Written by Jacy Meyer
Go jump in a lake! Roast your weenies over an open flame! Pitch a tent! Camping is fun and the Czech Republic is the place to do it. A variety of camping facilities can be found all over the country, many by rivers or lakes. Lots have showers and washrooms as well as electrical sockets at each pitch. Some campsites have chalets to rent if you need a more covered camping experience and if you have your own camper, there are spots for you too with electricity and water hook-ups. Some camps open in April, some not until May and most stay open through sometime in October. Czech Tourism (www.czechtourism.com) reports there are 22 camp sites in Prague, with an additional 63 in the nearby environs.
If you are looking to stay close to home and in posh camping surroundings, head to Klánovice (www.campingpraha.cz.) Only 35 minutes by bus and metro from the center and you´ll have a grassy spot to pitch your tent or park your camper. Additional just-like-home amenities include toilets, showers, electric hook-ups at all sites, a mini-market, beach bar, restaurant, internet, laundry and ironing facilities and two below ground swimming pools. Prices start at 120CZK a day with discounts for week-long camping marathons.
Southwest of Prague in Stodůlky is Sunny Camp (www.sunny-camp.cz.) They have 70 spaces for tents and campers, as well as a pension onsite in case the great outdoors get to be too much. They are open year round, offer electrical connections, a supermarket is nearby, and they have a restaurant, laundry facilities and WiFi. Nearby attractions include the large park Prokopské údolí and Tuležim village, an open air medieval museum. Prices start at 130CZK per night for camping; tents are available to rent starting at 110CZK per night, as are campers, starting at 160CZK a night.
Camp Džbán (www.campdzban.eu) is located northwest of Prague. They offer 120 grassy camping spaces for both tents and campers; kitchen for guest´s use, a restaurant for those who prefer it, a mini-market, washing machine and drinking water. They also have a hostel on site as well as bungalows – you have your own “cottage” but kitchen and bathroom facilities are at the camp. Prices start at 95CZK a night for camping, 600CZK for a bungalow and 250CZK a night for a bed in the hostel.
But can you really be camping if you are still in Prague? Go for broke and head to Camping Bucek (www.campingbucek.cz) about 40 kilometers north of Prague towards Karlovy Vary. The big draw here is the large lake, perfect for a variety of water sports. An on-site forest is also here, so great for a back-to-nature weekend. They have a golf course, volleyball court, playground for kids (including 2 trampolines!) and an indoor swimming pool. Camping Bucek has 100 campsites, electrical hook-ups, washrooms and showers and a washing machine. Pitches start at 300CZK a night.
Continuing towards Karlovy Vary, we come to Radošov and the campsite Na Špici (www.naspici.ic.cz.) Located at the foot of the Krušné Hory Mountains and near the Ohře River, it presents many outdoor attractions. They offer raft, canoe and mountain bike rental so no need to supply your own. Na Špici is a bit more rugged than some of the others (no swimming pool) but they have 100 sites, more than half with electrical hook-ups, but no water or sewage connections for campers. There are also bungalows available to rent, and a hotel on site. Prices for camping start at 80CZK a night.
A multitude of campsites and outdoor attractions can be found in South Bohemia. Camping Kostelec (www.campingkostelec.nl) is up high (480 meters above sea level) so the views are amazing. They offer 70 places for either tents or campers, showers, laundry facilities, “game room” with darts, ping pong and billiards and a mini-market. Prices start at 140CZK per person per night.
Farther south in the Šumava Mountains and near Lake Lipno is Camping Frymburk (www.campingfrymburk.cz.) With campsites directly on the lake, you won´t need to go far for some wet fun. They offer 170 sites, all with electrical hook-ups, washing machine, small shop and the possibility to rent bikes, surfboards, canoes and row boats. During July and August they offer children´s programs and they´ll arrange excursions to surrounding places of interest. Prices start at 320CZK per pitch. They also have log cabins on site; prices start at 500CZK per cabin.
In the beautiful Vysočina region you can get back to nature at Kratochvil (www.kratochvil.nl). They offer 50 campsites on the Jihlava River, newly renovated bathroom and showers, volleyball court and football field and plenty of canoeing, swimming and hiking opportunities. There´s also a hotel onsite with an indoor pool and sauna. Campsite prices start at 250CZK and they offer a discount in the “off” season.
For a mountain camping experience head towards the Krkonoše´s and Harrachov-Jiska (www.camp.harrachov.cz.) The reasons to visit here are the outdoor play prospects offered by the mountains; the shaded campsites and the nearby lake for swimming. Prices start at 80CZK a person for camping and 450CZK for a cottage which includes bathroom and kitchen. They are open year round so for perfect for all you snow campers.
Head way south and east to Moravia and enjoy some wine with your toasted marshmallows. Near the Austrian border is Camp Bítov (www.camp-bitov.cz,) a massive complex close to the Vranovská dam. They have a lake, forest and hills for all sorts of outdoor pursuits. You can rent sports equipment and boats, go fishing and they offer tons of activities for children. The wine town of Znojmo is 30 kilometers away so it makes for a nice region to explore. There´s a restaurant, snack bar, shop and free internet connection. Prices for camping start at 60CZK per person, in one of their chalets it´s 120CZK per person. They have 300 campsites, but only 50 have electrical hook-ups.
No matter which region you choose, you´ll find a good selection of campgrounds and the outdoor pursuits to match your tastes. Czech Tourism´s website is always a good resource; but for camping specific information be sure to check www.camp.cz. You can search for campgrounds by area; or with a list of specific criteria like a restaurant, swimming opportunities or to rent a bungalow. Another online camping guide is www.czech-camping.com. They have a wealth of information on each of their campgrounds, an excellent search engine as well as information on places to camp in Slovakia.