What´s probably most fascinating here in Central Europe is the amazing nature that feels very special. It reminds me in many ways about Gotland in Sweden´s magically beautiful cliff landscape because of the surroundings around Prague that is based on a several 100 million-year-old seabed. The landscape here is dramatic with many ravines, caves and strange rock formations. You can find fossils and dinosaur tracks if you are looking in the right place. Some of the better specimens of mammoth bones have been found here in the Czech Republic. One can imagine that mysteriously cone-shaped mountains once had been volcanoes.
In order to find the beautiful scenery, you don´t need to go far from the city. You can even find the exciting nature in the city and get to the areas that I mention here with the public transportation. But one thing is certain, that it isnt as wild and breathtaking near the city but still quite okay to get your nature dose that you are longing for. You can see old and new traces of humanity everywhere in the most easily accessible nature such as strange statues and mini-chapels, and quite a lot of graffiti that the Prague teenagers seem to have a penchant for. The best nature areas are therefore, in my opinion, outside the local traffic network, but there are many gems in and around the city. These are our favorites:
Translated from Czech, it roughly means "the star-park". This forest / park has been named by the beautiful star-shaped castle-like building in the middle of it. It is located in Prague 6 which is easy to reach by both tram and metro. In the spring, the ground is covered with wood anemones and wild garlic. Many of the trees are covered in ivy. There are several playgrounds and a traffic playground outside. This place is suitable for picnics and family meet-ups.
This forest is slightly off the beaten path in Prague 8 but is still relatively easy to reach by tram. It´s very nice to spend a day in it. There is a large play area with several barbecue spots and many beautiful ravines and cliffs. There is also an observatory at the top.
Údolí means "valley" in Czech. This is a nature area where you can walk around in a valley or rather in sort of a mini-canyon as it is very steep. The natural landscape is quite dramatic. There are also exciting things that humanity has left behind - including a cold spring water pool, chapels and statues here and there. The valley is located in Prague 6 and is most easily reached by car. You can also walk through Divoká Šárka to get there.
The "quiet valley" is quite deafening when there are incoming airplanes as they go in for landing at the airport over this forest but otherwise it seems to be pretty quiet there. There are some wild animals that you can read about on the informative signs. We saw a gray heron and a squirrel as well as various common birds. There seemed to be traces of otters or beavers in the stream as well. It is easiest to get there by car, but there are also buses from Prague.
This forest, located in Prague 5, is quite central and easy to reach by bus 123 which goes up the hill. Here are both deciduous and coniferous trees. There are a few playgrounds and picnic huts, as well as some ponds, a number of statues, caves / tunnels, a mini-castle that you can walk up in and a lot of other interesting things. There is a stream to play in too.
"Wild Šarka" is a nature reserve in Prague 6 that extends to the two valleys mentioned above. It's big and wild for being so close to the city. There are dramatic cliffs and ravines that the stream meanders its way through. There is also a pond where you can swim in and spring water pools. Although it´s partly tamed by humans, there are surprisingly wild areas that fit well for a day-trip. It is easy to reach the nature reserve by public transport or by car.
This nature area is located in Prague 8 and is pretty close to Dáblice so you can explore both areas the same day if you want. We went there on a sunny autumn day and parked in Cimice (which you can also go by bus to). We walked in the valley along the Cimice stream and then crossed the fields and meadows to get to the lookout picnic spot near the river. There is a big drop there, maybe 80 m high, so it is definitely not suitable for toddlers and babies but the view is quite nice. You can skip that part if you have littles as there is plenty of other things to explore. There is also a small lake.
This forest is probably our kids favorite. It´s located in Prague 4 and is a fairly large natural area. Friends who live near have reported wild animal herds of different kinds. If you don't see them, you might be content with the mini-zoo there. There is an excellent forest pub with outdoor playground and large areas to run around. The children's favorite place is the stream where there is blue clay and the playground with fireplace where you can have a bbq.
This forest called "Little Chuchle" is located next to "Big Chuchle" which we haven´t visited yet. It´s a large forest in Prague 5 which is a little more tricky to reach but you can both take the bus or drive. We went there on an ice cold winter day. You have to go up a really steep hill to get to the minizoo.place. In hindsight I would definitely not have taken the stroller with me. We all had to push it up the worst bits. But the nature is beautiful and the mini-zoo at the top of the hill has a playground and quite a few animals. In the summer, the pub will be open too. At the "entrance" there is a beautiful church.
The Prokop Valley is also located in Prague 5. This is an area rich in fossils. You can find them in the stream and on the slopes. The valley, like the others we explored in Prague, is dramatically steep. Here it´s possible to get up on the hill and then you can walk past a natural well with drinking water. There are barbecue areas, playgrounds and several areas for picnics. It´s easy to get there with the tram. The pub on the way down to the valley has a large playground and good food which can be good to know if you don´t bring food.
Google maps with mentioned nature areas above. However, you will find your way easiest by using mapy.cz. Then you will see the markings for wells, view points and points of interest that are not listed on Google.
You can reach all these places easily with public transport or car from our Family apartment. The closest ones are Dablicky haj and Drahan Troja.