Pirates Dock at Náplavka

Boats illegally selling refreshments anchor at Prague’s popular riverside destination

Over the past few years, Náplavka – Prague’s riverside embankment that stretches from the Dancing House to Výtoň in New Town – has become one of the city’s most popular summertime hotspots, with thousands of visitors chilling out by the Vltava every night.

It’s great fun. As long as you can avoid the bicyclists who insist on trying to ride through some of the city’s densest (and sometimes, drunkest) crowds.

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The locale has become so popular, in fact, that you may have trouble finding a place to sit in one of Náplavka’s docked ships, or have to wait in line for twenty minutes to order a beer at one of the riverfront bars.

Those ships and bars pay a merchant fee to do business at Náplavka.

Some less-scrupulous vendors, however, have been taking advantage of the increasing demand at Náplavka by illegally docking at the riverfront to sell refreshments, including alcoholic beverages, reports Lidovky.cz. 

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These so-called “pirate” ships typically sail in during the late hours, under the cover of night, and tie their ships to the embankment’s bollards in order to conduct business.

To combat the snack-selling pirates, Trade Centre Praha, who manages the area, has constructed wedge-shaped boxes around the riversides bollards to ensure that no illegal parties will be able to dock there (photos of the locked bollards can be seen at iDnes).

Some pirate merchants, however, have begun to simply tie their ships to the metal ladders that lead from the river to the cobblestone embankment.

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And the bollards should still be available for legitimate vessels that want to dock at the riverfront, who now have to tie down 300 meters upriver. 

The pirate situation has been an issue since last year. While Trade Centre Praha is currently investigating ways to combat the pirates, the problem is not yet resolved.

Fee-paying merchants, understandably, are not happy.

If you’re out and about at Náplavka at night, do local businesses a favour by keeping an eye out for the refreshment pirates and choosing the right merchant to buy from.

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