Published in 7/2023, last update in 9/2023
Planning a road trip to the Czech Republic? This text is for you, then. From petrolheads, to petrolheads. Real practical pieces of advice that you won’t find in tourist guides or government texts. Everything you need to know about driving in the Czech Republic, condensed to one page.
Table of Contents
- Why I wrote this?
- Speed limits in Czech Republic
- Speed cameras in the Czech Republic
- Police cars in the Czech Republic
- What you need to know when driving in the Czech Republic
- Parking in the Czech Republic
- Which mobile apps should I download for a trip to the Czech Republic?
- Where to tank in the Czech Republic?
- Where to stay in Prague?
- Where to buy oil or car parts in the Czech Republic?
- What is the petrolhead culture like in the Czech Republic?
Disclaimer: this is not a legal advice. We are not connected to any government organisation in any way. This website is run by petrolheads, for other petrolheads. If you break the law and get a fine, we are not responsible.
Why I wrote this?
Every time I drive in some other country, I wish someone would write a text like this. It’s always really hard to find all the answers and to understand local laws, local customs and the rules for parking, which differ in each city. And I’m sure it must be similarly frustrating for others coming to Czechia. So this article is for you.
Speed limits in Czech Republic
Generally, in towns the limit is 50 km/h, on country roads it is 90 km/h and on highways it is 130 km/h. There are also “roads for motor vehicles” which are usually limited to 110 km/h. Waze works really well here and it shows the limit in each place, so follow Waze.
We are still a reasonably free country and I’d like to think most cops are reasonable people, so they might tolerate minor speeding. There are rumours that police tolerates up to 145 km/h on highways, if it is safe. But, obviously, this is very unofficial information.
You’ll find many drivers go 150-160 km/h on highways, if the traffic and weather allows it. The best advice is to go with the flow. If you are the slowest of the cars around you, go faster. If you are not overtaking, get out of the left lane. Yes, even you, Volvo drivers.
Speed cameras in the Czech Republic
There are plenty of speed cameras and average-speed-check-zones in the cities, but very rarely on country roads or highways. To be honest, I’m not aware of any, except for those in highway tunnels (like near Pilsen or Ústí). Anyway, always use Waze, all cameras are there. Btw, the police usually remove 3 km/h for tolerance, so if you go 53 km/h on 50, you’re fine.
Speed cameras in Prague
There are not that many cops hidden behind the trees, but there are plenty of fixed speed cameras, traffic light cameras and average speed check zones – many of them additionally measure the current speed at the beginning and the end of the zone.
Tunnel Blanka from Troja all the way to Anděl is full of speed cameras and the limit changes from 70 km/h to 50 km/h if the traffic is too heavy. So always check the signs with current speed limit.
Jižní spojka, the southern part of the city circuit, also measures your average speed, although it is marked well. There are many more spots like this, but usually marked visibly. The sneaky ones are on crossings of Sokolská/Ječná and Legerova/Rumunská. The rest are quite visible.
Below is the one on Jižní spojka, followed by a map of 10 average speed check zones that you’ll probably encounter. There are more of them, but Google Maps don’t enable more layers.
Regarding hidden cops, always be careful on Českomoravská, Chlumecká, Černokostelecká and other streets with 4 lanes, where it would be safe to drive 120, but for some stupid reason the limit is 50.
Speed cameras in Brno
It seems Brno is the opposite of Prague in this regard. I’m not aware of any fixed speed cameras in Brno, but cops seem to be very active with their lasers and speed cameras, especially during the night. Be very careful on these streets: Trnkova, Bauerova, Křenová, Rokytova, Nové sady. Cops in Brno are quite sneaky and there’s no surprise to meet them at 4 am on Sunday near some empty street.
What doesn’t measure speed in the Czech Republic
Many of these constructions like those on the picture above actually don’t measure speed, although they look the same. To differentiate between them, check Waze. If there is a small red cross over their icon, then you’re fine. Also, every other village has this display of your current speed, but these are just informative and they don’t send out fines. Also, on many highway exits, you’ll meet cars from Celní správa/Customs. They also don’t measure your speed.
Fines for speeding in the Czech Republic
Recently they got quiet expensive. And be very careful not to go over 40 km/h in towns and over 50 km/h on highways and country roads. If you get caught in these speeds, the case cannot be solved on the spot and it goes to the administration proceedings and Czech drivers usually have their licences taken away for 6-12 months. Not sure how it works with foreigners.
