On this 3-hour walking tour your guide will take you to see the Prague Castle Gardens and Belvedere Summer Palace, the Singing Fountain, the Fig House and Orangery, the grand Wallenstein Garden, and the 18th-century Baroque Vrtba Garden.
What to Expect
Throughout history, gardens have mirrored the social, political, and religious outlook of the times. This 3-hour tour focuses on gardens of the Renaissance and the Baroque periods, but you’ll also see horticultural gems scattered around the city dating from medieval to modern times.
Early medieval gardens were primarily used for cultivating herbs for medicinal or culinary use and have only been preserved in certain Gothic cloisters. Vineyards on the hills around Prague also date back to the time before Charles IV, but the idea of a large palace garden only emerged in the 1500s with Emperor Ferdinand I, who was particularly keen on the lush Mediterranean gardens inspired by the Italian Renaissance.
Ferdinand introduced classicism north of the Alps, importing a formidable team of Italian gardeners and architects to the capital of Bohemia.
Highlights of the Prague Castle Gardens include the Belvedere Summer Palace commissioned by Ferdinand I as a present to his wife Queen Anne, although she did not live to see its completion. One of the reliefs depicts Ferdinand gallantly presenting his wife with a flower from the Royal Gardens surrounding the palace.
Designed by the Italian Paola della Stella, it is often described as the most beautiful Renaissance structure outside of Italy. In front of this pleasure palace is a Giardinetto with the so-called Singing Fountain cast in 1564 in bell bronze so that the dropping of water into the bowl causes it to resonate or sing.
Your walk continues to the Fig House and the Orangery, where figs, almonds, oranges, and lemons were grown for the first time in Central Europe. As you approach the western end of the garden you’ll hear how tulips, previously unknown in Europe, were introduced to the Royal gardens as an exotic gift by the Sultan of Constantinople.
Admire the stag moat before crossing through the castle courtyard and descending the Bull Stairs to the South Gardens. After exploring the Garden of Paradise and the Garden on the Bulwark, you’ll head down the hill through a number of lovely terraced gardens below the castle.
At the bottom of the hill is the breathtaking and grand Wallenstein Garden, with its albino peacocks, Mannerist statues, grotto wall, and mythical fountains. Learn about the transition from Renaissance classicism to Baroque philosophies, and the dramatic life of the garden’s commissioner, Albrecht von Wallenstein.
As your tour comes to an end the guide will show you the Vrtba Garden, a hidden gem of a Baroque walled garden dating from 1720 and located in the Lesser Town (Mala Strana). This garden is rarely seen by visitors to Prague even though it provides a unique glimpse into noble life in the 18th century and the aesthetics of Baroque landscaping.
When you climb to the very top courtyard with its marine-themed grotto, you are also rewarded with stunning vistas of Prague’s cityscape.
- 3-hour guided history walk
- Historian guide
Know Before You Go
• Vrtbovská Garden admission fee: Individual, CZK 62; students and seniors, CZK 52