Staying for Long? Rent a Flat!

One of the prevalent reasons for visiting Prague is that its relatively inexpesive compared to Western countries. This, of course, attracts many tourists including those who would love to stay longer but can’t afford to book a hotel room for a month or so. Wanna spend your summer in Czech Republic? Or are you a student looking for accommodation for a semester or two? We’ve got you covered! In this article we will discuss some alternative forms of accommodation other than classic hotels/hostels, in case you want your Prague experience to be as deep as only a long stay can provide.

Don’t Spend More than You Have To

Photo: Simon Cataudo, Stock.xchng

Photo: Simon Cataudo, Stock.xchng

If you are renting a flat in Prague, the standard contract length is usually one year, so this would be the option mainly for people who want to study or work here. I recall a story a friend once told me about some American students who paid three or four times more than the flat was worth. It turned out they’d met a person who told them these prices were commonplace, and they simply believed him. After all, what’s ridiculously expensive in Prague can still be considered cheap by US standards. If you are planning to rent a flat, make sure this doesn’t happen to you. Although housing in the capital is of course more pricey than in the rest of the republic, it definitely shouldn’t ruin you.

Basically, you can live in Prague for 100 Euros per month. It sure won’t be very comfortable, but if you don’t mind sharing a room and being surrounded by woods in a place where only buses go, you can get by. On the other hand, a luxurious studio near Václavské náměstí will probably cost you close to 500 Euros. The range is pretty wide and there are several factors that affect it.

First, always check the price of water, electricity and other additional costs. When a rental price is suspiciously small, it often indicates that those fees will be sky-high. The main factor, of course, is your willingness to share the room. Most young people search for a single room in a larger apartment close to the center, which usually costs around 200 – 300 Euros per month. One interesting thing is that flats further from the center aren’t necessarily cheaper – the hack is in the state of the building. Those traditional First Republic-era apartment houses that are found everywhere in the middle of the city are often almost a  hundred years old, which can lower the price even under the standard for new-built suburban flats. The district of Žižkov, for example, practically is the center, yet it remains a popular destination among students because its cheap.

Know Where to Search…

If you are looking for a flat, a safe bet would be a Facebook group called ‘Bydlení/spolubydlení v Praze.’ Facebook is a medium where most of the people can speak English, so if you place your question there, there’s a good chance you will find a deal. Otherwise it depends on whether you want to contact a realtor or not – if you want to avoid paying fees for the real estate, try www.bezrealitky.cz. It’s in Czech, of course, but you can place your ad there in English and see if anyone answers it. Or go to www.spolubydleni.cz, which has an English version. The biggest database for real estates is www.sreality.cz (English version also available).

…and When

Given that Prague is a student city, many young people will vacate their flats for summer. The academic year lasts from late September to late May, so it’s not unusual to find an empty flat for a summer stay (June – September). Those are ideal for people who just want to spend their holiday in the city – there’s seldom an official deal involved, usually you just send the rent to the tenant’s account. They’ll be happy they won’t have to pay for an empty flat, so it’s just easier for everybody. To find a flat for just a few months during other seasons would be considerably harder.

Consider College Dorms an Option…

The summer situation, of course, applies even more for college dormitories. The two biggest universities, Univerzita Karlova (Charles University) and České vysoké učení technické (Czech Technical University in Prague), do however offer guest rooms year-round. This is the ideal option if you’re staying for just a few days and don’t mind sharing space with Czech students (therefore, a party will be involved). Contact either of the universities for more info. The fees range from 10 Euros a night (for a multiple-bed room) to 20-30 (for a single room).

…or Couchsurfing (Yes, There’s a Whole Micro-Society Built Around It)

It is safe to say that overall, Czech people love to travel, especially the young generation. Lots and lots of 20-somethings hitchhike, others are masters in finding the cheapest bus and plane tickets, tens of thousands of people do bike trips. Couchsurfing is a firm part of this. Currently, over 13,000 users have Prague listed as the city they live in, so don’t worry – if you want to couchsurf, you will find a place in no time.

(For those who are unfamiliar with the idea: Couchsurfing.com is a website where people willing to host strangers sign up, so whenever you’re traveling abroad and want to meet locals, you can search it for a couch to sleep on. Safety is ensured via a rating system. A good rule of thumb is to stay for three nights maximum, unless the guest specifically declares he’s fine with a longer visit.)

Author: Dominik Zezula

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