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Prague Guide for travellers heading to Prague (Prague Currency) | Prague Hotels - Prague Apartments

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Prague Guide Handbook for Travelers heading to Czech Republic

Most people prefer to gather at least the basic information about their destination and create some sort of a travel plan before they go on a trip abroad.

On the other hand, others seek adventurous travel, or spontaneous travel, i.e. completely without any preparations or plans. Regardless of whether you belong to the former group or among the adventure seekers, you should certainly gather some basic facts and accept a bit of practical advice from us before your trip.


On the following pages, you will find information about in which time zone Prague, the Czech Republic is located, which seasons of the year are suitable for various activities and what kind of weather to expect, as well as when there are public holidays and school holidays. You should definitely know which language is spoken in Prague, Czech Republic, what currency to use and whether your electrical appliances will work. Today, it is crucial to know a bit about telephone calls, postal services and the Internet, and you might also be interested in learning when you can do your shopping or visit various institutions. We would also like to give you some tips regarding souvenirs that you can buy in the Czech Republic.

After that, we will touch upon more serious topics, such as which personal documents are required, what entry formalities to expect, and which telephone numbers and contacts are recommended. It is also useful to know a bit about Czech information and tourist centers.

Time

The Czech Republic lies in the same time zone as the rest of Central Europe; you will therefore be using Central European Time (GMT + one hour). The Czech Republic uses summer and winter time, and the time of day is told using the 24-hour system.
Therefore, when referring to time, the Czechs do not use the morning (a.m.) and afternoon (p.m.) distinction, but rather, for example, refer to 8 a.m. as 8:00, while 20:00 means 8 p.m. In the spoken language you can also hear references to time such as 8 o’clock in the morning, 10 o’clock in the morning, 6 o’clock in the afternoon (18:00), or 8 o’clock in the evening (20:00).

Best time to visit Prague

In general, you can say that there are many places to see and events to attend in the Czech Republic at any time of the year. For instance, if you want to go sightseeing and visit castles and chateaux, you should come between early May and late September. Although some monuments and most museums and galleries are open all year round, during summer there are various accompanying events taking place at castles and chateaux that you should not miss. The months of April and October are interim periods for sightseeing, when you can enjoy a more peaceful atmosphere, but you should also expect cooler weather, often around 10°C. If you wish to visit sights in winter, you should expect that some will be closed (you should check opening hours in advance). On the other hand, you will be able to contemplate in a quiet winter landscape, and if you are lucky enough to see the countryside clad with snow, sparkling in the sun, you will be charmed. July and August are months of school holidays and vacations and the number of visitors is much higher, but interiors of castles offer a pleasant respite from the hot summer sun, when temperatures often rise above 30°C.
If you want to engage in sports during a particular season, you should know which sports you would like to partake in. Obviously, winter is the only season when you can ski and enjoy other winter sports. The Czech mountains are usually covered with snow from December to March. Temperatures in the mountains during that period are constantly below zero, sometimes dropping as low as –20 or –30°C. In major winter resorts, all important slopes are conditioned with snow-making machines if necessary.
All other activities can pretty much be performed in any season, including walks in the countryside, rambling, biking, visiting spas or enjoying entertainment events and shopping. It is entirely up to you to choose from the warmer days (July and August), blossoming spring (April through June), fragrant and colorful autumn (September and October), or the chilly winter (mid-November to March).

Holidays

Sundays, Saturdays and public holidays are days when the majority of authorities and banks are closed; on Sundays and holidays, shops are often closed as well. On the other hand, most restaurants, bars and tourist attractions usually stay open. You should remember that public transportation services are significantly limited on these days, and the intervals are much longer than on working days.

    Public holidays:
  • New Year's Day (January 1)
  • Easter Monday (late March or early April)
  • Labor Day (May 1)
  • Liberation Day (May 8)
  • Feast Day of St. Cyril and St. Methodius (July 5)
  • Jan Hus Day (July 6)
  • Day of the Czech statehood (September 28)
  • Foundation of the independent Czechoslovak State (October 28)
  • Day of Students’ Fight for Freedom and Democracy (November 17)
  • Christmas (December 24-26)

School holidays

The main school holidays are in summer (July and August). Other holidays are at Christmas (usually December 23–January 3) and in spring (one week, which varies from school to school).

