Prague Castle Gardens for Visitors

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Prague Castle Gardens for Visitors

The Prague Castle complex boasts several stunning gardens, each offering its own unique charm and historical importance.

The Royal Garden, established in 1534 by Ferdinand I of Habsburg, stands as the most historically significant among the other gardens.

This garden was redesigned in the 19th century, drawing inspiration from English landscapes and Italian designs.

Presently, it hosts several notable structures, including the Ball Game Hall, the Royal Summer Palace, and the Lion Court.

A highlight is the Singing Fountain, renowned as one of Renaissance Europe’s most splendid fountains.

The castle’s southern gardens—Paradise, Ramparts, and Hartig Gardens—afford breathtaking views of the Lesser Town, Old Town, and the nearby Petřín Hill.

Additionally, the Palace Gardens encompass the Ledeburg, Kolovrat, Small Fürstenberg, and both the Small and Large Palffy Gardens.

Visitors can explore centuries of history, architectural marvels, and tranquil beauty within an urban setting throughout the season.

This article will tell you more about the Prague Castle gardens and what attractions you should not miss.

Why are Prague Castle Gardens so famous?

The Prague Castle Gardens are famous for their lush greenery, historical significance, and architectural wonders. 

They offer a serene ambiance, allowing visitors to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a sense of tranquility. 

Created in Renaissance and Baroque styles, the gardens have witnessed centuries of history and the footsteps of royalty, making each corner tell a fascinating tale. 

The Prague Castle Gardens are a must-visit for anyone seeking to explore centuries of history, architectural wonders, and a serene ambiance amidst urban charm.

How Many Prague Castle Gardens Are There?

There are six beautiful gardens on the Prague Castle grounds. 

The Royal Garden (Královská zahrada) is the largest of the gardens and features many valuable historical buildings and other marvels. 

The garden on the terrace of the Riding Hall (Czech: Jízdárna) is located further north.   

However, a garden is called “Na Baště” in the north.

They are known as the Garden of Eden (Rajská zahrada), the Garden of the Ramparts (Na Valech), and the Hartig Garden (Hartigovská zahrada).  

Let’s take them one by one. We’ll emphasize the most interesting points and admire Prague Castle’s unique green elegance.

Royal Garden: The Greatest Gem

Castle Royal Gardens in Prague
Image: Hrad.cz

The Royal Garden Prague Castle is a beautiful green oasis that you can reach from U Prašného Mostu Street.

And through the north gate by the Royal Summer Palace or the east entrance from Chotkovy Sady, a nearby park.

This big garden spreads over 3.6 hectares, stretching from Stag Moat all the way to Mariánské Granby Street and leading up to Queen Anna’s Summer House.

Back in 1534, Giovanni Spati designed the garden with help from Ferdinand I of Habsburg. 

They started with the summer house and a stone wall that linked the garden to the castle via a bridge.

The garden became a place for the nobility to enjoy, with several buildings popping up over time. 

One of these, the Královský letohrádek (Royal Summer Palace), was later turned into an astrological observatory. 

Other additions included Míčovna (the ball-game hall) and Lví dvůr (Lion’s Court), which eventually turned into a wine cellar and a restaurant.

Originally, the garden was laid out in a precise Renaissance style, filled with rare plants and chestnut trees, and the Turkish sultan gifted the first tulips in Europe.

By the 1700s, the garden’s style changed to baroque, bringing in sculptures and decorative art, including a famous sculpture group called “Night.”

There’s also a building in the garden called the cottage. 

Since 1938, it’s been used as the presidential residence and was originally part of a baroque “Empire Greenhouse.”

Singing Fountain

The Singing Fountain is a stunning Renaissance fountain located near Queen Anne’s Summer House in the Royal Garden at Prague Castle. 

Created between 1562 and 1568 by Master Jaroš from a design by the Italian artist Francesco Terzio, who lived in Prague in the mid-16th century. 

This fountain stands out as one of the most exquisite of its kind north of the Alps. 

Crafted from bell bronze, the fountain features elaborate decorations of hunting scenes, relief masks, and palm leaves. 

This sculpture features a thick column surrounded by figures, producing a musical sound when water drops hit the bronze plate.

To fully appreciate this melody, you might need to get close, either kneeling or squatting beneath it.

Orangery: 

Designed by Eva Jiřičná in 1999, the Orangery is a modern marvel within the Royal Garden. 

This glass and stainless steel structure, extending ninety meters, serves as a nurturing ground for plants, showcasing the fusion of contemporary design with traditional gardening.

