Mala Strana Walking Tour, Prague (Self Guided)

Malá Strana ("Little Quarter") is a district in Prague, one of the most historically significant in the city. Back in the Middle Ages, it was predominantly populated by ethnic Germans and, in later years, largely retained Germanic influence, despite prevalence of the Baroque style in architecture. The most prominent landmark of Malá Strana is the Wallenstein Palace. There are also a number of interesting churches, including St. Nicholas's Cathedral. Other local attractions include the Franz Kafka Museum, the Michna Palace, and the Petřín Tower renowned for its resemblance with the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
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Mala Strana Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Mala Strana Walking Tour
Guide Location: Czech Republic » Prague (See other walking tours in Prague)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 15
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 km
Author: vickyc
1
Wallenstein Palace Gardens

1) Wallenstein Palace Gardens (must see)

The gardens of the great military commander of the Habsburgs are in Baroque style and are strictly ordered in geometric forms: circles, triangles, and squares. Designed in the 17th century, these gardens competed even with the ones in Prague Castle. You can almost feel you're in another world with splashing water, relaxing atmosphere and architectural and artistic delights.

It's easy to walk nearby and miss this vast garden space, which is enclosed by high walls, as you have to go to one of the small entrances that are very discreetly marked. A few peacocks walk around the garden pathways; there are well-designed ponds with carp and water plants. Take a moment to look at the bronze statues of Greek gods.

Why You Should Visit:
An oasis of peace and relaxation located right in the city's touristic hub.

Tip:
Grab some food and enjoy the surroundings, as there is always something new to discover.
If you arrive at the weekend consider going into the Wallenstein Palace as well (only open Sat/Sun; free entry).

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-6pm
2
Wallenstein Palace

2) Wallenstein Palace (must see)

The first baroque building in Prague, the Wallenstein Palace was commissioned by the 1st Count Wallenstein in the 17th century. The count was a vain man and he wanted his palace to rival Prague Castle; he had to raze over twenty houses to get enough land to install his palace and gardens.

The interior of the palace is richly decorated; the stuccowork depicts battle trophies, weapons and musical instruments. In the Audience Hall, a wonderful fresco depicts Vulcan at work over his forge and the walls of the Astrological Corridor are covered in astrological motifs. The most amazing room in the palace is the enormous Knight’s Hall which is two storeys high and the ceiling fresco shows the count as Mars the Roman God of war in his chariot.

The palace is now the seat of the Czech Republic Senate and is only open to the public on weekends, but it is worth visiting on any day of the week, just to wander through the magnificent gardens that are full of formal flower beds, bronze statues of heroes from Greek mythology and ornamental ponds. One curiosity is the 'Grotesquery' or Dripstone wall, which represents a limestone grotto, complete with stalactites. There is also an aviary full of owls and peacocks. Entrance to the palace and gardens is free of charge.

At the bottom of the garden, opposite the palace, is the old riding school which now houses Modern Art exhibitions. Concerts are held in the gardens in the spring and summer. The palace chapel has frescos dedicated to St Wenceslas and the palace itself is said to be haunted by the ghost of a headless bell ringer.

Why You Should Visit:
Beautiful building with beautifully maintained grounds, as well as a space where gifts from representatives of other countries are exhibited.

Tip:
You may only visit the Palace on weekends; however, entrance is free.

Opening Hours:
Sat-Sun: 10am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Lesser Town Square

3) Lesser Town Square (must see)

Since the 10th century, Prague’s Lesser Town Square was an important marketplace and the center of activity on the left side of the river. Today it is filled with restaurants, old pubs, and small shops. It is worth a long visit to see the many remarkable buildings.

Here you will find the 14th century Old Town Hall where non-catholic nobles wrote “Ceste Konfese” demanding religious tolerance. The center of the square is taken by the impressive 18th century Baroque St Nicholas Church. Built on the remains of a Gothic chapel, this church has wonderful frescoes and statues and a fresco of 1500 sqm on the ceiling.

