Czech Standards of Living

Expats.cz offers the lowdown on living across the Czech Republic

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.

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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.

Rent

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 
1+1  6000 –
8000 CZK
6000 –
8000 CZK
7000 –
8500 CZK
6000 –
8500 CZK 
5500 –
7900 CZK
6000 –
10000 CZK
5000 –
8000 CZK
2+1 11000 – 17200  CZK 8000 –
10000 CZK
7000 –
9500 CZK
6000 –
13500 CZK
8000 –
15000 CZK
6000 -12000 CZK 6000 –
10000 CZK
3+1 14000 – 22000 CZK 10000 – 14000 CZK 8000 –
15500 CZK
6000 –
12000 CZK
9000 –
17000 CZK
9000 – 12000 CZK 9000 –
15000 CZK

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.

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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
Western Bohemia Plzeň 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

Public Transport
Getting around is significantly cheaper in these cities:

Ticket Brno České Budějovice Plzeň Mladá Boleslav Hradec
Králové
Olomouc Ostrava
Single Journey Two zones trans.: 18 CZK 20 mins.
12 CZK
40 mins.
14 CZK
60 mins.
16 CZK
24 hours.
40 CZK
See link below 12 CZK Zone I or II: 14 CZK
Both zones: 15 CZK
12 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
700 CZK
1 zone
410 CZK
2 zones
520 CZK
3 zones
580 CZK
4 zones
640 CZK
5 zones
700 CZK
  Monthly ticket: 440 CZK
Monthly ticket for working days only: 340 CZK
Monthly trans.: 440 CZK
Monthly standard: 320 CZK
300 CZK 1 zone
338 CZK
2 zones
440 CZK
3 zones
540 CZK
4 zones
642 CZK
Annual Zones 100 + 101
4430 CZK
1 zone
3960 CZK
2 zones
5040 CZK
3 zones
5580 CZK
4 zones
6120 CZK
5 zones
6660 CZK
  3 060 CZK   1 zone
2555 CZK
2 zones
3327 CZK
3 zones
4080 CZK
4 zones
4852 CZK

For transport rates in Plzeň, visit their “calculator.”

Education

Also read:  6 very Czech ways to survive the winter season

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.

Medical Services

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
Hospitals 11 2 2 1 1 4 3
GPs 196 59 45 52 23 69 139
Dentists 265 78 75 83 31 128 197
Gynecologists 54 19 10 22 7 26 35

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.

Brno – Shopping malls: Futurum (www.futurumbrno.cz), Olympia (www.olympia-centrum.cz), and Galerie Vaňkovka (www.galerie-vankovka.cz); Tesco and Interspar

Olomouc – Hana (www.ochana.cz), Olympia (www.olympiaolomouc.cz/2005/), Globus and Baumax

Hradec Králové – Futurum (www.futurumhradec.cz), Kaufland and Tesco

České Budějovice – IGY Centrum (www.igycentrum.cz), Mercury Centrum, Tesco, Kaufland, Globus and Baumax

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Mladá Boleslav – Bondy Centrum (www.bondy-centrum.eu), Olympia, Kaufland, Interspar and Baumax

Plzen – Olympia (www.olympiaplzen.cz), Borská Pole (www.iborskapole.cz), Tesco, Baumax and Interspar

Ostrava – Avion Shopping Park, Tesco, Kaufland and  Interspar

Entertainment

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.

If you fancy a dip, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem in these cities: Brno, Hradec Králové, Mladá Boleslav, Olomouc, Ostrava and Plzeň. This information is in Czech.

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!


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