Pros and cons of living in Opava in the Czech Republic – migrant review

Time to read: 14 minutes

It’s good or bad to live in Opava. Personal experience of life in Opava for foreigners

Pros and cons of living in Opava in the Czech Republic

Opava is a small town in Silesia. Living in Opava in the Czech Republic

How foreigners live in Opava in the Czech Republic

Living in Opava in the Czech Republic. I have been living in the Czech Republic in Opava for more than ten years. I came to the Czech Republic as a student and got a higher education, then I started working and got Czech citizenship. Now I work in an IT specialty and recently bought an apartment in Opava.

The town of Opava is located in the north-east of the Czech Republic in Silesia and is located near the Czech-Polish border on both banks of the Opava River (a tributary of the Odra). The population of Opava is 57 thousand people.

The first mention of Opava dates back to 1224 . The remains of Polish, German, and many other national cultures have been preserved in the city. Before the Second World War, Czech Opava was part of the Sudetenland — a place of compact residence of Germans. The powerful Gothic Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Konkatedrála Nanebevzetí Panny Marie) is one of the symbols of the city, which was erected in the 14th century.

Gothic Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Gothic Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

How to move to live in Opava in the Czech Republic. Currently, people move to Opava mainly because of work or for the sake of studying at the Silesian University. Work in Opava for Czechs is provided at numerous factories.

Living conditions in Opava for foreigners – money

There is only one exchanger in the center of Opava in the Czech Republic. The rest of the exchangers are located in shopping centers. There is one exchange office in the Breda shopping center, the second — in the Globus shopping center, the third — Tesco shopping center. Bank cards for paying for purchases in Opava are not accepted everywhere. Usually such shops or service points hang a sign “Nelze platit kartou” on the office door.

Sidewalks in Opava

Sidewalks in Opava

Living in Opava in the Czech Republic. Opava does not accept cash payments in euros. There are two stores that can recalculate and take euros, for example DM or Albert. The euro exchange rate is unprofitable, so I do not recommend paying in euros in the Czech Republic. For the convenience of people who come from the eurozone, many shops and cafes print the amount on checks in euros, but you can’t pay in euros anyway. Pros and cons of living in the Czech Republic

Salary and work in Opava

Opava is a city of numerous factories and factories. There is very little creative, intellectual or ordinary office work in Opava. The main employers in Opava in the Czech Republic: factories for the production of paint, fittings, ice cream, auto parts, cardboard boxes, medicines, furniture, flour, printing products, cookies, equipment for mines, mechanical engineering, and other industries. The city has a hospital, an institute, several banks, a cinema, a shopping center, several hotels.

Types of employment contracts in the Czech Republic

Personal experience of life in Opava

Personal experience of life in Opava

Salaries in Opava

  • Akzo Nobel Coatings CZ paint production plant, a.s. Production operator, CZK 20,800 per month.
  • Meat processing plant BIVOJ a.s. Packer, 18,000 CZK per month. Freight forwarder, 22,000 CZK per month.
  • Mondelez. A worker at a cookie factory receives 17,000 CZK per month in Opava. Shifts last for 8 hours. The work schedule in Opava is as follows: 2 shifts in the morning, two shifts at night, and two shifts during the day. Two days off, then the schedule repeats

Despite small salaries, low unemployment is observed in Opava and in the Czech Republic as a whole. By December 31, 2022, unemployment in the Moravian-Silesian Region was 6%. There were 13.4 thousand job vacancies in the lists of available jobs. Not all of these vacancies can be occupied by employees from abroad. Many people come to work through labor agencies.

Job interview in the Czech Republic

Taxes in the city of Opava in the Czech Republic

Income tax. Income tax in the Czech Republic is deducted to the Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic once a year. The income tax rate for individuals is 15%.

Property tax. The tax on real estate ownership is calculated from square meters of real estate, taking into account price cards. The amount of tax is determined when registering ownership of real estate in the tax inspectorate and the tax is paid in the Czech Republic once a year. For my apartment in Opava with an area of 84 m2, I pay a real estate tax of 1,200 kronor per year. The city administration can raise this tax, in Opava they have not raised it for the last three years.

Tax for garbage collection. The city administration of the city of Opava in the Czech Republic charges citizens a fee for garbage collection in the amount of CZK 660 per adult per year and CZK 300 per child under 18.

Dog tax. Opava charges citizens a dog tax of 600 CZK for the first pet and 900 CZK for each subsequent pet. Every dog that walks around the city must have a tax payment token around his neck.

