From Bubeneč to Troja: An Idyllic Tree-Lined Stroll Among Villas
A romantic walk that takes you from the immediate vicinity of Prague Castle to the Bubeneč district, a charming, peaceful neighbourhood full of stylish villas and manicured gardens that are today home to embassies and diplomatic residences. You’ll find ornate Art Nouveau villas with folklore motifs, grandiose Neo-Baroque and Neo-Renaissance mansions, as well as the lovely Governor‘s Summer Palace overlooking Stromovka Park, the oldest and most extensive park in Prague. In the park, you can stroll past ponds or take a break under century-old oaks; then cross just two pedestrian bridges, and you‘ll find yourself in the lush green neighbourhood of Troja, where you have a choice of visiting the Botanical Garden, the Zoo, or taking a tour of the Baroque Troja Chateau.
Route Length: 6 km / 3 miles
Download: Five Prague Walks 2
- Chotkovy sady/Gardens (tram stop) - Bílkova vila (Bílek Villa)
The villa and studio of renowned Czech Art Nouveau sculptor František Bílek were built according to his own designs in the early 20th century. The façade symbolizes a wheat field and expresses the connection between natural and artistic creation. Inside the villa, you can visit an exhibition featuring the studio’s original furnishings and a selection of Bílek‘s Symbolist works.
- Mickiewiczova St. - Písecká brána/Gate
This gate is part of the former Baroque city fortifications known as the Marian Wall; today it serves as a gallery and café. What’s interesting is that most of the buildings in this area were built between 1910 and 19145 as a “garden city” right on the former bastions of these Baroque fortifications.
- Charlotte G. Masaryk Park - K Brusce St - Milady Horákové St. - Muchova St. - Pelléova St. - Villa Pellé
This Neo-Renaissance building dates to the late 19th century. Its most famous occupant was French General Maurice César Joseph Pellé, who was integral to the formation of the modern Czechoslovak Army (he scrapped the army’s volunteer character and created a regular army with a firm military order.). The villa now serves as a cultural and social centre for exhibitions, concerts, and seminars.
- Slavíčkova St. - Jan Koula Villa – Sucharda Family Villa - Karel Mašek Villa - Suchardova St. - Sucharda Studio Villa
Jan Koula Villa
In a sea of beautiful houses, two adjacent villas – at numbers 15 and 17 – stand out. The villa of builder Jan Koula combines Historicism with elements of folk architecture.
Sucharda Family Villa
The second villa – whose facade is decorated with figural frescoes by noted Czech painter Mikoláš Aleš – was the home of the Sucharda family of visual artists.
Karel Mašek Villa
Across the street at No. 7 stands the villa of Art Nouveau artist and architect Karel Mašek. It‘s stylistically similar to that of Jan Koula, but even more ornate. Of special significance are the painting and modelling of the columns.
Sucharda Studio Villa
The villa and studio of sculptor Stanislav Sucharda (No. 6) are the work of the founder of Czech Modernism in architecture Jan Kotěra and is his only villa preserved in its original condition. It was here that Sucharda created the monument to historian František Palacký situated at Palackého Square.
- Na Zátorce St. - Jaselská St. - Československé armády St. - Bubenečská St. -Ronalda Reagana St. - Otto Petschek Villa
The grand entrance is a gate to an extensive garden surrounding a luxury First Republic (pre-war) villa, designed for Otto Petschek by architect Max Spielmann. Thanks to the business acumen of the Petscheks, a Jewish family originally from the town of Pečky, they became one of the leading European entrepreneurial and banking dynasties in the 19th century; their philanthropic activities were also notable. The villa was excep-tional for its time in size (an incredible 148 rooms) and its modern facilities (including a fitness room and underground pool in the style of Roman baths). Since the end of the Second World War, the villa has been the property of the United States and serves as the American ambassador’s residence.
- Pelléova St. - Lanna Villa
This Neo-Renaissance villa, with many spectacular elements, was one of the first built in this area back in 1872 as a summer home for renowned industrialist and art collector Vojtěch Lanna. The villa sits along the path that Prague’s elite used to reach their favourite area – the Royal Game Preserve (today Stromovka). Nowadays, the premises are used by the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.
