Europe’s heat wave has wrapped its fiery hands around Prague as tightly as around every other European city. 35 degrees by day, 26 degrees by night: How could one possibly live through such temperatures without breaking a sweat? Some people’s answer to the hot weather is sitting at home with a cold drink, getting themselves a fan and trying to keep the frying sun out of their four walls. While this is a very successful way of staying cool at home, one might feel like making the most of the blue skies outside before winter is coming back all too soon again. But doing sports in temperatures above 30 degrees is not only devastatingly sweaty but also incredibly unhealthy since your body is already busy with keeping you cool just waiting for your tram. So what does one do?
Swimming, of course! Water might just be your best friend this summer. Unfortunately, so is it for all the other 1.3 million people living in Prague. Swimming pools are flooded (and not by water), the river full of paddle and other boats and the sea far far away from your doorstep. So unless you are not travelling to the shore this summer or are ready to mingle with dozens of people, you will need a really good and hidden escape from the blistering sun.
But there is hope: We found the clearest lake in Czech Republic! And even though quite a few people pilgrim out to it, there is always enough space for you, your friends and a lot of splashing fun! Lhota Lake is your saviour this summer – now let’s find out what there is to do, except cooling yourself off.
Below the surface
Lhota lake is a man made waterhole and stretches over 25 hectares wide. Back in 1965, Prague started to construct the D1 motorway as well as the metro construction. As the building of said infrastructures brought the need for gravel with them, parts of Lhota’s pine tree forest had to be felled. Three years after the beginning of the construction, gravel mining in Lhota began and stayed for less than 20 years. The mining pit was finally closed in 1983 and Lhota was kind of stuck with a hole in the middle of what used to be their forest.
But instead of thinking back to the good old days when a thicker and bigger pine forest used to be their favourite Sunday walk, the people of Lhota decided that they would make the best out of the situation they were provided with: Dumping clear water into the hole the mining left and creating one of the most beautiful swimming spots near Prague. The lake was supposed to be way bigger than ‘just’ the 25 hectares we see today, but due to a huge rock which could not be extracted easily, the extension of Lhota lake was set aside.
Sandy beaches & rich forests
Lhota is located about 40 kilometers east west from Prague and welcomes you with a dense pine tree forest that will not only keep you cool in case of a (short!) queue at the cash desk but also throughout your whole stay.
One can not help but noticing the wonderful smell of green pine trees while a cooling breeze whirls through the air and dries the sweat pearls off of your forehead. By handing over the CZK 60.00 entrance fee, you get yourself a ticket to summer paradise. Only a few steps into the area, you feel sand underneath your toes and allow yourself to take another deep breath of the foresty air, which seems to clear your throat from the urban dust stuck in your lungs. Straight ahead, about 2 minutes away from the entrance, sandy beaches and clear water await you.
Beers, Sun & Fun
Of course, this is Czech Republic and being a phenomenal beer brewing nation, the malt and hop drink is never far away – even more so in Lhota paradise. Two bars at the entrance and more bars around the lake offer a wide range of draft beer, softdrinks, grilled goods and very affordable long drinks that will make the Lhota sand beach seem like the Bahamas. For all the ones that arrived without a towel, sunglasses or umbrellas, the shop located right next to the beer bar will happily help you out.
If you are bringing your own picnic and just shuddered when we talked about a food stand, have no fear: Lhota lets you bring your own favourite meal to the lake and even offers seating in the shade with a gorgeous view of the sea – err, lake.
Palačinky to the rescue
For all of you that have a sweet tooth even in hot weather and need something else than ice cream to satisfy your tummy, you will be pleasantly surprised to find a cute and strategically placed palačinky stand right after the entrance. The two lovely people preparing your dessert – or main – are as sunny and bright as your space down by the lake.
However, most of us might prefer to hide in the shade when the sun stands high at noon (and the several hours after). Lhota’s pines got your back! The beautiful lake is surrounded by tall and sturdy pine trees that will keep the sun out of your face for good. One could almost think he is hiking in the hills of Czech Republic when changing shores on foot – where less people bother going and thus have enough space to not invade your privacy.
Nudist Beach: When any piece of clothing is one to many
Talking about privacy and comfort zones, if you have none of the latter or just really need to get off as many clothes as possible in order to not melt away like ice cream in the sun, you will be happy to hear that Lhota also inhabits a relatively widespread nudist beach where you can let your wraps fall to the ground and can ditch the clothing making you break a sweat fully and without getting weirded out looks or leers from fellow beach goers.
How to get to Summer Paradise
By public transport:
First things first: Do not trust Google Maps with your journey planning! www.idos.cz or www.mapy.cz are your best friends for planning trips around Czech Republic. Please note that this trip will take you roughly 1.5 hours.
Take bus 375 from either Českomoravská, Prosek or Letňany to Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav, aut.st. We recommend getting the bus from its first stop (Českomoravská) as getting a seat after that stop is pretty much impossible. Looking at the fact that this journey takes you about 38 minutes, you might want to have a seat in the heat. When getting into Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav, change to bus number 669 (direction Merceniz) and exit two stops later (Lhota). From here on, you will see a blue sign with ‘Jezero Lhota’ on it. If you are up for a walk around the field, follow the arrows – if you want to go and splash some water in your face as quickly as possible, turn right after the very first blue arrow.
Note: IDOS might display the stop ‘Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav, aut.st.’ as ‘Brandýs nad Labem, aut.st., Stará Boleslav, ‘. Do not let this confuse you, you are on the right bus. You want to ride to the very final stop of bus number 375 and then change for the 669.
Do not trust Google Maps for this route. Start your journey from Černý Most and follow the R10 and E65 towards Mladá Boleslav, then take the exit 14 towards St. Boleslav.
Parking spots are located on the other side of the village. Simply follow the blue signs ‘Jezero Lhota’. Please note that there is a parking fee and limited space.
While for most of us it is way too hot to even think about doing sports outside that do not include water, some have a higher tolerance and want to combine a day at the lake with some biking. It is absolutely possible to bike from Prague to Lhota lake. Find your bike path from Prague right here. Please be advised that riding on the main street is not recommended, as it is an extraordinarily busy road.
Please know your physical limits and respect the fact that hot weather and high activity might make you dizzy and even break down if you are overdoing it, so only bike if your body can handle it.
Had enough of the hot weather and do cold showers throughout the day just do not do it anymore? Are you longing to escape the little spot in front of your fan and get out of the piping hot city? Then set out for the ultimate summer day trip to Lhota and make the best out of the hot temperatures! Oh and before we forget: Stay hydrated!