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Pustit k vodě, loď, kapitán, jachta

Summer on a yacht: no problem in Central Bohemia!

10. 6. 2024

A yacht holiday is no longer the privilege of millionaires. Today, anyone can sail, and you don’t even need a licence, just some quick training. Where to go for a beautiful boat holiday in Central Bohemia?

You don’t need to go all the way to the sea for a great boat holiday. Central Bohemia offers an extensive network of waterways with beautiful scenery and two large dams. Plan a multi-day cruise, take a group of friends or family and enjoy a unique adventure and relaxation on the water.

Plavební průvodce po Labi a Vltavě
Guide on the Elbe and Vltava Rivers
Source: Ondřej Soukup

Is it really for everyone? Even without a licence?

With a few exceptions, any person of legal age can rent a motorboat. In the rental shop ask for a so-called small craft, which is a motor boat not exceeding 20 metres in length and a capacity of 12 persons, with a maximum speed limit of 15 km/h. The rental staff will give you professional training and you can set sail.

If you want to drive a more powerful, faster boat, you need a small craft operator’s licence, issued by the State Navigation Administration. Either way, steering a boat is a responsibility and it’s good to have help at hand – The Elbe and Vltava Cruising Guide.

jachta, loď, pustit k vodě, Vraňansko-Hořínský plavební kanál
Mělník upstream of the Vltava River towards the Vraňansko-hořínský plavební canal
Source: Ondřej Soukup

The Middle Elbe – a Dutch-like scenery

From the border with the Pardubice region to Mělník, the Elbe offers 100 km of waterway and, thanks to the fact that the river was canalised in the past, it is fully navigable by motorboat. Add to this the surrounding flat landscape, which also attracts cyclists, and you’ll almost feel like you’re in the Netherlands. You can also continue on to the Ústí nad Labem region or all the way to Germany, or it is also possible to turn upstream of the Vltava in Mělník.

Where to start? For example in Týnec nad Labem marina. The Kroměřížská plavební rental shop will rent you a cabin boat for a week long holiday. You don’t have to worry about the facilities, the cabin boat offers plenty of space, sleeping areas in the cabins, a kitchen, electricity sockets and even a toilet and shower. During your week-long cruise you will have plenty of time to explore the beauty of the central Polabí region: royal towns with rich history, such as Kolín, Nymburk, Brandýs nad Labem or Mělník with its wine tradition. You will explore the spa town of Poděbrady, Hrabal’s Kersko or Čelákovice with its brand new public boat port, the number of which will soon rapidly grow on the middle Elbe thanks to state investments.

All the way to Mělník, you will be accompanied by the Elbe Trail cycling route – so you can combine the cruise with cycling or other sports.

At Týnec nad Labem you will discover an interesting rarity. Veletov is home to the only maritime museum in the Czech Republic that documents the history of Czechoslovak naval navigation. How to get there? At the 927.9 river kilometre, turn into the quiet Veletovská Bay, where you will be greeted by a modest but pretty marina.

Other well-equipped cabin boats are offered by Ráj u vody in Čelákovice, which has its own port and relaxation zone on the shore. If you don’t have the confidence for a big boat or want to cruise just for a few hours, you can also rent a small motorboat. A little further on is the Brandýské lodě rental, which also rents Dutch-type cabin boats. In the area of the Mělník port you can rent both cabin boats and smaller motor boats in Půjčovna plavidel Mělník.

Přístav, jachta, loď, pustit k vodě
Couple in a harbour
Source: Ondřej Soukup

Lower Vltava – it’s not just Prague!

The Vltava is the longest river in our country, flowing through the capital city, and with breathtaking natural scenery and deep rock valleys.

You can set sail from Mělník upstream of the Vltava River towards the Vraňansko-hořínský plavební canal – at the time the largest technical work in the entire Habsburg Monarchy. Today it is registered as a cultural monument, as is the Art Nouveau Hořín lock chamber. Stop in Zelčín with its enticing zoopark, where they also provide rafting trips down the old Vltava River bed.