Language

The official language spoken in the Czech Republic is Czech, which belongs to the group of Slavic languages, all of which are Indo-European languages. Specifically, Czech is one of the West Slavic languages. It is very similar to Slovak, and if they make a bit of an effort, Czechs can also understand quite a bit of Polish fairly well as well.
    A few useful Czech words and phrases:
  • Hello / Good Morning - Dobrý den (if greeting an unknown person or a person older than you; used at any time of the day)
  • Hello / Hi - Ahoj (if greeting an acquaintance or friend, common among young people)
  • Good Bye - Na shledanou (if saying good bye to an unknown person or a person older than you)
  • Bye - Ahoj, čau
  • Good night - Dobrou noc
  • Yes – Ano
  • No – Ne
  • Thank you – Děkuji
  • How are you? - Jak se máš? (more personal in Czech)
  • You’re welcome - Prosím / Není zač
  • Help me, please - Pomozte mi, prosím
  • Excuse me - Promiňte / S dovolením
  • I’m sorry - Promiňte / odpusťte
  • Do you speak English? - Mluvíte anglicky?
  • I don’t speak Czech - Nemluvím česky
  • I don’t understand – Nerozumím
  • I see/understand - Chápu / Rozumím
  • I’m lost (man) - Ztratil jsem se
  • I’m lost (woman) - Ztratila jsem se
  • I need a doctor! - Potřebuji doktora!
  • I need to make a phone call - Potřebuji si zavolat
  • I’m looking for a hospital - Hledám nemocnici
  • Call the police! - Zavolejte policii!
  • Where is … - Kde je…
  • Is it far? - Je to daleko?
  • Is it near? - Je to blízko?
  • Entrance - Vchod
  • Exit - Východ
  • Information centre - Informační centrum
  • Toilets - Toalety
  • Men/Women - Muži/Ženy
  • What time is it? - Kolik je hodin?
  • Shopping, Food - Nakupování, potraviny
  • Water - Voda
  • Milk - Mléko
  • Bread - Chléb
  • I like it (about food) - Chutná mi to
  • Bon appétit - Dobrou chuť
  • How much is it (price)? - Kolik to stojí?
  • See you later - Uvidíme se později

Currency and services (Prague currency)

The official currency used in Prague, the Czech Republic, is the Czech crown (Kč, CZK). One crown is divided into 100 hellers, but today only crown coins are used, and retailers round the total sum of your purchase to the nearest 1 crown. Other coins in circulation come in values of CZK 2, 5, 10, 20, and you can also receive a CZK 50 coin. Bank notes come in values of CZK 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 2,000 and 5,000.
The Czech Republic has slowly been preparing itself for its transition to the euro, which is expected to happen around 2010. Nonetheless, it is already common today that many shops and restaurants will accept payment in euros (but the exchange rate is less favorable than in exchange bureaus), or even in U.S. dollars.
There are many exchange bureaus in the Czech Republic. Exchange services are of course provided by banks and at most hotel receptions, but the exchange rates are not very good. The best exchange rates are offered by private exchange offices, but you should always compare their current rates and fees that may apply.

Credit cards

You can of course withdraw your money using your international payment card. There are many banks in the Czech Republic that operate ATMs. ATMs commonly recognize most card types (Visa, MasterCard, Plus, Cirrus and other). However, you can get a better price if paying directly with your card. In particular, in Prague, nearly every shop, restaurant and hotel accepts cards. However, in smaller towns you may find retailers who do not accept cards but who will be happy to tell you where you can find the nearest ATM.

Traveler’s checks

Traveler’s checks are undoubtedly a safe way of transporting funds. If you are a customer of American Express, Thomas Cook or Visa, you will have no problems cashing your traveler's checks at Czech banks. Eurocheque is also accepted.


Electricity

Before traveling to the Czech Republic, you should bear in mind that mains sockets may be different from those you are used to at home. This problem can easily be solved with a universal adapter. The AC plug system is similar to the ones used in Germany and Austria. 220 V is only used.

Telephone services

It is easy and convenient to make telephone calls in the Czech Republic. The country is covered by several mobile networks plus you can use VOIP telephony as well (Czechs are crazy about new technologies and you will find many wi-fi hotspots for free, in Prague at least).
If you wish to call a number in the Czech Republic, you must first dial the country code 00420, followed by other codes and numbers (city, subscriber), but always without any additional zero. All telephone numbers in the Czech Republic were fundamentally changed a few years ago, for example, a telephone number in the format 00420 0312 55328 is no longer valid. The best way to find out the current telephone number is to call 1180 (004201180).

