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Prague Islands: Experience the romantic atmosphere of the islands on the Vltava River

Wheelchair-friendly routes off the beaten track.

  • Sports & Relaxation
  • walking routes
  • wheelchair access

Practical information

Download: Prague:four accessible walks 2
Although this guide is intended primarily for people using manual or electric wheelchairs, it may be found useful by anyone with limited mobility, such as parents with strollers, the elderly, etc.

Difficulty Rating: Easy to Moderate
Route Length:
3,2 km

The terrain is mostly flat, with only slight inclines and declines at certain places. The occasional narrow passages have a minimum width of 90 cm. In terms of accessibility, the greatest complication on the route is presented by the historic cobblestone pavement on some of the crosswalks and steep incline of the lowered curbs. Access to Children‘s Island (Dětský ostrov) is challenging, with a steep footbridge connecting it to the access sidewalk on the bank. We recommend personal assistance to overcome these obstacles.

ROUTE DESCRIPTION

| → National Avenue → Legion Bridge → Střelecký Island

The Vltava River, while running through Prague, is adorned with thirteen islands of various size. Some of them come to life during the summer with cultural festivals, others are quiet all year round. Let‘s get out to see at least three of them. They are all within sight of the National Theatre, where – at the adjacent partially accessible tram stop – our walk begins and ends.

National Avenue (Národní třída), separating the Old and the New Town, dates back to the second half of the 18th century, when the future high street started of a filled-in moat. A few decades later the waterfront started to get new features with the Chain Bridge of Emperor Franz Joseph I (now called Most Legií, Legions‘ Bridge).

The street was uplifted considerably with the building of Neo-Renaissance National Theatre (Národní divadlo) in 1881, around which an elegant neighbourhood soon sprang up with the art gallery in the Topič Salon, the Slavia café and the Academy of Sciences building.
The building of the National Theatre was financed through a nationwide collection and opened in 1881. Then, after a devastating fire, it reopened again in 1883. The theatre‘s façade and interior are decorated with outstanding works of notable Czech artists – Aleš, Ženíšek, Hynais, Myslbek, et al.

A plaque placed on the front of the Kaňka Building (Kaňkův dům, also known as Schirding Palace, which is found near the intersection with Mikulandská Street) commemorates a key event from Národní třída‘s modern history: It was right here that the violent crackdown on a peaceful student demonstration on 17 November 1989 set into motion the events that later became known as the Velvet Revolution.

We can stop to spend a while pondering the avenue‘s eventful history over a coffee at Národní kavárna (The National Café) which, unlike the more famous Slavia Café, is barrier-free. The enterprise was founded in 1896, but its heyday came between the wars, when the Czech intelectual community used to meet regularly here, sipping coffee by the low café tables and discussing hot topics of the day.

The partially accessible Café Nona in the National Theatre‘s New Stage glass building has a different atmosphere, offering a pleasant spot for a break with a great view of the decorative Art Nouveau facade of the Topič Building.

After saying good-bye to Národní třída, we continue to the Legions‘ Bridge via a crosswalk on the right. The crossing has lowered curbs on both sides, but the lane surface is partially paved with cobblestones and there are tram tracks to be crossed. The connecting sidewalk on the right side of the bridge is paved with mosaic stones, occasionally slightly damaged.
The Legions‘ Bridge (Most Legií) was formally opened in 1901 and the event was attended by Emperor Franz Joseph I, after whom the new bridge took its name. However, after Czechoslovakia gained its independence in 1918, it was renamed the Legions‘ Bridge. The bridge is 343 metres long and 16 metres wide. The two built-in towers originally served for toll collecting.

The bridge and Střelecký Island (Střelecký ostrov) beneath it are connected by a publicly accessible lift (110 x 130 cm, open 24/7) with a short metal footbridge leading to it. Stretching out from the lower lift station there is a park with well-maintained dirt paths. At the northern tip of the island, sitting under the tall chestnut trees, we can enjoy the view of the Kampa neighbourhood and Prague Castle on the left bank of the river and the National Theatre building back on the right.

We run into more diffi cult cobbled surface under the arch of the bridge, which leads to the south half of the island. This is also where public toilets are located. The south part of the island is open to the public only up to the historical building of the former shooting range.

→ Janáček Embankment → Jirásek Bridge

Take the lift back up onto the bridge and cross it, still on the righthand side, to the other bank of the river. There is a more difficult part with steeper curbs and rougher paving at the end of the bridge and while crossing the streets Všehrdova and Šeříkova. We take the fi rst crosswalk to the other side of Vítězná Street and return along the paved sidewalk back to the bridge and turn onto the Janáček Embankment (Janáčkovo nábřeží). Along the left side of the street lined with trees we head south towards Jirásek Bridge (Jiráskův most). On the way, we can admire the elegant tenement houses built at the end of the 19th century and nowadays making a part of the Prague Heritage Reserve Area.

Opening from the intersection of the Janáček Embankment and Pavla Švandy ze Semčic Street there is a small park. From there a footbridge leads to Children‘s Island (Dětský ostrov), a popular relaxation area complete with a large children‘s playground and enjoying a wonderful view of the opposite bank of the river. However, the incline of the access bridge and connecting ramp is quite steep, in places as much as 17%. The broad central path that runs across the island has a hard, fl at surface made of interlocking concrete paving stones.

Whether we stop at the island or not, our route continues towards a water reservoir built in 1562 to supply the fountains of Lesser Town with water. It was erected on the smallest Prague island (called Petržilkovský Island) and it is not open to public.

The crosswalk with lowered curbs next to the white tower takes us via an asphalt sidewalk to Jirásek Bridge. This part may be somewhat difficult due to its long incline, which is however not overly steep.

