| currency=Czech crown (CZK) - "koruna"
| area=''total:'' 78,866 km²
| religion=agnostic and atheist 59%, Roman Catholic 26.8%, Protestant 2.1%, other 3.3%, unspecified 8.8%
| electricity=230V/50Hz (European plug)
Although the modern adjective ''bohemian'' refers to Bohemia, that usage was based on a broad stereotype and also a poor grasp of geography, so don't expect the Bohemians you meet to be nomadic or anti-conventional artistic/literary ''bohemians'', or to see anything out of Puccini's "La Bohème". And no, ''Bohemian Rhapsody'' (its lyrics sprinkled with Italian and Arabic) is not a local anthem!
The Czech Republic has 14 political regions which can be grouped in eight
| regionmaptext=Regions of Czech Republic
| region1name=[[Central Bohemia]]
[[Image:Kvary.JPG|thumb|Karlovy Vary]][[Image:ArionOlomouc.JPG|thumb|Olomouc Square at dusk]][[Image:opa.JPG|thumb|Opava]]
*[[Prague]] — the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic with a large and beautiful historic centre
*[[Brno]] — largest city in Moravia with several excellent museums, and the annual Moto GP Grand Prix
*[[Český Krumlov]] — beautiful old town in South Bohemia with the country's second biggest chateau
*[[Karlovy Vary]] — historic (and biggest Czech) spa resort, especially popular with German and Russian tourist groups
*[[Bohemian Paradise]]: (''Český Ráj'') A region of towering rock formations and isolated castles located north-east of [[Prague]]. The gateway city of Jičín is an interesting destination in its own right, but Turnov is closer to most of the castles and rock formations. The twin towers of the ruined castle Trosky are a symbol of the area and can be climbed for the views
*[[Dvůr Králové nad Labem]]: A small town circa 20 km from Trutnov with the ZOO and Safari
*[[Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou]]: A small town circa 50 km from Jihlava (towards Znojmo) with the Baroque Castle and Church of St. Margaret
*[[Krkonose|Krkonoše]]: (''Giant Mountains'') The highest mountains in the Czech Republic along the Polish border. Most popular Czech skiing resorts are situated here, such as Špindlerův Mlýn, however considered overpriced by locals...
[[Image:Litomysl.JPG|thumb|Litomyšl monastery gardens]]
*[[Litomysl|Litomyšl]]: A beautiful small town in East Bohemia. The renaissance main square and chateau are among the Czech Republic’s prettiest and the town has been home to many important and influential artists, including composer Bedřich Smetana, sculptor Olbram Zoubek and painter Josef Váchal. There are two international opera festivals at the chateau each year.
*[[Mariánské Lázně]]: A spa town in Western Bohemia.
*[[Moravian Karst Caves|Moravský Kras]]: Extensive karst area between Brno and Olomouc with the deepest abyss in the country and, in the Punkevní Caves, the opportunity to take a boat ride along an underground river.
*[[Mutenice Wine Region|Mutěnice Wine Region]]: Some of the best vineyards in the Czech Republic and totally off the well beaten tourist path
*[[Nové Město na Moravě]] : Cross country skiing resort. The race of Tour de Ski takes place here.
[[Image:Telc.JPG|thumb|Main Square of Telč]]
*[[Terezín]]: A red-brick baroque fortress 70km north of Prague beside the Ohře river. It was used during WWII as a Jewish ghetto and concentration camp.
*[[Znojmo]]: The Rotunda of the Virgin Mary and St Catherine with the oldest frescoes in the Czech Republic.
'''Vaclav Havel Airport''' [http://www.prg.aero/en/] – located about 10 km west of the centre of [[Prague]], (''Praha'' in Czech), is a hub of Czech national carrier – '''Czech Airlines''' (ČSA), a SkyTeam member.
Other international airports are in [[Brno]] (with flights to [[London]], [[Moscow]], [[Rome]], [[Bergamo]], [[Eindhoven]] and Prague), [[Ostrava]] (flights to [[Vienna]] and Prague), [[Pardubice]], [[Karlovy Vary]] (flights to [[Moscow]] and [[Uherské Hradiště]]).
There are several low-cost airlines going to/from Prague (e.g. EasyJet from [[Lyon]]). [[Ryanair]] flies to Brno from [[London]] and [[Bergamo]]. Other nearby airports are [[Nuremberg]] (300 km) and [[Munich]] (320 km) in [[Germany]], [[Vienna]] having a bus shuttle to Brno city (260 km to Prague, 110 km to Brno) in [[Austria]], [[Wroclaw]] (200 km) in [[Poland]] (might be a good idea if you want to go to the [[Giant Mountains]]) and [[Bratislava]] (280 km to Prague, only 120 km to Brno) in [[Slovakia]].
