Summerfun: Canoeing near Prague
Say “Ahoj” to an adventure on the River Sázava
Exploring the great outdoors is one of the most popular activities in the Czech Republic. As soon as it gets hot outside, Czechs love to gather their friends, buy some beers and head off on a boat trip. The River Sázava is located southeast of Prague and is one of the best spots for rafting and kayaking near the Czech Capital – as long as there is enough water.
There are plenty of boat rental companies and various camps along the river for an overnight stay or simply a pit stop. You don’t have to be experienced to go on a water-soaked adventure. An example of a perfect weekend trip starts at Rataje nad Sázavou and ends at Chocerady with a camping break on Sázavský Ostrov. This journey is 26.3 kilometers long, rent boats through bisport.cz, an English speaker friendly company with an easy to use online reservation system.
Sázavský Ostrov has a great campsite with a large restaurant offering a comprehensive Prague-priced menu. It is almost exactly hallway between Rataje nad Sázavou and Chocerady and takes 3 – 6 hours to reach from the starting point. Some people race along while others prefer to drift down the river while drinking a beer – and there are plenty of stops along the way to stock up.
Depending on the weather, a trip like this is possible as early as May and as late as September. However if you go during a period of little rain, it may be more work than it’s worth. The Sázava River has many dams and this specific 26.3 km stretch has a total of eight. With normal water levels it is easy to glide down the designated paths and enjoy a splash of water. In less than ideal conditions you need to either carry the heavy boats over land or discover a creative solution that can be difficult to execute without prior experience.
If you want more of a challenge you can add 8 kilometers to the two-day trip by starting at Český Šternberk (totaling 32.1 km). You can get to both Rataje nad Sázavou and Český Šternberk on a direct train from the main train station in Prague. The train ride takes just over 2 hours and there is a discount on group tickets: 100 CZK for one person and 325 CZK for a group of five. You can buy tickets directly on the train or online on České dráhy’s website.
Bisport.cz is one of many companies that rents boats on the Sázava River. One-person boats start at 245 CZK a day and their largest boat for seven costs 1,365 CZK. If you use them multiple times you get a loyalty discount of up to 10%. One of the perks of using their company is their 30 CZK fee-for-bag for transporting camping equipment from the starting point to campsite.
Půjčovna lodí Sázava is another rental option with great prices: 380 CZK for a two person canoe per day, 480 CZK for a three person canoe per day and 1,100 CZK for a six person raft for one day. The prices get cheaper the longer you rent for and large groups get every 6th boat for free.
More options for boat rentals are Sázava Tour, V-servis, Raft.cz (website in English, German, Polish and Slovak), Pujcovna Sázava and Dronte.cz. When you rent a boat, don’t forget to also rent a barrel to store your valuables and consider wearing a life vest. Water sports are great fun but it’s always important to keep safety in mind. If you don’t know how to start planning your trip, try giving one of the companies a call – they can give you great tips and updated information on the water-level status.
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