The Vltava River is the longest river in the Czech Republic, stretching from its original source in Sumova, through the medieval city of Cesky Krumlov, to the brewery town of Ceske Budejovice, and onto the capital city of Prague. The Vltava River in Prague joins the Elbe River at Melnik—renowned for its historic manors and castles—where it eventually drains. Along the river's meandering path, it rises through the Krkonose Mountains and across the enchanting lands of Bohemia. The Vltava is the lifeblood of the Czech Republic, flowing almost 300 miles in total. Also known as Moldau River—a German name with Czech origins meaning "wild, strong river"—Vltava rises significantly in an area of the Bohemia Forest where it is fed by two major streams. The river's mid-section basin is exactly where it flows by Ceske Bodejovice. In this area there is an extensive lake region where outdoor recreation possibilities are excellent.
The Vltava River in Prague is crossed by many bridges, one being the famous Charles Bridge, adorned with numerous historical monuments. A great way to get a close-up view of these bridges and the bustling activity along the riverbanks is by canoe or kayak. Many active tourists who enjoy cycling and hiking throughout the country also enjoy this option over river cruises. There are also many riverside events happening throughout the year including music concerts, festivals, and cultural activities. Almost any section of the Vltava River flowing through Prague is a great spot for people watching, especially in the summer.
Within Prague many tourists enjoy Vltava River cruises, a great way to explore the capital from a unique vantage point. A river cruise in Prague can be arranged any day of the week at almost any time of year, depending on whether conditions. Many cities are accessible via the Vltava River in Prague. By boat, locals and visitors can head further down the river to Melnik, Dresden, Usti Nad Labem and even Hamburg, Germany. Many cruise companies are happy to arrange transfers from Prague hotels to the docks where ships debark, and can also provide a guide for those looking for in-depth information during tours.
There are a three main categories to choose from when booking Vltava River cruises. Guests can enjoy lunch or dinner, or opt for a more entertaining music cruise. There are also some afternoon tea cruises. Lunch and dinner cruises typically last from two to three hours with meals most often served as both hot and cold buffets. Music cruises differ in genres of music played but the most popular is the evening cruise featuring a live jazz band.
The ships used for cruises along the Vltava River range from small to large. Smaller boats with sundecks are ideal for small groups looking for a private tour. The larger boats used for Vltava River cruises accommodate from 50 to more than 100 people. They are equipped with air conditioning, onboard restaurants, washroom facilities, bars and outdoor decks for the best views. During tours along the Vltava River in Prague, passengers will see some major city attractions along the way like Prague Castle and the adjacent Strahov Monastery, and the Rudolfinum, situated in the old Jewish Quarter.
A look along the Vltava River illustrates just how important this free flowing torrent is to the country. The river is part of the historical tale behind the nation, where it once provided the only means of transportation available to ship goods, trade and generally travel from point to point. It is a significant part of many backdrops throughout the Czech Republic with its understated beauty accentuated by bordering trees, historic buildings and mountains in both rural and urban environments. Vltava River is as much appreciated by the local people as it is by visitors. It is a place to enjoy, appreciate and respect.