International train service runs from most points in [[Europe]] with direct connections from [[Slovakia]], [[Poland]], [[Germany]], [[Netherlands]], [[Denmark]], [[Switzerland]], [[Austria]], [[Hungary]], [[Serbia
The Czech Republic is a '''zero tolerance''' country. It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle under the influence of any amount of alcohol, and violations are heavily punished.
In order to drive on the well-kept motorways, however, you need to purchase a toll sticker. These stickers cost CZK 310 for ten days (for vehicles lighter than 3.5 tonnes, price as of September 2012), but can be purchased for longer periods of time (1 month or a year). If you do not have a toll sticker on your car when you drive on the motorways, the fines can be very steep (CZK 5000 minimum).
The condition of many roads is continually improving, but to be economical and fast, drive on the motorways as much as possible, although if you want to get to remote parts of the country you will not avoid side-roads that may be a little bumpy sometimes.
The normal train ticket price can be discouraging (roughly CZK 1.40 per km), but Czech Railways (ČD) offer plenty of discounts. Return ticket gives you a 5% discount, and a group
For journeys between larger cities you can buy a discounted ticket called '''Včasná jízdenka Česko''' [https://www.cd.cz/eshop/acquisitions.aspx], which is generally of the same price or even cheaper than bus. The earlier you buy it, the cheaper it is. The ticket isn't bound to particular train, only to a specific day and route. You'll buy it online (it is bound to your name and Passport/ID number) and print it yourself. You can buy these tickets directly at station counters too, but at least one day in advance.
The ČD e-shop offers also international e-tickets called '''Včasná jízdenka Evropa''' [https://www.cd.cz/eshop/acquisitions.aspx], which are often much cheaper (sometimes more than twice) than tickets purchased at a train station. However there are limitations: only major destinations are subject to this discount, tickets cannot be used to travel to the Czech Republic, but only for one-way or return trips starting in the Czech Republic, they must be stamped by Czech conductor, purchased at least 3 days in advance, bound to the specific train and passenger name, they are non refundable and you must print them before the journey on your own printer.
Regular travellers can use a '''ČD loyalty card''', called ''In-karta IN25'' [
The complete list of discounts can be found at the ČD website [http://www.cd.cz/en/vnitrostatni-cestovani/jizdenka/default.htm].
Note that if you intend to travel on the '''RegioJet''' or '''Leo Express''' train, a special ticket is required. The ČD tickets and international tickets (including [[Eurail#InterRail|InterRail]]) are not valid on these trains. If you combine private and ČD trains, you have to buy two separate tickets. Both private companies offer a comprehensive e-shop and have ticket offices at major stations at Praha–Ostrava route. They have similar ticketing system to airlines, so the earlier you book the ticket, the cheaper it will be.
There is an unofficial English page [http://captainoddsocks.blogspot.com/2008/04/czech-republic-train-tickets-how-to-buy.html] about Czech train travel tariff, but not quite up to date. And consider a calculator of domestic [http://jizdenka.idos.cz/NT.aspx] and international [http://jizdenka.idos.cz/IT.aspx] ticket prices. It uses same system as cash desks at train stations, so its interface can be a bit user-unfriendly for a newbie.
If you travel in a group on weekends, you can use a daily pass ''Skupinová víkendová jízdenka''[https://www.cd.cz/eshop/netticket.aspx?type=1] for unlimited travelling on Saturday or Sunday. It is valid for group up to 2 adults and 3 children. The pass is valid in all trains including EC, but in SC you need a compulsory reservation. The whole-network variant costs CZK
Although many train stations were repaired and modernized, the rest is still like a trip back in time to the communist era. There is no need to be afraid but try to avoid them in the late night hours. Trains are generally safe (there are regular police guards assigned for fast trains) and very popular mean of transport and they are widely used both by students and commuters. Therefore especially the principal rail axis Praha–Pardubice–Olomouc–Ostrava is crowded during peak times (Friday and Sunday afternoon) and seat reservation is recommended.
====Taking bikes or pets on the train====
The basic ČD ticket for a bike costs CZK 25
Some long-distance trains (with a suitcase symbol in timetable) have a luggage
Some trains (with square-framed bike
Smaller pets in cages or bags may travel for free. Bigger dogs must have a muzzle and must be on a leash. Price is CZK 15
No bikes or bigger dogs are permitted on private trains of RegioJet and LeoExpres.
