The ultimate expat guide to Prague

The Ultimate Expat Guide to Prague

So you want to move to Prague? With a low cost of living, relaxed lifestyle, and a central location in Europe, it’s no wonder Prague has become a hot destination for digital nomads and expats. Our step by step guide will have you getting around like a local in no time.

  1. Finding a Job in Prague
  2. Getting Around Prague
  3. Prague Language and Culture
  4. Fun things to do in Prague
  5. Cost of Living 

Finding a Job in Prague 

Everyone has different motivations for moving to the Czech Republic for work. For some, it is a chance to enter the European Union. For others, the relatively low cost of living and a high standard of public services make the Czech Republic a more attractive option than their home country. Marrying a Czech person and wanting to move to be closer to their family may be another reason to become an expat in Prague. No matter your reasoning, Czech Republic continues to have the lowest unemployment rate in Europe (and among the lowest in the world). It hosts a wide variety of job sectors, from tourism and education to IT and manufacturing. Your immigration status, passport, and level of education play a key role in your access to the market. Read the detailed guide about how to find a job in Prague here.

  • Non-European Union Passport Holders. In order to hire a non-EU employee, the employer must post the job on the national job board, take interviews, and wait 30 days to prove the company could not find the specific talents needed within the Czech Republic or European Union. This is part of why many expats come to teach their native languages as a first step when entering the job market. 
  • European Union Citizens. For the EU employee, visas and work permits are not needed to live, work, or travel through the Czech Republic.
  • Foreign Students in the Czech Republic. Foreign graduates from a Czech-accredited university are given special privileges and considered to have “free access to the labour market.” In these instances, a graduate is treated like any other Czech worker and the company does not have to do the process of waiting and applying for special consideration. Graduates receive this access specifically for the Czech market, but unfortunately, are not considered Czech or EU members in another country’s job market. If they try to work in another EU country, they will still be considered based on the passport origins (see above, “Non-European Union Passport Holders”). 

A CV and cover letter in English are usually the only documents required to apply to many office or freelance jobs. Czech CVs tend to have a photograph attached. This may come as a surprise to expats from the United States and the United Kingdom, where photos and personal information are discouraged from applications. In order to find a job, many expats find success on the following popular sites:

Europelanguagejobs.com
Expats.cz
Jobs.cz
LinkedIn.com
Prace.cz

Most positions require a clean bill of health from a doctor, especially childcare and foodservice industries. The doctor’s appointment is usually set up by the hiring company, but new employees can also use their preferred doctor and have the bill reimbursed by their employer. If visiting the company-provided doctor, new employees must bring a copy of their medical records from their regular doctor, so it is often easier to just use your current doctor and bill the company for the visit.

Freelance Employees
The most popular industries among foreigners include IT, tourism, and teaching a foreign language (it goes without saying, English is the most popular). Many of these positions can be done as a freelancer, and some expats enjoy the flexibility it can provide. Freelancers will need a Živnostenský list or “Živno” (trade license). It is a relatively easy document to obtain and gives you the flexibility to choose your employers, hours, and workload. Some foreigners skip the middleman and just start their own business in the Czech Republic. Read about Freelancing in Prague here. 

Getting Around Prague

Public Transport 

A huge relief for new arrivals to Prague is its amazing transportation network. Use paper passes (purchased from orange machines in metro stations and at some popular tram stops) to zip around the city. Invest in a Lítačka if you plan to live in Prague long-term, or use transit several times a day. Transit is paid on a time-stamp system (per 30 minutes, per 90 minutes, per day, per month, per year). The honours system is used, but ticket checkers with badges will stop you occasionally to check if the pass is valid. The regular pass covers all buses, trams, metro trains, regular trains, and even ferries within the city limits.

  • Do you need the flexibility of a driver’s license? To get a Czech driver’s license, you must take a notoriously difficult and expensive driving class. Those with EU-issued driver’s licenses may use their license in the Czech Republic, but if planning to stay in the Czech Republic for more than 6 months, a Czech license will be required after the 6-month mark. 
  • For eco-friendly or budget-friendly travel solutions, use one of several bike and car rental companies servicing the city:

Rekola
FreeBike
AnytimeCar
CAR4WAY

Networking

Moving to a new country is difficult. Finding new friends can be even more difficult. You can meet other expats (and locals!) going through your same experience on a variety of forums. Join the conversation via one of the following online platforms:

  • Eco Expats is a Facebook group for Prague expats to share their experiences, news, and recommendations of businesses using environmentally-sound practices.
  • Internations is an internationally-known networking group for expats.
  • MeetUp.com allows members to create and join groups based on mutual interest. Popular groups include language exchanges, group hikes, and book clubs.
  • Girl Gone International is the Prague branch of the Girl Gone International brand. Meet with other women, join their book club, and make a few friends.
  • Expat Women in Prague is where Prague’s women get advice on living in Prague, can ask questions, and plan events.

