Czech Republic travel guide
About Czech Republic
A historic jewel at the heart of Europe, the Czech Republic packs a sizeable punch for such a small country; from majestic castles to medieval towns, elegant spa resorts to scenic national parks, it has much to offer international visitors. It is also, lest we forget, the birthplace of the world’s finest beer.
At the heart of it all is the culture-crammed capital, Prague. Dubbed the “city of a thousand spires,” it comprises beautiful churches, cobbled lanes and medieval bridges, all watched over by a fairytale castle. Add to that a mix of ancient monuments, fine dining, old breweries, bustling markets and lively jazz clubs. There really is never a dull moment.
Yet those who fail to venture beyond the city boundaries are truly missing out. Located just a short drive from the capital are some extraordinary attractions; the hot springs of Karlovy Vary; the giant gothic castle of Karlštejn; the church made of human bones in Kutná Hora; and the city of Plzeň, where pilsner beer was born.
Formerly part of Czechoslovakia, since the Velvet Divorce of 1993 – when Slovakia and the Czech Republic parted company – the latter has emerged the more popular with tourists. And to understand its appeal one must consider its assets; the stunning wine-growing region of Monrovia, home to rolling hills, traditional food and the spirited cities of Brno and Olomouc; the snow-capped mountains of Krkonoše; the otherworldly rock formations of Český Ráj; the wild forests of Šumava National Park; and the historic town of Český Krumlov, a fully deserving UNESCO World Heritage Site.
And yet, for all this, the Czech Republic is far more than the sum of its sights. This is a nation of proud, forthright and friendly people, eager to take a significant role on the European stage. It may only be a small country – and a relatively new one – but the Czech Republic leaves a big impression.
78,866 sq km (30,450 sq miles).
10,550,085 (UN estimate 2016).
135 per sq km.
President Miloš Zeman since 2013.
Prime Minister Andrej Babis since 2017.
Coronavirus travel health
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for the Czech Republic on the TravelHealthPro website
See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Entry and borders
See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in the Czech Republic.
Everyone should comply with the measures put in place in the Czech Republic to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Be prepared for your plans to change
No travel is risk-free during COVID-19. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.
Plan ahead and make sure you:
- can access money
- understand what your insurance will cover
- can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned
Travel in the Czech Republic
There are currently no measures in place to control the spread of coronavirus.
Public spaces and services
There are currently no restrictive measures in place. You can find details on organising public gatherings and the operation of shops, services and restaurants in English on the Czech government COVID portal.
Healthcare in Czech Republic
Further advice and information is available from the Czech Ministry of Interior, on the main English language site of the Government of the Czech Republic.
For contact details of English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.
Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health
View Health for further details on healthcare in Czech Republic.
See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.
For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.
Public protests against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may happen at short notice. These have been peaceful but may mean that areas of central Prague become crowded. Transport hubs may be busier as a result of Ukrainian nationals arriving into the Czech Republic.
Most visitors to the Czech Republic experience no difficulties but you should be aware of street crime and petty theft, particularly in Prague.
Prague city police advise visitors to:
- always exchange currency at a currency exchange office or bank, never on the street as this money is often counterfeit
- avoid contact with women and men acting as street prostitutes as they are often pickpockets
- take care when using cash machines
- the sale and distribution of drugs is illegal and the drugs are often hazardous counterfeits
- be aware of consumption charges in night clubs; they are often high. Be careful with consumption cards, which carry high financial penalties if they are lost before the bill is paid
Take care of yourself and your belongings in the same way as you would do in the UK. Take precautions against pickpockets and bag snatchers and don’t leave your belongings or food / drinks unattended.
Petty theft is a problem, especially in major tourist areas in Prague. Try to avoid busy carriages on the metro and trams, which are favoured by pickpockets. There is also a risk of pick-pocketing on flights from the UK. It is best to keep your passport and valuables with you before and during your flight.
Beware of bogus plain-clothes policemen, who may ask to see your foreign currency and passport. If approached, don’t show your money, but offer instead to go with them to the nearest police station. If you suspect that you are dealing with a bogus police officer, you can call 158 or 112 to check their identity. No police officer in the Czech Republic has the right to check your money or its authenticity.
Report any thefts in person to the Czech police within 24 hours and get a police report crime number. Prague police station (Jungmannovo namesti 9, Prague 1 – nearest metro stop is Mustek) is open 24 hours and has English translators. There’s also a police station at the airport where you can get a police report. It’s possible to obtain a reference number for a crime related incident by reporting it to a police station in the UK, but it’s much better to report the crime in the Czech Republic.