- Na Seníku St. - V Sadech St. - Julius Petschek Villa
V Sadech St. leads around the rear of a magnificent villa, until recently quite dilapidated, built by Otto Petschek’s uncle, Julius. The villa is an example of the Eclectic style with elements of late Classicism, Baroque, and Neo-Renaissance. It is currently undergoing renovation, after which it will serve as the home of the Museum of Czech Literature. Its elegant spaces will house an extensive exhibition of Czech literature, an events hall, a literary café, study rooms, and professional offices.
- Wolkerova St. - Na Slamníku Pub
The establishment of this pub, located at the intersection of Wolkerova and Gotthardská Streets, was documented as far back as the 17th century and has traditionally served as a public house since that time. The restaurant has successfully maintained its typical pub character despite having been renovated in early 2017. It’s one of the longest continuously operating pubs in Prague, with local regulars still outnumbering the tourists. During the Communist era, “Slamník” was a popular cultural centre for the alternative music scene.
Curiosity: In the early 19th century, one of the local tenants at “Slamník” became so unpopular with the respectable public that he was stripped of his lease and exiled from Bubeneč.
- Wolkerova St. - Pod Kaštany Square - Friedrich Petschek Villa
Continuing straight to the end of Pod Kaštany Square on the right-hand side, you‘ll find the formal entrance to yet another Petschek villa - today the Embassy of the Russian Federation. The villa, designed in French Baroque style, is once again by Max Spielmann, the Petschek family architect. The huge complex spreads out over one hectare and includes a garden with pond. The historic building is used for formal embassy functions.
- Neo-Gothic Gate and Governor’s Summer Palace (Místodržitelský letohrádek)
An impressive, romantic mansion towers behind the Neo-Gothic entrance gate at the upper end of Stromovka. The yellow façade, in English Gothic Revival style, dates back to the early 19th century, after the game park opened to the public in 1804. The building‘s history, however, extends back to the 15th century; originally a hunting redoubt, it was gradually trans-formed into its current form, and only the prismatic tower remained. The building is unfortunately inaccessible; its terrace, however, is worth a look – from it, you get a beautiful view of Stromovka, Troja, and the Vltava River valley.
Curiosity: In the right-hand corner of the terrace, you‘ll find a unique sundial in the shape of a globe with a moving metal pointer. A red marble surface is marked with the tropic lines and times. To determine the current time, the arrow must be aimed at the sun, and the pointer then moved so that it casts the smallest shadow (the same height as the pointer).
- Mecseryho silnice/Road - Former tram depot
From 1898 to 1937, a small electric tram depot operated at the Royal Game Preserve. Part of the building‘s walls was preserved during a modern renovation into the Vozovna Stromovka restaurant.
- Stromovka - Rudolf’s Water Tunnel (Rudolfova štola) – Šlechta Restaurant - fishponds
The Royal Game Preserve (now Stromovka) was founded by Czech King Přemysl Otakar II in the 13th century as a fenced hunting preserve. The complex has undergone many changes over the centuries, the most significant of which took place in the 16th century, when Rudolf II ordered the preserve as well as the now-non-existent lake to be enlarged.
Rudolf’s Water Tunnel (Rudolfova štola)
Water was shunted to it via the nearly 1,100 m long underground tunnel, a unique technical monument.
The original 17th-century Baroque summer palace was a formal mansion and even witnessed the imperial coronation celebration of Emperor Franz I. A restaurant has operated in the unique historical space since the 1920s. The last tenant was Václav Šlechta, who ran the eponymous restaurant until World War II began. After the war, the restaurant was nationalized, and in the 1960s, nearly in ruins, it was closed for good. This popular destination is now under renovation.
A kind of “island” was created in the middle of the original “Rudolfine” lake, which later became the only reminder of this former large body of water. Today it’s called Oak Knoll, and thanks to the new lake that was built in 2016, its banks are once again largely surrounded by water.
Curiosity: The Royal Game Preserve was closed to the public until the early 19th century – commoners were allowed to enter only on Easter. This changed in 1804 with an imperial decree by Franz I, which opened the preserve to the public.
- Za Elektrárnou St. - footbridge to Císařský ostrov (Imperial Island) - Troja footbridge - Povltavská St. - U Trojského zámku St. – Zoologická zahrada (Zoo) (bus stop)
Tip: If you’ve got enough energy and want to extend your walk, we recommend visiting the Zoo, Troja Chateau, or the Botanical Gardens. Both the Zoo and the Botanical Gardens are located on hills which offer impressive views of the city.