Prague Gardens

by Jul 29, 2020

PRAGUE GARDENS

If you visit the city in spring or summer, whatever you do, make time to see some Prague gardens. The formal gardens in Prague are among the best things to see in Prague, from 17th century Baroque gardens to beautiful gardens set within one of the Prague castles.

PRAGUE GARDENS – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Around half the best gardens Prague has are in the Mala Strana district, between Prague Castle and the River Vltava
  • The best of the Prague Castle Gardens is the Royal Garden, located on the north side of ther Castle and accessible by tram
  • Most of the other Gardens in Prague Castle are closed at the time of writing for restoration
  • Several other spectacular Prague Gardens can be found around the Prague suburbs The suburb of Troja has three Gardens – the BaroqueTroja Chateau Gardens, the City of Prague Botanical Garden and Prague Zoo

This is a guide to the best formal gardens Prague has, as opposed to the best parks in Prague, about which we have written separately. There is a little overlap, as some Prague gardens have plenty of parkland, even playgrounds. In this article we explore Prague Castle gardens currently open, several palace gardens and, just away from Prague city centre, the peaceful Prague Botanical Gardens in Troja.

Exploring the city’s gardens is one of the best things to do in Prague, but be mindful that some are only open between April and October, closing for the winter. We’ll advise on which are open when, and which of the gardens of Prague have ticketed entry and which are free.

Image of the lower level of the Vrtba Garden Prague
The lower level of the Vrtba Gardens
Vrtba Garden Prague Image of the Vrtba Garden in Prague
The stunning Baroque Vrtba Garden in Prague

Vrtba Garden Prague

Image of the Vrtba Garden from the Gloriette Prague
The Garden from the highest point, the Gloriette

The Baroque Vrtba Gardens are tucked away behind the house fronts of a busy Mala Strana Prague street. This elegant palace garden is built into the base of Petřin Hill, ingeniously over three levels with a belvedere at the top that is one of the best viewpoints in Prague.

Image of the ornate entrance hall in the Vrtba Garden Prague
The Sala Terrena, or entrance hall, in the Vrtba Garden

The Vrtba Garden is one of the most ornately decorated Prague Baroque gardens. The entrance hall, or Sala Terrena is adorned with a series of frescoes, and the higher levels feature a range of striking Baroque statues.  The backdrop is astonishingly beautiful, with two of the finest Baroque churches in Prague, St Nicholas in Mala Strana and Our Lady Victorious, both very close.

Image of Prague Vrtba Garden and the Church of Our Lady Victorious
Statues in the Vrtba Garden with the Church of Our Lady Victorious close behind

Getting there: It’s a minute’s walk from Malostranské náměstí, where several Prague trams call, and less than five from the Charles Bridge. Walk south down Karmelitska, it’s just past the first turn on the right. The sign in Czech – for Vrtbovska zahrada – is more prominent than the one in English. Head through the archway then up the short flight of steps on the right.

Tickets – 100 CZK for adults, children under 6 free.

Opening times – April to October, 1000 to 1900

Wallenstein Garden

Image of the pond in Wallenstein Garden Prague
The pond in the timeless Wallenstein Garden, and one of the best views in Prague

The Wallenstein Gardens were built between 1623-1630, at the same time as the  accompanying Wallenstein Palace. Like the Palace, they were built in the Italian Baroque style, and the Palace complements the Garden beautifully, especially the Sala Terrena, the triple-arched entrance hall. The Palace is now home to the Czech Senate. They are also sometimes called the Waldstein Garden and the Czech name is Valdstejnska zahrada.

Image of the Sala Terrena in the Wallenstein Garden Prague
The Wallenstein Garden’s Sala Terrena

The Sala Terrena is one of the most recognizable attractions of Prague, but there are several other features of the Garden not to be missed. There’s a lime stucco Grotto wall, off to the left of the Sala Terrena, and a collection of Greek mythological statues, which are copies of originals plundered by Swedish invaders in the 17th century. My favourite part of the Garden is the tranquil area around the pond with a statue of Hercules on an island. This is the domain of a wonderful white peacock, and it offers up one of the very best views of Prague, looking back to the skyline of Mala Strana.\

Image of the Grotto wall in the Wallenstein Gardens Prague
The Grotto of the Wallenstein Garden

Getting there – The main entrance is on Letenska, one of the most interesting Prague streets with its three traffic tunnels next to a lovely Baroque church, The entrance is on the north side of the street, a two-minute walk from Malostranská Metro station (green line A), or five minutes from Malostranské náměstí.

Entry – free

Opening times – May to October, 0730 to 1730 daily

Gardens Below Prague Castle

Image of the Small Furstenberg Garden below Prague Castle
The ornate stairs and walkways of the Small Furstenberg Garden

The Gardens Below Prague Castle are a work in progress, with two small palace gardens open and two currently under restoration. Even so, they are one of the most enjoyable things to see in Prague. They are all interconnected, with one ticket covering all of the sites.

