Mobile phones
Getting around

Part 1: Introduction

2.6: Krakow -> Štramberk -> Rožnov pod Radhoštem -> Olomouc
3.6: Olomouc -> Kromeríž -> Olomouc
4.6: Olomouc -> Litomysl -> Bouzov -> Olomouc
5.6: Olomouc -> Lednice -> Valtice -> Mikulov -> Dolni Dunajovice
6.6: Dolni Dunajovice -> Znojmo -> Vranov nad Dyjí castle -> Telc
7.6: Telc -> Jindrichuv Hradec -> Ceský Krumlov
8.6: Ceský Krumlov -> Holašovice -> Hluboká nad Vltavou -> Ceské Budejovice -> Ceský Krumlov
9.6: Ceský Krumlov -> Munich

Overview and overall impression
This trip was quite a surprise, because I didn't imagine that in the south of the Czech republic there are so many beautiful places, both natural and man-made. The architecture was particularly impressive, with many small towns having impressive historical centres. And the Lednice and Hluboka castles are absolutely impressive. I was also surprised by the beauty of the southern Czech landscape, with countless lakes intermixed with forests. The infrastructure was very good and many cities we visited were clean with immaculate buildings, almost like being in a suburb of Munich. And by the way, there are lots of attractive women in the Czech republic.

Costs are more or less on the same level as in any other European country. I was thinking that perhaps because supposedly the salaries in the Czech republic are lower than in West Europe, things would be cheaper, but no, we found almost the same prices. Things are not expensive, but the Czech republic definitely is not a place where to travel on a budget.

We ate in a mix of different places, such as fast food outlets, many Asian restaurants, pizzerias, local restaurants etc.

We stayed in a number of different places, paying between 52 and 91 Euro/night for a room or apartment suitable for a family with two kids. The pensions were good value, because for less than 70 Euro we had an apartment with two bedrooms. In Český Krumlov it makes sense to stay inside the old city, because eveything is in walking distance and staying out of the city would mean that you have to drive in and out of the town.

Money  / Exchange rate (June 2012)
1 Euro = 25 Czech Koruny
1 Euro = 1.25 USD
For current exchange rates check the Universal Currency Converter.

ATMs are everywhere, so that you can easily get cash with a Cirrus/Maestro ATM card. 

Mobile phones and prepaid cards
We bought a couple of SIM cards of O2, a Czech operator of 3G services, in a supermarket for 150 Koruny. We used these for our smartphones, to make calls and access the Internet. Everything was fine, coverage, voice and Internet connection quality etc. The only thing to be aware of is that direct international calls are very expensive (a call to Malaysia is more than 100 Koruny/minute). If you use the *55* prefix before dialing, international calls with O2 are significantly cheaper.

Internet access
We relied on Internet access in the hotel (local WLAN hotspot) and when not available, used the mobile phones are modems (3G tethering). I can't remember having seen Internet cafes in the places we visited.

A mix of sunny days and rainy days. Very variable weather, with sun and rain on the same day. Temperatures were around 20°C.

Health / Vaccinations
None required for the Czech republic.

VISA / Entry requirements
No border controls between the Czech republic, Poland and Germany. The Czech republic is part of the Schengen zone, i.e. a Schengen visa suffices.

The Czech republic is a very safe place.

Recommended things
  • The castles in Lednice and Hluboká, which are absolutely stunning
  • The southern Czech lake district, with countless lakes in a beautiful setup.
  • The open air museum in Rožnov pod Radhoštěm
  • The market square in Telc, especially on a sunny day

Things to avoid
  • Nothing really, it's just that a few places we visited (Mikulov and Znojmo), while nice, are not at the level of the other places we visited.

Getting around
We travelled by car, using a car navigation system to get from one place to the next. This was made it very easy to get from one place to the next. Only in a few cases the Navigon software on the smartphone would choose weird dirt track roads, like once when after 10pm we found ourselves on a dark, muddy and steep road in the forest on the way to Cesky Krumlov while it was raining (wondering what we were doing there). Otherwise the Navigon navigation system worked flawlessly and was a great help.

Copyright 2012 Alfred Molon