Michael | March 16th, 2020 | No comments

What is the cost of living in Prague?

Are you thinking about moving to Prague? Good choice! Prague is an amazing city – beautiful, lively, and historical, the capital of the Czech Republic has a personality all its own.

It’s even ranked one of the best cities to live in Europe if you’re a broke millennial!

There are tons of reasons we could think of for why you should move to Prague, but today we’re here to talk logistics.

Realistically, what is the cost of living in Prague? Lucky for you, it’s much lower than most other European capitals, making it the perfect option for people looking to move abroad.

So what are the main expenses, and what are the prices in Prague really like? As expats living in Prague for years we’ve broken it down for you. Below you will find a comprehensive guide to the cost of living in Prague. We hope it helps you decide whether or not to move to this fantastic city. If you have any questions feel free to email us, or hit us up on Twitter

What is the cost of living in Prague?

Cost of Rent in Prague

residential buildings in Pragues Vinohrady neighborhood

First and foremost, you’ll need a place to live. The cost of rent will depend largely on your preferred living situation, so there are some questions you’ll need to answer:

  • Which neighborhood do you want to live in?
  • Do you want to live alone or with other people?
  • Will you search on your own or use a realtor?

The answers to these questions will help you determine exactly what you’re looking for. We should warn you that rent in Prague has been steadily rising for the past 3-4 years, and this trend probably won’t be slowing down anytime soon. If you’re looking for something cheap, your best bet is to look outside the city center or move into a place with other people—this will drastically decrease the cost of living in Prague for you.

If you want to live near the center in Old Town, New Town, Vinohrady, or Zizkov, (Prague 1, 2, and 3 mostly) you can expect to pay more than if you lived in the districts further out. Generally, it’s impossible to find a studio or a one-bedroom flat in those areas for less than 10,000-12,000 koruna (kc) per month—not including utilities. If you’re moving in with flatmates, you can usually find a room for somewhere between 7,000-9,000 kc per month, not including utilities.

If you’re willing to live a bit further out, maybe in Prague 4, 5, 6, or 7, the prices will drop a bit. Typically on the outskirts of those areas, a studio comes to around 9,000 koruna per month (not including utilities) and we’ve heard of people paying as little as 7,000 per month. 7,000 is definitely on the low end of the solo living spectrum – you can expect to pay around that amount if you move in with flatmates here, though. If you’re really willing to venture even further from the center, you can find a room for as little as 5,000 koruna per month.

Of course, if your flat is unfurnished, you’ll have to front some money for a bed and storage space if you don’t own those things already. Don’t forget that most flats will ask for a security deposit of one month’s rent when you sign the rental contract, and if you use a realtor, they will likely charge a commission fee of one month’s rent, as well. If you want to avoid using a realtor, and do the extensive legwork yourself your best bet is the site Bezrealitky (without realtor).

Old Town Square in Prague on a winter day

Other Monthly Expenses

There are a few other monthly expenses in addition to your rent that you’ll have to consider for your cost of living in Prague.

Cost of Utilities in Prague

Things like gas, water, electricity, building cleaning fees, and the might all be lumped together with your monthly rent. When you’re looking for a flat, you’ll want to double-check the total amount you’ll be paying – for example, if the rent is 10,000 kc per month but utilities aren’t included in that price, you could be paying up to 14,000 kc per month for everything. We would estimate that the average price for utilities with everything included is between 3,000 and 4,000 kc per tenant per month‚ so these have a big impact on the cost of living in Prague.

There are a couple different ways you can pay your utilities: through your landlord, or directly to the gas, water, and electric companies. An important thing to understand no matter how you decide to do this is that these are prepayments—meaning you pay a fixed amount each month and at the end of the year the companies will read your meters to determine how much you actually used. From this number, they will either return some money to you or they will ask you to pay the difference.

If possible, we recommend getting the utilities contracts in your name and pay your monthly bills directly to the companies. This will keep your landlord from being the middleman and trying to get more money out of you than you actually owe. If you can’t get the contracts in your name, you will pay the utilities to your landlord along with your rent and they will take care of the rest.

Unfortunately, unless you are an EU citizen you can’t get utilities in your name and your only option is to have it in your landlord’s name. So, this should be discussed in advance to make sure they are willing to do this for you.

