It’s true that the weather this year has been unpredictable and that we couldn’t wait for the summer to begin. However, the summer came suddenly and 18°C turned into 30°C+ in just a few days. How to deal with this heat?
Well, the best option is to go on a holiday near the seacoast, to beautiful Croatia, Greek islands, Spain or to exotic destinations such as Egypt, Thailand, Maldives, etc. But what if you’re stuck at work in a European metropolis such as Prague? This is a short guide on where to find refreshment in Prague and its surroundings.
Although Prague is not a coastal city, it’s large enough to have less adequate substitutions for the sea – lakes.
One of the largest swimming areas is a natural lake Hostivař at the southeastern part of Prague. The lake is surrounded by a thick park-forest where you can find a shadow on a hot summer day. You can take a walk through the park or relax and make a picnic under the treetops.
The Hostivař area is divided into the attractive part of the lake (where you have to pay 100kč/day for the entrance to the beach), the nudist beach and the less attractive parts where you can swim for free. Around the lake, there are a few stands and bars with refreshments.
I swam a few times in the Hostivař lake, but I had a feeling that the water was not so clean. Nonetheless, if you find yourself near Hostivař, you should definitely check it out, at least because of the beautiful nature.
Another popular swimming spot is Džbán, an artificial lake at the base of Divoká Šárka nature reserve in the northwestern part of Prague. The lake Džbán offers a classic and a nudist beach (it seems that Czechs like to be naked :P). The beach is open daily from 8-21h and the entrance fee is 90kč/day. You can always swim for free in other parts of the lake.
Beaches at Džbán are pebble and the lake coast is covered with grass, so you can take your beach towel and pretend that you’re at the seaside. If you’re not fond of lying and sunbathing, you can also have an active day at the Džbán lake. You can rent a small boat and sail on the lake. You can play volleyball, football, frisbee or surf on the water from one side of the lake to the other holding yourself to a rope.
Last year I saw many people posting photos of them bathing in the natural swimming area Lhotka on social sites. It seemed popular, but I never heard of it before.
The biotope Lhotka is a swimming area in the southern part of Prague, near the Novodvorská bus stop. It was a swimming area in the 70s and 80s and it was renewed and re-opened last year. The lake has clean water and in the area, there are toilets, showers, and stands with refreshments.
Lhotka is open daily from 9-20h and the daily entrance fee is 100kč. We are planning to go there next weekend. 🙂
Swimming pools in Prague
Prague, like any other big city, has a large number of swimming pools, both indoor and outdoor ones. While I was growing up, I liked going to the swimming pools in Zagreb, mostly to winter and summer pools Mladost. My love for swimming continued in Prague, but here, I find most of the indoor pools to be too small and too steaming.
There are a few swimming pools and aqua parks in Prague, which are great for hot summer months.
1) Podolí swimming pool
Podolí is the largest and definitely the best swimming pool in Prague. It’s located in the southern part of Prague, near the Vltava riverbank.
The complex contains one large indoor swimming pool, two outdoor swimming pools, a small pool with jacuzzi and a shallow pool for the children. You can relax on the spacious grassland around the swimming pools, sunbath on the stadium terraces, and have a drink or snacks at the summer bar. To your disposition are also changing rooms.
The entrance fee is 140/190kč (from 15-18h/from 8-15h) for the whole day.
2) Petynka swimming pool
Petynka swimming pool is open only during the summer from 1st of May until the 1st of September. There is a good reason for that – it only has an outdoor swimming pool (although there are plans of making an indoor pool, as well as the pool with waves for surfers).
In the area, you can also find a small pool for the children, a large toboggan, a few bars, and stands with refreshments. A spacious grassland and small hills surround swimming pools, so you can also relax in the shadow of the trees.
I usually buy a 1-hour ticket for 60kč, but it’s definitely better to take a whole day to enjoy the pools and nature. So, bring your book or a magazine, pay 150kč for the daily entrance, and relax.
3) Aquapalace Praha
Aquapalace Prague is the largest aqua park not only in the Czech Republic but also in the whole of Central Europe. It has a surface of 9150m2 and it’s divided to 3 palaces. Aquapalace Prague is a complex of many swimming pools, connected with toboggans and slides. Its other attractions include a wild river, artificial waves, space bowl water slide, laser show, as well as a sauna, wellness, and fitness.
In Aquapalace, you won’t stay hungry or thirsty, because you can always go to one of many restaurants and bars. You can even spend the night in the Aquapalace hotel, which is pretty expensive though.
Aquapalace is located in Čestlice neighborhood in the eastern part of town. You can reach it with the metro line C to Opatov stop and a bus n.328 to Čestlice, Kika-Aquapalace. It’s open every day from 10-22h. Daily ticket to the Aquapalace Water World costs 759kč (859kč with the entrance to saunas). If you want to bring your kids and family with you, the family ticket is 1749kč.
4) Aqua Dream
If you think that Aquapalace is too far or too expensive, you can always visit a smaller, but equally fun Aqua Dream in Barrandov neighborhood. Its aqua world has only two toboggans, a few slides and mini-slides for the youngest, a wild river, whirlpool, jacuzzi, sauna, and massage services.
It’s open daily from 8-22h and the ticket price is 99kč/h or 199kč for the whole day at the outdoor swimming pool area. The family ticket is 248kč/h. They also have Monday discounts – 99kč/100min.
One curiosity at Czech swimming pools is that there are usually no changing rooms or shower cabins (except at the Podolí outdoor swimming pool or in aqua parks). You have to change into your bathing suit in front of your locker and take a shower next to other visitors of the same sex. It’s a practical way of saving space and money and nobody actually minds it. You don’t have to be ashamed. After all, you have the same body parts as other women/men. What I’ve heard is that the same situation is at the Hungarian swimming pools, as well.
