Entry formalities and Health     Campsites in Czech Republic
         Camping cards, Camping Gaz and Internet     Guidebooks and maps for Czech Republic
         Driving in Czech Republic     Supermarkets, credit cards and ATMs
         Beers of the Czech Republic     Review of Czech campsites

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The Czech Republic has been an EU member state since 2004 and UK passport-holders may visit the country without a visa for up to 6 months and drive with a standard UK-EU driving licence.  But carry your passport at all times as identification.

For current Foreign and Commonwealth Office official advice on travelling to the Czech Republic, consult:

     FCO advice on travelling to Czech Republic

You should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK, and carry your EHIC with you at all times in case of emergency. The EHIC is not a substitute for medical and travel insurance, and only entitles you to emergency medical treatment on the same terms as Czech nationals. It does not cover you for medical repatriation, on-going medical treatment or treatment of a non-urgent nature.  It is essential therefore to have comprehensive travel insurance.

Tick-borne encephalitis is endemic in the Czech Republic; if you plan to spend time walking in the hills or forested areas, it is essential to have immunisation before you travel. For details, visit the Masta web site:

    Masta Health Clinics











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Campsites: there is a ready availability of campsites (Kemping or Autocamp abbreviated to ATC) across the Czech Republic especially in the more touristy parts of the country where many are ultra luxurious with every form of distraction and prices to match. Many however are still relatively undeveloped, having evolved from chalet-huts (chaty) encampments which provided cheap holiday accommodation dating back to the Communist era. Many campsites still have chaty, some now looking rather woe-begone, but still used; other campsites form an annexe to hotels, pensions or leisure complexes. Even in the less visited parts of Moravia and Northern Bohemia, it is still possible to find campsites, albeit of variable standards. We toured the whole country in late summer 2009 and our experience of campsites is summarised in our Campsites Review:

    Review of Czech campsites

We attach great significance to the attitude shown on arrival and standards are variable: there is no national accreditation process for campsites and despite the transition to market economy since 1990, commercial competitiveness seems to have made variable impact. Where campsites were private or family-run, campsite owners generally were hospitably welcoming and helpful; at larger sites however, employed staff tended to show casual and indifferent attitudes clearly indicating no awareness of the link between commercial success/failure, and therefore their jobs, and levels of hospitality towards their guests. As the number of Western European visitors increases, demanding higher standards and bringing greater competitiveness, some Czech campsite owners are going to have to attend a charm course or go out of business.

With some notable exceptions, the majority of sites we experienced had fairly basic and old-fashioned standards of facilities but generally were clean with hot water, and many had cooking facilities (common in Eastern Europe) with wash-ups (kuchyna lit. kitchen). 

Websites listing Czech campsites: there is no single organisation or web site listing all campsites to help with pre-trip planning. The Dutch camping organisation ACSI web site selectively lists its favoured sites and includes the Google mapping facility as a helpful means of pinning down a campsite's location. ACSI accreditation however does not guarantee acceptable standards: some of our lowest rated sites were ACSI recognised, which maybe says something about its dubious value. They also tend to attract hoards of noisy Dutch caravaners in August - be warned.

The most useful web sites we found, none of them complete and often missing essential details of opening/closing dates, were:

    ACSI - Czech Republic
    Europe Camping Guide - Czech Republic
    Interhike - Czech Republic
    Camp CZ

Campsite opening dates: the camping season is quite short with campsites opening from April/May to September; outside these times, it is still possible to find a few open sites as our review shows; there are even a few all-year-round sites.

Campsite prices: prices charged varied enormously and generally reflected the greed of the owners rather than the standards offered, with the most reasonable prices at campsites graded at 2 stars or less. The cost of living in the Czech Republic (reflecting much lower income levels) still represents remarkably good value by our inflated West European standards. Expect to pay between 250Kč and 380Kč (with the exchange rate at around 30Kč, this translates as Ł8.30 and Ł12.60) for a night's camp, although in August the more elaborate sites will charge considerably more. In our Campsites Review, we give the nightly charge we paid; prices may include a local tourist tax.

