There is no doubt that Prague is a truly amazing city. With hundreds of years of power struggles, painful and poetic artistic expression, and stunning architecture, it is no wonder that the Czech capital has become such a popular city. With many famous people throughout history having made their home in Prague, it has become immortalized in art and history (Mozart didn’t write his “Prague Symphony” for nothing!), and it is the obvious go-to for anyone looking to teach English in the Czech Republic too.
However, like any popular region, so many people flock to Prague because of its recognition without taking into consideration other locations that might suit their needs better; or, dare we say it, might even be more beautiful and charming than Prague.
If you’ve found yourself dancing all over a restaurant shouting about la vie Boheme, it probably means you were destined for somewhere other than Prague. Czech out these four other cities where you can teach English in the Czech Republic to make the most of your experience!
The second largest city in the Czech Republic, Brno is the capital of Moravia and home to over 400,000 people. Located in the east, this mid-size city is the seat of judicial authority of the Czech Republic, and houses the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Administrative Court, and the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office. Sooo fancy. As if that weren’t impressive enough, this area even has its own unique dialect, Hantec, which is a morphing of Moravian Czech, German, and Yiddish spoken by the area’s elders. Some of this dialect has trickled down into modern Brno Czech, so get stoked to learn some old-fashioned Czech slang!
There are a few unique things about teaching abroad in Brno that foreigners seem to love. There are, for some random reason, a lot of legends connected with the city, and one of the best known is the Legend of the Brno Dragon. The story goes that a terrible and unfamiliar beast terrorized the people of Brno, and calling it a dragon out of lack of a better word for it, they waited until a brave man decided to kill the monster by tricking it into eating a carcass stuffed with lime (why??). Turns out the dragon was actually a crocodile (big surprise), and you can now see the body of the famed “dragon” on display at the entrance of the Old Town Hall. Because of this, dragon motifs are all over the place in Brno, even naming a local favorite stuffed baguette a "krokodýl". Just one of the many things that makes this place so lovable, right?
Brno is an education professional’s dream city. Much to the surprise of foreigners, Brno spends an astonishing 30 million Euro every year on cultural development around the city. There are tons of museums, art galleries, theaters, and historical centers everywhere you turn, and it is also home to a vibrant university scene. With about 90,000 students in the city and 13 higher education institutions, Brno offers international cultural events, a large number of festivals, and even the annual famed firework competition, Ignis Brunensis. Yes, you heard right. Firework. Competition. Can teaching English in the Czech Republic get any better?
A very popular tourist region located on the Czech and Austrian border, Cesky Krumlov is an incredibly picturesque, quaint town. Like seriously, we’re talking crooked cobblestone streets lined with overflowing flowers, a medieval castle overlooking the city, a bright blue river running through the center, and charming, brightly-colored Bohemian facades surrounding a tiny town square. It’s so Disney you could scream! The town has barely changed since the 18th century, and its classic and historic look have made it a must-see in the heart of Bohemia.
Despite its dreamy appearance, Cesky Krumlov actually has a somewhat dark reputation among foreigners. It was the film location of both The Illusionist and Hostel, so if you pick this town for teaching English in the Czech Republic, keep your wits about you (just kidding, it’s actually super safe). Cesky Krumlov has historically been an important player in education in Europe, with its connections to famous catholic universities in Vienna, Krakow, and Bologna back in the day. Its small-town feel combined with its push for educational excellence makes for some unique opportunities for aspiring teachers eyeing teaching jobs in the Czech Republic.
Cesky Krumlov is the perfect location for teachers who want a rural experience while still having access to all of Europe’s hustle and bustle. Located about two to three hours by train from Prague, Vienna, Munich, and Nuremberg, it is definitely easy to explore Cesky Krumlov’s close cosmopolitan neighbors. Even if you’re not looking to escape the countryside, there is enough hiking, swimming, skiing, and exploring from anywhere in Cesky Krumlov to keep someone entertained for a lifetime, so don’t jump to “boring old small town” conclusions just because of its size.
The sixth largest city in the Czech Republic, Olomouc is a Czech favorite. Practically unknown outside of the country, this city of 150,000 people is surprisingly beautiful and underappreciated. Its architecture was modeled after majestic Austrian cities and the town square is among the country’s finest, and yet it hasn’t been touched by tourism in the same way that areas like Prague and Cesky Krumlov have been. The irony in tourists flocking to Prague instead is that Olomouc is home to the same list of sites: an astronomical clock overlooking the baroque city square, gothic cathedrals and fountains, and even a Holy Trinity column in the square.
There are many perks to teaching in Olomouc, an area that is relatively untouched by mass tourism. Not only will it be much easier for you to learn the language and immerse in the local culture, but it is perfect if you truly want the small Czech city experience. An important city of Moravia, Olomouc is home to much of the region’s culture and history. Beyond visiting all of the castles, cathedrals, and fortresses, head to one of the city’s many microbreweries to soak up real Czech culture. One final fun fact about this tiny city: it is famous for producing Olomoucký sýr, the smelliest cheese in the country. It is typically served on bread with lots of onions (because the cheese by itself isn’t smelly enough apparently), and several strong breath mints after. And tourists don’t flock here again why?
In addition to its surely unique atmosphere, Olomouc is a fantastic option for teachers due to its large education center. The city is home to the oldest university in Moravia (also the second oldest in the Czech Republic) and instructs almost 26,000 students. With about 18 percent of its population enrolled in just this one university, Olomouc has the highest density of university students in all of Central Europe. Because of this, much of the city runs on school schedule, and is one of the only cities in the area that actually slows down during summer months when tourism usually picks up. The perks of no one outside of the area knowing about your city and everyone who lives in the city leaving for the summer: you’ll never have to wait in line for a Pilsner!
Most popularly known as Pilsen, this city of 180,000 people lies in western Bohemia and was chosen as the EU’s “Cultural Capital” in 2015. Speaking of Pilsner, this city is famous for being the home of Pilsner beer, but this small city has been an important region of international commerce for much longer than the beer’s creation in 1842. Pilsen’s charm and history runs deep, literally; the city sits on top of an extensive underground tunnel network. Even more of a reason to get out of the classroom and explore!
Pilsen has a storied history. Its location in the center of Bohemia on the German border has made it an important trade center since the 19th century. An industrial boom occurred in the late 1800s, growing both the local Czech (Slavic) population and the urban poor at the same time (fancy that, a disappearing middle class...apparently history does repeat itself). When Czechoslovakia was liberated from Austria-Hungary in the early 1918, the German minority was POed that they were included in the new Czech country, and went so far as to ally themselves with the Nazis. We all know what happened from there, and it ain’t pretty. It’s easy today to take a step back in time because for over 25 years, the city has celebrated an annual Liberation Festival that attracts scores of American and Allied veterans alike.
Pilsen is an academic, cultural, and business center for western Czech Republic, and its popular University of Western Bohemia is known for its law, engineering, and science programs. Teachers in this area have a lot to work with, as the city has also experienced recent steady growth in foreign investment, and those who speak more than one language are sought after for its international environment. The Baroque center of Pilsen has been under cultural heritage preservation for almost 30 years, which means you’ll feel really authentic as you kick back in the square and grade papers while enjoying a fresh Pilsner.
There is a lot to be said about teaching English in the Czech Republic in a smaller city or rural area, which are typically sprinkled with Gothic castles, tiny towns, and lots of old-fashioned charm. The different regions of the Czech Republic surely offer unique and powerful teaching experiences filled with lots of immersion and Becherovka. While Prague is an awesome city and shouldn’t be missed if you teach English in the Czech Republic, there is so much more to this small country than just the Kafka-obsessed capital.