Czech postal system

If you want to send a postcard, a letter or a parcel you’ll have to visit the nearest post office. Czech post offices have been modernised in the last few years, becoming user-friendly.

Generally, post offices are open between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays and most are usually open on Saturday mornings; either till 10 a.m. or 12 p.m. The majority are closed on Sundays and public holidays. The main post office in Prague, at Jindřišská 14, is open from 2 a.m. until midnight seven days a week. As with post offices in other countries you will find that different counters provide different services. In large offices a numbered ticketing system is in operation, with tickets issued according to the service you require. Bear in mind that most postal staff only speak Czech, especially outside of Prague. Since signs and information about services are in Czech only, it is advisable to ask a Czech speaker to accompany you.

In the Czech Republic, addresses are written in the bottom right-hand corner and the name of the sender (odesílatel) must be written in the top  left-hand corner. For mail within the country, you should include the zip code of post code (směrovací číslo) - a five-digit number that goes before the name of the city, town, or village. For mail within Prague, you should write the postal district after Praha, e.g. “120 00 Praha 2”.

If you want to buy a stamp (známka) or post a letter, you should choose a counter marked with the word “listovní”. You can buy stamps individually or in bulk. If you’re paying the postage charge at the post office, staff will weigh the mail, the heavier the package, the more expensive the fee. The stuff might ask you if you’re sending the mail as “obyčejně”, which means non-registered.

If you want to send a parcel, you should choose a counter marked “Zásilkové služby”, which is specifically for sending and receiving parcels. Other parcel services include Express Mail Service (EMS), which, however, can be quite pricey.

If you’re sending mail abroad, your best option is Air Mail (Letecká pošta), also known as prioritní or Prioritaire, which is faster than surface mail, known as ekonomická. If you’re paying for the postage at the Post Office, the stuff would usually put a blue Prioritaire air mail sticker on the envelope or parcel.

You can also send your letter or parcels within the Czech Republic or beyond as registered (doporučená zásilka or doporučeně). In case you’re mail does not get delivered, the maximum compensation for lost or damaged items is 500 CZK. Czech Post also provides an insured letter and insured parcel service for items with a value up to 1 million CZK.

If you’re sending your mail as registered, make sure you first fill out a submission form (podací lístek) so that the staff can proceed with your order. You’ll find the submission forms, along with other slips, at counters in post offices. The main boxes to be filled in are “Odesílatel” (Sender) and “Adresář” (Addressee).

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