Get travel and medical insurance
We advise you to take normal precautions.
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
Safety and security
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 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.
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:
Malá Strana (very close to the Irish Embassy)
24-hour phone: +420 974 851 730
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
170 89 Praha 7
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 .
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).
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.
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.
For safety and economic reasons, we advise you to use major taxi companies, such as
AAA (Tel: 14014 or 222 333 222)
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.
In urban areas, pedestrians should cross the road only at zebra crossings or at traffic lights. Pedestrians can be fined if they cross when the green pedestrian crossing light is not lit. Beware of trams – they have the right of way at zebra crossings and are not required to stop for pedestrians or cars.
An Irish driving licence is valid in the Czech Republic. Insurance for third-party liability is required to drive in the Czech Republic. Please check with your insurer about the validity of your policy before travelling to the Czech Republic. You will find Basic Traffic Rules in the Czech Republic here. (Please note this is not a legal document and provides basic tips only.
Despite improvements in recent years, overcharging by taxi drivers remains a significant problem, especially for foreign tourists. Beware of taxis which are not properly marked and which are not at legal taxi ranks. All taxis have meters and must use the shortest route to your destination.
Local laws and customs
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 drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.
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.
Check with your doctor a minimum of eight weeks in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for the Czech Republic.
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)
at the Motol Hospital which has a Department for Foreigners (Tel: 224 433 681 or 224 431 111 switchboard)
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.
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.
In recent years, ticks have been found in increasing numbers in urban woodlands in Prague, as well as in the Czech countryside and they can be carriers for several diseases. Protective measures are strongly advised when walking in long grass or wooded areas.
The biggest threat in the Czech Republic is tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). The country has one of the highest incidents of the disease in Europe. Also, lyme disease, also called Lyme borreliosis, is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria in ticks. There is a vaccine against TBE, but so far not an effective one for Lyme disease.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says the best ways to avoid tick bites are to use insect repellent on exposed skin; wear protective clothing with long sleeves and long trousers tucked into socks or boots and treat socks and trouser legs with permethrin-containing insecticide. More complete information on tick-borne illnesses can be found at ecdc.europa.eu.
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.
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.
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.
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.