Your Trip to the Czech Republic: The Complete Guide

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Whether you’re visiting Prague for its stunning gothic architecture, traveling to South Moravia to enjoy some wine, or heading up to Liberec for some hiking, knowing essentials like where to stay, what to do, and how to get around will help you feel more comfortable and prepared for your adventure. 

Planning Your Trip

Best Time to Visit: The pleasant temperatures and small crowds in May, September, and October make these months the best time to visit the Czech Republic. However, winter is the best time to visit for those who are looking forward to skiing in the mountains or visiting the country’s many Christmas markets.

Language: Czech is the official language of the Czech Republic, but English is widely spoken in popular tourist spots.

Currency: The Czech koruna (CZK) is the currency of the Czech Republic. Some places will accept Euros but they will rarely provide change and you’ll likely pay an inflated exchange rate.

Getting Around: Prague has a reliable public transportation system, and tickets can be used on any metro, bus, and tram in the city. Ridesharing apps are a great alternative for getting around the city. The rest of the country is well connected by an intricate system of domestic trains and buses as well as international connections to other big cities in Central Europe.  

Travel Tip: Popular Prague attractions, such as Prague Castle and Charles Bridge, can get very busy at any time of year, so be sure to get an early start on the days when you’re planning to visit these places. If you’re planning to attend any of the Moravian wine festivals in September, book accommodation early or plan to stay in Brno instead, as there is limited availability in the small towns where the festivals are hosted.

Things to Do

The Czech Republic offers a wide range of things to do and see in addition to many festivals and events throughout the year. From enjoying the great outdoors in the national parks and mountains to exploring the museums and historic neighborhoods of the big cities, the Czech Republic has something for everyone. Don’t miss out on these top things to do when visiting the Czech Republic:

  • Wander through the medieval streets of Prague’s Old Town across the historic Charles Bridge and up to Prague Castle. 
  • Travel to Moravia to enjoy the wine festivals and the country’s quirky second city, Brno.
  • Hike through the breathtaking nature of Bohemian Paradise (Český ráj) or Bohemian Switzerland (České Švýcarsko).

Explore more attractions in the Czech Republic with our full-length articles on the top things to see in Prague and great day trips from Prague.

What to Eat and Drink

Traditional Czech cuisine relies heavily on meat-based dishes served with a side of bread dumplings or potatoes. Must-try dishes include goulash, svíčková, and pork knuckle. Vegetarians should try the fried cheese or look for restaurants serving a vegetarian twist on the other traditional Czech dishes. Although not traditionally Czech, the sugary spit cake, known as trdelník in Czech, is a popular sight in the main tourist areas and is a great dessert option if you’re craving something sweet. The Czech Republic is also home to a large Vietnamese population so, perhaps surprisingly, the country serves some of the best Vietnamese cuisine in Europe.

The Czech Republic is world-famous for its beer with the highest beer consumption per capita in the world and pilsner-style beers originating in the Czech city of Pilsen. The country is home to big names like Pilsner Urquell and Staroprammen, but the local craft and microbrew beer scene has also taken off in recent years, so you won’t have any trouble finding a tasty Czech beer to drink. Beer in the Czech Republic is typically served by the half-liter, which is slightly larger than a pint. Wine and spirits are also popular beverages in the country. Moravia is known for its wine production, with more than 96 percent of the country’s domestically produced wine coming from this region. There are several great bars in Prague where you can try authentic Czech absinthe served in the traditional style, but also be sure to try local specialty spirits like Becherovka and Slivovice.

Where to Stay

If you’re planning to visit the top sights in Prague, staying in the Old Town (Staré Město), New Town (Nové Město), or Lesser Town (Malá Strana) neighborhoods will provide the best walkability access. However, other parts of town will likely have lower accommodation prices and are still well connected to the city center by public transportation.

If you’re visiting Brno, you’ll want to be right in the heart of the city as that’s where most of the action is and you’ll be well connected to the main bus and train stations, making it easy to explore other parts of the country. Staying in Brno is also a good option if you’re planning to attend any of the Moravian wine festivals in September. 

Explore our recommendations for the best hotels in Prague.

Getting There

Prague’s Václav Havel Airport is the biggest airport in the country, but smaller airports in Brno, Ostrava, Pardubice, and Carlsbady also service international flights from other European destinations, especially on budget airlines. Visitors planning to spend the majority of their time in the eastern part of the country might want to consider flying into Vienna International Airport, which has a direct bus from the arrivals terminal to Brno. The country is also well connected to other major European destinations by buses and trains. 

Culture and Customs 

Be sure to plan enough time for long meals when visiting the Czech Republic. Especially with dinner, it is quite common to take your time with the meal and have a few drinks while enjoying a conversation with your company. In most cases, servers won’t try to rush you so you will almost always have to flag them down and ask for the bill when you’re ready to leave. The quickest way to get their attention is usually by having empty drink glasses on the table.

Tipping culture is always confusing when traveling to a new place. In the Czech Republic, it’s common to round the bill up to the next whole number or tip servers up to 10 percent, but it’s not expected. This is only for table service, though. Tipping a bartender or taxi driver will always be appreciated, but is not the norm. 

When it comes to taxis, it’s advisable to order one by calling a taxi service or using a rideshare app like Uber, Bolt, or Liftago rather than hailing one on the street. You’ll get better rates this way and will have the option to pay by card through the app rather than having to deal with cash once you’ve reached your destination.

Money Saving Tips

  • Checking out the free attractions is one of the best ways to save money in the Czech Republic. The country is full of beautiful parks and squares, nature reserves just waiting to be explored, and many of the top sights, including Charles Bridge and Prague Castle, have parts that are accessible to visitors without charge.
  • If you’re planning to spend a few days in Prague, investing in a multi-day transportation pass will be much more economical than purchasing an individual ticket for each journey.
  • Prague is more expensive than other parts of the country. Visit some smaller cities and towns to save on accommodation, food, and drinks. Even Brno, the second biggest city in the Czech Republic, is significantly more affordable.
  • Avoiding the tourist traps in Prague’s Old Town will massively reduce your spending. Instead of having a meal or drink on Old Town Square, find a place on one of the smaller side streets, or look for better deals in other parts of the city.
  • While there’s been a big crackdown on currency exchange fees, you’ll still likely get a better rate by withdrawing money directly from ATMs. When you do this, make sure to use an ATM from a bank and withdraw without the machine’s suggested conversion rate, which tends to be higher than the rate your home bank will charge.
  • Credit and debit cards are widely accepted in the bigger cities so using a card without foreign transaction or conversion fees will help you cut back on those little costs that add up quickly.

Learn more about the cheapest ways to have fun by exploring the best free things to do in Prague.

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