Ask an Expat: Living in Prague, Czech Republic

What is it like to move to and live in Prague? To start a new life in a foreign country?

This is an interview with Samantha, an expat in Prague. She answers questions about life here and gives tips to help make moving to and starting a life in Prague easier.

This interview is part of the Ask an Expat series. In this series I interview people living all over the world, but outside of their home country. I try to help paint an honest picture of the ups and downs of life abroad, share tips for other (future) expats and share information about what to see and do in the place the expat now calls home.

Expat Life in Prague, Czech Republic

life in Prague

Name: Samantha Hussey
Age: 27
Home town: Reigate, Surrey, United Kingdom

Her story:

“I spent most of my life living in the beautiful county of Surrey in the UK until I met my husband in 2009.

The whirlwind romance resulted in moving to London after two months of dating, where we lived for almost a year together.

In 2011 he was offered a role in his company in Prague. We stayed together long distance for over a year and a half before I made the leap and joined him to live in Prague in February of 2013.”

Why Did You Move to Prague?

“My husband’s job required him to move to Prague and since we had heard nothing but good things about this city (and it is a beautiful city) we decided to move.”

What Do You Like About Living in Prague?

“Prague is by far one of the most beautiful and charming cities in Central Europe. It is a city brimming with history.

And while it’s definitely catching up to modern 21st century Europe, there is still something very old world about Prague and it has successfully managed to keep a lot of its unique Czech charm.

Compared to London it’s a very small city, which I definitely prefer. But its size doesn’t mean there is a lack of things to do. Regardless of the season, there is always something going on.

You could say the biggest positive about life in Prague is its standard of living. In London our lives revolved around traveling to work (constant delays made that a daily mission), working, shopping, chores, and sleeping. The high costs of living meant we had hardly any money to enjoy ourselves (or the time for that matter).

Prague is a very laid back city and there is a very good work/life balance here. We have more time to socialize, more money to go out and enjoy ourselves.

Its location in the center of Europe means we can easily visit so many countries in Europe within a short drive or train ride away which is something that isn’t as easy in the UK.”

What Do You Dislike About Living in Prague?

“One of the biggest drawbacks to living in Prague is its bureaucracy.

Even as EU nationals, the amount of paperwork you have to do to live here is immense. You have to register at the foreign police upon arrival, and you’ll need a translator to help you. Getting any official documents approved or signed is an uphill battle. Dealing with anything or anyone state related will likely cause you to pull your hair out. It’s insane!

Also, customer service (or the lack of) remains one of my biggest negatives. Don’t expect service with a smile. Instead expect stern looks, a lot of huffing and puffing and frowning if you ask for anything that requires any effort on their behalf. Although it is getting better (it has improved somewhat since I moved here in 2013), it can certainly dampen your mood.”

What Is Your Favorite Thing to Do in Prague?

“Eating out!

When we lived in London we hardly ate out at all. It was always way too expensive or the best places had to be booked so far in advance. It was also a struggle to get friends coordinated as everyone was always so busy.

Now that we live in Prague we eat out several times a month and we have time after work to meet up with friends or go out with colleagues for a beer or two.

In the summer, there is nothing better than finishing a day’s work with a beer in one of the many beer gardens in the city!”

What Is Your Favorite Place to Hang out in Prague?

“Actually, I don’t have a specific place I like to hang out.

There is a great cafe scene in Prague for cold days, and the beer gardens are great for the summer.

But in all honesty, the Old Town and Mala Strana neighborhood are two of my favorite places to hang out. I love taking walks through there early mornings or late evenings when there are fewer tourists.

Prague is such a beautiful city – I can never get enough!”

What Is the Expat / International Community like in Prague?

“The expat community is mostly made up of Americans and EU nationals (there are some British and a lot of Italian expats in Prague!).

I have to say that without the expat community in Prague I don’t think I would have remained here for very long. They are always on hand to ask questions on Facebook Groups and forums for even the silliest of things like where to get your favorite cheese! They are very supportive and you’ll find it easy to meet other expats when you live in Prague.

This Facebook group for expats in Prague has saved my life, stomach, and mental state numerous times!”

Any Tips for Moving to / Living in Prague?

“Make sure you do your research into what area of Prague you want to live in.

The center is pretty expensive but there are some really lovely neighborhoods within 5-10 minutes of the center that are great. Vinohrady and Zizkov are favorites with expats in Prague, however, Vysehrad, Karlin and Holesvice are becoming really popular too.

One word of advice though is to make sure you have paperwork for everything and never sign a lease without getting it translated.

Also, be prepared for higher rent prices for foreigners.”

Any Resources You Found Useful During the Process of Moving to And/Or Building a New Life in Prague?

“The Facebook group I mentioned above is super useful to answer any questions you have about visas, food, health insurance and day to day stuff.

