Summertime visitors to Prague often complain about the lack of modern air conditioning. Sure, the nicer hotels and restaurants are equipped to battle the heat, but budget accommodations, taxis, trains, trams, and most businesses and cafes are strangely devoid of Freon. Luckily, the city is teeming with splendid open air spots (largely free) for “Praguers” and tourists to kick back and relax in the shade.
1. Slavic Island
This first suggestion is best enjoyed on a workday lunch hour or weekend morning, as it is relatively small. This pretty little island is situated right in the heart of the city across the street from the National Theatre. Paddle boats are available for rent and during high traffic hours there are often vendors selling food and treats.
2. Kampa Park
Bordered on either side by the Čertovka (better known as the Devil’s Stream) and the Vlatava (Prague’s main river), and the Legionnaire’s Bridge and Charles Bridge at either end, Kampa has something for everyone: sculptures by David Černý, restaurants, pubs and shops nearby, ready access to boat tours, and a nice big lawn for recreation and relaxation.
3. Vyšehrad Beer Garden
Located on the grounds of the old castle (as if Prague Castle weren’t old enough!), this quiet little beer garden is a favorite of locals seeking grilled meats and vegetables, draft beer, and sweeping views.
4. Petřín Hill
Arguably the most beautiful green space in Prague, Petřín is a high hill blanketed by parkland and orchards that overlook the city. It is bordered by Hradčany (the Castle District) and Malá Strana. A small version of Paris’s Eiffel Tower sits atop the hill, the summit of which is accessible by funicular tram.
5. Letná Park
Originally the site of a large monument to Joseph Stalin (destroyed in 1962), Letná overlooks the Vlatava and is home to a cast iron pavilion built for the 1891 World’s Fair, the oldest functioning carousel in Europe, a large beer garden, and breathtaking views.