Vltava River, Prague, Czech Republic (with Map & Photos)

The Vltava (Moldau River) is the longest river in the Czech Republic. For 430 kilometers, it crosses the Bohemian country from south to north, from its source in the mountains of the Bohemian Forest, to its junction with the Elbe River, in the city of Melnik. This river, called Vltava in Czech, is navigable and constitutes an important and historic river communication route in Central Europe.

Vltava River Prague Czech Republic
Vltava River Prague Czech Republic

The course of the Vltava runs through some of the most monumental cities in the Czech Republic, such as Český Krumlov, České Budějovice or Prague. As it passes through the Czech capital, the river becomes one more tourist element of the already beautiful city. The best buildings in Prague look towards the Vltava, as if the city wanted to show the river its best clothes.

Vltava, the Prague river

The Vltava is the river of Prague, another symbol of the Czech capital. Its course through the center of the city forms a small meander with several islands where houses, gardens, sports clubs and a small palace have even been built.

In total, the Vltava runs 30 kilometers within the Prague metropolitan area, with 18 bridges spanning it; among them, the emblematic Charles Bridge. It is precisely in this area where the river and the city form a unique environment. There are the Old Town and the Malá Strana district with the Prague Castle at its highest point.

Without a doubt, one of the most characteristic photos of Prague and the Vltava River is in the area of ​​the Charles Bridge. Whether day or night, to one side or the other, any view is a photo. It is worth stopping by at different times of the day to admire this landscape full of history. The sunset, for example, offers us spectacular pictures.

Singular buildings

The passage of the Vltava through Prague leaves two monumental riverbanks. The city looks at the riverbed with respect and elegance, not only because of the presence of the Charles Bridge. You just have to look at the houses overlooking the Vltava, stately and well-kept.

On the east bank of the Vltava, on the shore of the Old City, there are the following points of interest:

  • The National Theater
  • The Dancing House
  • The Naplavka market, a spectacular food market that takes place on Saturdays at the foot of the river
  • The Bedřich Museum
  • The Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design
  • The faculties of the University of Carlos (Arts, Technique and Law)
  • The Rudolfinum
  • The Ministry of Industry and Commerce

Vltava River Prague Czech Republic
National Theater in Prague

For its part, on the west bank, the shore where the Malá Strana neighborhood is located, are:

  • Letná Park, with the Prague metronome
  • The Kramářova Vila, official residence of the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
  • The Straka Academy
  • The Franz Kafka Museum
  • The Kampa Island
  • The Liechtenstein Palace
  • Savoy coffee

Islands in the river

The Vltava River also holds some other surprises. Up to seven islands mark the river course in its urban section, creating very interesting spaces in the middle of the water. In June they become open-air music venues thanks to the United Islands festival, which attracts thousands of people.

One of the main islands is the Island of Shooting (Střelecký Ostrov), which divides the Vltava in two as if it were a large ship. Surrounded by trees, it has several restaurants and spaces for outdoor events. It is a very romantic corner where you can lose yourself and observe the Charles Bridge from the middle of the river.

On Detsky Island you can see the system of locks to facilitate the passage of boats. There are also some other restaurants. On its neighboring island Slovansky stands the Žofín Palace, a stately building where cultural events and concerts are held.

To the north of the city appears the island Štvanice, the largest in the Vltava as it passes through Prague. This islet is closely linked to sport, with facilities for tennis tournaments in Prague, a skatepark and a rowing canal.

Cruises and boat trips on the Vltava as it passes through Prague

Undoubtedly, the best way to see a river is from a boat. And in Prague there are several options for boat trips on the Vltava. For the more conformist, it is possible to take a simple one-hour circular trip through the central part of Vltava. It is a good way to see the city from another point of view and to know a little more about the places of interest seen from the boat, since it is a live commented cruise. The boat can be boarded both at the pier next to the Čech bridge and on the island of Kampa.

It is also possible to rent a small boat to get to know the river in more detail and navigate the interior of Kampa Island through the hidden Devil's Channel.

Vltava River Prague Czech Republic
Vltava River Prague Czech Republic

If you are looking for something a little more special, there are several options for a Prague cruise on the Vltava with lunch or dinner. The more romantics will love sailing down the river at sunset while enjoying an excellent dinner aboard a glass-enclosed boat.

The magic of Prague at night from the river!

There are many cruises that cross the Vltava, some are hired for events and private parties, bachelor parties, company parties and even weddings. It is also possible to experience the end of the year from one of these cruises and witness the famous New Year's fireworks while enjoying an elegant dinner.

Prague would not be the same without its river. The passage of the Vltava through the Czech capital leaves behind countless beautiful buildings, bridges and islands that deserve to be explored.

Vltava River Map