There is also an online resource for expats called Expats.cz which has job listings, apartment listings and forums.

There are numerous events organized by expats in Prague that you can find on Meetup.com or in the Facebook groups, and there is a great Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook group that is constantly selling furniture and home goods from expats leaving the city. It’s great if you are just starting out in Prague and need some furniture.”

Is There Something You Just Have to See or Do When You Are in Prague?

“Where to begin! I guess when you first move here just walk everywhere.

Prague is a small city and you can walk sections of it in bite-size pieces. It was how I learned not only my way around, but also where the good food stores were and where you can buy certain items.

It’s a beautiful city so it’s an enjoyable experience. You also stumble across parks, beer gardens and of course the main sights such as the Astronomical Clock, Prague Castle, and Charles Bridge.”

2 expats in PragueAbout Samantha – Expat in Prague

Samantha is an English expat living in Prague with her husband Leonardo from Italy.

Together they run a luxury adventure travel blog, documenting their stylish travels around the world and around Europe by train, plane and Harley Davidson.

Check out their blog at Thewanderingwanderluster.com

About Prague

living in Prague

Prague is the capital city of the Czech Republic. It is known for its Old Town Square, the heart of its historic core, with colorful baroque buildings, Gothic churches, and the medieval Astronomical Clock, which gives an animated hourly show. Completed in 1402, pedestrian Charles Bridge is lined with statues of Catholic saints.

Prague’s maze of cobbled lanes and hidden courtyards is a paradise for the aimless wanderer. Just a few blocks away from the Old Town Square you can stumble across ancient chapels, unexpected gardens, cute cafes and old-fashioned bars with hardly a tourist in sight.

The city is famous for its unique medieval architecture and its historical center is inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

At the same time, Prague is a modern and vibrant city full of energy, music, art, fine dining and events.

Travel Tips: The easiest and cheapest option to get from the airport to the center of Prague is with Terravision. If you are looking for affordable accommodation for either a short or a longer stay in Prague I recommend checking out VRBO.comAsk an Expat: Living in Prague, Czech Republic and reading up on what to do in Prague in 2 days.

If you want to combine your visit to Prague with seeing more of Europe then Tourradar.comAsk an Expat: Living in Prague, Czech Republic offers a wide range of interesting tours.

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Interview with an expat about what life in Prague is like.

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Sanne Wesselman

Author: Sanne Wesselman
A traveler, wanderer, digital nomad, and entrepreneur. Owner of marketing company A to Z Marketing.
I spend most of my time living and working abroad and use this website to share "the good, the bad and the ugly" of traveling and living abroad. Visit the About Me page for more info.

9 thoughts on “Ask an Expat: Living in Prague, Czech Republic”

  1. Not sure if anyone here had a similar experience and can give us some advice or recommendation? We are planning to move to Prague and for the past few months, we were looking into our relocation. We like to have all of our items shipped from the US and was told we need a 40 footer container for our bedrooms house. We also learned we are allowed to bring one personal car.
    The challenging part is since Prague is inland and has no seaport, everybody is telling us to collect our goods from Germany but we have no information on how the process is so if anyone knows how we can bring our items to Prague without hassle please share the info!
    Thank you

    Reply
  2. Hi Mike,

    I’d highly recommend joining one or more of the Facebook groups for expats in Prague such as this one: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pragueim/

    You can find a lot of information here about what life in Prague is like and what issues expats face, and you can ask specific questions and will generally get very helpful replies.

    Good luck with the move and I hope you’ll enjoy life in Prague!

    Reply
  3. my wife and I are moving to Prague in Nov. from America and to say the least we do not know what we are doing or will be up against. She has accepted a position over there so it will be long term event. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  4. That’s such a well-articulated article and I got to learn so much about living and planning a visit in Prague. Thanks for sharing your experience of staying there!

    Reply
  5. A very balanced perspective. If I were in her place, I would feel exactly the same way. I want to live in such a place, laid back, slow life, work life balance etc. But I hate bureaucracy so much. I wish in future Prague becomes everything thats good minus the negative

    Reply
  6. As an expat, I always can relate to the feeling of living in a new place, and I love this interview series! Especially Prague is somewhere that I could consider to live in the future. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  7. Prague is one of my favourite cities in the world so it’s great to read about Samantha’s experience. Interesting that there is loads of paperwork and bad customer service, it’s similar in Vienna!

    It sounds like a great place to live though with the affordable dining etc and the city really is amazing to explore!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  8. Article is OK but the person hasn’t been here that long to give a a clear view about things here. I set up a company and been living here since 1993 and have experienced many things most expats never will since so much has changed. Plus I learned the language which also gives a person a different perspective on life in CZ.

    Reply
  9. hey,

    That’s really a very useful article. I have been an expat myself and I always look for such kind of articles.

    Thanks for sharing this post.

    Reply

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