Housing, work, and fun: Comparing life in Prague with 10 other European cities

A wide-ranging study examines housing costs, salaries, job prospects, urban mobility, and free time to see where Prague stands in an EU context.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 24.04.2024 16:03:00 (updated on 24.04.2024) Reading time: 5 minutes

The City of Prague’s Institute of Planning and Development (IPR) has published a widescale analysis of living in Prague compared to 10 other European cities. Entitled “Prague in a European context,” the study covers aspects such as salaries, housing, transport, and leisure time, detailing whether Praguers have it better – or worse – than residents of other major European capitals.

Drawing from a range of publicly available studies and reports, IPR divides its report into four main sections: living (focusing on housing); work (assessing pay and unemployment); urban mobility (reviewing public transport, cycle, and car use); and free time. The study, available in English, compares Prague with Barcelona, Vienna, Budapest, Amsterdam, Milan, and more.


In short, Prague has by far the least affordable rental housing out of all other cities, with average rents costing almost 40 percent of gross monthly salaries. 

Prague is also the third-most expensive city for home ownership – the rate of which is fast decreasing in the Czech capital – when adjusted for incomes. Only in Barcelona and Amsterdam is it more expensive to buy your own home. IPR also says that 20 percent of households in Prague face “disproportionate housing costs.” Vienna, Stockholm, and Copenhagen had the cheapest rates of home ownership.

A separate study revealed that people in Prague must earn around 15 gross annual average Czech salaries to purchase a 70-square-meter apartment in Prague – the highest rate in Europe.

Depressingly, the IPR study also found that Prague has the second-highest rate of homelessness out of all surveyed cities (with Milan coming top).

The Czech capital currently has the highest real estate prices in Czechia, with 1 square meter costing CZK 121,700 on average. As of the final quarter of last year, the average monthly rent per square meter in Czechia is around CZK 292. The Prague price hovers around CZK 400.

Although mortgage rates will continue their decline this year, experts estimate that rental costs will rise by around 5 percent in Prague this year.

Highest average apartment rent-to-income ratios

  • 1.Prague
  • 2.Budapest
  • 3.Barcelona
  • 4.Milan
  • 5.Munich


Adjusted for purchasing power standards – which take how far your money goes based on different cities' prices – Prague has a below-average wage. Although higher than Warsaw, Budapest, and Bucharest, the Czech capital trails far behind Milan, Munich, Amsterdam, and others. “Even in nearby Vienna, workers with average incomes earn almost a third more than those in Prague,” IPR comments.

More positively, IPR praises Prague’s (and Czechia’s) low tax burden. It describes how just 1 percent of the total mix goes directly to the City of Prague…whereas “on the other side of the spectrum are municipalities in Denmark or Sweden where local taxes range between 25 and 37 percent.”

Important to note, however, is that the IPR’s wage data is from 2021. Czechia’s average gross salary has surged in recent years – currently standing at CZK 46,000 monthly gross, CZK 10,000 than it was four years ago. Although high inflation caused real wages to sink by 3 percent last year, analysts believe real wages will grow by 3 to 4 percent this year. 

The IPR referenced Czechia’s low unemployment rate – often the lowest in the EU – and drew comparisons with Warsaw, Munich, and Sofia regarding saturated job markets. The study cited a 2023 report that showed eight in 10 people agreeing it was “easy to find a job” in Prague – the highest proportion out of 83 cities surveyed. 

Urban mobility and commuting

“Prague is a city of cars,” IPR proclaims. And the figures bear this out – Prague has the second-highest rate of car ownership out of all surveyed cities, trailing only Warsaw. Since 2012, Prague has also seen an average increase of 205 cars per 1,000 people. 

“While west European cities aim to reduce the number of cars, Prague and cities further east show the opposite trend,” the study writes. “Spontaneous, poorly coordinated development, leading to newly constructed neighborhoods with limited public transportation access,” is partly to blame for Prague’s extremely high share of cars, according to the study.

In contrast, cycling is unpopular and rare in the Czech capital. According to IPR, an estimated 1 percent of Prague's inhabitants cycle on a daily basis, due to the city’s “poor cycling infrastructure.”

IPR praised Prague’s public transport due to its “relatively low fares, extensive network, and a metro stop available almost everywhere in the city.” Perhaps surprisingly, though, Prague’s public transport fees were not in the top three most affordable out of all surveyed cities. 

A monthly transport ticket in Prague costs 1 percent of the average monthly salary – cheap, but apparently not as cheap as in Vienna and Barcelona, where monthly passes cost 0.5 and 0.7 percent of the monthly average wage respectively. 

The study also praised Prague's relatively long metro and tram lines, saying that the Czech capital is more in line with west European standards. It cites the upcoming metro line D – part of which will reopen at the end of this decade – as making life even easier for Praguers.

Leisure and wellbeing

Praguers have more free time than they had decades ago (even since 2013), but residents of the Czech capital still work for longer hours than almost all other surveyed cities. The average person in Czechia worked 39 hours per week in 2022, giving them less free time than people living in Vienna or Munich, who worked around four hours less per month.

“Despite its relative sparseness, with a significant amount of undeveloped areas, Prague does not stand out when it comes to green spaces,” IPR says. Although people who wish to spend their leisure time in Prague have several green spaces to choose from, Prague’s share of urban area covered by parks and trees pales compared to nearby Warsaw and Vienna. 


  • 1. Warsaw (40)
  • 2. Bucharest (39.9)
  • 3. Sofia (39.9)
  • 4. Prague (39.3)
  • 5. Budapest (39.3)
  • --
  • 9. Munich (35.5)
  • 10. Copenhagen (34)
  • 11. Amsterdam (32.2)

Interestingly, Prague has the third-lowest cinema attendance out of all cities, but the IPR notes that sporting activities such as football are among the most popular ways for both individuals and families to spend their free time.

One important factor the IPR draws attention to is mental health and suicides: the Czech capital has the second-highest rate of suicides out of all 11 cities; up to 12 in 100,000 people decide to end their lives each year.

IPR notes that understanding the multifaceted aspects of life in Prague will ultimately help enable more informed political decisions, guiding the city’s development and future.

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