It's not exactly the safest scenario to picture. And it certainly would NEVER fly in America. But, regardless, I quite thought the idea of a rafting pub crawl sounded like fun.
And I don't even drink.
It all started out with whispers in Prague from other Busabouters about an epic afternoon to be had in the Czech town of Cesky Krumlov. There, they said, you could rent a raft and paddles and cruise off down the Vltava River for the afternoon, stopping off at a handful of riverside pubs.
Despite the fact that others would perhaps balk at the idea of floating down an unfamiliar river in an inflatable raft with a handful of people you only kinda-sorta know while they are all very drunk, I actually thought it sounded like fun.
And, of course, it was.
The adventure began at noon with a meeting at Hostel99 in Cesky Krumlov, where we all paid our 300 Koruna (about $15 USD) and made a verbal pledge with our hands in the air that we would not ruin any of the equipment or act like douchebags on the river. (I maintain that most of our group only lived up to the first half of the pledge, but we'll let it slide for now.) Then it was off to the river.
The Vltava River twists and turns lazily through the countryside surrounding Cesky Krumlov. We were dropped off a few kilometers away from the town, and told that, rafting straight through, it would probably only take about an hour and a half to get back to the town. We had nearly 6 hours at our disposal, though. Our large group divided into 3 smaller ones and launched our 3 rafts into the river.
The next hours were spent splashing, drinking, laughing, navigating ourselves down the concrete weirs that control the river, drinking, and laughing some more. We stopped at a handful of pubs that ranged from quite predictable and normal to shacks and tents along the river.
And of course the scenery wasn't bad, either.
I was lucky to be in a raft with some Aussies, Kiwis, and an English girl who were fine with just having a few drinks and enjoying the nice weather as we floated down the river.
The other boats in our group were a little rowdier, however… But clearly everyone had a great time.
In the end, I'm so glad I signed up for this unconventional “pub crawl” — despite the fact that I don't drink and that there are probably a ton of safety liabilities involved. I would definitely do it again!
If you go…
You don't HAVE to do a pub crawl, of course. Rafting or canoeing down the Vltava can be a fun activity for anyone visiting Cesky Krumlov. Here are a few things to know, though:
- Raft/canoe rentals are available in various locations around the city.
- Most of these rentals will NOT include a guide — you will be responsible for getting yourself down the river.
- The river is generally pretty shallow, but this means you'll need to look out for rocks and parts of the river that your boat might get caught up on.
- You will have to navigate down concrete weirs. There are chutes/ramps made for boats to make this safer, but you'll need to pay attention to what side of the river the ramps are on.
- I won't say that the Vltava is dirty, but you should be aware that a handful of travelers I rafted with who dove into the river repeatedly ended up getting sick with stomach bugs a day or so later. I, however, was fine since I stayed in the boat!
Is this something YOU would want to do?
*Note: I visited Cesky Krumlov as part of my Busabout trip around Europe. They provided me with transport on all 3 of their Europe loops, but all opinions of the destinations I visit are entirely my own!