Image of the view over Prague from the Small Furstenberg Garden
The view from the Small Furstenberg Garden, one of the hidden gems of Prague

The Gardens are, like the Vrtba Garden, built into a steep slope. The Small Furstenberg Garden, which includes a series of staircases and a lookout tower, continues uphill until it reaches the panoramic viewing platform outside the Black Tower Gate of Prague Castle. The adjoining Great Palffy Garden also has superb views over Mala Strana. The other two Gardens, the Ledeburg and Small Palffy, are still undergoing restoration at the time of writing. Nonetheless, they are very much one of the off the beaten path Prague highlights.

Getting there – there is a single entrance, on Valdstejnska, a short walk from Malotranská Metro station.

Entry – 90 CZK for adults, seniors, students and 6-18 60 CZK

Opening times – daily 1000-1800 April and October, and daily 1000 to 1900 May to September

Petřin Park Prague

Image of the Rose Garden at the summit of Petrin Hill Prague
The Rose Garden and St Lawrence’s Church are just bvelow Petrin Tower

Petřin Hill has a series of Gardens, from river level to the summit and the ‘Prague Eiffel Tower’, the Petřin Lookout Tower. The first most people see is the Seminary Garden on the lower slope of the hill. This is particularly beautiful in springtime, when the trees are covered in white blossom, providing a wondrous foreground for the superb views over Prague.  It’s also a local tradition for lovers to kiss under these trees on May 1st.

Image of the spring blossom in Petrin Park Prague
Prague in springtime – and one of the best places to enjoy it is on Petrin Hill

In winter and early spring, it’s also a great Prague sunrise and twilight spot, especially for views over St Nicholas Church, Prague in Mala Strana and the Old Town across the river Vltava.

Image of the path through Seminary Garden on Petrin Hill Prague
The winding path up Seminary Garden, the lowest part of Petrin Park

Higher up the hill, Nebozizek Restaurant (which conveniently has its own funicular stop) also has its own small Garden, and at the top,between the Funicular stop and the Tower, you’ll pass the lovely Rose Garden, with gorgeous views of St Lawrence Church. There’s also a beautiful secret garden accessed through an arch in the stone wall.

Getting there – If you’re up for the walk, head up Hellichova to the Seminary Garden, and work your way up the hill from there. Just be sure to keep turning around for the views. Alternatively, you can catch the Funicular up the hill from Újezd to the summit. While you’re there, don’t miss the climb up Petřin ower, one of the highest towers in. Prague which commands views over much of Bohemia on a clear day.

Entry – free, but there are charges for the Tower and Mirrior Maze at the summit

Opening times – the park is open 24 hours

Kinsky Gardens Prague

Image of the statue of Hercules in Kinsky Garden Prague
The statue of Hercules in the Kinsky Garden

The Kinsky Gardens occupy the southern end of Petřin Hill, on the edge of the riverside Smíchov district, also known as Prague 5. They may not be one of the most famous places in Prague, but they’re among the more intriguing Prague destinations, hidden away from the rest of Petřin Park by the Hunger Wall.

Image of the Summer House in Kinsky Gardens Prague
The Summer House is now home to the Prague Ethnographic Museum

The Gardens were developed from 1828 onwards, and the Kinsky Summer House was completed in the Viennese style by 1831. Its name is rather modest – it’s the size of many a palace – and it is now the home of the Prague Ethnographic Museum. The Gardens also in clde woodland walks, a striking lake with a statue of Hercules, and some exhibits linked to the Ethnographic Museum, including the wooden Ruthenian church of St Michael, moved there from its original Ruthenian location.

Getting there – trams 9, 12, 15 and 20 stop at Švandovo divadlo, on Náměsti Kinskych, close to the park entrance. The nearest Metro station is Andel.

Entry– entrance to Kinsky Garden is free.

Opening times – year-round, daily

Royal Gardens Prague Castle

Image of the Royal Garden and Summer Palace next to Prague Castle
The Royal Garden and beautiful Renaissance Summer Palace

The Prague Castle Royal Garden is just to the north of Prague Castle, across the Deer Moat from the main complex. It was originally built during the reign of Ferdinand I, with parts of the Garden and Royal Summer Palace dating from this initial Renaissance period. It receives a tiny fraction of the visitors that the Castle gets, but it’s one of the best places to visit in Prague, especially if you’re hoping to escape the crowds for a while.

