Messing about on the river




The Vltava (Moldau in German) is the longest river in the Czech Republic, running north from its source in Šumava through Český Krumlov, České Budějovice, and Prague before merging with the Elbe (Labe) at beautiful Mělník. The Vltava is 430km long and is bigger than the Elbe but their angles at the Mělník confluence make the Vltava appear to be the tributary.

Boat options in Prague vary from the ridiculous swan boats to three hour cruises with food and music. One hour cruises stay within boundary weirs above and below Karlův most and involve jostling around with various other people in crafts of myriad sizes and manoeuvrability aiming for that perfect shot of the castle. Allow a boat trip to influence your choice in riverside restaurants: cruise and choose. The terraces are worth the extra dining cost and you never know what you might witness – one lunch time was accompanied, to much interest, by a porn shoot on a cruising launch. Two or more hour cruises involve heading through the lock at Sovovy mlýny and motoring up to Vyšehrad. The longer cruises with food (usually set menu or buffet) and music may or may not cross the lock – check if you want the full trip up and down the river.

The moorings on both sides of the river offer much the same trip and price options and there are more boats/companies on the Kampa side offering similar trips to the following bigger companies. Now if you just want to mess with a couple of mates and some cold ones, then head to Slovanský ostrov (G-5) and hop on a pedalo. If you are feeling daring, take the swan or strong, take the row boats - oars here aren't of the most ergonomic design. Obviously, pedalos cannot cross the weirs, regardless how daring you might be feeling, so if you want to paddle under Charles Bridge and play dodge the big boats, there are usually pedalos for hire around Platnéřská street (G-3). You usually have to wait, but they serve beer and have terraces so it's not too painful. The Aussie/Czech concern at the northern tip of Slovanský ostrov is very popular and has long lines. Pedalos cost 100Kč per person an hour and some form of ID must be shown. The Smíchov/Anděl bank has pedalo quays too.

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