The main language spoken is, not surprisingly, '''[[Czech phrasebook|Czech]]'''. The '''[[Slovak phrasebook|Slovak]]''' language can also be
Most Czechs speak a second and often a third language. English is the most widely known, especially among younger people. German is probably the most widely spoken second language among older people. Russian was taught very extensively under communist rule, so most people born before c. 1975 speak at least some Russian (and often pretty well). However the connection with the communist era and the Soviet led invasion in 1968 (as well as today's Russian-speaking criminal gangs) has given this language some negative connotations. It is also not very useful with younger people, as it is not, despite the common misconception, mutually intelligible with Czech (beyond some similar words and simple sentences). Other languages, like French or Spanish, are also taught in some schools, but you should not count on it. People may also understand some basic words or simple sentences in other Slavic languages (Polish, Serbo-Croatian, etc).
The Czech language has many local dialects, especially in Moravia. Some dialects are so different that they can be sometimes misunderstood even by a native Czech speaker from a different region. However all Czech people understand the standard Czech (as spoken in TV, written in newspapers and taught in schools) and should be able to speak it (but some are too proud to stop using their local dialect). Some of them are even unable to speak standard Czech but write it correctly.
''See also'': [[Czech
* [[Prague]], the capital with its incredible historic center (and famous monuments such as the Astronomical Clock, Charles Bridge, and Prague Castle). Member of the UNESCO World Heritage list.
* [[Olomouc]], a vibrant university town with the second largest historic center after Prague. Member of the UNESCO World Heritage list.
* [[Český Krumlov]]
* The '''Macocha Caves''' [http://www.moravskykras.net/en/macocha-abyss.html], north of Brno, are definitely worth a visit. You can take a guided tour into the caves, which will take you through a myriad of winding tunnels, with close up views of stalactites and stalagmites.
* The '''Battle of Austerlitz'''
* Technical museum in Brno (nice and modern)
* Lakes under
* Mikulčice archaeological site, site of the former capital of the Great Moravian Empire (c. 900 AD).
Try also '''svařák''', hot mulled wine served in all pubs, and outdoors at Christmas markets, '''grog''', hot rum and water served with a slice of lemon - add sugar to taste, and '''medovina''', mead, again usually served hot, and particularly good for warming up at a cold winter market. Finally, if you are heading into Moravia, try '''burčák''', a speciality found only around the end of the summer, or early autumn. It is extremely young wine, usually white, and is the cloudy, still fermenting stage in wine production when the wine is very sweet, and very smooth to drink. It continues to ferment in the stomach, so the alcohol content at the time of drinking it is unknown, but it is usually high, creeps up on you, and it is very moreish. Czechs say that it should only be drunk fresh from the vineyard, and many small private wine makers are passionate about it, waiting up into the night for the moment when the wine reaches the ''"burčák"'' stage. You can see it at wine festivals around the country, and sometimes in markets or wine bars too.
The Czech Republic, along with its neighbours Slovakia, Austria, Poland and
Czechs don't appreciate when foreigners incorrectly assume that their country was part of the Soviet Union or the Russian Empire – both definitely false – although it was part of the Soviet Bloc and, until 1918, an Austro-Hungarian territory. Commenting about how "everything is quite cheap here" comes across as condescending about the country's economic status.
When entering a Czech household, always remove your shoes. Czechs usually wear slippers or sandals when inside a house and never their outdoor shoes. Depending on how traditional the host family are, they may insist you change immediately into house shoes as a hygiene precaution, though this is rare. At the very least they will offer you some to keep your feet warm.
Never mention the Czech towns and places with their former German names, when asking for directions (e.g. referring to Karlsbad instead of Karlovy Vary etc.) or while chatting with the locals. Czechs will be offended and they will regard it as ignorance and a lack of respect towards themselves.
There are three main mobile phone operators using the '''GSM standard''', their coverage is very good (except in some remote, mostly uninhabited areas). If you find using roaming with your own operator too expensive or you want to have a Czech phone number, you can buy an '''anonymous prepaid card''' from any of the three main operators. However, the pricing schemes are usually quite complicated and some investigation may be necessary to find the ideal solution (even with the prepaid cards, operators offer various schemes including various additional 'packages'). GPRS and EDGE is widely supported, 3G networks support is in
There are still some '''telephone boxes''' available, but they are gradually vanishing since the advent of mobile phones. Some still accept coins, but most of them require special prepaid telephone card.