If your passport is lost or stolen you will need to get a police report and apply for an Emergency Travel Document from the British Embassy in Prague.
Every lamppost in Prague has a 6-digit number posted at eye-level. Should you need assistance from the police or emergency services, these codes will help pinpoint your location if you’re unable to offer an exact address.
If you’re travelling in a group keep a careful note of your hotel telephone number and address in case you are separated from the rest of your party. Leave contact details of your travelling companions with a friend or relative at home who you can contact if you get separated from your group.
Every year there are accidents involving trams. Take extra care when near tram tracks and make sure you look both ways. Trams can’t stop quickly.
Seasonal flooding (normally during the Spring) occurs occasionally. Check the Ministry of Agriculture website for more information. By selecting ‘Enter’ you’ll see a map of the country which showing any current flood warnings.
It’s safer to use a major taxi company like Tick Tack tel: 14 144 or AAA tel: 233 113 311. If you do pick up a taxi in the street, always check the fare per km before getting in. Some taxis can charge highly inflated prices. The rates should be clearly marked on the side of the taxi.
In 2021 there were 470 road deaths in the Czech Republic (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 4.3 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.2 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2020.
If you are planning to drive in Czech Republic, see information on Driving Abroad.
Licences and documents
You can drive using a UK driving licence.
If you’re living in Czech Republic, check the Living in Guide for information on requirements for residents.
Driving a British car abroad
You may need a UK sticker to drive your car outside the UK. From 28 September 2021 UK stickers have replaced GB stickers. Check the GOV.UK Displaying number plates website for more information on what to do if you are driving outside the UK.
To drive on motorways you’ll need to buy a special vignette. These are available online and are electronic. Drivers that do not purchase a vignette and drive on motorways, will be fined. More information about vignettes can be found on the website of the Czech Ministry of Transport.
There is a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
You must have your headlights on dipped beam when driving anywhere in the Czech Republic, even during the hours of daylight.
All private cars, including those of foreign visitors, must carry the following items by law:
- fluorescent green high visibility safety jacket
- first aid kit, warning triangle
- complete set of spare bulbs
- complete set of electric fuses
- spare wheel or special tyres repair set
You need winter tyres between 1 November and 31 March.
If you’re planning to drive to the Czech Republic, you may like to consult the green line motoring helpline run by the Czech Central Automobile Club (UAMK), which has information available in Czech and English (telephone: 00 420 1230).
Although there is no recent history of terrorism in the Czech Republic, attacks can’t be ruled out.
You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public places, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
There is a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
You should carry your passport with you at all times for identification. The police may fine you or arrest you if you fail to do so.
Some city centre bars and restaurants don’t allow entry to stag groups. Drunken or offensive behaviour is dealt with according to Czech law and may result in detention and or fines.
If you travel on public transport you must buy a ticket before you travel and validate it via the machine when you board a bus or tram, or at the entrance to a metro or train platform. You can also buy a ticket on all Prague trams using contactless credit card. These do not have to be validated. You’ll be fined on the spot if you are travelling with a ticket that has not been validated. The fine, usually 1000 crowns (around £35.00), is paid directly to the ticket inspector. You should get a receipt. If you can’t pay the fine the police will be called and you may go through identity checks. The fine can be higher if you’re unable to pay on the spot. You can buy tickets at most large hotels, metro stations and at many newspaper stands (‘Trafika’) and convenience stores.
The 30 and 90 minute journey tickets for bus, tram and Metro are not valid for rides on the Petřín Hill funicular railway in Prague. Unless you have a longer-term ticket (24 hours or longer), a specific ticket costing CZK60 is required for the funicular railway. These tickets are available for purchase at vending machines at funicular railway stops.
You may be fined if you attempt to cross a road or tram tracks within 50 metres of a designated crossing point (commonly marked by ‘zebra’ style crossing or traffic lights). You may also be fined if you cross at a pedestrian crossing if the green pedestrian crossing light is not lit.
Same-sex relationships and civil partnerships are legal in Czech Republic but same-sex marriages aren’t recognised in Czech law. Public displays of affection may be frowned upon or attract unwanted attention. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
It is a criminal offence in the Czech Republic to place a child into the hands of another for profit (gain). You may be liable to prosecution if you are: a surrogate mother; a British national, who intends to take a child born through a surrogacy arrangement; and/or any agent facilitating the handover.
Because of this, we advise against commissioning surrogacy arrangements in the Czech Republic, or relocating ongoing surrogacy arrangements from other countries to here.
You should ensure you have sought UK and in–country specialised legal advice, and read the information for British nationals on surrogacy arrangements in foreign countries.
