First off, it’s an 800 mile drive (from London) to the Czech Republic, so if you’re not picking up a rental at the airport, make sure both you and your car are well prepared for the trip. That said, however you arrive, castles and gorgeous countryside abound, and in capital city Prague, you will find one of Europe’s most artistic and exciting cities.
Hit the road
The beautiful scenery is great to look at, but keep those eyes on the road. The distracting quality of the stunning views, along with a rapid rise in traffic following the fall of communism, may both be factors why the Czech Republic sits near the bottom of Europe-wide road safety tables. It’s a grim fact, but road fatality figures are three times worse than the UK – so please take utmost care when driving and make sure you have adequate car insurance before you go.
Where to go
If you like your cars, head south to Brno. A few miles from the centre is the Masaryk Circuit, home to the epic street races of the pre-war era. Each lap covered almost 20 miles and the roads still exist today, so you can retrace the wheel tracks of racing legends such as Hans Stuck and Bernd Rosemeyer.
However, you can’t head for the Czech Republic and not visit Prague. Thanks to the efforts of the government it’s a very safe city to explore, and its historic centre is a World Heritage site. Luckily it missed the worst of the WWII bombing and hence much of its Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque architecture is still in place.
You could also try heading for the Karkonosze Mountains on the border with Poland. Two national parks, and the spectacular peaks and ridges punctuated by a series of waterfalls, will definitely reward your driving efforts.
Laws of the land
• The minimum age for drivers is 18.
• Vehicles must have dipped headlights at all times. Expect a fine of around £60 if you get caught with them off.
• All occupants must wear seatbelts if fitted.
• Children under 1.5m tall may only travel in the front or back of a car if fitted with an appropriate restraint.
The Czech Republic has a zero drink drive limit. It’s treated as a criminal offence and can land you with a £1,500 fine.
There’s also a strict list of equipment that must be carried in the car at all times:
• first-aid kit
• warning triangle
• spare bulbs
• winter tyres between 1 November and 30 April
• reflective jacket – this must be carried in the car (not the boot) and comply with EU standard EN471.
Standard speed limits
Residential Areas 50km/h
Built Up Areas 50km/h
Outside Built Up Areas 90km/h
Dual carriageways 80km/h
Built up areas 90-130km/h outside
If you have an accident
Should you be involved in a crash, you must not move the cars involved until the police have examined the scene. If you have to move them for safety reasons you must mark the location of cars with chalk.