Thanks to a reader tip we headed off to the newly reopened Swimming Beach at Hostivařská Dam. This is Prague’s largest lake (over 45 hectares) and has been closed for 2 years of extensive cleaning. This tree-lined valley on the edge of Prague has the Botič River running through it. In 1962 a dam was built to prevent flooding in Prague, this instantly created a scenic and refreshing spot and a hit with locals every Summer.
Being Australian, I prefer to swim in nature - preferably the beach (but that will never be possible here) lakes though, can be a pleasant alternative to the chlorinated swimming centres that dot Prague. I guess for many locals the issue of water purity clouds their decision, then again, the swim centres can be notorious for ear and fungal infections if not maintained property. So here is the story of Hostivařská in regards to water safety. Over the 2 years of closure the lake was been completely drained, bulldozed and cleaned up to remove the build up of nitrogen due to manue run-off from the fields that flank the Botič River. The high presence of nitrogen can cause blooming of blue-green algae - thus the lake was often closed in the past as it was deemed unsafe for swimming. This extensive work has cleared up the lake tremendously, also the water is monitored and tested very frequently, so if there is a problem it will be closed down.
We had a bit of trouble finding the Swimming Lake, despite it’s size. If you do plan a trip, study our map below in advance. By car, go direct to K Jezeru street, we ended up parking at the beginning of U Břehu - this turned out to be a happy accident though as we walked through a pleasant valley, firstly with villa’s opposite the Botič and then past two nice looking outdoor restaurants, one with a kids playground, both featuring quite a bit of fish on their menus.
The walk in was flat, almost jungle-like and took approximately 10-15 minutes, make sure you turn right and cross the dam wall otherwise you’ll have a long walk back around the lake. The kids loved the adventure and were really excited when we emerged at the big lake and could see ‘the beach’ in the distance.
The entry tickets are valid for the whole day. We paid 140czk for a family (2 adults + 2 kids) and then another 40czk for our 3rd kid. On arrival you’ll pass 2 volleyball courts that are available to rent, then the boat rental place - I think they were paddle boats. The main beach has a holiday vibe to it, there are several cocktail bars on the sand playing music, there is also a snack bar selling fried foods, ice-cream, beer on tap (of course!) and coffee.
For healthier food, try out those fish restaurants I mentioned earlier or bring along a picnic lunch which is what we did. The area has a big grassy hill with plenty of shade plus the beach area - as we had no umbrella and had bought a picnic lunch, we opted for the grass and shade.
For children there is a playground - without shade, so bring hats and sunscreen, there is also a bouncy castle which costs 30czk for 10 minutes. Oh and 800 metres on and around the corner from the main beach is the nude beach - so if you haven’t tried swimming naked here is your chance - yea and you can also work towards an all-over tan too - although I should not be encouraging this unhealthy pursuit!
The water was clear and fresh, I’d say it was around 24C, there was the tiniest bit of algae here and there but this is was not the blue/green type. On the day we visited it was very hot but with a small breeze off the lake and under the shade it was perfect. It was also a Friday so I’m not sure if it would get any busier over the weekend?
The scenery was really beautiful, I’m often surprised by the lovely pockets of nature that dot this highly urbanised city - I hope these spots do not fall prey to ‘development’ and are retained eternally for humanity and nature.
I think we will be going back regularly to this spot over Summer, it was such a relaxed place and all the staff that we met were friendly - which is always a bonus. It’s nice to have another place within Prague which is gorgeous on a hot Summers day - I hope you will enjoy this place too!
ADRESS: Areál koupaliště Hostivař, K Jezeru, Prague 10 (Hostivař). The swimming beach is right at the end of K Jezeru.
SEASON: 1st June till it’s too cold for swimming (end September?)
OPEN: Monday to Sunday 09:00 till 20:00
PRICE: All day entry fee; Adults: 60czk or 70czk on weekend, Children up to 130cm 40czk, Family - 2 adults and 2 kids (to 130cm) 140czk, or 1 adult and 2 kids (to 130cm) 140czk
DIRECTIONS: By Car: Free parking right near the beach so take advantage on a hot day, just remember to use K Jezeru as your street reference in your sat nav or when plotting your journey on a map. By Bus: Take Bus numbers 175, 177, 506, or 609 to bus stop Selská and walk down K Jezeru. By Tram: Take tram numbers 22 or 26 to tram stop Hostivařská, it’s a pleasant 20 minute scenic walk through Hostivař Park to the Swimming Beach (but I recommend you take a map with you or at least consult our map below to get your bearings).
FURTHER INFORMATION: http://www.hostivarskaprehrada.cz (in Czech only)
BEACH VOLLEYBALL RESERVATION: Tel.: 777 809 859
BOAT RENTAL: Tel.: 777 207 227