As one of the most developed and industrialised economies in Central Europe, expats moving to the Czech Republic will find that the country is not only a popular tourist destination, but also a growing expat destination. A small and safe landlocked country, the Czech Republic has a diverse population, the majority of which are Czechs, while other ethnic groups include Slovaks, Ukrainians, Germans, Vietnamese and Poles.
The main language is Czech, which can present an element of culture shock for new arrivals. Although many of the younger Czech population are able to speak English as it's taught in most schools, this is not necessarily the case for the older generations, especially outside the larger cities. German is also a common second language in the Czech Republic. Expats should make at least some attempt to learn Czech if they want to converse with the local population.
Living in Czech Republic as an expat
Most new arrivals will find themselves living in Prague, which is the site of the European headquarters of many international companies. Recently, the city’s economic structure has become less industrial and more service-oriented. Strong sectors include manufacturing, tourism, IT and finance. All of these industries are ideal for expats looking for opportunities to work in the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic has a developed transport system, with Prague having an established network of trains, buses, trams and a metro. Expats living in Prague will find owning a car rather unnecessary, but those living outside of the city may need a vehicle to get around.
Healthcare in the Czech Republic is of a high standard, with most large medical facilities centred in Prague. Many doctors and dentists are able to speak English. Healthcare is free to all citizens and is provided through compulsory contributions to a state-approved insurance fund. Most expats working in the country will qualify for Czech public healthcare, depending on their residency status. The Czech Republic also has reciprocal health agreements with some countries, so expats should explore their options in this regard.
Cost of living in Czech Republic
The Czech Republic generally offers expats a high standard of living. Despite an increase in accommodation costs, the general cost of living is affordable relative to West European standards and foreigners are generally able to maintain active and enriching lifestyles in the country.
Everyday costs, including transport and groceries, are not overly expensive and expats generally earn well in Czech Republic. They'll find that their costs depend highly on their choice of lifestyle and where in the country they live.
Expat families and children
Those with children need not worry about their children’s education when relocating to the Czech Republic. Although public schools are free, the language of instruction is Czech. Luckily, there are a number of international schools in Prague as well as in other major Czech cities, all catering to different nationalities.
As the social and cultural capital of the country, Prague is an incredibly popular city among the tourist population and is full to the brim with historical landmarks and natural beauty. Expat families living or traveling outside of the capital will also discover castles, keeps and ruins in other parts of the country, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.
There are also plenty of museums and parks in every major city for families to explore or enjoy a day out in the sunshine. Due to its central location in Europe, there are also many opportunities for travel outside of the Czech Republic for a weekend break or extended holiday.
Climate in Czech Republic
Czech Republic has a temperate climate, with cold winters and warm summers. Rainfall is common throughout the country, with the wettest seasons being spring and summer. During the colder months, temperatures generally stay around freezing with cloudy skies and light snowfall. Occasional frosts are brought over from Russia with temperatures dropping to -13ºF (-25ºC), although this is not frequent. Summers, on the other hand, are usually pleasant, with temperatures reaching highs of 75ºF (24ºC).
Population: 10.7 million
Capital city: Prague (also the largest city)
Neighbouring countries: The Czech Republic is bordered by Germany to the west, Poland to the north, Slovakia to the southeast and Austria to the south.
Geography: The country is landlocked and can be divided into two main areas geographically; Bohemia to the west and Moravia in the east. Bohemia is ringed by low mountains and its landscape is defined by hills, plains and plateaus. Moravia is defined by rolling hills and valleys.
Political system: Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
Main languages: Czech is the official language, but German and English are also spoken.
Major religions: Predominantly non-religious with a Roman Catholic minority
Money: The currency is the Czech koruna (CZK), sometimes called the Czech crown in English.
Tipping: Tipping is not mandatory but foreigners may be expected to tip more than their local counterparts. In most cases, expats can tip by rounding up to the nearest 5 or 10 korunas or, if in a restaurant, adding 5 to 10 percent of the total to the bill.
Time: GMT+1 (GMT+2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October)
Electricity: 230V, 50Hz. 'Type-C' and 'Type-E' European-style plugs with two round pins are used.
International dialling code: +420
Internet domain: .cz
Emergency contacts: 112 (general emergencies), 158 (police), 155 (ambulance), 150 (fire)
Transport: The country is well-conntected in terms of public transport, especially Prague. Driving is on the right-hand side of the road.