Mala Strana Walking Tour (Self Guided), Prague

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 or 2.2 Miles
Author: vickyc
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Wallenstein Palace Gardens
  • Wallenstein Palace
  • Lesser Town Square
  • St. Nicholas Cathedral
  • Franz Kafka Museum
  • Kampa Island
  • Kampa Park Restaurant
  • Lennon Wall
  • Grand Priory Palace
  • Nostitz Palace
  • Maltese Square
  • Church of Our Lady Victorious and of the Prague Infant Jesus
  • Michna Palace
  • Mirror Maze
  • Petrin Tower
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

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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 or 1.8 Miles
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 or 3.7 Miles
Josefov Nightlife

Josefov Nightlife

Prague offers fascinating night entertainment. It has a lot of clubs and discos. Check out the most popular nightlife spots in Central Prague in the following self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
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 or 2.4 Miles
Prague Nightlife

Prague Nightlife

Prague offers fascinating night entertainment. It has a lot of clubs and discos. Check out the most popular nightlife spots in Central Prague in the following self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
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 or 1.4 Miles

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