Fancy a dip? Here's a guide to some of the pools, lakes, and riverside beaches where Praguers can stay cool this summer
To all lovers of heat and golden light, that time is once again upon us. When days last longer, and people crack open their winter shells to reveal what you've suspected all along: umm, tasty!
Yes, it is now summer, and as you stand next to that smelly yet pleasant stranger on the stalled tram, perhaps your mind skips gaily off to fonder memories of cool seas or cascading waterfalls. Do not let the mere fact of our landlockedness drive you to despair. Although there is no ocean to be had for miles, there is an abundance of places to dip your body. There are lakes, riverside beaches, swimming pools, and even rock quarries where one can shed that film of diesel and feel refreshed - at least, temporarily.
Below I have listed the top spots for escaping the city's sweat and enjoying the fruits of outdoor swimming - all within the boundaries of Prague. True, these locales may not compare to Fiji or Angel Falls. But it's better than realizing that due to your exploits last night, and your subsequent lateness today, you've inadvertently put on flannel undergarments on a day that temperatures are soaring past 35° C.
Essentially, there are only two lakes to mention in Prague proper, and at first glance you might be scared to jump in and get wet. Don't be! The water is fine. I mean, it's not crystal clear, but after all, it is a lake. Showers are provided, so those of you who fear the dangerous Amazonian hook fish - which does horrible things to men - can wash yourselves off.
Vodní nádrž Džbán
This large Prague 6 reservoir, surrounded by grassy beaches, is one Prague's larger swimming spots. Besides taking a dip you can rent a boat, play volleyball court and grab some fast-food. Some parts of the beach are for nudists.
Opening times: daily from 10 a.m. 7 p.m.
Facilities: changing cabins, locker rental, toilets, refreshments, children’s corner,
How to get there: Nad Džbánem tram stop – tram no. 36 (from Dejvická metro station)
A little further out, but they have a brand new volleyball court for rent, a sandy beach, and a treacherous water slide.
Take tram 22 or 26 to Hostivařská or the metro to Háje (link C). You have two choices - weave through a fantastic woody park or meander through paneláks - but taking the metro to Háje is the quickest route. Exit the metro, take a right and walk to the end of the long open mall. Take a left, and walk through the large apartment complex. Cross the main street called Výstavní and walk down a small residential street. You will then see the lake.
A man-made water reservoir built right next to the Berounka River has a natural filtration system, where the water is cleansed by bioactive zones without resorting to chemicals.
K Lázním, Praha 5 - Radotín, 153 00
On the east bank of the Vltava, in Prague 4-Podolí, this riverside recreational area offers a large beach for bathers unafraid of taking a dip in the river, plus a children's pool.
Other attractions include beach volleyball courts, a three-on-three football cage, a climbing wall, table-tennis tables, and a pétanque area. There's also a restaurant and beer garden, a nudist beach, frequent DJ sets and WiFi hotspots throughout.
Take tram 3, 16, 17, or 21 down to Dvorce.
The swimming pools in Prague are well kept, clean, and tend to be extremely busy. If it's tanning you seek, along with the occasional dip, then the pools are the place for you. If you enjoy unfettered swimming, however, bring your shark fin, as the crowded combination of self-proclaimed Olympic trainees and general aquatic fun-seekers make it difficult to maneuver.
Take tram 20 or 26 to Divoká Šárka. Get off at the Divoká Šarka tram stop, walk down the steps and take a left through the forest. It's about a 15-minute walk, but well worth it for some swimming and table tennis.
Take bus 106, 139, 170, 203 or 205 from the Kačerov metro station (line C) to either Lhotka or Novodvorská.
Take tram 7, 9 or 10 to Motol.
Take tram 8 to Vozovna Střešovičká, then walk straight on for about five minutes.
Take tram 3 or 17 to Dvorce. Get off the tram and walk straight on for around 100 meters. The pool is on your left hand side.
From the Kačerov metro station (line C), take bus 114 to Šeberák. Alternatively, take bus 165 from the Opatov metro station. The swimming pool is a 10-minute walk from the bus stop. There's also a car park nearby.
Take tram 6, 7, 22, 23, or 24 to Kubánské náměstí.
buses 328, 363, 385 from metro station ‘C’ - Opatov direction stop Čestlice, Aquapalace
By Car - Motorway D1, exit D6, shopping zone Průhonice – Čestlice, opposite department store KIKA.
OUT OF THE CITY
Slapská přehrada (Slapy Dam)
A large open space, with a recreational lake suitable for waterskiing, wakeboarding, etc. Bungee jumping is also available. For anyone seeking full-on lake fun this is the place for you. If you want to make a whole weekend of it there are tons of places to stay, ranging from campsites to nice hotels. The real beauty is that it's only about 40 minutes away by bus, so you can always come back to Prague in the evening. The last bus leaves at around 8pm.
Take the bus from the Praha Smíchovské nádraží bus stand to the Slapy Na Rovínku stop. The lake is a short walk from there.
Jablonec nad Jizerou
The cleanest lake around is located in the center of this small northern Bohemian town. Jablonec nad Jizerou is popular because of its vitamins and reputed healing powers.
Take the bus Bus from the Praha Florenc bus station to Jablonec nad Jizerou.
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