Smack bang in the middle of the European mainland lies the Czech Republic with its beautiful, Bohemian capital, Prague.
Prague is a city with many rich layers of history, especially as it’s at a crossroads between other nations and cultures. Due to its eye-popping architecture, its enviable safety record and its reputation as a centre for the arts – in particular classical music – Prague is becoming an increasingly popular city with those looking to start a new life abroad.
But where should the potential expat begin when seeking out the best district to live in?
One of the things for which the Czech capital is famed is its architecture, with everything from neo-classical and Baroque to art deco and Soviet brutalism on display. The nation’s turbulent history and its position in the centre of Europe has meant it has taken influences and inspiration from all around the continent.
Much of that history has been preserved and all around the city you’ll see extravagant concert halls, art galleries and cobbled squares, as well as unique and interesting gems such as the famous astronomical clock in Old Town Square, the darkly gothic twin-spired Tyn Church, and the unique Charles Bridge, spanning the smoothly flowing River Vltava. What’s more, there’s many a ‘secret’ restaurant, cafe or bar hidden down its quiet back streets.
It’s very easy to get around, with an efficient and affordable public transport system that revolves around trams.
Thankfully, it’s also easy and quick to get in and out of Prague. Not just to see other parts of the Czech Republic – but also to easily and cheaply visit other major European nations.
It’s an exceptionally safe place too, with the Czech Republic frequently listing in the top 10 safest nations on Earth.
Despite being located at the centre of Europe – a continent wracked by political uncertainty of late – there isn’t much political instability to speak of in the Czech Republic.
Since the ‘Iron Curtain’ came down in 1989, Prague has been run as a parliamentary democracy and, due to economic reforms, it even has a better credit rating than many other Central or Eastern European nations.
Political power is shared between the nation’s President and Prime Minister, with the President being the head of state. A Presidential term is five years and they are able to win a re-election once.
Populism has been, well, more popular in the nation lately; but it has not led to any major uptick in Euroscepticism – and although it is worth noting that the Czech Republic is one of the countries least enamoured with the European Union, there is no sign of a ‘Czexit’ as yet.
The city of Prague is divided into a number of municipalities which are run by local authorities, with responsibility for public services in those areas, including education, policing, and environmental protection.
Most districts have nicknames or alternative names usually associated with a particular neighbourhood, but to make matters easier for foreigners they are officially (and handily) designated numbers – such as ‘Prague 1’, ‘Prague 2’, and so on. These municipal districts have their own elected councils and mayors, with Prague itself having an overarching city mayor and governing council.
If you’re planning on moving to Prague, everyday life will of course differ depending on whereabouts in the city you plan to live. Think of it like this: renting a flat in central London is a very different experience to living in a suburb on the outskirts isn’t it?
These are some of Prague’s most popular districts, and how much it typically costs to rent an apartment there:
Prague 1 – The Old Town
Speaking of central London, Prague 1 would be comparable to the most well-known (and most expensive) parts of Britain’s capital.
Practically an outdoor museum, Prague 1 isn’t very affordable to live in at all – but it is a wonderful place to explore. It has many excellent restaurants and bars, as well as other attractions such as museums, concert halls and galleries.
This UNESCO World Heritage district includes Prague Castle, the ‘Old Town’, the ‘Jewish Quarter’, and the Charles Bridge as well as most of the ‘Little Quarter’ and many other key sites.
Typical monthly cost to rent an apartment: £1,810
Prague 2 – Small but Perfectly Formed
The smallest district in the Czech Republic and still pricey, but more popular to live in than Prague 1. Prague 2 contains Vyšehrad and some of Vinohrady, both of which contain residential areas, as well as some of New Town which is a modern, business-oriented area.
Vinohrady is particularly popular as a residential area for the more affluent. Its ornate and historic apartments are beautiful buildings to live in and the area is very well maintained. Furthermore, the restaurants in the area are top-rated, as is the nightlife.
Typical monthly cost to rent an apartment: £1,775
Prague 3 – For Expats who can Flash the Cash
A popular district with expats – especially the younger ones looking to socialise – Prague 3 is home to Žižkov which is where most of Prague’s more alternative scene can be found. The architecture is still strikingly beautiful, but the most notable character of this area comes from the bars, pubs and general nightlife.
In fact, Žižkov supposedly has the most bars per capita in the whole of Europe. While the area used to be more working class, its rising popularity has seen prices climbing in recent years.
Typical monthly cost to rent an apartment: £1,537
Prague 4 – A more Affordable Alternative
This district contains some of Vyšehrad and most of Nusle – and is a desirable destination for those looking for a more ‘authentic’ (and affordable) place to call home. Further from the centre than the districts mentioned so far, it’s much cheaper and quieter while still being a beautiful area steeped in history.
Typical monthly cost to rent an apartment: £666
Prague 7 – Multicultural Expat Hub
Contrasting with the fourth district, Prague 7 has become something of a hub for expat communities and is one of the most multicultural areas of the city. Letná and Holešovice are both in Prague 7 and both of these neighbourhoods are seeing a wave of incomers from across the globe, as well as new bars, cafes and art galleries.
Letná is more expensive than Holešovice but both are more affordable than districts nearer to the city centre. For those looking for other expats, football (Prague 7 is the home of AC Sparta) and houses with beautiful gardens beside the River Vltava, Prague 7 may just be the place for you.
Typical monthly cost to rent an apartment: £785
Some parts of Prague are definitely pricier than others, but the city offers a good range of options in terms of affordability.
Nevertheless, if you’re thinking of moving to Prague you’ll still want to save as much money as possible during your move. There are many ways you can do this, including carefully planning which districts are within your budget, finding work in Prague in advance, and using a trusted currency transfer provider to maximise your return when exchanging your cash into Czech Koruna.
There are pros and cons to life in any major city in Europe, but not many can offer as much authentic beauty and such a great lifestyle as Prague. Perhaps this city by the Vltava could be your new dream home?
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