My favorite place for swimming during the summer in Prague is lake Mlékojedy. It’s large and clean lake south from Prague, near a town called Neratovice. Why is this my favorite place if it’s not even in Prague? Have you ever seen how Czechs behave around water? They are crazy about water, sea, lakes, rivers, swimming! On the first warm spring day, when the sun comes out and the temperature is 17°C, 18°C, the Podolí OUTDOOR swimming pool is completely full. Well, in Mlékojedy, this is not the case.
Many people from Prague either didn’t hear about Mlékojedy or they are too lazy to go there. Mostly the locals from Neratovice or the nearest villages go there on weekends. It’s an ideal place where you can still find your peace and quiet in nature. You can camp here around the lake or in a camp area near the Beach Park Mlékojedy (70kč/night). I saw people fishing and grilling here.
The Beach Park is actually the only bar at the lake. It’s a semi-open bar on the sand, with a few large wooden tables outside. They sell all kinds of refreshing drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and some “snacks”: nákladáný hermelín, utopenec, sausages, burgers, pancakes. The beach bar is open until late at night and it organizes all kinds of events during the summer: hip-hop, reggae, techno, disco nights, movie projections, old-timer auto shows and circus festivals.
The first time when I was here was during the Circus Culture Fest two years ago. Circus Culture Fest is a festival of new circus held every year at the end of June/beginning of July. During two festive days, you can try to joggle, hula-hoop and many other circus disciplines. The requisites are at your disposition in front of the beach bar. There are also workshops during the day and different performances in the evening. The festival ends with a circus gala show.
There are two ways to get to Mlékojedy:
a) by train from the Prague Main Train Station to the village Tišice (a 45min ride) and then a short walk (10min) to the lake
b) by bus from the Prague metro station Ladví to Neratovice (30min ride) and then a 15-20min walk through Neratovice to the lake
A bus ticket costs 32kč and a train ticket 50kč. In any case, it’s very cheap to get there. The prices in Beach Park are also lower than the prices in Prague. Mlékojedy lake is a perfect spot for a “weekend runaway”, so take your friends or family, your bathing suits, towels, some food for the picnic and enjoy!
Vltava river and pedal boats
In general, nobody swims in the Vltava river, except when they’re drunk and they fall in the water by accident. The river is dirty and it’s not easily accessible since the riverbank is pretty high. Many people like to seat on the riverbank during the summer, though, and relax with a drink in their hand. Here are some of the most popular riverbank sports:
From the first warm day in a year until the beginning of the fall, Náplavka is always full of people. It’s the part of a riverbank between the Jiráskův bridge and the Vyšehrad railway bridge. On Náplavka, you can find many old ships turned into bars and discos offering various music events, concerts, etc.
Have a drink in one of the boat-bars at sunset and enjoy a beautiful view of the Vltava river and the Prague Castle. If you want to feel more like a local, buy your drink in the nearest Vietnamese potraviny (a small shop) and sit on the ground at the edge of the riverbank. You’ll certainly have a company of many swans swimming in the river.
2) Žluté lázně
Not far from Náplavka, there is an enclosed area of bars, restaurants, and sandy beaches called Žluté lázně. They organize different music and sports events, and even a summer cinema. The entrance to Žluté lázně is usually free, except in case of a larger event or summer cinema (50kč per movie night).
3) Štvanice island
If you’re into skating or techno music, you should definitely visit Štvanice island between the main bus station Florenc and Holešovice neighborhood. On one part of Štvanice island is a skate park and the other part is ideal for relaxing on the grass or having a picnic. There is a small bar on Štvanice island with various events and techno parties.
I was on Štvanice island only a few times, but I have many nice memories from there. 🙂
4) Střelecký island
Another popular island on Vltava river with a rich program of events is Střelecký island. You can find it under the Legion Bridge near the National Theatre. It’s a great place to sit on the bench or on the grass, have a drink or a snack and watch the city from another perspective. Here you’ll also find yourself surrounded by many pedal boats in all kinds of colors and shape sailing on the Vltava.
One of the tourist attractions of Prague is pedal boats on Vltava river. I adore them and I already convinced almost all of my friends from Croatia to rent pedal boats. Imagine a hot summer day, you’re working in your office or a bar at 32°C without the air-conditioning. In the afternoon, when you get off work, instead of going straight home, you stop in the city center and have a refreshing pedal boat ride. There’s nothing better than that!
You can rent a pedal boat on Slavonic island south from Charles Square. You can choose between different rental companies, but the average price is 200kč for a pedal boat (it can take up to 4 people). You can divide the price among friends and enjoy a 1h ride on the cold greenish river with the view of Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, National Theatre and other Prague attractions.
Ice cream can definitely refresh you during hot summer afternoons. I’m not an ice cream fan and I eat it only occasionally, mostly in the café where I work. I’m also more used to ice creams on a stick (nanuk in Czech) than ice cream on a cone (zmrzlina in Czech). It’s more common to find a nanuk in Croatia because we have our own producer called Ledo.
Nonetheless, Czechs prefer homemade ice creams on a cone and the best places where you can find them in Prague are those:
- Angelato (Rytířská 27; Újezd 24; Bělohorská 50)
- Ovocný Světozor (Vodičkova 39; Havlíčkova 15; shopping malls Flora, Chodov, Černý Most, etc.)
- Vanille (at the Náměstí Míru metro station)
- Creme de la Creme (Husova 12; Národní 23)
- Puro Gelato (Kaprova 11; Na Hrobci 1)
- Parlor – Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches (Křižíková 37)