Europe,  Expat Life,  International Travel,  Travel

Is Prague a Good Place to Live?

After the last 2+ years of covid, sometimes it’s crazy to think that just before the world completely changed, we were living abroad in Prague. Despite having to cut our expat year short, I am so glad we decided to move to Prague and travel through Europe, especially since that’s not as easy these days.

When we were deciding on where to move abroad, I did a ton of research. I loved reading through blogs and getting an expat perspective on a place. So, since I get questions about Prague all the time, and to help any future expats out there, I thought I’d answer some of the most common questions about moving to Prague as an expat.

Want to learn more? Here are some of my top posts on moving abroad and expat life:

And here are some of my top posts on Prague:

Prague Astronomical Clock with Colin and Ellie

What are the best parts of living in Prague?

For me, the best parts of living in Prague were that it was beautiful, it was affordable, it was well-connected to the rest of Europe, and there was lots to see and do.

What are the worst parts of living in Prague?

In my opinion, the worst parts of living in Prague were difficulty speaking and understanding Czech, not having easy access to my favourite Asian foods, and not living by a coast.

Is it expensive to live in Prague?

Of course, everyone has a different definition of “expensive” but generally speaking, it is not expensive to live in Prague. Prague is a very affordable place to live; the cost of living was about half what we were paying in Vancouver, Canada. In fact, beer is cheaper than water in Prague!

It is important to note that local wages are lower and more on par with the cost of living. The reason why we found Prague so affordable is because I was still being paid by my Canadian and American employers. My husband, Colin, did work for a Czech hotel for a short time, and made about $6 CAD per hour.

Many locals and long term expats in Prague also say the city is getting more expensive. With more people moving in and cost of living rising, the city is becoming more unaffordable. From our perspective, Prague was cheap, but it may not be that way for everyone.

Prague Castle with our moms
Prague Castle with our moms

Where in Prague should I live?

There are so many great places to live in Prague and everything is very well-connected via Prague’s excellent transit system. For our expat year, we lived in the neighbourhood of Vinohrady. I really loved our area. It was beautiful with lots of stunning buildings and parks, close to major transit lines, and within walking distance of the Old Town. It also had lots of shops and restaurants, and was just a quick walk to Prague’s main train station.

Vinohrady is known as an expat-friendly part of town, which was attractive for us as new expats who would only be there for a year. However, if you’re looking to save money, it may be worth it to live further out from the city centre and in a more local area. As long as you’re near a metro or tram line, you should be able to get anywhere you want to go in Prague.

In researching where to stay and in talking to other expats, I heard that Karlin and Letna were both cool areas of Prague to live, and less expensive than Vinohrady. We would have been happy to live in those neighbourhoods too but happened to find a place in Vinohrady first. I would say there’s no need to live directly in or next to the Old Town, as it’s quite touristy and expensive.

Vinohrady Prague neighbourhood

Vinohrady neighbourhood in Prague

How do I find an apartment in Prague?

Finding an apartment in Prague can be tricky. We lucked out and actually were able to find ours quite easily, despite hearing it would be impossible to find an apartment ahead of time and one that was dog-friendly.

My best advice to find an apartment in Prague is to join local Facebook groups. There are a ton of expat-focused Facebook groups for Prague, many of which are specific for rental housing. Many landlords, realtors and tenants will post places directly in the group, or else be able to point you towards local websites where you can look for rental apartments in Prague.

Note that many landlords use realtors to advertise their apartments. It’s rare to find a landlord advertising their own apartment directly and even more rare if you’re searching online and don’t speak Czech. While going through a realtor can make things easier (they likely speak English and will ensure all of your paperwork is handled correctly), it does come at a cost. On top of your deposit and first month’s rent, you’ll also have to pay a realtor fee.

Is English spoken in Prague?

Yes and no. English is widely spoken in the tourist areas of Prague. Prague is also home to many expats, so English is spoken in a lot of the expat communities. In fact, so many English-speakers move to Prague that there are entire offices that are English-speaking. This was one of the things that drew us to Prague, as we knew there’d be more options to find work and make friends if other people spoke English.

However, not every local will speak English or speak it fluently. Even in our neighbourhood of Vinohrady, which is known to be an expat area and within walking distance of the touristy Old Town, many shop owners and restaurant servers did not speak English.

Can you live in Prague without speaking Czech?

Yes, you can live in Prague without speaking Czech, but it will be harder to integrate and make local friends. If you’re planning to stay in Prague long term and want to make friends outside of the expat community, I would prioritize learning Czech. Unfortunately, it is one of the hardest languages in the world to learn and only spoken in the Czech Republic. But there are many language schools ready to help you learn.

