I’d like to share one of our regular family excursions to the village of Pruhonice. This picturesque town is just out of Prague off the main freeway to Brno and is dominated by a big castle within massive parkland featuring lakes, rivers and pathways suitable for smaller kids on bikes and prams. This time of the year, it would have to be one of my favourite places - the trees are awash with colour, the air fresh and grass (still) green. Afterwards, we have lunch at Pizza Coloseum, an extremely family-friendly restaurant with kids corner, menus and clown entertainment on weekends.
Pruhonice Park is a huge 250 hectares with 40 kilometres of pathways. In general, bikes are not allowed but are tolerated for younger kids (say 10 and under) on small bikes or scooters - best would be with rubber wheels as most of the pathways are of crushed rock and pebble construction. The park is usually quite deserted especially in the mornings, most people seem to come here in the afternoon for a walk after their weekend lunch. On warm sunny days the park can be very busy, particularly in the afternoons so I recommend a morning walk followed by lunch. We often pack a thermos of coffee or tea to warm us up as we’re not racing around on bikes like the kids.
If you’re prepared to walk you can make it all the way to the front park’s far right hand corner and here you cross a road (currently closed to traffic after the floods in June 2013) to enter the second section of park with two large lakes. This is a good spot to head to when the park is busy. There is also a second car park here that you can come to when the front car park is busy or if you want a quieter walk away from the crowds. You pay 40czk for parking here. Near this entrance is a new memorial plaque to the lady and her dog who were killed by the falling tree in June 2013, nearby the huge tree trunk lies on the ground - it’s very confronting and emotional viewing.
Keep an eye out for deer, they can sometimes be seen in the rocky outcrops especially the further you walk away from the castle. There are also plenty of ducks to feed at the lakes, something the kids always enjoy. In warm weather, take a blanket and find a spot to relax or have a picnic. You can also bring your dog but they will need to remain on the leash and of course you’ll need to clean up any mess they make.
Pruhonice castle has foundations dating back to the 12th century and like most castles it’s been rebuilt in various styles - Gothic, Renaissance, Empire and it’s final style Neo-Renaissance. It’s set high above the first lake on a rocky outcrop and always impresses you no matter what the season - be it high summer surrounded by greenery or under snow when the lake is frozen and the trees skeletal. The past owner responsible for these spectacular gardens was the Portuguese Count, Ernst Emanual Silva-Tarouca who married into Czech nobility in 1885. He was a devoted botanists and landscape designer, Pruhonice Park was his great passion that he designed and stocked with rare and exotic species. It’s such a great example of botany that the castle houses the Academy of Science’s Botanical Institute. The castle now houses a fairly new cafe in the lower forecourt and occasional exhibitions are held in rooms upstairs.
Entry to Pruhonice Park is reasonable and goes to a good cause (garden maintenance).
Adults 50 CZK
Children under 6 and disabled in wheelchairs are free
Children (6 - 15 years), Students and Pensioners 30 CZK
Dogs 10 CZK
Family pass (2 adults and 2 children) 130 CZK
You can also purchase year round passes (very advisable if you live locally eg. a family pass is 900 CZK)
For lunch I highly recommend Pizza Coloseum in Pruhonice which is almost next door to the park. The waitstaff are very professional despite the amount of customers they must attend to. This spot is very popular with families as there is a decent sized kids corner and entertainment on the weekends - usually a clown who creates balloon animals for the kids. If you have smaller kids then tables in the room with the kids corner is best (but noisy). If you have bigger kids who can walk to the room then you have the freedom to sit elsewhere - something we can now do! Kids are given a booklet with mazes, colouring in pages and puzzles as well as colouring in pencils - the booklet also has the kids menu - there are about 4-6 meals to choose from - pizza, pasta, chicken & fish.
In summer time there is a lovely large terrace and even the kids corner opens up into a smaller fenced courtyard area with sand pit and more toys. Throughout the year on weekends I’d recommend that you make a reservation beforehand, we usually ring around 11am to make sure they have a table for us when we arrive. After our walk (particularly in Winter) we are ravenous so to be turned away would be a disaster!
OPEN: All year round, every day (November to February 8am till 5pm, March 7am till 6pm, April 7am till 7pm, May till September 8am till 8pm, October 7am till 7pm)
DIRECTIONS: By Car: Take the D1 Freeway in the direction of Brno, turn off at Exit 6 (Pruhonice). Make a left hand turn at the roundabout which will take you into Pruhonice village. Turn right at the next roundabout and on your left you will see the parking area for Pruhonice Park. Parking costs 40 CZK per hour. By Metro & Bus: Take the Metro red line C to Opatov station. Change to the Pruhonice bus (numbers 324, 325 or 385 depart every 15 to 20 minutes) and take it too Pruhonice Namesti (square).
FURTHER INFORMATION: see http://www.parkpruhonice.cz/index.php?p=index&site=en
ADDRESS: PIZZA COLUSEUM Květnové náměstí 5, Průhonice
RESERVATIONS: Phone:+420 267 312 028
FURTHER INFORMATION: http://www.pizzacoloseum.cz/cz/restaurace/pruhonice (in Czech)