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The Czech Republic Expat Health Insurance Guide

The Czech Republic, more informally known as Czechia, is located in Central Europe landlocked by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the northeast.
Czech Republic is one of Europe’s most popular travel destinations and people flock to the country, it’s capital especially, to admire the celebration of culture, charming castles and chateaux’s and great, fantastically cheap beer.
Expats moving to this historical country can expect well-preserved architecture, lush rolling fields, diverse culture and excellent value for money.

Climate

Czechia has a temperate oceanic climate with warm summers and cold, cloudy and often snowy winters. The temperature difference between summer and winter is vast due to the country’s landlocked position.

During the summer temperatures usually reach 20- 25°C but can sometimes exceed 30°C. The winter brings temperatures usually around zero or lower and heavy snowfall and snowstorms aren’t uncommon.

The weather is best May- September when the days are warm but the nights are cool, however, spring can often experience the most rain.

Prague

JanFebMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAug SepOctNov Dec
Max Temp °C1491419232424201473
Rainfall mm252330376670687143313426

Culture

The domestic culture in Czechia revolves mostly around family and this takes priority over social activities, however, evenings are often spent hitting the pubs and taverns and celebrating their love of music, dancing and beer.
On the first impression, a lot of people find Czech people intimidating and abrupt especially when being served in shops and restaurants but beneath the surface they’re polite social people. In fact, when eating out it’s common to share a table with other people and for other people to join you.
Traditions and folklore are hugely celebrated in the Czech Republic and many folklore festivals take place in major towns and cities. Not only this but the country is somewhat of an artistic promise land and areas reserved for art aren’t just restricted to museums. As you explore the capital, you’ll discover an abundance of graffiti, galleries, posters and more creativity of artists lining the streets.

Language

Czech is the only official language spoken in The Czech Republic and it’s spoken by approximately 96% of the population, however, it’s not unusual to hear Slovak, German, Polish and Romany in the country as well.

Czech is a West Slavic language and it’s spoken by over 10 million people. The fusional language has been extensively influenced by Latin and German and has been ranked as among one of the most complicated languages in the world.

English LanguageCzech Translation
Good Morningdobré ráno
How are you?jak se máte?
Do you speak English?mluvíš anglicky?
How much is that?kolik to je?
Thank youDěkuju
Pleaseprosím
Where is the train station?Kde je vlakové nádraží?

Transport

Public transport is well established in Czechia and extensive bus, tram and train networks can be found in all large cities. In Prague there’s also three mutually linked subways that can transport residents and tourists around the city. The entire public transport timetable is available on the internet and mobile phone.
Uber is also available in the country’s capital, which offers a cheaper alternative to taxi’s which can be pricey. Trips by bus are also pocket-friendly and they are good for getting to corners of the Czech Republic that aren’t accessible by train or plane.
The Czech’s most favoured mode of transport is the car, as it’s the easiest and quickest way to get around, however, this makes roads busy and the Czech way of driving can often be a shock to expats when they first arrive.

Healthcare

The healthcare in the Czech Republic is generally of a high standard and has previously been praised as one of the best in the EU.
All residents of Czechia must have health insurance whether it’s public or private, this is automatically covered by the country’s public healthcare system for anyone working for a Czech employer. If you aren’t a resident but are planning on staying in the country long-term you will have to use a private insurance company to ensure that you are covered.
The public healthcare is excellent, and most doctors can speak English, however, patients often endure long waiting periods before receiving treatment.
Private healthcare is more expensive but medical staff are highly qualified and medical care is of a very high standard. They also have a higher proportion of English speaking staff and therefore are better equipped to deal with Expat patients.
The Czech Republic provides free medical care to Czech citizens through compulsory contributions to an approved Czech healthcare insurance company. It’s mandatory for employers to pay a portion of the monthly fee with the employee contributing the remainder of the fee. EU citizens also continue to get free healthcare when producing their European Health Insurance Card, or EHIC for short.

