Vltava - a river in the Czech Republic, which is the most famous and longest in the country, flowing, including through the capital of the Czech Republic - the city of Prague.
The Vltava is often referred to as the "Czech National River".
The Czech name of the river "Vltava", like the German - "Moldau", comes from the Old German word "Wilth-ahwa", which means "Wild Water".
In Prague, the river flows within the city and is crossed by 18 bridges, including the most famous Charles Bridge.
In the very center of Prague, the Vltava divides the historic city center into the Old Town (Staré Město) and the Lesser Town (Malá Strana).
In Prague, along the Vltava, you can take river boat trips, thereby enjoying the views of the river itself, the islands of the river, bridges across the river and its banks with historical buildings.
Bridges across the Vltava in the center of Prague (Charles Bridge)
In the very center of Prague, six bridges span the Vltava River, including the beautiful historical Legion Bridge (Legii Bridge, Most Legií), the arched Manesov Bridge (Mánesův most) and the exquisite Chekhov Bridge (Čechův most).
The most famous and most visited of the bridges across the Vltava in Prague is the medieval Charles Bridge (Karluv most).
This fully pedestrian bridge is adorned with statues of saints. Its construction was started on the site of the previous Yudin bridge, under the king and emperor Charles IV in 1357.
Historical towers with observation platforms rise on both sides of the Charles Bridge. From the Mala Strana side there are Malostranskie bridge towers (Malostranska mostecka věž), and from the Old Town - Old Town Bridge Tower (Staroměstská mostecká věž).
The Charles Bridge offers picturesque views of the banks of the river with historical buildings, as well as the Vltava River itself. More about Charles Bridge…
Islands on the Vltava in the center of Prague (Kampa island)
There are islands on the Vltava River in Prague.
The most famous and most visited is the Island of Kampa, stretching between the Vltava River and the Chertovka canal in Mala Strana, which is an artificially created canal dug out, probably in the 12th century. Devil takes its waters from the Vltava and after 740 meters flows back into the river, thereby forming a small island.
The island of Kampa with the Chertovka is called the "Little Venice of Prague".
Here you can see the large mill wheel of the former Priory Mill from the 15th century.
The grassy areas of Kampa Island are widely used for recreation and picnics.
On the island of Kampa are remarkable:
- Museum Kampa, located in the former mills Owl. The museum houses the Jan and Meda Mladek collection, which includes works by abstract art pioneer Frantisek Kupka and Czech cubist sculptor Otto Gutfreund, as well as works by prominent 20th-century artists from the Eastern Block;
- Werichova villa, built at the beginning 17th century and originally served as a tannery. The plant was later bought by the Nostitz family and became the home of Josef Dobrovský, one of the most significant figures of the Czech National Revival. In the 20th century, the famous actor Jan Werich moved here and the Czech poet Vladimir Golan lived here. Currently, a multifunctional center for lectures and master classes has been created within the walls of the villa with a place for temporary exhibitions and an interactive exposition dedicated to Jiří Voskovec, Jan Werich and their Liberated Theater (Osvobozené divadlo);
- the extensive Campa Park;
- Kampa cafe and restaurant with halls and a terrace on the banks of the Vltava River with view of the Charles Bridge. As well as residential buildings, historical monuments, cafes, restaurants and hotels
In addition to Kampa Island in the center of Prague on the Vltava River there are also: Children's Island (Dětský ostrov), Streletsky Island (Střelecký ostrov), Slavic Island (Slovanský ostrov) and small Petrzhilovsky Island (Petržílkovský ostrov) with Malostranska aquifer tower (Malostranská vodárna) of the 16th century.
On Children's Island there is a park, a playground and sports facilities. At the northern tip of the island is a bronze allegorical statue of the Vltava River on a plinth decorated with reliefs depicting four girls representing the tributaries of the river.
Streletsky Island is mostly a park with a few cafes. From time to time, holidays, concerts, open-air festivals and other cultural events take place on the island.