In Nelahozeves you will find one of the most beautiful marinas in our country – Marina Vltava with complete facilities, located between the Nelahozeves and Veltrusy châteaux. Heading towards Prague you will come across other cabin boat rentals: Napalubu.eu in Kralupy nad Vltavou and SP Praha, based in Prague in the bay of the Holešovice port.

Due to the operation of large steamers and the overload of the Smichov lock, sailing through the centre of Prague is more for experienced captains.

South of Prague, the Davle marina can come in handy.. It only rents faster boats, for which you need a small craft operator’s license. The marina focuses on water sports such as water skiing or wakeboarding, and you can even rent a jet ski.

A nice cruise awaits you from Davle in the direction of Štěchovice, around the confluence of the Vltava and the paddling Sázava, and around the island of St. Kilian with the remains of the Ostrov monastery – only those who come by boat will see them. In Štěchovice, the highest lock chamber in the country will lift you up by about 20 metres. For the rest of the cruise you will enjoy the breathtaking landscape with high rock walls and divine tranquillity.

You reach the edge the Slapy Dam, where most boats turn around because there is no other lock chamber or boat lift. However, there is a solution for smaller boats: The Vltava River basin ensures their transport by means of a flatbed behind a tractor. Do not forget to book it early.

Bedřich Smetana was also charmed by the Vltava. His masterpiece Vltava recalls the St. John’s Streams – the original riverbed, flooded by the Štěchovice Dam for the purpose of making it navigable. Today it forms part of the fully navigable Vltava Cascade.

Source: Ondřej Soukup

Slapy Dam: better than by the sea

The very popular reservoir offers swimming spots with sandy beaches, fully equipped tourist resorts and plenty of entertainment. What do you think about showing off a bit here and showcasing your yacht or motorboat? Cabin boats in Nebřich are rented in Napalubu.eu. You can easily cross the entire reservoir from the dam to Kamýk nad Vltavou.

On the way it is worth making a stop at the two large marinas Modrá loděnice by Ždáň and in marine Hotel Atlantida Stará Živohošť. Both locations offer excellent conditions for swimming and it is worth staying here to enjoy local sports, social and cultural activities. You will have fun playing tennis and visiting the TEPfactor theme park. You will also find other rentals to try out various water sports and activities such as pedal boats, paddleboards and canoes. In Kamýk nad Vltavou there is a public port, so take advantage of it and climb to the lookout tower and the ruins of Vrškamýk.

Do you like more space on the boat? The houseboats  you can rent in Častoboř or in Hřimeždice will be perfect for you. You can also take a motorboat ride on the Slapy Dam: for example, try the Půjčovna Slapy, which has branches in Ždáň and Nová Živohošť. There is also the Bongo Bongo rental shop. Slapy marine in Skalice rents both slower and faster motorboats.

There is a lot of traffic on the dam, so be careful – not only other boats, but also a paddleboarders and swimmers can get in your way. This is also why fast boating is regulated here.

jachta, kapitán, loď, pustit k vodě
Source: Ondřej Soukup

If you want to go sailing, go to Orlík!

Orlice Dam has great conditions for sailing. The body of water is wide enough and you can catch the wind you need. The dam is an ideal place to visit for training before heading out to the wide and dangerous sea.

Boats for both beginner and advanced sailors can be rented for example at BWS Yacht in Trhovky, Ajeto Yacht in Podskalí or Sporteli in Lavičky Bay. There you will also find a rental shop with small motorboats Lodě na řece.

There are many interesting places to sail to on the Orlík Dam. For example, you can start at the dam and sail all the way to South Bohemia to Orlík Château or Zvíkov Castle. You can anchor overnight in the Popelíky, Hřebeny, Salaš marinas, or in southern Bohemia in Radava or in Barrandov Bay near Velký Vír. There is no shortage of swimming spots, restaurants and accommodation options in campsites or pensions.

You can even sleep right on the boat – real adventure is guaranteed. The rental office will be happy to help you find suitable places in the bays.

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