Sick of ‘The Golden City’? Fancy a chance to experience something more ‘authentic’? Or maybe you’re considering a job outside of Prague. Whatever your reason, we´ve put together information on the economic, social and cultural aspects of living in some of the Czech Republic’s largest regional cities.
For the sake of space, I’ve limited the discussion to the Czech Republic’s larger cities or cities where expats may go for work. These cities are Brno, Olomouc, Hradec Králové, České Budějovice, Mladá Boleslav, Plzeň and Ostrava. When considering the standard of living in these places, I’ve referred to monetary concerns as well as infrastructure to present an overview of what you can expect.
A Quick Note on Wages
A discussion of average wages per region is irrelevant since most expats are over represented in occupations which are above the average. Furthermore, they are in professions with little variation. What might influence living expenses will be perks; such as a company flat or paid transport. On the down side, it could be that if you work on an hourly basis, you work fewer hours than in Prague.
The considerably lower rent in regional towns is one of the main appeals of living there. The prices listed below are a rough guide based on available prices. Of course, there will be changes in the market place, especially in the current economic climate. Some flats include electricity, gas and other services; some don´t. Be sure to ask exactly what the rent includes, and what you´ll be responsible for paying on your own.
|Flat Type||Brno||Olomouc||Hradec Králové||České Budějovice||Mladá Boleslav||Plzeň||Ostrava|
|6000 – |
|7000 – |
|6000 – |
|5500 – |
|5000 – |
|2+1||11000 – 17200 CZK||8000 – |
|7000 – |
|6000 – |
|8000 – |
|6000 -12000 CZK||6000 – |
|3+1||14000 – 22000 CZK||10000 – 14000 CZK||8000 – |
|6000 – |
|9000 – |
|9000 – 12000 CZK||9000 – |
Something to remember, two locations may be given when you search for a property by city name. For example, if you’re looking for a property in Brno, you might find that one location is given Brno or Brno střed and another is Brno, Slavkov. The first one is in the center. The second is in the town of Slavkov which is part of the wider Brno metropolitan area. Anytime two town names are mentioned, the second is the specific location and the first is the larger municipality.
Power and Fuel
Power costs vary depending on the energy company in each region.
|Region||Featured City||Electric Company||Gas Company|
|Southern Bohemia||České Budějovice||E. ON||E. ON|
|Middle Bohemia||Mladá Boleslav||ČEZ||RWE|
|Eastern Bohemia||Hradec Králové||ČEZ||Eastern Czech Gas Company|
|Northern Moravia||Olomouc and Ostrava||ČEZ||North Moravian Gas Company|
|Southern Moravia||Brno||E. ON||Southern Moravian Gas Company|
Because of the complexity in pricing, I suggest going to this website (in Czech) and checking the electrical charges (cena elektrické energie) and gas charges (cena zemního plynu) in more depth.
Petrol doesn’t vary much in price. At the time of publication, the national average was 27.53 CZK / liter. The average prices for the regions are as follows:
|Brno||Olomouc||Hradec Kralove||České Budějovice||Mladá Boleslav||Plzeň||Ostrava|
|27.55 CZK||27.16 CZK||26.95 CZK||26.25 CZK||27.52 CZK||26.62 CZK||27.55 CZK|
Getting around is significantly cheaper in these cities:
|Ticket||Brno||České Budějovice||Plzeň||Mladá Boleslav||Hradec|
|Single Journey||Two zones trans.: 18 CZK||20 mins. |
|See link below||12 CZK||Zone I or II: 14 CZK|
Both zones: 15 CZK
Valid for 40 mins. on working days, 60 mins. on other days.
|15 min. trip: 12 CZK|
60 min. trip: 20 CZK
|Reduced fare||Divide stated prices in half.||Divide stated prices in half.||6 CZK||8 CZK||6 CZK||Divide stated prices in half.|
|Monthly||Zones 100 + 101 |
|Monthly ticket: 440 CZK |
Monthly ticket for working days only: 340 CZK
|Monthly trans.: 440 CZK|
Monthly standard: 320 CZK
|300 CZK||1 zone|
|Annual||Zones 100 + 101 |
|3 060 CZK||1 zone|
For transport rates in Plzeň, visit their “calculator.”