When you relax over a drink in the renowned 'Malostranska kaverna', you might not realise that you are sitting in what was once the Gromling Palace, the most important Rococo building in Prague. On the northern end of the square, you will find Smiricky House where nobles gathered in 1618 to plot the assassination of Imperial Catholic Governors (the Governors were defenestrated the next day, but didn’t die). This act was the beginning of the "30 years war". The nearby Sternberg Palace is used by the National Gallery for expositions.

On the façade of the 18th century Kaiserstein Palace you will see a bust of the famous Czech soprano Emma Destinnova who lived there at the beginning of the 20th century.

Why You Should Visit:
Heart of Prague's historic core, dominated by unique historical palaces and monuments.

Tip:
Stop by to browse the small shops, explore the churches or taste some traditional Czech cuisine.
4
St. Nicholas Cathedral

4) St. Nicholas Cathedral (must see)

The Church of Saint Nicholas, also called the St. Nicholas Cathedral, is a Baroque church in Lesser Town, Prague. It was built between 1704-1755 on the site where formerly stood a Gothic church from the 13th century also dedicated to St Nicholas. It has been described as "the most impressive example of Prague Baroque" and "without doubt the greatest Baroque church in Prague and the Dientzenhofers' supreme achievement".

It was built by Christoph Dientzenhofer, later by his son Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer. The temple excels not only in architecture but also in the decoration. The Baroque organ has over 4,000 pipes up to six meters in length and was played by Mozart in 1787. The 79 m tall belfry is directly connected with the church’s massive dome and offers great panoramic views.

Why You Should Visit:
A cathedral of spectacular Baroque design and interiors, with plenty of historical information presented.

Tip:
Climb to the second floor to get a closer look of the ceiling paintings.
You may also attend one-hour concerts daily at 6 PM (except Tuesday) starting end of March to early November. Advent and Christmas concerts from 5 PM (selected days only).
5
Franz Kafka Museum

5) Franz Kafka Museum

Franz Kafka was one of the leading literature figures of the 20th century. In the Franz Kafka Museum visitors can find any of the writer's first edition books as well as manuscripts, diaries, correspondence and even drawings and photographs that weren't exhibited in the past. Tourist can enjoy also audiovisual multimedia and music specially made for the tour. The museum gives the opportunity to completely understand the great writer's reality.
Opening hours: Monday - Sunday: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
6
Kampa Island

6) Kampa Island (must see)

A small island in Vltava river, Kampa Island offers many ways of spending free time: romantic walks, frisbee throwing, picnics, early morning dog walks... Therefore it is a place visited by all ages and groups, in which everyone can find what they need. The south part of the island is entirely an English-style park and the northern one – Baroque and Renaissance. The island is artificial, as it is separated from the city by a distributary channel called 'the devil's stream' that once served to turn the wheels of mills.

Why You Should Visit:
A tranquil and relaxing little floating park right in the middle of Prague, which will afford you a great view to the Vltava River.

Tip:
Make sure to also visit the Kampa Museum that houses an impressive collection of modern European art.
7
Kampa Park Restaurant

7) Kampa Park Restaurant

If you are looking for somewhere to have a fine meal in Prague, you couldn’t do better than to choose the Kampa Park Restaurant on Kampa Island. This is one of Prague’s most popular eating places, so it’s best to reserve a table.

The restaurant is well positioned, on the riverside not far from the Charles Bridge and has four dining areas to choose from: the main dining room with its arched windows and vaulted ceilings; the riverside terrace which is glass-covered and heated in winter. From here you have a lovely view of the River Vltava and the Charles Bridge; the winter garden, also glass-covered and heated in the winter. This dining room overlooks the Devil’s Stream, a man made waterway once used to drive power mills; the summer roof terrace which affords a great view of the river, the Charles Bridge and Kampa Island.

