The fairytale town of Cesky Krumlov.
With its fairytale towns and hilltop castles, an abundance of lush green forests, and the spectacular and high-spirited capital city of Prague, the Czech Republic (aka Czechia) captures all of the beauty, mystique, and fascination of old-style Europe.
And did we mention it’s still very affordable? Even with prices rising in recent years, a visit to this central European country will allow you to experience a slice of Europe on the cheap, especially if you follow our advice in this budget travel guide.
More travel advice:
• How to save on your hotel reservations in Prague
• 3 Great budget destinations beyond Prague
• 5 “Off the beaten path” Bohemian gems
Here’s how to visit the Czech Republic like a true Cheapo.
Getting to and around the Czech Republic
There are a number of low budget airlines that fly into Prague from all around Europe. Additionally, you can take advantage of its central location and catch a bus or a train within a few hours from Munich, Berlin, Vienna, or Bratislava.
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Once you’re in Prague, you can enjoy unbelievably cheap train fares on Czech Railways to get from place to place, usually on time and in comfortable environs. You can also use a budget bus line like Flix to explore the Czech Rebuplic. The roads are modern and the railway links are excellent.
Renting a car
Should you wish to rent a car for your voyage, it can be a great way to experience the smaller towns and castles you’ll encounter along the way. With car rentals, you can expect any highway tolls to be prepaid and petrol costs are similar rates to neighboring countries.
Related: Find cheap rental cars in the Czech Republic
Budget hotels in the Czech Republic
Although not as quite as cheap as they used to be, hotels in the Czech Republic are still an incredible bargain, especially when compared to other major European destinations.
Search more than 13,000 properties in the Czech Republic
Since you’ll probably be starting or ending your Czech adventure in Prague, make sure to reserve your room early. A hotel in a central location can still be found for under $50 per night. Looking for some suggestions? Stay at one of our favorite budget hotels in Prague.
Exploring the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic features several beautiful and fascinating destinations which have something to offer to just about everybody. Whether you want to be an urban explorer in the historic city of Prague, wander the verdant green countryside that populates most of the country, or get a taste of life as it was in its preserved renaissance era towns and castles, you’ll find a ton of things to do.
Here are a few of our favorite suggestions of places to visit which cover the highlights of the country for most travelers:
The unforgettable, unmissable, Golden City. This is a place that most travelers fall in love with at first sight and will come back to visit again and again. It’s difficult to know where to start with Prague as there is so much to see, so you might want to take a look at our Prague city guide to help you along.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, we recommend that you take your first steps in the official center point of the city at Old Town Square (Stare Mesto) and just pick a direction and walk. You are bound to discover your own route which features amazing historical architecture, great old style pubs, and wonderful museums.
Not often visited by travelers in the past, this second city of the Czech Republic is gaining a reputation as a necessary stopover between Prague and its neighboring capital cities such as Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest. Combining a revitalized downtown full of stunning squares and churches, and a hot new culinary scene, as well as an authentic culture that holds onto its roots as a hard-partying student city, it can be a great experience to spend a couple days here.
As an added bonus, Brno is nearby the Moravian wine country, an area that offers gorgeous nature and cheap, tasty wine in a friendly locale.
Read more in our budget travel guide to Brno.
This opulent, picturesque spa town set in the country’s northwestern border near Germany goes back to the year 1370 when the King of Bohemia discovered its hot mineral springs and decided to build a royal settlement. Now eight centuries later, Karlovy Vary is still a top destination thanks to its beautiful spas as well as its stunning historical town center full of restaurants, cafes, and parks. For movie buffs, there is an annual film festival each summer which screens dozens of movies and plays host to several Hollywood stars, with a one day pass costing only 250kc (about $12).
Accommodations: Search more than 450 hotels in Karlovy Vary
The magical fairytale city of Cesky Krumlov is a highlight for many visitors. This Renaissance-era town is comprised of a castle on the hill, red roof tiles, narrow cobblestoned streets, tiny cafes and restaurants that capture the spirit of the country’s old life. As an added bonus the old town is encircled by a river which shoots out to the nearby forest, giving you the opportunity to rent a canoe and float through the natural beauty of the region for a few hours, stopping for beer and grilled food at riverside restaurants along the way. What’s not to like about that?
Accommodations: Find your hotel in Cesky Krumlov with 200+ options
For those in search of the beauty of the great outdoors, Cesky Raj (translated into English as “Czech Paradise”) will give you what you want and more. Set in a forested nature preserve only 90 kilometers northeast of Prague, this area offers activities for outdoor adventurers such as hiking, cycling, rafting, and climbing. Stay in a guest house, private apartment, or go camping. Local prices are cheaper than what you’ll find in the cities and the natural scenery is as good as it gets.
Cheap eats in the Czech Republic
Order the set lunch menu
One of the great values to be found in all of Europe is lunchtime in the Czech Republic. Nearly every restaurant offers a set menu Monday through Friday. Typically costing between 100-140kc ($5-7), this deal is a super affordable price for lunchtime workers. And yes, it’s a very generous portion of food for the money.
When in Prague you can choose pretty much any cuisine you want — classic Czech dishes, Vietnamese, Mexican, burgers, Indian, or vegetarian. You’ll eat cheap and very well!
Visit local taverns
Hit up a neighborhood pub and you’ll be eating authentic food made for the tastes and budgets of locals. Expect an unadorned, heaping portion of roast pork, goulash, or fried schnitzel, accompanied by a mountain of potatoes or dumplings. Total cost? No more than $5-6 per person!
During your stay in Prague, follow these tips to save on your restaurant bill.
Shop at farmers markets
In the cities throughout the country you can expect to find a farmers market operating at least once per week, but in Prague, they happen nearly every day. At these markets, you’ll find tons of fresh produce along with food stands offering cheap and tasty burgers, sausages, soups, and cakes. Grab a few items, find a comfortable park bench and enjoy a picnic!
Sip Czech beer
It wouldn’t be right to not give beer its own section in this budget guide. Czech beer is not only one of the best in the world, it’s also one of the cheapest. For 40kc ($2) or less, you can get a beer at nearly any tavern or restaurant in the city and enjoy the flavor and quality that makes it the favorite beverage in the nation. And did we mention the amazing beer gardens in Prague?
Start with the undisputed king of Czech beer (Pilsner Urquell) and then sample the other local brands to find the one which suits you best. You pretty much can’t go wrong with any choice you make. Before you drink just don’t forget to clink glasses with your neighbors, offer a hearty “Ahoj!”, and touch the table with your glass before swilling it down.
Try to squeeze in a visit to Pilsen, famous for its “Pilsner” beer. For the perfect souvenir, bring home a Czech beer coaster.
More budget tips for the Czech Republic
For even more ideas, you can browse our blog posts on the Czech Republic and Prague. How do you save money when you’re visiting Prague and beyond? Tell us in the comments below!