Fortunately, if you don’t speak Czech, you can still get a job in Prague. There are many English-speaking offices, like Amazon, Expedia and DHL, that will hire non-Czech speakers. There’s also jobs in tourism and hospitality, like the job my husband got as a hotel concierge. And there is a huge job market for English teachers.

Family Photos in Prague
Family Photos in Prague by Kemal Onur
Family Photos in Prague
Family Photos in Prague by Kemal Onur

What is the best way to get around Prague?

Prague has an incredible public transit system which is the best way to get around the city. When we were deciding where to move abroad, public transit was extremely important to us. We knew we wanted to be in a city that we could easily get around without the added expense and headache of a car.

Prague’s public transit system, consisting of buses, trams and the metro, runs very well, is affordable and clean, and efficiently connects the entire city. It’s consistently rated one of the best public transit systems in the world. We were able to buy an annual transit pass for only $225 CAD per person which gave us unlimited use of the transit system for an entire year. In Vancouver, $225 would get you about a month and a half of unlimited transit rides.

Note: Transit employees do check to ensure that fare has been paid, so it’s important to ensure you have a ticket (or pass) and that your ticket is validated. Many people ride public transit for free because you don’t have to show your ticket when you get on. But if a transit officer catches you without a validated ticket, they’ll fine you on the spot. Granted, it did take a few months before Colin or I ever got checked, so you can risk it. But I’d advise against it!

Is it safe to walk in Prague at night?

Yes, Prague is a very safe city and I always felt very comfortable in Prague, night or day. We walked our dog throughout our neighbourhood every night and I never felt unsafe. Granted, we were living in a nice area of Prague and I almost always had my husband with me. That may not be the same case for everyone living in every area of Prague but, on the whole, Prague is a safe city with very low levels of violent crime. Like most major cities, you’ll want to watch out for pickpockets and petty theft in the touristed areas.

Prague view

Is Prague dog friendly?

Yes, Prague is a very dog friendly city. In fact, one of the reasons we chose to move to Prague is because it was so easy to bring our dog to Prague and travel with our dog in Europe. In Prague, dogs are welcome into many restaurants, bars, banks and shops. There are tons of beautiful parks, many with off-leash dog zones, and even city-provided poop bags throughout the streets.

I have heard that it can be hard to find housing that is dog friendly in Prague but that wasn’t our experience. We were able to find our pet friendly apartment in Prague without a hitch, but I think we might have just gotten lucky!

Ellie on a red car seat
Ellie being a star for the House Hunters International camera!
Prague with a dog
Checking out the Prague Penguins!

Can I immigrate to Prague?

We moved to Prague on Youth Mobility Visas (also known as Working Holiday Visas) that allowed us to live and work in Prague for one year thanks to an arrangement the Canadian government has with the Czech Republic. If your country has one of these arrangements and you’re eligible for the visa, it’s a very simple and affordable way to move abroad.

Other ways to immigrate to Prague include student visas, spousal visas, work visas (usually sponsored by your employer) and a special freelancer visa (called the Zivno). Of course, I am not an immigration expert, so definitely check on your visa requirements before moving to Prague.

Is Prague a good place for expats?

I think Prague is a great place for expats. It’s a cheap place to live (relatively speaking), well connected to the rest of Europe for easy travel, has a robust expat community you can get involved in, and offers plenty of English speaking jobs.

John Lennon Wall in Prague
The John Lennon wall in Prague

Is it easy to make friends in Prague?

Yes and no. There are lots of opportunities to make friends within the expat community. There are lots of expat Facebook groups and ones catered to specific people or specific interests. We attended a Canada Day picnic for Canadian expats and I joined a co-working group for expat freelancers. We were also able to make friends through Colin’s job and other expats we met online.

However, it’s much more difficult to make local Czech friends, especially if you don’t have an in. For us, we worked from home, didn’t speak Czech and only lived in the city for 10 months. It would have been a lot harder for us to integrate and make local friends, whereas expat friendships came about a lot easier.

What is the food like in Prague?

I’ll be honest: I do not like Czech food. But not everyone feels the same way! Czech food is very hearty. They love their stews, pork, potatoes and gravy. Vegetables are hard to come by.

However, I did find food in Prague that I loved. The Czech Republic has a huge Vietnamese location, thanks to open borders between Czechia and Vietnam during the communist regime, and therefore has great Vietnamese food. I absolutely loved the Vietnamese food we ate while living in Prague. Prague is also well known for their cheap and delicious beer, which I enjoyed as a radler (part beer and part lemonade).

Overall, is Prague a good place to live?

In my opinion, Prague is a good place to live. I really enjoyed our time living in Prague as expats and would highly recommend Prague as a great place for people to move to. It had everything we were looking for: affordable, English-speaking community, beautiful architecture, lots to see and do, dog-friendly, good public transportation, and well-connected to the rest of Europe.


Have you ever been to Prague? Would you consider moving to Prague?

 

 

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