The food in this restaurant is delicious; you have the choice of international dishes, fresh seafood, wild game and classic Czech dishes, along with a selection of over 150 fine Czech and international wines. While you are perusing the menu, you can sip one of the many cocktails the restaurant mixes.

If you are wondering about the Devil’s stream, it takes its name from a house on the island “at the Seven Devils”. According to legend, the park is haunted by the ghost of a woman who lived in the Seven Devil’s house. She was a nagging, unpleasant woman who is condemned to wander the island until she utters one kind sentence.
8
Lennon Wall

8) Lennon Wall

The Lennon Wall is a wall in Prague. Once a normal wall, since the 1980s it has been filled with John Lennon-inspired graffiti and pieces of lyrics from Beatles songs. In 1988, the wall was a source of irritation for the then communist regime of Gustav Husak. Young Czechs would write grievances on the wall and in a report of the time this led to a clash between hundreds of students and security police on the nearby Charles Bridge. The movement these students followed was described ironically as "Lennonism" and Czech authorities described these people variously as alcoholics, mentally deranged, sociopathic, and agents of Western capitalism. The wall continuously undergoes change and the original portrait of Lennon is long lost under layers of new paint. Even when the wall was repainted by some authorities, on the second day it was again full of poems and flowers. Today, the wall represents a symbol of youth ideals such as love and peace.
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
Grand Priory Palace

9) Grand Priory Palace

Grand Prior's Palace is situated in a very quite place. There is Grand Priory Square in front of it. The interior of the palace is in Baroque style with many baroque paintings.
10
Nostitz Palace

10) Nostitz Palace

Nostitz Palace was built between 1662 and 1675. The residence of the noble family of Nostitz was there for centuries. It is situated in the historical center of Prague. There is a historic library in the palace with many unique books from the 13th to 19th centuries and also picture galleries.
11
Maltese Square

11) Maltese Square

While you are exploring Prague’s Lesser Town take a little time to visit Maltese Square. At first sight it might not seem very much, but it is nevertheless steeped in history and legend and also has a number of charming cafés and pubs.

The square was named after the Knights of the Maltese Cross who built a monastery there in 1169, next to the church of Our Lady below the Chain. This church is the oldest in the Lesser Town and is named after the chain that was used to secure the church gates at night. A Gothic presbytery was added in the 13th century and the church was given a Baroque façade in 1640. Today, the two towers of the church have been transformed into very expensive apartments.

In the square you will also find Nostitz Palace, an early Baroque building with a Rococo portal. Once the home of the Nostitz family who supported young artists and musicians, it is now the seat of the Ministry of Culture. There is also a library containing over 15 000 books.

Opposite the Nostitz Palace stands the Strakas of Nedabylice Palace, built in 1690 and where the famous Dutch sculptor Adriaen de Vries had a workshop.

To the North of the square you can admire a statue of St John the Baptist. This statue was erected to give thanks to the end of a plague that ravaged the town in 1715. According to legend, if the statue is removed from the square, the plague will come back.
12
Church of Our Lady Victorious and of the Prague Infant Jesus

12) Church of Our Lady Victorious and of the Prague Infant Jesus (must see)

The Church of Our Lady Victorious in Malá Strana, the "small side" of Prague is a Carmelite church and the home of the statue called the "Infant Jesus of Prague".

A chapel dedicated to the Holy Trinity was built on this site in 1584. With the Battle of White Mountain, 8 November 1620, the Counter-Reformation signaled the re-Catholicisation of Prague. The church was given to the direction of the Carmelites in September 1624. The triumphalist altarpiece of Our Lady of Victory was sent from Rome by Pope Gregory XV. The Carmelites were ordered to hand over the church to Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, 3 June 1784. On 26 September 2009 Pope Benedict XVI declared the church and the Infant Jesus the first station on the Apostolic Road in the Czech Republic.

Why You Should Visit:
Small, charming baroque church in which you may see the famous Infant Jesus statue, as well as an exhibition of some of its many outfits. Replicas of the statue and other religious articles are available at the gift shop.

