Located in Mala Straná (Lower Town) on the left bank of the River Vltava, the 17th-century, Baroque Wallenstein Palace was built by military commander Albrecht von Wallenstein, who achieved great success during the Thirty Years War of 1618–48. He used his wealth to create an extraordinary garden around the palace, filled with fountains and Mannerist bronzes of heroes from Greek mythology created by the Dutch sculptor Adrian de Vries. Von Wallenstein’s fantastical parklands were completed in 1630 but he was murdered four years later at the command of Emperor Ferdinand II, who felt threatened by his power.
Today Wallenstein Palace is home to the Czech Senate and only open occasionally for guided tours; in summer there are concerts in the palace’s frescoed loggia. The Wallenstein Gardens (Valdstejnska zahrada), however, are free to visit; they are a spectacle of bizarre grottoes and follies, neat ornamental topiary, and pathways lines with bronze statues (copies of the originals, which were stolen). A vast statue of Hercules stands over a pond full of ornamental fish, peacocks roam freely and there’s a refuge for owls. Wallenstein is a tranquil spot to linger after visiting Prague Castle and the gardens can also be enjoyed as part of walking tours of Mala Straná.
Valdštejnské náměstí 4, Prague 1. Opening hours daily Apr–Oct 9am–7pm. Admission free. Metro Line A to Malostranská.