It got its name from the old Germans who called it Wilt-ahwa (wild water). It appears for the first time in 1125 in the Cosmas Chronicle under the name wlitaua.
The first settlements and towns were built along the Vltava River in the early Middle Ages. The Vltava River served as a source of water, energy (mills) and also as a traffic artery. Not only wood but also salt on rafts floated along the river. The importance of navigability is evidenced by the regulation of Charles IV that all weirs on the Vltava must have so-called rafts.
With the improvement of navigation conditions in the 16th century, long-distance shipping began to develop.
The first steamers begin to appear in the second half of the 19 century, especially in Prague. They do not only cruise, but also function as a regular service.
In 1930, the first part of the Vltava Cascade construction started with a navigation chamber near Vrana nad Vltavou. This was followed by the dam at Štěchovice, Slapy, at the same time Lipno I and Lipno II, and the largest dam, Orlík, completed in 1966. The Hněvkovice and Kořensko waterworks were completed last in 1991.
Currently, the Vltava is mainly sought after by tourists. It serves not only for recreation and water sports, but also for fishing. This is connected with the purity of the water, which in recent years, thanks to increasingly advanced technology, is constantly improving.