Baroque Gardens, Prague
Concierge.com's insider take:
Generations of Florentines have settled in Prague, so it's no wonder that the Czech capital is home to some of the most acclaimed sculpted gardens northeast of the Alps. The best are all in Malá Strana, close to Prague Castle. A favorite for summertime weddings, the Vrtba Garden (Vrtbovská Zahrada) was opened in 1720 and climbs partway up the hillside behind the Aria Hotel and the U.S. Embassy (25 Karmelitská; 420-257-531-480; www.vrtbovska.cz). The Wallenstein Garden (Valdštejnská Zahrada), next to the Czech senate, features hedges in complex geometric patterns, a fish pond with a grand statue of Hercules, and a band shell decorated with Trojan War frescoes (Letenská; 420-257-072-759). Located right under Prague Castle, the Palace Gardens are a set of five gardens originally laid out in the 16th century. The gardens were rebuilt in the 1920s by architect Joſe Plečnik, who also renovated and redesigned much of Prague Castle. Today, the grounds include stunning Baroque staircases, statuary, and precisely groomed lawns, vines, and trees, making it a perfect break spot after an afternoon on the cobblestones (3 Valdštejnské Nám; 420-257-010-401; www.palacovezahrady.cz).
Vrtba Garden, Wallenstein Garden, and Palace Gardens all open daily 10 am to 6 pm, April to October.