Written by Melissa Deerson
The sun is shining, the birds are twittering, and the urge comes to uncover that winter beer belly and hit the pool for a spot of frolicking – but there´s a problem. Most likely, your local outdoor pool is still closed until the warmer summer months, leaving spring early birds staring forlornly through the locked gates. Luckily, Prague has a good number of indoor pools that cater for the need for some watery fun all year round.
A FEW TIPS
As the sweet smell of chlorine hits your nostrils and you get ready to hit the proverbial surf, there are a few general things to remember about how the system works. Pools in Prague mostly charge by how long you plan to stay – usually in 60 or 90 minute blocks. This might seem a bit restrictive (and steep) at first, until you realise that unless you´re a fish or in training, an hour and a half is ample time for a splash around, a few laps and the obligatory hot chips at the end. Most pools assign you a locker, often with a key on a wrist band you can wear in the water, and many have private change rooms for those inclined to modesty. There´s also usually a ‘no shoes in the change room´ policy, and many pools have a sort of ‘no-man´s land´ near the entrance of the change rooms where you remove the offending items and put them in plastic bags to take in with you. Also, make sure you check the opening times before you visit – a lot of pools close for the middle part of the day. Apart from that, most pools are pretty easy to negotiate and you can go from front door to aquatic satisfaction in next to no time.
AQUAPARK LAGOON LETŇANY
Tupolevova 665, Prague 18
Bus 156 from metro C Holešovická, or bus number 159 from metro B Vysočanská,
Mon, We, Fri: 06.00 – 09.00, 12.00 – 22.00
Tue, Thu: 07.00 – 09.00, 16.00 – 22.00
Sat – Sun: 09.00 – 22.00
Entry: Adults – 120CZK/90min, Kids – 60CZK/90mins
This pool is a kid´s dream. Definitely geared towards recreation over sport, it makes up for being fairly small and a bit out of the way with an extremely large and fun water slide, which twists and loops an impressive number of times, much to the great enjoyment of child and adult alike. As well as the water slide, it´s got a spa pool, kids´ pool, and a 25 metre main pool. The main pool is mostly given up to aqua-play – it has a section for laps but no lane ropes, and the pace is leisurely, so it´s not recommended for those looking to start a punishing exercise regime. If you can wrestle them away from the hoards of kids, there are some great pool toys to clamber about on, and also a children´s trampoline for when terrestrial play beckons.
Hloubětínská 80, Prague 9
Trams 3 and 19, Metro B line to Hloubětín
Mon 06.00-08.00, 12.30-16.00, 21.00-23.00
Tues, Thurs 06.00-08.00, 12.30-16.00 18.00-23.00
Wed 06.00-08.00, 12.30-14.00, 18.00-23.00
Fri 06.00-08.00, 12.30-15.00, 18.00-23.00
Entry: Adults – 70CZK/60mins, 100CZK/90mins, Kids – 30CZK/60mins, 50CZK/90mins
This is a good, modern pool attached to a fitness complex. It has one 25 metre pool, and although it´s a little less of a kiddie paradise than Letňany, there is a children´s pool where a fair few littlies were having a great time when I was there on a weekend. A nice touch is the large number of leafy plants that line the walls, which lend an appealingly tropical atmosphere to one´s swimming experience. Also a plus is the café upstairs which bravely expands on the basic ‘battered and fried´ menu to include less artery-blocking fare to ensure all your good work isn´t undone in one fell swoop.
Podolska 74, Prague 4
Open Daily 06:00-21:45
Entry: Adults – 80CZK/90mins, 100CZK/120mins, Kids – 45CZK/90mins, 60CZK/120mins
For size, accessibility, facilities, and the sheer novelty of being able to swim outside in below freezing temperatures, Podoli can´t be beaten. It´s got a huge indoor pool that´s open all year round, as well as knee-knockingly high diving boards from which intrepid swimmers hurl themselves with varying levels of fear and skill, a giant outdoor waterslide set against a cliff-face, and an impressive selection of dinky pool toys for those inclined to less adrenaline fuelled entertainment. One of the best features to my mind though is the heated outdoor pool which is open all year round, and which on cold days can lead to the unique experience of excessive steam (and the resulting reduced visibility) causing collisions between fellow swimmers. Another unusual aspect is the number of patrons who like to conduct their pool experience topless – how very cosmopolitan.
A FEW MORE PLACES
Pražačka Krytý Bazén
Za Žižkovskou 17, Prague 3
Any pool whose entrance is through the adjoining pub is worth at least one visit. It´s old, a little run-down, and quite small, but it´s cheap, it has amazing views of Prague and very warm water. It´s only open from 6 – 8am and 8-9.45pm on weekdays, and 12-6pm and 10-4pm on Saturday and Sunday, so have a quick few laps and then reward yourself with a beer.
Radlice (SK Motorlet)
Výmolova 2a, Prague 5
A big very modern pool which holds national swim-meets and has a strong emphasis on swimming lessons and schools – good for doing laps and very close to the metro.
Polská street, Prague 2
Your standard 25 metre pool, with the very un-standard addition of a nude swimming night on Wednesdays from 7.30 to 8.30 in the evening. No bathing suits allowed!
Hotel Pyramida – Bělohorská 24, Prague 6 – Although it´s quite small (11 x 7m), it´s still good for a gentle bit of exercise and a splash around.
Hotel Axa – Na porci 40, Prague 1 – It´s right in the centre of town, it´s great for laps, and it´s popular with locals and hotel patrons alike.
Hotel Praha – Susicka 20, Prague 6 – This round pool is too small for laps, so visit this one to float about in your best swim-suit and relax.
For more swimming options, see: