walks and views. You can find many popup bistros, artsy eateries, and hip and busy bars in Smíchov, which make the district a wonderful place to stay away from the touristy old quarter of the city center.
🧑🏻💻 Where to work from in Prague
Coworking spaces in Karlín
- WorkLounge Karlín: As one of three coworking spaces operated by WorkLounge, the space in Karlín offers accommodation too. The coworking space is friendly and comes with natural light, a mix of wooden vintage and modern office furniture, an event space, a coffee bar, and an international member community.
- Praga Studios by Scott Weber: Are you looking for an extra in esthetics and interior design? Scott Weber has coworking spaces in 10 locations in Prague, the one in Karlín is called Praga Studios.
- Vnitroblock: Another very stylish coworking space in Karlín is Vnitroblock. The space has a coffee bar that serves specialty coffees and food.
Coffee shops in Karlín
- Můj šálek kávy: This café is home to the Czech double shot roasters, and it is the place for serious coffee lovers. The café is cozy but can be busy with brunch guests in the morning. Come after lunch and you will find a table to work from.
- LOFT Karlín: Another espresso bar that serves delicious pastry, and snacks and can be labeled as a laptop-friendly coffee shop in Karlín.
Coworking spaces in Smíchov
- Anděl Park by Scott Weber: Located near the Smíchov shopping mall you can find Anděl Park, a big office center with private office space as well as flexible coworking desks. Although the Scott Weber location in Karlín is a bit more atmospheric, Anděl Park gives you the opportunity to focus on work in a modern design and ambiance.
- WorkLounge Smíchov: Another location by WorkLounge which offers coworking facilities for nomads. The space shares the building with other offices, a beauty lounge, a hairdresser, and medical services.
Coffee shops in Smíchov
- Kavárna co hledá jméno: This cool café is located in the Smíchov district, offers a great variety of food, is a laptop-friendly multi-purpose location, which hosts events, such as live bands, or pub quizzes in the evenings.
Other digital nomad-friendly coffee shops
- The Miners: Located at the LPZ square in Vinohrady, this coffee shop is a cool and hip urban cultural hub for locals and expats. The space uses natural light, wooden furniture, modern design, and lots of greenery.
- Kafe Atrium: Run by 3 female locals, Kafe Atrium is a hidden gem in the Zizkov district and designed to meet, cowork, relax, and create.
- Café Neustadt: Located in the center of Prague, Café Neustadt is a spacious place with many tables and long opening hours (11 pm).
🚊 How to travel around the Czech Republic
- Train: The Czech Republic has an excellent railway network. Trains vary from Osobní (OS), which stops in every village, to Spěšný (Sp) which usually skips villages, to Rychlík (R), a regional train that stops in major towns and is usually used for longer distances, its faster brother Expres (Ex), a regional train, the yellow RegioJet long-distance international train, which connects to the country to Austria or Slovakia, the Intercity (IC), and Eurocity (EC), which are very modern longer-distance trains which stop in major cities only and lastly the Supercity (Pendolino), the fastest new trains, which operate between the biggest cities. You can check schedules, and fares and purchase online tickets here.
- Bus: Similar to the domestic train network, the Czech Republic offers great bus connections both, internationally and domestically. You can visit Rome2Rio and view routes, prices, and schedules, and buy tickets online. Busses vary greatly and it is possible that you end up in an old bus with no air conditioning or in a modern comfortable coach which comes with wifi and AC.
- Car rental: It is, of course, possible to rent a car in the Czech Republic, and you can find the major international car rental service providers, such as Avis, Europcar, or Hertz in the country. Daily rates start at 20 Euro for a small car.
🎖Must see in the Czech Republic
- Prague: The historic center of Prague was built between the 11th and 18th centuries, and you can see the architectural and cultural influences of the Middle Ages in the Old Quarter's cobblestone alleys, gothic churches, and baroque buildings. Protected as a UNESCO world heritage site, Prague's historic center with its Hradcany Castle, St Vitus Cathedral, and Charles Bridge, is a must-see when visiting the Czech Republic. Combine the historic sites with a walk through the Jewish quarter. You can visit the historic center any time of the year, the winter months have their charm and are less busy than July and August.
- Karlštejn Castle: A day trip from Prague, packed with history and heritage, is by exploring the Karlštejn Castle, which is just a 45 min. train ride southwest from Prague. Taking the train will cost around 4 Euro, and by purchasing the ticket online for 16 Euro (without a guide) or a guided tour for 26 Euro, you can skip the line at the ticket office.
