Prague ranks high on the list of top travel destinations in Europe. Most travel guides and online resources focus on the main attractions like the Charles bridge, the old town and other central sights.
We want to take you on a ride to some of the lesser featured corners of the city.
We hope there is at least one place in this article that you haven’t explored yet. Let us know in the comments your hidden and unusual places in Prague.
Umělecká zahrada – Art garden
The art garden in Nusle is one of Prague’s hidden gems. And that for a reason. It’s not officially open to the public and you can only enter the premises during one of the Open days events, like the Open House Praha event. That’s how we discovered this magical place. However it seems that there’s a possibility to arrange a visit through their website.
The garden is full of sculptures of which some are rather of a bizarre sight. Especially one caught our attention – the statue of a mythical creature, half human half water god.
If you know the beer brand Radegast or get the chance to get a look at it while you’re in Prague, you will see the very same mythical creature on the beer cans and bottles. Only after doing some research, we found out that the aforementioned beer is named after the pagan Slavic god Radegast. And several statues of this iconic god were created in the art studio located at this site.
Karel Novák founded the studio in the 1920s. He was joined by a group of talented sculptors who contributed to some of Prague’s famous large-scale statues.
Some examples are the memorial to Jan Hus on the Old Town Square, the Woodrow Wilson monument at Prague’s main train station or the statue of Jan Žižka at the National Memorial at Vítkov Hill.
All these masterpieces contributed to the studio’s rise to fame, which lasted for 30 years until Communism cast a shadow over the nation leading to the destruction of the studio and the surrounding garden.
Even today, you can still see some statues with chopped off heads. After the Velvet Revolution, the studio and the garden returned to the family of Karel Novák and they sold it to someone else who has since been working on restoring the place to its former glory.
Apart from creating large figurative sculptures, his studio also produced a range of other products, including tiles, garden pavilions, fountains, staircases and flower pots, which were showcased in the garden surrounding the studio.
Even if you keep a low profile on nightlife activities, you should pay a visit to Cross Club, located in Holešovice.
The very sight of the unique industrial and steampunk inspired design of the building and outdoor area is worth your time. The multicultural venue harbors bars, indoor stages, a theater, a restaurant and a café.
Our personal highlight is the multi-layered terrace stretching over all 3 floors. Especially when the lights are turned on, the terrace blinks in a myriad of colors. It’s truly a place out of this world – maybe a glimpse of what the future will look like.
Troja palace and garden
The district of Troja is situated along the Vltava river and offers 3 major attractions: the Troja Chateau with outdoor garden, the Prague Zoo and the Botanical Garden. In this article we’ll cover all of them. So stay tuned.
The Troja park compound stretches over many acres harboring a flower garden with fountains, an apple orchard with a labyrinth inside, a theater and a pergola.
The centerpiece is a 17th century baroque castle which was named after the ancient city of Troja. The infamous battle between the Olympic gods and the Titans is told by statues which are displayed on the double-flight staircase leading to the gardens beneath.
Worth mentioning are the stunning terracotta vases dotted on the walls of the terrace. If you want to know the symbolical meaning of all the statues and busts, you should probably read up on it before or during your visit. In a nutshell, the artifacts symbolize the order and structure restored by the Olympians after their victory over the Giants. There are four busts of the continents, four busts of the elements, and four busts referring to space, matter and time.
The best way to get there is by bus no. 112 from the metro station Nadraží Holešovice on line C. The entry to the garden is free, unlike the chateau itself. The park is open between April and October until 7pm except on Mondays. Check out their website for most updated prices and opening hours.
Cibulka is a park situated in the Košíře district in a wooded area. The easiest to reach by public transport is taking the tram 9, 10 or 16 to Poštovka station. The park is one of our most favorite in Prague and probably one of the greenest. There are several hiking trails branching off in different directions of the park in midst beautiful scenery.
The centerpiece of the park is an artificial castle ruin with a look-out tower standing on a hill. You can climb up the stairs and take in the view of the surrounding nature. Besides, there is a Chinese Pavilion which was recently reconstructed.
The name of the park is derived from the original owner Blažej Cibulka from Veleslavín at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries. However, it had its peak time when it was taken over by Count and Bishop Leopold Thun–Hohenštejn of Passau. He established his summer residence here and enriched the park with promenades, sculptures and ponds. He also built the castle ruin and look-out tower.
Thanks to all these contributions the park rose to fame and was even visited by some international noblemen. After the bishop’s death his homestead fell abandoned. Only recently it was announced that that it will be transformed into a center for palliative care for children. If you want to see how it originally looks from the inside, you can check out our article of Abandoned places in Prague.