→ Dancing House → Mánes Gallery → Slavic Island →|

Along the left side of Jirásek Bridge, from which another impressive view of the river and surroundings opens out, we cross to New Town. The crossroads at the end of the bridge is rather tricky due to heavy traffic, but it is traffic-light controlled and has lowered curbs. We can easily cross to an impressive piece of modern architecture – the Dancing House (Tančící dům). The two connected towers made of contrasting materials – glass and concrete – represent the dancing pair of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.
The Dancing House was erected on the Rašín Waterfront (Rašínovo nábřeží) in 1996. It was designed by world-known architects Vlado Milunič and Frank O. Gehry. The Dancing House is open to public – you can visit a gallery, a restaurant and a bar with a circular lookout terrace.

We return across the very same crosswalk to the left-hand sidewalk of the Masaryk Embankment (Masarykovo nábřeží). Ahead of us we can see another magnificent building, the functionalist Mánes Gallery. The structure connects the embankment and the last island on this route. It is called Slavic Island (Slovanský ostrov), but it was nicknamed Žofín after the beautiful Neo-Renaissance palace built there.

The island is best accessed via a broad footbridge, with only a slight incline and a good pavement of mosaic stones.

After a pleasant stop at Slavic Island we head on along the left-hand side of the street towards the National Theatre. We cross the street encountering rough cobblestone pavement and the tram tracks and find ourselves back on Národní třída.


Recommended Landmarks on the Route

Národní kavárna (the National Café)
Národní 339/11, Prague 1, www.narodnikavarna.cz

  • access through main entrance (double-leaf door: width 2 x 88 cm)
  • sufficient manoeuvring room inside
  • passages: minimum width of 80 cm
  • dining tables (height 73 cm) that wheelchair can fit under (height usually not more than 70 cm)
  • partially accessible toilet on the ground floor (door width 80 cm; cabin width 153 cm – 185 cm, depth 171 cm)

Café Nona – Nová Scéna/New Stage of the National Theatre
Národní 1393/4, Prague 1, www.cafenona.cz

  • access through main entrance (double-leaf door: width 2 x 76 cm)
  • sufficient manoeuvring room inside
  • passages: minimum width of 70 cm
  • lift (automatic doors: width 80 cm; cage width 134 cm, depth 140 cm) connecting the ground floor up to the 3rd floor
  • partially accessible toilet on the 3rd floor (door width 90 cm; cabin width 157 cm, depth 214 cm)

Dancing House Gallery
Jiráskovo náměstí 1981/6, Prague 2, www.galerietancicidum.cz

  • access through the side entrance (double-leaf door: width 2 x 88 cm) with a detection gate (passage limited when only main leaf is opened, width reduced to 65 cm)
  • sufficient manoeuvring room inside
  • passages, with exception of narrowed entrance, at least 80 cm wide
  • exhibition space over three stories; barrier-free access to ground level and -2 level; -1 accessible only by spiral staircase
  • lift in gallery (automatic doors: width 89 cm; cage width 102 cm, depth 153 cm) connecting the ground floor and -2nd level
  • restaurant with a perfect vista of Prague on the 7th floor
  • lift to restaurant (automatic doors: width 88 cm; cage width 172 cm, depth 123 cm) connecting the ground floor up to 7th floor
  • adjusted toilet with insufficiently deep cabin on 7th floor (door width 80 cm; cabin width 140 cm, depth 120 – 160 cm)

Mánes Gallery
Masarykovo nábřeží 250/1, Prague 1, www.galeriemanes.com

  • access through main entrance (single-leaf door: width 109 cm with a threshold 3.5 cm high)
  • sufficient manoeuvring room inside
  • passages: minimum width of 80 cm
  • lift G (automatic doors: width 80 cm; cage width 110 cm, depth 140 cm) connecting the -1st and 1st level, including mezzanines
  • accessible toilet on the -1st level (door width 90 cm; cabin width 160 cm, depth 168 cm) barrier-free restaurant in the building with its own entrance (doubleleaf door: width 2 x 97 cm), lift B (automatic doors: width 80 cm; cage width 110 cm, depth 140 cm) and an accessible toilet (door width 80 cm; cabin width 176 cm, depth 296 cm, passage: minimum width 160 cm)

Žofín Garden Restaurant
Slovanský ostrov 226/8, Prague 1, www.zofingarden.cz

  • access sidewalk has rough paving stones
  • restaurant located on the ground floor of Žofín Palace
  • access by side entrance through roofed restaurant terrace (doubleleaf door: width 2 x 80 cm) with ramp (slope 16%, width 170 cm, length 130 cm)
  • entrance to interior is narrower (double-leaf door: width 2 x 75 cm)
  • sufficient manoeuvring room inside
  • passages: minimum width of 75 cm
  • accessible toilet on the ground floor (door width 89 cm; cabin width 302 cm, depth 180 cm)

 

TOILETS

Public toilets Střelecký Island

  • located under the bridge arch, access by lift (automatic doors: width 85 cm; cage width 110 cm, depth 130 cm)
  • access path with rough paving and slight incline (max. 5%)
  • access by main entrance (single-leaf door: width 116 cm)
  • spacious entryway
  • partially accessible toilet (door width 80 cm; cabin width 140 cm, depth 163 cm) and limited space next to toilet bowl of only 75 cm)
  • toilet bowl is equipped with one fixed handrail and one folding handrailm

Detailed descriptions of the accessibility of the recommended and other properties on the route can be found at pragueaccessibilitymap.eu.

Show practical information

Contacts

  • Prague Islands: Experience the romantic atmosphere of the islands on the Vltava River
  • Praha 1- Nové Město

Information source: Prague City Tourism