Pensions in Opava in the Czech Republic

Life in Opava

Life in Opava

Living in Opava in the Czech Republic. Every year for the last five or six years, the Czech government has been raising pensions. The pension increase is 500-750 CZK (20-30 €) per year.

Income of Czech pensioners

  • Warehouse accounting supervisor, 75 years old. She has worked at a brewery and other production facilities in the Czech Republic for 40 years. Raised two children. A pensioner in the Czech Republic receives approximately 10,000-11,000 CZK per month (430 €)
  • Miner, 80 years old. He has worked for 45 years, retired since 2005. Receives 16,000 CZK (630 €)

Income tax is not deducted from pensions in the Czech Republic. Pensions are paid without withholding taxes on income. In addition, the municipality of Opava has introduced discounts for pensioners in the pool and in the theater (discounts are financed by the city).

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Life in Opava for foreigners – banks

Life in Opava for foreigners - banks

Raiffeisenbank branch in Opava

There are branches of Czech banks in Opava: KB, ČSOB, Česká spořitelna, Raiffeisen Bank, Moneta, Air Bank, Fio Banka. There are few ATMs, but almost all stores accept bank cards. Czech banks participate in SEPA, the European system of interbank transfers of amounts in euros. Within the EU, SEPA transfers usually do not charge a commission.

Czech banks don’t have very good mobile apps. You cannot open an account or invest in banking applications. You need to book a meeting at the bank through the application and come to sign an additional service agreement. In the Czech Republic, it is not possible to make money transfers by phone number or by card number. Bank transfers in the Czech Republic can only be made by account number.

Housing in Opava and utilities

Opava has expensive housing. Perhaps the most expensive in the region, and definitely one of the most expensive in the country. In the Czech Republic, apartments are most often rented unfurnished. Meters in a rented apartment often need to be rewritten by yourself, and pay for water, gas and electricity directly to the distributor.

How to rent an apartment in the Czech Republic without a realtor – personal experience

Living in Opava in the Czech Republic. Apartment owners in Czech houses usually create something like a cooperative. It is called SVJ, společenství vlastníków jednotek. The chairman, deputy chairman, and members of the commission are elected. SVJ can take a loan from a bank to repair a house, and gradually pay it out of the contributions of its members. SVJ also usually pays for water by one meter for an entire house, and then calculates consumption for apartments that also have meters, but only the SVJ chairman sees them. When you rent an apartment, the SVJ meetings are usually closed for you, since you are not the owner, but at the same time some decisions that are made there may concern you. For example, SVJ may decide that he will hire a cleaner who will regularly clean the stairs, and the tenants will only clean the snow in front of the house.

How to use the real estate cadastre in the Czech Republic for a foreigner

Transport in Opava

Transport in Opava

Transport in Opava

Opava has clean and punctual transport. Buses and trolleybuses run here. Since recently, you can pay for travel with a bank card. Most of the passengers during the day are retired people who go shopping or “to the doctors.” In Opava, people over the age of 70 travel for free. To do this, you need to get a “person of age” travel card.

I have an ODIS card with which you can buy monthly and weekly travel passes on the website. You can just put money in an electronic wallet and pay for the trip. One trip will cost 12 CZK. My travel card is also valid in Ostrava, since Opava and Ostrava are in the same region (kraj). Prices for public transport in Ostrava are different.

It seems impractical to have a car in Opava, because you can walk around the city center in one hour. Car insurance in the Czech Republic is not cheap: for our Skoda Octavia, which is seven years old, compulsory insurance costs 2,700 CZK (106 €), emergency insurance costs another 5,000 CZK (196 €) per year. Parking in the city center of Opava is very problematic, there are never free Parking spaces.

Bike-sharing, hourly bicycles for rent, came to Opava, as well as to other Czech cities. Only Nextbike works in Opava so far.

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Review of life in Opava – medicine

TreeDK Clinic Building

TreeDK Clinic Building

The pride of Opava is the Silesian Hospital. It employs several doctors from Ukraine. The hospital is good, but if you have a difficult case that requires intervention using the latest achievements of medicine, contact FNO — Fakultní nemocnice Ostrava.

Pros and cons of living in Opava. There are not enough dentists in Opava. The dental clinic in Opava is called TreeDK. First, you need to do dental oral hygiene twice before you are registered with TreeDK. Even after registration, the waiting list for the dentist in TreeDK is six months or a year. Acute pain helps to eliminate dental emergency care.