Wi-fi

There are several companies offering internet services, so you’ll have to do your research on the company and the plan that best fits your needs. For example, if you’ll be working from home or you’re sharing a flat with more than 3 people, you may need a stronger connection. However, the number of people you’ll be splitting the bill with also matters for your monthly budget.

You can usually find a reasonable home wifi plan for between 700 and 800 kc per month, split between the people you live with. Another thing to be aware of is if you’re moving into a flat with tenants who have lived there for a while, this price may already be determined based on the contract they’ve chosen, so be sure to ask.

Phone Plans

There are a few different ways you can approach the cell phone situation when you move abroad, and this will affect your cost of living in Prague.

If you’re not sure how long you’ll be in the Czech Republic, it may not be a good idea to sign a long-term contract with a phone provider quite yet, as the fees to cancel that contract could be huge. If you don’t want a data plan right away, a prepaid sim card is a good option. You can still use your smartphone on wifi, but can also add data or monthly phone plans to the sim card.

The price for monthly plans will vary depending on the provider and the package you choose but will cost between 249 – 899 kc. For example, with Vodafone you can get a package for 3 GB of data and unlimited SMS for 349 kc a month. If you plan to make frequent local calls you can get a package that includes 1.2 GB data, unlimited SMS, and unlimited calling in the network for 249 kc a month. However, if you want the same package but with 3 GB of data you’ll be looking at about 899 kc a month.

If you’re looking to jump right in with a data plan, be prepared for your wallet to take a bit of a hit. The Czech Republic has some of the most expensive data prices in the EU. Again, you’ll need to do your research to see which provider and plan best fits your needs. Unlimited data plans are virtually nonexistent in this country, and the plans that do offer unlimited data are expensive, so if you don’t have money to burn we’d go for fixed data plans. From some providers, you can get 4 gigs of data for 400 kc, 15-20 gigs for 800 kc, and 40 gigs for 1,100 kc per month.

Paying Taxes in Prague and the Czech Republic

Views of Malat Strana, the Charles Bridge, and Prague Castle from the top of the bridge tower

Income Tax

Assuming you’re moving here as a freelancer, you get to be in charge of paying your own taxes! Once you get the hang of it, it’s not that complicated. You won’t pay monthly prepayments on your income tax—instead, you’ll pay a lump sum at tax time when you report your income.

There are two ways to do your taxes: you can use the 60/40 rule or you can be taxed on the full amount of your income. The way you do this will affect your visa, so be sure to double-check your method both with an accountant and with a visa agency before you proceed.

Please note, we are not tax professionals. The details provided below is for informational purposes only. We suggest you consult a professional accountant for complete information and/or assistance completing your tax returns. For further information see here.

The 60/40 Rule

This rule states that people on a business license are automatically able to deduct 60% of their income as expenses and only be taxed on the remaining 40%. This means your income tax, social tax, and health insurance prepayments will be calculated based on 40% of your income, so you’ll be paying less than you would be if you were being taxed on your full income.

The only catch with the 60/40 rule is if you’re extending your business visa. To extend the visa, you need a minimum income of 17,000 kc per month, so if you plan to extend, be sure that your income is high enough to meet this minimum requirement even after 60% of it is deducted. If it isn’t, you should choose to be taxed on the full amount to avoid hiccups in the visa process.

If you do end up employing the 60/40 rule, you can expect to pay the income tax of 15% (if income is below 2 million koruna) of 40% of your income in a lump sum at tax time.

Tax on the Full Amount

If your income does not meet the minimum requirement to use the 60/40 rule, you will want to choose this option. With this option, you will still be expected to pay 15% of your full income, meaning you will be paying more than you would with the 60/40 rule but your visa will be guaranteed. With this method, you can also report some expenses, such as course fees, travel fees, and other business-related expenses as long as your income is still high enough to renew your visa.

Accountant Fees

The last fee relating to your income tax will be the fee for someone to help you! You will probably want a professional accountant handling your taxes as they know their way around the laws and they will be able to file them in the Czech language. These days, the average fee for an accountant to help you with your taxes is 2,500 kc. However, some visa agencies and TEFL schools based in Prague make deals with accountants, so if you have a visa agency or were granted a TEFL certificate in Prague, ask if they can refer you.

Social Tax

Social taxes are paid monthly directly to the social office. Your monthly payments will be determined by the amount of income you reported at tax time. The minimum social prepayment for freelancers goes up by a little bit each year, but for 2020 it’s 2,544 kc per month.