Keeping up-to-date on the news is important. Signing up for your home country’s embassy and travel alerts can keep you informed about political demonstrations, travel warnings, passport renewal information, and cultural events within your community. Popular online news outlets for Czech-specific stories include:

Prague Language and Culture 

Way of Living

The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in central Europe. During communist times, it was difficult to obtain permission (or the funds) to travel abroad, so an appreciation for vacationing within the borders is steeped in the culture. Weekend trips to the family chata, or cottage, in the village are a tradition in most families. Skiing in the Jeseníky area in the winter and hiking in the summer are yearly rituals for most Czechs.

With the Czechs’ love for nature comes an eco-conscious mindset. Most see the value of recycling and reducing waste. Some apartment buildings have recycling inside the building, but if your building doesn’t pay for service, street recycling bins are plentiful and unlocked for residences to use.

If you want to know how to live like a local in Prague, we recommend you to follow the Instagram profile of @praguelivinglocal

Social Events and Holidays

Holidays are for families to get together at the chata or babička’s house. Some holiday traditions new for expats may include:

  • Čarodějnice- a spring holiday common in Slavic countries when a wooden witch is burned in a huge bonfire, symbolizing winter losing its power.
  • Ježíšek is another Slavic tradition, in which a bell is rung and baby Jesus flies in through the window to leave gifts under the tree.
  • During Easter, male family members can be found chasing down their female relatives to hit with braided branches and ribbons. If they hit the girls afternoon, the girls splash water on the boys.

Important Culture Destinations 

Prague was spared from bombing during World War 2, so its classically styled buildings for museums, theatres, and galleries are all in excellent condition.
After a seven-year renovation on the historical building at the top of Wenceslas Square, the National Museum opened for visitors recently. The second half of the museum is in the modern building to the left.

Enjoy exhibitions and tours in the Municipal House surrounded by Art Nouveau style artwork and architectural details.


Want to stay in the know? Honest Guide Prague is a favourite of locals, visitors, and expats. Follow local journalists, Janek and Honza, as they bust scammers, eat their way through the best restaurants, and compare prices for you.

 

Language 

Most expats learn the basics for communication in restaurants and can read signs for transportation and storefronts. Expats coming from Slavic countries have an easier time understanding, but don’t let that discourage you if you come from a different background. Any effort is usually appreciated by locals. While Prague is generally English friendly, institutions like post offices often won’t operate in English. Store employees sometimes won’t speak English either. For a greater challenge, spend some time outside of Prague, where English is less prevalent.

Schools and Useful Apps 

For more serious language learners, a class could give you the motivation needed to regularly study. A1 is the lowest language level, covering important foundational phrases about yourself, your location, and what you need, want, or have. Language levels move up incrementally as A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2. If you already speak another Slavic language, you will be considered a “false beginner” and may be placed in a separate class for fellow Slavic language speakers. A few language schools are:

Studying on your own without a teacher is a good option if you have a non-traditional work schedule or prefer solo studying. Thanks to the vastness of online resources, it is possible to learn Czech online.

Useful Phrases 

Just to get you started, here are some beginner phrases:

  • Hello —> Dobrý den
  • Goodbye —> Na shledanou 
  • Please —> Prosím 
  • Yes —> Ano 
  • No —> Ne
  • Once more? —> Ještě jednou
  • I don’t speak Czech —> Nemluvím česky 
  • Do you speak English? —> Mluvíte anglicky? 

Fun Things to Do in Prague 

Prague might not be among the largest cities in Europe, but there is still plenty to do. For city lovers, the options for restaurants, shopping, clubs, and cultural festivals are vast. Consumer prices are cheaper than in Berlin or London, making Prague an attractive destination for weekend parties.