Speed fines in residential areas:
|Speed over the limit||Fine on the spot||Fine in the proceedings||Demerit points|
|below 6 km/h||1 000 CZK||1 500 – 2 500 CZK||0|
|6 – 19 km/h||1 000 CZK||1 500 – 2 500 CZK||2|
|20 – 39 km/h||2 500 CZK||2 500 – 5 000 CZK||3|
|above 40 km/h||n/a||5 000 – 10 000 CZK|
6-12 month driving ban
Speed fines outisde the cities:
|Speed over the limit||Fine on the spot||Fine in the proceedings||Demerit points|
|below 11 km/h||1 000 CZK||1 500 – 2 500 CZK||0|
|11 – 29 km/h||1 000 CZK||1 500 – 2 500 CZK||2|
|30 – 49 km/h||2 500 CZK||2 500 – 5 000 CZK||3|
|above 50 km/h||n/a||5 000 – 10 000 CZK|
and 6-12 month driving ban
Police cars in the Czech Republic
The state police use mostly Škodas. It’s usually 3rd gen Octavia, Kodiaq or Scala. On highways you can see marked Superbs and BMWs 540i (g30). These often have radars, so slow down. Police also has several Audis S6 (C7 with V10), but they are used only for diplomatic escorts, and 1 Ferrari 458 for showing off. These are all marked, so you should be able to spot them. The unmarked ones are more tricky!
Unmarked police cars in the Czech Republic
On highways look for 3rd gen Škoda Octavia liftback, 2nd and 3rd gen Škoda Superb and BMW 540i Touring G31. They will drive in the right lane rather slowly and wait for their prey. The Octavias usually operate in cities and busy country roads, while 540is and Superbs on highways. The BMWs are very well masked and the only way to tell that it is a cop car is the lights inside, but they really are difficult to spot. So when you meet a G31, slow down.
Police Superbs are more obvious – they have a long roof antenna, dark windows, boring colors and you can usually see the camera behind the windshield and lights hidden behind the dark windows. The same goes for Octavias too (check out this gallery). Unmarked Superbs come in the second generation after facelift and in the 3rd (current) generation.
For some time Police used also unmarked Passats B6 R36 and B7 3.6 FSI, but most of them should be gone by now. Check out the pictures to know what to look for.
What you need to know when driving in the Czech Republic
It’s very similar to other European countries, maybe a little more relaxed than in Germany or Austria. Pedestrians have the right of way on cross walks. If a junction is not marked or there is no main road, give way to the car on the right. Winter tyres are not mandatory during winter season, only when snow or ice can be expected (meaning if it is a nice clear sky and it is reasonably warm, you can legally drive on summer tyres even in February, but obviously, it’s not recommended). We also have demerit points, but not sure how it applies to foreigners, so I won’t go into that.
Highway vignette in the Czech Republic
The solution for highways is actually quite reasonable. Go to www.edalnice.cz and buy the vignette online. There is no physical sticker anymore. You just fill in your number plate, select which vignette you want, from which date and that’s it.
Annual vignette costs 1 500 CZK (but from 1.3.2023 it will be 2300 CZK), 30 day costs 440 CZK and 10 day 310 CZK. It is cheaper for vehicles running on natural gas or biomethane. Electric cars don’t need the highway vignette in Czech republic.
Using headlights in the Czech Republic
Unfortunately, headlights are mandatory for all cars all year, no matter what. Although, the LED diodes (angel-eyes etc) are enough during the day.
Alcohol tolerance in the Czech Republic
Although we are a country of beer and wine, there is zero tolerance when driving in the Czech Republic. Unlike most Western countries, we have strict zero. It sucks, but it is what it is. Don’t drink even a little before driving.
Low emission zones in the Czech Republic
Fortunately, there are no emission zones in the Czech Republic. You can drive to every city with whatever car you have.
Using dashboard cameras and radar detectors in the Czech Republic
The law says, you can’t have anything on your windshield, that would obstruct your view. But almost nobody cares and you’ll see phone holders, cameras etc on everyone’s windshield.
Use of dashboard cameras is legal and I would even recommend it. It can help if you have an accident, which you didn’t cause.
Use of portable radar detectors is also legal, but the word “portable” is important. Those that are built in the car, are not legal. Also, any jammers are illegal, so stick only to passive detectors, like Genevo for example. These are very popular here.
Parking in the Czech Republic
Parking zones don’t have a long history in Czechia, but they have spread throughout the country rather quickly in recent years. Most smaller towns will have them only in the city center and most villages don’t have them at all. But Prague, Brno and other major cities have them almost everywhere. Every city has a different system and different mobile apps used for parking. I’ll focus only on Prague and Brno, both of which have their own separate article.
Parking in Prague
In short, there are three zones: blue, violet, orange. You can pay for parking in all of them, even in blue, but for that you’ll need a mobile app. I recommend Citymove app, which is free and shows all the zones very nicely. Look for violet or orange zones, they are cheaper than blue ones. Then pay for parking right from the app.
