That Time I Went on a Rafting Pub Crawl

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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.

Cesky Krumlov Rafting

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.

Cesky Krumlov Rafting

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.

Cesky Krumlov Rafting

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.

Cesky Krumlov Rafting

And of course the scenery wasn't bad, either.

Cesky Krumlov Rafting

Cesky Krumlov Rafting

Cesky Krumlov Rafting

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.

Cesky Krumlov Rafting
Apparently Simon missed the leaning memo.
Cesky Krumlov Rafting
The awesome raft crew!

The other boats in our group were a little rowdier, however… But clearly everyone had a great time.

Cesky Krumlov Rafting

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!

Cesky Krumlov Rafting


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!

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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38 Comments on “That Time I Went on a Rafting Pub Crawl

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  1. I’m headed to Cesky this summer. This sounds like so much fun!!

    Question – what waterproof camera were you using? Your pics are AMAZING!!

      It was so much fun! And Cesky is an awesome little city.

      As for the camera, all the photos were actually taken on my regular camera – I just took a dry bag along and kept my camera inside while I wasn’t using it. 🙂 (The video, meanwhile, was taken on a small hand-held video camera by Kodak that they don’t actually make anymore. These days I use a GoPro!)

    Sounds like fun. What I thought was interesting was when I was in Cesky Krumlov years ago and we rented a raft to go down the river and they gave us a small bottle of rum to drink while on the water. That was something I haven’t seen before or since.

    That does look like a lot of fun, but if you were particularly buzzed on the crawl, would maneuvering be hard in shallow spots? Either way, it looks like a great time. =D

      Yes, it could possibly be difficult if you were really drunk – which is why I’m convinced this wouldn’t fly in the U.S.!

    Wow, it seems really cool!
    I notice that nobody’s in life jacket (for someone like me who cannot really swim, I will usually take note of all the safety gears!), so the water is shallow enough that you are able to stand on your feet?

      Yes, the water is very shallow in most parts. Though, I was surprised at the lack of life jackets, too!

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