Yes, we are in Europe, yes we are in EU but no, we don’t have euro. We use our own currency – Czech crowns. So when you are travelling to our country, that’s might be a problem for you. In this article, I will show you everything you need to know about money when travelling to the Czech Republic.
About Czech crown
Our currency has 6 bills (5000, 2000, 1000, 500, 200, 100) and 6 coins (50, 20, 10, 5, 2, 1). If you are from a country which uses euros, dollars or pounds, those are really big numbers for you. But our currency is not as valuable as those. At the time I’m writing this the official rate is about 26 crowns for 1 euro. You can check the official up to date rate at the web page of our national bank.
What I don’t like about Czech crown is that coins can have pretty big value. In some places, you can go to the restaurant just with two 50 coins and you will get a full meal. So if you are leaving some tip for the waitress, don’t give her every coin you have, you might be little surprised how much you gave her. On the other hand, what I like about our currency is the design of the bills. So if you want something to bring home from our country 100 bill will make a great souvenir!
Pro tip: There are famous people from our history on the bills. So if you look for them on Wikipedia (you can find their names written on the bills), you can learn something about our history and culture.
Don’t change money at all
That’s right, you don’t really need to. I personally use cash as little as I can and in Prague, it’s completely ok. Most places accept credit cards and you will save yourself a couple of problems I will talk about later. The only thing that can be tricky is public transport because mostly you will buy tickets in machines which usually don’t accept cards (there are few which do, for example at the airport). But you can avoid this by buying more tickets at once in place which accepts cards, for example, DPP info centrum at the Můstek metro station. You can read more about public transport in this article.
Some small shops might not accept cards if you are buying stuff for less than some price. Usually, it’s 100 crowns. So if you just want to grab some snack, ask the cashier before. But anyway, if you are not looking for something special, I would recommend you shopping at places like Billa, Albert, Lidl, Kaufland, Tesco etc. You can find those shops at almost every corner (especially Billa and Albert), they have the best prices and will accept cards no matter the price.
So if you are staying in the Czech Republic for about week or less, I recommend you not to change cash at all and use the card only.
Another option how to avoid changing cash (if you are from EU) is using euros. Most places in Prague will accept euros but in the less advantageous course. Again, you can check the official rate at the web page of our national bank. So when buying something with euros, make sure the rate is about 24 crowns or more, never less. That’s an OK option when you just use it in few cases. But because of the bad rate, I don’t recommend you to use this method very often.
Actually changing money
OK, when you really want to or need to change cash in Prague, there is a number of things to be aware of. Firstly, most places will rip you off. Yes, that’s the sad truth. The most common trick is to tell, that there is 0% commission. Those places will give you 0% commission but really really bad rate. Other places will give you really bad rate and also take a huge commission. Win-win, huh?
The first rule of changing money is to never change at touristic places like airport or Prague castle. The second rule is never to trust anyone who tries to give you some money on the street. Those scammers will try to give you fake currency or something like that. If this happens to you, feel free to call the police (the number is 158), they will help you.
So that was the bad stuff, now the good stuff. There are also honest places where to change money. One of them is EXCHANGE LTD. You can find their office at Franz Kafka Square 2. It’s right next to Old Town Square. It’s big corner place with blue design. They will give you a good rate and there is no commission (and no, they didn’t pay me anything).
Fine, now you know how to handle money in the Czech Republic. Remember those rules and you will be OK:
- You don’t need cash
- Coins can have big value too
- NEVER change at the airport, Prague Castle, big squares etc.
- ALWAYS check the rate and commission before changing money
- NEVER change money on the streets
- Enjoy Prague!
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