Money

The official currency of the Czech Republic is the Czech crown (koruna) and is often abbreviated to CZK or Kč. Even though the Czech Republic is part of the European Union, they have chosen to opt-out of using the Euro and therefore it’s not widely accepted there.
ATM’s are widely available throughout the country and credit cards are accepted almost everywhere. Just be aware that American Express cards are only usually accepted at larger hotels and restaurants as they are not as widely recognised as other cards.
The only place you may not be able to use card payments is at markets and therefore it’s advised to carry cash if you’re to be visiting Prague at Christmas time. Small change can also come in handy for tram-ticket machines and tipping.

Schooling

The Czech Republic education system remains the same as it has done since 1774. Children start at preschool between the ages of three and six. This isn’t compulsory and therefore preschool remains private and costs can vary.

At six years old schooling then becomes compulsory and children must start by attending primary education. This is usually provided by elementary schools which are divided into primary and secondary sections which lasts a total of nine years.

When they reach grade five, students can decide whether they want to complete their education at an elementary school (leaving aged 15) or go on to secondary education in vocational or academic skills. If they decide to go to secondary education they can choose from three different kinds of schools:

  • Gymnasium – preparation for higher education institutions
  • Technical school – focusses on technical subjects and another option to achieve higher education
  • Conservatory – focusses on music, dance and drama

Czechia is generally good when it comes to education for foreign students, they usually get compulsory education for free as long as they have Czech residency permit upon admission.

There are also several international schools taught in English or other foreign languages.

Food & Drink

Hearty – is the word best used to describe the food in the Czech Republic along with delicious and filling. Meat is a predominant dish and it’s usually served with potatoes, bread and potato dumplings that are covered in sauce.

When it comes to drinking, you won’t see a Czech without a beloved beer accompanying their meal. They love beer so much that you shouldn’t be surprised to see Czech’s sipping a frothy Pilsner over breakfast.

Some chefs are now offering lighter Bohemian classic options but if you’re looking for a light snack and don’t want anything warm, head to a bar as almost all bars will offer bar snacks, usually pickled sausage or cheese.

Some of the Czech Republic’s specialities include:

  • Goulash – a thick, nourishing beef stew with a rich onion base, often served with bread and dumplings
  • Schnitzel – a thin slice of delicious, tender meat that is breaded and fried and served with a light, flavour-filled potato salad
  • Vepřo knedlo zelo – one of the most classic Czech dishes is a beautifully cooked roast pork with dumplings and sauerkraut (raw cabbage)
  • Bramborak – pancake of grated potato with egg, breadcrumbs and garlic

Although traditional Czech dishes dominate the food scene, if you go to main cities such as Prague you will find that many restaurants have tailored their menus for tourists, and you will find many recognisable dishes.

Safety

The Czech Republic has been listed as one of the top 10 safest countries on earth. Residents and visitors don’t face any serious threats in the country and general safety is never really a concern. The only thing to be cautious of is pickpocketing, petty thefts, bag snatching and ATM scams. These are all petty crimes that occur in most countries and tourist cities but remain vigilant on the streets and take all of the necessary precautions and these things are easily avoided.

Places to Visit

Here are just a few of the must-see destinations in the Czech Republic:

Prague

The Czech Republic’s historic city that’s dissected by the Vltava River is called Prague. It’s known for it’s Old Town Square and is often referred to as “the city of a hundred spires”. It has a historic core with beautifully coloured baroque buildings and gothic churches. Some of its highlights are the Astronomical Clock, the graffiti-covered Lennon Wall and the grand Charles Bridge.

Brno

Brno is one of the Czech Republic’s more modern cities known for its modernist buildings that were completed in 1930. One of its primary attractions is the medieval Špilberk Castle, which houses a city museum, gardens and a former prison with vaulted tunnels. You’ll also find a nature reserve with historic caves, charming cathedrals and a major art collection dating back to the 14th century.

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