Malá Strana is the oldest historical district in Prague, a unique monument of Baroque architecture. Malá Strana is located in the heart of Prague, between the Vltava River and two hills decorated with picturesque terraces. This place holds many testimonies of how Prague and its royal dynasties developed. The cobblestone streets of the quarter remember Mozart, who often visited it.
Despite the compact size of the neighborhood, Malá Strana houses numerous churches, villas and baroque palaces. Malá Strana is a place of pilgrimage for photographers, and the best place to capture golden views of Prague, with its distinctive red-tiled roofs and medieval buildings.
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What’s remarkable about the area
Malá Strana consists of literally nothing but sights that are a must-see to fully comprehend the charm of old Prague. There are 37 magnificent palaces here, the most notable of which is Waldstein Palace with its gorgeous park and gardens with grottos, orangeries, and exotic birds. Now the Senate of the Czech Republic is located here. On weekends the palace is accessible for viewing.
Charles Bridge that connects Malá Strana with other parts of the city is an iconic place in Prague and always full of people. The bridge is decorated with 30 unique sculptures and the Old Town Tower – a wonderful example of medieval architecture.
The Velkopřevorská mill and St. Lawrence Church, the site of the Prague Spring festival, are always in the camera’s sights.
The central part of Malá Strana, both now and in ancient times, was Malostranská Square. There used to be a market place where cheerful fairs coexisted with gruesome medieval executions. The house signs deserve special attention – figurines of people and animals, do not spare time to examine them. Exactly by them letter carriers of antiquity oriented, delivering messages to the addressee, because the numbering of houses was introduced here only since 1770.
The dominant feature of the square is the St. Nicholas Cathedral – a real diamond of European Baroque. Inside, the imposing building is 79 meters high and adorned with beautiful paintings and statues. On the vaults of the cathedral the stunned gaze is presented with a fresco of impressive size – 1500 square meters. The keys of the organ are consecrated by the touches of the great Mozart, who played it in 1746.
In front of the cathedral is the Plague Pillar, decorated with stars and sculptures of patron saints of Bohemia.
The Lichtenstein Palace, the first large baroque building in Prague built in the 16th century, is also situated nearby.
Malostranské Square St. Nicholas Cathedral Plague Pillar John Lennon Wall Church of the Virgin Mary
The Church of the Virgin Mary under the chain is located on the grounds of the monastery of Malta, from where the crusaders set out on their campaigns. In 1980, one of the monastery’s walls became the modern landmark of the Little Country, the John Lennon Wall.
In the Church of Our Lady of Victory you can turn to the Infant Jesus of Prague – Jezulatko, and ask him to fulfill your greatest wish, it will surely come true!
In the Lesser Quarter you can admire the Vrtba Garden, one of the most beautiful gardens in Europe. It is quite small, but here you will see with your own eyes all the elements of Baroque garden culture – stairs, railings, terraces, hedges.
From the slopes of Petřín Hill you will have a unique view of historical Prague. You can take the funicular up to the top of the hill or if you are in good physical form you can climb the 299 stairs. Here you can also wander in a mirror maze, visit the observation tower, which is very similar to the Eiffel Tower, and the observatory.
Small Country has its own island – Kampa Island, a favorite vacation spot for romantic souls. The oldest building of this place, the House at the Owl, houses a gallery of modern art.
View of Prague from Petřín Hill Kampa Island
Near U Lužického semináře, lovers of curious sights can walk along the narrowest street in Prague. It is impossible for two people to separate, so the entrance is equipped with a traffic light.
In the Franz Kafka Museum, admirers of his work can view unique rarities.
One of the places in the area is called the “Venice of Prague” – the buildings along the river ýertovka are close to the water, reminiscent of the Italian city.
And that’s not all of the attractions of the Lesser Quarter. Take a leisurely stroll around the cobblestone streets, look at every house and stroll through the charming gardens – you’ll discover many more surprises and attractions!
The Kampa Museum
The first settlements appeared here back in the first millennium, on the site of the Eurasian trade route. Mala Strana acquired the status of a town in 1257, but the locals could not take advantage of the rights of urban residents – Otakar II evicted the Czechs and settled the area with artisans from Germany. Until the 1920s the area remained predominantly German, and the Czechs did not consider it part of Czech Prague.
Malá Strana was destroyed several times by wars and fires. After the city was restored there were no more Gothic and Renaissance constructions, all the buildings were built in Baroque style. The Lesser Quarter was called Malá Strana in the 17th century.
- In the Glaubitzu House there is a beer house which has been serving beer for more than 700 years.
- The Charles Bridge is named after Emperor Charles IV, who laid the foundation stone in July 1357.
- There is not a single modern structure in the Little Country. All repair work is subordinated to one goal – to preserve the historical appearance of the area.
How to get there
Walk from Old Town Square along the Charles Bridge and continue along Nerudova Street, one of the main attractions of the neighborhood. It was home to local artisans and artists and now has an abundance of stores and restaurants, making it a place of pilgrimage for tourists.
Take the metro line A to Malostranska station.
If you decide to take the streetcar to Malá Strana, take lines 12, 20, 22 and 57 and get off at the Malostranské náměstí stop.
Malá Strana and Petřín Hill: sights
Malá Strana district in Prague: Baroque houses, Petřín Hill and plenty of tourists. We tell you what sights to see, how to get there, how much tickets cost, and opening hours.
The Malá Strana neighborhood in Prague is cute, but crowded with tourists. It is a good place for those who like to look for quiet beautiful streets – you can find them here, unlike Stare Mesto in Prague. Let’s see what sights in Malá Strana are worth looking out for.
