The current population of the Czech Republic is 10.56 million people.
The whole of the Czech Republic lies in the Central European time zone (CET = UTC + 1).
The twenty four hour format is employed very frequently, especially in transport timetables, cultural programmes and generally on printed materials. The twelve hour format for telling the time is used mainly in everyday speech.
The last Sunday in March clocks in the Czech Republic go forward because the country switches over to summer time. So on the night from Saturday to Sunday move your clocks from two to three (2:00 CET to 3:00 CEST), unless your smart phone does the job for you. Summer time lasts half a year and ends on the last Sunday in October, when at three o’clock the clocks go back to two (3:00 CEST to 2:00 CET).
The official language of the Czech Republic is Czech. It is spoken by approx. 10.6 million people. Czech falls within the West Slavic language group and therefore is similar to Polish, as well as Russian and Croatian. An interesting phenomenon is its great similarity to Slovak. And did you know that the famous writer Franz Kafka spoke Czech? Or that Czech ranks among the most complicated languages in the world?
Although the vast majority of the population of the Czech Republic (96%) speaks Czech, you can also hear Slovak, Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, or Vietnamese as these are languages of the largest national minorities in the Czech Republic.
Tourists will usually make themselves understood in English and quite often also in German or Russian.
The deaf are advised to use, if possible, Italian or Austrian sign language, since these are closest to Czech sign language.
The Czech Republic has one of the least religious populations in the world with 75% to 79% of people not declaring any religion or faith in polls and the percentage of convinced atheists being third highest only behind China and Japan. The Czech people have been historically characterised as "tolerant and even indifferent towards religion".
According to the 2011 census, 34% of the population stated they had no religion, 10.3% was Catholic, 0.8% was Protestant (0.5% Czech Brethren and 0.4% Hussite), and 9% followed other forms of religion both denominational or not (of which 863 people answered they are Pagan). 45% of the population did not answer the question about religion. From 1991 to 2001 and further to 2011 the adherence to Catholicism decreased from 39% to 27% and then to 10%; Protestantism similarly declined from 3.7% to 2% and then to 0.8%.
Since 2007 the Czech Republic has been a member of both the European Union and the Schengen area.
Citizens of countries that are also in the European Union and the Schengen area may stay in the Czech Republic with no permit requirements. They only need a valid travel document or an ID card. If anyone stays in the Czech Republic longer than three months, he or she must notify the relevant authorities of their stay.
With or without a visa
The list of countries whose citizens may travel for a short term to the Czech Republic with only a valid travel document, without a visa, can be found here.
The list of countries whose citizens must have a relevant valid visa to enter the Czech Republic can be found here.
Travelling with animals
In order to travel to the Czech Republic with dogs, cats and ferrets, you must have:
A pet passport, i.e. a uniform document throughout the whole of the EU which is issued by a vet.
A condition for issuance of the passport is marking of the animal – it must be tattooed (legibly); marking with an electronic chip is obligatory from 2011 onwards. This is performed by a vet.
The animal must be vaccinated against rabies in accordance with the legislation of the European Union, i.e. the first vaccination must take place from three months of age.
Customs checks at state borders ended on the date the Czech Republic joined the EU. Checks have remained only at the outer borders of the EU. This is why you will only come across checks at international airports.
Exemption of goods brought into the EU from customs duty, VAT and consumer tax relates to goods imported occasionally for personal use.
Information about amounts which you can bring into the Czech Republic and which goods are exempt from customs duty, VAT and consumer tax can be found here.
The official currency of the Czech Republic is the Czech crown (Kč/ in English CZK).
Coins: CZK 1, CZK 2, CZK 5, CZK 10, CZK 20 and CZK 50
Banknotes: CZK 100, CZK 200, CZK 500, CZK 1000, CZK 2000 and CZK 5000
CZK 1 = 100 halers, but you will be able to see these in the Czech Republic only on price labels. When you make payment you will not use halers or get them back in change. Prices are subject to rounding. For example: if the price is 299 crowns and 75 halers, you will pay 300 crowns. And if it is 159 crowns and 20 halers, you will pay 159 crowns.
Many shops, restaurants as well as tourist centres accept Euros. But you should not be surprised that particularly in shops any change returned will be in Czech crowns.
The exchange rate of a crown to a Euro and other currency can be checked at the website of the Czech National Bank and European Central Bank.
- In exchange offices. First make sure that you don’t have to pay any needless fees. Unfortunately, the tempting sign “0% commission” often relates to the purchase of foreign currency and not its sale. In other places there might be a small print text at the bottom of the information board saying that fees are not paid for exchanges of 200 Euros and higher, for example. It is advisable to enquire in advance how many crowns you will get for your money and what fees you will have to pay. By operation of law exchange offices are bound to provide information in several world languages.
- In banks. The fee charged for currency exchange ranges around 2 %. Some banks add the condition of the minimum fee (for example CZK 30). Banks in the Czech Republic are shut at weekends and on public holidays.
- In hotels. You can exchange your money for crowns even in the hotel where you stay. However, they too may charge some fees.
