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Experience sophistication and relaxation in the Czech Republic, a land that brims with culture, class and calm.

Sharing borders and history with Poland, Germany, Slovakia and Austria, the central European country of the Czech Republic offers you a real slice of culture. The capital city, Prague, puts on a masterclass in urban elegance, thanks to beautiful structures like the Charles Bridge. Northern and central Bohemia, meanwhile, lavish scenic riches on you. Castles and chateaus stand nonchalantly in the background, while glimmering rivers flow calmly in front of them and share their limelight.

Immerse yourself in culinary culture in the capital, trying both traditional Czech foods and sophisticated modern cuisine. Expand your knowledge of wines in the city, or go out into the countryside to insightful tasting sessions in locations that have longstanding wine culture traditions. Visit museums and learn about the country of old – once Czechoslovakia and the Kingdom of Bohemia – to give you full appreciation for all that it is today. Book your holiday to the Czech Republic and you’ll return wiser and more worldly.

 

Culture and history

Czech culture might surprise you, as it is one of the most atheistic and agnostic countries you might ever encounter on your holidays. Only a little more than 10% of the population are Roman Catholics and just over 1% are Protestant. Almost 35% are of no religion and 54% are of another religion or unspecified belief.

One thing the Czechs do believe in, however, is holding a mighty good festival. The Prague Food Festival takes place outdoors every year in May and is the culinary event of the year in the country. Featuring a load of degustation stands, the festival is all about promoting quality gastronomy and using local ingredients – it showcases the cookery and restaurants of the finest chefs. As well as trying different foods and getting tips on what to eat in the Czech Republic, visitors can attend wine tastings and try bartender classes!

Things to do

Take a break with Saga and explore Czech culture while spending a relaxing time in this welcoming part of Central Europe. Indulge in a little wine tasting, explore the country’s striking capital and some of its historic buildings, soak up inspiring views and travel by boat down the shimmering rivers. 

Prague

When you choose to explore this incredible country, there are some things you simply must do. One of them is visit the capital city for a few days, although you could easily spend your whole holiday in Prague! While there, you should go for a walk over the Vltava on the Charles Bridge, which is possibly one of the most famous bridges in Europe. It’s most atmospheric at dawn.

Another impressive attraction is the Prague City Museum, which opened in 1898 and addresses the history of the city from prehistoric times right up until the 20th century. The highlight of the museum is Antonín Langweil’s scale model of Prague city, as it appeared between 1826 and 1837 – the model contains more than 2,000 buildings.

Mĕlník 

Call in at the town of Mĕlník, in central Bohemia, and you can combine a taste for national culture with the opportunity to take in some dazzling scenery, do a little wine tasting and delight your palate! The Mĕlník Chateau is a Renaissance castle that boasts Baroque furniture and artworks from the 17th and 18th centuries. Plus oenophiles will revel in the remarkable wine cellar.

Besides breathing in the romantic air of this chateau that looks out over the confluence of the Elbe and Vltava (the longest running river in the Czech Republic), take the time to visit the town’s main square and its striking clock tower.

Dĕčin Castle

Built where the Ploučnice River meets the Elbe, Dĕčin Castle sits proudly on a cliff. It’s one of the biggest, oldest landmarks in northern Bohemia. The castle was originally a wooden fortress, way back in the 10th century, and has witnessed several reconstructions throughout the ages. Today, you can walk around the stunning garden, explore the building and see the magnificent results of all these labours.

In the 19th century, the castle became especially prominent as a political and cultural centre. The fortress hosted such eminent guests as the composer Frederick Chopin and the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand d’Este – the man whose death triggered World War I.

Flight time

Direct flights to Prague from London are relatively quick, taking just under two hours, so pick up your favourite magazine at the airport to keep you occupied for the duration of the journey.

Currency

Koruna - The unit of currency in the Czech Republic is the Czech koruna, which is sometimes referred to in English as the ‘Czech crown’. Theoretically, a koruna is divided into 100 haler, but these smaller units are no longer in circulation.

Passports and visas

You don’t need anything other than a valid passport to visit the Czech Republic, unless you plan to spend more than 30 days there or even reside permanently. If you have a different type of British nationality, such as British Overseas Citizen, you may require a visit and should consult a Czech embassy several months before travelling to the Czech Republic.

Phrases

You may want to learn some basic Czech phrases to communicate with the older, non-English speaking population who were raised while Russian was enforced in schools. Here are a few useful expressions to get you started

Dobrý den – Hello!

Ahoj – Hi or bye

Ano – Yes

Ne – No

Prosím – Please

Dékuji vam – Thank you

Omluvte mě – Excuse me

Mluvíte anglikcy – Do you speak English?

Kolik to stoji? – How much is this?

Rozumíte? – Do you understand?

Co to znamená? – What does this mean?

Timezone

The Czech Republic sits in the Central European Time (CET) zone, placing it one hour ahead of the UK. In March, the time zone shifts to Daylight Saving Time at the same time as British Summer Time starts, so you will always need to set your watch one hour ahead if you are going to Czech Republic for a holiday.

Electricity

The Czech Republic uses Type E and Type C plugs, both of which are the general European plugs with two round prongs. Type E also has an additional Make sure you bring an adaptor with you to power up your devices in your hotel. Electricity in the Czech Republic is 220–240 V and AC 50 Hz.

Language

Czech - The official language of the Czech Republic is, of course, Czech. However, German, Polish and Slovak are also spoken. Many Czechs speak a second language, which is often English in the case of young people. Older Czechs may not speak English, so why not prepare yourself with a few basic Czech phrases from our language guide?

Tipping

Service is included when eating out, under Czech law. However, a tip is not, so it’s best to keep aside some lower denomination notes or coins. It’s good practice to tip about 10% of the bill, especially when you’re in Prague or more touristic areas of the Czech Republic. Locals don’t normally tip in bars, but if you wish to do so you can leave a few crowns, rounding up to the nearest 10.

Climate

The climate in the Czech Republic is generally mixed and is characterised by large fluctuations in the temperature. If you’re on a city break in Prague, expect average temperatures of between 13 and 18 degrees Celsius from May to September, with the average high temperature pushing towards 23 degrees Celsius in July and August. July is the hottest month in the capital and has pushed the mercury in thermometers as high as the 32-degree mark.

Health

Before you travel to the Czech Republic, you should make an appointment with your GP at least six weeks before departure – but the further in advance, the better – to see if you need any vaccinations. Health information changes frequently and they’ll be able to provide you with the most up-to-date information. 

Make sure you get a European Health Insurance Card before you travel to the Czech Republic. This is not a substitute for medical insurance, but it will help you to get state health care if you require this while on holiday. 

You can get country-specific information and advice on possible health risks from the National Travel Health Network and Centre. There is further information available from The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit, which provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad.

Population and size

The northern and eastern regions of the Czech Republic tend to have higher urban populations, but the country generally enjoys an even population distribution. The population of the Czech Republic is estimated at 10, 644, 882, and the size of the country is 78, 867 square kilometres.

Smoking

Despite initial approval of a draft bill to ban smoking in bars, hotels and restaurants, subsequent attempts to prohibit smoking in these places have failed and smoking is still permitted. However, you should check with each establishment, as smoking may be restricted at management discretion. Smoking in public areas – such as health facilities, cultural facilities, bus stops, tram stops and train stations – is not permitted.


Places in the Czech Republic

Prague

The City of a Hundred Spires


Climate

The City of a Hundred Spires

Explore captivating Prague

During a Danube river cruise you can explore Prague, one of the world’s most beautiful cities.