Just because the Czech Republic is home to such ancient cities as Prague and Karlštejn doesn’t mean you can’t use modern technology to enjoy it. Here we present of a collection of 10 apps for both the iPhone and Android-based phones that will help you do just that …
For those weather geeks among us, this app will be as welcome as an umbrella in a sudden downpour. Using information from the Czech hydrometeorological institute (CHMI), it provides aerial weather maps of the country, so you can know whether to pack a poncho, parka, or a pair of swim trunks on your next weekend getaway.
Speaking of weekend getaways, aside from beer, there’s another critical fluid you’ll need: petrol. Pumpdroid uses your phone’s GPS system and automatically tells you where the nearest petrol stations are. It provides cost, directions, the type of fuel available, and even lets you make changes to incorrect pump prices in its database. It also has an off-line mode, gives you the chance to sort by price or distance, and allows the most-loved fueling stops to be added to a favorites list.
CZECH TAXI (Free)
Keeping with the transportation theme, this app provides you with an in-phone list of taxi companies in the Czech Republic. It’s in Czech, but is still easy enough to navigate. When you find the taxi company you want, you can either click on the phone number or website for quick and easy booking.
FIND PUBS AND BARS (Free)
While it might be true that in Prague, the best way to find a pub or bar is to, erm, just look up, in other towns across the country, it might not be so easy to find your local watering hole. Fear not intrepid tipplers, this app is here to help! It not only lets you search for your nearest pub or bar anywhere in the Czech Republic, it provides the same service for 16 other countries. But be careful; use this app too much and you’ll be needing the developer’s other app: Find Toilets (they don’t have their Czech listings done yet, however, so you could find yourself in trouble!)
REALITY.CZ (Free/Also available for iPhone)
One thing all expats in the Czech Republic contend with, at one time or another, is housing. This handy app helps with your real estate quest by plugging into the Reality.cz search engine and, by using your phone’s locator services, tells you what’s for sale or rent in the immediate area. It lets you approach house hunting in a different way: first find the ‘hood you like, then see what’s around. The app is in Czech, but it’s still useful to see photos of various properties, find prices, and get the realtor information.
CZECH SKI SLOPES (USD $.99)
This app is also in Czech, but because everyone can understand centimeters and Celsius, it makes our list. It’s a relatively straightforward app, but its pretty much indispensable for all you ski bunnies and bums out there. Launch the app and a map of the Czech Republic comes up, showing red dots wherever there’s a ski slope (you might be surprised by just how many there are.) Click on a dot and you’ll be taken to the slope’s info page, showing the amount of powder on the ground as well as the current temperature. If the slope has a webcam (although we couldn’t find any that did), you get to see what’s happening on the hill as well. The map-based interface is great, because once you pick a slope, it’s easy to find your way there. Otherwise, you can get a list of all slopes and pick your mountain based on the amount of snow clinging to its sides.
CZECH REPUBLIC TRAVEL GUIDE (Free)
This is a simple app but its great for getting an overview of some of the more popular places in and around the country. Just choose a city that you’re interested in, such as Teplic or Kutna Hora, and you’ll be taken to a menu system that lets you read about the town’s history, learn about the sites to see, find out how to get there (including public transport options), and even get tips on where to eat and sleep. The information isn’t in-depth, but it’s probably just the right amount for a quick getaway and it’s a great way to get familiarized with what the country offers beyond Prague (although that’s covered, too!)
CZECH REPUBLIC RADIO (USD $1.99)
When you’re new to a place, learning the local radio stations and finding your favorites can take time. This app speeds up the process by giving you access to dozens of stations. A handy list tells you the name of the station and what type of music it plays. A click gets the station playing, usually (there still seem to be many stations that deliver a “radio server is unavailable” message). Still, you can get plenty of them to start streaming, bookmark your favorites, and even record what you’re hearing. The app also has an alarm to wake you up like an old-fashioned clock radio.
CZECH FREE (Free)
What’s the number-one difficulty most expats have in the Czech Republic? Keeping away from the beer, you say? Well, that definitely ranks up there, but we’d put our money on “learning the language.” This app helps with that a little by providing you a really complete English to Czech translation service. It also lists a variety of Czech words for each English one when appropriate. To test your language skills in reverse, it offers a quiz where you are given Czech words and need to choose the correct English definition.
CG TRANSIT (Free)
This app takes a bit of work to set up, but once you tell it what databases you’d like to use (i.e., Czech Trains, Czech Buses, etc.), it becomes a very powerful resource for plotting your route anywhere around the country via public transport. You tell it when and where you want to go and it tells you how to get there, how long it will take, and what stops there will be along the way. You can also download the PID database, which lets you use the Metro SMS system in a more intuitive and user-friendly way than simply texting from scratch.
Tip: for a similar app on Android, check out the excellent Pubtran application.
Whether you’re looking to swish down the slopes, pay at the pump, take a taxi, or hunt for a house in the Czech Republic, there’s an app to help—and most of them are free! So don’t waste another day being in the digital dark: get yourself over to the Android Market or iTunes store and load up your phone with the apps to make the ČR OK. And do let us know below if you have another favorite app you use to make life here a little easier.