Přečerpávací vodní elektrárna Dlouhé Stráně

Useful Information

Location: Kouty nad Desnou 30, 788 11 Kouty nad Desnou.
Meeting point for the excursion: Kouty nad Desnou ski resort info center.
(50.0999844, 17.1160165)
Open: All year daily 9-15, hourly on the full hour.
Fee: Adults CZK 340, Children (6-16) CZK 310, Children (4-5) CZK 100, Students (-26) CZK 310, Seniors (63+) CZK 310, CEZ Employees CZK 210.
English or German guide: Per Person CZK 50 additionally.
Classification: SubterraneaFactory
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=87.5 m, H=25.5 m, W=50 m.
Guided tours: MinAge=4, Min=25, Max=46.
Address: Přečerpávací vodní elektrárna Dlouhé Stráně, Informační centrum, Kouty nad Desnou 30, 788 11 Kouty nad Desnou, Tel: +420-602-322-244, Tel: +420-583-283-282. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1978 beginning of construction.
1996 power plant commissioned.


Přečerpávací vodní elektrárna Dlouhé Stráně (Dlouhé stráně Hydroelectric Power Station) is a Pumped-Storage Hydro Power Station, a traditional way to store electric energy. Most power plants produce always the same amount of electricity, but people tend to need different amounts of energy, depending on time of day, weather and other external influences. Typically most electricity is used at noon for cooking and in the evening for light and TV. If you produce enough electricity for those peaks, and it's not possible to regulate the power plant fast enough, there are times inbetween, when a lot of energy is unused. It's obviously a good idea to store this energy and release it when demand is much higher. This is done here by pumping water from a lower lake to a higher lake. When electricity is needed the water flows back from the higher lake to the lower lake and turns generators to produce electricity. The switch between generating and storing electricity takes only minutes. It actually works like a huge battery, it is a battery. There is a loss, so you will lose a part of the energy in the process, but unused energy is lost completely and regaining 70 % of this energy is a good thing. In the future, with energy produced when the sun shines or the wind blows, this problem will grow massively. This is a 150-year-old technology which solves this problem.

But showcaves.com is about underground sites, so why do we list a power plant? That's easy, it has lots of underground tunnels. As the site of the power plant is located within the Jeseníky protected landscape area, for ecological reasons, the entire hydroelectric power plant is located underground. The cavern, measuring 87.5 x 25.5 x 50 m, houses two 24-meter-tall reverse-Francis turbines, each with an output of 325 MW. They work in both directions, if they are powered they pump, the water, if they are not powered they are turned by the water and produce electricity. This is the largest reversing water turbine in Europe and the most powerful hydroelectric power plant in the Czech Republic, and it is the third largest pumped-storage hydroelectric power station in the world. And there are other superlatives: the difference between upper and lower lake is 510 m, which is really much outside the Alps. The reason is the location at the northern border of the Czech Republic to Poland, where low-mountain-ranges of the Carpathians are responsible for the required relief. The region has snow in winter and is a popular ski area.

The upper reservoir is located on the Dlouhá strána mountain at an altitude of 1,353 m above sea level. It was artificially created, it is actually an oval dam which encloses a lake on the top of a hill. There is no inflow, obviously, except for the pumped water. The lower reservoir is a classic dam reservoir in the valley of the river Divoká Desná. It is required to have enough water for pumping. Both reservoirs are actually accessible for hikers and bikers in the reserve, but not by car. The lower dam is fenced of for security reasons. The trail from the upper station of the cable car at the Kouty ski area to upper reservoir is a 2.7 km hike. In winter there is a cross-country track and a route for scooters which goes around the lower reservoir.

The site has regular guided tours called "excursion", which start at the Ski Bar in the nearby SkiAreál Kouty, the bus stop is marked with an orange EXCURSION sign. Participants must be at the bus stop 10 minutes before the start. This is not a tourist venue, it is more like a factory tour in a company, with the specialty that this is not a company, its public infrastructure operated by ČEZ, the Czech Energy Company. In other words, the tours are made because the public actually owns the site in a way and has the right to see it, but it is operated by bureaucrats and so the rules are non-negotiable and complicated. The first problematic rule is at the start of the excursion, its necessary to book in advance, but the tour has a minimum of 25 participants and a maximum of 46. So if you have booked but a day before the number of participants is still less than 25, the tour will not take place. Participants will get an alternative date or refund. On the other hand, if there are still free places on the day of the excursion, you can book the excursion on the spot, in the ČEZ Information Center at the Kouty nad Desnou Ski Area. The site is ranked top 10 on various tourist sites since it was opened.

There are tours for individuals, tours for groups, tours in foreign languages (English and German), tours which include the upper reservoir, and special tours. We actually find the underground power station the most interesting part, which is included in all tours, and would probably opt for the Profesní exkurze (Professional excursion). Intended for employees of the energy industry, workers and students in the field of electrical engineering. The guides will tell a lot of technical details and the lower floors of the underground are visited too. However, its much harder to get such a tour, it is necessary to send an application with a justification for why you are interested in a professional excursion, which will be approved by the director of PVE DS.

It is necessary to book in advance, in some periods of the year, it's necessary to book a month in advance. In general, booking is closed about one week before the date. Booking is possible online, by phone or personally at the Informační centrum (Information Center) at the Kouty nad Desnou ski area. The tour starts with a 6 km drive up the valley to the power plant, Then the surface with the dam of the lower lake is visited, the underground station, a ride with a cable car to the upper lake and then back down. Actually a good value for the rather low entrance fee. It's not possible to drive with your own car, because the road is not only privately owned by the CEZ, the Czech electricity company, it is also in a protected nature reserve, so only vehicles of the company and official tour busses are allowed on the road.