Moving to the Czech Republic?
Expat Destinations in the Czech Republic
“The Golden City”, as Prague is often known, is undoubtedly the country’s main attraction, both culturally and economically. We have dedicated a whole article series to the topics of moving to Prague, living in Prague and working in Prague. Below you’ll find a short introduction to the city as well as an overview of other expat destinations in the Czech Republic.
Prague — Raising the Bar
Prague has been the political, cultural, and economic center of Central Europe for most of its 1,100-year history. The largest city in the Czech Republic, Prague is home to approximately 1.4 million people, with a metropolitan area containing just over 2 million inhabitants. The city’s economy accounts for 25% of the country’s GDP. It is also the home of the European headquarters of many international companies, offering plenty of job opportunities for expats.
Prague is an increasingly cosmopolitan city. At the beginning of 2017, 14% of the population of Prague was foreign. With more than 7 million international visitors in 2016 alone, tourism plays a major part in the city’s wealth, providing more than half of Prague’s income.
Brno — More than Just Public Administration
Brno is the Czech Republic’s second largest city, with around 377,000 residents. Home to the country’s Supreme Court, the city is a significant administrative center as well as the seat of numerous state authorities.
The Brno Exhibition Center, which hosts a number of large trade fairs and other events each year, is one of the largest exhibition centers in Europe. The city is also home to several historical sights, including various churches and the royal Špilberk Castle. On top of this, Brno is known for being an important university city with a number of higher education institutions based in the city.
Ostrava — Once the Steel Heart, Now the Polluted Lung
As the third largest city in terms of population and the second largest in area, Ostrava was historically the industrial center of the Czech Republic. Playing host to heavy industry, including coal and steel production, the city was nicknamed the “steel heart of the republic”. However, with the fall of communism in 1989 came the closure of many of the coal mines and the subsequent end to much of the area’s prosperity. Heavy industry has had a negative impact on the environment in Ostrava, making the city one of the most polluted in the EU. However, the government and some businesses are continuing to implement more and more measures to clean it up.
Plzeň — Time to Raise Your Glasses
The fourth most populous city, Plzeň, is also one of the most prosperous in the Czech Republic. It was the European Capital of Culture 2015 and has acquired worldwide fame for its Pilsner beer. The Škoda factory was established here (although production is no longer based in the city), and several foreign companies, such as Daikin and Panasonic, have manufacturing bases here. Plzeň is also a center of academic, business, and cultural life for the western part of the Czech Republic.
Traveling in and around the country
The Czech Republic is centrally located at the heart of Europe and boasts excellent transportation links both within its borders and to its neighboring countries.
By air, the Czech Republic can be reached via several international airports. The biggest is Václav Havel Airport near Prague, but other international airports can be found at Brno, Karlovy Vary, and Mošnov (near Ostrava), among other places.
The Czech Republic has an extensive railway network, connecting the country to the rest of Europe. Long-distant coach services also offer a fast and inexpensive way of travelling. The highways are generally well maintained, while smaller roads through small towns or villages may not be of such a high quality. To use Czech highways you must purchase a vignette for your vehicle to show that you have paid the tolls.
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