Garden on the Bastion: 

Bastion Garden
Image: Wikimedia.org

Just to the left of the Court of Honor, you’ll find the Garden on the Bastion, covering an area of 2,720 square meters. 

This garden has a rich history, revealed through archaeological digs that uncovered remnants of buildings dating back to the Romanesque period. 

Originally, this space between the castle’s trenches and its defensive walls was transformed into a bastion court under Maria Theresa’s rule. 

The garden underwent a major makeover when the Czechoslovak Republic was formed.

It is based on designs by the castle’s architect, Josip Plečnik, in the late 1920s and early 1930s. 

Plečnik also added a unique footbridge built over arcades that leads visitors directly to the Powder Bridge. 

The garden itself is split into two levels, connected by a circular staircase, adding to its charm and making exploration a delight.

In one corner of the garden, near the Archbishops’ Palace, there’s a quaint garden restaurant that dates back to the 1950s, offering a spot for relaxation and refreshment. 

In the 1990s, the garden was updated to include an automatic watering system that conserves water by utilizing it from the castle’s restored historical water conduit. 

This blend of historical elements and modern upgrades makes the Garden on the Bastion a fascinating place to visit, combining the past with the present in a beautiful green setting.

South Gardens: 

Southern Gardens of the Prague Castle
Image: Hrad.cz

The South Gardens Prague Castle, including the Paradise Garden, Garden on the Ramparts, and Hartig Garden.

They are located where the castle’s southern defenses once stood. Originally, this area had ramparts and ditches for protection. 

However, in the late Gothic period, Vladislav of Jagiellon added fortifications that had lost their military purpose by the Renaissance. 

As a result, these defensive structures were removed, and the space was transformed into gardens and vineyards.

Plečnik introduced a geometric design with straight paths, rectangular lawns, scattered trees, and architectural elements, giving the gardens a unique look.

In the early 1990s, after nearly six decades, the gardens underwent extensive renovations and were reopened to the public. 

The Paradise Garden (Rajská zahrada) is located on the south hills and is connected to Archduke Ferdinand’s private garden. 

Plečnik, the architect, designed its appearance. The garden is accessible from Hradčanské náměstí via the top of the New Castle Stairs.

Garden Na Valech (Garden on the Ramparts) occupies most of the south of Prague Castle’s front face.  

It was converted into a natural park in the nineteenth century. You can access it via the Garden of Eden or the Old Castle Stairs from Opyš.

Finally, the Hartig Garden (Hartigovská zahrada), the smallest of the three, was connected to the garden Na Valech (Garden on the Ramparts) in the 1960s.

In addition to the beautiful flower species, there is also the Hudební Pavilion (Music Pavilion). 

Also, the observation point at Opyš and Plečnik’s Staircase (also known as the Bulls’ Staircase) from the third courtyard was created in 1922.

These gardens are a piece of Prague Castle’s history and a peaceful retreat that showcases centuries of landscape transformation.

Stag Moat:

The Stag Moat is a natural area within Prague Castle, covering over 8 hectares. It stretches from U Brusnice Street to the big bend on Chotkova Road. 

This place, originally important for defense, has a stream called Brusnice running through it. 

However, the stream was eventually controlled and partly redirected into pipes.

Back when Rudolf II was king, this whole area became royal property. He introduced deer to the moat, and it even became a spot for hunting activities. 

By the end of the 17th century, a riding school was built here. There was also a powder bridge that connected the Royal Garden to the castle. 

However, this bridge was replaced with an embankment during the reign of Maria Theresa. 

This change split the Stag Moat into two parts: an upper area over 3 hectares and a lower area bigger than 5 hectares.

Terrace of the Riding School: 

The Terrace of the Riding School garden by Pavel Janák covers an area of 3,452 square meters with a baroque garden style.  

Later, in 1957, architect Vladimír Tintěra made some changes to it. 

Originally, this garden was part of a summer riding school set up on top of new underground garages. 

At the same time, they also created a yard for the riding school that covered 2,241 square meters. 

In 1723, this spot hosted the world premiere of the Italian opera “Constanza e Fortezza” (Constancy and Firmness) by Jan Josef Fux. 

For this event, they built an amphitheater with nightlights that could hold thousands of people.

In 1946, Pavel Janák transformed the winter riding school into a gallery. 

Today, the garden on the terrace of the Riding School is a venue for cultural events. 

Since 1998, it has hosted International Festivals of Ethnic Music, bringing together diverse sounds and cultures.