Wild-camping:  in the more remote and hilly areas, with awareness of potential security issues and basic common sense and courtesy, wild-camping is certainly practicable though with the number of reasonably priced campsites, rarely necessary.




The Camping Card International (CCI - Camping Carnet) is a worthwhile small investment; it only costs Ł4.95, lasts for a year and can be bought through Camping Organisations  eg  Camping and Caravan Club  It gives a degree of camping insurance, and since it also carries passport details, you can offer it to campsites in place of your passport during your stay. But on leaving, always ensure you have been given back the right card!

More importantly, some Czech campsites are prepared to offer a discount on production of a CCI

The Dutch Camping Organisation ACSI have negotiated a discount scheme with some 1,600 continental camp sites, rather similar to the French Camping Cheques scheme but better value and with wider choice of participating sites. The ACSI Card costs Ł10.50 and entitles  you to stay at those sites included in the scheme (not all ACSI approved sites) for €11, €13 or €15 per night which includes camper, two adults, electricity and showers.

    ACSI Card camping sites in Czech Republic

You can buy the ACSI Card via the web site of Vicarious Books  which is also an invaluable source of many other camping publications.

CAMPING GAZ IN CZECH REPUBLIC: Camping Gaz is simply unavailable in the Czech Republic; we failed to find any opportunity to exchange Camping Gaz 907 cylinders or even semi-legitimate sources of re-filling empty cylinders. It is essential therefore to take sufficient for your planned period of stay in the country.

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An increasing number of Czech campsites now offer wi-fi internet hotspots (indicated in our Campsites Review), although range may be limited and signal weak. This is also a useful measure of the owner's attitude: most offer wi-fi as a free facility, other more mercenary owners make a charge. There is also a ready availability of relatively cheap internet cafés in every town and city; it's a good test of the local Tourist Office if they know of internet café whereabouts




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Guidebooks we found most helpful were:

  Rough Guide to Czech         published by Rough Guides, 7th edition Jan 2006
  and Slovak Republics: 
      ISBN no: 1-84353-525-4  Price Ł14.99

                       As always, the Rough Guide scores top marks as the most reliable,
                       detailed and thoroughly researched guidebook available

   Bradt Guide to                      published by Bradt Guides, 1st edition April 2006
Czech Republic:                ISBN no: 978 1 84162 150 0  Price Ł13.99
Although not as detailed, Bradt does include some interestingly unique features
                       which serve to complement the Rough Guide, and together they provide
                       full coverage to the country
MAPS for




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For the soundest advice and supply of maps for the Czech Republic, as always we recommend consulting The Map Shop, Upton upon Severn, Worcs:       

    Map Shop, Upton for Czech maps

For planning and 'big picture' general use, the most useful overall maps of the Czech Republic are those published by Rough Guide (1:350k) and Michelin (sheet no 755 - 1:450k); details on The Map Shop web site.

The 1:100k scale detailed Road Atlas of Czech Republic (Turistický Autoatlas Česko) (see below left) published by the Czech cartographers Shocart covers the whole of the country, is superbly detailed and is invaluable for travelling around.

Walking maps can be expensive and variable in quality, but the most economic solution is the 1:50k Ring-bound Atlas of the Czech Republic (Turistický Atlas Česko) (see right) published by Shocart. Although this seems ultra-expensive at Ł58.50, it does cover the entire country and the mapping is of excellent quality. Where ever you are, simply extract from the ring-binder the relevant sheets and carry them with you in the provided plastic wallets.

For both atlases, see the Map Shop web site.

Local tourist information offices can supply town and city plans, as well as generally useless glossy brochures by the forest load.






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Driving standards: Czech driving standards are noticeably less stressful than in neighbouring Slovakia. Although Czechs routinely drive speedily on open roads, they do observe the 50 kph speed limit in built up areas, and show consistent regard for pedestrian crossings.

Road standards:
the Czech Republic has benefitted by huge amounts of EU development funds in recent years; as a result road conditions and signposting are generally good on both main and minor roads.

