It´s a multifunctional sports & relaxation site for all ages. But what does Žluté lázně really offer you for your money?
Prague´s Žluté lázně (Yellow Spa) has been around for a while. Dating back to 1910, the site has always been synonymous with summertime fun, sport, and relaxation. Back in the day, the Žluté lázně spot was a favourite hangout for Prague’s young, rich, and famous. The Czech-Austrian footballer Pepi Bican and the sultry actress Olga Schoberová were both regular visitors. These days, you can find a real mixture of people of all ages and walks of life enjoying the sun, food, and sports activities available on site, located on the east bank of the Vltava in Podolí (Prague 4).
The area itself covers an impressive 35,000 square meters can hold up to 8,000 visitors. It´s equipped with beach volleyball courts, cage football, table tennis, Pétanque grounds, a children´s play area including 3 small swimming/paddling pools, showers & changing rooms, and several bars and restaurants. Not to mention over 700 tons of imported sand to complete that ‘on vacation´ experience.
Žluté lázně can be reached by hopping on trams 3, 17 or 21 and departing at Dvorce. Take the short walk from the tram stop, but be careful not to collide with the almost non-stop flow of cyclists and in-line skaters along the Podolské nábřeží stretch! After a 2-minute walk you´ll find yourself at the entrance gates. I was surprised to find that there is currently an entrance fee for the area. The prices are set at 80 CZK per adult and 40 CZK for children over 100 cm tall (those under the 100 cm limit gain entry for free). All visitors that arrive after 17:00 are also admitted free. Disabled visitors, senior citizens, and students (up to 26 years old) are entitled to a discounted entrance price of 40 CZK. Or you can opt for the family package (2 adults, 2 children over 100 cm) for 160 CZK. All tickets are valid for the entire day.
So what does Žluté lázně offer you for your money? After my afternoon visit and tour around the site, I would say it offers a fair bit!
Upon entering the site, I was struck by the sheer size of the area, with plenty of green space and sandy areas for both relaxing and exercising. I decided to approach the information kiosk to announce my assignment and see if I could get some kind of tour of the space. I was in luck. The friendly (if a little confused) staff introduced me to Madla, who immediately and happily gave me a guided tour of the entire area, answering questions and queries with ease. The friendliness and helpfulness of the staff felt like 80 CZK well spent already!
The main entrance area is where all rentals take place. There´s no shortage of activities to entertain you: beach volleyball, caged-beach football, and Czech-style floor football are charged at 100 – 150 CZK per hour, with the rental price going up in the afternoon (14:00 – 17:00) to 200 CZK. Then, there´s a further price increase for the evening (17:00 – 20:00) to 490 CZK per hour. Pedalos, rowboats, and canoes cost 100 CZK hourly and increase to 150 CZK in the afternoon, with no evening increase in price. Pétanque & Croquet cost 100 CZK, with the rental price going up in the afternoon (14:00 – 17:00) to 150 CZK, and no further evening price increase. Motorboats can also be rented at 200 CZK per 30 minutes. As I said, plenty to do, but I would advise clock-watching to avoid over-paying for your fun! Free activities come in the form of outdoor (oversized) chess, tightrope walking, and indoboard, a balance-training tool. Long boards, scooters, and inline skates can be rented for 80 CZK per hour, 140 CZK for 2 hours, 200 CZK for 3 hours and 260 CZK for 4 hours.
After all that activity, it´s likely that you´ll have built up an appetite. Žluté lázně has a number of refreshment options available ranging in price. Opposite the main entrance area, you’ll find the basic beach food stalls. Open-air tables and seating for up to 200 people, with BBQ grills, an ice cream parlor, and hexagon-shaped refreshment stalls, have all been provided to quench your thirst and fill your hunger. This part of Žluté lázně is home of the more reasonably-priced food and drink. Beers on offer are the standard Gambrinus and Kozel (30 CZK each). You also have an 11 degree option for an extra 3 crowns. Non-alcoholic drinks include coffee & frappe. There´s the normal section of fizzy drinks alongside flavoured ice drinks to cool you down in the summer sun. Foodwise, the hexagon stand offers sausage for 50 CZK, chips for 30 CZK, and chicken skewers for 90 CZK. The food is cooked before your very eyes on the sizzling grill, which is open every day from 10:00 – 22:00. For the more adventurous diner, they also offer halušky (a Slovak dish of potato dumplings and bacon) which has been cooked in an oversized pan; on a busy day, the halušky can be smelt from far away.
