If you want to take a break from the city, you can visit Průhonice, a village just outside Prague and easily accessible by public transport (15 minutes from Opatov metro station). There is a castle, surrounded by a famous dendrological park and botanical garden. It is especially pleasant on a hot summer day when temperatures in Prague city centre reach unbearable levels. On this page I summarize useful info for visiting the park.
In Průhonice Park you can not only relax, but also gain insight and inspiration for arranging your own garden. The science of botany and landscaping meets public in Průhonice. You can see the unique collection of rhododendrons or a 3 hectare Alpine Garden.
The park, over a hundred years old, is a masterpiece of landscaping and a place where you can find traditional Czech woods and plants arranged together with exotic species from various regions of the world. Total surface area of Průhonice Park is 250 hectares and you can walk on 23 km of footpaths. The area is divided in half by the Botič stream and includes several ponds. There is also the Romanesque church of the Holy Virgin Birth.
The park was founded by Count Arnost Emanuel Silva-Tarouca in 1885. It is included in the Cultural Heritage List of first category and the Historical Gardens List by ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites).
The core of Průhonice Park is the Dendrological Garden, occupying 73 hectares. It contains thematic groups of plants and wood arranged to fit together and align well with the entire park. The west side of the Dendrological Garden contains the most valuable collections of rhododendrons and azaleas. There are signs describing the plants in the Garden.
The Dendrological Garden hosts various events during the year, like Tree’s Day, Children’s Day, and several lectures and seminars by botany specialists. Children can have fun in the Pirate Village playground at the entrance.
There has been an evidence of settlement in Průhonice since 13th century. The castle which is a part of Průhonice Park area today was originally a Gothic structure; it was rebuilt several times and its current Neo-Renaissance look is a result of the last major reconstruction in late 19th century.
Since 1962 Průhonice Castle has hosted The Institute of Botany of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. Part of the castle is open to public. There you can see an exposition dedicated to the castle’s and park’s history and botany, named Průhonice Castle & Park, Masterpiece of Nature and Human Mind.
The rest of the castle is closed to public and serves as a scientific research place in a variety of botanical disciplines.
The castle and the park are also a popular wedding site.
Take metro line C to Opatov. From Opatov metro station there are frequent local bus services (bus number 363 or 385), taking about 15 minutes to reach the “Průhonice” stop, which is in the middle of Průhonice village, just a few steps from the castle.
If you are coming by car, take the D1 highway (towards Brno) and exit it at km 6, Průhonice. There is a parking place next to the castle.
The park is open all year round every day. Opening hours depend on season (generally it opens at either 7 or 8am and closes between 5pm in winter and 8pm in summer).
Note that the exhibitions are typically closed on Mondays (the park is open).
In general, the best time to visit the Park with most to see is from May to September, except Mondays.
What Is Allowed
Walking on the paths and low cut lawns.
Dogs are allowed, but must be kept on a leash at all times.
What Is Not Allowed
Cycling. Fishing. Picking anything (plants, mushrooms).
Guided tours are available during the summer months, but must be ordered at least 14 days in advance.
Full name of the garden is The Dendrological Garden of the Silva Tarouca Research Institute for Landscape & Ornamental Gardening.
Official website (also in English) is at www.pruhonickypark.cz.