Motorways: the map given right shows an outline of the currently limited Czech motorways network which radiates out from Prague linking to the other main cities. Further sections extending the network or upgrading existing main roads are in constant state of development. The web site below gives up to date information about current motorway and highways development:

   Czech Motorway Agency

Czech motorway vignettes:  a Dálniční známka (lit. motorway stamp - see left) is required when driving on motorways and highways displaying the signs shown right; for vehicles less than 3.5 tonnes, these cost 220Kč (Ł7.30) for 7 consecutive days and can be bought at border-crossings, post-offices and garages. The vignette comes in two parts (see left): stick the main part in the windscreen bottom right hand corner; write your vehicle registration number on the left part and keep it in case of being stopped. Do not be tempted to drive on a motorway or highway without a vignette; unmarked police cars do patrol and penalties for failing to have a vignette are costly.

Fuel:  fuel is readily available throughout the country and credit cards are accepted at garages. Fuel prices are currently cheaper than in Western Europe with diesel priced at between 25Kč and 28Kč/litre (around 90p).

Speed limits:
      within built-up areas:     50 kph (30 mph)
                    open road and highways:     90 kph (65 mph)
                                      motorways:   130 kph (80 mph)

Czech drivers do consistently observe speed limits when entering built-up areas; whether this is genuine respect for the law or fear of police speed checks is debatable. You would be well-advised to do likewise since radar speed traps are frequent and on-the-spot fines for speeding are hefty.

Driving regulations: the Czech Republic has a zero alcohol policy for drivers, and penalties for offenders are SEVERE. Drivers with any trace of alcohol in their body will be arrested; there is no permitted level other than 0%.  If you are involved in an accident while driving the Police will give you a breath test regardless of who is to blame. The use of dipped headlights is compulsory at all times and on all roads.



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Part of the experience of finding your way around a new country is doing your daily shopping; the cost of foodstuffs is refreshingly cheap in the Czech Republic (reflecting lower income levels) and your supermarket bills will not sting the pocket unduly. The dreaded Tesco seem to have a monopoly of supermarkets in most Czech towns and cities around the country. Similarly you will find a number of supermarkets operated by the Austrian Billa and Czech Albert supermarket chains. All offer a good range of choice and value.

Almost every village has a mini-market (potraviny lit foodstuff), and some towns have a vegetable market (tržnica).

There was no difficulty anywhere in the Czech Republic with supermarkets or garages refusing to accept payment by credit card. Similarly you trip over ATMs every few paces in every town, city or supermarket foyer, so obtaining cash in Czech korunas (Kč) is problem-free.


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The Czech Republic has a long-established record of brewing and no visit to the country would be complete without enjoying their wonderful beers. Their bottom fermented beers are as unlike the overpriced, tasteless, chemicalised lager-fizz served in English pubs as the proverbial chalk and cheese. The different Czech brewing companies all produce distinctively tasting products, all using natural ingredients - Moravian barley and Red Saaz hops from the Žatec region of Bohemia (see record of our visit). But you'll need a little background understanding of basic terms:
  • pivo = beer
  • svĕtlé = light beer
  • ležák = lager beer
  • tmavé = dark beer

They also use a distinctive terminology for distinguishing the different strengths of beers:

  • 10° - about 3.5% alcohol, what we might call 'ordinary'
  • 12° - about 5% alcohol, what we might call 'best'

Given the zero alcohol policy for drivers, most of the brewers produce an alcohol-free beer (Nealkoholické pivo or simply Nealko) which, unlike its English equivalent, is reasonably acceptable in taste. Unlike most continental countries, Czech pubs still function as a social gathering place more akin to the atmosphere of an English pub; the beers are good too, and cost typically 30Kč for 500ml (Ł1 a pint)!

In addition to the nationally available large brewers, most towns have a local brewery, some better than others, so that you can enjoy distinctive beers from local breweries (pivovar) in all corners of the country.  After much experimentation, our favourite Czech brewers were:

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