Small islands of nature in Pilsen, where you can go with a book, notebook or scripts or just for relaxing and chill out.
Although our university has a beautiful campus, it may happen that a student gets bored after a while and wants to see what other possibilities Pilsen offers for spending time in the natural greenery. I’m sure that everyone knows the “complex of parks” stretching from the Mlýnská strouha to the Grand Theatre (Velké divadlo) or Borský Park, so I’ll focus on places that you might not have discovered without your own initiative. I don’t live in Pilsen either, and the places I visited I initially found only by looking at a map, so even for me they were mystery tours. Check out what I found.
Luft Garden (Luftova zahrada)
Luft Garden, also called Luftovka, is located in the southern uptown of Pilsen, on the right side of the Tyrš Bridge (Tyršův most) out of the city, less than a half-hour walk from the Bory dorms. By public transport, the most comfortable way to get here is from the Tyršův most stop (line 30 and many others) or Luftova zahrada stop (lines 23 and 32 only).
Behind a tall wooden fence is an exemplary First Republic residential garden. However, the history of the garden dates back to 1886 (if you are interested, read more here, it is definitely an interesting read). If you want to go through the garden, it will take you at least half an hour. I recommend you take your time, because it’s really beautiful. If you want to relax or learn something, you can use one of the benches, bring a blanket or just sit in the grass. You’ll find plenty of interesting plants and trees here, and the garden is also decorated with statues and sculptures both old and new.
For me, Luftovka is choice number one, but it has one catch. The garden is only open to the public on the first Wednesday of each month, from 9am to 6pm from April to October and from 10am to 4pm the rest of the year, so you need to plan your visit quite carefully. Hopefully, in the future, the city of Pilsen will be more accommodating about the accessibility of Luftovka.
Meditation Garden (Meditační zahrada)
If you know where the Luftovka is, finding the Meditation Garden won’t be difficult – just cross the road. When you do that, keep going straight and you’ll be at your destination in about 5 minutes.
Compared to Luftovka, the Meditation (sometimes also Hruška`s) Garden is significantly smaller and with the diversity of the vegetation here can make someone feel a little cramped. At the entrance to the garden is the Memorial to the Victims of Evil, built by political prisoner Luboš Hruška, he also built the garden. The memorial is complemented by a monumental Stations of the Cross created by sculptor R. Podhrázský. Hundreds of rare conifers and other plants can also be found in the garden. From the entrance on the right side there is a grassy area that you can freely use for various nice activities, on the left side there is a stream and two ponds surrounded by colourful plants.
All you have to keep an eye on during your visit is the opening hours, which are significantly more accommodating than in the case of Luftovka. This year, it’s open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm until October 15. You do have to pay admission, but with a student ID it’s only 35 CZK, which is comparable to one coffee in an average café in Pilsen.
Zemník Park could be a choice especially for those who prefer to look far out into nature rather than to the city. It is located in the very uptown of Pilsen behind the Košutka housing estate. The best way to get to the park is by bus No 30 from the Sídliště Košutka bus stop or tram No 4 from the Severka tram stop.
The park is split into two halves by a sand dam. On the half adjacent to the housing estate you`ll find a few benches and a playground, which you probably won’t use, but you can slide down the slide, it’s durable enough. On the sand dam there is a tall wooden pillar with a wind directional rose. From here you can see the forests of the Pilsen-North district, and on the other side below the top there are grassy plains where you can sit, lie, eat, drink, read, study or just chill out. The park can also be considered as a starting point for a longer hiking trip, not far from it you can connect to the blue tourist trail leading to the Krkavec lookout tower and further to Třemošná. There is currently work on its expansion, which is great news.
The Forgotten Garden (Zapomenutá zahrada)
The Forgotten Garden certainly needs no introduction to the students who live in the dorms at Lochotín, as it is literally a stone’s throw from the dorms. For others, the garden is best reached from the tram stop Pod Záhorskem (lines 1 and 4).
The park is split into two halves by a
The nature of the garden suggests it was formerly an orchard. Interestingly, the original orchard belonged to the Pilsen prison, whose prisoners could grow fruit and vegetables here. You can read more about the history and other interesting facts on the website of the non-profit ENVIC, which has been taking care of the garden in cooperation with the city of Pilsen since 2012, but they’re trying to preserve its wild character.
The walk from the tram is a bit tricky, but if you’re looking for a quiet place with no distractions, this is the place to go. Unlike Luftovka or Hruškovka, you won’t find any maintained rock-gardens here, but don’t worry, it’s not a primeval forest. There are a few benches, also well-kept lawn offers plenty of space to sit. The whole garden is situated on a slope, at the top a playground has been built. I don’t suppose it’s usually busy, though. For me, a perfect place to relax and concentrate, and really close to the centre.
A few words in conclusion
This is where my journey through the greenery of Pilsen ends. I surprised myself how many interesting places I found, and I concentrated only on the part of Pilsen that stretches on the west bank of the Radbuza river. What about you? Did I forget to mention one of your favourite natural places? Don’t hesitate to write to us on our Facebook or Instagram. We’d love to learn more, and if we ever come back to this topic, we’ll try to process your ideas. In the meantime, you’ve got plenty of tips for not just sitting at home or in a dorm, so let’s go out!