COOLING OFF IN PRAGUE

So it’s finally full-on summer. That’s great. The fun, the sun, the heat reflecting off the cobblestone streets, the sweat on your brow, the stinky tram rides – Prague’s got it all for everyone to enjoy. And when you’ve enjoyed it all enough, you’ll probably want to do something to cool off for a bit. There’s no shortage of cool-down activities in the city, and we’ve made a list of a few suggestions that you can try this summer season. Enjoy!

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Rent a peddle boat or row boat and go for a ride on the river Vltava. It’s cheap (usually about 200 kc an hour for a craft that fits 2-4 people), it’s relaxing, it’s scenic, and there’s a drive-up beer service if you know where to look. Check out the island Slovanský Ostrov right next to the National Theater, and you’ll find a couple of rental outfits there, and in between them is a bar called S.P.L.A.V. floating on pontoons which houses the aforementioned take-out window. Sometimes when the weather is really nice, you might have to wait 10 or 15 minutes for a boat to be returned to the dock that you can take, but not usually longer than that.

Go swimming and sunning at Žluté Lázně, a beach area on the bank of the river in Prague 4, just south of the city center. There’s a sandy beach area, a grassy beach area, food, drink, beach volleyball and other assorted sporty activities, and the brave-hearted can swim in the not-quite-crystal-clear waters of the mighty Vltava. From the center, catch tram 2 or 17 to stop Dvorce.

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If you’re into the water park thing, there’s Aquapalace Praha in the extreme south of the city. It has a water world with indoor and outdoor areas, sauna world, fitness center, and spa. To get there ride to the end of metro line C at station Opatov. From there catch bus 328 or 363.

Go for a swim at a public pool. There are a number of pools in Prague and they’re all generally clean and well-maintained, but also tend to be somewhat too crowded to allow for much fitness swimming. Here’s a few you can try if you want to hang out by the water and enjoy some sun and a beverage. Just click on the links to see where they are, and be prepared to use your best Google Translate skills: Podolí, Pražačka in Žižkov, Šutka, Divoká Šarka, Letňany Lagoon Aquacentrum.

When all else fails and you’re feeling particularly laid-back and unmotivated, as one does sometimes especially in the summer, go see a film in an air-conditioned cinema. Nothing brings the blood temperature down to a manageable level quite like sitting in a cool, darkened amphitheater for a couple of hours with a bucket of popcorn. You can find all the big international releases at these locations, among many others: Cinema City, Kino Světozor, Lucerna Cinema, BIO OKO, Kino Aero.

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.

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