- Brdy: Around 2 hours south of Prague, you find Brdy Mountains in Central Bohemia, which make a perfect day trip from the capital. You can take the train from Prague to Horovice (1 hour) and then take a taxi (45 min.) to Brdy. The journey takes about 2 hours and costs are between 20 to 30 Euro. Alternatively, take the bus from Prague to Příbram Sevastopolské nám (1 hour), and continue by a taxi (1 hour) to Brdy. Brdy mountains are more a hilly landscape, great for cycling and hiking. If you like the color of autumn, September and October are beautiful months to visit Brdy. In the winter months, you experience the hills covered in soft snow and low-hanging clouds which gives you the winter wonderland experience. In summer, Brdy is a popular destination for local and international tourists, especially for its hiking trails and mountain bike paths.
- Český Krumlov: A wonderful weekend gateway from Prague is the Renaissance gem of Český Krumlov. You can take the train (3 hours) directly from Prague to Český Krumlov which costs less than 18 Euros. Alternatively, you can take a direct bus which costs between 10 and 15 Euro. The small UNESCO world heritage protected town was home to many wealthy Bohemian families and is surrounded by the meanders of the Vlata river. In Český Krumlov you find art collections from Gustav Klimt to Egon Schiele, traditional cafés, the castle of Krumlov, and the Fairy Tale house. When coming in autumn, you can join the annual Baroque and the wine festivals, in winter the town holds its traditional Christmas market. In spring you can experience the Magical Krumlov or the Rose Festival.
- Punkva Caves: It takes about 2.5 hours by train from Prague to Blansko and tickets are between 6 and 21 Euro, depending on the chosen train. From Blansko you take a taxi (16-19 Euro) for another 12 km to reach the Punkva Caves. A ticket to the caves costs around 6 Euro and a guided tour is mandatory.
- Karlovy Vary: The second most visited place in the Czech Republic after Prague is Karlov Vary, a town famous for world-class spa treatments, and thermal springs. You can reach the town by bus (1.5 hours) from Prague for less than 15 Euro. Taking the train is less attractive as it takes more than 3 hours. If you rent a car, you can go from Prague to Karlovy Vary in about 2 hours.
- Terezín Concentration Camp: If you are interested in Europe's younger history, you might want to visit Terezín (Theresienstadt), which shows the tragic truth of Jewish people living in the concentration camp of Theresienstadt during the Nazi occupation. You can reach the site from Prague by car in less than one hour (60 km) or you take a combination of train and bus which takes more than 3 hours.
💡Good to know
- Internet: The median internet speed for fixed broadband is about 50 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload speed.
- Sim card: When spending more time in Europe, check out if an e-Sim serves you best. Although the country offers many internet providers, Telekom and Vodafone have the best coverage and speed. You can buy sim cards at the airport in Prague, or in their sales shops in the city.
- Digital nomad community: The majority of digital nomads are probably found in Prague. Check out meetup.com, Eventbrite, and the local Facebook groups to connect with fellow nomads.
- Cost of living: In Prague, when renting short-term for one month, you won't get any discounts, e.g. long-term rental discounts. You can estimate to spend around 2,000 to 2,500 Euro per person including coworking and rent. Please note that Airbnb rentals are mostly higher than findings on Facebook or through local serviced apartment agencies. You can reduce costs by investing more time in researching a place with lower rent. When renting for longer periods, for example, 6 to 12 months, it is more likely you will find better rental prices. When staying in other towns in Czechia, you can expect lower rents and lower prices for cafés and restaurants.
- Currency: In Czechia, you pay with the Czech Koruna. 1 Euro = 25 CZK, or 10 Euro is roughly 250 CZK. However, Euro is accepted but especially outside of Prague, locals appreciate it when paying in local currency.
- Climate: The Czech Republic has a temperate climate, situated between the continental and the oceanic climate. Summers are hot and dry, winters are cold, cloudy, and snowy.
- Safety: The country ranks 9th on the worldwide Global Peace Index, and can be marked as a very safe travel destination.
🚧 What to avoid
- Money exchange on the street: I got ripped off so badly in Budapest when I exchanged 35 Euro for two 50-years expired 5,000 White Russian Ruble notes, that this at least will never ever happen to me again: Exchanging money on the street. Big no in Prague.
- Tourist scams: Tourist restaurants, taxis, and other shops and services around the old town are known to rip off tourists. Stay alert, check your bill, your change, and the tax and fees they try to charge you.
- Karlova street: Locals avoid the city center like the plague, as it is a sad victim of overtourism, tourist scams, and cheap souvenir junk made in China.
- Wenceslas Square at night: The sightseeing spot during the day becomes the place where prostitutes and their pimps try to drag you into shady strip clubs and dodgy bars.