Personal experience of life in Opava – products and food

Pros and cons of living in Opava. All supermarkets in Opava sell the same food products from low to medium quality. Maybe I’m being picky, but it seems to me that it’s hard to find good meat, fresh bread, or delicious cheese in the supermarket. Unsold food from Germany and the Netherlands, sealed in plastic packaging, brought in large refrigerator trucks, lies on the shelves of supermarkets in Opava. It is very difficult to buy something fresh and really tasty in Opava. Good and fresh food appears on the shelves in Opava stores very rarely. In my personal experience of living in Opava, this happens randomly. A person just comes at the right time when they put something fresh on the shelves.

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How do foreigners live in Opava? 

Personal experience of life in Opava

Personal experience of life in Opava

Fresh, delicious, and local food should be bought in Opava here:

  • Farmářka, Na Valech 3. Local Czech food. Good dairy products, bread, sausages. You need to come to the store for fresh purchases from early in the morning. After 9 o’clock in the morning, milk, yoghurts and all other products disappear from sale.
  • Slezská zahrádka, Dolní náměstí 22. Local Czech food. Olbrew Friedek-Mistek beer, fresh cheese with chives, jams. Sausages, honey, seasonal vegetables.
  • Gustissimo, Rybí trh 16, Italian and Austrian products and wine. Cheese, wine, prosciutto, dried tomatoes in olive oil. At the store there is a restaurant where pizza and pasta are made. There is a daily menu.
  • Oliva, Olomoucká 3. Greek products. Olive oil, Haloumi cheese, Greek yogurt, halva. It seems they sell a lot of other delicious things, but to their own. Once I watched the buyers-a Greek family. The saleswoman took it out of the bins and from under the counter.
  • Bobaja, náměstí Osvoboditelů 77. Vegetarian products. Sauerkraut, tofu, seitan, kombucha, There is a dining room at the store where they cook mind-blowing delicious.
  • Syrárna Cheesy, Drúbeží trh 5. Cheeses: gouda, parmazan, pecorino, apenzeller and friends. In addition to cheese, there are good French sausages.
  • Dědovo pekářství, Hany Kvapilové 19. Sourdough bread and sweet pastries. They bake right at this address, at night you can see how the dough is being prepared.

Cheeses that are produced in the Czech Republic and are very popular

Silesian bread is a dark, rye bread with sourdough. It can be oval in shape or in the form of a bun.

Silesian bread. Living in Opava in the Czech Republic

Silesian bread. Living in Opava in the Czech Republic

Overview of life in Opava – cafes and restaurants

U tiskárny is a restaurant that manages to make something out of nothing. I once tasted gazpacho in this restaurant, and since that time, not a summer has passed that I haven’t cooked this soup. The main thing is not to order vodka in Opava in broad daylight, they will not understand.

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The Pub is the signature restaurant of the Pilsner Urquell brewery, in Czech Plzeńský prazdroj. Urquell means in German the original source, in the case of beer “original”. They make good burgers with potatoes, it’s the best for Plzen beer. Wings marinated in chili sauce are also not bad.

Pánský mlýn is not really in the city, rather out of town. It can be reached in 5 minutes by taxi. There is a pond on the territory where trout are brought and launched. You can rent a fishing rod, and catch yourself a fish for lunch. In Czech, the fishing rod will be prout. I thought that it was proposed to catch fish, as in pre-antique time, with a sharp stick, but as usual, I got everything mixed up.

Strange habits of the Czechs. Czech culture of life

Living in Opava in the Czech Republic

Photo. The building of the Silesian Museum, which is the pride of the city of Opava. It is the third largest museum in the Czech Republic after the National Museum in Prague and the Moravian Museum in Brno. In it you will see a rich collection of representatives of the flora and fauna of the region, as well as exhibits in the field of mineralogy, geology, paleontology, botany, dendrology, entomology, zoology, archeology, ethnography, numismatics, the history of the region, the history of art, including the history of music, literature and theater and the history of military affairs.

Silesian Museum in Opava

Silesian Museum

Pros and cons of living in Opava in the Czech Republic – language and communication

In Opava, as in many regions of the Czech Republic, they speak the dialect of the Czech language. And not even on one, but on several. Opava is located in an area where there are many different influences and loanwords. Basically, these are Germanisms, or words of the Slavic dialect.

In Opava, almost no one smiles on the street. Do not think that people have a difficult life, although of course this happens. It’s just that the northern cities in the Czech Republic are considered historically a “harsh” area, where men are laconic and work hard. And women in Opava work two jobs: during the day at work, and at home in the evening. In fact, people in Opava are nice and good-natured.

