All you need to know about the currency in Prague

Currency

Evolution of the Czech currency

The currency called krone in German and koruna in Czech was introduced in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1892, the empire to which the present territory of the Czech Republic belonged, and is considered the first modern gold coin of the Austria-Hungary empire.

The Czechs have been using the koruna since the end of the 19th century when the country was under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The use of this currency continued after World War I when the defeated imperial power dissolved into numerous states.

The map of Central and Eastern Europe became a complex patchwork of small countries, one of which was Czechoslovakia. This state and its new currency, the Czechoslovak koruna, would eventually become part of the Soviet bloc until 1993.

After the creation of an independent Czechoslovakia in 1918, there was an urgent need to establish a new monetary system. In 1919, a currency reform defined the new koruna with similar value to the Austro-Hungarian koruna. The first banknotes began to circulate in the same year, while coins began to circulate in Czechoslovakia in 1922, three years later. This first koruna circulated until 1939, when new korunas were introduced for Bohemia, Maravia and Slovakia.

Much later, on January 1, 1993, after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the citizens of this newly created state regained their freedom and amicably agreed to a kind of divorce. Thus, the destinies of the two nations were separated: Slovakia on the one hand and the Czech Republic on the other.

It was precisely in that year that the Czech Crown (ISO code 4217 CZK and symbol Kč), heir to the Czechoslovak Crown, was born. The official name of the Czech koruna in the local language is koruna česká.

The Czech Republic agreed with the European Union to replace the koruna with the euro in 2012. However, strong domestic opposition in the country has indefinitely delayed the changeover to the common European currency.

Current exchange rates for the Czech Koruna

Czech currency
Czech currency

The current exchange rate for the Czech Koruna is

EUR 24,340

USD 21,450

ATMs and banks

The best way to obtain Czech currency is through an ATM affiliated with a bank. There are also exchange offices in the city, both within banks and independent. To make sure that the exchange rate you receive is fair, check the Czech National Bank’s average rate. Exchange offices shouldn’t charge any commission for currency exchange transactions, and a printed receipt must be provided for each transaction.

In the city center you will have no problem finding banks and ATMs. Banks are open Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Paying by card in Prague

The safest way to save on commissions is to pay by credit card since when paying by card the exchange rate is the current rate and the maximum commission is usually 1%. But it is always better to ask at the establishment if they accept credit cards.

If you arrive in Prague and do not have Czech currency, it is advisable to change the minimum necessary until you can go to one of the exchange houses that we recommend above, or withdraw from an ATM as the commission is usually very low.

Who is on the Czech banknotes?

Czech banknotes
Czech Banknotes

The colorful banknotes of the Czech Republic feature the faces of renowned Czech personalities known for their contribution to Czech culture and identity.

The first banknotes were those of the First Czechoslovak Republic, created in 1918 and were the product of a political decision of the then Czechoslovak Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus and the Slovak leader Vladimir Meciar.

The following banknotes were issued in 1993 for the Czech Republic and showed prominent Czech people on one side and abstract compositions on the other.

Among the people featured on the banknotes were famous people such as Tomáš Masaryk, the first Czech president, and Charles IV, the king of Bohemia. The backs of the banknotes feature intricate compositions of Czech buildings, such as St. Vitus Cathedral and Charles University. The coat of arms of the Czech Republic also appears on the reverse of all Czech banknotes.

The individuals featured on the banknotes are known for their achievements and contributions to Czech culture and the country. Some of them include:

100 Kč – Charles IV

Charles IV was the king of Bohemia from 1346 to 1378. He is widely regarded as the father of the country and his reign is remembered as the Golden Age of Bohemia.

1000 Kč – František Palacký

František Palacký was a Czech historian known for his historical works and his political activism. He is considered one of the fathers of the nation along with Charles IV and Tomáš Masaryk

200 Kč – John Amos Comenius

John Amos Comenius was a Czech philosopher and teacher and is widely considered the father of modern education.

2000 Kč – Emmy Destinn

Emmy Destinn, was an opera singer born in Prague in the 19th century.

500 Kč – Božena Němcová

Božena Němcová was a Czech writer of the Czech National Revival movement.

5000 Kč – Tomáš Masaryk

Tomáš Masaryk was the founder and first president of Czechoslovakia. He helped to establish the Czechoslovak Legion, a volunteer armed forces which fought against the Austrians. He is considered a symbol of democracy to this day.

What amount of money should I have with me?

Notes come in denominations of 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 CZK.

Coins come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 CZK.

Credit cards are widely accepted in shops, restaurants, and hotels. Only small businesses such as newsstands, street vendors and neighborhood shops require cash payments. So you should only keep a small amount of cash on you as you can get by mostly with cards.

Finding great accommodation in Prague doesn’t need to be expensive. Check out our guide How to find a cheap accommodation in Prague for some useful tips on how to do just that!

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