Warning! Never exchange money on the street. Don’t accept offers from people who are offering an excellent exchange rate outside of an exchange office, bank or different institution.
You can also withdraw Czech crowns from cash machines which can be found in sufficient numbers in Czech towns. However, it is advisable to ask your bank how much it will charge for cash machine withdrawals abroad.
You can make payments with an internationally recognised card (Visa, MasterCard, Plus, Maestro, etc.) in most shops and restaurants.
Prices of services differ greatly depending on where you are. Traditionally, the most expensive accommodation and restaurants are found in town centres. Nonetheless, even in the middle of Prague it is possible to get a good and cheap meal. The price of one set lunch, offered by most restaurants, ranges around 120 crowns (€5, $6). For this price you will usually get the main course and soup. Dinner for one, including a starter, drink, main course and dessert can amount to about 500 crowns (€18, $20) in an ordinary restaurant. Obviously, the price goes up depending on the location of restaurant and its standard.
Accommodation in a hostel will cost you on average around 400 crowns (€15, $16) a night per one person. For a room in an ordinary hotel you will usually pay something between 2500 to 4500 crowns (€90 – 160, $100 – 180) a night, more luxurious accommodation will come to approx. 7 000 crowns (€260, $280). The quality of accommodation in the Czech Republic is overseen by the Association of Hotels and Restaurants.
Approximate prices of basic food in Czech shops:
Bottle of still water (0.5 l) – CZK 15
Bottled beer (0.5 l) – CZK 20
Wine (0.7 l) – CZK 100
Bread (0.5 kg) – CZK 25
Cheese (100 g) – CZK 30
Yogurt (150 g) – CZK 12
Ham (100 g) – CZK 30
Approximate prices of admission fees and other services:
Cinema ticket – CZK 180
Theatre ticket – CZK 300 or more
Concert ticket – CZK 500 or more
Admission to castles and chateaux– CZK 100 – CZK 350
It is customary to leave tips when paying bills in Czech restaurants, bars, coffee shops and other establishments. Some of these include the tip in the bill, but it is quite usual that a guest will decide for himself how much to tip the staff in the restaurant. With smaller items and in ordinary restaurants it is customary to round up the sum to match one’s satisfaction. If you were happy with the lunch, service and the restaurant itself and the waiter brings a bill for 116 crowns, round it up to 130 or more. The higher the price, the bigger the tip should be. In more upmarket restaurants tips are expected at about 10 % of the price, but you can also expect much better service. If you weren’t satisfied, you don’t have to leave any tip at all.
The electrical network in the Czech Republic has a voltage of 230 V and frequency of 50 Hz.
The sockets are the same as in France, Germany, Belgium or Poland. If you are using an appliance with a different ending, use a universal adaptor, whether ordinary or one that changes the voltage and frequency.
Similarly, as all other countries in Central Europe, the Czech Republic has 4 seasons.
Spring is usually cooler, the temperature from early March to late May ranges around 10°C on average. In these months the rainfall/snowfall in the Czech Republic averages about 161 mm. From March to May you can bask in approx. 479 hours of sunshine in the Czech Republic.
The average summer temperature is about 17°C. However, this also includes mountainous areas! In the towns the temperature in June, July and August may reach as high as 35°C. For example on Lysá Mountain in the Beskids there is no summer climate at all – after spring autumn appears straight away. So if you want to cool down, it is a good idea to pop in there for example from sizzling Pálava.
The first of the autumn months is September, which is still relatively warm, so it is referred to as the "Indian summer". Nonetheless, the beginning of October brings more rain and the average daily temperature falls to 10°C. The leaves on trees change colour and fall off, a fact described in the Czech name of November, which is “Listopad” meaning “leaf-fall”. In the late autumn the first ground frosts are possible.
Winter in the Czech Republic lasts roughly from December to February. Temperatures in towns may drop as low as -20°C, and in the mountains they plummet even further. Nevertheless, recent winters have been milder with temperatures slightly below zero – yet still cold enough to enjoy skiing in various places, such the Krkonoše Mountains, cross-country skiing for example in Šumava or just taking a romantic walk through snow-covered Prague.
GETTING TO the czech rebuplic
There are several international airports in the Czech Republic where you can touch down. It is most likely that your destination will be the capital city of Prague as you can get to the Czech Republic’s capital city with several dozen airlines from all corners of the world. However, there are other international airports that can welcome you in Brno, Ostrava, Karlovy Vary, and Pardubice.
In general, one can say that a simple rule applies in the Czech Republic: the bigger the town, the longer and more often the shops are open.
Banks are open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In the centre of the larger cities they often don’t close until 8 p.m.
ATMs are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Opening hours in shopping centres are similar throughout the Czech Republic – approx from. 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., 7 days a week, except for public holidays.
Stores located within shopping centres are open at these times.
If there is a cinema in the shopping centre, the opening hours of the building match the end of the last film performance – and the same obviously applies to the car park but not to the actual shops.
Postal services in the Czech Republic are provided mainly by Czech Post, which delivers mail also to and from abroad.
For the online price list click here.
Post office branches in larger towns are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The main post office in Jindřišská Street in the Prague centre stays open from 2 a.m. to 12 midnight.
