City Nature: Finding green spaces in Prague
It ain’t easy being green. Or looking for some if you live in the city. Fear not intrepid nature lovers – we’ve got a list of Prague forests and other green spaces – easily accessible by public transport. The City of Prague boasts 88 protected areas covering more than 2000 hectares. Twenty percent of the city’s area is covered by these or other parks.
First – the two big inner-city green places, Letenské sady and Stromovka. These are both fairly well-know, especially Letenské sady, thanks to its beer garden. To get to the park, you can walk up the steep steps from Cechuv most (Tram 12, 17) or go to Sparta or Letenské námestí (Tram 1, 8, 15, 25, 26) and walk into the park from there. Hradcanská is the closest metro stop and it’s a ten minute walk or one tram stop (to Sparta) from there. Stromovka is a bit more on the wild side, more open space and less paths. You access it across the Vltava via a foot bridge from Troja and the Zoo, or enter near the exhibition grounds of Výstavište in Prague 7.
If it’s a strictly beer garden experience you are yearning for, hit Riegrovy sady in Prague 2. The quickest way to the beer garden, and which avoids a big uphill walk, is along Slavíkova from the Jirího z Podebrad metro station then a left turn onto Krkonošská. You’ll find tons of picnic tables under the shade of trees and umbrellas, as well as a big stage that sometimes has concerts and a huge screen for showing football matches.
But let’s be realistic – can we call these forests? Let’s get a bit outside the city center and head to Divorká Šárka in Prague 6. Here’s some real city wilderness for you – simply jump the 20 or 26 tram from the Dejvická metro station, heading towards the Divorká Šárka stop. The park is huge and while it may seem overcrowded at first walk about 15 minutes or so and you’ll soon leave the crowds behind. There’s a public pool and a reservoir for swimming and a couple food stands for the requisite beer and ice cream.
If it’s trees you are looking for hop a metro to Roztyly. When you come up from the underground, you’ll see a sign to your right that says “Michelský les.” Walk outside and there you be. This is quite a find so close to public transport, and big enough for a decent wander. For a shorter outing the 3 or 17 trams in the direction of Modrany will bring you to Modranská rokle
Like Stromovka, Hvezda used to be a game preserve. Founded by Ferdinand I, the park also boasts a unique star-shaped chateau that he built as a summer palace for his wife. There are a plethora of shady paths here, many marked with signs offering information on local geological conditions and bird and plant species. Get there by taking tram 15, 22 or 25 to Vypich. Head across the big open field to the wooded, wall-enclosed space.
While we are at Vypich, let’s detour to Ladronka (www.ladronka.cz.) We should probably consider this more a recreational area then a park or forest; its big draw is the smooth paths for in-line skaters. The park rents skates, but you can bike or walk the paths as well – just be aware of people moving faster than you.
Prague 5 also boasts a couple interesting green spaces. Prokopské Údolí in Hlubocepy southwest of the city is known for its good walking and geological finds; take the yellow B line to Jinonice. Barrandovské scaly is in the same area, while you can wander for hours in Klánovický les in Prague 9. Take the train from the Masarykovo station to Praha-Klánovice.
Pruhonice (www.parkpruhonice.cz) is a bit further out, but definitely worth the trip. Get yourself there and be rewarded with 23 kilometers of lovely walking paths, woods, lakes and a chateau. From the Opatov metro station take bus 324 or 325.
And we would be remiss not to include the Troja threesome of the Prague Zoo (www.zoopraha.cz) the Botanical Garden (www.botanika.cz) and Troja Chateau (www.ghmp.cz.)
Search for location of preserves on www.mapy.cz and the City of Prague’s website, www.praha.eu, has suggestions as well.