Prague and the rest of the Czech Republic are part of the European Union but have not (yet) switched to the Euro. The Czech Republic has its own currency, the Koruna (CZK) or Czech Koruna.
First of all, we advise you to work with as little cash as possible during your stay in Prague: VISA and Mastercards from all banks are widely accepted and offer the best exchange rates by far. More importantly, this is the safest way to spend: nobody can get hold of your money without your pin code.
If you need cash Czech Crowns, there is always an ATM near your hotel or apartment. In addition to VISA and Mastercard, ATMs also accept the Maestro / Cirrus standard interbank system. If you find one or both logos on your bank card, you can withdraw money without problems at all common ATMs in Prague.
During your stay in Prague, only use cash machines that are in or at a bank branch and avoid those small stand-alone machines in the walls of bars, shops and restaurants: they charge an incredibly lousy exchange rate!
Is your travel further by public transport? Then walk to the left side of the arrival hall where you can buy 'transfer tickets' for bus 119.
This bus will take you from Prague airport to the Nádraží Veleslavín metro station.
Almost all banks in the Czech Republic are part of large Belgian, French, American or Italian banks and are reliable and trustworthy.
The Czech currency is therefore called Koruna (Czech Crown) and is usually indicated by the abbreviation CZK or Kc. Each crown is subdivided into 100 Haleru (or Hellers). However, these are no longer in practical use: only stores still use the Heller to have their prices end up nicely, 99, more or less comparable to euro cents.
At the moment (March 2019) one Euro is worth around 25.77 kroner. This rate was always a lot higher, but since April 2017 the euro has fallen a lot compared to the Koruna.
To quickly and easily convert prices in Prague to euros, multiply the amount in crowns by 4 and then divide it by 100. Eg. 50 CKZ: 4 x 50 = 200> divide by 100 = E 2.00.
This calculation tool almost always works well to correctly estimate amounts in Czech crowns in euros. For the sake of clarity: The Euro is therefore not a suitable means of payment in the Czech Republic!
Pay attention when taking out money! Most ATMs ask if you want the conversion done by the Czech bank or by your bank. Always choose your own bank! This way gives you a better course in almost all cases. So always have the cash machine tax your account in Kronen, also known as "Local Currency".
Some machines that are not run by a bank do not charge for anything; they change on the spot and only afterwards do you discover that you have given away up to 20% of your money through the exchange rate they use. So stay away and go to a bank.
If you may want to spend a little more during your stay in the Czech Republic, check the daily or weekly limits of your cards. We know from experience that it can be a nasty surprise to stand in front of a vending machine abroad and not to get money from a bill that contains enough.
For safety, take some cash Euros with you in smaller bills; they can be exchanged in this way if necessary, and in emergency cases, you can always use them to pay.
In Prague: We cannot say it often enough: use your bank card or credit card as much as possible. Shops and restaurants widely accept Credit cards like VISA, Master and usually American Express and Diners Club as well.
You can almost always go to ATMs with all credit cards, and also with your Maestro / Cirrus bank card. There is nearly always an ATM near your hotel or apartment.
From 1 April 2019, a new law is in force in which you have 3 hours to change your mind after you have exchanged money at a currency exchange or bank. So you can get your Euros back (with amounts up to E 1000) if you did not like the transaction.
Don't change your Euros in advance! That is really not necessary and is also expensive. GWK (and banks like that) offer an outrageously low exchange rate, and paying with your debit card or credit card in Prague is by far the safest and cheapest.
In the Czech Republic: Only withdraw money from ATMs from the following banks: CSOB, KB, Ceska Sporitelna, Raifeissen, Citibank and Unicredit.
Do not use ATMs from other banks. The vending machines of the other banks are from smaller companies in the financial world; they often calculate with a much less favourable exchange rate.
Do not: change money at exchange offices other than those above at tip 8 are indicated. If you exchange your money somewhere else, you can easily spend 30% of your money, no matter how nice the signs look! For example, pay close attention to the office on Parizska in Prague, on the left when coming from Staromestske Namesti, about half way: at first glance, they offer a great course.
But if you look further, that rate is only valid for changing amounts larger than 100,000 CZK, or 4,000 Euros. For smaller amounts, this office charges a rate that is up to 30% below the official daily rate!
Don't do better: pay with Euros in Prague restaurants or other places (except for emergencies of course). They will charge you a standard rate that is around 10-20% below the actual rate.
Never do at all: change on the street in Prague. This is a custom that dates back to the communist era and a nice anecdote. The normal population at that time could not obtain foreign currency, which was very handy to have available: at that time there were shops in every city that were only intended for higher members of the communist party. These stores, called Tuzex, only accepted foreign currencies in addition to their own voucher system. Tuzex were the only stores where Western products were offered: everything from Smarties to Philips televisions, Chanel perfumes but also just Nivea cream. Foreign currencies were also essential for holidays or flight plans abroad.
As a result of the very limited official availability of foreign currency, a lively black trade arose, in which the few foreigners who were there were offered a rate that was much better than the official one.
This "street change" use therefore still exists, albeit very limited, and although the rates today are certainly NOT better than the official ones. Not yet to speak about the danger of robbery. Far from staying away!
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