Prague has a surfeit of beer gardens set in various parks around the city, where small shacks sell cheap beer and wine to a laid-back crowd. One of the nicest and most romantic is in Letenské sade; with fantastic views over the city and often at least one person strumming a guitar there's no better place to enjoy a summer's afternoon. There is also an acclaimed restaurant housed in an impressive Neo-Renaissance château in the park should you feel like treating yourselves.
Nábřeží Edvarda Beneše, 170 00 Praha 7, Czech Republic
+420 221 714 444
Google map: bit.ly/Z9BkmX
The charming Franciscan Gardens are tucked away just off Wenceslas Square, between Jungmannova and Vodičkova - a cool, peaceful oasis in the heart of central Prague.
The gardens have benches a-plenty, fragrant rose bushes and spots of shade under trees, making this a good place to escape to in the summer months.
Enjoy an ice cream bought from the adjoining Pasáž Světozor on a hot day, or simply rest your feet as the rest of Prague rushes past.
The gardens also have a small children's playground with a sand box and swings.
Open daily from 7 or 8 a.m. to 7, 8 or 10 p.m., depending on the month.
Enter from Jungmannovo náměstí, or through Pasáž Světozor from Vodičkova Street.
Nearest metro: Mustek
Google map: bit.ly/MYWAZ4
* Helen is our Been there local for Prague. Her page is here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/prague-local-helen-ford.jsp and she has her own blog here: czechingin.wordpress.com/
Riegrovy Sady in Prague 2, is an excellent place to while away a sunny afternoon. Its gentle grassy slopes offer excellent views northwards over the city towards Petrin Hill. It definitely has a touch of Primrose Hill cool about it and is popular among Czech and expat couples and friends.
The park is well served by drinking establishments. Mlíkárna is my favourite beer garden. It’s open from early April until late October and, while it can be crowded on a sunny weekend day, offers a takeaway (“sebo” in Czech) option so you can enjoy your beer in a quieter spot.
At the weekends Mlíkárna also has an outdoor barbeque offering sausages (klobasa) and other snacks.
Riegrovy Sady, 120 00 Praha 2, Vinohrady
Nearest metro: Jiřího z Poděbrad or Namesti Miru (walk down Mánesova and turn onto Třebízského)
Nearest tram: Vinohradská tržnice (11)
Monday – Sunday 10.00 to 22.00
Google map: bit.ly/oQi0st
In the middle of one of Prague’s beautiful nineteenth century parks, Hlavickovy Sady, there is a gorgeous café situated in a Victorianesque pavilion. Previously a bowling alley and games room for the beautiful Grebovka Villa next door, Grebovka Pavilion offers a relaxed atmosphere and its ancient trees provide welcome shade in the summer.
Grebovka Pavilion is a great place to sit and relax following a gentle walk around the sloping park, which is also home to a vineyard, a Neo Renaissance palace and a grotto. It has inside and outside seating and offers coffee, tea, alcoholic beverages, and snacks including massive waffles and delectable ice-cream.
A wonderful place to spend a summer afternoon.
Pavilon Grébovka, Havlíčkovy sady 2218,
120 00, Praha 2
+420 725 000 334
Open 10 .00 to 20.00 every day.
Nearest metro - Namesti Miru. Nearest tram - 4 or 22 to Krymska
Google map: bit.ly/nYP1dH
Stromovka park is a ten minute tram ride from the bustling city centre but it feels like being in the countryside. Willows offer shade by the lake, dandelions and daisies give the park a romantic meadowy atmosphere. Stromovka is a perfect spot for biking, walking, rollerblading or simply relaxing. Plenty of places to get refreshments and ample space to lie down on a blanket and read a book.
The main entrances to Stromovka are from Holesovice, Bubenec and Cisarsky (Trojsky) Island. Reach Stromovka by trams 5, 12, 14, 15 or 17 to Vystaviste.
Google map: bit.ly/jWaVRt
A visit to Letná Park (Letenské sady) will help you work off all the dumplings and also reward you with a phenomenal view of Prague. Letna Park has space to run, walk skateboard and in-line skate, if you can still move after climbing the several hundred steps to get to the top! If you can't - it is also a lovely place to simply relax. The park includes several places to eat and drink including the small restaurant in the Hanavsky Pavilion. As you walk up to the top of the steps (directly above the north bank of Pa_í_ská Bridge and marked by the massive metronome that over looks the city), turn left and walk for about three minutes. You will come to a beautiful neo-baroque building with cast-iron detail. This building, the Hanavsky Pavilion, was originally created as a ceremonial hall for the Prague National Exhibition in 1891, and today is a bar and restaurant. Good prices, indifferent service, but a beautiful view over the southern side of the city, which makes the climb worthwhile.
