Running in Prague
Running in Prague is like running in a fairy tale. Run through its historic pages with this guide.
Running in Prague is like running in a fairy tale. If you’re lucky enough to be staying in the historic core of the city, you may find your morning run goes something like this:
After waking up early, you head out the door of your hotel room and find yourself in the Stare Mesto. You make your way over cobblestone streets lined with medieval buildings until you reach a placid river. To your left is a 600 year old bridge, lined with spires and gothic sculptures. You decide to cross it. The bridge leads you to a green oasis in the middle of the city, a well maintained park.
After making your way through the park and smiling at other joggers, you make your way up a hill that leads to a castle. Once you reach the castle, you stop to soak in the view then head to a local cafe for a cappuccino. Cappuccino in hand, you take a moment to reflect on your morning and conclude that, in Prague, fairy tales do come true, even if only for a moment.
Over 1,100 years old, Prague is the capital city of the Czech Republic and sits on the edges of the Vltava River. It’s home to approximately 1.27 million people and known for its Gothic churches, baroque buildings, and the medieval Astronomical Clock. The historic core of the city is anchored by Old Town Square (Stare Mesto). Runners can enjoy early morning runs through the historic core and act as their own tour guide while getting their workout in.
There are also great runs along the Vltava River and in the city’s spacious green parks. Parks make up for one fifth of the city’s area and provide runners a much-needed respite from Prague’s cobblestone streets. If you’re up for a hill workout, run up the winding streets up to Prague Castle. Once you’re in Prague, you can take advantage of the popular public transport options (Prague Metro, tram system, bus system, cable railway, and ferries) to get you to the start of these running routes.
The terrain in Prague varies around the city and runners can find a wide variety of routes to choose from. From flat and hilly areas, to cobblestone streets and dirt paths, there is something for every kind of runner in Prague. During the high season, it is best to run early in the morning to avoid crowds.
For a scenic run in Prague, look no further than the soft dirt paths along the edges of the Vltava River. This is a mostly flat route that follows the famous waterway from either the north or the south and is easily extendable in either direction. You can also make your way across the river on one of Prague’s stunning bridges. On this route, you may pass Kampa Island, Zofin Island and the Lennon Wall. Note: Near the city center, there are bars along the waterfront, making the pathways more crowded during the evening and weekend hours.
The large Kunratice forest is an ideal spot for a long endurance run. It’s one of the few places in Prague you can run uninterrupted for 20k or more. Once in the park there are multiple dirt and paved paths to choose from. The terrain is mostly flat with hills mixed in. The forest is also a great place for a summer run since it is well-shaded and not overly crowded most times of day.
The verdant Stromovka park is the largest park in the city and one of the most popular places to run among locals. Stromoka’s popularity may be attributed to the fact that it’s only 3k north of Old Town and accessible by Prague’s comprehensive public transport system. It contains a series of dirt trails for soft surface runs—a welcome break from the city’s cobblestone streets. It is relatively flat with a few hills and has many shaded areas. For a short and sweet run, there is an inner loop that is approximately 1 mile long.
Historic Letna is a 1 mile long park near Prague’s historic core. It offers runners flat paths, shaded areas and lots of natural beauty to take in. Letna runs parallel to the Vltava River and offers amazing views of the water from it’s well maintained paths. Be sure not to the miss the Prague Metronome, unveiled in 1991, and taking the place of the Joseph Stalin monument that was destroyed in 1962.