Prague to Vienna on Foot: First Day on the Greenway

A series of posts following David and Gail as they walk 480 kilometers from Prague to Vienna in 2014.

September 8, 2014

Today is the first day of our walk from Prague to Vienna. If we succeed, it will be a 480 kilometre, 21 day walk along with a few rest days here and there. But today we are still in Prague, a huge spreading city. And we must get out of it, on foot. The starting point for the Prague-Vienna Greenway is Centrální Park in Prague District 13…2 Metro rides and 11 stops from our hotel in downtown Prague. It all begins with a rather simple explanatory panel with the requisite graffiti stains any flat surface in Prague must endure.

The Greenway is more conceptual than just a trail to be followed. It has direction from town to town and there is a defined cycle route. However, the ‘path’ is riddled with criss-crossing roads, other bike trails and a sophisticated network of walking trails. All very good, but when you are just starting out in a massive city, just learning the ropes of how things works, too much choice can be a problem. The Greenway’s very professional booklets describing the cycle route promised trail markers at the starting point in Centrální Park. “From the information panel take the bicycle trail marked ŘE–HL (Řeporyje– Hlubočepy) in the direction of Hlubočepy suburbs” the booklet says. Well, if there ever was such a marker, we never found it. Instead we relied on iPhone, Google Maps and hunches to guide us to Hlubočepy. Thrown into a full-blown wayfinding exercise we learned and adapted quickly. And we found ourselves arriving in Pruhonice 25 km later, our destination for the day. Ready for a hearty Czech meal washed down with beer.

Despite the ex-urban nature of that first day’s walk, it was quite entertaining. A good mix of paths crossing highways, passing through Metro stations, massive high rise development and trails leading us through gorges, along picturesque creeks and through forests. All in the company of cyclists blasting by and families out for their Sunday stroll in the woods. The other notable feature of this walk is that it was entirely on trails, impressive in such a dense suburban environment. Only on our approach to Pruhonice did we have to resort to roads. Winding, shoulder-less, narrow roads teaming with fast-moving traffic.  

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