Letenské sady 173, 170 00 Praha 7
+420 233 323 641
Stromovka park is very worth visiting. It's popular but you can find quiet parts as it is huge, and it has a few lakes. The planetarium is here, near the entrance in the park, and is a good diversion. Outside the park and nearby is the Exhibition Grounds, in a few buildings, which I thoroughly recommend as there are very interesting exhibitions for the public on nearly all of the time, and a few really good permanent exhibitions (and a famous big fountain). Take a look at what is on.
The modern art palace of the National Gallery is not far from here and is a great gallery which many tourists miss because it is not near the Old Town, the Castle or Malostranska. It is usually quite quiet and I really recommend seeing it. It could take most of a whole day with a lunch break to visit all of the floors, so one and a half hours is the minimum time I recommend. You can have tea or coffee or a cold drink and snacks there.
The vast majority of people who visit Prague see only the three main areas with maybe also the Jewish Quarter and/or New Town and miss these attractions I mention. But especially if you have been to Prague before, make a point not to miss them. Don't forget the great value of Pension Vltava and recommend it to those who would like a very basic, clean and quiet place to stay with the added bonus of cheap drinks in your room at any hour.
For £7 or £8, have a sauna for a few hours in a basement private day spa near Holesovice station. Another similarly priced sauna in Holesovice is infinit (infinit.cz) which also has a jacuzzi.
Flights and accommodation will be cheaper (we got a good offer making the Elite Hotel **** cheaper than a B&B in Brighton). The city will hopefully be covered in a blanket of snow. Not only does this add an extra aspect to this beautiful city but makes nipping in and out of cafes for mulled wine or hot chocolate an excellent pastime. The park is also an excellent place to go sledging (cheap sledges can be bought from Tescos in the city centre). Just wrap up warm and go steady in any slippy spots.
Apparently this is where the first Slav tribes settled in Prague, and this is their fort. It's a smaller castle or fortress at the southern end of the city, perched at the top of a hill that overlooks the city. The views across Prague are amazing, you can literally perch on the wall and gaze across the more popular Prague Castle. This place is less visited by tourists and is a very calm and relaxing place if you want to escape the city centre for a while.
There is a lovely church and graveyard where famous Czechs are buried (politicians, artists) - in fact Dvorak's grave is here.
Go to: www.praha-vysehrad.cz
There's a metro station at Vyšehrad - when you come out of the station, head for the river along čiklova, then onto Slavojova, then do a left onto Vratislavova and just follow the road up and round to the right.
Or, you can get tram #3, #7, #16, #17 or #21. They stop closer than the metro station.
Even with a city as beautiful as Prague, it's sometimes nice to get out for a while. On the north-west border of the city is the spectacular Divoká Šárka, where you can wander through forests and gaze at spectacular rock formations surrounded by streams, waterfalls and lakes.
At the north-west terminus of the number 26 tram. Map at: tinyurl.com/2byaf4
Take the tram up to the castle entrance (saves a steep walk up) and, after enjoying the cathedral and Golden Lane, don't walk down the road with the guided groups. Pay the small amount required (£2 each) for the privilege of enjoying a delightful walk through some amazing terraced gardens. Each level is different with a range of plants, flowers, fountains and statues - very relaxing and quiet. Excellent views all the way down. You end up on the street after a welcome beer in the cafe at the exit. A good way to spend an hour or so.
This vast, beautiful park has a long history as a former hunting ground and today is a perfect place to relax.
The advantage of Stromovka is that it's so big that it can absorb large numbers of people without feeling crowded.
Among other things it's a popular place for strolling, inline skating, biking and just sitting down and watching life go by.
In winter it morphs into a favourite sledging and cross country skiing spot.
Next door to Stromovka is the Výstaviště (exhibition grounds). Here there are various attractions including a fun fair for kids, Lapidarium, Mořský svět (aquarium) and the famous Křižíkova fontana (Křižík Fountain), which forms the centrepiece of a sound and light show each summer. The city's planetarium is also located here.
Stromovka is a short journey from the centre. Tram Nos 5,12,14,15 or 17. to the Výstaviště tram stop
An green oasis of peace and quiet, and not a tanked-up, foul-mouthed stag party in sight. This huge park was once an enclosure (obora in Czech) and is easy to miss, hidden behind stone walls. Once through either of the two main entrances you'll notice the bizarre star-shaped building at the end of the long avenues. A Renaissance structure, it's now open to the public, and contains some fine plasterwork. The park itself is wonderful, and a great place to lounge about or relax with a book, in spring or summer. In winter you can practice cross country skiing there.
Tram nos. 15, 22 & 25 run to Vypich tram stop (this is the terminus for the no.15). As you get off the tram you'll see the Park entrance, in a wall beyond a grassy area. Alternatively take tram nos. 1, 2 or 18 to Petřiny (terminus), then turn onto U Hvězdy. Continue to the end of this street and turn right onto Libocká. The park entrance is about 50 metres on your left
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