Rafting in Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

View of the Vltava river from a bridge in Český Krumlov
View of the Vltava River

Rafting or canoeing down the Vltava River in Český Krumlov is a great way to spend a warm summer day. During the years we lived in Prague, we made this trip three times (in 2012, 2016, and 2018).

Located in the South Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, Český Krumlov is approximately a 2.5 hour drive from Prague. You can also take a bus from Prague with FlixBus and a return trip ticket will only cost around 14 euros (2022 prices). FlixBus has always been comfortable when I’ve used them and they have free WIFI on board.

Where to Rent a Raft or Canoe


There are several companies in Český Krumlov that will rent you a kayak, canoe, or a raft. Prices depend on how far upriver you want to start your trip. A 30-minute trip through the centre of Český Krumlov, can cost as little as 380 CZK per person. A half day (3-4 hours) trip will cost around 680 CZk per person. Multi-day trips are also available.

Campsites and hostels can often arrange a trip for you. We have also used Malecek Rafting, located in the center of Český Krumlov.

What to Expect on the River


Rafts along the river
Rafters near Camp Na Piskarne Vltava

Most of the river passing through and near Český Krumlov is slow and shallow, except after heavy rains. Between the towns of Vyšší Brod and Zlatá Koruna, there are 10 weirs. Some of these are passable through a passage on the side and some will require you to carry your boat on the bank around the weir. The company you rent your raft from will give you a map and should mark any dangerous spots. You can also download a map here.

Trips between Český Krumlov and Zlatá Koruna are suitable for children wearing life jackets and you will see many families on the river.

A small bar on the banks of the Vltava river in Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic.
Our first rest stop along the river.

You didn’t think that the Czechs would raft down a river without stopping for a beer and a klobasa, did you? There are small pubs placed at convenient intervals along the river. The food is limited to things like utopenci (pickled sausage), smažený sýr (fried cheese), and a variety of sausages.

Hermelin cheese and onions on bread.
Grilled Hermelín cheese and onions, served with a slice of chleb. It tastes a lot better than it looks.

Vltava River Safety

  • Children and non-swimmers should wear life jackets.
  • Don’t get drunk on the river. Having a couple of beers over the course of an afternoon is going to be okay for most people but you should save any heavy drinking plans until you are off the river.
  • If you are an inexperienced paddler, you can carry your boat on the bank around any weirs you don’t feel comfortable in taking.
  • Avoid rafting after a heavy rain.
  • Wear waterproof sunscreen and maybe a hat or you will get sunburned.
  • Don’t stand up or lean over the side of the raft/canoe, or you will tip over.
Overturned canoe in the Vltava River.
This was not in the brochure! Yes, that black spot is my head underwater.

At Zlatá Koruna, there is a steep weir bypass channel. Everyone we saw go before us managed it easily. I’m not quite sure what happened but our raft overturned. The water was only chest deep here but the strength of the river at this point made it very difficult to stand up and regain your balance. My first thought was to try to save the paddles that were quickly floating away from us because we would lose our deposit if we lost them. My second thought was, “Oh my God, where is my iphone”!! And this is where a 10 euro plastic dry bag saved my phone. It was still around my neck, perfectly dry.

There were some representatives from Canon on the riverbank, taking photos of all the rafters finishing, so now we have that moment of humiliation captured forever.

More Things To Do in Český Krumlov

  • Moldavite Museum – Panská 19. Moldavite is a green silica glass formed by a meteorite impact millions of years ago. Most moldavites have been found in South Bohemia. There are many shops selling moldavite jewelry in Český Krumlov but be aware that fakes do exist. Anything you buy from the museum will come with a certificate of authenticity and origin.
  • Egon Schiele Art Centrum – Široká 71. Permanent exhibition about the life and work of Egon Schiele and also seasonally changing exhibitions.
  • The Castle Garden – Baroque gardens from the 17th century. Free admission.
  • Gypsy Bar (Cikanska Jizba) – Dlouhá 31. A very small bar with Roma musicians on the weekends. It gets very crowded at night. It can be worth going in for a couple of drinks. You will be asked to pay an additional 50 crowns per person to tip the band. They also serve Czech food.

Where to Stay in Cesky Krumlov

Hostels
On our first trip to Cesky Krumlov back in 2012 B.C. (before child), we neglected to make a hotel reservation and almost everything in the center was fully booked. We ended up staying at Hostel 99, which was great and in the perfect location for walking around the center of Cesky Krumlov.

Campsites

  • Camp Na Piskarne Vltava – We stayed here in 2018 in a small cabin. There is a place that rents rafts next door. They will drive you and the raft upriver and you can finish at the camp, which is really nice. The area for tents does not have electricity but there are lockable boxes for charging your phone at the campground. The cabins are old and basic, as are the shower facilities. The best part for us was being able to have a small campfire in front of our cabin. Very limited number of spaces for caravans and motorhomes. Reservations recommended.
  • Kemp Viking located next door to Camp Na Piskarne. They have three spots with electric for motorhomes/caravans. Again, reservations are recommended.
  • Camping Fox Český Krumlov – Not quite as conveniant as the two campsites listed above because it is not on the river and you can’t end your rafting trip here but the campsite can arrange a rafting trip for you. The cabins look nice and have their own shower and toilet. Shuttle bus into town during peak season. Website says there is some motorhome space available.

Hotels

3 thoughts on “Rafting in Český Krumlov, Czech Republic”

  1. What company did you use? and would you recommend them?

    The trip that you did, do you remember the exact name of the starting point, and without stops, how long do you think it would take?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • I think the company we used was Maleček. http://en.boat-rental.malecek.cz/ubytovani-cesky-krumlov/cenik-lode-144/

      We started at a point just past one of the bridges in Cesky Krumlov center and ended in Zlatá Koruna. This took us 4 hours because we stopped twice for food or drink. The company will drive the boat to the water and also pick you up at the end of the trip and take you back to Cesky Krumlov.

      On the company website, it also shows a shorter 2 hour trip that might work better for you.

      Reply
  2. Nice trip and a great idea for summer fun! Although I’m afraid I wouldn’t need to wait for the weir–my wide ass would flip that bastard right at the starting dock! 😮

    – Big Sir

    Reply

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