Out-of-Prague living does not necessarily mean compromising your children’s English education. Brno has two Montessori kindergartens offering English and one private kindergarten and primary school. There is also the International School of Brno (www.isob.cz) which offers a program entirely in English. Olomouc has one Montessori kindergarten with a bi-lingual program. The local grammar school Hejčín offers six subjects in English. The grammar school, Česko-anglické gymnázium, in České Budějovice offers a few courses in English. The University of Southern Bohemia offers some courses in English. In Ostrava, the kindergarten and primary school, Ostrčilova International School is a bilingual school and the only Czech state school to be a member of the Council of International Schools. First International School of Ostrava offers a bilingual Czech-English program as well as courses catered for non-Czech curricula.
If you have Czech medical insurance the medical expenses will be the same. Unlike Prague, most of the regulation fees for doctor’s visits, hospital stays and emergency treatment are either refunded or returned. All fees are refunded without any limit in Middle Bohemia, Southern Bohemia, Southern Moravia and the Hradec Králové and Olomouc regions. In Plzeň, a patient must request a refund after payment. The Moravian-Silesian region, where Ostrava is located, only covers the 30 CZK fee. The others are paid by the patient.
|Brno||Olomouc||Hradec Králové||České Budějovice||Mladá Boleslav||Plzeň||Ostrava|
Statistics courtesy of the Czech Statistical Office
These figures come with a caveat. If you are on Czech medical insurance you cannot just walk in and see a doctor. The doctor or dentist must agree to see you. If it’s any consolation, this shortage of doctors affects Czechs just as much.
Groceries and Shopping
The near ubiquity of major supermarket chains throughout the Czech Republic means that prices for basics are pretty much the same from town to town. Where you may encounter some variation is for clothes and exotic foodstuffs. These may be higher than in Prague.
This list features the main shopping centers and supermarkets in each town.
Hradec Králové – Futurum (www.futurumhradec.cz), Kaufland and Tesco
Ostrava – Avion Shopping Park, Tesco, Kaufland and Interspar
All of the cities, except Brno, have multiplex cinemas run by the company Cinestar. Tickets are 99 CZK, except after 17:00 Mon-Fri and after 14:15 Sat-Sun and public holidays. At the Olympia multiplex in Brno the price is 159 CZK, except on Mondays when it is 129 CZK. Tickets can be as low as 60 CZK if you visit a local cinema. The theater will be cheaper too, though usually in Czech. Galleries are equally affordable and tend to focus more on local art.
Sports fans will be pleased to know that all these towns except Hradec Králové have football teams in the Gambrinus league. In fact Ostrava fans are famous throughout the country for their fanatical support. And this year Sigma Olomouc is in the UEFA.
Ice hockey teams in the top league (Extralíga) are Plzeň, Brno, České Budějovice and Mladá Boleslav.
For those of you who wish to be active, you’ll find a sports field in your local area. As for joining an amateur team, this might just be a matter of asking.
Parks and Green Spaces
Another joy of living outside of Prague is the greenery within and around the cities. Even an industrial town like Mladá Boleslav has a large park, Štěpanka, near the old town. It is suitable for jogging and cycling. Don´t forget; Czech Paradise is only a few kilometers away. In Brno, there are six parks including the large Špilberk park surrounding Špilberk castle. Though smaller, Olomouc is no shorter on green spaces, including Smetana’s and Čech’s Parks. Hradec Králové has Jirásek’s Park located at the confluence of the Jirásek’s Labe and Orlice Rivers. Not to be outdone, Plzeň has its own river bridled park, which is also home to the football team FC Viktoria. České Budějovice is also surrounded by a park while Ostrava has green spaces scattered throughout its environs.
Do you live outside of Prague? Share your experiences and advice with us below!