Prague is the gateway between Eastern and Western Europe. Sophisticated and wild. Beautiful but overlooked. Its reputation has grown in recent years, however, both as a place to visit and a place to live. For Americans who are thinking of moving overseas, here is why you should consider living in Prague.
Growing Demand for English Speakers
Sadly, Prague is not a multilingual city. Once you move out of the town center, it becomes hard to find Czechs who can converse in English. Despite this, or rather because of this, English speakers are in high demand. English might not be spoken much on the street, but it’s the lingua franca of the business world.
Since the fall of communism, a large number of multinational corporations have moved into the city (e.g. Oracle, Amazon, Expedia). As a result, the need for English speakers has gone through the roof. Eighteen percent of the city’s workforce was recruited from outside the Czech Republic. Canadians, Britons, Australians, and Americans are particularly sought after for their language skills, giving them a huge advantage in the job market.
Low Cost of Living
Living in Europe is expensive, but living in Prague is cheap in comparison to other major cities. While Londoners scrimp and save for a night out, Praguers can afford one every day of the week. Prices here are:
21% lower than Amsterdam
26% lower than London
27% lower than Paris
What’s more, the average apartment rents for:
36% less than Paris
42% less than Amsterdam
57% less than London
Prague is not a place where people count their pennies. In fact, it's so affordable, most expats leave considerably richer than when they arrived.
Packed with Old World Charm
Prague is one of the best preserved cities in Europe, with Medieval, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Victorian buildings constructed alongside and on top of one another. Some can trace their history back over 1,200 years! Imagine waking up every day and walking past:
Prague Castle. The largest palace complex in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The sprawling compound contains a Medieval stone castle, a church, cathedral, catacombs, gilded halls, tile courtyards, and intricate stone towers covering the hillside above the Vltava River that runs through the center of town.
Charles Bridge. A Medieval stone arch bridge built across the Vltava River, almost directly below Prague Castle. Capped by towers at either end and adorned with over thirty religious statues, it’s one of the most popular places in the city, not only for tourists, but musicians, painters, and vendors as well.
The Prague Astronomical Clock. An ancient mechanical contraption built into Prague City Hall, the Astronomical Clock not only tracks the time, but the movement of the sun, moon, and stars as well. Every hour, a procession of automatons appears at the top of the tower, depicting death and the apostles.
Strong Public Transportation
You don’t need a car to get around Prague. Its public transit system is one of the best in the world. Almost every major attraction can be reached by train, many in less than thirty minutes. So no matter which neighborhood you choose to settle in, the rest of the city feels like it’s right next door.
Low Crime Rate
Living in Prague means you don’t have to worry much about crime. Like Iceland, Austria, and Denmark, theft and violence are remarkably uncommon here. While the city has its problems, its police force holds the criminal element firmly in check, allowing people to go about their daily business without any significant threats to their safety or well-being.
Good English-Speaking Schools
Czech schools are free, but only to Czech-speaking students. Fortunately, there are a number of international schools in the area, which not only offer classes in English, but follow the American curriculum as well. International schools are expensive, but many employers offer foreign workers a stipend to help cover tuition.
Parents living in Prague can also enroll their students in one of the city's bilingual academies: private schools that teach classes in Czech and English. Though cheaper than an international school, they generally follow the Czech curriculum rather than an American one.
Great Beer Culture
One of the best parts of living in Prague: there’s always plenty of beer. Czechs drink more of it per capita than any nation on Earth. In fact, the country is home to so many breweries that in most restaurants, beer is cheaper than water!
Because most pubs brew their own beer, you won’t have to travel far to quench your thirst. However, there are a few spots worth seeking out, including:
Strahov Monastery Brewery. Bohemia’s oldest brewery, just a stone’s throw from Prague Castle. Premonstratensian monks made beer here for over 600 years, and though the monastery's been disbanded, the new owners have kept its traditions alive. Each of their beers is named after St. Norbert, founder of the Premonstratensian Order. They brew over 25 varieties, including several seasonal beers, for a new and refreshing taste every time you come.