Look for interesting tours in Prague on Sputnik8 and Tripster sites. Individual and group, without crowds of tourists and in Russian.
Two photogenic towers round out the Charles Bridge. Malostranská mostecká věž in Czech. In the evening they are wonderfully illuminated. The high tower can be climbed. Tickets: 100 CZK. Open daily from 10:00 am. From November to February until 18:00, in March and October until 20:00, April to September until 22:00.
The beautiful streets of Malá Strana
The Malá Strana district in Prague is loved by tourists because it has many curious sights. We liked it first of all for its streets:
- Mostecká starts from Charles Bridge and Malá Strana Towers.
- Nerudova ulice with historic houses decorated with coats of arms and with unique names. Only in 1770 the numbering of houses was introduced: “U Dvou sluncu (At the Two Suns), U Zlatého Noha, U Zlaté podkovy, etc.
- Valdštejnská Street has preserved many historic buildings and palaces: Palatine Palace, Kolowrat Palace, Furstenberg Palace and Garden, houses “By the Golden Sun”, “By the White Lamb” and “By the Black Lamb”.
A useful selection:
Church of St. Nicholas
Kostel svatého Mikuláše from the outside is an imposing and beautiful Baroque church, an example of Prague Baroque. We have not been inside, but tourists say it is a good place to visit. The guidebooks also praise it.
Address: Malostranské náměstí. Every day from 9:00 a.m. until February. From November to February until 16:00 and from March to October until 17:00. Tickets cost 70 CZK. Children and students (ages 10-26) 50 CZK.
Free viewing platforms
- From Lehigh Bridge and the very tip of Střelecký ostrov (Střelecký Island) you have beautiful views of Charles Bridge, Staré Město and Malá Strana. You can take an elevator from the bridge down to the island.
- From the end of the Charles Bridge, near the towers, you can admire the rooftops of Malá Strana buildings on the left and right sides.
- Views of Malá Strana and Prague Castle from the platform at the Museum of Bedřich Smetana in Novotneho lavka.
- The site behind the Kafka Museum (read below under “Swans”).
If you go down from the Charles Bridge and bypass the Franz Kafka Museum along Cihelna Street, you can get to the Vltava River and the observation deck with a gorgeous view of the Charles Bridge and Stare Mesto. It is almost No. 1 attraction on our list! There are hundreds of intrepid swans begging for food, ducks, gulls, and cute and cheeky nutria. We spent over an hour here, watching and photographing the wildlife. The memories were the warmest.
John Lennon Wall.
A touted attraction in the Mala Strana, which is not only worth the time, but not even a mention. Just a wall painted with talentless graffiti and taking selfies in front of it. That’s it. What would Lennon say about it?
On one website we read that in Prague they believe that a real fan of the musician will find Lennon’s autograph. What? Lennon has never even been to Prague!
Address: Lennonova zeď – Velkopřevorské náměstí.
If you go beyond the Lennon’s Wall, you will reach the 13th century water mill. It is also called Devil’s Mill after the name of the river. But the view is much better from the Charles Bridge! Another pastoral view is if you go down from the bridge on the right stairs (after the statue of St. Philip Benedict) and look from under the arch of the bridge.
Prague’s narrowest street
Vinárna Čertovka is the narrowest street in Prague, only 70 cm wide. Only one person can walk on it, so there are traffic lights at both ends. We found it by accident on the way back from the sightseeing platform on the Charles Bridge. I remember, in the 90’s, I saw a program (“Traveler’s Notes”?), where the host talked about it.
The address is U Lužického semináře, next to the U Páva Hotel (room 105/30), between the Charles Bridge and the Kafka Museum.
We did not enter the churches and churches in Malá Strana, because we were tired of religious buildings by the end of our trip to Europe. In the area, tourists recommend visiting the Church of the Virgin Mary under the chain and the Church of Our Lady of Victory. The latter contains a wax baby Jesus (Pražské Jezulátko, or Bambino di Praga). Jesulátko Jesus is popular with the faithful – it is believed that he grants wishes. From the outside the temples look attractive and austere.
Address of the Church of the Virgin Mary under the Chain (Kostel Panny Marie pod řetězem): Lázeňská 285/13.
Address of the Church of Our Lady of Victory (Kostel Panny Marie Vítězné): Karmelitská 9.
Petřín Hill (Petřín) 327 m high. It is a large park area with a tower overlooking Prague. It is advisable in the warm season, when it is green, warm and roses are in bloom. In that case it is a great place to walk! We were at a cold and windy time, so we did not visit the hill.
There are many sights on Petrshin Hill: temples, chapels, Hungry Wall, gardens, Kinsky’s courtyard and garden and more. Just walk around and check the map!
How to get to Petøín Hill in Prague? First of all, you need to take a streetcar to the stop Újezd. The numbers 6, 9, 12, 20, 22, 57, 58, 59, 91 will do. Then you need to climb the hill on foot or by cable car (tickets and passes for regular transport are valid). Tourists advise to walk – the funicular usually has a queue, and during the walk there are views.
Tower. There are two observation decks. Entrance to the tower costs 150 crowns, and there is an additional fee of 60 crowns for the elevator. Opening hours: daily from 10:00. In March and October – until 20:00, April – September – until 22:00, November – February – until 18:00.
During our visit to the hill we were advised to try the beer at Strahovský klášter (Strahovský monastery) – they say it’s excellent. The address is Strahovské nádvoří 132/1.