The Vltava river is the longest Czech river. It begins at the confluence of two tributaries - Teplá Vltava (Hot Vltava) and Studená Vltava (Cold Vltava) - in the nature reserve Mrtvý Luh (Dead Mead), which lies near the small village Nová Pec in the Šumava mountains (Bohemian Forest).
The Teplá Vltava river, considered the headstream, originates as Černý Potok (Black Stream) on the slope of Černá Hora (Black Mountain - 1,315 m) in the Šumava mountains in 1,172 m a.s.l. Its source is in the well known protected area - nature reserve Prameny Vltavy (Springs of the Vltava river). The Teplá Vltava river begins at the confluence of the Černý Potok and Malá Vltava streams (Small Vltava) near the small village Borová Lada. The other branch of the Vltava river runs from Bavaria (region in Germany along the German-Czech border) and it is called Altwasser (Old Water).
From the confluence of both branches the Vltava runs to the east and near Nová Pec it flows into the long and wide Lipno Dam, which arose in front of the Lipno Dam on the river near the village Lipno. Behind the Lipno Dam the river flows through the romantic rocky valley called Čertovy Proudy (Devil's Streams) and it heads to the auxiliary Lipno II Dam ahead of the small town with monastery Vyšší Brod. Between the Lipno Dam and Vyšší Brod most of water runs via the underground tunnel to the Lipno II Dam.
Behind Vyšší Brod the river curves to the north and its meandering stream runs through attractive countryside full of many cultural and historical sights. It goes by the Rožmberk castle, the town Větřní and it arrives through the rocky valley to the famous town Český Krumlov, the jewel among the towns of South Bohemia. Then it leads to the north below the monastery Zlatá Koruna and the ruins of the Dívčí Kámen castle.
From here it continues in the lowland of the Českobudějovická Pánev (České Budějovice Basin) to the city of South Bohemia České Budějovice. Here the Malše river joins the Vltava from the right. Behind the town the Vltava river flows through the narrow valley along the small town with chateau Hluboká nad Vltavou, bypasses the ruins of the Karlův Hrádek castle and then it heads to the Hněvkovice Dam (the water reservoir for the nuclear power station Temelín). Then the river runs through the town Týn nad Vltavou and it gathers up water of the Lužnice river beyond the town. Behind Týn nad Vltavou there is the beginning of the Orlík Dam, which takes its name from the well-known chateau above it. The dam absorbs the confluence of the Vltava and Otava rivers below the Zvíkov castle.
Behind the Orlík Dam the Vltava runs out of our region to the north, crossing four more dams (Kamýk, Slapy, Štěchovice and Vrané) before flowing into Prague. It then continues to the town Mělník where it empties into the Labe river (Elbe). It runs through Germany and empties into the North Sea.
The length of the Vltava river (from the source of the Černý Potok stream to the confluence of the Vltava and Labe rivers) is 430 km and its river-basin's area is twenty eight thousand square km.
All interesting places along the river are suitable and available for tourism and they are marked by tourist signs.