A historic city of fluctuating fortunes, the era that has most left its mark on Prague is that of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles IV. It has given the city an old-timey, storybook feel and this river cruise is a gloriously charming way to bask in its ambience.
Your sightseeing cruise begins with a reminder of Prague’s cosmopolitan heritage. It sets off from the Čech Bridge, which is the country’s only large Art Nouveau bridge, built in 1908 and named after the Czech writer, journalist and poet Svatopluk Čech who passed away few months before the opening of the bridge. Just a few minutes later, you will pass the Mánes Bridge, connecting the Aleš Embankment and Rudolfinum to the Lesser Quarter, which owes its form to the Czech Cubist movement of the 1910s. It’s not all rarefied art though, if you pay attention you might spot a gargoyle or two on the Prague coat of arms.
You’ll bask in the atmosphere of the entire city and take in sites such as the Rudolfinum, a neo-Renaissance building from 1885 that is home to the Czech Philharmonic. You’ll pass the Franz Kafka Museum and of course spot the world famous Prague Castle panorama in the distance. It would be hard to miss – it’s the largest castle in the world.
The highlight, though, is the Charles Bridge. Built by Charles IV in the 1300s, it’s one of Europe’s grand bridges. 621 meters long and 10 meters wide, it sits on 16 stone arches. Its Old Town bridge tower is considered to be one of the most striking gothic-style buildings in the world. It has been the staging ground for many historic events and is where the city finds its grand and stately self: Bohemian kings proceeded along it on the Royal Route as they went to be crowned.
The short cruise turns back here, so if like to explore the other Prague highlights, you should continue with the 2 hours Grand Cruise. Shortly after the famous Charles bridge, you'll pass the Kampa Island, home of the Sova's Mill Gallery of modern art, showcasing a collection of Central European and Czech work in particular. On the other side of the river, you'll spot the beautiful building of the Czech National Theatre.
Shortly after that you'll be able to appreciate another architectural gem of Prague – the world renowned Dancing House, designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Ghery in cooperation with Czech-Croatian architect Vlado Milunic, inspired by the famous dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
When you reach the Vyšehrad, a historic fort built around the 10th century, with the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul, your cruise will slowly turn back.
So, allow yourself to glide along the Vltava river and take in Prague in all its glory. Should you desire it (and you will) you’ll find a nice draught of pilsner to be had onboard!