Living in Prague

Based on QS Best Student Cities ranking, Prague belongs among the world’s top 50 cities for students.

You will find plenty of resources about living in Prague on the web, as there is a large international community in Prague. Here we give a summary of the basic information relevant to you.

How to get to Prague – coming by air

Prague has a modern and spacious international airport located approximately 17 km (c. 10 miles) northwest of the city center. The airport is named Václav Havel Airport Prague in honor of the first president of the Czech Republic. It handles around 250 flights a day to more than 100 destinations around the world. Some 50 passenger airlines operate at the airport and more than 11 million passengers pass through it every year. Direct flight destinations from Václav Havel Airport Prague include London, Paris, Frankfurt, New York, Seoul, and Dubai, to name but a few.

Visa and Long-Term Residence Permit

Since the Czech Republic is a member of the EU, citizens of European Union (EU) countries, citizens of European Economic Area (EEA) countries, and citizens of Switzerland, do not need any visa for any type of visit or stay in the Czech Republic.
Foreign nationals from other countries continue to need a long-term residence permit for the purpose of study in the territory, which allows its holder to travel within the Schengen area.

Detailed information about application for this permit and the required documents are given on  the webpages of the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic (here is the application form). Please note that students must apply for (and obtain) a long-term residence permit before their departure for the Czech Republic. First-time applicants for a long-term residence permit cannot apply for one in the Czech Republic itself (i.e., while physically located in the Czech Republic), nor can they wait until they are in the Czech Republic to collect a long-term residence permit for which they have previously applied (the residence of foreign nationals in the Czech Republic is governed by the Act on the Residence of Aliens in the Territory of the Czech Republic, law no. 326/99).

Note: Long-stay visas are only granted for a period of 6 months and are thus not sufficient for 3 years of study. We therefore recommend applying for a long-term residence permit for the purpose of study. For the entrance examination it is possible to come on the basis of a short-term (tourist) visa (valid for a maximum of 90 days).

Health Insurance

Health insurance valid within the EU is recognized in the Czech Republic. Nevertheless, you should check with your insurance office whether this is the case for your own particular health insurance. If necessary, you should also take out additional insurance covering hospital care. You will be asked to show your health insurance card by the admissions officer.

All non-EU students will need a Czech comprehensive health insurance for foreigners which secures access to complete medical care, not only emergency care (Act No. 326/1999 Coll.). Students with a long-term residence permit are allowed to extend  basic health insurance after arrival in the Czech Republic. All non-EU students are obliged to have at least basic health insurance before their arrival. Many companies offer this kind of insurance (VZP, Slavia, …). More information about insurance is provided on the webpages foreigners.cz.

Accommodation

For our students we provide accommodation in student dormitories. Monthly rent ranges from 3300 to 6800 CZK depending on the quality and type of room. Most of our students stay in the Kolej 17. listopadu dormitory in Troja, which is about half an hour by public transport or bicycle from the university building in Malá Strana.

Alternatively, you can rent a flat or share a flat with other students; in this case advertisements in Prague.net or Prague.tv might be helpful. A detailed account of housing in the Czech Republic is provided in an official information brochure of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. If you decide not to use university accommodation please inform us as soon as possible.

Food

Almost every type of international cuisine is offered in Prague – from Italian to Japanese and Mexican. For overviews of shops offering speciality food, we recommend prague-stay.com, expats.cz and uncorneredmarked.com.

Students of Charles University are entitled to discounts in any student canteen (“menza” in Czech); prices are low as they are subsidized by the state. A list of canteens is provided here. Menza Právnická and Menza Arnošta z Pardubic are the two nearest to the computer science building in Malá Strana.

Alternatively you can enjoy the countless restaurants in Prague. Lunchtime.cz provides a searchable list of restaurants offering lunch menus.

There are also many grocery stores, small ones (local ones, Albert, Lidl) as well as big hypermarkets (Tesco, Interspar, Kaufland) in shopping malls, with very convenient opening hours. You can find some hints for grocery shopping here.

Transportation

You will not need a car while living in Prague: Trams, buses and the metro can take you absolutely anywhere you want to go and they have very frequent schedules. Public transport in Prague is operated by The Prague Public Transit Co. Inc. We recommend buying a monthly or quarterly pass valid for all means of city transportation, which is offered at a discounted rate for students.

There are also cycle routes in Prague. The necessary practical information to assist you in arranging your bicycle trips in the capital are given on the website Cycling in Prague. The way from the student dormitory in Troja, where most of our students live, to the university building at Malá Strana takes about 30 minutes, depending on your condition and the route that you choose.

Climate

Moderate with four seasons. In winter, you can get snow and freezing weather as well as
quite pleasant days with temperatures above zero, in summer it can be very warm, up to 35°C (95°F). The average temperature in January, the coldest winter month, is -5°C (23°F), and in July, the warmest summer month, around +23°C (73°F).

Student Club

Charles University International Club is a student club which organises various social,  cultural and sport events for both international and Czech students, and generally helps  international students to handle their stay in Prague.