Length 6.8 km (4.2 miles), terrain: flat
Pictures courtesy of the creative folks at Flickr Creative Commons. Thanks!
Prague Running Routes:
Old-Town / New-Town Run
Petrin Hill Run
For more running routes, see Route List.
Prague, Europe's most beautiful medieval city (in my opinion, anyway) has all kinds of interesting neighborhoods and sights. This one combines parts of the old town and the new town (the area surrounding the old medieval core), with a long, scenic stretch along the Vltava River.
Of course, the most fascinating sights are in the old town areas on both sides of the river. But since the end of the Cold War brought a flood of western tourists, there is nothing left in the old town of real Czech culture, where local people themselves go to shop and eat. Everything has been transformed into souvenir shops, hotels and tourist restaurants. So that's why I included some of the new town in this route: to experience a few neighborhoods full of local people and normal Czech life.
|Wenceslas Square, photo by Clyde Bentley|
Wenceslas Square is more a wide boulevard than a square. It itself is in the new town, with buildings from the Victorian age to art-deco to more modern ones lining the street. Turn your back on the statue and run downhill (northwest) through the narrow park for three blocks until you come to where the tram tracks cross, at Vodičkova, where you turn left.
This street isn't especially scenic, with lots of offices, restaurants and shops along the way, but you're already away from the tourists. When the tram tracks turn to follow the street to the right, keep going straight on Vodičkova towards the ancient gothic tower, a block ahead.
|Charles Square, photo by Martin Laver|
Run south through the square, which is bisected by two cross-streets, to the southern end. Turn right here to run westwards along Na Moráni. In four short blocks you'll come to the Vltava River.
We'll now cross the river over the Palackého Most (bridge). The riverside is quieter on the other side.
|Dam along the Vltava, photo by Ben Jeffrey|
Run under the next bridge and then, just past the white tower at the water, there's an interesting spot to get out into the river and experience it from much closer. Take the path that goes over the arched bridge to Detsky Island. You can view the water cascading over the dam across the river, which diverted much of the water to watermills along each shore.
|Vltava swans, photo by Peter Mulligan|
Just 100 meters after the bridge, you'll come into a riverside park, on Kampa island. You'll have to run around the Kampa Museum (ex watermill) and you'll exit the park onto Na Kampě, a pleasant little tree-lined square between old houses.
NOTE: This part of the run overlaps with the other Prague route, the Petrin Hill Run.
|Na Kampě square, photo by Cedricounet|
Now turn right onto U Lužického Semináře, and follow it to a little triangular square just 200 meters ahead. You'll see a cobblestoned street going down to the water to the right, with a little park next to it. Turn right into the park and then follow the path up to the next bridge, Mánesův Most.
Now cross over to the east side of town again.
Just as you reach the far end of the bridge, at Jan Palach Square, turn left to run along the water past the beautiful Czech Philharmonic Orchestra building and then past next big building.
Now turn right onto Břehová to run past the back end of the Jewish cemetery, in the old ghetto. The cemetery is raised much higher than the rest of the surrounding streets, because the restricted space forced people to bury the dead above each other.
|New-Old Synagogue and Jewish Town Hall, photo by cojs images|
Most of the rest of the old ghetto was torn down 100 years ago in an urban-renewal project, and replaced with houses of that era.
Following Maiselova southwards, you'll pass another old synagogue and then come to a big baroque church, St. Nicholas, on the left side, with a small passageway leading to the Old Town Square. You'll see the fascinating gothic towers of the Tyn Church across the square.
|The main square and the Tyn Church, photo by Reuben Bluff|
Now circle around the gothic town hall, past its amazing astronomical clock, a work of unrivaled medieval workmanship.
|Astronomical clock at the town hall, photo by Sarah S.|
Now just run straight down the street, back to the statue of King Wenceslas.