If you want to make a call from the Czech Republic to another country, first dial 00, then the relevant country code, followed by the particular number (e.g. when calling the United Kingdom, you would dial 0044 7949 758866).


    International dialing codes
  • Australia 0061
  • Austria 0043
  • Belgium 0032
  • Canada 001
  • Denmark 0045
  • France 0033
  • Germany 0049
  • Great Britain 0044
  • Greece 0030
  • Italy 0039
  • Japan 0081
  • Netherlands 0031
  • Norway 0047
  • Poland 0048
  • Russia 007
  • Slovakia 00421
  • Sweden 0046
  • Spain 0034
  • Switzerland 0041
  • USA 001

Public pay phones

The public pay phones network in the Czech Republic is one of the most compact in Europe. Public phones require either telephone cards or coins. You can purchase such cards at post offices, newspaper stands, gas stations and sometimes in supermarkets. These cards are sold in amounts of CZK 150, 200, and 300. “Trick Cards” can be used to make calls as well as to send short messages, write e-mails and connect to the Internet.

Mobile (cellular) phones

There are currently three mobile operators offering their services in the Czech Republic: Vodafone, T-Mobile and Eurotel/O2. Their services are provided using the GSM 900/1800, which is compatible with the rest of Europe, Asia and Australia, but generally not with the systems used in Japan and North America. Before you start using your mobile phone in the Czech Republic, consider buying a local SIM card as it can considerably reduce your telephone bills. However, your mobile phone needs to be unblocked (by the original operator) in that case. A SIM card together with a starting prepaid credit costs between CZK 300 – 2,000. Czech mobile operators – Eurotel/O2, T-Mobile and Vodafone – all offer mobile phone rental services. For specific terms and conditions of such services, please visit their respective websites:


Postal services

Postal services in the Czech Republic are provided by Czech Post. Their services are very reliable and good quality, provided at exceptionally low rates. Sending a regular postcard or a light letter (up to 20 grams) to a destination in Europe will cost you CZK 9 (data from 2004) and CZK 14 to elsewhere in the world. You can either send your postcards or letters from a post office, or buy a stamp at a news stand and put your mail in an orange post box. Czech Post also provides express postal services (for example, a parcel of up to 500 grams will cost you about CZK 600). You can of course have your parcel insured, and when sending valuable items, you should also fill out a customs declaration form. Czech post site: http://www.cpost.cz/.

Internet, wi-fi

As in most other European countries, Internet connections are commonplace in the Czech Republic. You can either connect to the web at your hotel or visit an Internet café. Information centers and public libraries have recently also in many cases installed PCs connected to the Internet.


Opening hours, Shops

The opening hours of most shops from Monday to Friday are 8 or 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays mornings. Major retail stores (e.g. Tesco) and shopping centers are open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, and some are open 24 hours a day. Some smaller shops may close for a lunch break, which is usually between noon and 1 p.m.

Banks and Authorities

Banks and authorities are mostly open on working days (Monday to Friday) between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Post offices are also open on Saturday morning.

Restaurants

Most restaurants and cafés are open daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m or later. In smaller towns, restaurants and cafés often do not open before lunchtime, i.e. from 11 a.m. Most pubs and beer halls also observe similar opening hours.

Bars and Clubs

Bars and clubs usually only open in the afternoon. They are often open until 1 a.m., in some cases until 3 or 5 a.m., depending on the number of guests wishing to stay. On Fridays and Saturdays the opening hours are the longest, with some places sometimes staying open until 8 a.m. the next day.

Souvenirs

The most popular souvenirs are products of Czech skillful craftsman, in particular glass, porcelain, and ceramics. You can for example buy beautiful Czech glass products at the Moser store (located at Na Příkopě 12, Prague 1). The store bears the name of a prestigious Bohemian glass factory that was founded in 1857. At Náprstkova 4 in Prague 1, they sell modern glass products, which often include semi-precious stones artfully set inside. Nonetheless, all over Prague will you see nicely decorated and illuminated shops with Bohemian glass and porcelain. There are also many shops with handmade ceramics in Prague, where you can also buy handmade clothes and fashion accessories. To see examples of skillfully crafted Czech products, in this case made mainly from wood and other natural materials, go to the small shop called Tupesy lidová keramika at Havelská 21 in Prague 1.
Another major treasure of the Czech Republic is the semi-precious Czech garnet (also known as Bohemian ruby). You can buy jewelry made from this beautiful stone at a store called Granát Turnov at Dlouhá 28-30 in Prague 1, for example.
The Czech Republic is also renowned for delicious food. You should definitely take at least one bottle of beer or wine home with you. The Becherovka liqueur from Karlovy Vary is also unique, while you can reminisce about South Moravia over a glass of Jelínek’s slivovitz (plum brandy). If you have a sweet tooth, you should buy wafers from Karlovy Vary, made according to a unique recipe that has been passed from generation to generation, and also the Czech chocolate brand Orion.

