The Czech Republic’s capital is situated on the banks of the Vltava river. Thus, it may not come as a big surprise that waterway transport is part of Prague’s urban transport system. Of course, it is not a significant means of transport here, but indeed an original and very pleasant one…
Apart from the option to use one of the many river cruises or party boats offered in Prague, or the attraction of renting a rowboat or a pedal (paddle) boat to enjoy all the capital’s sights from the Vltava river, there are also river-connected services provided within Prague’s integrated transport system.
ROPID (Regional Organiser of Prague Integrated Transport), the Prague integrated transport (PIT – “PID” in Czech) organizer, co-operates with several companies (such as the Prague Steamboat Company) to provide transport across the Vltava river. And, as the Vltava almost never freezes, some of the ferry boats even operate year-round.
History and Lines of Prague’s Boat Transport
The Prague Steamboat Company (“Pražská paroplavební společnost” in Czech) is the oldest steamship/shipping company in Prague. It was founded in 1865, and nowadays it operates the biggest flotilla of passenger ships on the Vltava river. Among other things, the company offers regular trips to the most acknowledged recreational locations around Prague.
There was a time when you could use around 50 ferries in Prague. Most of them were, however, later replaced with bridges. On the other hand, in recent years, ferries have become more fashionable, and thus experienced something of a revival. Nowadays, there are 6 regular (or “semi-regular”) ferry lines within the PIT. Two of them operate year round:
- Line no. P2 from “V Podbabě” to “Podhoří”, especially useful as a connection of Prague 6 and “Troja” and “Bohnice” quarters, between which transport otherwise takes a long time
- Line no. P3 connecting the river banks in such places, that one can move quickly from a more industrial and urban area of Prague 5, “Zlíchov”, to a nice, natural area suitable for all kinds of outdoor sports
The other ferry lines are seasonal (typically from April to October):
- Line no. P1 from “Kazín” to “Mokropsy”
- Line no. P5 from “Císařská louka” to “Výtoň” and “Náplavka Smíchov”
- Line no. P6 from “Nádraží Modřany” to “Lahovičky
All schedules can be found on the official PID website. None of the ferry lines function when the water levels are very high or in other cases of negative weather conditions. You can find up-to-date info on the levels and flows on all watercourses on a website operated by the “Povodí Vltavy” (Vltava Basin) State Enterprise and Czech Hydrometeorological Institute.
Practical Info & Tips: Purchasing Tickets, Paddle Boats, Airport etc.
For more info on Prague’s ferries, you can ask at any Tourist Information Centre or Prague Public Transit Co. Inc. counters. As far as the ferries integrated in the PIT are concerned, the same rules and tariffs as in the case of trams, buses, and underground apply. One can buy a ticket at the usual places (yellow ticket vending machines in the metro stations, ticket offices at some metro stations, some newsstands, and tourist information centres) or directly from the ferrymen (except for line no. P3).
As with the other modes of public transport in Prague, a ticket valid for 90 minutes costs 32 CZK. The cheapest one is for under 30 minutes (24 CZK). The tourist ticket for 24 hours costs 110 CZK, and for 3 days 310 CZK.
To get a romantic ride in a paddle boat, just go to any rental shop near the Vltava river. Probably the most popular one is on the “Slovanský ostrov”. Prices ranges from 200 CZK ($9.2) to 300 CZK ($13.8) per 1 hour for a 4-person paddle boat.
Since Prague Airport is about 20 kilometres from the Vltava river, you of course cannot sail to the Václav Havel Airport.