Topics include Transportation, Things to Do, Dining Scene & more!
The currency of the Czech Republic is the Česká (Czech) Koruna (CZK) or Czech Crown. The Crown is subdivided into 100 Haler, but all sub-Crown coinage is no longer in use. Czech coinage consists of 1,2,5, 10, 20 and 50 Crown pieces. Banknotes come in 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 (CZK 50 note is not valid since spring 2011 but can be exchanged in a bank), increasing in size with value and varying in color and graphic designs.
Pricetags in stores frequently have odd amounts such as, e.g., Kr. 34,70 or Kr, 9,60 (note European decimalization). These prices are rounded up or down at the register to the nearest crown. This oddity will disappear when the country merges its currency operations with the European Union's EuroZone, expected to occur in 2020.
Although the official currency in the Czech Republic is still the Crown, many places in Prague will now accept Euros (restaurants, tourist attractions etc.) However it is not advisable to pay in Euros as the exchange rate given by the establishments is usually poor. Buying currency in the Czech republic will get you a *much* better rate than in the UK but usually only in the banks, not exchange offices. It is still however advisable to get your cash from cash points (ATMs) using a debit card. It is, however, a good idea to check with your bank for the fees applicable.
By European standards, the Czech Republic is generally very affordable. Prague hotel rooms, however, have recently seen a rise to Western European standards, which is only offset by the fact that everyday necessities that locals buy – food, public transportation, beer and wine – are a bargain for the traveler, too. Entertainment costs can be low, too - movie tickets are extremely inexpensive (CZK 150 = cca. EUR 6) and many first-run films are not dubbed but rather subtitled in Czech. Petrol prices have recently stabilised at circa CZK 34.5 per litre (as of April 2011).
The tourist business is flourishing not only in Prague, but in many other towns of historical, UNESCO and cultural importance as well. Locals are squeezing out as much as they can from tourists for both accommodation and food at restaurants. In general, tourists should be prepared to pay more than two- to three times as much for food and shelter in Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Brno, Karlovy Vary, Marianske Lazne and in other cities with larger volumes of tourism than in places "off the beaten path" in the rest of the country. Best tip: Visit local supermarkets and enjoy prices locals pay, cook your own meals and enjoy the many wonderful baked goods which are extremely reasonable at any Czech bakery or pekarstvi.
Peak tourist season begins in May and runs through October, with additional peak periods at Christmas and Easter. Prices are lower off-season, although in some of the more-touristy places such as Prague, the season is rarely ever truly "off" or "low" and prices stay fairly high throughout the year.
Travelers report that Forex Money Exchange charges a 20% commission fee other locations don't.
Travelers from Scotland should also be aware that Scottish bank notes cannot be exchanged in Prague for CZK - not even in Czech banks.