Slavyansky Island is perhaps the second most popular and interesting, after the island of Kampa, and the only one on the Vltava River with significant landscape design.
The island is 350 meters long and 95 meters wide at its widest point.
The island is dominated by the impressive Zofin Palace (Palác Žofín), built in the 1800s years in the Neo-Renaissance style - a traditional venue for balls, concerts and important social events, where Franz Liszt and Hector Berlioz gave concerts, and in 1863 Richard Wagner conducted a concert.
On Slavyansky Island there are several rowing boat and catamaran rentals, a children's train, a copy of the historical "steam locomotive", a park area, cafes, monuments, a playground and places for recreation.
On the southern side of Slavyansky Island, where it is connected to the right bank of the Vltava River, rises the Szczytkovo Water Tower (Šítkovská vodárenská věž), originally built in 1495.
There is also Mánes Gallery (Výstavní síň Mánes), built in 1930 and standing on concrete pillars above the Vltava branch. The gallery hosts exhibitions.
Part of the gallery is Manes restaurant with outdoor terrace.
Embankments along the Vltava River in Prague
Embankments run along the Vltava in the center of Prague, but it is worth noting that part of the river bank has a rather dense building.
Along the embankments: walking areas, cafes, restaurants and sightseeing boats.
From the embankments in the center of Prague, you can highlight: Dvorak embankment (Dvořákovo nábřeží), Upper embankment (Hořejší nábřeží) with a park area; as well as Rasinovo (Rasinovo nabrezi) and Smichovská quay (Smíchovská náplavka), where gastronomic festivals and cultural events take place throughout the year.
Notable along the walls of the embankments are the rebuilt "Kobki" - former lockers (literally underground) built into the walls of the embankments. Today, these chambers house cafes, bars and creative workshops.
On the Rashinov Embankment on Saturdays from 08:00 to 14:00 (from February to Christmas) there is a farmers' market (Farmářské tržiště Náplavka): ready-made food, snacks and drinks, seasonal and not only fruits and vegetables, pastries, meat products, cheeses, dairy products (including organic), eggs from private and small farms, flowers, handicrafts and other products and goods.
Farmers' markets are held in Prague not only on the waterfront. Website: farmarsketrziste.cz.
In terms of picturesqueness and architecture, the most attractive of Prague's embankments are the Masaryk or Masarykova (Masarykovo nabrezi) and Rashinov embankments.
Bright tall Art Nouveau houses stretch along the embankments, and the embankments themselves are one of the most photographic places in Prague. More about Masaryk and Rashinov embankments…
Top attractions along the banks of the Vltava River in Prague
Letensky Gardens or Letná Park (Letenské sady) is a vast park located on the left bank of the Vltava River, opposite the historical district of Prague Stare Mesto, near the Prague bridges.
In the gardens: places for recreation, walks and sports, playgrounds, the Prague metronome (Pražský metronom) and the Hanavský pavilon with a restaurant. More about Letensky Gardens…
The Rudolfinum is a grandiose neo-Renaissance historic building that is the seat of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and the most prestigious Czech concert hall.
The Rudolfinum hosts concerts and exhibitions, there is also a gallery, a panoramic terrace and a cafe. More about Rudolfinum…
Crusader Square (Krzyžovnik Square, Křižovnické náměstí) is one of the smallest and, at the same time, most visited squares in Prague. It is located near the Charles Bridge.
On the Square: Church of St. Francis of Assisi (Kostel svatého Františka z Assisi), Charles Bridge Museum (Muzeum Karlova mostu), Monument to Charles IV (Socha Karla IV) in full size, St. Salvator's Church (Kostel Nejsvětějšího Salvátora) and Colloredo-Mansfeld Palace (Colloredo-Mansfeldský palác), which you can visit.
