I can’t say that this is really a secret, but for the general tourist I think it is. Not to mention I did a photo shoot here and the Czech model I worked with didn’t know it existed nor did another Czech friend I later came back with. I have only ever met one other person who has visited Prague that has been. So, if you’ve played tourist in Prague and you’ve actually been to this slice of literal perfection please tell me what you thought in the comments.
I was doing a photo shoot one day and had planned to shoot in a public garden in Prague. I was a little worried about getting kicked off the property, but willing to brave it. That particular day I was working with my friend/hair and makeup artist extraordinaire Laurelena and her husband/other friend/photographer extraordinaire Ondrej who came along to say hello and to bring their cute as shit kid. Anyway, he suggested we shoot at Vrtbovská Zahrada instead. He explained where it was and all I could think was how I’d been in that spot a million times and had never seen some beautiful garden. I mean, this place was supposedly around the corner from my favorite nook of Prague. It’s where my favorite café lives (Café 22 – best breakfast/brunch spread and super cheap), where my favorite gelato lives (Amorino, although these bad boys live in a lot of cities. It’s where you get your gelato cones made into flowers and they stick a macaron in the middle. I’m saying on the 8th day god said, “I command the people of earth to create an Instagrammable delicacy that will never disappoint both visually and carnally”.) AND my gynecologist. All the important things in life: brunch, gelato and the safekeeping and maintenance of my vagina.
Anyway, I had never heard of such a place! Ondrej says it’s perfect for my shoot, but they may charge something for permission. He calls and puts his Czech wiles to good use and next thing I know we’re on our way there and we’re paying basically nothing for a location fee.
This place was insane. I mean, it’s a fairytale. It’s one of those places you see in movies and think they couldn’t possibly exist in real life. It’s actually a popular spot for photography, especially weddings, but I guess less popular for tourists either a) because we just don’t know about it or b) it’s pretty fucking hidden. Like I said, I had walked past this countless time. Like, at least 30 and had no idea it was there. So, let me guide you in case you are ever in Prague. And if you are do not skip this. Just trust me. I took my friends Rachel and Matt here right before we moved, and they will attest to this.
So, knowing the name of the place is step one. It’s in Czech and as far as I know there’s no English translation that’s well-known. You don’t go to Prague thinking you need to see Pražský Hrad, you go thinking you need to see Prague Castle. Well, you could say Vrtba Garden and you might get warmer but having the Czech name written down is step one. Put that in your GPS or use that if you get lost. VRTBOVSKÁ ZAHRADA
Now that you know the name that’s probably enough for someone to at least point in you in the right direction. Here’s the thing: the address will get you there, it’s what’s next. It looks like you’re at a random address on the street and it’s definitely not a garden. Nor is there a sign directing you to said garden. It looks like a residential or delivery driveway. You need to go down the alley/corridor. It’s right in between a trdelnik shop (which I will explain where to find the best one in a later blog, but this isn’t it and don’t pick this one) and a jazz club called U Malého Glena, of which I’ve never stepped foot in nor have any information whatsoever. Walk down the corridor to the end and on your right is the entrance. And after you pay your $5 or something ridiculously cheap entrance it’s nirvana. Literal nirvana. It’s basically on the slope of Petřín Hill and is in the baroque style, which means it’s fancy as fuck. I’m including some pictures from my photo shoot I did here below to give you a peak and in the beginning of this blog you can see a shot of Rachel and Matt from close to the top looking down on the garden (with a dope view of the city) and one looking down on them to the first level of the garden. This is what I miss about Prague more than anything else: this garden. I wish I had known about it before. My shoot was less than a month away from my move. I would have been there countless times with gelato in hand had I known. I did go a few extra times before moving to sit down with a book and relax. And the real crazy thing was the lack of tourists. The day I shot there were maybe five more people there and two were grounds keepers. I just miss it so much!
Guys, this wasn’t a bucket list check because I didn’t know it existed, but it’s beyond bucket list worthy. Add it to your list!
photographer: Lynzi Judish
stylist: Tatiana Zawrzykraj
hair/makeup: Laura Elena Rodríguez
model: Terka Košinová
retoucher: George Buczko