Cost of Health Insurance in Prague

As a freelancer, you will be required to pay into the Czech public healthcare system, meaning you will also have monthly prepayments directly to the insurance company.

These will also be determined based on the amount of income reported at tax time, but when you first move here you start at the minimum amount, which also goes up a little each year. For 2020, this amount is 2,352 kc per month.

Trade License Fee

To activate your trade license which allows you to legally work, you’ll need to bring some documents to the trade office and pay a fee of 1,000 kc. You can either do this yourself or employ a visa agency to do this for you, in which case you will give this fee and these documents to your agent.

Cost to Apply for a Visa

This may be the most difficult part of moving to Prague—sorting out the visa process. This can be a daunting task to do on your own, especially if you don’t speak the language. This is why it’s generally smart to get a visa agent to help you. It will make the process much less stressful.

To apply for your first visa with help from an agency, you can expect to pay between 6,000 and 7,000 kc for their services. The agency you choose to go with along with the services included in their packages will determine the exact price.

For American citizens, you will also need to pay $50 USD (around 1,000 kc) from the US embassy to get an affidavit stating you haven’t committed any crimes.

Cost of Day-to-Day Life in Prague

people sitting on the grass in Riegrovy Sady park in Prague

Now that we’ve covered what it takes to get to the Czech Republic and all the legal stuff, it’s time to talk about the cost of living in Prague once you’re fully established in the system. Generally, prices in Prague are lower than most other European destinations.

Groceries and Toiletries

For those of you coming from North America, you’ll be pleased to know that groceries and toiletries tend to be much cheaper here than at home. A typical haul at the grocery store for one person for the week can be between 1,000 and 1,500 kc, depending on the brands you’re buying.

As for toiletries, they’re a little more expensive, especially if you’re buying name brands. For a bottle of shampoo, you’ll pay around 90 kc, soap is about the same, toilet paper is around 60 kc per four pack, etc. If you’re really pinching pennies, you can expect to pay around 400 per month, depending on the brands you’re choosing and how quickly you’re going through your products.

Public Transportation

The Prague Tram

Lucky for you, the prices in Prague for public transportation are some of the cheapest in Europe. You can choose from a wide variety of ticket types—hourly, daily, monthly, and yearly. If you know for sure you’ll be here for a year, we’d recommend going with yearly, as it is the cheapest option once you’ve broken the prices down.

  • Hourly Pass – 24 kc
  • 90 Minute Pass – 32 kc
  • 24-Hour Pass – 110 kc
  • 72-Hour Pass – 310  kc
  • Monthly Pass – 550 kc
  • Quarterly (90 days) Pass – 1480 kc (493 kc per month)
  • 5-month Pass – 2450 (490 kc per month)
  • Annual Pass – 3650 (304 kc per month)

The Gym

If you’re looking to stay fit, you can look into a gym membership. These are slightly expensive, but depending on what you’re looking for, it could be worth it. You can find monthly memberships, yearly memberships, or single entry/group class fees depending on the level of commitment you’re looking for.

As for monthly memberships, you can find different levels for different prices. The cheapest monthly memberships cost about 800 kc, and this is without signing a contract that you’ll need to cancel later, while the more expensive monthly memberships are around 1,100 kc.

If you’re looking to sign a yearlong contract, there are also different levels of these. If you’re sure that you won’t want to break this contract and you will actively use it each month, this can save you a lot of money on monthly payments. The cheaper options for yearly memberships are around 8,000 kc (around 670 kc per month) while the more expensive options are about 11,000 kc (around 920 kc per month).

If you’re not looking for a membership but you want to attend classes or work out on your own once in a while, you can pay single entry fees however often you’d like. Group class fees are usually somewhere between 160 and 200 kc, and regular entry fees are around 140 – 199 kc.

Cost of Eating Out

What’s the point of living abroad if you’re not able to go out to eat to try the local cuisine? The cost of eating out in Prague is fairly cheap, especially compared to North America and Western Europe. Of course, meals in the city center will be much more expensive than if you’re a little more off the beaten path.

If you’re in the center, you can expect to pay about 400 kc for a meal and a drink for one person. If you’re not, you can expect to pay between 200 and 250 for the same meal. Of course, the exact price will depend on what type of food you want and how much you’re ordering.

Pro tip: if you’re going out for lunch, most restaurants will offer daily lunch menus with special discounts on certain meals, so be sure to take advantage of those.

