5 scenic Prague running routes to help clear your head and keep your sanity intact

With enteratinment options limited, getting fit is the new fun; try these urban trails for your next jog

Marcus Bradshaw

Written by Marcus Bradshaw
Published on 23.10.2020 16:07 (updated on 23.10.2020)

As the latest round of COVID restrictions have forced the closure of gyms and swimming pools, more and more people are putting on their running shoes and taking to the streets in search of fresh air and exercise. Luckily, Prague is a wonderful city to run in, with an abundance of safe off-road routes. Here’s our pick of five best running routes, which include leafy parks and spectacular city views:

National Theatre to Barrandovský most - 5km / 8km / 10km

Prague's National Theater building
Prague's National Theater via iStock / tose

This riverfront route is ideal for beginners. It’s a gentle there-and-back route, so you can set your distance by turning back whenever you’ve had enough. Start at the National Theatre and follow the river upstream, taking the path along the Náplavka. Continue through the tunnel under Vyšehrad and keep following the path. For a 5km return trip, turn around at the Český Yacht Klub marina, turn at Žluté Lázně for an 8km run, or continue until the Barrandovský most for a full 10km workout.

Hostivař Reservoir - 8km

The Hostivař reservoir is surprisingly beautiful. I had always associated Hostivař with an image of drab student dorms in concrete towers, so I was astonished to discover a large and beautiful lake there, edged with a beautiful sandy beach, and nestled in a forest. It’s the largest lake in Prague, created by a dam on the Botíč river, and it’s an ideal place for a relaxed run. The route begins at the Švehlova tram stop (22, 26) and follows the meanders of the Botíč through the Hostivař-Záběhlice natural park, past the dam and along the full length of the lake. This there-and-back route is 4km each way, although you can make it shorter if you wish.

Stromovka - 2km / 3.5km loops

Photo via iStock
Photo via iStock @hopsalka

Once a royal game reserve, Stromovka park is so well-maintained that it can only be described as majestic. It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that Stromovka boasts some of the best running routes in the city. The park offers a 2km and a 3.5km loop that are great for beginners, as well as some sharp inclines that suit more accomplished runners who are looking to improve their strength and speed with hill training.

The main path around the fishponds is shaded by avenues of mature trees and creates a flat and comfortable 2km loop. This can be extended to 3.5km by running under the railway bridge and including the northern section of the park, before rejoining the main path. Simply mix and match the loops until you find a distance that feels right for you.

Old Vítkov railway line and Karlín - 7.5km loop

A surprisingly quiet and verdant path hugs the southern slope of Vítkov Hill. It’s wide, flat and welcoming, with plenty of space for cyclists, pedestrians, rollerbladers and runners to share. Once a railway line, this amenity area is easily accessed from the bridge on the bottom of Seifertova, near Hlavní Nádraží.

The path continues gently through the greenery -- it’s hard to imagine you’re in the middle of Žižkov -- before continuing through an old railway tunnel. Don’t worry, the tunnel is brightly lit, clean and safe! You will eventually come to a long bridge, which brings you gently down to Karlín in a wide loop.

Continue through Karlín, until you reach the Florenc bus station. From there, follow the railway tracks back towards Hlavní Nádraží and the start point of the run. If you’d prefer to make this a there-and-back route, it is 2km from the start of the track to the end of the Old Vítkov Tunnel.

Tourist Prague - without the tourists! 10km loop

Prague's Charles Bridge via iStock / nantonov
Prague's Charles Bridge via iStock / nantonov

This is a challenging 10km run, including a very steep climb to Prague Castle. The views (and the joy of running over an empty Charles Bridge) make it worth it though!

Starting on the Old Town Square, run past the Astronomical Clock and down Karlova towards the Charles Bridge. Cross the bridge, continue through Malostranské Náměstí and run up the hill past the parliament and tackle the steps that lead up to Prague Castle (there are over 200 steps, this will be a real workout!).

Keep pushing on uphill towards Strahov monastery, before turning right at Poheřelec and following the tram tracks back towards the centre.

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You’ll eventually enter Chotovy Sady and from there, cross the footbridge into Letná Park. Run the length of the park and exit through the beer garden. Then cross the river on Hlávkův most and turn right and follow the embankment upstream, until you come to Čechův most. Turn on to Pařížská and continue back to complete the loop on the Old Town Square.