Tip:
Admission is free.
Sight description based on wikipedia
13
Michna Palace

13) Michna Palace

Michna Palace is built in the 16th and 17th century and it is one of the best palaces in Early Baroque style in Czech Republic. It has the fountain and atrium and is considered the most precious place in the Lesser Town near Famous Charles Bridge.
14
Mirror Maze

14) Mirror Maze (must see)

On Petrin Hill you will naturally come across a curious building. A replica of the Spicka gateway of the 10th-century Vysehrad Castle, it is the home of the Mirror Maze, which was introduced at the Jubilee Exhibition of 1891 and moved to Petrin Hill in 1892.

This is a really fun way to spend a couple of hours and it isn’t only reserved for children! First, you must make your way through the confusing labyrinth of the maze itself which comprises 31 ordinary mirrors. There were once 35 mirrors but four of them have been broken over the years and haven’t been replaced.

After the maze, you will come to a room with a wonderful diorama depicting the Battle of Charles Bridge of 1648, where invading Swedes were repulsed by the citizens of Prague. This beautiful painting is 80 square meters and was executed by Adolf and Karel Liebscher in only 50 days.

Another room has 14 convex and concave mirrors that will distort your reflection into many very funny shapes and sizes. It has well earned its name: the Laughter Hall. The Mirror Maze is open daily from April to October and the entrance fee is a reasonable price.

Why You Should Visit:
A good way to have fun and laugh.

Tip:
You can walk through as many times as you like.

Opening Hours:
November–February: 10am–6 pm; March: 10am–8pm; April–September: 10am–10pm; October: 10am–8pm
15
Petrin Tower

15) Petrin Tower (must see)

No, you haven't had too much good Czech wine and you haven't been transported to Paris by magic! What you are seeing on top of Petrin Hill isn't the Eiffel Tower, but Petrin Tower – an excellent replica of the famous Parisian monument.

In 1889 the Club of Czech Tourists visited the World Exposition in Paris and fell in love with the newly built Eiffel Tower. Once back in Prague they pooled their money and grants from the Ministry of Culture and built their own Eiffel Tower in 1891 in time for the Jubilee Exposition. Although Petrin Tower is only 60 meters high, it stands on top of Petrin Hill and therefore from a distance, looks as tall as the real thing.

The tower was used as a look-out point and gives an excellent view of the Prague skyline. It is said that on a clear day you can see the Snezka Peak 150 miles away. A television antenna was fixed to the top of the tower in 1953, which greatly improved reception in the city.

To get to Petrin Tower you'll have a long walk up the pretty steep hill, but if you are feeling lazy, you can take the small train on the cable railway. There are two sets of stairs that serve the top of the tower – one for going up, the other for coming back down and there is a lift for disabled people.

Why You Should Visit:
Opportunity for a great walk through the parklands and, obviously, for some fantastic panoramas of Prague.

Tip:
Wear comfortable shoes if you want to walk up to the tower, or else take the lift.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-10pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Prague, Czech Republic

Create Your Own Walk in Prague

Create Your Own Walk in Prague

Creating your own self-guided walk in Prague is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Stare Mesto Museums Tour

Stare Mesto Museums Tour

There are many renowned historical and contemporary museums in Prague. They are usually located in old palaces that are monuments themselves. You can get the feel of the past and present of the Czech Republic while visiting some of the following museums in Staré Město area of Prague.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 km
Josefov Walking Tour

Josefov Walking Tour

Josefov, formerly the Jewish ghetto of the town, is completely surrounded by Prague Staré Město. Here you can find beautiful and historically important synagogues, as well as art galleries and museums. This tour will help you to explore the most interesting sites of the Jewish quarter.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 km
Nove Mesto Walking Tour

Nove Mesto Walking Tour

Nové Město (“New Town” in Czech) is a district in Prague, the youngest (est. 1348) and the largest (three times the size of the Old Town) of the five originally independent townships that form today's historic center of the Czech capital. The area bears great historic significance and is traditionally dense with tourists. Among the attractions found here are the Dancing House (named so...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 km
Holesovice Walking Tour

