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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.

Key facts

Area:

78,866 sq km (30,450 sq miles).

Population:

10,550,085 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

135 per sq km.

Capital:

Prague.

Government:

Republic.

Head of state:

President Miloš Zeman since 2013.

Head of government:

Prime Minister Andrej Babis since 2017.

Travel Advice

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).

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. You should contact local authorities for information on testing facilities.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. 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 various measures in place to control the spread of coronavirus. The details of these measures can be found in the sections below.

Public spaces and services

It is mandatory to cover your mouth and nose with a face covering in all indoor public spaces and on public transport. The Czech government advises that people adhere to social distancing of 2m where possible when in public.

Up to 10 people are allowed to meet without restrictions. Shops and services are open and operating with social distancing measures in place. Restaurants and bars are open with restrictive measures in place. Theatres and cinemas are open with restrictions and capacity limits in place. Museums, galleries and landmarks are open to visitors, with hygiene measures in place. Zoos and botanical gardens are open. Full details of all restrictive measures in place including rules on organising public gatherings, operation of shops, services and restaurants can be found in English on the Czech government COVID portal

All schools are open. UK nationals in need of specific information on education are advised to contact their local Czech authority.

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.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Czech Republic

Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. We will update this page when the Government of Czech Republic announces new information on the national vaccination programme. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.

The Czech Republic national vaccination programme started in December 2020 and is using the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) and AstraZeneca vaccines. British nationals resident in Czech Republic who have public health insurance, are eligible to receive the vaccine through the Czech national vaccination programme in accordance with their rollout plan. If you are currently eligible for a vaccine, i.e. you have residency in the Czech Republic, public health insurance and are 12+, you can now register for a vaccine.

From 11 June, British residents who have private health insurance can register for a vaccine within the Czech health system, for a fee of 810 CZK. Workers who are posted to the Czech Republic by their UK employer are eligible for a vaccine if they hold an S1 certificate. More information on the S1 certificate and how to apply is available on the Your Europe website. Details of the national vaccination programme and the online booking system are available on the Ministry of Health website.

Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.

If you’re a British national living in the Czech Republic, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.

If you receive your COVID-19 vaccination in Czech Republic, you can get an EU Digital COVID Certificate from the national authorities. The Certificate proves that you have been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result, or recovered from COVID-19. It will help facilitate your travel within the EU and, in some countries, you can use it to demonstrate your COVID-19 status to businesses and other organisations. For further information visit the European Commission’s EU Digital COVID Certificate page.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Crime

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.

Local travel

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.

Taxis

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. 

Road travel

In 2019 there were 617 road deaths in the Czech Republic (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 5.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.6 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2019.

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 GB sticker or a UK sticker to drive your car outside the UK. From 28 September UK stickers will replace GB stickers. Check the GOV.UK Displaying number plates website for more information on what to do if you are driving outside the UK before, on or after 28 September 2021.

Driving standards

In 2018 there were 656 road deaths in Czech Republic (source: Department of Transport). This equates to 6.2 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2018.

Driving regulations

To drive on motorways you’ll need to buy a special vignette (sticker) from a Post Office, petrol station, bureau de change or at the border. Failure to display a valid vignette can result in a fine. 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 other 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
  • jack
  • spanner
  • spare wheel or special tyres repair set

You need winter tyres between 1 November and 31 March.

For further information visit the website of the Czech Ministry of Transport and see the European Commission, AA and RAC guides on driving in the Czech Republic.

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.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

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 access 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. You’ll be fined on the spot if you are travelling with a ticket that has not been validated. The fine, usually 800 crowns (around £22.00), 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.

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.

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 reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Czech Republic set and enforce entry rules. For further information contact their embassy, high commission or consulate. You may also check with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and travel documents meet their requirements.

If you are travelling to the Czech Republic for work, read the guidance on visas and permits as the rules have changed since 1 January 2021.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

People who have been fully vaccinated

From 23 August, if you have been fully vaccinated under the UK government’s vaccination programme at least 14 days prior to travel, you are able to enter the Czech Republic for any reason, including tourism, without needing to isolate or take a pre-departure PCR test. Children below the age of 12 may enter the country without a pre-departure test and without self-isolating if they are travelling with their fully vaccinated parents. Children over the age of 12 travelling with their parents will need to have proof of vaccination, or to take a pre-departure PCR test and to self-isolate after arrival.

The Czech Republic will accept the UK’s proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record.Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.

You are also required to fill in a Passenger Locator Form and present it upon arrival. You should consult your airline operator before travelling.

People who have not been fully vaccinated

If you have not been fully vaccinated, you are only allowed to enter the Czech Republic for essential reasons, such as for medical treatment or to attend a funeral, or if you hold a residency permit issued by the Czech Republic or a permanent or long term residency permit issued by an EU+ country (EU plus Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and Vatican City). If you are the spouse or long-term partner of a Czech or EU national, you may be able to enter the Czech Republic under certain conditions. More information can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. UK nationals resident in the Czech Republic who applied for a residence permit before 31 December 2020 but haven’t received the Certificate of Residence yet can request a “confirmation for entry” from the website of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

You must also present a negative RT-PCR test result that has been taken in the UK no longer than 72 hours before departure. People who are resident in the Czech Republic can also present an antigen test which has been carried out no more than 48 hours prior to the start of travel. On arrival in the Czech Republic, you must self-isolate for at least 5 days, before undertaking a further RT-PCR test between 5-7 days after arrival, unless you are exempt (see below). A negative test result ends this period of self-isolation. If you test negative, you will need to wear a FFP2 standard facemask or higher when you are outdoors (available in Czech pharmacies and known in Czech as a “respirátor”) after ending self-isolation up until 14 days after arrival. You are also required to fill in a Passenger Locator Form and present it upon arrival. You should consult your airline operator before travelling.

You are allowed to transit the Czech Republic, but you need to present either a negative RT-PCR test result (no older than 72 hours before departure), or a negative antigen test result (no older than 48 hours before departure) upon entry.

Details on regulations in place for travellers, permitted reasons for entry, and more information on entry requirements, exemptions from testing and self-isolation after arrival for certain categories of people and local restrictions can be found on the website of the Czech Ministry of Interior.

If you are legally permitted to travel, check our advice for the country you are visiting and each country that you would transit.

You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.

Regular entry requirements

The information on this part of the page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Visas

The rules for travelling or working in European countries changed on 1 January 2021:

  • 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 stay in Czech Republic with a residence permit or long-stay visa, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit
  • any time you spent in the Czech Republic or other Schengen countries before 1 January 2021 does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.

At Czech border control, you may need to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit. You may also need to:

  • show a return or onward ticket
  • show you have enough money for your stay

There are separate requirements for those who are resident in the Czech Republic. If you are resident in the Czech Republic, you should carry proof of residence as well as your valid passport when you travel. For further information on these requirements, see our Living in the Czech Republic guide.

Passport validity

Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip, and renew your passport if you do not have enough time left on it.

Make sure your passport is:

  • valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave the Czech Republic, or any other Schengen country
  • less than 10 years old

The 3 months you need when leaving a country must be within 10 years of the passport issue date.

If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the minimum 3 months needed.

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.

Scottish bank notes can be exchanged in ERB Bank in Prague 5. Check with the bank beforehand that they still offer this service:

ERB Bank Exchange Štefánikova 78/50, 150 00, Prague 5

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Czech Republic on the TravelHealthPro website.

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in the Czech Republic.

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).

Healthcare

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.

Travel safety

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.

Further help

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. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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