|Time zone:||Central European Time GMT + 1, summer time GMT + 2|
|Average temperature:||July 19°C, January 0°C|
IMPORTANT TELEPHONE NUMBERS:
|General Emergency Number:||112|
|Road emergency service:||1230|
|Information about telephone numbers:||1181, 1180|
The official language in the Czech Republic is Czech, which is spoken by 96 % of the population. Yet, you don’t need to worry about making yourself understood as the Czechs can speak foreign languages, young people especially English and the older generations mainly Russian and also German. French is not widely spoken but it is often understood in tourist places. Do not hesitate to address people by saying words like „Good morning/evening“, Please“ or „Thank you“ in Czech, they will certainly appreciate it. Here are several expressions in Czech to help you communicate in Czech:
Good morning » Dobrý den
Good evening » Dobrý večer
Thank you » Děkuji
Please » Prosím
Goodbye » Na shledanou
Excuse me » Promiňte
Yes/ No » Ano/ Ne
How much is it? » Kolik to stojí?
Do not hesitate to use gestures to make yourself understood.
The official currency used in the Czech Republic is the Czech crown (CZK, Kč). The Czech Republic has been a member of the EU since May 1 2004, but will only enter the Euro Zone around 2010. You can buy Czech crowns before your departure in your country but the rate is more advantageous on the spot.
The exchange rate is approximately 25 Kč/1 EUR.
It can range from 24 to 26 Kč/1 EUR (with regard to the commission fee).
You can exchange money in banks as well as in numerous exchange offices. The rate is a little more advantageous in banks. Of course, you can also pay with international credit cards (American Express, Eurocard-Mastercard, VISA and others) in most hotels, restaurants and shops, and there is a dense network of ATM throughout the country. Traveller’s cheques are also accepted as a method of payment. Nevertheless, it is advisable to bring some cash with you, but beware of pickpockets who are interested above all in tourists.
BANKS AND EXCHANGE OFFICES:
Banks are open on weekdays from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, on Saturdays from 9:00 to 12:00 in the morning. They are closed on Sundays and holidays.
There are exchange offices literally at every corner in Prague. They are usually open till 8:00 PM or 10:00 PM (some of them are open non-stop but pay attention to their fees).
All post offices are in general open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM on weekdays.
The main post office in Prague is in Jindriska Street 14, Prague 1, 110 00, which is open non-stop.
Stamps can be bought at newsagent’s, at a post office or often at the hotel reception.
The price for sending a lettre or a postcard throughout Europe is 32 Kč/1,30 EUR.
The international dialling code for the Czech Republic is +420 (or 00 420). When calling from abroad this must be dialled first, followed by the 9-digit number.
Three mobile phone operators provide mobile services in the Czech Republic. Almost 100% of the country is covered by the mobile signal. The network uses the GSM 900 and 1800 system. This is compatible with the rest of Europe and Australia. Problems can arise with handsets from North America and Japan.
Tips for visitors:
Find out before you leave home what type of telephone you have and activate the roaming service provided by your operator.
Mobile phone operators in the Czech Republic:
- O2 (www.cz.o2.com) - info line 800 02 02 02
- Mobile (www.t-mobile.cz) - info line 603 603 603
- Vodafone (www.vodafone.cz) - info line 800 777 777
All these operators sell pay-as-you-go SIM cards charged with a certain amount of prepaid credit (300–2000 Kč). These are useful on medium length visits. In order to use a Czech SIM card you will need to have a telephone which has not been blocked by your operator.
Public phone boxes
The Czech Republic has one of the densest networks of public phone boxes in central Europe. The majority of these take telephone cards (150, 200 and 300 Kč) or Czech coins (though there are fewer of these).
To call abroad, it is necessary to dial 00 + prefix of the country.
As the criminality is concentrated mainly in the city centre in places popular with tourists, the visitors are advised to be careful about their personal belongings, especially in places such as the public transport (metro, buses, tramways) and in front of the monuments.
There is a police station for foreigners, which is to be found near the „Můstek“ metro station at the following address:
9, Jungmanovo náměstí, 110 01 Prague 1 (tel.: 974 851 750, fax: 974 851 758)
The interpreters are available non-stop.
ARRIVING IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC:
The Czech Republic became a member of the EU in 2004. There are different rules for citizens of EU member countries and for tourists from other parts of the world. Everyone must carry ID at all times.
