|The Vltava River flows through the centre of Prague, and is the waterway around which the city has developed over the past several thousand years.
The Old Town (Staré Město) and the New Town (Nové Město) lie on one side of the Vltava River. On the other bank is the Lesser Town (Malá Strana) and Prague Castle (Pražský hrad).
Spanning the two sides, in the heart of Prague, is Charles Bridge (Karlův most), a pedestrian crossing and focal point for tourists visiting the city.
From Charles Bridge, the panoramic views over the river and of the historic buildings running along its banks are unrivalled. The views up to Prague Castle in particular are extra-ordinary.
Visitors to Prague should go for a leisurely stroll across the bridge, then consider taking a river cruise under it, to enjoy two magnificent perspectives of the city.
Another way to immerse yourself in the beauty of the river scene in Prague is to dine at one of the riverside restaurants, some of which boast fine terraces looking out over the water.
Nature is ever present along the Vltava River, even in the centre of Prague. Swans float around in search of food, and other birds fly through the air before swooping down to catch fish. From the river around Charles Bridge you can also admire the wooded hillside of Petrin.
Reading the history of Prague reveals that the Vltava River played a fundamental role in the foundation of the city. It provided water for drinking and crop irrigation, and was a means of navigation both for the early settlements established along its banks and for travellers passing through the area on the early trade routes between Southern and Northern Europe.
The flow of the river can be strong, particularly at certain times of the year, so as well as transporting people and goods, the water was also used to power mills and industry.
To tame the river, to make it easier to navigate, eight dams, a large canal, and weirs were constructed along the Slapy-Prague-Mělník stretch, where the Vltava flows into the River Elbe and onto Germany.
Outside Prague, the Vltava River meanders through pretty countryside, passing by the occasional castle and historic building.
At 434km in length, the Vltava River is the longest river in Czechia.