- By Kevin
- On Dec 20, 2017
- Travel Tips
Prague is more than simply great architecture, just following our Prague guides, to enjoy the parks & gardens in Prague. The spires and pillars and columns and cherubs festooned onto nearly every building create a festive mood, regardless of the season. A good part of enjoyment is simply strolling around with no particular destination in mind and enjoying the carnival-like atmosphere. The thousands of other visitors who are here for the same reason, while occasionally a distraction, help to reinforce the feeling that something special is going on.
The Royal Garden (Královská zahrada) at Prague Castle, Prague 1, once the site of the sovereigns' vineyards, was founded in 1534. Dotted with lemon trees and surrounded by 16th-, 17th-, and 18th-century buildings, the park is consciously and conservatively laid out with abundant shrubbery and fountains. Entered from U Prasného mostu Street, north of the castle complex, it's open daily from 10am to 6pm in the summer season.
The castle's Garden on the Ramparts (Zahrada na Valech) is on the city-side hill below the castle. Beyond beautifully groomed lawns and sparse shrubbery is a tranquil low-angle view of the castle above and the city below. Enter the garden from the south side of the castle complex, below Hradcanské námestí. The garden is open daily from 10am to 6pm in the summer season.
Looming over Malá Strana, adjacent to Prague Castle, lush green Petrín Hill (Petrínské sady) is easily recognizable by the miniature replica of the Eiffel Tower that tops it. Gardens and orchards bloom in spring and summer. Throughout the myriad monuments and churches are a mirror maze and an observatory. The Hunger Wall, a decaying 6m-high (20-ft.) stone wall that runs up through Petrín to the grounds of Prague Castle, was commissioned by Charles IV in the 1360s as a medieval welfare project designed to provide jobs for Prague's starving poor. Take tram no. 12, 20, or 22 to Újezd and ride the funicular or start climbing.
On Petrín's steep slope, near Malostranské námestí, is located Vrtbovská zahrada. Its entrance is through Karmelitská 25. This is often called the most beautiful terraced garden north of the Alps. It was built in the 18th century's baroque style by architect Kanka, and Matyas Braun provided some of his sculptures. This very special site was totally neglected during the old regime (it partially served as a playground for a local nursery). The garden is open daily April to October from 10am to 6pm. Admission is 55Kc adults, 35Kc students. Take tram no. 12, 20, or 22 to Malostranské námestí.
Near the foot of Charles Bridge in Malá Strana, Kampa Park (Na Kampe) was named by Spanish soldiers who set up camp here after the Roman Catholics won the Battle of White Mountain in 1620. The park as it is today wasn't formed until the Nazi occupation, when the private gardens of three noble families were joined. It's a fine place for an inner-city picnic, though the lawns are packed in high season.
Part of the excitement of Waldstein (Wallenstein) Gardens (Valdstejnská zahrada) at Letenská, Prague 1 (tel. 257-071-111) is its location, behind a 9m (30-ft.) wall on the back streets of Malá Strana. Inside, elegant gravel paths dotted with classical bronze statues and gurgling fountains fan out in every direction. Laid out in the 17th century, the baroque park was the garden of Gen. Albrecht Waldstein (or Wallenstein; 1581-1634), commander of the Roman Catholic armies during the Thirty Years' War. These gardens are the backyards of Waldstein's Palace -- Prague's largest -- which replaced 23 houses, three gardens, and the municipal brick kiln. It's now home to the Czech Senate. The gardens are open March to October, daily from 10am to 6pm.