VRTBA GARDEN PRAGUE GUIDE
We had to wait several months to visit the Vrtba Garden, Prague. It’s one of the most beautiful of the many Prague gardens, and like the nearby Wallenstein Gardens, only opens during the spring months. It turned out to be well worth the wait, in our view one of the best places to visit in Prague.
This Baroque garden is one of our Prague highlights, close to several other Prague sights in the heart of the Mala Strana Prague district. Yet it feels quite off the beaten path as it’s hidden away behind houses close to the area’s main square, Malostranske namesti.
You can reach it via an archway and a sign in Czech, pointing you to Vrtbovska Zahrada. You’re immediately transported to another world. Seeing the Vrtba Garden is one of the best things to do in Prague, and this guide will tell you all you need to know about it.
THE VRTBA GARDEN PRAGUE – AN INTRODUCTION
The Vrtba Garden is an 18th century Italian-style Baroque garden
It’s part of the Prague UNESCO World Heritage Site
As with some other gardens in Prague, it’s built into a hill with a terraced layout
The Garden is decorated with some patterned flower beds and a host of amazing Baroque statues
The Vrtba Garden is also one of the best viewpoints in Prague, commanding extraordinary views of the Mala Strana area, some of the finest churches in Prague, and views across the Vltava River to Prague Old Town
VRTBA GARDEN HISTORY
The Vrtba Garden dates back to the early 18th century. It’s at the foot of the slope of Petřin Hill, so its topography dictated building upwards. It’s an ingenious Baroque garden in the Italian style, with two terraces above ground level, and a lookout that’s higher still.
It was built by Jan Josef, Count of Vrba, a major official at Prague Castle. He commissioned František Maximilián Kaňka to design the garden, while Matyáš Bernard Braun oversaw the many sculptures and Vacláv Reiner was responsible for the frescoes.
The garden layout was completed by 1720, with the additional sculpture was finished by 1725.
WHERE IS THE VRTBA GARDEN PRAGUE?
The Vrtba Garden is one of the hidden gems of Prague, and although it’s on a main street in Prague city centre, it’s quite easy to walk past it without noticing it.
It’s in the Mala Strana district, often referred to as Prague Lesser Town, around a minute’s walk from the southern end of the area’s main square, Malostranske namesti, at Karmelitska 25.
HOW TO GET TO THE VRTBA GARDEN
It’s a short, easy walk from the Charles Bridge to Vrtba Garden. Head east to west towards Mala Strana, passing under the Lesser Town Bridge Tower, one of the most iconic towers in Prague. Continue up the gentle gradient of Mostecka, one of the prettiest Prague streets with its splendid Baroque mansions, towards the dome and tower of St Nicholas Church, Mala Strana.
You’re almost there already. Turn left at the corner of the square onto Karmelitska, taking the first pedestrian crossing to the other side. Turn left down the street, go straight across the street on the right (Tržište) and a few metres further on you’ll see an archway with an information board outside.
The main sign points to Vrtbovska Zahrada, and you pass through the archway into a courtyard. The ticket office is on the end on the right.
If you’re using the Prague trams, you need to head for Malaostranske namesti. The 12, 15, 20 and 22 services pass through here. Alternatively, the nearest Prague Metro station is Malstranska, a 10-minute walk from the garden.
WHAT TO SEE IN THE VRTBA GARDEN?
The first thing you see is the magnificent Sala Terrena, orEntrance Hall. It resembles a stone grotto, albeit one stunningly decorated with fres
Walk right out of the Sala Terrena and turn right onto the ground level of the Garden and look back to the magnificent terraces of the Garden. Climb to the first level where the balustrade is adorned with statues and stone vases. The views of Prague start to develop at this point, with the nearby St Nicholas Church in Mala Strana and the Church of Our Lady Victorious, themselves examples of the finest Prague architecture from the Baroque period.
Continue to the third level for another great Prague view, but there’s more to come yet. There’s a narrow staircase behind the building at the top, and this leads you to the highest viewpoint in the Garden. From here you can see over the towers of the Maltese Church to some of the best-known landmarks of Prague, including the splendid Gothic spires of the Tyn Church.
VRTBA GARDEN TICKETS AND TOURS
The Vrtba Garden is open daily from the beginning of April to the end of October.
Adult tickets cost 100 CZK ($4), children and students pay 80 CZK, under 6s go free and a family ticket costs 280 CZK.
HOW LONG DO YOU NEED TO SPEND THERE?
We spent well over an hour in the Garden. It’s one of the most beautiful things to see in Prague, a place to be savoured. If you’re keen on photographing Prague, this is a must-see, and you’ll want to explore all the levels of the Garden to take in all of the Prague views.
We took our son there, and our visit included playing hide and seek with the Vrtba Garden cat. Other visitors spent around half an hour there, but to really appreciate the Vrtba Garden, an hour is about right.
THE VRTBA GARDEN – OUR VERDICT
The Vrtba Garden is one of the outstanding sights in Prague. It fits in easily with the rest of your Prague sightseeing. You could see it before venturing up Prague Castle Hill, or while exploring Mala Strana and Kampa Island.
Remember that if you visit Prague in. winter the Garden is closed. However, if you’re in Prague in springtime, or during summer or autumn, it’s open and worthy of time on any Prague itinerary.