The Czech koruna (CZK) is the official currency of the Czech Republic. Adopted in 1993 after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, the koruna has played an important role in the country’s transition to a free market economy.

Introduction to the CZK

The CZK is issued by the Czech National Bank (CNB), the nation’s central bank located in Prague. CZK banknotes come in denominations of 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, and 5000 korun. Coins represent 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 korun.

Since joining the European Union in 2004, the Czech Republic has aimed to replace the koruna with the euro once it meets all the euro convergence criteria. However, the adoption date remains uncertain due to political and public opposition. Until then, the koruna will continue circulating as the sole legal tender.

CZK Exchange Rate History

After launching in 1993, the CZK traded between 28-35 per U.S. dollar for its first decade. The koruna strengthened significantly in the 2000s as Czech growth outpaced European peers. Hitting a high of 17.75 against the dollar in 2008.

However, the Global Financial Crisis and subsequent Eurozone Debt Crisis weakened emerging market currencies like the koruna. CZK dropped from 24 to 27 versus the greenback between 2011-2014.

More recently, the CZK has stabilized in a range of 21-25 per dollar. Czech inflation running below the 2% target gives the central bank leeway to keep interest rates low, weighing on the currency. However, strong growth and AAA credit rating support koruna resilience.

CZK Banknotes and Coins

CZK banknotes feature renowned Czechoslovakians on the front side and notable Czech sites on back. They utilize security features like watermarks, holograms, and security threads to prevent counterfeiting.

The 100 korun note highlights the famous Prague Astronomical Clock on its reverse. The 200 note features a view of Ceský Krumlov Castle. Other highlights include the Dancing House in Prague on the 500 note and the Cathedral of St. Barbara on the 1000 koruna note.

CZK coins come in six denominations from 1 koruna to 50 korun. The smallest five coins share a common reverse design of the Czech coat of arms. The 50 korun coin depicts the prehistoric Bohemian King Grave Crown instead.

How to Get Czech Koruna

There are many options for obtaining Czech koruna currency as a traveler or investor.

At an Airport Kiosk

Major airports in the Czech Republic have currency exchange desks and ATMs where you can directly acquire CZK upon arrival. The kiosk will accept regional currencies like euros or dollars and provide koruna at the current interbank rate plus a commission.

This is a quick and convenient way to get local cash. However, airport kiosks tend to charge high fees and offer poor exchange rates. It’s best to just withdraw a small amount for initial taxi/train fare, then exchange more later.

Through Your Bank

Contact your hometown bank to order CZK in advance of your trip. This ensures you have spending money upon arrival.

Banks source wholesale banknotes and may offer better rates than airport exchanges. The downside is needing to order 1-2 weeks in advance and minimum order sizes. Check current CZK rates and make sure to account for shipping time.

At a Local Bank

Once in the Czech Republic, you can exchange money directly at any local bank or forex branch. Major banks like KB and Ceska Sporitelna have locations in all major cities.

Banks post daily buy and sell rates for major currencies like dollars, pounds, and euros. You’ll get a tighter spread than the airport as a local customer.

Compare rates between a few banks to find the best price. Know the requirements like passport/ID for exchanges above 10,000 CZK.

Through an ATM

ATMs provide 24/7 access to Czech koruna by withdrawing directly from your home account. Look for machines connected to your debit card network like Visa or MasterCard.

withdraw CZK at a current interbank rate with a foreign transaction fee (~3%). Daily and monthly withdrawal limits apply, so make multiple smaller ATM trips as needed. Inform your bank before traveling abroad to avoid suspended cards.

With a Prepaid Travel Card

Order a prepaid travel card denominated in Czech koruna before your trip. You can lock in a set exchange rate and receive the card already loaded with CZK spending money.

The card functions like a debit card for purchases and local ATM access abroad. When the funds are depleted, you can reload the card as needed. Just make sure to budget accordingly as prepaid cards have higher fees.

On the Forex Market

Investors can speculate on CZK or hedge their exposure by trading directly on the forex market. Brokers like Oanda and FXCM offer currency pairs like USD/CZK, EUR/CZK, and GBP/CZK.

You can go long or short koruna depending on market outlook. Remember forex trading involves high risk, so educate yourself and use stop losses. Opening a demo account is recommended to gain experience before trading real money.

