CANOEING IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC

Canoeing, rafting, and kayaking are some of this country’s most popular summer pass-times. Given the vast and beautiful network of rivers and streams that thread their way through the Bohemian landscape, it’s easy to see why. The waterways here are numerous and varied enough to provide whatever level of challenge the sports enthusiast is seeking, be it a family outing with the kids and grandparents along, or a whitewater thrill-seeking expedition, or a gentle sightseeing cruise with a few friends and a case of beer on board.From Prague, it’s easy enough for travelers to undertake single-day trips, or the more adventurous can set out on multi-day excursions with tent-site camping along the way. Because of the widespread popularity of the sport, rentals are numerous and easy to obtain, and general amenities are everywhere.   

The following are a few of the most well-known and popular canoeing areas with hopefully helpful links inserted into the descriptions. And there are many more than what are listed here that are waiting out there for you discover and explore. 

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THE RIVER VLTAVA

Way south of Prague in the southernmost tip of Bohemia is one of the most-frequented destinations for canoers, the stretch of the river Vltava that runs from Vyšší Brod to České Budějovice, and especially the section that passes through the breathtaking medieval town of Český Krumlov. The river is easygoing and fit for all skill levels, and you can choose routes that let you enjoy a trip of several hours or several days. Here are some links to some popular rental companies, all in English, all of whom can set you up not only with the craft and equipment you need, but will also give you suggested itineraries and even book your campsites or pensions along the way.  

Inge Tour

Rafty Vltava

Maleček Rafting & Canoe

Rafty Šumava

THE RIVER LUŽNICE

This waterway begins in Austria and flows 208 km through southern Bohemia passing through the towns of Suchdol nad Lužnici, Třebon, and Tabor on its way north before curving back south to empty into the Vltava at Týn nad Vltavou. The suggested starting point is Suchdol. The rental websites are usually in Czech, but if you email them in English, as with the suggestions in the regions that follow, you will normally receive an answer in English.

Vydra na Lužnici

V-Servis Suchdol

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The river Sázava

THE RIVER SÁZAVA

This Sázava begins at the lake Velké Dářko and winds through the countryside for 218 km before emptying into the Vltava. On its bank lies the beautiful castle Český Šternberk, and one of its primary points of interest is the Stvořidla rapids, one of the most difficult sections of rapids in the Czech Republic.

Sport-S

Samba Boat Rentals 

Povoda

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Český Šternberk

THE RIVER OTAVA

The River Otava runs through the Šumava region of southern Bohemia for 112 km, and is comprised of three separate sections with three distinctly different levels of difficulty. The upper section which runs from Čeňkova Pila to Sušice is the wildest, dropping 48 meters over it’s first six kilometers, and is suggested for experienced canoers only. The next section which runs to Písek is somewhat calmer, but broken up by a large number of weirs which make for some fun rapids, and then the final section flows calmly into the lake where lies the 12-century gothic Castle Zvikov.

Lodní Servis

Pujčovna Kanoe

Zvikov castle.

Zvikov castle.

As I wrote at the beginning of this article, these are just a few of the most popular places for canoeing and rafting, but there are many more to be found. For those with a serious taste for water sports, do a little research and you can come up with enough information to keep you going all summer. For a start, get your Google on and look up the following rivers: Metuje, Ploučnice, and Ohře. Have fun! 

Jeff Fritz

I first came to the Czech Republic in 2004, and came to Prague to live in 2005. Since then, I've traveled all over the country and have spent almost as much time in the city as out of it, hiking the woods and mountains and attending open-air festivals. I spent 4.5 years working as a tour guide doing historical walks, brewery tours, ghost tours after dark, and acting as the beer master for a Czech beer tasting. Following that, I worked for 3 years as general manager of a large live-music venue in the Old Town, and 1.5 years as manager for a tea house and specialty beer bar in Letná. I have also worked as an actor, designer, and technical director for most of the English-language theatre companies in Prague. And my wife and I have been operating an independent theatre company here called Akanda since 2008. History, especially of Central and Eastern Europe, has been a passion of mine since university.

2 Comments On “CANOEING IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC”

  1. Very interesting and comprehensive guide, really appreciate your trouble writing it. Do you happen to know if within Prague independent kayaking is permitted? I’m planning a road trip through the Czech Republic in a couple of weeks and intend on bringing my own kayak along (Lipno nad Vltavou lake is also on the wishlist). Hope to hear from you soon!
    PS: I’m from Romania, we also have a few nice kayaking spots on mountain lakes, not to mention the Danube and its delta.

    Reply

  2. Hi Paul, to be honest, I’ve never seen anyone canoying under the Charles Bridge. I guess that it would be very difficult due to many locks, which mainly serve to big boats. Too danderous for a small canoe. You could do good canoyeing around Zlute Lazne or Troja. In Troja or Stvanice Island there are artificial wild water canals for training. Try to google it.

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