Prague is probably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. This is due, in large part, to the Vltava River that runs through it and over which stands the famous Charles Bridge. Taking a boat ride on the river and canals is one of the delights that this city has in store.
You can take a boat ride in Prague during the day or at night, choose a tour more focused on the tourist experience or on the gastronomic experience. Here are my favorites:
Enjoy unique views of Prague
The 1-hour panoramic cruise on the Vltava River will take you to see the most important monuments of the city with on-board commentary at the cheapest price.
Prague Castle, Charles Bridge or Kampa Island are some of the attractions you can see on board this 1-hour cruise through the historical center of Prague. The panoramic views that you will be able to see from the interior and exterior decks of the boat will make this an unforgettable experience and at the best price!
Why I like this option: it is the most economical way to cruise the waters of the Voltava River.
Recommended if... you want to save some money and then be able to visit the most emblematic places you have seen from the boat on your own.
Take advantage of your cruise to taste the best Czech food
With a delicious buffet on board you will enjoy a complete experience contemplating the most emblematic monuments of Prague.
In a 2-hour tour, this cruise takes you to see the most iconic buildings of the Czech capital while enjoying a full buffet lunch with a welcome drink and live music.
Why I like this option: For a very reasonable price you can enjoy the exquisite Czech food aboard a ship.
Recommended if... you want to take advantage of the boat ride to taste a typical meal and spend a very pleasant time with the incredible views of the city and live music.
Enjoy a delicious dinner on board
The most complete experience to enjoy a gastronomic evening in Prague can be found in this cruise: you will tour the city by boat while you dine and enjoy live music.
This gourmet buffet dinner cruise focuses more on the gastronomic aspect of cruising on the Vltava, with views of Prague's main buildings illuminated at night. The boat is fully glazed, allowing you to enjoy spectacular panoramic views while you dine, no matter where your table is located.
You can also enjoy a live band during dinner and at the buffet you will be able to taste and choose from appetizers as well as local and international dishes.
Why I like this option: this is undoubtedly the most complete experience, since the cruise has a longer duration and allows you to enjoy the best views of the illuminated city to the rhythm of live music.
Recommended if... you're looking to take your experience to a more premium and complete level - bring out your finery for a night aboard a luxurious vessel in Prague!
Interesting facts about boat tours in Prague
Cruises are a different way to enjoy the city and see it from a different point of view, so it's the best way to complete your visit to Prague and relax after touring its streets. I would say that the great advantage of taking a Prague tour by boat is that you are spared the big crowds of traditional tours meeting other groups of visitors. It is a more relaxed experience perfect to put the finishing touch to your trip.
Most sightseeing cruises include some kind of commentary in English about the sights of Prague that you will see along the way, but you should keep in mind that these experiences are always complementary to a walking tour of the city where you will learn first-hand about the buildings and areas of the city.
Many of the operators that offer these tours do not clarify whether or not it is necessary to print out the confirmation email that you will receive after booking your boat tour. My recommendation is to have it printed out, as sometimes there is no way to know if it is necessary or not and you will save yourself some hassle.
Prague boat tour itinerary
Most boat tours have a similar route, departing from the piers of the Old Town and taking you to points on the Vltava River from where you will have panoramic views of the Charles Bridge or the Prague Castle.
Organize your boat trip in Prague
To make your experience as comfortable as possible, here are the answers to some questions you might have before taking a boat ride in Prague.
How to get to the pier
First of all, you should check the exact address of the meeting point of your boat tour. Most of them depart from the Old Town jetties, which you can easily reach on foot from the Old Town Square. Some tours set the meeting point directly under the Astronomical Clock or in one of its adjacent squares, and will guide you to the pier so you won't get lost.
Departure days and times
Almost all Prague boat tours are available every day of the week, with departure times mainly at sunset (around 18:00) for sightseeing cruises and at sunset (around 20:00) for gastronomic cruises.
Where to have dinner after the Prague boat tour
In case you opt for a sightseeing boat tour that does not include lunch, you will most likely finish the experience around 21:00, just in time for dinner. Therefore, I leave you some recommendations for dinner in the area of the piers of the Old City:
- Kmotra: the oldest pizza restaurant in the city is very close to the river and they make pizza in the traditional way, in a stone oven, with homemade tomato and mozzarella. Pizza is always a good idea, and even more so if it's at the end of a long day of sightseeing.
- Krčma: one of Prague's gems that is just a five-minute walk from the Old Town Square. Here you will find traditional Czech food at a reasonable price, far from the tourist restaurants with exorbitant prices. Its atmosphere is somewhat gloomy as it is in a basement, but after the first impression it turns out to be quite a cozy tavern.
- Café Savoy: with a menu of traditional Czech dishes and French cuisine and an elegant wooden interior, this is your choice if you are looking for a classy restaurant. The stars of the menu are the veal tartare and roast duck, as well as chef Michal Mlejnek's five-course menu. The desserts are out of this world and all the pastries are made on the premises, which is why you can also come to Café Savoy for breakfast. Being on the other side of the bridge, you can take a stroll from the pier and whet your appetite.
How to dress
Despite what it may seem, taking a boat ride in Prague is just another tourist experience and therefore you don't need to dress too fancy. That said, try to avoid sportswear and especially do not go in flip-flops, as the boat deck can be a bit slippery and also at night it can get a bit chilly.
Seeing Prague at night is very worthwhile and from the boat you will have very nice views of the illuminated Charles Bridge and Castle, so remember to take some pictures so you don't forget the magic of the city after sunset. You will have the opportunity to do it from the boat, so prepare your cell phone or put your camera on night mode to enjoy every shot.
Other interesting activities in Prague
Guided tours of the city
As you already know, taking a boat ride is a complement to a city tour, where you will see Prague's sights up close and in detail. To help you choose the best tour of Prague for you, I have written a guide about Best Tours and Day Trips from Prague and all the options you have to do it.
Visit the Prague Castle
You will probably be left wanting to explore Prague Castle at the end of the boat ride, and the truth is that taking a tour of the area is the experience that I highly recommend on your trip to Prague. If you want to know the best way to visit it, you can read my article about Prague Castle: Prague Castle Tickets and Tours: how to buy and prices.
Frequently asked questions
Is it worth taking a boat trip in Prague?
Absolutely yes, especially if you go as a couple. The views of the city from the boat are spectacular and the ride itself is very romantic, so it is highly recommended.
How long is a boat trip on the Vltava River?
There are several options, but the standard duration is about two and a half hours.
Is it possible to eat on the ship?
Yes, there are options that offer buffet meals or you can even bring your own snacks to enjoy along the way.