Czech crown (Koruna česká; Kč)
Budget: Less than €80
- Dorm bed: €15
- Self-catering and lunch specials: €15
- Admission to major tourist attractions: €10
- Double room: €120–160
- Three-course dinner in casual restaurant: €30
- Concert ticket: €10–30
Top end: More than €200
- Double room in luxury hotel: €260
- Seven-course tasting menu in top restaurant: €90
- Private guided tour of Prague with driver: €200
Bargaining is rare in all instances except perhaps at a junk or flea market. Normally you’re expected to pay the stated price.
The currency is the Czech crown (Koruna česká, or Kč). Euros do not circulate. ATMs are widely available, and credit cards are accepted almost everywhere.
For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.
- Hotels Porters expect 20Kč to 50Kč per bag in top-end hotels; not typical for cleaning staff.
- Restaurants Normal practice is to add around 10% if service has been good.
- Pubs and bars For table service, round up to the next 10Kč (or 20Kč for bills over 200Kč).
- Taxis Tips are not normally expected, but 10% if the driver helps with bags.
You’ll find ATMs all around Prague. There are ATMs on the concourse of Prague’s main train station as well as at both arrivals terminals at Prague airport. Most ATMs accept any credit or debit card, provided you have a four-digit PIN code.
Changing money on the black market is illegal and dangerous. Rates are no better than at the banks or ATMs and the chance of getting ripped off is infinitely greater. Firmly decline any offers you may hear to 'change money?’. If you do change money on the street, make sure you receive valid Czech notes in exchange; the black market is flooded with outdated Polish zlotys and other worthless bills.
The Czech crown (Koruna česká, or Kč) is divided into 100 hellers or haléřů. Bank notes come in denominations of 100Kč, 200Kč, 500Kč, 1000Kč, 2000Kč and 5000Kč; coins are of 1Kč, 2Kč, 5Kč, 10Kč, 20Kč and 50Kč. Hellers do not circulate, but prices are sometimes denominated in fractions of crowns. In these instances, the total will be rounded to the nearest whole crown.
Keep small change handy for use at public toilets and tram-ticket machines, and try to keep some small-denomination notes for shops, cafes and bars – getting change for the 2000Kč notes that ATMs often spit out can be a problem.
- The easiest and cheapest way to obtain Czech currency is through a bank ATM, drawn on your home credit or debit card.
- For exchanging cash, the big banks – including Komerční banka, Česká spořitelna and UniCredit Bank – are preferable to private exchange booths (směnárna) and normally charge a lower commission (around 2% with a 50Kč minimum fee).
- Always avoid private exchange booths in the main tourist areas and at Prague Airport. They lure you in with attractive-looking exchange rates, but in fact often charge outrageous fees and commissions. Moreover, the best rates usually apply on only large transactions, above €500. If you insist on using private exchange counters, always ask exactly how much you will get before parting with any money.
Credit & Debit Cards
Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted for goods and services. The only places you may experience a problem are at small establishments or for small transactions (under 250Kč). American Express cards are typically accepted at larger hotels and restaurants, though they are not as widely recognised as other cards.
Travellers cheques are relatively rare. They are normally not accepted by shops and restaurants, and can only be exchanged at banks and currency-exchange counters.