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Practical information Czech Republic

Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Section editor

Czech Republic : Travel Information before you go!

Area

30,450 sq mi

Flights

3 hrs. Prague 643 mi from London.

Population

10,300,000

Airports

Prague airport is located 12 miles away from the city centre. The Cedaz private shuttles drive to Republiky square in 20 minutes for roughly £5 (approx £13.50 after 9 pm). Another solution is public transport, which is cheaper, but also slower (a 50 minute trip into town). If you opt for public transport, buy a ticket (roughly 85p) for bus no. 119. Get off at Dejvicka station and take the underground train (without having to buy another ticket) to the city centre. Czech taxi drivers are very crafty: do not hesitate to ask what the fare will be before getting in (allow around £24 and a 20 minute journey to get to the centre of town.

Security

The only concern is the pickpockets operating around tourist sites and on the underground trains.

Languages

Czech is the official language. Slovak is also spoken, as well as German. As a tourist, it is best to speak German rather than English to make yourself understood.

Required travel documents for

Following its entry into the European Union on 1st May 2004, European citizens only need to show a valid identity card at customs. A valid passport is also sufficient.
People entering the country by road will have to buy a tax disk at one of the frontier posts (about £20), it is mandatory if you want to drive on the country's main roads.

Religion

39% atheists, 39% Catholics, 2% Protestants and a Hussite and Israelite community.

Currency

Although the country joined the European Union on 1st May 2004, it has not yet joined the Euro. Its currency is still the Czech Koruna (CZK). For foreign exchange, banks are your best bet, as they offer better rates than foreign exchange offices for tourists. Watch out for black market scams where foreign exchange dealers may try to give you old notes or Polish currency. International credit cards are now widely used in Prague and more and more of them are accepted in other big cities, especially in restaurants, hotels and department stores. Automatic cash machines are becoming increasingly widespread. Change any remaining Korunas before coming home, because English banks may charge high commission rates. Banks are open Monday to Friday, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Local transportation

The road network is dense and of good quality. In Prague or other cities, the ideal way to travel is driving. A national driver's licence is sufficient to rent a car.
To get to different places in the country, you have the choice between the train - not very fast, and coaches - with a service to major cities. Depending on the destination, you should opt for one or the other. For a Prague-Karlovy Vary trip, you should prefer travelling by bus for example (a train trip being much longer), whereas for a Prague-Marianské Lazne (Marienbad), you ought to opt for a train trip (2 hours), as there are not any bus links on that route.
Prague is a city which can easily be visited on foot, but you can also use the underground train, tramway and bus, which are all very effective. A ticket for all public transport, is roughly 35p for short trips and 50p for long trips.
You hardly ever fall on an honest taxi driver. It is difficult then to settle on a fare since they have been liberalized. A piece of advice: insist on the meter to be put on only when you get into the cab, and not before...

Health

No mandatory vaccine is required. The Czech public medical services are of good quality. It is better to subscribe to medical insurance because you will have to pay for medical care. In case of a problem, go to Na Homolce Hospital, for foreigners, (Roentgenova 2, Prague 5. Tel: 52 92 11 11).

Electricity

220 V. Electric plugs are the same.

Tourist numbers

In 2006, the Czech Republic welcomed 6.4 million tourists.

Taxes and tips

Goods and services include a tax of 20%. In restaurants, it is appreciated to leave a tip of 5% to 10% of the bill's total.

Telephone

To call the Czech Republic from the UK, dial 00 + 420 (country code) + city code (2 for Prague, 5 for Brno) + number you are trying to reach.
To call the UK from the Czech Republic: 00 + 44 (country code) + number you are trying to reach excluding the initial 0. For intercity calls, dial 0 before the city code.

Czech Republic : Useful addresses in the country

Before leaving

Embassy of the Czech Republic
26 - 30 Kensington Palace Gardens
London
W8 4QY
Tel : (+44) 20 7243 1115


Tourist Office of the Czech Republic
http://www.czech.cz/

At the destination

Czech Tourist Office
Na Prikope 20
Prague
Tel: 24 48 20 18