The Wallenstein Gardens are possibly the most magnificent of all Prague gardens. I couldn’t wait to revisit them in spring 2020 after a wait of almost 30 years, and saw them within days of their delayed reopening. The eventual reward was having one of the best places to visit in Prague to myself one stunning summer morning, with gorgeous blue sky the backdrop to the timeless Mala Strana Prague skyline.
Mala Strana – Lesser Town Prague – is where much of the best Baroque Prague architecture is concentrated. The area is also home to the outstanding Vrtba Garden, built into the base of nearby Petrin Hill. It’s normally open for seven months of the year, so if you visit Prague in springtime or summer, it should be one of the first things to see in Prague on your list. It’s that special.
Our Wallenstein Gardens guide tells you everything you need to know about this amazing place, from its history and location to what to look out for there. As you’ll see from the images, it’s one of the most compelling Prague attractions of all.
Wallenstein Gardens Prague – An Introduction
The Wallenstein Gardens are one of the earliest Baroque gardens in Prague, dating from. 1623 to 1629
The Wallenstein Garden was built at the same time as the Wallenstein Palace, so that the two would complement each other
It is located in Mala Strana – Prague Lesser Town – just below Prague Castle
The Wallenstein Palace is now home to the Senate of the Czech Republic
It’s one of the best free things to do in Prague, along with the Charles Bridge and Vysehrad Castle
The Garden is usually open between April and October, and closes for the winter months
The Garden is also known as the Wallenstein Palace Garden, and its Czech name is Valdštejnská zahrada.
Wallenstein Garden Prague History
The Wallenstein Gardens and Palace were constructed by Albrecht of Valdstejn , a military general under Ferdinand II, who had obtained a large area of land below Prague Castle. He commissioned three Italian landscape architects – Giovani Pieroni, Nicolo Sebregondi and Andrea Spezza – to design the Garden and Palace, which were built together. This was unusual for Prague at the time, where gardens were often added to earlier palaces.
The Baroque statues depicting Greek mythological figures were sculpted by Adrian de Vries in 1625 – 1626. The originals were taken to Sweden as war booty in 1648, and they remain in Drottningholm Palace to this day.
What To See in the Wallenstein Gardens
The first part of the Garden to head for is the Sala Terrena. This is the triple-arched entrance hall to the Palace, which rounds off the view of the geometrically aligned parterre section of the Garden. The pathways between the flower beds are lined with copies of the figures from Greek mythology by Adrian de Vries.
Another famous feature of the Garden, the Grotto Wall, is to the left of the Sala Terrena. The wall is a mass of lime stucco stalactites, and also dates from the 17th century. There is also a small aviary in this section of the Garden.
Another impressive part of the Garden is the pond with an islet and statue of Hercules, a copy of the original by Adrian de Vries which now graces the Garden at Drottningholm. Follow the path around the pond until you can see the dome of St Nicholas Church Prague and the nearby St Thomas Church. It’s one of the best viewpoints in Prague, especially beautiful in the early morning light shortly after the Garden opens.
As well as admiring the landmarks of Prague from this sublime spot, it’s also worth knowing about an obscure episode from Prague history which took place here. The pond was used by Bohemian inventor Josef Božek in experiments with a small steamship. You may well be accompanied by one of the magnificent white peacocks, which strut and stroll around the Garden throughout the day.
How To Get To The Wallenstein Garden
The entrance to the Wallenstein Garden is located on Letenska, one of the most intriguing Prague streets, which links Malostranské náměstí, the main square in Mala Strana district, with Malostranská Metro station and the Vltava river. The entrance is easy to find, an archway in a light-coloured wall with a small notice on the wall. If you can’t wait to see the Sala Terrena, go to the first junction and turn left.
There is another hidden entrance / exit next to the Pond which leads to the garden next to Malostranská Metro station.
How Long Do You Need To Spend There?
These idyllic Gardens are a wonderful place to retreat from the bustle of the Czech capital for a while. Parts of it are shady, so it’s a great place to stop and read a book for a while. If you’re photographing Prague it is paradise, so it’s well worth lingering. When I visited alone early one summer morning and spent over an hour there, and could easily have stayed longer.
If you’re on a tight Prague itinerary, allow 20-30 minutes.
Wallenstein Gardens Entry
Entry is free – ideal if you’re in Prague on a budget.
The Wallenstein Palace Gardens are open 0730 to 1730, and their normal opening dates are from early April to the end of October. They opened later in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions – check the Czech Senate website for details.