Food Places 

Every year, the variety of vegan, vegetarian, and ethnically-diverse restaurants increases in Prague. Dietary restrictions are usually easily accommodated, and EU regulations require menus to have posted allergens for each meal. Our recommended restaurants: U Bulínů, Las Adelitas, Hospůdka Na Hradbách, Knedlín, Potrefená husa, Phở u Letné

Coffee culture is alive and well in Prague. Bring a laptop, get some reading done, or chat with a friend at one of the many popular cafes serving coffees, teas, cakes, and small meals. Our recommended cafes: Dos Mundos, Nona, Cafe Du, Místo, Kumbal, Bistro 8, Monolok Cafe

Night Life

Prague is a popular, and sometimes controversial, destination for its cheap beer and partying. Have fun, and keep in mind the city-wide ban on loud noise after 10 pm when you finally make your way home. Our recommended bar and clubs: Epic Prague, Friends Club & Bar (gay), Nebe Cocktail & Music Bar, Fashion Club, Chateau Rouge, Joystick Arcade Bar

Outdoor Activities

Good news for nature lovers: Praguers highly value outdoor activities like hiking, mushroom picking, skiing, and camping. Even if you are living in the city, natural wonders are close by. The following green areas are all inside the city limits:

Letna Park

No driver’s license? No problem! Weekend trips and day trips out of the city are a breeze with the country’s vast, well-connected train system. If you have a day off or a weekend free, enjoy one of the many nature reserves and national places of interest.

  • Velká America
  • Konopiště
  • Hiking or skiing in the Jeseníky region
  • Česky Krumlov
  • Liberec

Sports 

Sports-lovers rejoice- many companies include a MultiSport card in their benefits. With the MultiSport card, many gyms, pools, saunas, and fitness activities are free or heavily discounted. Public spaces for running, rollerblading, and biking are all over the city. For access to traditional gym equipment, become a member of one of the popular gyms:

Shopping 

Online shopping is the latest obsession and can be done easily via Amazon Germany. For consumer electronics, Datart and Alza are popular choices. Alza has convenient pickup boxes located throughout the city that are opened with a code.


Most malls are one-stop-shops with clothes, groceries, pharmacies, home goods, and post offices. The malls at Chodov and Náměstí Republiky (Palladium) are the largest and most frequented. Smaller shopping centres are located throughout the city and new ones are being built all the time to bring shopping closer to residential areas. 

Cost of Living in Prague 

For a European capital, Prague has a relatively low cost of living. Extensive public transportation lines mean living on the edge of the city does not have to mean sacrificing convenience for price. For rent, expect a studio apartment to be 12,000 crowns or higher (utilities included). A room in a shared flat will cost between 6,000 crowns and 11,000 crowns, depending on the area and number of rooms in the flat. The best places to find a flat to rent are:

Most real estate resources are in Czech, but with a few key phrases memorized, you will be well on your way to finding your new home. 

  • Kauce —> deposit or bail
  • Prohlidka —> tour
  • Provize/Realitka —> real estate agent commission
  • Pronájem —> rent
  • Spolubydlení —> living with a roommate (two in one room)

For flat-sharing, the local way of searching is via Facebook Groups. The most popular being:

The Czech Republic uses a unique system for classifying the number of bedrooms and types of kitchens in real estate ads. If terms like “+kk” or “+1” are foreign to you, check out this handy guide before scrolling through the real estate ads.

For American expats especially, the costs of medical care are far lower in the Czech Republic. Out of pocket expenses are significantly lower and many expats find it easier and cheaper to have procedures performed in the Czech Republic than they would be if done in the US.

Here is our estimation on how much would a weekly shopping for two costs you: 

Prague Shopping List

In the heart of Europe, the Czech Republic is the perfect location to begin your adventure abroad as an expat. A rich history, a relaxed lifestyle, and access to beautiful nature await you in Prague! The lower cost of living and accessibility to other European cities are among the top reasons expats choose to call Prague their home. Now that you know how to begin your move here, let us know what you’re most looking forward to!


About the authors: 

Expat Hub Prague is developed by expats, for expats. This community seeks to help integrate new and long-time expats into the local culture. Access to relevant information is crucial for making decisions about your life, and Expat Hub Prague understands the challenges that come with moving abroad. Members of the Expat Hub community can find connections to businesses operating in English and important news to help make the transition easier.

Aug 28, 2020 by Guest Blogger

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I would really love to come back there also to look for job opportunities. It's a beautiful city!

posted by Rossella


Informative article. Thanks!!

posted by Mourad


Prague is definitely a must-see when visiting Central Europe. It does not disappoint. However, with this article, it seems to me that Prague is not only a nice place to visit, but also a great place to live and work in!

posted by Maria Bernadette

europe language jobs default image

Thank you Maria for sharing. We are happy you liked our article!


Awesome

posted by Gaurav

europe language jobs default image

Thank you!


Informative article, although, would be good if one could shed some light on the interview process of the companies in prague.

posted by Jitesh

europe language jobs default image

Thank you, Jitesh. We are happy you found this article useful for your work life.



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