Taking food and drink into the Czech Republic
You cannot take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries. There are some exceptions for medical reasons, for example certain amounts of powdered infant milk, infant food, or pet food required for medical reasons. Check the rules about taking food and drink into the EU on the European Commission website.
This page has information on travelling to the Czech Republic.
This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in the Czech Republic set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure how Czech Republic’s entry requirements apply to you, contact its UK embassy, high commission or consulate.
There are no COVID-19 entry requirements for people arriving from other countries. Travellers are not required to fill in arrival forms or provide proof of vaccination.
All UK visitors who don’t have a residence permit in the Czech Republic are required to register the address of their accommodation with the nearest Foreign Police Department, or through their hotel or other accommodation service, within the first 3 days after arrival. If you have not been registered through your hotel or accommodation service, registration must be done in person. Failure to comply could result in a fine of up to 3,000 CZK. See details of Czech Foreign Police offices.
If you’re fully vaccinated
Entry requirements for the Czech Republic are the same for all travellers, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.
Proof of vaccination status
You don’t need to provide proof of your vaccination status for entry to the Czech Republic.
If you’re not fully vaccinated
Entry requirements for the Czech Republic are the same for all travellers, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.
If you’ve had COVID-19 in the past year
Entry requirements for the Czech Republic are the same for all travellers, regardless of whether you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past year.
Children and young people
There are no specific requirements for children and young people.
If you’re transiting through the Czech Republic
Transiting is when you pass through one country on the way to your destination.
Check with your airline before departing.
If you are transiting through the Czech Republic on your way to another country and staying in the airport (airside) you need to ensure that you comply with the entry requirements of your country of destination.
If you are transiting through the Czech Republic on your way to another country and will be passing through immigration (sometimes known as a layover), for example to stay in a hotel for a flight the next day, you need to ensure you have three months validity on your passport.
Further information about transiting through the Czech Republic can be found on the Brexit info website.
There are no exemptions to the Czech Republic’s entry requirements.
Check your passport and travel documents before you travel
Check with your travel provider to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
If you are planning to travel to an EU country (except Ireland), or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City, you must follow the Schengen area passport requirements.
Your passport must be:
- Issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country (check the ‘date of issue’)
- valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)
You must check your passport meets these requirements before you travel. If your passport was issued before 1 October 2018, extra months may have been added to its expiry date.
If you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, you can enter and exit the Czech Republic with a valid passport. You do not need any additional validity on the passport beyond the dates on which you are travelling.
You can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training.
If you are travelling to the Czech Republic and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days.
To stay longer, to work or study, for business or for other reasons, you will need to meet the Czech government’s entry requirements. Check with the Embassy of the Czech Republic what type of visa and/or work permit you may need.
If you are travelling to the Czech Republic for work, read the guidance on visas and permits.
If you stay in Czech Republic with a residence permit or long-stay visa, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.
Check your passport is stamped if you enter or exit the Schengen area through the Czech Republic as a visitor. Border guards will use passport stamps to check you’re complying with the 90-day visa-free limit for short stays in the Schengen area. If relevant entry or exit stamps are not in your passport, border guards will presume that you have overstayed your visa-free limit.
You can show evidence of when and where you entered or exited the Schengen area, and ask the border guards to add this date and location in your passport. Examples of acceptable evidence include boarding passes and tickets.
You may also need to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay
If you are resident in the Czech Republic, read our Living in the Czech Republic guide for passport stamping information.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from the Czech Republic.
It is very difficult to change Scottish or Northern Irish bank notes in the Czech Republic. If you normally use these notes, you should ensure that you have sufficient other means of payment for your stay.
If you have a health condition, or you are pregnant, you may need specialist healthcare abroad. Check whether your destination country can provide the healthcare you may need and ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for unexpected medical evacuation or local treatment.
See the Coronavirus travel health and Healthcare sections in the Coronavirus page for COVID-19 health information.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
You should get a free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. If you already have an EHIC it will still be valid as long as it remains in date.
The GHIC or EHIC entitles you to state provided medical treatment that may become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Czech nationals. If you don’t have your EHIC with you or you’ve lost it, you can call the NHS Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 191 218 1999 to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate.
It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. It does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment.
Read more about what your travel insurance should cover.
If you’re living in the Czech Republic, you can also find more information on healthcare for residents in our Living In the Czech Republic guide.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 and ask for an ambulance. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company immediately.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCDO travel advice
If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.
If you’re a British national and you have a question about something that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry, or contact us on Twitter or Facebook. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.