Horticultural Gardens:

A kaleidoscope of colors awaits in the Horticultural Gardens, a vibrant display of both exotic and native plant species. 

Each corner of this garden invites visitors to explore the diversity and beauty of the natural world.

It is for visitors, especially teens, who are eager to explore Prague Castle’s gardens.

These descriptions promise a memorable adventure through spaces where history, nature, and architecture converge to tell the stories of centuries past. 

Each garden offers a visual feast and an educational journey into the heart of Prague’s royal heritage.

Prague Castle Gardens Opening Hours

The Prague Castle Gardens, including the Deer Moat, which once played a crucial role in defending the castle, have different opening times throughout the year:

  • During the summer season, from April to October, they’re open from 10 am to 6 pm.
  • From November to March, the gardens are closed to visitors in the winter season.
  • However, the Garden on the Bastion welcomes visitors all year round, from 6 am to 10 pm.

Good news for visitors: entering the Prague Castle gardens is free! 

The only exception is the Ledeburg Garden, which has a small entrance fee but is quite affordable.

Here’s a quick rundown of the Prague Castle Gardens entrance fees:

  • Royal Garden: Free
  • The Southern Gardens: Free
  • Terrace of the Riding School: Free
  • Garden on the Bastion: Free
  • Ledeburg Garden: 80 CZK ($4) (with discounts available for certain groups)

Getting to the Gardens Below Prague Castle: Location & Directions

Public transportation makes it easy to access the gardens beneath Prague Castle.

You can catch a tram to stops like Královský letohrádek, Pražský hrad, or Pohořelec. If you prefer the metro, the closest stations are Malostranská and Hradčanská. 

A common choice for visitors is to take tram number 22 to the Pražský hrad stop and then walk down the Old Castle Stairs to reach the Malostranská metro station.

Prague Castle Garden Entrance Map

Frequently Asked Questions About Prague Castle Gardens

Are Prague Castle Gardens free?

Yes, the gardens are open to the public from 6 am to 10 pm, with no admission fees.

What are the names of the Prague Castle Gardens?

Royal Garden, Terrace of the Riding School, Garden on the Bastion, The South Gardens, Hartig Garden, Stag Moat, St. Wenceslas Vineyard, and Villa Richter, Empire Greenhouse. 

When were the Prague Castle Gardens founded?

The original Renaissance garden, founded in 1534, became one of the few peaceful spots in Prague’s center. 
The garden sits on the site of old medieval vineyards.

Will my Prague Castle tickets provide access to Prague Castle Gardens?

Yes, you can access all the castle gardens with the entry ticket to Prague Castle. 
You can also book a guided tour to get detailed information about the surroundings and cover all the hidden and major highlights.

What are the timings for Prague Castle Gardens?

You can visit the Prague Castle Gardens anytime between 6 am to 10 pm.

Are Prague Castle Gardens free to enter?

Yes, the castle gardens are open to the public without any admission fee.
So, if you are short on time, you can explore the parks and sit around for a while to relax.

What can I see at Prague Castle Gardens?

Prague Castle Gardens offers various landscapes and experiences, from serene green havens to breathtaking viewpoints. 

Which is the most beautiful garden within Prague Castle?

There are three beautiful gardens within Prague Castle: the Royal Garden, the South Garden, and the Garden on the Bastion.

Can I have a picnic in Prague Castle Gardens?

Yes, you can have a picnic inside the Prague Castle Gardens. Find the perfect spot and spend blissful time in the garden with your friends, partner or kids.

Are there any guided tours available for Prague Castle Gardens?

Many tours combine a visit to the gardens with other castle attractions like the Old Royal Palace, St. Vitus Cathedral, or the Golden Lane. 

This is a great option if you want a broader experience of the castle complex. However, you can explore the gardens at your own pace as well.

Is photography allowed in Prague Castle Gardens?

You can take good pictures with the lush greenery as your backdrop. But be mindful of the specific restrictions written on the board.

Are Prague Castle Gardens wheelchair accessible?

Prague Castle Gardens are easily accessible by wheelchair, but certain areas may have limited accessibility due to historical features.

Can I visit Prague Castle Gardens at night?

Unfortunately, the gardens are closed for night visits. However, you can explore the gardens before 10 pm.

Can I combine a visit to Prague Castle Gardens with other attractions nearby?

Definitely, visitors can access the nearby attractions with Prague Castle Gardens.

Featured Image: Dermot68 / Getty Images

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