Image of the Royal Garden and Summer Palace in Prague Castle
The Royal Garden is well away from the usual Prague tourtist spots

Much of the Prague Royal Garden has since been modelled along the lines of an English park, which has welcome shade and tantalizing glimpses of the north side of the Castle and St Vitus Cathedral. The Summer Palace, which often hosts art exhibitions, is one of the finest examples of Prague architecture from the Renaissance period, and makes a wonderful backdrop to the Baroque-era flower beds. Pe4rfect Prague sightseeing on a warm sunny afternoon.

Getting there – Tram 22 – Kralovské letohradek for the Summer Palace, Pražsky hrad if you want a gentle walk down through the Garden

Entry – free

Opening times – April to October, 1000 to 1800 daily

Franciscan Gardens

Image of the Franciscan Gardens and Our Lady of the Snows church in Prague
The Franciscan Gardens are a quiet haven a few steps from busy Wenceslas Square

The Franciscan Gardens are one of the best-hidden sights in Prague, the sort of place you would only encounter if you stumbled upon it.  It’s secreted away in Prague city center, two minutes’ walk from Wenceslas Square (Vaclavské náměstí). It’s on a short cut for locals between there and Jungmannovo náměstí.

What you see today are the remnants of a much larger medieval garden, albeit remodelled in the Baroque style.  It’s a peaceful retreat where many Praguers stop for their lunch break, bringing a sandwich, sitting on a bench under rose arches or contemplating the view of the imposing Our Lady of the Snows church.

Getting there – head for the Vaclavské náměstí tram stop on Vodičkova, just off the Square outside the Kino Svetozor. Turn right, continue to the end of the arcade, under the Tesla stained glass window. It’s just ahead on the left. The nearest Metro stop is Mustek.

Entry – free

Opening times – it’s open year-round, opening at 0700 April to October, closing at 2200 April to September and 2000 mid-September to mid-October. Between October and April it’s open 0800 to 1900.

Vyšehrad Castle Gardens

Image of the Garden in Vysehrad Castle Prague
One of the legendary Czech figures in Vysehrad Garden

Vyšehrad is ‘the other’ Prague Castle, a hilltop fortress that is as central to Czech identity and national consciousness as its more famous counterpart a couple of miles downstream. It’s the legendary home of the Přemyslid dynasty that went on to rule Bohemia for several centuries, and it’s also home to Slavin, the cemetery that is the resting place of many of the notable Czechs of all time.

Image of the walled garden and Basilica in Vysehrad Prague
Vysehrad is possibly the most underrated of all Prague tourist attractions

Vyšehrad Gardens are part of the park within the fortress. They include the garden outside the neo-Gothic Basilica of SS Peter and Paul, one of the most prominent landmarks of Prague. This is dominated by big, bold statues of legendary Czech figures including Přemysl and Queen Libuše, and a lovely walled section between the Basilica and Romanesque Rotunda of St Martin. The ramparts walk is also part of the Gardens, and rewards you with some of the best views in Prague, including along the River Vltava and over to Nusle and Vršovice.

Getting thereVysehrad Prague is a short walk from Vysehrad Metro station (red line C). Otherwise, the 3, 7 or 17 trams calling at Výtoň bring you a little closer – cross under the railway bridge and bear left towards Vratislavova, which takes you to the main gate.

Entry – you can explore the park and Cemetery for free but several attractions – the Basilica, Gothic Cellar Museum, Casemates and more – all have small entry fees, mostly in the 50-100 CZK range.

Opening times – the individual attractions tend to be open 0930-1800 daily between April and October, and 0930 to 1700 over the winter months. In summer we’ve been in the Park as late as 10.30 pm.

Havliček Gardens Prague

Image of the Havlicek Garden Prague in spring
Cherry blossom in Havlicek Park

Havlickovy sady – also known as Grebovka Park – is one of the best parks in Prague, located where the suburbs of Vinohrady and Vršovice meet. Most of the Gardens date fcrom the 19th century, when they were modelled for entrepreneur Moritz Gröbe.

Image of the Grotto in Havlicek Park Prague
The Grotto in Havlicek Garden, also known as Grebovka Park

The most obvious sight is the Grotto, a great place for kids to play hide and seek among the rock pinnacles. There is also one of the best-known Vinohrady vineyards, scenically located on a slope beneath a wooden gazebo and the Villa Grebovka, the owner’s former residence. It’s a hilly site with some lovely walks and ample shady spots for summer. It’s one of the most pleasant Prague attractions, and most of the other visitors will be locals and expats.

Image of the Gazebo in Havlicek Park Prague
The Gazebo above the Havlicek Park Vineyard

Getting there – the 7 and 24 trams pass close by, stopping at Nádraži Vršovice station, from where it’s a 5-minute walk to the entrance to the park.

If you’re approaching from Vinohrady, the easiest way is the 4 or 22 tram to Krymska, from where it’s a 3-minute walk to Rybalkova where there are two entrances to the park.

Entry – free

Opening times – year round, opening 0600 and closing between 2200-2400, depending on the season.

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