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By Joann Plockova in Prague—Prague is a magical city. But Prague Castle and the city’s exceptional architecture are only a part of what makes it such a must-visit. One of Prague’s lesser-known wonders is its myriad number of public parks. In warmer months when these green spaces are in full bloom, locals and tourists alike tend to forget that the sun sometimes doesn’t shine here.
Here are a few of my favorite ‘tropical’ getaways in the city. Have your own green oasis in the city? Tell us in the comment section below.
Across from Prague Castle, Petrin Park is a place to take your lover! Besides offering some of the city’s best views, this hilltop park is home to a statue of the famous Czech romantic poet Karel Hynek Mácha that locals flock to on May 1 in celebration of May Day (a holiday dedicated to love and spring merriment). Find a perfect patch of grass in the lower part of the park, or head up top via a funicular or woodsy foot path.
At the summit, have a beer at Petrinske Terasy Pub, laugh at your distorted image in the mirror maze or climb Petrín Tower (sometimes deemed Prague’s Eiffel tower) for an even more incredible view of the city. Don’t miss the rose garden in summer or Stefanik’s Observatory.
There are two things this park combines that make it one of Prague’s most exceptional spots: an excellent beer garden and one of (if not the) city’s best views. Perched above Prague, you’ll feel like you’re floating on this embankment above the world. Take in that breathtaking vista over Vltava River, notice its succession of bridges, the castle on the hill and all that stunning architecture.
Letna offers a great walking and roller blading terrain too. Be sure to check out the Park’s Neo-Baroque pavilion too. Be sure to check out the park’s Neo-Baroque pavilion – built in 1891 – and also the former site of Stalin’s Monument (destroyed in 1962), which today is home to a giant metronome (built in 1991). This park is also a paradise to skate boarders who daily take over the former monuments, remaining marble stairs and metal railings.
The mother of all Prague parks in terms of its size, Stromovka truly lives up to its name, place of trees. Dating back to the year 1268, the park was first used as private hunting ground for Czech king Premysl Otakar II. In 1804 it was opened to the public. Today, full of paths, meadows, ponds and of course trees, it’s a quiet, dreamy oasis in which to get lost and while away the day.
Located in Prague’s lovely Vinohrady neighborhood, Riegrovy Sady is home to a large beer garden that’s popular with Czechs and expats alike. The pub offers fantastic beer and a big screen TV that shows sporting events daily. In warmer months, sunbathers can pull up a towel in the front section of the park. Further in, an expansive lawn offers a special view—framed by trees— and a lovely drinking spot. It’s also a great place to dogwatch, as Praguer’s love their dogs. Along with the beer garden, there is a smaller pub that’s hidden in between the trees and has a rooftop terrace offering even more expansive views.
Officially called Havlíckovy Sady, Grébovka Park is one of Prague’s largest green venues and certainly one of its most beautiful. Along with Villa Grébovka—a Neo-Renaissance structure originally used as a summer home for industrialist Moritz Grobe (c. 1870s)—the park is distinguished by its functioning vineyard and a beautiful wooden gazebo where you can sip the results of the harvest.
As well as being an excellent place to stroll among the trees or stare out at the city from its highest point, Grébovka is also home to the recently opened Pavilion Grébovka, a unique structure that was once a 19th century bowling alley, but today houses a glassed café and is used for private functions.