Prague

Prague

Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic in Eastern Europe, has been registered as a World Heritage Site. The city shows you the buildings and architectures of various eras such as The Charles Bridge, which was built under the Holy Roman Empire, and the St. Vitus Cathedral, which was completed over 600 years which is why Prague is called “architectural museum”.

The official language of Czech is Czech. Since Prague is a tourist spot, English is spoken at restaurants, cafes and large shopping malls in the center of the city. However, there is a high possibility that English cannot be understood at local shops which are not listed in tourist guides or local supermarkets. In addition, transportation announcements and road signs are written in Czech.

You may find it a bit inconvenient if you don’t speak Czech for a long stay in Prague, but would be fine for the short stay.

Transportation facilities

The most popular means of transportation in Prague are the subways and trams. You can use one ticket for subways, trams and buses operated by the Prague City Transportation Bureau, so you can travel to your destination with a single ticket. All fares are flat, regardless of the number of connections and the distance.

Ticket price varies depending on the time (1CZK=4.84 JPY).

  • Valid for 30 minutes…24 CZK (=116 JPY)
  • Valid for 90 minutes… 32 CZK (=155 JPY)
  • 24-hour ticket…110 CZK (=533 JPY)
  • 72-hour ticket…310 CZK (=1501 JPY)

Tickets can be purchased at including vending ticket machines, kiosks and the ticket offices. Please note that bus and tram stops may not have ticket machines. You also need to have some coins, as some vending machines do not accept cards or bills. You can search the ticket purchase place and the corresponding payment method on the official website.

With the PID Lítačka app, you can buy tickets and search for the shortest routes at the lowest prices. The app also guides you to the destination and lets you know the validated period, delays and accidents.

Let’s take a look at each transportation system.

① Subway

There are 3 subway lines in Prague: green A line, yellow B line and red C line, with 61 stations in total. The lines are crossed in the city center, and you can transfer to each line at these three stations: 

  • Můstek (red-green)
  • Muzeum (yellow-green)
  • Florenc (yellow-red)

There is a ticket gate with a stamping machine before heading home. For the first ride, insert the ticket into the yellow stamping machine. Then, just like a Japanese subway, check the destination and take the train.

Inspectors sometimes check your ticket, so be sure to have a valid ticket,or  you will be fined a maximum of 1500 CZK.

② Tram

Not only can you reach the tram right in front of your destination, you can also enjoy the cityscape from the window. Again for the first ride, remember to stamp the time on the ticket with the in-board stamper after boarding.

You can download the metro and tram route maps here.

③ Bus

In terms of environmental protection, buses do not run in the city center, and are mainly used when traveling between suburbs and airports. It runs 24 hours/day so you can take ones in the midnight from 12:00 to 4:30 when there is no metro or tram running. The bus stop that can connect to the subway is marked with “=M=”. Be sure to use the onboard stamping machine when you first ride.

④ Other

When traveling from Prague to a suburban city,

are convenient.

Regiojet is particularly recommended as you can travel to your destination with good services at a low cost compared to other long-distance buses.

Medical system

① Insurance

In the Czech Republic, all citizens are obligated to take out either public or private medical insurance. This is no exception for foreign nationals and all foreign nationals entering the Czech Republic must have travel insurance which is valid for the entire stay.

If you plan to stay in the Czech Republic for more than 3 months, you must have a health insurance coverage valid in the Czech Republic. If you study abroad, you may need to take out private health insurance.

② When you get sick

Most private hospitals have some English-speaking staff, but some private hospitals and almost all public hospitals have limited access to English as well as the signs and documents are only available in Czech. Therefore, in case of illness or injury, it is better to be accompanied by a Czech-speaking person or an interpreter.

If you have health insurance, the medical examination fee is generally free and the medicine fee is also inexpensive. Basically, you need to make an appointment before going to the hospital, but in case of emergency, you may receive medical treatment without appointment. Some hospitals have their website and you can make an appointment online.

When you get sick in Prague, first you go to your family doctor near your home and, when the family doctor tells you that you need treatment by specialists, you can receive treatment at a large hospital under the guidance of a doctor. It is possible to go directly to a large hospital without going through your family doctor, but you will wait longer. After finishing the medical treatment, you will receive the prescription and purchase the medicines at Lékárna (pharmacy) with the green cross mark.

③ Japanese-speaking Hospital

Unicare Medical Center

Address: Na Dlouhém lánu 563/11 Prague 6, 160 00

Phone number: +420-235-356-553

Medical Department: General Hospital

Cost of living

Prices in Czech are cheap compared to other European countries. However, the rent in Prague is increasing year by year, and finding a property is difficult.

If you study abroad at university, you will probably live in a university dormitory, so it will be much cheaper. Even in the case of a furnished double room, it is said that the price is about 20,000 yen a month.

However, if you are staying in a language school or a working holiday, it will be slightly more expensive. Although it depends on the location and the size of the room, it is said that the monthly rent is about 35,000 to 40,000 JPY when you stay in a shared flat for 2 to 3 people with a private room. You can find these types of flats on your FB or website. Also, in recent years, many hosts at Airbnb are accepting long-term stays.

Regarding food costs, eating out is said to be more expensive than in Japan. However, the products that can be purchased at supermarkets are very cheap, and if you cook yourself, you will be able to reduce the monthly food cost to around 10,000 to 15,000 yen.

  • Milk 1L…20.94CZK (101 JPY)
  • 12 eggs…44.93 CZK (217 JPY)
  • Chicken 1kg…156.89CZK (760 JPY)
  • 1 kg of beef…237.77 CZK (1,151 JPY)
  • Apple 1kg…35.16CZK (170 JPY)
  • Onion 1kg…33.42CZK (162 JPY)
  • Tomato 1kg…54.82CZK (266 JPY)
  • Water 1.5L… 15.21CZK (74 JPY)

(Reference: NUMBEO)

In addition to these, even if you consider insurance costs, transportation expenses, communication expenses, entertainment expenses, etc., it is thought that you can live a comfortable life at about 70,000 to 80,000 JPY.

School

Studying abroad in Prague you can learn Czeck at language school as well as study at Czechstudy at a university or graduate school in order to seek a degree.

The cost of a language school in Prague is about 10900 CZK (= 53,000 yen) for one month of intensive courses, which is relatively cheap compared to language schools in other countries.

In addition, the Czech National University offers the programs in Czech language for free. However, since the entrance exam will be in Czech, it can be said that it is quite tough for Japanese people. On the other hand, there are programs where you can take the exam only in English, but it costs about 300,000 to 500,000 yen per year (depending on the major). The tuition fee would be even more expensive for private universities, and it could be about 700,000 to 1,000,000 JPY /year.

Sightseeing

① Charles Bridge

The Charles Bridge over the Moldau River began construction under the control of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and was completed in 1402. With a total length of about 500 meters, it serves as a link between Prague Castle in the west of Prague and the city centre. 

Apart from the decoration of the bridge, the view of the city from the bridge is also very beautiful, and it is crowded with many tourists every day.

② Prague Castle

Formerly the residence of the Holy Roman Empire, The Prague Castle stands on the Hradcany Hill in the west of Prague. It is also said to be the oldest castle in the world, and now the presidential office of the Czech Republic is located.

The St. Vitus Cathedra is also a prime example of Gothic architecture.

You will be fascinated by the beautiful stained glass, including the work by Alphonse Mucha, a famous painter known for its unique painting touch.