Read the full article with all the details here:
Parking in Brno
Brno has a little bit weird system, because outside the city center the parking is free during the day, but not during night. On the other hand, first hour is free almost everywhere. I recommend the ParkSimplyBrno app. It’s not that good, but there isn’t any better. Read my tips in this article:
Which mobile apps should I download for a trip to the Czech Republic?
If you plan to drive to Czech republic, here are the apps that will be handy:
- Waze – it works perfectly here, it shows all the speed cameras, traffic lights cameras, traffic jams and other things you need for driving in the Czech Republic.
- Citymove – if you plan to visit Prague, this is a must have app. You can buy public transport tickets, find best parking zones or pay for parking
- Mapy.cz – it’s an alternative to Google Maps, but it works surprisingly well. When you are on foot, it is much better, because it shows all pedestrian paths in more detail than Google. Really, Google Maps are for driving, Mapy.cz are for walking. Even in other european countries. And the app is in English too.
- Anytime – good local carsharing in Prague, if this is what you might need. After instaling use referral code RI6KIS to get free 200 CZK credit. Or use rental cars.
- Rekola or Nextbike – good local bikesharing available in many cities in Czech Republic, if you are into these kind of things
- Liftago or Uber or Bolt – you know what Uber is, Liftago is a Czech alternative, usually a bit cheaper and drivers have a taxi licence. Bolt is probably the cheapest, but it has the worst cars and mainly the worst drivers in the universe. I like Liftago the most, so I recommend that. Plus to get 150 CZK free credit, use promo code MICHAL25228.
- HoppyGo – peer to peer carsharing, similar to Turo. You can rent a car straight from owners, meaning some really good deals or really nice cars. If you want to experience Czech roads with an interesting car that you don’t have, this is the way to do it. Get 500 CZK free credit with promo code RCd6de48.
- In-počasí or WeatherRadar – if you don’t trust your native weather app, these two are very accurate for the Czech republic. Also, the Meteoradar app shows a real time map with all the storms and rains in the country.
Where to tank in the Czech Republic?
Gas stations are pretty much everywhere. Obviously the most expensive are those on highways and in Prague. The further you are from big cities, the cheaper the gas is. Both petrol and diesel contain some bio elements, but only around 5 %. Luckily, we don’t have those E10 fuels yet, maybe with some exceptions like the Verva premium fuel from Benzina.
If you have a diesel car, tank at the EuroOil stations – all their diesels have 0 % biofuel. All other brands have around 4-6 % biofuel.
If you have a petrol car and prefer the very best, I’d go for Shell Vpower, OMV Maxxmotion or MOL Evo.
If you want to go for the cheapest, go for Tank ONO. They look cheap and they are, but the quality of the fuel is the same as everywhere else. And you can get Natural 98 for the price of 95 at other places, so it is even for petrolheads. But expect long waiting lines.
Do I pay before or after filling the tank in the Czech Republic?
At most fuel stations you arrive, tank and then go pay to the cashier inside. There are not that many stations where you’d pay in advance like in Germany or US. At Shell stations there are often attendants who will tank for you, just tell them how much fuel you want. With some stations at shopping centres (Tesco, Globus, Makro) you tank your car and then drive to the gate, where you pay from your car. These are rather cheap too.
Where to stay in Prague?
I’d stay somewhere on the edge of Prague, where parking won’t be a problem. With car I’d look for areas around Jesenice, Zbraslav, Hostivice, Horoměřice. If you want to stay closer to the center, Dejvice, Karlín or Vinohrady are quite nice, although parking at Vinohrady will be difficult. I’d avoid on-street parking at Žižkov, Palmovka and probably Anděl too if you have a really nice car. But Prague is rather safe, so don’t worry.
Where to buy oil or car parts in the Czech Republic?
If you need something immediately and you are in Prague, I’d try the AutoKelly shop in Vysočany or for some basic stuff the big supermarkets like Globus at Černý most or Alza eshop, which enables picking stuff up in their HQ in Holešovice almost immediately after order, if it is in stock.
What is the petrolhead culture like in the Czech Republic?
It is on a very high level. We love cars in the Czech Republic. There are many collectors, plenty of events and various car clubs. If you are into the expensive stuff and great events, follow @prodrivercz – they have amazing events like Parky & Kary or Concourse Blatná. Probably the biggest event of the year is Legendy in May in Prague, follow @legendy. If you are interested in track days, follow @corners. And if you are a petrolhead interested in the local community and want to meet other guys like you, follow us at @revheadcz. We meet at least twice a year and we are just nice, friendly and generally awesome dudes. This guide should prove it 🙂
Have any questions or need to know more? Let us know!