Traffic Informations

The Prague metro is an underground public transport network in Prague, Czech Republic. It is the fastest means of transportation around the city and serves over one million passengers a day.
The Prague Metro comprises three lines, each of which is represented by its own color on the maps and signs: Line A (green), Line B (yellow) and Line C (red). There are 54 stations in total (three of which are transfer stations) connected by more than 50 kilometers of mostly underground railways. The metro service operates between 5 A.M. and midnight every day, with about two- to three-minute intervals between trains during rush hours. Over 420 million passengers use the Prague Metro every year. More info incl. tarrifs, tickets, maps etc available at http://www.dpp.cz/.

Taxi in Prague

The maximum prices for taxi services in the district of the capital city of Prague:
  • ride in the district of the capital city of Prague 28,- Kc/1 km
  • boarding fee 34,- Kc
  • waiting 5,- Kc/1 min.
  • The prices can be rised within a year. The maximum prices are valid for all the vehicles offering the taxi services in the district of Prague. The price for waiting includes waiting in a trafic jam (slow trafic) as well as waiting on customer's request. Fare outside the district of Prague is not limited.
  • Warning for Customers Each taxi has to be equipped with a permanetly installed roof lamp with the TAXI sign. The registration number, company name and the price list including the basic rate, kilometer rate and one-minute-waiting rate must be displayed on both front doors of the taxi. These prices must correspond with the prices set on the taximeters in the taxi. Customers are recommended to order a taxi by means of nonstop dispatching offices, where the information on fares is available in advance. When the journey is completed, the driver is obliged to issue an orderly and fully filled receipt for the payment. The receipt has to be issued by the taxameter printer. In other words - as Czechs we are very sorry to say so - but beware of Prague taxis - as they often behave really bad, over-charging its services to foreign tourists especially!


Important Telephone Numbers

  • Ambulance 155
  • Police 158
  • Fire Department 150
  • Municipal Police 156
  • Emergency road service 1230, 1240
or call 112 from your mobile phone.

Important Customs Offices

  • Celni urad Praha (Prague Customs Office)- Praha 8, Sokolovska 22, phone 2481 6256
  • Celnice Hlavni nadrazi (Main Railway Station Customs Office) - Praha 2, Wilsonova 80, phone 2422 1905
  • Celnice Ruzyne (Ruzyne Customs Office) - Praha 6, Ruzyne Airport, phone 2011 3529
  • Vyclivaci posta (Customs Clearance Post Office) - Praha 5, Plzenska 139, phone 5701 9102

Postal services

  • Non-stop Post Office - Praha 1, Hybernska 15
  • Main Post Office - Praha 1, Jindrisska 14, daily 2 a. m. - 12 p. m.


Medical Emergencies

  • Praha 1 - Palackého 5, phone. 224 949 181
  • Praha 2 - Sokolská 27, phone. 224 266 150
  • Praha 3 - Koněvova 205, phone. 284 862 149
  • Praha 4 - Pacovská 31, phone. 241 733 917
  • Praha 5 - Kartouzská 6, phone. 257 323 219
  • Praha 6 - Vítězné náměstí 13, phone. 233 340 912
  • Praha 7 - Dukelských hrdinů 1, phone. 233 373 933
  • Praha 8 - Budínova 2 (the Bulovka hospital), phone. 283 842 222
  • Praha 9 - Sokolovská 304, phone. 266 310 372
  • Praha 10 - Nad Olšinami 4, phone. 274 812 509

Dental Emergencies

  • Praha 1- Palackeho 5, phone 224 946 981 (Mon to Fri 7 p.m.-7 a.m., Sat + Sun non-stop)
  • Praha 4 - Pacovska 31, phone 241 733 918 (Mon to Fri 7 p.m.-7 a.m., Sat + Sun non-stop)