Holesovice Walking Tour

Holešovice is a suburb in the north of Prague situated on a meander of the river Vltava. In the past it was a heavily industrial area, while today it is home to the main site of the Prague's National Gallery, the Veletržní palác, and one of the largest railway stations in Prague, Nádraží Holešovice. Take this tour to enjoy what Holešovice area has to offer.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.9 km
Hradcany Walk

Hradcany Walk

Hradčany, or the Castle District, is an area in Prague surrounding the Prague Castle. The latter is said to be the biggest castle in the world (measuring some 570 meters long and approximate 130 meters wide). Going back in history as far as the 9th century, the castle has been the seat of power for Bohemian kings, Holy Roman emperors, leaders of Czechoslovakia and is currently the official...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 km
Stare Mesto Souvenir Shopping

Stare Mesto Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Prague without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Prague, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


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Czech Sweets and Pastries

Once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Czechs have duly absorbed the dessert-making know-how of their Austrian neighbors to complement their own confectionery heritage deeply rooted in the Eastern European, Slavic tradition. The end result of such cultural blend is the abundance of pastries,...
Prague Shopping: 16 Distinctively Czech Products to Bring Home

Prague Shopping: 16 Distinctively Czech Products to Bring Home

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Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Prague for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Prague has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes


To save yourself time and money visiting Prague's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the Prague City Pass (by Ticketbar), Prague City Pass (by Musement), or Prague City Pass (by Viator).

A city pass combines all or multiple Prague's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels


Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few Prague hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: Hotel Lippert, Old Town Square Hotel, Grand Hotel Praha.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Prague, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours


We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of Prague typically costs somewhere between US$25+ and US$85+ per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to admire Prague's best-known landmarks in comfort from the open top of the bus listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able to get on and off at any of the stops along the three interconnecting routes (the ticket is valid for all three). For extra fun, enhance the experience with a complementary walking tour of the Jewish Quarter or Prague Castle!

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour of Prague – this usually lasts about 2 hours and allows visitors to get a real sense of the Czech capital. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise could have done by walking.

- Pedal your way around Prague on a 2-hour bike tour exploring the city's exceptional architecture and spectacular landmarks, watching the surroundings, and learning much about the Czech capital from an informative group leader, making halfway through a 30 minute refreshment stop at the Vltava riverside pub.

- Acquaint yourself with the secrets and wicked stories of the magical Golden Lane of Prague and gain insight into one of Europe's largest medieval castles on a 3.5-hour historical walk to the renowned Prague Castle and other gems of the Czech capital!

- Take a 3-hour walk to discover Prague’s Old Town and other downtown highlights including the Jewish quarter for a chance to learn about the centuries-long fascinating and complicated history of Prague and the Prague Jews in particular. In addition to the beautiful historic architecture, enjoy a free drink during a break!

- Discover Prague with the taste of beer on a relaxing 1.5-hour tasting session sampling some of the best brews the city has to offer! Learn some secrets of professional beer tasting and brewing traditions of the Czech Republic. A truly insightful introduction to the city's beer culture renowned for its pilsners, porters and other brews!

Day Trips


If you have a day to spare whilst in Prague, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations like Terezin, Kutna Hora, Cesky Krumlov, or Karlstejn Castle. For as little as circa US$45+ to US$80+ per person you will get a chance to discover the highlights of the UNESCO World Heritage sites including medieval city with hundreds of historic buildings, see the «Pearl of the Renaissance» castle - one of the most important historic sites in Central Europe, explore the picturesque south Bohemian countryside, visit a 13th century silver mine town - once the rich and powerful seat of the royal mint, embark on an educational journey into a former Jewish ghetto for some chilling insights into the grim World War II period, and more. For any of these tours you will be picked up straight from your hotel in Prague and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned coach or private vehicle to the destination of your choice and back again.