U Veselíků: Prague bathing spot in the midst of nature

Photo: Ondřej Tomšů

In the second edition of our summer mini-series, Radio Prague pays a visit to U Veselíků, one of Prague’s oldest outdoor pools. The family-owned swimming pool located in the Divoká Šárka valley opened back in the 1930s and offers an ideal refuge from the scorching heat of the summer city.

Photo: Ondřej Tomšů

The picturesque swimming pool known as U Veselíků is located right in the middle of the Šárka valley, a beautiful nature reserve in Prague 6. To reach the place, you have to take an approximately 15-minute walk from the tram terminus at Divoká Šárka. A narrow path, running through tall rock formations along the Šárka stream, will lead you all the way to the pool.

Sitting at the entrance in the ticket booth is the owner, Jiří Veselík, who tells me more about the place’s history.

Jiří Veselík,  photo: Ondřej Tomšů
“Next year we will be marking 90 years since the opening. Originally there was a small water reservoir which used to feed the mill. My grandfather originally opened a restaurant there. In 1930, he also built a swimming pool, which has been in operation ever since.

“In 1950 Communists took it away from us but they let my grandfather work here as a maintenance man. In 1991 we got the place back. I took it over in 1996, when my father died, and now my two sons are in charge.”

At the time of the opening, the entrance fee to the pool was only one crown, while today, nearly 90 years later, an adult ticket will cost you 120 crowns. Other than that, the swimming pool in Divoká Šárka has not really changed that much, preserving the look and the spirit of the 1930s. By the way, the place is so secluded that it was only connected to the electric grid in the late 1970s.

Being fed by a local spring, the pool in Divoká Šárka is said to be one of the coldest in Prague and even on the hottest days the water in the two pools barely reaches above 20 degrees Celsius. This, however, doesn’t seem to discourage the visitors, who have come here on a hot summer day:

“The water IS rather cold, but on the other hand it is really clean. There are also a lot of trees, so you can find a shaded place, and the kids can really enjoy themselves here. It is a bit further away from the city centre, so it is ideal for a whole-day trip.”

Besides the two main pools, there is also wading pool for toddlers, an area for volleyball and table tennis, and a small shop, offering ice cream, beer and other refreshments. You can leave your clothes in one of the many changing cabins and spread your towel on the large grassy area surrounding the pool.

Apart from occasional visitors, the pool in Divoká Šárka is frequented by a number of regular customers, who rent out their changing cabins for the whole season. One of them is Mrs. Antošová, who started coming here back when she was a student.

Swimming Pool U Veselíka

Divoká Šárka valley

Best way to get there:

Take a tram or bus to the stop Divoká Šárka and then follow the red-marked tourist trail leading all the way to the pool.

Opening hours: May – September, Monday – Sunday 9.00 – 19.00

Fee: Adults 120 CZK, children 50 CZK

“I bought my first season ticket in 1994, when my daughter was two and a half years old and since then we been coming here regularly. Although I changed my job and moved further away, I have never found a better place.

“We have a cabin rented out for the whole season. Even when I decide on the spur of the moment to go for a swim, I can just come, since I always have a swimming suit and a towel in the cabin.

“I come in all kinds of weather, even when the water is colder. Some people complain about the journey, but I really enjoy the walk through the canyon. When my girls were small I used to call it the most beautiful swimming pool in Europe.”

The season at the Divoká Šárka swimming pool usually starts at the beginning of May and lasts until mid-September, depending on the weather. The pool is open every single day from 9 am till 7 pm.