By Simon Brandon
The well-placed capital of the Czech Republic offers modern and reasonably priced living in beautiful surroundings.
Easy on the eye
Known as the city of a hundred spires, Prague with its narrow cobbled streets, gothic churches and baroque architecture — as seen in the New World quarter — has a uniquely beautiful setting. At its heart, and probably its most famous landmark, is the medieval Charles Bridge, which offers commanding views of the city either side of the Vltava river.
Low living costs
Prague was the 83rd most expensive city for expats in Mercer’s Cost of Living survey last year. According to comparison site Numbeo, the cost of living in Prague is half that of London, with rents, for example, nearly two-thirds lower. A half-litre bottle of local beer — the Pilsner style of lager originates from the Czech Republic — costs well under €1 in supermarkets.
Good place to work
Prague’s reputation as a great place to work was burnished last year when a survey rated it the world’s seventh best city at retaining talent. The Czech Republic is celebrated by expat community InterNations for its work/life balance, and getting to and from the office is a more pleasant experience in Prague than many other cities: the capital came fifth in a 2017 study of the world’s best public transport systems.
Prague is best known for its architecture but also manages to be the greenest global city by having the highest percentage of green space, according to a 2018 study: more than half — 57 per cent — of the city is given over to parks and woodland. The most famous of its 200 parks is Stromovka, which dates from the 13th century and covers 95 hectares to the west of the city centre.
Prague’s central European location makes it a good base for exploring the continent and business travel. Its airport has direct flights to international hubs such as Frankfurt, London, Paris, Amsterdam and Beijing. Meanwhile, Munich, Budapest and Vienna are within a few hours by train: the journey from Prague to Budapest, for example, takes around seven hours and a pre-booked first-class ticket can cost as little as €37.
Photographs: Getty Images/iStockphoto; Luciano Mortula; Dreamstime; Getty Images; Roman Plesky