Looking out over lake Dzban

Hidden Prague: An Afternoon by the Dzban and Hostivar Lakes

Summer has officially arrived in Prague and nothing says summer like an afternoon by the water. Even Milos Zeman, the Czech president, has recently been photographed casually rowing across a lake in an inflatable raft. Swimming is actually a really important part of the summer for Czech people and the city of Prague is home to many “koupaliste” (places for outdoor bathing). The downside to many of the more central “koupaliste” is that they can get a pretty crowded, especially when the sun is shining and it can be tricky to swim without having to duck and dive to avoid kids and other swimmers.

One way to avoid the crowds this summer is to venture out a little further and take a splash in one of the many lakes and reservoirs in and around Prague. These natural swimming spots are popular with swimmers as well as those who are just looking for a relaxing afternoon and maybe a quick paddle. They offer visitors a lot more space, a greater sense of seclusion and also the opportunity to take in a little Czech nature.

My 2 favourite “koupaliste” in Prague are Dzban Lake in the Divoka Sarka nature reserve and Hostivar Reservoir. Both locations are easily accessible by public transport from the centre of Prague. They both also offer a huge area of open, clean water for swimming in addition to an expanse of grassy terrain for sleeping, sunbathing, reading, playing a casual game of frisbee or sipping a cold beer.

Dzban Lake

Looking out over lake Dzban
Looking out over lake Dzban

Entry fee: 90 CZK

How to get there: The lake is a 15 minute walk from Nadrazi Veleslavin Metro station (A Line), or a 10 minute walk from Nad Dzbanem Tram stop (trams 20, 26). See its location on Google Maps.

Opening hours: 8am-9pm everyday

Facilities:

  • Showers, toilets and areas for changing
  • Kiosks selling beer, cider, cocktails, soft drinks, ice cream and hot and cold snacks.
  • An Inflatable water slide
  • A wakeboard lift
  • A high diving board

I visited this place regularly last summer and paid my first visit of 2017 yesterday afternoon. I was impressed by how much they had improved and modernised the facilities since my last visit but most of all I was pleased to see that it still had a really pleasant, relaxed and peaceful vibe. There was plenty of space for swimming and lounging. We were even able to throw a football around without causing anybody any problems.

The swan takes to the water
The swan takes to the water

Hostivar Reservoir

Views over the reservoir
Views over the reservoir (image source: Facebook Hostivarska Prehrada)

Entry fee: 90 CZK

How to get there: The reservoir is a 10 minute walk from Haje Metro station (C Line). See its location on Google Maps.

Opening hours: 9am-8pm everyday

Facilities:

  • Showers, toilets and areas for changing
  • Kiosks selling beer, cider, cocktails, ice cream, soft drinks and snacks
  • A restaurant and a coffee shop
  • An Inflatable water slide
  • The chance to hire beach volleyball courts
  • The chance to hire rowing boats, pedalos and paddleboards
  • A wakeboard lift
  • A children’s play area

I have only visited this reservoir once but I was really impressed with it. The surrounding nature is gorgeous and even though it is undoubtedly very popular, its size meant that it didn’t feel overcrowded. There’s even a stretch of golden sand, for those wanting that authentic beach atmosphere.

At the beach
At the beach (image source: Facebook Hostivarska Prehrada)

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