Branches in smaller towns are usually open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Apart from that, there are several courier companies in the Czech Republic offering a wide range of services and can for example arrange the fastest possible delivery.
Pharmacies are mostly open on weekdays only, usually from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. In larger towns opening hours may be longer.
At weekends and on public holidays pharmacies are closed. However, there is an exception – pharmacies situated within shopping centres stay open even on these days.
Petrol stations on main routes or in towns and cities mostly operate non-stop or with a short night time break.
Normal office hours are on Mondays and Wednesdays with some of the offices being open to the public more often. Nonetheless, most of them will be shut for the lunch break, usually lasting from 12 noon to 1 p.m.
Historical points of interest, galleries and museums are usually closed on Mondays in the Czech Republic.
Shops and services in smaller towns are open during normal business hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Important phone numbers for the emergency medical service, fire brigade and police have three digits. You can dial these from anywhere, from any switched on phone — even without a SIM card.
112 - Universal Emergency Number
This number works across the European Union (and consequently also in the Czech Republic), Norway, Switzerland and Iceland. On it you can reach the police, fire or medical service.
Most phones allow you to dial the number 112 even with a locked keyboard; however in older models you will probably need a SIM card to make the call.
If possible, it is advisable to use the phone numbers bellow, as you will be connected directly with medical workers, fire fighters or police officers. When calling 112, the operator first has to find out details about your situation and after assessing it he/she will put you through to them. So dialling 155, 150, 158, or 156 is faster.
155 – Emergency Medical Service
In case of serious and unexpected injury or different acute health problems, call the number 155. The medical emergency operator is a qualified health care professional and will advise how to deal with the situation before specialized help arrives.
To speed up things as best as possible, it is necessary to give the exact description of the place where you are.
How to easily remember the number. Imagine the last digit (five) of this number as a wheelchair, used by emergency medical services for transportation of infirm people.
150 - Fire Service
The number 150 is used for reporting fires, natural disasters, crashes and accidents. Simply, such situations requiring rescue and elimination activities, such as extinguishing fires, extrication, disposal of hazardous substances, etc.
How to easily remember the number. Imagine the zero at the end of the three-digit number as a coiled fire hose.
158 – Police of the Czech Republic
Dial the number 158 if you have witnessed a crime, a serious traffic accident that needs to be investigated, or if it is necessary to ensure safety or in general to prevent disturbance of public order.
How to easily remember the number. You may have noticed that the digit eight at the end of this number resembles police handcuffs, so just remember that.
156 – Municipal Police
You can call the municipal police if you have witnessed a smaller offence which could be for example a disturbance (i.e. noise) in night-time hours (which apply from 10 o'clock at night to 6 o'clock in the morning, the violation of such can carry a fine of up to CZK 5,000 (€ 185, USD 205, CNY 1,355 RUB 13,590).
Foreign missions, consulates, embassies
In the event of serious problems, such as the loss of documents, you should contact your country’s embassy. In the Czech Republic they are mostly located in Prague. For the list of these offices go to this link.
Weights & Measures
The Czech Republic is officially metric, in line with the rest of Europe. However, imperial measures are still in use, especially for road distances, which are measured in miles. Imperial pints and gallons are 20 per cent larger than US measures.
Imperial to Metric
1 inch = 2.5 centimetres
1 foot = 30 centimetres
1 mile = 1.6 kilometres
1 ounce = 28 grams
1 pound = 454 grams
1 pint = 0.6 litres
1 gallon = 4.6 litres
Metric to Imperial
1 millimetre = 0.04 inch
1 centimetre = 0.4 inch
1 metre = 3 feet 3 inches
1 kilometre = 0.6 mile
1 gram = 0.04 ounce
1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds
THE NAME czech republic
The traditional English name "Bohemia" derives from Latin "Boiohaemum", which means "home of the Boii". The current name comes from the Polish ethnonym associated with the area, which ultimately comes from the Czech word Čech.  The name comes from the Slavic tribe (Czechs, Czech: Češi, Čechové) and, according to legend, their leader Čech, who brought them to Bohemia, to settle on Říp Mountain. The etymology of the word Čech can be traced back to the Proto-Slavic root *čel-, meaning "member of the people; kinsman", thus making it cognate to the Czech word člověk (a person).
The country has been traditionally divided into three lands, namely Bohemia (Čechy) in the west, Moravia (Morava) in the east, and Czech Silesia (Slezsko; the smaller, south-eastern part of historical Silesia, most of which is located within modern Poland) in the northeast. Known as the lands of the Bohemian Crown since the 14th century, a number of other names for the country have been used, including Czech/Bohemian lands, Bohemian Crown, Czechia  and the lands of the Crown of Saint Wenceslas. When the country regained its independence after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1918, the new name of Czechoslovakia was coined to reflect the union of the Czech and Slovak nations within the one country.
After Czechoslovakia dissolved in 1992, the Czech part lacked a common English short name. The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommended the English name Czechia in 1993, and the Czech government approved Czechia as the official short name in 2016.
For more information: www.czechtourism.com