Cost of Going Out to Bars

things to do in prague at night, the best of prague's nightlife

You will be quite pleased to know that alcohol is super cheap in the Czech Republic. In North America, you might pay 7 USD for a beer, while here a half-liter of Czech beer will cost you about 50 kc, or $2.50. If you’re in the city center or you’re drinking fancy craft beer, you can expect to pay around 70 kc. And lastly, if you’re at a tourist bar or nightclub, it’s not uncommon to pay 100 kc for a beer—but that’s really a ripoff.

Cocktails are a bit more expensive based on the establishment you choose. If you’re at a nice cocktail bar outside the center, you can expect to pay between 150-250 per drink depending on what it is. However, if you’re in the center, you could be paying over 300 kc per drink.

If you’re into clubbing, this will obviously be more expensive than just bar-hopping. The beers will be around the same price as we mentioned above, while the cocktails may be a bit more expensive. Some nightclubs will also make you pay a cover charge, which could be up to 300 kc per person, but these are the touristy places which you can easily avoid.

Generally, if you go out to a bar and drink reasonably well, somewhere between 500 and 600 kc per night is a good ballpark if you’re drinking cocktails.

Extras

Now that we’ve covered the necessities, it’s time to talk about what you’re doing in your free time! Entertainment prices in Prague are fairly cheap compared to North America and Western Europe, but they are steadily rising.

There’s a lot to explore in the Czech Republic even outside of Prague, so maybe you want to take day trips on the weekends. Luckily, transport within the Czech Republic is cheap. Whether you’re looking to take buses or trains, you can usually find round-trip tickets for under 500 kc no matter your destination. The real expenses on your day trips will be tours you may want to take or activities you want to do in your destination of choice, which can range from 350 kc per tour to 600 kc depending on the activity.

Here are prices for common recreational activities in Prague – 

  • Cinema – 220 kc per ticket
  • Concerts – 150 – 2000 depending on artist. Huge foreign acts like Muse or Rage Against the Machine can cost upwards of 2000kc
  • Food/Beer Festivals – Sometimes free, or may charge entry of 50 kc, plus whatever you buy inside
  • Museums – 100 – 220 kc depending on exhibition

As you can see, the cost of living in Prague is fairly cheap, especially compared to North America and Western Europe. The most expensive part of moving to Prague will most likely be your visa fees and the fees related to being a new tenant in a flat depending on the security deposit and realtor fee.

Prices in Prague are still pretty low, but are steadily rising, so now is the best time to make the move! If you’re really on a budget, we’ve put together a table of the lowest possible cost of living in Prague assuming you’re living with flatmates:

  • Rent + Utilities – 5000 kc per month + 3000 per month = 8000 kc total per month
  • Wifi (split between 3 people) – 200 kc per month
  • Phone Plan – 600 kc per month
  • Social Tax – 2544 kc per month
  • Health Insurance – 2532 kc per month
  • Groceries – 4000 kc per month
  • Toiletries – 600 kc per month
  • Gym membership (monthly) – 800 kc per month
  • Out to eat (once a week) – 1000 kc per month
  • Out to bars (once a week) – 2000 kc per month
  • Entertainment costs (bare minimum) – 500 kc per month
    • TOTAL Cost of Living in Prague – 22,786 kc per month

These are just your recurring monthly expenses. To accurately calculate your cost of living in Prague when you first move, you have to consider your one-time fees. These will mostly be your visa agency fees and the deposit when you move into a flat. Here’s what you can expect to have to front if you didn’t use a realtor to find your flat:

  • Trade License Fee – 1000 kc
  • Security deposit on flat (one month’s rent) – 8000 kc
  • Visa Agency fee – 6000 kc
  • Public transport (yearly pass paid upfront) – 3650 kc
  • Criminal Affidavit (US citizens only) – About 1000 kc
    • TOTAL – 18,650 kc (19,650 kc if US citizen)

Again, these tables are based on the bare minimums for each category. Of course, your exact expenses will depend on your needs and your circumstances. For example, you can add an additional month’s rent to your one-time expenses if you used a realtor who charges commission to find your flat.

With all that said, the cost of living in Prague is pretty low, and once you get on your feet, it’s very manageable to live comfortably and enjoy yourself on Prague wages. Just be sure to make the move as soon as you can before the prices rise again!

And there you have it folks. Our guide to the cost of living in Prague. Let us know if you decide to move here! As always, safe and happy travels everyone!

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