The park can be visited throughout the year, however we thought that it looked the prettiest in winter time with snow covering the ruins and foot paths.
The Prague zoo is the second of the three highlights of the Troja district. Besides, it ranks fourth of all zoos in the world. To get there you can take the bus no. 112 from train station Nádraží Holešovice.
If you want to pay a visit to each section of the zoo, you should set aside at least 4 hours. This is not taking into account time to relax or grab some food. When we visited, we spent 6 hours to cover around 10 km of walking trails and explore the pavilions and outdoor grounds.
Depending on your preferences, you should make sure to allow yourself enough time to explore the park.
You’ll not only learn interesting facts about the animals living there, but also the zoo’s role in animal conservation and protection of endangered species.
We were particularly impressed of the abundance of bird species and amphibians. Also to see giraffes, a hippo and a gorilla with no more than a thick glass wall between us was a unique moment.
You can visit the zoo all year round. In winter most animals are kept inside, which is also not a bad way for the visitors to warm up.
A hidden oasis in the middle of the city. This is how I would call the garden around Slovanský dům, a rather noble address for shopping, entertainment and dining. The main entrance to the complex is located on one of Prague’s main shopping boulevards (Na příkopě street).
Just walk through the palace like building and you will find yourself in a lush green setting. Whenever we go to the city center we try to stop by for a quick rest. Especially on warm days it’s the best place to find shade under the old plane trees reaching far into the sky.
If you’re on a budget you can get a drink or snack from a nearby store and enjoy it on one of the benches. After you’ve been there, you will always want to come back. That’s guaranteed.
We already mentioned Troja palace and the Prague zoo. The Botanical garden is the last missing piece that makes the list of the 3 major sights of the Troja district complete. Same as for the two aforementioned sights, you should plan equally enough time to visit the Botanical garden.
We spent a relaxing summer day there, exploring the diverse collection of plants from different continents and climate zones. The botanical garden is divided into the Fata Morgana Greenhouse and outdoor gardens.
The premises are next to each other but are not connected. They each have their own entry gate where you need to scan your visitor pass, so make sure to keep it at hand. To read more about our experience at the Botanical garden feel free to continue to this article.
Letenská water tower
Another discovery we made during the Open House Prague event is the Letenská water tower – Vodárenská věž Letná.
The water tower operated in the second half of the 19th century supplying the districts of Holešovice and Bubenec with water. This lasted until 1913. Since then the building has been preserved and transformed into a cultural venue.
On the highest floor there is an exhibition space where art galleries and theater plays take place. You can check the program on their website. When we were there we had the opportunity to get a look of the library which is mostly visited by people from the neighborhood.
In fact, the original idea of the library was to bring people from the neighborhood together to chat about books or exchange them.
Our highlight was the terrace that stretches all around the tower, offering great views of the surroundings. There is even an observation deck with a periscope.
The opening times alternate between Tuesday and Saturday skipping every other day (2-6pm). You can also arrange a private tour through their website.
Vyšehrad castle looks a lot like the iconic Prague Castle and sits on a hill, downstream the Vltava river. To get there you can take the metro to Vyšehrad Underground Station, the tram no. 17 from Výtoň station or walk from Karlovo náměstí, following the signs that lead up to the fortress. If you take a look of the castle from below you will see fortified walls stretching all around, offering scenic views from the surroundings.
Aside from the main landmark, the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul, the fortress covers a cemetery and a large park with sculptures. The most prestigious monument is the Slavín Tomb, residing atop of a staircase, decorated with a giant statue of an angel. The mausoleum contains the remains of several prominent Czech personalities.
While Vyšehrad has already been discovered by tourists, it still has its quiet moments, ideal to take a break from the bustling city.
Rohanský ostrov or Rohan island is located in the district of Karlín together with another island, Libeň island. Both islands are currently undergoing a massive transformation in terms of redesigning the riverside landscapes and neighborhood areas.
For this purpose an international competition was launched in 2022 which led to four teams (studios from Belgium and the Netherlands) being selected who will shape this part of Prague within the next decade (the transformation is planned to be completed in 2035).
Since this year you can already see some progress on the grounds of Rohanský ostrov. For example, the Holka footbridge was completed which connects Holešovice with Karlín. In general, the transformation of Rohan island is divided into two parts: the extensive green spaces along the Vltava river side and the massive construction of offices and apartments on the other side.
We have to admit that we are not a fan of the newly built residential and office buildings, however we think that the transformation of the riverside is a positive change. We enjoy going there for a walk or grab a drink from the outdoor bar Přístav. We also featured this part of Rohanský ostrov in our article.