Citizens of EU member states need a passport or another ID document to enter the Czech Republic. The same applies to citizens of Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, who enjoy the right of free movement around the EEA (European Economic Area).
Visitors from other countries are required to have a passport with at least six months’ validity on the day of arrival and in some cases a visa. A list of states whose citizens need to have a visa to enter the Czech Republic can be found at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (www.mzv.cz).
Since 21 December 2007 the Czech Republic has been a member of the Schengen Zone. This group of counties have come together to enable people to cross their borders without passport controls. Despite this, however, a valid passport or other ID will still have to be carried at all times.
Private and state healthcare facilities are operated in the Czech Republic. The majority of them are bound by contract with the public health insurance system. These medical institutions (physicians, dentists, hospitals) provide patients with healthcare which is free of charge. This also applies to citizens of EU countries holding a European Health Insurance Card. Private doctors require payment in cash on the spot. For more information on medical treatment please see the websites of the Centre for the international reimbursements at (www.cmu.cz).
FIRST AID SERVICES:
Sudden illness, injury and other emergency situations are dealt with by the Accident and Emergency hospital departments. Should a life threatening situation arise, you can call an ambulance car by dialing 112. Do not hesitate do ask for help at the reception of your hotel.
Prague 1, Palackého 5, tel.: 224 949 181
Prague 3, Koněvova 205, tel.: 284 862 149
Prague 4, Pacovská 31, tel.: 241 733 917
Prague 5, FN Motol, V Úvalu 84, tel.: 224 438 590 (1)
Prague 6 Vítězné náměstí 13, tel.: 233 340 912
Prague 7, Dukelských hrdinů 1, tel.: 233 370 391
Prague 8, FNB, Budínova 2, FN Na Bulovce, tel.: 283 842 222
Prague 9, Lovosická 440/40, tel.: 286 881 518
Prague 10, Plaňanská 573/1, tel.: 274 810 990
Prague 12, Soukalova 3355, tel.: 241 765 159
Prague 14, Generála Janouška 902, tel.: 281 914 072
CLINIC FOR FOREIGNERS:
Hospital Na Homolce, Roentgenova 2, 150 00 Prague 5, tel.: 257 271 111
Hospital v Motole, V Uvalu 84, 150 18 Prague 5, tel.: 224 431 111
To be able to drive on motorways, cars need to obtain a toll sticker. You can buy it at the frontier, at service stations and in post offices. It has to be sticked on the windscreen. It costs 1500 Kč for a year, 440 Kč for 1 month and 310 Kč for a week. As for coaches, there is a system of electronic toll, which is similar to that of Austria (www.premid.cz).
Basically, there are two types of fares valid for the metro, bus and tram network: one for 32 Kč (= 1,3 EUR) and the other for 24 Kč (1 EUR). The first one is valid for 90 minutes and the second one for 30 minutes. It is possible to change as many times as you wish. There are also 1 day or 3 day tickets available. The 1 day ticket is valid for 24 hours and costs 110 Kč (= 3,90 EUR), the 3 day ticket is valid for 72 hours and costs 310 Kč (= 13 EUR). The tickets are sold in ticket machines, at the counter in the metro stations or at the newsagent’s. Transport is free of charge for children till the age of 6, and there is a half-price ticket for children aged 6 – 15 and for seniors. Tickets must be stamped in the stamping machines on entering the tram or bus or transportation area of the metro. You need to keep the ticket during the entire journey to be able to show it to the ticket inspector. The metro works from 5,00 till 24,00. Then you can use only night buses and trams, which are, however, numerous and are not dangerous as in some other capitals.
TARIFFS AND TIPS:
The prices in the restaurants often include all taxes, but rarely the service. If you are satisfied with service, you can give a tip to the waiter (normally about 10% of the price).
You can easily find a taxi in the centre of Prague near all the historical sites but be careful, taxi drivers operating in the city centre have got a bad reputation of charging tourists much more than they should. To fight with this practice, which damages the credit of the capital, the town hall has decided to set up taxi stands marked „TAXI FAIR PLACE“, which guarantee the maximum tariff of 28 Kč/km. Nowadays there are 49 such taxi stands throughout the city centre.
It is advisable to ask about the tariff and the approximate price of your journey before getting in the taxi. Taxi fare is composed of a fixed rate and a charge per kilometre. Taxi drivers are obliged to switch on the taxi-meter once you get in the car, and give you a receipt stating the amount to pay when the journey is finished.