We have a tip for another great park in Prague that is worth a visit by itself or that may be a great place for an even greater picnic: the Ztracenka park.
Our lovely guests joining our todays' tour, Eleanor and Max, have expressed a wish to have a picnic in Prague. What a great idea! To be honest, having a picnic in one of Prague's plentiful parks is one of our favorite things to do in Prague when the heatwave hits. "Why?" We hear you ask. We'll tell you why!
First of all, having a picnic in a park among locals is a great way to relax after you've had enough of the crowds occupying the main sights in Prague. Second, Prague is a hilly town so many parks offer splendid views of different parts of the town. Many of our guests ask where they can get a romantic meal with a view, and for some, a picnic may be the answer and the memorable experience you will be bringing home with you. Third, it is perfectly legal to have a drink or two in public places; therefore, nothing stops you from enjoying a nice bottle of Bohemian or Moravian wine with the picnic, or enjoy a chilled lager or ale from a beer specialty shop. Finally, some really nice food can be had in the shops surrounding some of our favorite spots for picnic, so you won't be hauling heavy loads across the city. The only slight niggle you may have about the whole experience is the fact that you may, at times, be eating your food about two feet from a hungry labrador staring at you with those hungry, sad eyes. But they never stay for long, trust us!
And because we want our guests, including Eleanor and Max, and you to make the best out of your stay in Prague, we have put together a small map of our favorite places for a nice, calm and tasty summer picnic. The map does not stop at the recommended spots for picnics but goes beyond that: it shows the suggested shops where you can find some delicious food to bring with you.
Ah, the Kampa park… Jan used to spend all his high school days over there, hanging out with his friends… usually not studying. The Kampa is a very hip, local park in the centre. Just a few meters off the Charles Bridge, one of the most crowded sights in Prague, it has still retained its local character. You will find everything there: dogs running around, people throwing frisbees, practicing tai-chi, playing the drums etc.
The ultimate picnic with a view. We have been recommending this place for a picnic for over a year now, and it still is hard to beat when it comes to the view. After you're finished eating, you can follow on to the Strahov monastery and the Prague Castle. And if that hill seems intimidating or you're not feel like climbing steep hills in hot weather, there's a solution: simply buy a ticket for the funicular car and get off at the middle station. Easy!
The Letná park is a place where people in Prague love to go for jogging, roller-blade skating, riding bikes or simply having a cup of beer in the local beer garden. The whole park becomes alive with the first spring days, and stays that way until the fall. The park is a place that makes you realize there's more life in Prague than just the centre, and may invite you to explore some other districts, including the Letná itself.
If you want to have a picnic like a local, you must visit the Stromovka, the biggest park near the centre of the town. The Stromovka actually includes designated picnic areas where grilling is allowed, including benches and tables. Nothing will disturb you there, save for the occasional train running through the park. If you'll see horses, don't panic: there's is an equestrian centre near the park. Follow the horses and then follow on to the Prague ZOO and the Troja chateau.
A very popular park that is the perfect place for a late picnic: the park offers a great view of the Prague Castle and the Old Town in the sunset. You don't have to bring beers along, with a wildly popular beer garden just a few steps away. The park also doubles as the gateway to the Vinohrady district, which offers lots of great food and architecture.
The Vitkov hill may not be on the first pages of your guide book but we think it is an absolutely awesome place for several reasons. First of all, you'll find solitude there, if you want it: the slope offers many hidden parts and small areas that offer at least some privacy. Second, you will see Prague from a different perspective - either the centre over a huge railroad track coming out of a tunnel underneath the hill, or the Zizkov district from one of the designated picnic areas along the old-railway-now-turned-into-a-cycling route. Third, you can visit the awesome National Memorial at the top of the hill, and enjoy one of the most stunning views of anything you've ever seen.
Show Picnic spots & where to shop on a larger map
Matejska pout, or St Mathhew's Fair, is a cultural institution here in Prague that celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. This annual spring fun fair attracts enormous crowds every single year, especially on weekends if the weather is nice. The fair has everything: plenty of rides (from modern to very old ones), food stands with cotton and hard candy, sausages and beer. We think it's a great venue when you have kids, and not only just because of St Matthew's Fair: the surroundings offer plenty of activities, too.
The fair is held each year on the old Holesovice Fair Grounds, just a short tram ride from the centre. The centre of the grounds is occupied by the old Fair Palace, one half of which burned down sadly a few years ago when someone forgot to put the kettle off during a dentistry trade show. The grounds also include an ice-hockey arena, a swimming pool and a famous fountain. The grounds are fairly empty throughout the year, only to come alive during St Matthew's Fair.
After you've enjoyed the rides, we recommend that you leave the fair and have a stroll in the adjacent Stromovka park, the biggest public park near the centre of Prague. It's one of our most favorite walks in Prague: you start from the fair grounds and walk into the park past the observatory to the "central circle" with a pond, benches and many joggers, families and lovers. We recommend you walk under the train tracks towards the river and cross it using the elevated bridge.
You enter Cisarsky ostrov, a lovely island in the river that accommodates an equestrian centre with a parkour pitch and stables. Parkour competitions sometimes take place there. From there, walk to the other side of the river using the pedestrian bridge and turn left. In about five minutes, you will enter the Troja Chateau - a big villa that dates back to the late 17th century with an impressive garden. Take a few snapshots and walk past the villa on the left. There, you have two choices: either the Prague Zoo, said to be one of the top ten zoos in the world by many, or the Botanical garden above it, which includes the Santa Clara winery: one of the best wineries in Prague that offers its visitors the chance to taste local wines.
We think this walk can create a wonderful afternoon that will bring many memories to kids and their parents alike. The whole walk should not take more than an hour, depending on your pace. If you don't feel like walking back the entire route, you can take the bus from the ZOO to the Holesovicke nadrazi subway stop and follow from there to the centre. St Matthew's Fair opened on 2 March and ends on 21 April. Enjoy!
One of the things that make Prague so great in our opinion are the hills that surround the centre. Prague is often compared to Vienna in terms of atmosphere but we think the hills give Prague a clear edge over Vienna (of course). You can simply walk up, get away from the crowds in the centre and enjoy some lovely vistas. In this post, we bring you a few tips for great views of Prague. If you connect them, they will create a really nice walk around the entire centre, allowing you to see the central parts of Prague from all possible angles.