Macha Lake, Czech Republic - June 14, 2009: Beach on Macha Lake. Swimming and camping are popular summer tourist activities in Macha Lake tourist resort / iStock photo @PetrBonek

5 Czech lakes to visit this long holiday weekend

Get out and make a splash over the holiday weekend in the Czech Republic's lakes

This is an update of an article originally published in 2014.

Lake Lipno

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Lake Lipno in South Bohemia is probably the most well-known Czech resort. The large lake has beaches, swimming, sailing, and windsurfing, while bike, in-line, and walking trails dot the area. Two of the more popular resort towns are Frymburk and Černá v Pošumaví. The Lipno area offers lots of activities for families, including a chair lift ride for the views and Aquaworld, with a play pool and waterslide. Two-wheel loving families will enjoy the special family route in the Bike Park, while older children can experience a rope park, Frisbee park, and bobsleigh track.

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The coolest attraction in Lipno though might be the Treetop Walk, a massive wooden structure that acts as a walkway through the surrounding Šumava forest. The 372-meter barrier-free walkway is pram-friendly and at the end there’s a 40-meter-tall observatory tower. There are many accommodation options in the small towns around the lake ranging from hotels to apartments to cottages and of course, camping.

Note that public transport options aren’t the best. To Lipno nad Vltavou, there’s usually at least one direct bus a day (four hours, 45 minutes) or train journeys requiring at least one change (four hours, 10 minutes).

Máchovo jezero

Máchovo jezero in the town of Doksy is another of the country’s larger lakes, with a long expanse of beach and popular with partying campers. Located about 80 kilometers north of Prague, Charles IV apparently decreed the lake be made after he indulged in the view from Bezděz Castle, an interesting hike and day trip from Doksy. Houska Castle is also in the area if the lure of sunning bodies on the beach begins to bore you.

Staré Splavy is the lake’s other village, perhaps with a few more pubs and restaurants. A true Mácha experience needs to include camping, so head for Camp Borný on the large Pod Borným beach. They have spots for tents and caravans on grassy plots located midway between the beach and forest or you can rent a bungalow, which has its own bathroom. You can rent bikes and paddle boats or go windsurfing.  There’s a small shop, toilets, and showers plus restaurant and space for campfires. If you prefer a roof and sheets, there’s a wealth of pensions and hotels in the area.

Train transport to Doksy takes anywhere from two to three hours and will require at least one change.

Lake Slapy

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Money’s tight this summer, but ya gotta get out of Prague! Don’t go far but enjoy some water sports and woods at Lake Slapy. This is rustic, to say the least – you can camp or stay in a cheap pension. The fifth-largest reservoir in the Czech Republic (everyone needs a claim to fame) sailing, water skiing, swimming, and windsurfing are all options for the amphibious among you. There’s accommodation available in villages dotted up and down either side of the river.

Měřín has a marina and restaurant in addition to pensions plus a spa, Vojenská lázeňská a rekreační zařízení. They have an aqua and wellness center, plus bowling, tennis, and volleyball courts. Resort Beach Nová Živohošť is a good camping option, while Nová Živohošť, in general, offers a bit more civilization. Slapy is a less than one-hour bus ride from Prague.

Lake Lhota

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The manmade Lake Lhota has a water area of ​​about 25 ha and a depth of up to 14 m. Its distance of less than 20 km from Prague and fame as the first public nudist beach in the country has given it a popular reputation among Czech beachgoers. The former sand mine is exceptionally clean and less than 20 km from Prague. The sandy beach combined with overgrown forest makes it a win for a day trip. (Not be confused with the natural biotope pool which opened in Prague Lhotka last year)!

Černé Jezero

The silence of Šumava. Everyone who has been to these secluded mountains in southern Bohemia seems to comment on how quiet and peaceful it is. Šumava’s best feature is probably her lakes, Black and Devil’s Lakes in particular. These can’t be reached by car, but require some fairly strenuous hiking. Black Lake (Černé Jezero) is the country’s biggest naturally formed lake. If you make it there, you can follow the marked red trail to Devil’s Lake (Čertovo Jezero); Black Lake can be reached via the yellow hiking trail from Špičácké sedlo.

Be sure to purchase a hiking map and have plenty of water and food on hand if you are planning some hiking. For easier exploration, there are a number of nature trails, typically well-marked and graded. The Jezerní slat trail takes you through peat bogs while the Vintíř’s trail is a cross-border trail following an old Bavaria-Bohemia trade route. Enter another world with a wander through Boubínský prales, one of the most important primeval forests in Europe. Centuries-old trees, mushrooms, twisted roots, ferns, and fallen tree trunks covered in moss will certainly make you feel you took a wrong turn somewhere. Most of the villages in the region are small and focused on tourists (skiing is popular here in winter).

Železná Ruda is a good option; there are hiking trails to the lakes from here as well as cycle paths and an information center to help plan trips. Transport here is fairly easy, there are both direct buses and trains, which take roughly four hours.

For more tips on where to swim see 19 Czech Swimming Lakes.

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