Tips for Traveling with CZK

Here are some best practices for managing Czech koruna on your trip:

  • Compare rates ahead of time to benchmark airport/bank prices
  • Research credit/debit card acceptance to see if CZK cash is needed
  • Use a no foreign transaction fee card for purchases to avoid excessive fees
  • Notify bank and credit card companies to avoid blocked transactions
  • Split cash across safe locations like hotel, bag, wallet, money belt
  • Spend or exchange back to your home currency before leaving the Czech Republic
  • Keep receipts as proof of legal currency exchange
  • Use a hidden money belt or anti-theft bag to deter pickpockets

Investing in CZK: Czech Koruna as a Forex Investment

While primarily used as transactional money, the Czech koruna can also be traded as an investment via the forex market. Here are key factors to consider:

Interest Rates

The main CZK price driver is relative interest rates against counterpart currencies. Higher Czech rates attract foreign capital inflows, lifting koruna. Lower rates cause outflows and currency depreciation.

The Czech National Bank (CNB) holds the benchmark Repo Rate at over 3% compared to near-zero rates across Europe and the U.S. This carry trade dynamic supports underlying demand for the koruna currency. Monitor CNB policy closely.


Low inflation reinforces CNB’s accommodative stance. CPI below 2% gives the central bank latitude to keep rates low by global standards without stoking price growth. This caps koruna upside potential versus hawkish policymakers.

If inflation rose, rate hikes would be required which could send CZK surging. This is unlikely in the near-term but presents longer-term appreciation potential if the growth outlook deteriorates.

Euro Adoption

As an EU member, the Czech Republic is eventually expected to adopt the euro. This would eliminate the koruna altogether. While the government recently postponed the target date, eventual euroization could pressure CZK lower over a multi-year horizon.

Position sizing and risk management are key to trading around this uncertainty. The convergence progress and political landscape should guide long-term tactical bets.

Risk Sentiment

When global markets are in “risk-on” mode, carry trades and emerging market currencies benefit. In periods of “risk-off” markets tend to favor safe havens like the U.S. dollar and Swiss franc.

Monitor the relative performance of global stocks, junk bonds, commodities, and other risk assets. When markets rally, CZK and other high-yielders often follow suit.

Impact of CZK on Czech Economy

The koruna plays an integral role in the Czech economic framework and monetary policy transmission:

Inflation Targeting

The CNB utilizes inflation-targeting to guide interest rate decisions and influence CZK exchange rates. By adjusting rates, the bank can steer koruna prices to either reduce or increase imported inflation.

This lever allows the CNB to hit its 2% annual CPI target and keep price growth stable. Interest rates are the primary monetary tool with FX rates as the secondary transmission mechanism.

Currency Interventions

Along with interest rates, the CNB is authorized to intervene directly in CZK markets as needed to meet policy goals. Previously, the bank placed a floor under EUR/CZK to keep the koruna from strengthening too much.

While less frequent recently, potential FX interventions make the koruna volatile around CNB meetings. Developments must be monitored closely by traders and investors exposed to CZK.

Tourism & Trade

A weaker koruna helps support Czech tourism, exports, and overall economic growth. As CZK depreciates, the country becomes more affordable for foreign visitors and buyers of Czech goods abroad.

This boosts jobs and incomes tied to retail, manufacturing, and hospitality sectors. However, currency weakness also raises inflation pressures that the CNB must balance.

Outlook and Forecast for CZK

Fundamentally, the koruna should remain supported by Czech economic outperformance and policy rate differentials versus major currencies. However, lingering global recession fears could spark temporary risk aversion weighing on emerging market currencies like CZK.

Near-term forecasts call for CZK to fluctuate within a 22-25 per dollar trading range. If global sentiment improves, rally potential back down towards 21.00 is feasible, but major upside appears limited.

Long-term, continued euro adoption skepticism and political uncertainty will likely keep koruna valuations depressed relative to history. But Czechia’s sound finances provide resilience versus more volatile peers.

Key Takeaways on the Czech Koruna

A few main points to summarize CZK essentials:

  • Official currency of the Czech Republic adopted in 1993 after Czechoslovakia dissolution
  • Managed by the Czech National Bank, current banknotes include 100 to 5000 korun denominations
  • Trades between 21-25 CZK per U.S. dollar, expected to remain rangebound medium-term
  • Driven by Czech interest rates, inflation, euro adoption progress, and risk environment
  • Provides diversification as a high-yielding emerging market currency for portfolios
  • Strong tourism and exports make weaker CZK desirable for Czech economic growth

By understanding the koruna’s dynamics, travelers and investors can appropriately plan for using and exchanging Czech currency.