Pharmacies offering non-stop service

  • Praha 1 - Palackého 5, phone. 224 946 982
  • Praha 2 - Belgická 37, phone. 222 519 731
  • Praha 4 - Soukalova 3355, phone. 241 770 498
  • Praha 4 - Anny Drabíkové 534, phone. 272 912 743
  • Praha 5 - Štefánikova 6, phone. 257 320 918
  • Praha 6 - Pod Marjánkou 12, phone. 220 514 473
  • Praha 7 - Milady Horákové 22, phone. 233 375 599
  • Praha 8 - Heydukova 10, phone. 266 310 899
  • Praha 8 - Budinova 2 (the Bulovka hospital), phone. 283 840 501


Lost and Found Office

  • Praha 1, Karoliny Svetle 5, phone 22423 5085
  • Lost credit cards: - American Express - phone 22280 0111, Visa - phone 22412 5353, Diners Club - phone 26719 7450, MasterCard/Eurocard - phone 22411 3116


Embassies in Prague

  • Austria - Victora Huga 10, 151 15 Praha 5, phone 257 090 511, fax 257 316 045
  • Belgium - Valdstejnska 6, 118 01 Praha 1, phone 257 533 524, fax 257 533 750
  • Brazil - Susicka 12, 160 41 Praha 6, phone 224 324 965, fax 224 312 901
  • Canada - Muchova 6, 160 00 Praha 6, phone 272 101 800, fax 272 101 890
  • Cyprus - Sibirské nám. 6, 160 00 Praha 6, phone 224 316 833, fax 224 317 529
  • Denmark - Maltezske nam. 5, 118 01 Praha 1, phone 257 531 600, fax 257 531 410
  • Estonia - Na Kampe 1, 118 00 Praha 1, tel. 257 011 180, fax 257 001 181
  • Finland - Hellichova 1, 118 00 Praha 1, phone 251 177 251, fax 251 177 241
  • France - Velkoprevorske nam. 2, 118 01 Praha 1, phone 251 171 711, fax 251 171 720
  • Germany - Vlasska 19, 118 01 Praha 1, phone 527 113 111, fax 257 534 056
  • Great Britain - Thunovska 14, 118 00 Praha 1, phone 257 402 111, fax 257 402 296
  • Greece - Helenska 2, 120 00 Praha 2, phone 222 250 943, fax 222 253 686
  • Hungary - Ceskomalinska 20, 160 00 Praha 6, phone 233 324 454, fax 233 322 104
  • Italy - Nerudova 20, 118 00 Praha 1, phone 233 080 111, fax 257 531 522
  • Ireland - Trziste 13, 118 00 Praha 1, phone 257 530 061, fax 257 531 387
  • Izrael - Badeniho 2, 170 01 Praha 7, phone 233 097 500, fax 233 097 519
  • Japan - Maltezske nam. 6, 118 01 Praha 1, phone 257 533 546, fax 257 532 377
  • Latvia - Hradesinska 3, 101 00 Praha 10, phone 255 700 881, fax 255 700 880
  • Lithuania - Pod Klikovkou 1916, 150 00 Praha 5, phone 257 210 122, fax 257 210 124
  • Luxembourg - Trziste 13, 118 00 Praha 1, phone 257 181 800, fax 257 532 537
  • Netherlands - Gotthardska 6, 160 00 Praha 6, phone 224 312 190, fax 224 312 160
  • Norway - Hellichova 1, 118 00 Praha 1, phone 257 323 737, fax 257 326 827
  • Poland - Valdstejska 8, 118 01 Praha 1, phone 257 530 388, fax 257 530 399
  • Portugal - Nam. Kinskych 7, 150 00, Praha 5, phone 257 311 230 - 1, fax 257 311 234
  • Russia - Pod Kastany 1, 160 00 Praha 6, phone 233 374 100, fax 233 377 235
  • Slovakia - Pod Hradbami 1, 160 00 Praha 6, phone 233 113 051 - 2, fax 233 113 054
  • Slovenia - Pod Hradbami 15, 160 00 Praha 6, phone 233 081 211, fax 233 081 214
  • Spain - Badeniho 4, 170 00 Praha 7, phone 224 311 441, fax 233 341 770
  • Sweden - Úvoz 13, 118 01 Praha 1, phone 220 313 200, fax 220 313 240
  • Switzerland - Pevnostni 7, 162 01 Praha 6, phone 220 400 611, fax 224 311 312
  • Ukraine - Charlese de Gaulla 29, 160 00 Praha 6, phone 233 342 000, fax 233 344 366
  • USA - Trziste 15, 118 01 Praha 1, phone 257 530 663, fax 257 530 583


 

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