Safety and security
Although the threat from terrorism in the Czech Republic is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.
Crime remains relatively low in the Czech Republic but you should take sensible precautions:
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- Petty theft and pick pocketing are problems, particularly in Prague. It’s especially important to be vigilant at the main tourist attractions, airports, railway stations, and on public transport, particularly those routes to and from Prague Castle and other major tourist sites.
- Use cloakrooms if available. Thefts of items from hotel rooms and hotel room safes have also been reported. A scam to be aware of is that pickpockets are often acting as street prostitutes.
- If approached by an individual claiming to be a police officer, decline to show your money but offer instead to go with him or her to the nearest police station or call 158 or 112 to check their identity.
- Czech authorities have reported several incidents of deaths and hospitalisations resulting from the consumption of tainted spirits. You should take extra care when drinking or buying spirits in the Czech Republic as instances of methanol poisoning have been reported. We recommend that you only buy alcohol from legitimate vendors and ensure the seal around the cap or cork has not been broken.
If you’re a victim of a crime while in the Czech Republic, report it to the local police immediately and in person, and get a police report (‘policejní zpráva’) and police report crime number.
There are two police stations where officers speak English:
Malá Strana (very close to the Irish Embassy)
24-hour phone: +420 974 851 730
Jungmannovo náměstí 9
Prague 1 (just off Wenceslas Square)
24-hour phone: +420 974 851 750
You can also get a police report and a police report crime number once you’re back in Ireland by sending a letter, which can be written in English, describing what happened, to the following address:
Policejní prezidium – podatelna
170 89 Praha 7
If you’re planning to drive in the Czech Republic, you should be careful. The number of road accidents and fatalities is relatively high compared to other EU states.
If you want to drive:
- Bring your international driving license and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance.
- To drive on Czech motorways, vehicles must display a valid vignette (dálniční známka), which can be bought at most petrol stations for CZK 1,500 for 12 months, CZK 440 for one month or CZK 310 for 10 days.
- Keep up to date by consulting the local motoring hotline, available in Czech and English on 1230 or +420 1230 .
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
Trams always have right of way even at pedestrian crossings. There are a number of accidents involving trams every year and it’s important to take extra care if you’re in the vicinity of tram tracks.
The Czech police fine individuals caught attempting to cross a road or tram tracks within 50 metres of a pedestrian crossing. Fines are also levied against those who cross at a pedestrian crossing when the green pedestrian crossing light is not illuminated.
Extra care should be taken at pedestrian crossings as motorists in the Czech Republic don’t always stop despite being obliged to do so by the law.
You must buy tickets for public transport before travelling and validate them at the start of your journey at the yellow machines, which are located at the top of the escalators/stairs in metro stations or on the trams and buses.
On-the-spot fines are imposed for failure to produce a valid ticket. If you can’t pay the fine, ticket inspectors will often call the police and you may be arrested.
For safety and economic reasons, we advise you to use major taxi companies, such as
AAA (Tel: 14014 or 222 333 222)
Profitaxi (Tel: 14015)
These companies are usually able to inform you in advance of the type, number and colour of the car that will collect you. Be aware of smaller or independent operators as they often over-charge foreigners.
In urban areas, pedestrians should cross the road only at zebra crossings or at traffic lights. Pedestrians can be fined if they cross when the green pedestrian crossing light is not lit. Beware of trams – they have the right of way at zebra crossings and are not required to stop for pedestrians or cars.
An Irish driving licence is valid in the Czech Republic. Insurance for third-party liability is required to drive in the Czech Republic. Please check with your insurer about the validity of your policy before travelling to the Czech Republic. You will find Basic Traffic Rules in the Czech Republic here. (Please note this is not a legal document and provides basic tips only.
Despite improvements in recent years, overcharging by taxi drivers remains a significant problem, especially for foreign tourists. Beware of taxis which are not properly marked and which are not at legal taxi ranks. All taxis have meters and must use the shortest route to your destination.
Wed, 08 Aug 2018 11:17:47 BST