Boating season in the Czech Republic is officially underway

Rafters, kayakers, and canoers took to the Vltava River in Český Krumlov on Saturday for the ceremonial opening of the 2022 boating season.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 17.04.2022 09:45:00 (updated on 18.04.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

One of the most popular Czech spring and summer pastimes has officially begun. Despite some unseasonably chilly weather, about a hundred rafters, canoers, and kayakers took to the Vltava river in Český Krumlov on Saturday for the ceremonial opening of the 2022 boating season.

This was the first year since 2019 the seasonal event took place; the annual opening ceremony in the historic Czech town was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Those who participated in the ceremony took to the river from Český Krumlov to Zlatá Koruna, a popular 12-kilometer stretch that has officially re-opened following the colder winter months.

According to Tomáš Kala, who operates a boat rental service in Český Krumlov, the boating season on the Vltava traditionally begins in mid-April, and organizers did not want to change it this year despite the crossover with the Easter holidays. While hundreds of people traditionally take part in the opening event, Kala says the cold weather limited the number of people this year.

Due to the weather, organizers chose the easy-going section of the river from Český Krumlov to Zlatá Koruna, which doesn't feature weirs.

"It's still cold and nobody wants to swim, that's why we choose this route without weirs," Kala told local media.

Overall participation in rafting, canoeing, and kayaking on the Vltava by Český Krumlov was not greatly affected by the pandemic, according to Kala, who estimated a ten percent falloff in boaters during the past two years. He expects a big uptick in traffic this season.

"Slightly fewer people came [during the pandemic], but it wasn't a problem," Kala says.

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"We expect a good season this year, we already have a lot of reservations, and I think people are pretty excited, they have had enough after those two years. And secondly, [traveling to] Croatia will be more expensive this year."

Going "on the water" (na vodě) is one of the Czech Republic's most popular pastimes during the warmer weather months, and the Vltava river in Southern Bohemia is one of the most-trafficked locations.

Around 250,000 people take to the Vltava on rafts, kayaks, and canoes from Vyšší Brod south of Český Krumlov north to the České Budějovice area every year.

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