South Moravia is an often overlooked part of The Czech Republic. Vestonická Nádrž is a beautiful spot for a getaway.
Where is South Moravia
Historically, the land The Czech Republic now sits on was made up of three regions – Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia. Today the country is divided into 13 regions, one of those is South Moravia.
South Moravia sits in the south east of the country. The region nestles between the borders of Slovakia and Austria and is home to the city of Brno – the second largest city in the country. Driving from Prague to Brno takes a bit over two hours.
If thinking of The Czech Republic makes you think of cobblestone streets and church steeples, South Moravia will challenge that image. It is rolling green hills and farmland. Wine, beer, sugar, and a variety of fruits and vegetables find their home in the region. When I was there in early summer I filled a bucket of cherries which I picked off of branches hanging out over sidewalks.
Vestonická nádrž – Věstonice Reservoir in English, is the spot I visited in South Moravia, and it is the only real water option you’ve got. The reservoir sits on the Thaya River and just in front of the Děvín Mountain.
Around the reservoir are several small towns and villages. The largest amongst them is Drnholec which has a population of just over 1,800. There are also the towns of Strachotín and Pasohlávky which each have populations of around 700-800 people.
In addition to the villages there are a myriad of ‘Kemps’ which are essentially holiday parks. These generally have basic accommodation, a load of water attractions, and appeal to families with kids.
If, though, you go in shoulder season, when the kids are in school but the parks are still open, you can make use of all the fun the kids get to monopolize during the summer months. That’s what I did.
On my weekend visit to Věstonice Reservoir I stayed at Kemp Merkur, which is on the east side of the lake, close to the small town of Pasohlávky.
How to Get There
As I mentioned, Věstonice Reservoir is in a pretty rural part of The Czech Republic. That being said, Czechia is pretty good for its transportation, and though it may take a bit longer, buses run to most small towns and villages and are generally quite cheap.
If you’ve got a car the drive from Brno takes from 30 to 45 minutes and takes you through some pretty beautiful South Moravian countryside. If renting isn’t an option for you, there are local buses which take just under an hour. Direct connections are possible though depending on when you’re traveling you might need to transfer once. The cost of the ticket varies slightly but should cost you somewhere in the region of $1.50 and can be bought from the driver (though is slightly more).
The bust stop you’re looking for is ‘Pasohlávky, Aqualand Moravia’. You’ll have a quick walk down to reception – very doable but not if you’ve got lots of equipment with you.
The drive from Prague takes from two and a half to three hours. Unfortunately, buses are not very direct and your best option on public transport is to first make your way to Brno. You can get there on Flixbus, Regiojet (train and bus options), or CD (train). Once you’re in Brno, first consider spending a few days, and then follow directions above on local transportation to the reservoir.
Vienna, though in Austria, is actually very close to the lake. The drive can take as little as an hour and fifteen minutes. Do though, keep in mind there is a border crossing involved here and depending on border openings and your visa, this could add time or increased logistics to the trip.
While you can take a combination of train and bus to get to Kemp Merkur from Vienna, the trip can take upwards of four hours, so is not the best option.
The trip from Bratislava is similar to that of Vienna in that it takes just over an hour to drive, but can take up to (or more than) four hours on public transport, potentially taking you all the way up to Brno before bringing you back south to the lake. Or, involving three or four different trips on a combination of buses and trains.
I visited Kemp Merkur in early summer, June, before kids were out of school and the crowds had descended. Camp was definitely open, there were a few others around, but it clearly wasn’t in full swing. Not all of the food services or ‘attractions’ were up and running yet. That was perfectly fine, actually preferable, for me. It meant quieter nights (and days), plus lower rates.
Two of us stayed in a ‘bungalow’ which was two floors and could have slept up to four people. It had cooking facilities and a fire pit in back. It backed up to the smaller of the two lagoons and lots of grassy space.
Prices in shoulder season – spring and fall – remain a good bit lower than in the high season of summer holidays. Plus, accommodation gets booked out well in advance.
There are loads of accommodation options all around the reservoir. Basically, anything that goes by the name of “Kemp’ will have a similar setup to where I stayed. Some, though, have fewer facilities than others and some are higher end than others. Still others aren’t exactly on the water but a few minutes walk. Basically, there are loads of options and each one will appeal to someone different (or will be your last option if you’re booking late!)
What to Do
Coming to these lakes is not really a ‘get away from it all’ type of vacation, it is meant for the activity, engaged, with energy-to-burn type of adventurers. There is lots to do.
Off property, I highly recommend going for a cycle around the lake to see the beautiful countryside sitting, surround you.
You can rent a bicycle from the main office – at the middle of the campgrounds. They cost about 200 ck (~$9.00) for 6 hours – that’s pretty much a full day of riding. Heading out of Pasohlávky you’ll find a beautifully paved bike path which wraps around the lake. The path continues until the town of Brod nad Dyjí where you’ll find a small Coop that you could use for lunch or other. From there the path turns dirt, it is filled with rocks and is much bumpier than the previously paved route.
The final stretch back to camp is on a very busy highway, it isn’t long but it also isn’t pleasant. The whole loop, at a casual pace, takes about three hours, lunch break included. All in all, I highly recommend it, just be aware that the final stretch could be dangerous for younger children or anybody unsteady on a bike.
All in all, I really strongly recommend taking the trip down here. Whether or not the lake and all it has to offer appeals to you, South Moravia is stunning – and it is why I would encourage you to visit The Czech Republic.
Have you been? Let me know what you thought of the area in the comments below!