There’s no better way to enjoy a sizzling summer day in Prague
than with a picnic. Summer is about lazy, carefree moments, and Prague is the perfect summer city. In the warmer months
, locals eat out as much as they can, including on the city’s numerous green spaces
. Here are 10 of the best places to join them and share some food alfresco.
Divoká Šárka nature reserve
A surprisingly rugged spot entirely within the Prague boundaries, the mini gorge of Divoká Šárka is a local secret and adds a touch of the wild to the city. The grassy areas at the start of the gorge are flatter and better suited to finding a picnic spot. You’ll also find space further down the valley, beside the outdoor swimming pool (Koupaliště Divoká Šárka), which attracts crowds in summer. If you’re feeling energetic after your picnic, you can follow the stream to Jenerálka or Podbaba and observe the subtle change of scenery from craggy canyon to gentle valley.
Divoká Šárka, Prague, Czech Republic
Obora Hvězda | © prague.eu
Obora Hvězda park
The bizarre yet plain six-sided building at the end of a long avenue in the eponymous park is actually a hunting lodge, known as Hvězda (meaning ‘star’, referring to its shape). Enter by the gate from the stretch of grass by Bělohorská Road. The contrast with the buzzing city you’re leaving behind is striking. There are picnic benches in the park, where you can also follow the numerous trails and watch the wildlife. If you visit Prague in winter, Hvězda looks gorgeous under a blanket of snow and is a favourite with cross-country skiers.
Obora Hvězda, Prague, Czech Republic
Ladronka sports and recreation area
Not far from Hvězda, on the opposite side of Bělohorská Road, the commanding heights of Ladronka have staged the Piknik Food Festival in the past. The site also attracts inline skaters in their hundreds. Inline skating is hugely popular in Prague, and special lanes were created just for skaters. If you’re an enthusiast, you could join them. Or, you could just watch them whizzing by as you enjoy your picnic. You can hire skates at Půjčovna Ladronka, by the Usedlost Ladronka, a converted farmstead with a restaurant.
Ladronka, Prague, Czech Republic
Letná| © Elke Parsa
The slowly oscillating metronome visible from Old Town Square marks Prague’s sprawling Letná Plain (also shown on maps as “Letenské sady”). During the 1989 Velvet Revolution, several thousand people packed into this site, so you needn’t worry about a lack of space for your picnic. The abundant trees offer plenty of shade on hot days. Don’t forget photo opportunities at the viewpoints in the Beer Garden, and at the Brussels Expo 58 Pavilion and Hanavský Pavilon.
Letná, Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is famous for its classic panoramas, and Parukářka park, like Riegrovy Sady (see below), offers some of the best. This spot is little-known to tourists, but the long green ridge, easily accessible from the Flora transport hub, enjoys sweeping views. You can look over to the Castle and the twin spires of St Vitus Cathedral, and the Old Town and beyond. Behind you lies the vast green expanse of the famous Olšany cemeteries, Prague’s largest burial ground.
Parkukářka, Prague, Czech Republic
Petřín Hill | © praha.eu
Petřín Hill appears in countless images of Prague, but its beauty is in no way diminished by familiarity. The sprawling site takes in the terraces at Nebozízek, reached by the funicular and affording spectacular views, or the lower slopes close to the Hellichova tram stop. Petřín Hill spills over into Kinského zahrada, on the border with the Smíchov district, and you could also enjoy an alfresco meal beside the Ethnographic Museum, part of the National Museum. If you’ve forgotten your basket, Pastař restaurant will put a picnic together for you.
Petřín Hill, Prague, Czech Republic
Riegrovy Sady beer garden
One of the best-loved green spaces in Prague, Riegrovy sady is a magnet for expats, tourists and locals alike. Just minutes from Wenceslas Square, the park is famed for its slightly grungy beer garden. Among its attractions are large screens broadcasting big sports events, guaranteeing a lively evening if you happen to be there, particularly if a Czech team is playing. The adjoining park offers plenty of space for picnics, playing frisbee or football or just lounging around. Don’t miss a quintessential Prague experience – sunset over Prague Castle, from the slopes just to the north of the beer garden.
Riegrovy Sady, Prague, Czech Republic
Like nearby Letná, Stromovka is one of Prague’s largest and most versatile green spaces, with plenty of room for numerous activities, whether they be running, inline skating, or simply strolling. The site’s history goes back to the 13th century, when it was established as a game reserve. Today, the park abounds with alfresco eating spaces – just take your pick. Other attractions nearby include Výstaviště (Exhibition Grounds), and a trail that leads to Zámek Troja (Château) and Prague Zoo, via Císařský ostrov island.
Stromovka, Prague, Czech Republic
Střelecký ostrov | © prague.eu
Don’t forget to include Prague’s islands, especially Střelecký ostrov (Shooter’s Island) in your list of picnic spots. Easily accessed from Most Legií, between Malá Strana and Staré Město, the island recently underwent a makeover and offers a wonderful and different perspective of the historic townscape. Never too crowded, Střelecký ostrov has recently been re-landscaped and has a kids’ play area. The island also hosts the Letní kino summer film festival.
Střelecký ostrov, Prague, Czech Republic
Vyšehrad | © Elke Parsa
The Vyšehrad fort is often unfairly overlooked in tourists’ Prague itineraries, but this promontory high above the Vltava, always rewards the visitor. Legend has it that Prague has its origins at Vyšehrad, and the peaceful spot, perfect for spending a lazy Sunday, exudes a powerful sense of history. Many famous Czechs, such as the composer Dvořák, are buried there. You can enjoy stunning views of the Castle, and there are plenty of green spots on which to relax. Picnic spaces include the lawns by the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, and the grassy area by the Hospoda na Hradbách.
Vyšehrad, Prague, Czech Republic