The neighbourhood of Troja is situated around a couple of bends in the river from Prague and stretches from the riverside and up hillsides culminating in the Botanical gardens and a vineyard.
Troja is home to three major attractions, Prague Zoo, the Troja Chateau (now an art gallery) and the Botanical Gardens, which features both a large glasshouse and outdoor gardens.
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You have a few options for getting to Troja but probably the least trouble and most enjoyable is the steamboat trip. Running from May to August and with 3 sailings a day from Rasinovo Nabrezi, the 75 minute journey ends at Cisarsky Ostrov (Emperor’s Island), a short walk to the riverside at Troja across a footbridge. Other options include public transport – by metro to Holesovice, then a bus (packed on weekends), or taxi. Walking there from the centre is possible and you’ll see parts of Prague that most don’t if you walk along the riverside path, or for a more direct route take a tram to Vystaviste, then walk through Stromovka Park, on to Cisarsky Ostrov then over the footbridge.
Let’s start by the river and walk uphill:
With an entrance to grounds directly at the river, the baroque Troja Chateau was built for the wealthy Sternberg family in the late 17th century. Now owned by the city of Prague it is home to the 19th century Czech art collections of the City Gallery. The gardens are beautiful too and a very pleasant place to walk around on a sunny day. But don’t linger too long, there’s plenty to see on a day in the area. The chateau is closed Mondays.
Prague’s Zoo is the city’s most popular attraction for locals. Badly damaged by the floods in August 2002, the zoo received overwhelming support from the people and was reinvigorated by the adversity. Lots of investment has gone into it in the decade since and it seems there are always new collections or upgraded environments for the animals. The grounds of the zoo are spread out on a hillside. There’s even a chairlift (operated by the Prague public transport company!). Well worth a few hours of your time.
With both covered and outdoor elements, the Botanical Gardens is an all-round attraction. There are often themed exhibitions going on, when I went this weekend it was butterflies, so the glasshouse was alive with hundreds of large butterflies seemingly very at ease with the human intruders. Other exhibitions include orchids and cacti. The outdoor part comes into its own in the summer. There’s a pleasant Japanese garden, which was appropriately hosting a bonsai exhibition on my last visit as well as the St Klara Vineyard where you can try the wines made from the grapes grown right there. The glasshouse is closed Mondays.
You can buy individual entrance tickets for each attraction but the best deal by far is the Troja Card, which includes all 3 of the attractions. Sold in summer only it’s valid from April to September, so you don’t have to go to all the attractions on the
same day (but you can only enter each once). The 2013 price for the card is 280Kc (about $15) for adults and 160Kc (about $8.50) for children.
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Charlie is head of marketing at JayWay Travel. A long-term Prague resident, his interests are cooking, eating out, cycling, skiing and of course, travel.