Enjoy a Day at the “Dam Lake”
“What did you do on the weekend?”
“I went to the dam lake.”
“What was wrong with the lake?”
“Nothing, I enjoyed it very much.”
So goes the typical exchange that any foreigner who has spent enough time in Brno is likely to have with a local resident when the subject of weekend activities comes up.
Once the foreigner has it explained to them that the local is speaking of the very popular reservoir on the north west corner of the city and not being derisive and the local is made familiar with how the English speaking ear perceives the term “Dam lake”, the misunderstanding usually becomes a source of great amusement to both parties.
Easily accessible by public transport, the reservoir and its environs are one more way that Brno provides its residents and visitors with an “escape” from the city that doesn’t actually involve exiting the city limits.
Activities and Amenities
Using public transit, the Přístaviště tram stop on the number 3 and 10 tram lines will place you near the main entrance area of the reservoir. The road into the area is usually lined with market stalls during the spring and summer months and there is an area of food and drink concession stands further along. Once past these things, you will see a large sculpture of a boat anchor which marks the main dock for the boat service across the reservoir. There is a series of docks along the banks of the lake where you can disembark and explore the woods or more secluded stretches of beach in the area.
Conversely, you can simply stay on the boat for its entire circuit around the reservoir and take in the sights of people enjoying themselves on the water and the idyllic woods around the area. This option is very relaxing in its own right on a sunny day.
If a boat ride is not your cup of tea, the areas around the reservoir can be reached by car or bus though the preferred methods of travel in the area are by bicycle or on foot; a well organised network of cycling and walking paths in the area make these very attractive options.
On any given sunny day, you can see people swimming, sailing, windsurfing or rowing on the reservoir as well as playing beach volleyball, building sand castles or just sunbathing on the various stretches of beach. There’s even a naturist section of the beach if you’re feeling bold.
While you may meet some people who are suspicious of swimming in the reservoir, this largely stems from an algae problem that was encountered a few years ago. In 2009, the problem was addressed and I’ve since met many people who swim in the reservoir regularly with no ill effects.
Overlooking the reservoir is Veveří Castle. The castle is open to the public and is under long term reconstruction as it was quite abused by a series of occupants through the latter portion of the 20th century.
While the castle can be reached via the reservoir boat service, it can also be accessed by bus. You can also get there on foot or bicycle via the many cycling and walking paths around the reservoir.
In late May and early June, Brno plays host to the annual Ignis Brunensis international fireworks exhibition and the reservoir hosts nightly displays. If you are in Brno at the time of the festival and wish to attend, I strongly recommend against trying to view from the main entrance area and instead finding a quieter section of beach further away as your vantage point.
Visiting the Reservoir
The main website for the dam and reservoir is all in Czech with no other language options as near as I can see. It’s response to online translators is inconsistent in my experience.
However, some useful information in other languages can be found at the Go to Brno tourism website.
The “Transport by Boat” section of the Brno Public Transport page will give you information about boat fares and schedules.