Czechia’s rivers are simply perfect for rafting adventures or laid-back pleasure cruises. Let their waves carry you along, sailing with bated breath through deep canyons, unspoilt countryside and ancient cities brimming with fascinating history.
Vltava: Czechia’s longest river is ideal for a romantic cruise or for a spot of traditional timber raftingThe Vltava is the longest river in the country and the one most frequented by tourists. Its upper reaches pass through the pristine countryside of Šumava National Park, although there are various restrictions in place there. The busiest section is below Lipno reservoir, where the river is guaranteed to flow well all year round. On the Vltava you can also enjoy some water fun on some popular reservoirs, such as Lipno and Orlík, where you get the chance to try your hand at paddle boarding or book a romantic pleasure boat cruise. One popular trend in recent years is the Vltava River trail, which starts in České Budějovice and continues to where the Vltava meets the Elbe in Mělník, opening up the gateway to Europe. For a totally unique experience, try a ride on a log raft; timber rafting has a long tradition in Czechia and UNESCO has it listed as an example of intangible heritage.
Berounka: Ideal for a trip with the kidsWith no strong currents or rapids, the Berounka is known as the calmest Czech river. This makes it perfect for families with small children or complete beginners on the water to enjoy a lazy sail down it. The river passes through a stunning deeply wooded valley between Pilsen and Prague, the Křivoklátsko and Rakovnicko protected nature parks. The cruise takes three to five days, although you can choose to do just one-day stretches. Along the way we recommend visiting the castles Křivoklát and Karlštejn, or the Nižbor glassworks.
The Jizera is one of Czechia’s cleanest rivers. The most beautiful part is the stretch that runs through the Bohemian Paradise, past enchanting castles and châteaus. Along the way you can try the easy via ferratas near the town of Semily. The Ploučnice winds through some beautiful meanders straight out of a fairy tale. The Ploučnice is perfect if you're a romantic at heart and want to feel that you’re sailing far away from civilization and time.
Jizera and Ploučnice: An unspoilt landscape far from civilization and time
Interesting fact: The Ploučnice is one of the few Czech rivers that has seen almost no man-made alterations and still retains its pure and natural beauty, completely free of dams and weirs.
Sázava: The Mecca for Czech raftersWant to experience a real Czech rafting holiday? Then the Sázava is the river for you. The river runs through an area known as Posázaví, surrounded by camps and little cottage settlements dating back more than a hundred years, and on pretty much every corner you’ll find a beautiful place to stop with a traditional Czech pub. The river winds its way through deep valleys, flowing through forests and ancient towns. Along the way you can admire spectacular sights such as the majestic castle of Český Šternberk!
Ohře: A boat trip through Karlovy Vary and to a royal castleThe West Bohemian Ohře River is the perfect watercourse for less experienced beginners. The journey takes you through Czechia’s most famous spa town, Karlovy Vary, past the stunning Svatošské skály rocks and the mediaeval royal Loket Castle. The most popular stretch of the river for rafters is from Loket to Klášterec nad Ohří, which you can do in 2 to 3 days.
Elbe: Ideal for boat trips and bikingThe country’s biggest river is perfect for pleasure cruises. We recommend taking a pleasure cruise from Ústí nad Labem to Hřensko or Litoměřice, while the Elbe is also used by cruise ships sailing from Prague to Dresden. If you prefer something a bit more strenuous, try rafting at Kuks or the via ferratas in Děčín. Or perhaps biking is more your thing? No problem! The Elbe Cycle Route, which is mostly flat, runs all the way along the river as far as the North Sea. Along the way you can admire the picturesque countryside of the Central Bohemian Highlands – Porta Bohemica as well as the rock towns of Bohemian Switzerland!
Convenient fun on the water in Prague, tooThe Vlny Štvanice water sports park is a brand new attraction right in the centre of Prague for any adrenaline lover into surfing and white water! Surfing fans can also give their muscles a workout in the city centre without the sea’s waves while taking in an amazing view of Prague Castle. Besides wavers for river surfers, there’s also a white water channel for kayakers and paddleboarders. You always need to book your slot well in advance there.
The Slalom Channel at Troja is another of the city’s great river experiences for anyone with a passion for water sports, with its white water channel. In early June (8th-11th June) it hosts one of the year’s most popular sporting events, the Canoe Slalom World Cup!
Where can I hire out water sports gear?There are dozens of hire centres on all the rivers we’ve mentioned, where you can arrange to hire a raft, canoe or even a larger motorboat, assuming the conditions are right.
Ingetour – the full range of boating services on the Vltava
V-Servis – canoe and raft hire – Lužnice, Sázava, Otava, Vltava
Veronica – boat and raft hire – Lužnice, Nežárka
Dronte – boat and boating gear hire – Berounka, Lužnice, Ohře, Jizera, Otava, Sázava, Vltava, Prague
Titanic – boat and raft hire - Český Krumlov, Vyšší Brod