Often, people traveling to a foreign city immediately search for a place near the water. Whether it is lake or river, the water smooths the hectic city centre atmosphere. Seeing the opposite shore gives you more physical space than narrow streets, you suddenly breathe much fresher air. You often even come to contact with animals. When its really hot, you can even dip your legs into the water to cool yourself down. Or, for those who are really brave, to jump in. No matter the weather, being around Vltava in Prague is always calming and relaxing. Bohemia Apartments summed up four main things that you can do around the river in Prague.
Go to the embankment
The embankments in Prague city centre are favourite spots by both locals and foreigners. Probably the most popular is Rašín embankment (Náplavka) between Palacky bridge and Vysehrad Railway Bridge. This hip spot started coming to life several years ago, where one of the first venues there was Bajkazyl. Bajkazyl is a bar with bike repair service right under Palacky Bridge and is often associated with Prague „hipster“ culture. You can buy a beer or lemonade here and also, if you’re lucky on the day, see a visual or musical performance. Another similar place is Avoid Gallery, which is a boat located usually under the Vysehrad Railway Bridge. Here you can sit on the boat and enjoy the sun, or look inside the boat, where sometimes concerts or parties are held.
Many other boats with bars and restaurants are placed on Naplavka, and it is always beautiful sitting there, having view on Prague Castle. Especially during the sunset, when you can see the sky changing colours, contrasting with the castle lightened up. When temperatures are high, the whole embarkment is exposed to sun rays and the place usually stays warm until very late hours. Food and farmers markets are held here as well (usually on Saturdays).
Even though Naplavka is really beautiful place, recently its popularity increased so much that sometimes its too overcrowded and busy. The other side of Vltava, Smichov embarkment, is similar but much more quiet and calm. In case you feel like avoiding crowds, sitting here will definitely do the job. The only thing is that the sun does not shine upon there so long, so it might be slightly colder on this side. This place is particularly wonderful for morning jogs!
Smetana embankment is the one where our Charles Bridge Apartments are located. It is nice for a walk and for enjoying the view on Prague Castle. You can also rent a pedal boat here or visit a café, gallery or design shop, all in one building in SmetanaQ. On the opposite side from here, you can visit Kampa park, which has also a beautiful view on the historical centre, and you can sit in a café or make a picnic on the grass.
Relax on an island
There are several islands on Vltava, and they are usually much calmer places than the embarkments. In the city centre, the most known is Střelecký ostrov, which was recently renovated, is barrier free and you can find a bar and a restaurant there. The smaller, also very well known and visited, is called Žofín (Slovanský ostrov). Be aware that those islands are guarded, have limited opening hours (close late at night) and drinking alcohol is prohibited there.
Stvanice Island is located a bit further from the centre, near Vltavska metro station. It has become a place for culture and music, as well as sport. You will find „Vila Stvanice“ there, where you can visit lectures, workshops, concerts or late parties. Also there is a sports canal, tennis hall or skatepark.
Ride the river
Feel like leaving the safe shore and having a ride? There are several ways to do that, depending on your preferences and budget.
Many boats cruise the river every day. You can simply have a dinner, or listen to music there. Sometimes you can find thematic cruises as well. Google „boat cruises Vltava Prague“ and search for the best option to enjoy a beautiful ride!
If you prefer some privacy and intimacy, you can always rent a pedal boat. There are companies providing this service around the centre, and you will easily recognize them by looking for parked pedal boats on the water. For example, as mentioned above, one is right next to our Charles Bridge apartments.
In case you have very limited time or you are on a tight budget, the easiest thing to do is catch „Privoz“ and have a quick ride on the river. You can use one of the seven lines that are integrated to Prague public transport. They usually connect two embarkments with an island. All you need to do is to check their timetables and have a valid public transport ticket. If you feel like choosing this option, feel welcome to find out the details in our previous article about public transport in Prague.
Jump in, or just chill on the beach!
Swimming in Vltava river always starts controversial and passionate talks about whether the water is actually safe and healthy. We will not directly recommend you to jump in since sometimes Vltava water in Prague is said not to be suitable for swimming. However, some people do that even in the centre of the city. After all, even if its not recommended, its definitely not banned! Usually, people who are not allergic, have weak immunity or have some other serious health problems, can do it without risk of harm. Some people even enjoy to jump in right at Naplavka now and then. During the winter, you can regularly jump straight from the sauna on the boat (it is in operation only during the winter season.) In summer, you can go to Zlute lazne beach. It is located in Podoli and offers a nice complex of bars, restaurants, beer garden, pétanque place etc. Whether you feel like swimming or not, this place is definitely nice to relax or socialize during the warm summer days in Prague!
Too warm to stay cool? Check our 6 Tips To Keep You Cool During A Hot Day In Prague !