- Concert tickets sold by costumed promoters: If you like classical music, Prague is a wonderful place to enjoy it. However, avoid purchasing tickets for "classical concerts" from costumed promoters around the old town. These concerts are set up for tourists and they are crap. Instead, take a look at the State Opera and the Rudolfinum, home of the Czech Philarmonic, for the good stuff.
- The Czech Republic is not Czechoslovakia: Czechoslovakia was a country of today's Chech Republic and Slovakia, two sovereign states since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1993. An alternative name for the Czech Republic is Czechia. Additionally, the Czech Republic is located in Central Europe, not Eastern Europe.
🚴🏻♀️ How to stay healthy
- Hiking in Hruboskalsko: A great day trip from Prague when having a car is hiking in Hruboskalsko (1 hour). Without a car, you can take the train which takes 3 hours, and turns the trip more into an overnight stay, for example at Hotel Stekl in Hruba Skala, a town nearby the park. The hiking trails are recommended to visit on dry days.
- Hiking in Krkonoše: If you are looking for a weekend away from Prague, and you are up for some hikes, check out Krkonoše National Park, around 2 hours drive (145 km) east of Prague. You can also take the bus from Prague to Szklarska Poręba (2 hours, 8-10 Euro) and continue by taxi (1 hour), which cost around 10-15 Euro. Alternatively, take the train from Prague to Chlumec Nad Cidlinou, change trains and continue to the park. The train ride takes about 4.5 hours. A nice hotel near the park (2 km) is the Orea Resort Horal.
- Hiking in Podyjí National Park: When staying in Brno, a city around 2-3 hours drive south of Prague, you can organize a day trip from Brno to Podyjí National Park. From Brno, you take the bus to Znojmo (1 hour, 5-7 Euro), and continue with a taxi (30 min, 15 km) for around 20 Euro to the park. The park offers different hikes, you find a good selection here. In Brno stay at the Hotel & Apartments Jacob Brno, close to the city center.
- Mountain biking: Another weekend trip from Prague is Bohemian Switzerland and Saxony National Park, which is shared by Germany and the Czech Republic. From Prague take the train to Decin (1.5 hours) and continue by a taxi (27 km) to the park. Alternatively, take your mountain bikes on the train, stay overnight in Decin and cycle to the park.
- Cycling: Although cycling is not the most popular form of transport but rather a leisurely activity, Prague shows a rising number of citizens, using its great bike lane network to commute to work. You can also find public bikes for rent which you can easily sign up for by downloading the app and connecting it to your credit card or Paypal.
- Walking: Idyllic towns like Český Krumlov and Kutná Hora are the perfect place for walking exercises to get your daily steps in. Take your smart ring, smartwatch, or smartphone and do all the sightseeing on foot.
- Water quality: You can drink tap water in Prague. You can find public fountains you can refill your water bottle. If the water is not safe to drink you will see a note next to the fountain.
- Air quality: The air quality in Prague is moderate. The biggest air pollution comes from the rising number of vehicles.
⚓️ Long stay
If you intend to stay longer in the Czech Republic, check out the following possibilities. Please note that the digital nomad visa is not necessary if you are holding an EU passport, as EU citizens enjoy the freedom of work and movement anyway.
Digital nomad visa
- Digital nomad visa: This type of visa is for you if you do not hold an EU passport, and you want to stay in the Czech Republic for up to 90 days.
- Zivno digital nomad visa: This type of digital nomad visa is for you if you do not hold an EU passport, and want to stay in the Czech Republic for longer than 90 days and a maximum of 1 year.
- Application: You need to start the application process in your home country, or in your current country by asking the Czech Republic for an appointment that you need to attend in person. The process can take between 90 and 120 days.
- Proof of financial funds: You need to prove a minimum amount of CZK 124,500 (around 5,000 Euro).
- Length of stay: maximum length of stay is 1 year. Holders of the Czech digital nomad visa are allowed to visit the other Schengen zone countries during the valid visa period. More information here.
It is possible for EU and non-EU citizens to gain Czech citizenship.
- Temporary residency: This type of residency can be obtained as an EU citizen and a non-EU citizen. A temporary residency is not mandatory for EU citizens, but they can enjoy some benefits, for example being part of the health care system. If non-EU citizens want to stay longer in the Czech Republic than 90 days and the digital nomad visa is not wanted or not an option, they can apply for a temporary residency.
- Permanent residency: This type of residency is possible after living in the Czech Republic for a minimum of 5 years. In order to get a permanent residency, the person needs to apply for a temporary residency first.
- Citizenship: It is possible to turn the permanent residency into citizenship which makes you a Czech passport holder and a citizen of the EU, and the Schengen zone.