U Fleku. One of the most famous and visited beer halls in Prague. Though it’s not the oldest brewery in Europe, it's operated without interruption since 1499. It contains eight halls built around a central courtyard, where visitors can sit and drink whenever the weather permits. The rest of the time, they share long, wooden tables inside, drinking and laughing with friends and strangers. There’s even an accordionist who makes his way round each of the different tables, serenading the guests.
U Medvidku. Serves one of the strongest beers in the world, the X-Beer 33 ‒ a dark lager fermented in oak barrels. Because all the brews are made on-site, most of the beer they serve hasn't tasted air until it hits your glass, for a crisp, fresh taste that's hard to match.
Loads of Green Space
While most cities exist apart from nature, Prague exists as part of nature. A quarter of the city is parkland. There are footpaths, cycling trails, English gardens, picnic lawns, and children’s playgrounds dotting every neighborhood. Summer here is green and verdant. Autumn is crisp and colorful. Even in the more built up areas, there are trees visible on every hillside. Be sure to visit:
Stromovka. Prague’s largest park. Once a game reserve for Bohemian nobility, it’s home to the Prague Planetarium and the Maroldovo Panorama, a 95-foot long historical mural depicting a battle between the armies of the Holy Roman Emperor and Protestant rebels. However, the park is mostly popular for its incredible nature walks. Climb the hill to the Governor’s Summer House or tour the lakes and feed the swans. There’s even a small island reserved only for children. No adults allowed!
Letná Gardens. Originally a vineyard, Letná Park overlooks the Vltava River and Prague’s oldest neighborhood. Besides the walking and cycling trails criss-crossing the hillside, visitors can relax at the Letná Beer Garden and check out the park’s oversized metronome, built to replace a giant statue of Joseph Stalin taken out in 1962.
Riegrovy Sady. A great place to watch the sunset, Riegrovy Sady is situated on a steep slope above Prague Castle. Popular with runners looking for a good workout and beer lovers looking for a good view. The park has three beer gardens, including one with a full beach volleyball court.
Fun Public Festivals
People in Prague like to have a good time. Cold weather might drive them indoors, but it never slows them down. The city hosts giant parties regularly throughout the year, including:
Spring International Music Festival. From May to June, Prague plays host to some of the world’s most accomplished musicians. Experience the best contemporary classical and chamber music from some of the world’s most sought after composers, premiering their work to expectant crowds in stunning venues.
Czech Beer Festival. Sample 120 different brands of beer from countries across the world. Over 10,000 people arrive each day to raise a glass with their friends in massive, open-air tents along the Vltava River. Staff members dressed in traditional Czech costumes ensure the food and beer never stops flowing.
International Jazz Festival. Europe’s oldest and most celebrated jazz festival. Most of the program centers around traditional jazz, but new and experimental forms have been exhibited in recent years. Guests can dance to some of the biggest names in swing, big band, and Dixieland jazz, not to mention a collection of exciting up and comers.
Masopust. Prague’s twist on Mardi Gras. Like New Orleans, Prague doesn’t let winter go quietly. Powerful music, lavish parades, colorful costumes, massive fireworks, larger-than-life puppets ‒ Masopust is a time of non-stop excitement and spectacle to bid farewell to winter and welcome spring. Everyone is encouraged to dress up, the bigger the better. And of course, there’s plenty of beer.
Winter Festival. Prague welcomes the new year with a wondrous celebration of art, music, and dance. Guests can enjoy rousing symphonies, top-notch ballet, and classic opera performed by some of the finest entertainers in the country. The winter lights and snow add fairytale charm to the experience.
Moving to Prague
At North American, we know there’s no such thing as a standard move. Every household has different needs and requires a different approach. That’s why our agents work closely with each of our clients, devising personalized plans designed to ensure nothing gets overlooked, nothing gets left behind, and everything arrives safely. Contact us today for a free quote!