From the open areas of the square, located near the Charles Bridge, there are beautiful views of the Charles Bridge, the Vltava River and the opposite bank of the river - the historical district of Mala Strana (Malá Strana). More about Crusader Square…
Museum of Smetana
The Museum of Bedrich Smetana (Muzeum Bedřicha Smetany) is dedicated to the life and work of the famous Czech composer Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884).
Near the museum, near the waters of the Vltava River, there is an observation deck that offers views of the Vltava River with bridges and the historical area on the opposite bank of the river - Mala Strana. More about the Museum of Smetana…
The historical building of the National Theater (Národní divadlo) attracts attention not only with a stunning stage and the building itself with architectural and sculptural decorations. More about the National Theater…
The Dancing House of Prague (Tančící dům) is part of modern Prague architecture.
The house was built in 1992-1996 according to the project of world famous architects Vlad Milunich and Frank O. Gehry.
On two floors of the Dancing House there is 4-star Dancing House - Tančící dům hotel with rooms with an unforgettable view of Prague. Breakfast is included in the room rate. Link to hotel
The Dancing House has a gallery, a restaurant and a bar with an observation deck on the 7th floor. More about the Dancing House…
Petrin Hill (Petřín) is a green hill, which is located on the left bank of the Vltava River and is one of the highest hills in the Czech capital.
On the hill there are gardens, paths and alleys for walking, places for recreation, fountains, monuments and sculptures, observation platforms, panoramic restaurants, as well as some important sights of the city.
Notable on Petrshin Hill: Petrshinskaya Tower, memorial to the victims of communism (Pomník obětem komunismu), Mirror Labyrinth (Zrcadlove bludiště), St. Lawrence Church and Way of the Cross a> (Katedralní chram sv. Vavřince), Štefánikova hvězdárna observatory with a permanent astronomical exhibition and the possibility of observing the sky, The Hunger Wall (Hladová zeď), ethnographic museum The National Museum of Prague (Národopisné muzeum Národního muzea) with an ethnographic exposition, as well as panoramic cafes and restaurants.
On Petrin there is The 4-star Nebozizek Hotel a Restaurant offers panoramic views of Prague Castle and the Old Town. Breakfast is included in the room rate. Link to hotel
You can walk on Petrin Hill for free. Visiting objects (museums) of the hill - paid.
You can climb the hill on foot or by funicular. More about Petrin Hill…
Visegrad (Vyšehrad) - an ancient fortress (castle), which was the first residence of the Czech princes.
Visegrad is located on a rocky promontory above the Vltava River.
On the territory of Visegrad are located: the remains of former defensive structures (gates, walls), the Romanesque rotunda of St. Martin, the neo-Gothic church of St. Peter and Paul, the national cemetery of Slavin, casemates, a Gothic cellar, a gallery in the remains of the tower , Old Burgrave's House, open-air theatre, statues and monuments, Plague Column, etc.
Visits to the objects of Visegrad are paid. Entrance to the territory is free.
The Troja Palace
The Troja Palace or Troja Castle (Troský zámek) is one of the most beautiful Baroque monuments in Prague, surrounded by a beautiful French garden.
The palace, as a summer residence, was built in 1679 by Vaclav Vojtech, Count Sternberk. The author of the project of the castle was the architect of French origin Jean Baptiste Matei.
In the interior of the castle, you can admire the unique fresco decoration and exhibitions prepared by Prague Capital City Gallery (Galerie hlavniho mesta Prahy). Concerts are also held on the territory of the castle.
Adjacent to the castle is an extensive French Baroque garden, which is one of the most beautiful gardens in Prague and is decorated with terracotta vases, pergolas, labyrinths, fountains and busts of emperors.
Entrance to the palace premises is paid.
Prague Zoo (Zoo Praha, Zoologicka zahrada hl. m. Prahy) is one of the largest and most famous zoos in Europe.
На 58 гектарах расположены павильоны и более 5000 особей, принадлежащих к более чем 650 видам: от жуков, рыб, черепах и змеев до пингвинов, жирафов, антилоп, тигров и львов.
