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The Czech Republic Hostels, Eurail Passes, and Backpacking Tips

 

 

 

The Czech Republic, a nation squeezed between the Germanic and Slavic worlds, is littered with  medieval castles, fairy-tale chateaux and tons of pubs pouring glass after glass of frothy Czech beer.

The Czech Republic is twice as inviting for its mostly helpful, cultured people and its excellent transportation networks.

More than 90% of English-speaking visitors limit themselves to Prague. The clever few who manage to wander off the beaten path from the capital will encounter some of Europe’s finest architecture, without the year-round crowds and high prices.

Highlights

Some of the most picturesque ‘historical’ towns are Prague, Litomerice, Cesky Krumlov, Kutna Hora, Tabor and Telc. The 14th-century Karlstejn Castle looks like something out of Disneyland. Konopiste and Cesky Krumlov castles have the same effect. The Prague Jewish Museum in the former Prague ghetto is easily the largest and most authentic of its kind in Central Europe.

When to Go

As you can imagine the crowds are a year-round problem in Prague, especially in the thick of summer from June to August, but for whatever reason the crowds are rarely a problem outside of the capital.

 

Could movies portraying eastern Europeans as ruthless underground criminals be the reason that most people traveling to the Czech Republic only visit Praha (Prague)?

 

As with most of Europe's most popular destinations, the best times to visit the Czech Republic are mid-April to May and September. Many sights are closed from November to March.

Visas & Documents

Citizens of the USA can stay 30 days without a visa.

Dangers

Crime is low compared with levels in Western Europe and only a real problem in Pragues’s touristy areas. Robberies on international trains passing through the country are a growing problem: the victims are sometimes gassed to sleep in their compartments and then relieved of their valuables.

Time

The Czech Republic is GMT/UTC plus one hour. Clocks are turned ahead one hour at the end of March and back again at the end of October.

Business Hours

On weekdays, shops open at around 8.30 am and close at 5 or 6 pm. Many small shops, particularly in country areas, close for lunch between noon and 2 pm. Almost everything closes between 11 am and 1 pm on Saturday and all day Sunday, except for some department stores and chain supermarkets in major cities.

Public Holidays & Special Events

Public holidays include

 

  • 1 January, Easter Monday
  • 1 May (Labour Day), 8 May (Liberation Day)
  • 5 July (Cyril and Methodius Day)
  • 6 July (Jan Hus Day)
  • 28 September (Czech Statehood Day)
  • 28 October (Republic Day)
  • 17 November (Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day)
  • 24 to 26 December for Christmas


Since 1946 the Prague Spring International Music Festival has been held in the second half of May. Karlovy Vary hosts the International Film Festival in July and Dvorak Autumn Music Festival in September. In Brno there’s the Easter Festival of Spiritual Music and the International Moravian Music Festival in September.

Emergency

Emergency telephone numbers in the Czech Republic are 158 (police), 155 (ambulance), 150 (fire) and 1230 or 1240 (automobile emergencies).

Foreign Embassies

Countries with embassies in Prague (area phone code: 02) include:

•    Canada (72 10 18 00), Mickiewiczova 6, Hradcany, Praha 6
•    UK (57 53 02 78), Thunovska 14, Mala Strana, Praha 1
•    USA (57 53 06 63), Trziste 15, Mala Strana, Praha 1

 

 

The Czech Republic


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