Head left down the path away from the refreshment stalls to the Tančírna (dancing hall). Here, you can find an indoor, well-stocked bar, widescreen TVs, and outdoor BBQ grills. The perfect setup for a party or corporate event! Further left, beyond the Tančírna, is the children´s area. The children´s area charges an additional 50 CZK entrance fee for children over 100 cm and adults. This seemed excessive to me. The area is perfect for children, though. Climbing frames, swings, and three paddling pools (which are constantly supervised) are inside the special designated area. It´s important to note that the staff on hand at the pool won´t necessarily be trained life guards, so a parental watchful eye will be required. Deep fried snacks and brightly coloured ice cream goods are on sale inside the children´s area, with seating for around 80 and small grassy areas for mums & dads to lounge.
To the right of the main entrance (opposite the beach volleyball courts) you´ll find La Festa Pizzeria, which claims to offer a true Italian experience. La Pizzeria is Open daily from 11:30 – 00:00, and offers a range of Italian grub at a slightly higher price than your standard Prague Italian restaurant/pizzeria. The setting is pretty impressive, with a sheltered mezzanine level and ground level seating with a small outside BBQ area.
There seems to be a definite split between the right and left side of Žluté lázně when it comes to food and refreshments, the latter being slightly more affordable and reasonably priced than the other. A short walk further right of La Pizzeria and you´ll find Modrý Bar. Modrý bar is essentially a cocktail bar serving food. Legend has it that this structure is the oldest part of the Žluté lázně area. Orignally called the Blue Café, the steel frame of the building dates back to the 1920s. After careful reconstruction in 2007, the venue was renamed “The Blue Bar” to fit its new function. Modrý Bar is split down the middle, with very slight differences between the two halves. It serves a selection of good-quality food from around the world. The well-stocked (but overpriced) cocktail bar seems to be the venue’s main attraction. Beyond the Modrý bar lies 700 tons of sand, with open-air seating for around 150 and a bar serving beer, cocktails, and non-alcoholic beverages. During the summer, this area (along with most grassy areas in Lázně) are crammed full with people topping up their tan, so arrive early to avoid disappointment.
Lázně has improved immeasurably since the damage it incurred during the 2002 floods. It was completely devastated, but with the help of the city the site now looks amazing. Žluté lázně has become a favourite location for cooperate shindigs or team-building sessions. The staff are more than happy to accommodate the needs of a specialist function or event. Three set menus are available for the client to choose from, as well as a number of marquees and, of course, the use of the sports equipment.
Žluté lázně is understandably a popular location during the summertime. Many chose to take advantage of the Vltava and take a dip. Apparently, the water is safe; I didn´t try it and wouldn´t rush to recommend it. That being said, the staff said many visitors swim in the river without complaints. There have been some recent changes to the site; the discontinuation of the nudist section and the welcoming of dogs, providing they are kept on a leash, have attracted a different clientele to Žluté lázně, making the space more appealing to a wider range of visitors. The site is also suitable for wheelchair users with plenty of ramps. One main disappointment is the lack of onsite parking. There are 80 spaces which are strictly reserved for VIP guests (permit holders only). There is plenty of space on the street outside, but during the summer months these can go quickly. However, as I said before, Žluté lázně is easily accessible by tram.
There are regular musical and sport events which will be happening over the summer months. Information on Žluté lázně´s events throughout the year can be found here. Žluté lázně is a great space for summer fun. You can end up paying a lot for the privilege, but then there are always ways to cut costs if you´re smart!
Many thanks to Madla @ Žluté lázně. Both her time and effort were appreciated!