Hostavice and Dolní Počernice
In the colourful surroundings of Hostavice in Natural Park Klánovice-Čihadla you can find forests and streams, nature reserve “Na Pískovne” (“On the sand pit”) and the dry polder, Rokytka, with wetlands and wooden walkways. Dolní Počernice is an historical village with a considerable number of sights: Old castle, new castle, castle park, orangery, church, old water mill, village museum, old brewery, and nice old farmhouses. Two historical restaurants await you in the old castle park: Léta Páně in the former brewery with a garden restaurant and Al Mulinoin the former water mill with Italian specialities just on a dam of the biggest Prague pond, Počernický, which offers a nice place for swimming. Horse lovers can find two horse riding clubs there.
Old Bubeneč is a wonderfully preserved village in the middle of the city. On the old village square you can see the classicist St. Gotthard church and the former neo-renaissance town hall with the coat of arms of the formerly independent town of Bubeneč. On the side streets there are many historical houses. The highlight of Old Bubeneč is one of the oldest still-functioning Prague pubs, Na Slamníku. The restaurant has retained the character of a genuine old Czech pub, its interior has remained unchanged for decades. Through the gate you can access Stromovka. On the right side on the hill there is the romantic Governor’s Summer Palace with a nice view of the green Vltava valley. On the opposite side of the park you may discover Císařský Mlýn, the Imperial Water Mill, which dates back to the era of Emperor Rudolf II.
Divoká Šárka (Wild Šárka)
It is one of the most beautiful holiday regions of Prague, where you can find everything, what you would normally require for a summer holiday place – high cliffs, wild “mountain” stream, beautiful green meadows, outdoor swimming pool with crystal clear water, spectacular views, rock climbing – and all just a few steps from the terminal stop of the tram with the same title. The name Šárka (mythical figure) comes from the old Czech legend, as well as the name of original garden pub from the early 20th century „Dívčí Skok“ (Girl´s Jump) located under the same name rock. In the summer heat you can refresh yourself in the adjoining outdoor swimming pool with cold but crystal clear water or in much bigger artificial lake „Džbán“ (Jug).
Chaby and Třebonice
Let’s come and admire the unspoiled two small “Prague villages” with interesting surroundings. Chaby is formed by one giant and two large estates, and three houses. The whole resembles a beautiful village somewhere in southern Bohemia. Not far from the village the lonely church of St. Jan and Pavel dominates the hill. Supposedly Satanists met there in 1990´s. The oldest living linden tree in Prague is in the garden of the loveliest and largest farm, which houses also a riding school with a focus on jumping and dressage. In the nearby picturesque Třebonice, there is the biggest tourist magnet – Staněk´s handmade brewery, which differs from other microbreweries in Prague by the fact, they offer each time a different kind of excellent freshly brewed beer.
Old Hlubočepy in Prokopské údolí (Valley)
Perhaps the most well-preserved Prague “village” Hlubocepy nestles in Prokopské Valley. Old Hlubočepy is surrounded by a wild, dramatic landscape with rocks which seem to have been lifted from Wild West movies. The old one-story suburban houses crowd around a small square with a railway crossing and peripheral streets extend right up to the cliffs. Two railway lines cross each other on two old viaducts (technical monuments). Besední restaurant with garden is maintained exactly as it was 100 years ago. „Prokopské“ valley itself with its rocky romantic lake, quarries, stream, and rocky cliffs offer a refuge for rest and relaxation.
Na Skalce Park
The area of the beautiful landscape park in Smíchov is not very large, but you are in for a lot of surprises there. You might be wondering why the park was built oddly as a hill. It is caused by underground hiding technical landmark – the first water reservoir for the city of Smíchov. Apparently somewhere from Kováků street should be a hidden entrance. Today’s appearance of the park dates back to the late 19th century, when the park was designed in neoclassical style. In the middle of the park there is a lake that is supplied by water from two waterfalls on an artificial rock. The park is dominated at the highest point by an iron gazebo. On a meadow by the lake you can find a memorial obelisk from the time when the park was created. The park as a whole gives the impression of a spa promenade.
Řičánka Natural Park
For a longer trip, go to places between Dubeč and Uhříněves. In Dubeč it is worth it to look at the ruins of the medieval fortress and the surrounding „Panská zahrada“ (Noble garden). In case of summer rain you can stop in the terrarium with the largest collection of venomous snakes in the Czech Republic. Do not miss the natural monument – quarry „Rohožník“. Through the „Říčanský“ creek valley you get to one of the largest artificial lakes in Prague – „Podleský“ with centuries-old oak trees on the dam. President Masaryk used to swim here and you have a nice possibility to swim in it, too. Below the dam is a former water mill and just a short walk a away large deer farm. Who would rather ride a horse, should go to nearby Netluky hamlet with the famous breeding of horses (Przewalski’s horse). On the edge of Uhříněves game park is an old Jewish cemetery with 300 gravestones.
Hrdlořezy and nutrias
Hrdlorezy (Cutthroat village) has among all Prague districts one of the most interesting names. Allegedly it was a village of highwaymen and thugs. However, it seems that these rumors were circulated by local innkeepers just to persuade people to stay for the night in their inns and so being protected against the “thugs”. Do you know these interesting creatures in the Rokytka river? They are nutrias, which have been living here for 4 years. Originally a couple moved here from the nearby pound, and now the entire population of “relatives” includes several dozen. They live in burrows on the opposite bank, but as they glimpse “feeders” they arrive immediately at great speed to obtain food. They like hard bread, carrots, turnips, all sorts of greens.
Park Přátelství (Park of Friendship)
Housing development Prosek is not just a dormitory with a lot of long “panelaks”, but Prosek can boasts a truly unique park with the longest artificial waterway network in Prague. The park covers an area of 11 hectares. It is dominated by 450 m long water system, which begins with a large fountain in the middle of the pond. The fountain is in fact the source of all water works, which creates a system of lakes, various fountains, islands, waterfalls and small cascades. Everything is interconnected with a labyrinthine system of canals and streams. The total volume of water in this fantastic water maze reaches from 1,600 to 1,800 cubic meters. It is really nice to have a beer on the hanging terrace of Pizzeria Helios above the lower lake and enjoy the surroundings.
Uniquely well-preserved castle and farmyard area Ctěnice with a park and a riding school is a gem of Prague landscaping. Originally a medieval fortress was rebuilt into a renaissance chateau and then to the baroque palace, where you can visit the exhibition pertaining to the time of the Habsburgs. In the original granary building there is a castle hotel with restaurant and cafe with outside seating. A preserved moat with an artificial cave carved into the rock is a valuable relic of the medieval fortress. Behind the castle is a separate farmyard, which homes Riding Company Ctěnice. The castle park with a little stream in the style of English landscape parks is well worth seeing. At the end of the park is a grow shop, where you can buy plants. Behind the castle park is a game park with a pond.
What are your favorite summer escapes in Prague?