Czech Koruna - CZK
The crown – this is the literal translation of the currency used today in the Czech Republic, otherwise known on the currency markets and to locals as the koruna. It has only been in use in the country since 1993, as this was when it was launched as the official replacement for the original Czechoslovak koruna. The replacement was at par with the former currency when Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, as we know them today.
What coins and notes are available for this currency?
There are several coins in use at present. These are known as korun coins sand they are available in various denominations. There were originally three haleru coins available as well but now none remain in circulation. The korun coins are available in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50.
As for the banknotes there are several of these in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000 korun.
From past to present – the history of the koruna
The koruna dates back a little further than the 1993 introduction of the Czech koruna would initially have you believe. It is, if you will, a direct descendant of the Czechoslovakian koruna. This currency was first used in 1918, coming into force when World War I came to an end.
As such it has gone through a number of changes since its inception less than one hundred years ago at the time of writing. Indeed, it may soon disappear altogether if those who want to join the Euro get their way. Originally it was mooted that the Czech Republic would join the single European currency by 2012, but this didn’t happen. It is well known that many people in the country are fiercely opposed to this occurring, so the koruna remains as the currency of choice at present. Some wonder how long this will remain the case.
How to get hold of the koruna
It is relatively easy to get the currency of the Czech Republic. You can of course order the currency online or at your local bureau de change if you want to make sure you have some before you go abroad.
The good news is you can easily get hold of the currency when you are in the Czech Republic as well. When you arrive you can get cash out of the cash machines at the airport, and you can also withdraw some in main towns and cities, thanks to the large network of cash points that exists.
Don’t be tempted to exchange your own home currency for the koruna when in the country though. You tend to find the exchange rate is not good if you do this – even though they don’t charge commission. They have to make money on the exchange somehow and this is how they do it.
How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the Czech koruna
You can do this quite easily online – just go to your favourite currency converter site and get the latest information there. Remember that each bureau de change will have a different rate of commission to apply to the transaction. This will have an effect on the exchange rates you see comparing one currency for another in the most basic sense.
To find out more about going to the Czech Republic you can visit their London embassy website at http://www.mzv.cz.
Travelling safely with Czech korunas
The normal rules apply when visiting the Czech Republic. Make sure you safeguard your cash and valuables by making sure you don’t flaunt them in public. Many pickpockets pick on easy ‘marks’ – and tourists do tend to stand out as much in this country as they do elsewhere in the world, so remember this.
According to the Gov.uk website, more than 300,000 British people go to the Czech Republic each year. Few have any issues at all but it is good to take some basic advice. They recommend you always have your passport on your person, because the police in the Czech Republic can issue fines to foreigners if they don’t carry them. You could even be arrested if you don’t carry it as a form of identification.
Where to spend your korunas in the Czech Republic – and what to spend them on
There are many delightful things to spend your korunas on once you arrive in the country. For many people the destination they have in mind is Prague, and it is not hard to see why. The city is ideal as a long weekend destination and it is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site too. It is incurably romantic so if you are thinking of whisking your partner there for a long weekend, whisk away!
It is impossible not to be charmed by the cobbled streets, the higgledy piggledy nature of the streets and the cultural and architectural surprises to be found around every corner. The city has an interesting mix of buildings dating from all manner of different times in history. It is this varied past that has melded together to form the fascinating city called Prague that many people love today.
It is very easy to simply wander out of your hotel or accommodation to walk around the local streets. You can take photos, explore churches and stop for a bite to eat en route. With lots of tasty bites to try along the way, not to mention the many bars and cafes that can provide sustenance in liquid form, it’s easy to see why Prague is so popular.
Of course it is not the only city or region in the Czech Republic that is worth a visit. The country is becoming popular for those who enjoy visiting spa resorts, as it boasts three such areas to explore. These are Karlovy Vary, Marianske Lazne and the Luhacovice Spa. They all have their own unique character and are well worth a look if it is a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday you have in mind.
There are also lots of towns to explore if you have the time. Wine lovers will be charmed by Melnik; Gothic architecture abounds in Opava; and the Renaissance appears round every corner in Slavonice. As you can see, the country delights in treating its visitors to a truly amazing experience.
Of course if you visit some of the more popular areas – Prague included – you can expect an established tourist welcome. This also means it can be busy during peak periods, although you shouldn’t let this prevent you from discovering the very best the Czech Republic can offer.
One handy tip to remember is that it is worth hiring a car to explore off the beaten track. The country’s villages are just as charming as the larger areas, if not more so. Pruhonice is an excellent example of this. It is famous for Pruhonice Park, a truly fairytale wonderland of a park that would be a real shame to miss out on. It is less than four miles from Prague too, so why not take a trip out there and see the park if you are in the city anyway? It makes a refreshing change and you will wonder if a park this amazing could ever exist on earth. Yes, it really is that impressive!
The people are for the most part equally charming and welcoming – the Czech Republic is truly a great place to visit. Be warned though because once you have visited for the first time you are likely to want to go back time and time again. There are many other regions and parts of the country you could go back to though, even if you don’t venture outside Prague on your first visit. You may even want to hang onto any remaining koruna you go home with, in readiness for your next trip to this lovely country.
As you can see there are lots of places to go to spend your Czech koruna. You will notice the prices are fairly reasonable there too, although the country was once a lot cheaper than it is today. You can still enjoy a nice meal or drink for a competitive sum though, especially if you come from a traditionally more expensive country such as the UK or America.
By now you can probably tell how welcoming the Czech Republic is to those who visit it for a short time. Its position in central Europe means that it is bordered by no fewer than four countries – Germany, Poland, Slovakia and Austria. Many people have passed through the country en route to another destination over the years, and those who live there always make them welcome.
It is easy to fall in love with a country like the Czech Republic. It may be far from the biggest country in Europe but it certainly has a big heart. Even if all you do is visit Prague, arguably one of the finest and most engaging cities in Europe, your visit will not be wasted. Consider a trip there today and see just how far the Czech koruna can get you while you are there.