These green jewels lie in the maze of the small Lesser Town streets, hidden behind the façades of palaces.
The Vrtba (Vrtbovská), Ledebour (Ledeburská), Fürstenberg (Fürstenberská) and Kolovrat (Kolovratská) Gardens are considered to be some of Prague’s Baroque pearls. They each add a unique “relaxation zone” to the palaces bearing the same names.
It is interesting to note that their terrace structure came about through necessity. There was very limited space below Prague Castle, which served as the royal residence, and the terrain was so steep that the garden designers had no other choice.
The park located on Petřín Hill is very popular. During the winter months you will see bobsledders and on May Day young lovers make a point of visiting the statue of the Czech romantic poet Karel Hynek Mácha. There are also two picnic areas and a children’s playground.
The Kinský Garden with its attractive summer palace often does not receive the attention it deserves. It is connected to the Petřín Gardens by passages built in the Hunger Wall (Hladová zeď), which was commissioned by Charles IV to protect the city. The Kinský Garden also houses one of Prague’s most interesting small churches; this all-wood Orthodox place of worship was moved to the Czech metropolis from Mukachevo, Ukraine.
The gardens bordering Prague Castle on two sides are the most famous. On the north, it is the Royal Gardens, where you will find Queen Anne’s Summer Palace, the Singing Fountain, the Lion’s Court and the Ball Games Hall.
The south side of the castle is graced by the Paradise (Rajská) Garden and the Garden on the Ramparts (Na Valech). As compared to the Renaissance-style Royal Gardens, which were commissioned after 1534 by Ferdinand I as a part of the royal residence, the gardens on the opposite side of the castle can be termed the “Presidential Gardens”, as they were established for Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the first President of Czechoslovakia.
Taking a Break Away from the City Centre
The Star Game Reserve (Obora Hvězda) and the Břevnov Monastery gardens provide plenty of opportunities for a pleasant stroll. In addition, they are off the beaten tourist track and you will probably meet only locals.
Another site worth visiting are the historic royal vineyards, or rather what remains of them, which have given Prague’s Vinohrady district its name. The best place to find out more about them is the wine pavilion situated in Grébovka. If you are looking for a more active form of relaxation, Stromovka Park in the former Royal Game Park offers many opportunities for urban sports.