An article about Czech passion for beautiful views, introducing several marvelous places loved by me and my friends. The list is not complete, it would take a month and fill a book to describe them all.
We love view points and are able to climb mountains just to enjoy views of valley we came from. By we I mean Czech people. Luckily, our country has the right shape for these spots to exist in great extend and to be enjoyed. Moreover, new view-towers are built every year with their total number of around 370! There is „place to see stuff from“ near almost every village or town and everybody will tell you about his favourite view with sentimental tear in his eye, remembering those teenage years smoking joints or having first dates there. Town like Prague is predestined to have dozens of famous view points and others known only by locals. Let me show you my favourite ones, starting with less known part of the town and getting to its highlights as well.
Sacre Coeur. Yes we have it too
I grew up in Prague 5. A nice place with a lot of parks and even some forests, almost in the centre with touristic sights just a couple of metres across its border with Prague 1,2 and 6. But tourists have usually no reason to visit it. Heart of it could be considered the area around the metro station Anděl where you can also find a shopping mall called Nový Smíchov. So if you go from Anděl (meaning Angel like the underground station in London) and go through the shopping centre, you will get to Sacre Coeur (like in Paris). Just go on the first floor and there follow the signs pointing to the toilets. There is a back door leading to Sacre Coeur park. Cross the foot bridge, climb the small hill and there you go. It is a nice clean park with a view point on its top. If you are lucky you can even see rare stag – beatles living and reproducing here in earlier time of the summer. You can have a picnic here (the mall offers lot of options to obtain some snacks and wine) and on your way back see some birds, animals and even visit a greenhouse of local station of young naturalists (reminds me of naked people but these are just flora and fauna loving kids). However, some parts can be approached only at limited opening times. Anyway, you will get there if you choose the path leading to Drtinova street.
If you are looking for a hidden and quiet place, the fastest way is to take any tram going from Anděl direction Sídliště Řepy or Kotlářka and get off at Kotlářka. On your right you will see a green hill. The coordinates are approximate, you will climb up the hill, see a nice meadow, and if you walk on its right edge and then to the right again into the oak forest, you will find it. There is also an old abandoned buiding in the forest in the opposite direction than you came from.
Escape the city without actually leaving it
To relax on a day after a night full of booze and partying, this one is, in my opinion the best place. Take a lot of water with you and maybe some snack, as there will be no pubs on this trip. We will go on a journey that might look like a trip to the countryside, yet it is just 10 mins by tram from Anděl to Zlíchov and then about 15 mins walk. Děvín or Dívčí hrady is a breathtaking place with enough space for everyone. You can later continue to beautiful natural sceneries of Prokop valley or return via Radlická metro station.
If you look across the river, you might see a tiny wooden plateau on the opposite side. It is Dobeška, a small view point in a park, definitely worth it. Easily approached by bus number 124 to the stop with the same name.
Back in the centre
This should be quick. Get the tram to Čechův most or just walk there from the centre and then climb the stairs to Containall. Get a drink there and proceed several more stairs to the top where you can enjoy the view sitting on the wall next to a giant pendulum. Popular place of young people, skaters, hipsters, whatever. If you take the path leading to the left from the bar, you will get to another great view just several hundred meters further. This part of town is unoficially called Letná and is the place where lot of hipsters dream of living in. The park is already a part of it.
Our next stop will be Žižkov, a borough full of traditonal pubs. You can find it easily, an ugly TV tower grows there. Although it might be ugly and disturbing, views from it are beautiful and worth paying for. Feeling poor for that? Well, let´s go to the park, it is for free. Riegrovy sady offer some of the most scenic sunsets joined by views of the historic part of the town. There are two pubs in the park but bringing your own drinks is not a bad idea. Drinking alcohol in public might be prohibited in some areas but this law is usually applied only on homeless people and drunken tourists. We love drinking our wine in the open air.
Impress your date by views of Prague castle
Well, Prague Castle might be a huge cliche but one thing you can´t deny – it looks good. I noticed that a lot of tourists go to the Dancing House and take photos of it from the bridge next to it. This is how you get those pics of the castle and the Charles Bridge together. But the area is not really nice. So where to go to get an extra portion of romance?
First choice would be Petřín that can be reached by foot or by a funicular. There are great views from Nebozízek station and its surroundings. If you arrive from the opposite side by bus 176 or 191 and get off at Stadion Strahov, you can enjoy another great view of the town but not of the castle, straight from the spot where the buses stop. Second and my favourite is Vyšehrad. Can be approached from the direction from the metro station (called, oh yes, Vyšehrad) or by short walk up the hill from Výtoň tram station. Old city walls surrounding the Vyšehrad hill with the church offer one of the best views of the town, the river and of course the castle. You can walk around the hill and get it from different sides. It is not so crowded there and if you get thirsty, you can enjoy the view with a glass of beer in your hand at the local bier garden that not many visitors no about. Hospůdka na hradbách is a little bit hidden and is my favourite place in this area. Friends, good drinks, average prices, food from the grill…
Beldam, grannie, funksticks, quiter, funk… the hell is that!
It is another view point obviously and all these words are English meanings of its name – Baba. This ruin of an old castle stands high up on the hill but you won´t have to climb. Get the bus 131 from Hradčanská and get off at U Matěje. It is a relaxed walk with a rewarding final. Watch the river and if you are lucky, you will even spot giraffes in their enclosure in the Prague Zoo on the opposite river bank. If you continue around the river direction out of Prague, there will be more and more beautiful spots on both sides, not taking an end.
I actually asked my friends what their favourite views would be and had to stop because each one gave me a different tip which would make this article to a book. So far about the passion of Czech people for view points.
Sorry for few pics, more coming later…