Гордостью Пражского зоопарка является Долина слонов - всеобъемлющая территория, населенная стадом индийских слонов.
The zoo also attracts attention: the pavilion of rare parrots, the aquarium, the pavilion of the Indonesian jungle with tropical plants with Komodo lizards, the African house with giraffes and other herbivores from the savannah, the gorilla pavilion and the Darwin crater with Tasmanian and Australian animals.
Entrance to the zoo is paid. Learn more about the sights and museums of Prague…
The best panoramic views of the Vltava River and not only in Prague
You can admire the Vltava River, as well as the surrounding landscape with amazing architectural buildings, not only from bridges and river embankments, but also from observation decks and observation points of Prague.
Especially attractive in the Letenskiye gardens is that they are located on a hill (Ganava hill).
The park has observation decks from which you can admire the beautiful panorama of the right bank of Prague, the Vltava River and Prague bridges. These are some of the best views in the city of the Vltava and bridges.
Prague Castle (abundance of observation decks)
Prague Castle (Pražský hrad) is a majestic castle complex in Prague, which traces its history back to the 9th century.
Directly on the territory of Prague Castle is located St. Vitus Cathedral (Katedrála Sv. Víta), in the gallery of the southern tower of which there is an observation deck with beautiful panoramic views of Prague.
There are also viewing platforms located at the gates of Prague Castle and in the gardens of Prague Castle.
The entrance to the Prague Castle is free.
The ascent to the observation deck in the tower of St. Vitus Cathedral is paid. More about Prague Castle with cathedral, observation decks and gardens…
Charles Bridge Towers
From the platforms of bridge towers (Lesser Town and Old Town), located on both sides of the Charles Bridge, offers good views of the Charles Bridge itself, the Vltava River and part of the urban development Prague.
In the large historical complex Klementinum, on the top of the Astronomical Tower of Klementinum, at an altitude of 52 meters, there is an observation deck, which is one of the best in Prague.
The bird's-eye views of Prague are simply magical - red tiled roofs and narrow streets of old Prague are everywhere.
The ascent to the observation deck is paid, and as part of an excursion together with a visit to other objects of the Clementinum. Entrance from the courtyard of the Clementinum complex. Learn more about Clementinum, excursions and the observation deck…
Petřín lookout tower
At the top of the Petrshin hill is the Petrshinskaya Tower (Petřínska rozhledna), which is a free mini-copy parisian Eiffel Tower.
There are viewing platforms in the Petrshinskaya Tower.
299 steps lead to the upper observation deck, located at a height of 51 meters. You can also take the elevator.
The observation deck offers stunning views of the Vltava River and Prague, and in good weather, parts of the Czech Republic.
The ascent to the observation deck is paid. You need to pay extra for using the elevator. More about the Petrshinskaya Tower and the observation deck…
Walls and gardens of Visegrad
From the Visegrad observation decks at the former fortress wall and in the gardens, stunning views of different parts of Prague, including the Vltava River with bridges, open up.
In the gardens on the walls of Visegrad there is a small tavern "Hospówdka Na Hradbách" with tables in the open air (beer garden) and panoramic views of the city. On the menu: beer, sausages, barbecue, vegetables, snacks, etc. The place is not luxury, but the atmosphere is good.
In Prague there are other observation decks, observation points, as well as cafes, restaurants and view hotels, with and from which panoramic views of the Vltava and the city open. Learn more about the observation decks and observation points of Prague...
Holidays on the Vltava River in Prague
Cultural events in Prague are held not only in theater or concert halls. During the year, some performances and sports competitions take place on the waters of the Vltava.
For example, dragon boat race festival, "Sounds of Prague" concerts on a unique floating stage on the Vltava River (the stage is located in the very center of the city, between the National Theater and Slavyansky Island), rowing competitions, winter swimming competitions in the river, etc.
All accommodation facilities in Prague (hotels, apartments, guest houses, etc.), including near the Vltava River, in the historical center of the city and more remotely from those, can be view and book here