Liven up your visit to Prague with a trip beyond the historical centre. Although you could wander through the heart of the “city of a hundred spires” for weeks and not see everything, the city’s outer suburbs are often also worth a visit. Just hop aboard Prague’s excellent public transport system and head to Troja. A luxurious Baroque chateau surrounded by beautiful gardens and vineyards, the famous Prague Zoo and a set of botanical gardens packed with exotic plant life await you there. Armed with the special Troja Card, available from any ticket office at attractions in the suburb, you can enjoy reduced admission.
A little piece of sunny Italy on the edge of Prague – that’s Troja Chateau. It’s said it was built to recreate the atmosphere of the “eternal city” and creates the illusion of a grand suburban villa packed with works of art amid endless gardens and surrounded by vineyards and a murmuring river. Few would deny that the effect created, right down to the last detail, is a huge success. To see for yourself, have a sit down on a sunny day and enjoy the peaceful scene at one of the most luxurious residences of its day.
Stairway to heaven
At first sight the Troja Chateau draws your attention with its monumental staircase, a feature that later gave the building its name. The sculptural decoration of the staircase depicts a struggle between the titans and the gods of antiquity as well as allegorical figures representing Day, Night and the Continents. Perhaps this staircase looks familiar to some of you? Well, former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell shot a video here. Inside the chateau don’t miss the impressive decoration and the famous works by Czech painters of the 19th century, exhibited here as a branch of the City Gallery Prague.
By steamboat to the zoo!
Wouldn’t you like to feel what it’s like to be on the African savannah, in a tropical jungle or exploring an Antarctic kingdom of ice? Then be sure to pay a visit to Prague’s zoo, one of the most attractive in the world. This may be down to its wonderful position by natural cliffs and next to slope and flat areas, as well as the 21st-century way the animals are presented, which flawlessly recreates their natural habitats. Enjoy a perfect day out in the company of elephants, hippos, gorillas, giraffes, zebras, polar bears, red pandas and komodo dragons. You can see over 4,000 animals of almost seven hundred different species. And don’t miss the unique sight of herds of African wildlife wandering free in wide-open spaces, a visit to a monkey-filled Indonesian jungle or a ride by cable car, which takes you in comfort from the lower part of the zoo to the upper section. To make your day at the zoo a truly memorable experience, arrive by a special steamboat, which runs every day in the summer months from the Rašínovo Embankment. However, you can also reach Troja in just a few minutes by bus from Holešovice railway station, just outside of the city centre.
Unwind in the realm of flowers
Do you like the perfume of exotic plant life, flower-filled gardens and strolls through multi-hued blossoms? If so, a visit to Prague’s Botanical Gardens, spread out across a hill above the chateau, is a must. Take a seat for a moment in the Japanese Garden, enjoy the aroma of beautiful irises or watch as butterflies flutter above your head in the wonderful Fata Morgana glasshouse. All this plus exceptional views of Prague and the surrounding St Clare vineyards, where grapes were being grown during the reign of King Charles IV. Bring your great day out to an end with a sip of the fine local wine.