Photo. The building of the City Hall in the Renaissance style with a bell tower. It was she who informed the townspeople about holidays, fires and other important events. In front of the Town Hall there is a fountain with a concrete model of the sun.

The building of the City Hall in Opava. Living in Opava in the Czech Republic

The building of the City Hall in Opava

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Household services in Opava

Minor services, such as shoe repair, travel agency, photographer, or watch workshops in Opava are absent or presented in one copy.

A story about life in Opava – entertainment and bars

There are two cinemas in Opava. The Mir cinema was built in 1955. It was recently renovated and a digital projector was installed. They are not ashamed of the past here. Mir sometimes shows good movies, especially festival ones. There is also a Cinestar cinema located on the top floor in the Breda shopping center. The cinema shows a lot of advertising before the film, the films are very bad for my taste and the cost of cinema tickets is expensive.

Movies in Opava are sometimes shown in two more clubs: Klub ART and Kupe. There are concerts there, mostly good ones. There are also exhibitions of paintings, photographs, and lectures. Klub ART is a city organization, funded from the budget. Kupe is a project of a local Opava philanthropist, owner of a construction company Vladimir Peringer.

Of the night clubs in Opava, there is a Safari bar on Olomoucká Street. But in fact it is one big bar counter and there is very little space there. The alcohol in the bar is poured varied, the closer to the morning, the lower its quality.

There are no zoos or greenhouses in Opava. The botanical garden is located outside the city, called Arboretum Nový Dvúr. There are medieval castles in the surrounding area, the most interesting is the Hradec Castle over Moravica, which is in the care of the state. There is also a nice Radun Castle.

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How to live in Opava in the Czech Republic – shopping malls

Breda Department Store in Opava. Living in Opava in the Czech Republic

Breda Department Store

Breda Department Store (Obchodní dúm Breda), built at the end of the 19th century. The author of the project is the famous architect Leopold Bauer, who works in the styles of functionalism and Art Nouveau. The building consists of 5 aboveground and two underground floors.

The Opava shopping center is called Breda & Weinstein. Of the shoes here are CCC and Deichmann. From clothing — C&A, H&M, Lindex, New Yorker, Orsay. In a half-hour walk there is Ostrava, where there are IKEA, Zara, Marks and Spencer and others in the Avion Shopping Park shopping center.

From the railway station in Opava “Opava-východ” you can drive to the Ostrava-Střed railway station in half an hour.  In Ostrava, from the train station you can immediately go to the large shopping center Nová Karolina. Karolina is located in the city center, while Avion is in the middle of nowhere. In Carolina there are GAP, Marks and Spencer, Replay, Peek & Cloppernburg, Gant, etc.

Slezinka Shopping Center. Living in Opava in the Czech Republic

Slezinka Shopping Center. Living in Opava in the Czech Republic

National dishes of Czech cuisine. What to eat in the Czech Republic

Living in Opava in the Czech Republic – telephone and internet

There is fast and cheap optical internet in Opava, but not in all houses. Where there is none, there is ADSL/VDSL. It’s slower and more expensive. There is no optical Internet in our house. I pay 430 CZK (17 €) per month for VDSL internet.  The Internet speed is 50 MB/s.

Throughout the city, wi-fi antennas belonging to small firms that are engaged in connecting to the Internet are stuck on roofs. Their Internet is cheaper.

I have a mobile tariff on my smartphone from the IT company where I work. The company has signed a contract with Vodafone.

Money for mobile communication and the Internet is withheld from my salary. Profitable calls within the company, my family members can also switch to such a tariff. For two phone numbers and 1.5 GB mobile Internet, I pay about 450 CZK (18 €) per month.

Palm trees in tubs create the feeling that you are at a resort in Opava

Palm trees in tubs create the feeling that you are at a resort. Living in Opava in the Czech Republic

Holidays in Opava in the Czech Republic

Sadrák is a flooded former gypsum quarry. Plaster in Czech is “sadra”.

Sadrák is a clean and equipped beach for a summer holiday with the whole family. There is a cafe on the shore of the quarry. Sadrák is a nice place and attracts even tourists from Poland on vacation. The quarry is very deep, so be careful. I do not recommend swimming across the crankcase, especially on a bet.

Městské koupaliště.  Městské koupaliště is Sadrák’s main competitor. The Sadrák bathhouse was built during the first Republic, which was recently renovated. There is a separate pool for children.

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