A Czech national pastime is - wait for it - mushroom hunting. And no, not those kinds of mushrooms – the regular kind. The Czechs are pretty serious about it too. Thousands of locals gather every year on St Václav Day in September and head into the forests to search for fungi goodness. Want to join the hunt? Read on and you’ll be booking your ticket to the Czech Republic in no time!
We’ve got great news for Aussies travelling to the Czech Republic. Thanks to the Schengen Convention, Australian passport holders can enter the country without a visa and holiday for up to 90 days within an 180-day period. Just note make sure you have 6 months’ validity on your passport and check in with the foreigner’s police branch if you’re staying in private accommodation. Also, you’ll need to have traveller’s health insurance when you enter Czech Republic.
The currency in the Czech Republic is the Czech Koruna (also known as the Czech Crown). Despite joining the EU, the country has decided not to adopt the Euro. The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and the Czech Koruna fluctuates regularly, so keep an eye on the exchange rate and purchase your cash when the rate is optimal.
If you’re vegetarian or on any kind of diet, you’d better read on as the Czech Republic is not really the country for you. Here, the locals embrace eating as one of life’s great joys and they sure don’t hold back on the serving sizes. Pork is a religion here. They love it roasted, they love the belly, and they love everything the friendly pig has to offer. They particularly love pork served with dumplings. Some other traditional Czech favourites include beef goulas, fried cheese with tartar sauce and loads and loads of soups, often eaten as hangover food. There are some dishes that specific regions are famous for too. Head to Olomouc to try its curd cheese, to Pardubice to try the gingerbread and to southern Bohemia for freshwater fish. If you’re a sausage lover, head to Prague – there’s hotdog stands all over and they’re cheap too!
Unless you fancy sipping on local wines in little village inns, Prague is the city for serious partying in the Czech Republic. Its bar and club scene can be pretty raucous, so you’d better be ready. There are tourist bars in the Old Town, neighbourhood bars and pumping clubs. Beer is kind of a big deal here with arguably some of the best lagers, bitters and stouts in the world. As well as pubs and bars, there are plenty of restaurants where you can enjoy a Czech beer. Try some of the local favourites like Urquell, Budvar and Staropramen. You’ll find most bars, restaurants and pubs at Nusle, Zizkov, Malá Strana and Staré Město. There’s a great little bar called Café Bar Propaganda that’s near the National Theatre. There’s always a lively crowd here and local celebs too. If you feel like earning your beer, you can head to Boulder Bar – a bar with its own climbing wall!