Language: Czech (official), Slovak

Climate: warm, dry summers and fairly cold winters. January is the coldest month with daytime temperatures usually around zero. In summer daytime temperatures reach 20-25°C, but sometimes climb higher, 30°C or more. Weather is best May-September, when days are warm and the nights are cool.

Time Zone: CET - Central European Time

International phone code: 420

Currency: Czech crown (CZK) - "koruna"

Capital: Prague

Transportation: Travel into CR by plane, bus, car and train, with reservations compulsory for international train travel. Low cost flights in and out are available on a number of discount airlines including Smartwings and SkyEurope. CR has one of the densest rail systems in Europe with an extensive network of bus connections.

Gay Czech Republic:

The Czech Republic is one of the most liberal Central European countries with regards to gay rights. Same-sex sexual activity was decriminalized in 1962.

In 2006 -- after a series of political reversals, including a presidential veto later overturned by the House of Representatives -- the country legalized same-sex registered partnerships.

In contrast to the communist era, Czech society has become relatively liberal since the Velvet Revolution of 1989. This increasing acceptance is at least in part due to a lack of religious dogma -- Czechs, especially those living in large Bohemian cities, are among the most atheist people in the world. This is particularly evident in relation to their Polish and Slovakian neighbours.

Prague boasts a large gay community, acting as a magnet for the country's gay youth. The city has a large and well-developed gay nightlife scene, particularly centred around the district of Vinohrady, and hosts an annual Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in November. In other Czech towns, gay venues are scarce.