Prague and its gardens
It is sometimes difficult in Prague to decide where to go, what to do and what to eat – there is just so much to choose from! And in spring it is twice as hard. In addition to walking up to majestic Prague Caste, wandering through the picturesque streets of Lesser Town or exploring the countless squares and courts in Old Town, it is worth visiting Prague’s parks and gardens to enjoy the scent of flowers, fresh air and wonderful views of the city.
In the Czech Republic, everyone knows that Petřín park is the place where lovers go. The Petřín lookout tower, which is near Prague Castle, stands in the middle of the vast park and looks as though it was built with couples in mind. The views over the city from the tower over are one-of-a-kind and well worth the 299-stair climb to the top. You might find it reminds you of one famous structure, and no, it is not your imagination: the tower standing at the top of Petřín Hill is a replica of the Eiffel Tower, but one-fifth the size. The hike to the top can be made even more fun by visiting the Mirror Maze.
If you still have enough energy after the climb, talk a walk through the gardens and orchards under Petřín. There are more than enough. Amongst the oldest is Strahov Garden, which was commissioned by Vratislaus II for Strahov Monastery. Sandstone outcroppings, ponds and waterfalls provide a romantic backdrop for walks in Kinský Garden. Many claim that Vrtbovský Garden is the most beautiful of its kind north of the Alps. This claim is hard to confirm, but it is one of four Baroque gardens on Petřín Hill and one of the most sought after for its views of Prague Castle.
Few people know that Průhonice Chateau Park is also listed as a UNESCO heritage site along with Prague. It does not lie in the city centre, but on the outskirts. That does not matter, however, as Průhonice is easy to get to by public transport. Therefore, nothing stands in the way of your experiencing this unique landscape architecture project, which comprises ponds, meadows and streams and boasts rare trees and flowers.
Kroměříž and Lednice
You will also find gardens listed as a UNESCO heritage site in Kroměříž. Characters from classical myths and legends pop up throughout the 16-hectare Italian Flower Garden. Couples will certainly appreciate the colonnade with its water fountains and water jets as well as the phenomenon where sweet nothings whispered at one end of the structure can be heard all way at the other. This is a direct reference to the tragic fate of the mountain nymph Echo, who fell in love with a beautiful young man named Narcissus. He, however, was only in love with himself. Unhappy Echo suffered from unrequited love so long that she eventually faded to just a voice that repeats the words she hears from others in forests, canyons and in the Kroměříž Gardens.
Love in May also blossoms in the Lednice-Valtice Complex, which is considered to be the largest designed landscape in Europe and perhaps even the world, and is even listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. The Lednice and Valtice chateaux are surrounded by parks and gardens, fishponds with waterlilies and meadows with valuable architecture. You can take a walk, ride a bike and even take a boat trip right up to the unique minaret or John’s Castle.
A short trip by rowboat or paddle boat can be a highlight of your visit to Prague as well. Boats can be rented from a number of vendors on the Smetanovo nábřeží embankment by the National Theatre or by Kampa island. Push off from shore, enjoy the view of Charles Bridge, and discover that a kiss on the undulating waves of the Vltava river is the sweetest.
Romance with a hint of adrenalinIf flowering gardens leave you and your other half cold and neither of you can imagine a romantic weekend without some adrenaline, the Czech Republic has something even for you. Head down to South Bohemia for some action. Offpark in Sušice belongs to the best that Šumava has to offer: tandem parachuting, wall climbing, paintball and even jumping off a 14-metre high bridge over the Otava river.
The draw of the Dolní Morava adrenalin park is the Double Swing: a giant swing for two hanging 13 metres above the ground. If you think that a swing cannot get your adrenaline flowing, you can try the Power Fan. Your freefall from a height of 13 meters will be broken by wind generated by a powerful fan.
You can try out the Climbing Centre, paintball or even being weightless at the adrenalin park in Česká Ves u Jeseníků in the Jeseníky Mountains. And if the excitement and danger end up being too much, you can opt for a pleasant hike in the local protected nature reserve.