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Czech Republic

If you’re travelling to the Czech Republic, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information. 

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), available by contacting the Health Service Executive, and that you also obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Overview

Security status

We advise you to take normal precautions.

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

You can contact the emergency services in the Czech Republic by dialling 112. Specific emergency numbers are:

  • Police: 158
  • Fire Brigade: 150
  • Ambulance: 155

Our tips for Safe Travels:

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
  • Get a European Health Insurance Card
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
  • Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.

 

 

Safety and security

Terrorism

Although the threat from terrorism in the Czech Republic is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.

Crime

Crime remains relatively low in the Czech Republic but you should take sensible precautions:

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
  •  Petty theft and pick pocketing are problems, particularly in Prague. It’s especially important to be vigilant at the main tourist attractions, airports, railway stations, and on public transport, particularly those routes to and from Prague Castle and other major tourist sites.
  • Use cloakrooms if available. Thefts of items from hotel rooms and hotel room safes have also been reported. A scam to be aware of is that pickpockets are often acting as street prostitutes.
  • If approached by an individual claiming to be a police officer, decline to show your money but offer instead to go with him or her to the nearest police station or call 158 or 112 to check their identity.
  • Czech authorities have reported several incidents of deaths and hospitalisations resulting from the consumption of tainted spirits. You should take extra care when drinking or buying spirits in the Czech Republic as instances of methanol poisoning have been reported. We recommend that you only buy alcohol from legitimate vendors and ensure the seal around the cap or cork has not been broken. 

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in the Czech Republic, report it to the local police immediately and in person, and get a police report (‘policejní zpráva’) and police report crime number.

There are two police stations where officers speak English:

Vlašská 3

Praha 1

Malá Strana (very close to the Irish Embassy)

24-hour phone: +420 974 851 730

 

Můstek

Jungmannovo náměstí 9

Prague 1 (just off Wenceslas Square)

24-hour phone: +420 974 851 750

 

You can also get a police report and a police report crime number once you’re back in Ireland by sending a letter, which can be written in English, describing what happened, to the following address:

Policejní prezidium – podatelna

Strojnická 27

170 89 Praha 7

Czech Republic

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in the Czech Republic, you should be careful. The number of road accidents and fatalities is relatively high compared to other EU states.  

If you want to drive:

  • Bring your international driving license and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance.
  • To drive on Czech motorways, vehicles must display a valid vignette (dálniční známka), which can be bought at most petrol stations for CZK 1,500 for 12 months, CZK 440 for one month or CZK 310 for 10 days.
  • Keep up to date by consulting the local motoring hotline, available in Czech and English on 1230 or +420 1230 .

Vehicle hire

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Pedestrians

Trams always have right of way even at pedestrian crossings. There are a number of accidents involving trams every year and it’s important to take extra care if you’re in the vicinity of tram tracks.

The Czech police fine individuals caught attempting to cross a road or tram tracks within 50 metres of a pedestrian crossing. Fines are also levied against those who cross at a pedestrian crossing when the green pedestrian crossing light is not illuminated.

Extra care should be taken at pedestrian crossings as motorists in the Czech Republic don’t always stop despite being obliged to do so by the law.

Public transport

You must buy tickets for public transport before travelling and validate them at the start of your journey at the yellow machines, which are located at the top of the escalators/stairs in metro stations or on the trams and buses.

On-the-spot fines are imposed for failure to produce a valid ticket. If you can’t pay the fine, ticket inspectors will often call the police and you may be arrested.

Taxis

For safety and economic reasons, we advise you to use major taxi companies, such as

AAA (Tel: 14014 or 222 333 222)

or

Profitaxi (Tel: 14015) 

These companies are usually able to inform you in advance of the type, number and colour of the car that will collect you. Be aware of smaller or independent operators as they often over-charge foreigners.

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it’s your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.

Identification

Visitors and Czech nationals are required by law to carry ID in public at all times. Anyone failing to do so may be fined or brought to the nearest police station to have their identity verified. 

Tourists are obliged to carry their passport at all times for identification purposes. A driving licence won’t suffice and a photocopy of the passport is not sufficient either. It may be advisable to email copies of your passport to yourself before departure or to take a number of photocopies of it along with you.

Health

Vaccinations

Check with your doctor a minimum of eight weeks in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for the Czech Republic.

Medical facilities

English-speaking doctors in the Czech Republic can be found at:

Policlinic Národní 9 - Dr Šašek or Dr Beneš

Prague 1 (Tel: 222 075 120, 222 075 119)

Or

at the Motol Hospital which has a Department for Foreigners (Tel: 224 433 681 or 224 431 111 switchboard)

Travel Insurance

We can’t pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or for expenses as a result of a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you buy an appropriate travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you haven’t broken the terms and conditions.

Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.

Not all policies are the same, and the cheapest one might be cheap for a reason. Make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million.

Emergency expenses

Your policy should cover:

  • All medical care abroad, including evacuation by air ambulance, or other emergency procedures, and any other costs associated with an unexpected longer stay.
  • Your entire trip, from departure to return. Consider an annual multi-trip policy if you’re making more than one trip in the year.   
  • 24-hour emergency service and assistance.
  • Personal liability cover (in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property).
  • Lost and stolen possessions.
  • Cancellation and curtailment.
  • Any extra activities you intend to do that are excluded from standard policies (e.g. water sport activities such as jet skiing or other extreme sports).

Exclusions: You should know most insurance policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.

European Health Insurance Card

As an Irish resident you are entitled to get healthcare through the public system in countries of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland if you become ill or injured while on a temporary stay there. Ensure that you get or renew your EHIC (the new name for the E111) before you go, and remember, you need one for every person travelling in your group.

You can apply for your EHIC and find out more information here.

The EHIC is not a substitute for proper travel insurance provided by a reputable insurer. It doesn’t cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or treatment of a non-urgent nature. Also, some private hospitals may not accept the EHIC, so you should check with the hospital administrator beforehand.

Additional information

Visa/Passport

Irish passport holders do not require a visa to enter the Czech Republic.

If you intend to stay longer than 30 days or settle permanently in the Czech Republic you need to register with Czech Foreign Police.

Currency exchange

Never exchange money with vendors on the street as this money is often counterfeit. Money can be withdrawn from ATMs or exchanged at a bank or currency exchange office.

When using a currency exchange office, always check the rate offered and agree on the amount to be received in return for money to be given, before undertaking the actual exchange. If you’re dissatisfied with the service or rate provided at a particular exchange office, you can file a complaint report (reklamační protokol) with the local police.

Climate

The Czech Republic is in a moderate climatic zone, enjoying four distinct seasons. The winter can be very long and cold with the average daily temperature in January (the coldest of winter months) typically in the region of -2°C. The Czech Republic is usually well prepared for even the harshest of winter conditions.

In summer, the average temperature is typically around 20°C but it has been known to rise on rare occasions to over 40°C.

Flooding

There is occasional seasonal flooding, particularly in the spring, in areas prone to flooding in the Czech Republic. You can find up-to-date information on flood warnings on the Czech Ministry of Agriculture website.