Prague As a Local: Obora Hvězda Forest Park

Besides other parks in the wider center of Prague, Obora Hvězda has a very foresty character. But the central part hides a beautiful renaissance summer palace, and you might suddenly feel very aristocratic walking around.

The first mention of the forest, originally called Malejov, dates from 993 when Duke Boleslaus II donated it to the newly established Břevnov Monastery. It was transformed into a walled game reserve during the rule of Ferdinand I in the mid-16th century.

The current name (hvězda being Czech for “star”) derives from the Star Summer Palace, which stands in middle of the forest.

The summer palace was build in the 16th century. Rumour has it that it was built out of love and given to the beloved lady of Ferdinand II., a gentleman from the Habsburg monarchy who was responsible for Czech lands at the time. It hosts exhibitions, but it’s closed in winter.

The park, enclosed by a huge wall, has three main gates (Libocká, Pražská and Bělohorská,) plus several smaller ones.

There are two great playgrounds in the park – one a three-minute walk from the northern entrance, in the middle of the forest, and the other next to the garden, facing the Summer Palace. The forest one is full of wooden climbing frames, a superb place for the kids to clamber and run amok for a while.

How to get there

The nearest tram stop is at Sídliště Petřiny, where trams 1 and 2 terminate. From there, turn left onto U Hvězda, continue to the T-junction and turn right. The entrance to Hvězda Park is across the street (Na Vypichu) on the left – a total of around 400 metres from the tram stop.

Tram 2 stops at both Staromestská and Malostranská, either side of the Manes Bridge, so it’s very easy to reach from the centre. Tram 1 passes through Holešovice, to the north of the river.

Trams 22 and 25 also stop within a similar distance to Hvězda. Confusingly, the Vypich tram stop is more convenient than the Obora Hvezda one – a path leads directly from there to one of the three main avenues through the Park.

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