Mala Strana Prague – A Guide to Prague’s “Lesser Town”

A guide to Prague's Mala Strana - Lesser Town

A Guide to Mala Strana Prague

Across the Vltava river from Staré Město (Old Town) is the beautiful district of Malá Strana, Prague. Mala Strana means “Lesser Town” but there is nothing lesser about this fabulous part of Prague.

Like a proud father Prague Castle sits on a hill overlooking Malá Strana, a silent and powerful sentinel over the Old City. While the majestic castle complex is the main attraction of this enchanting district, it’s by no means the only site worth seeing in Mala Strana.

The winding side streets of cobblestone in Mala Strana are lined with romantic Baroque and Renaissance architecture. Charming pastel buildings, ornate palaces and gardens showcase the wealthy history of this district, while the old-world pubs, traditional restaurants, and upscale hotels make it a prime location for tourists.

Whether you’re shopping for one-of-a-kind glassware or going for a romantic stroll with your partner, Mala Strana has so much to offer all year round. Spend your days touring historical attractions and your nights downing beers in cellar pubs. Or do whatever your heart desires- in Lesser Town, there countless attractions, shops, and restaurants to choose from.

Mala Strana is one of the most fairytale-esque neighborhoods in the city. You can find a number of hidden gems if you take the time to wander. If you’re on a tight schedule or want to know what lies beyond the Charles Bridge Tower gate, we’re here with a guide of all there is to do and see in Mala Strana Prague.

What to Do in Mala Strana – Lesser Town Prague

Walk Across the Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge and Prague Castle

The Charles Bridge is usually at the top at every visitor’s list of things to do in Prague. If you’re coming from Prague’s Old Town, you can stroll over the Charles Bridge to reach Lesser Town Prague on the other side of the river.

Built in 1357, this insanely cool medieval bridge is lined with 30 Baroque monuments that pay homage to various saints and patron saints worshiped throughout history.

Since it is one of the most iconic attractions in Prague the bridge is often swarmed by visitors. Unless you go early in the morning or in the late hours of the night, expect to be surrounded by hordes of tourists. Many buskers and street artists also set up shop along the bridge.

Two towers at the end of the bridge serve as the gateway into Lesser Town. While the smaller Romanesque tower is closed off, the tall Gothic tower is accessible to the public for a small entry fee. If you have the time, climb the tower to get a gorgeous view of the city. Entry to either tower is around 110 CZK at time of writing, which is about $5 USD.

Spend the Day at Prague Castle

Explore Prague Castle - things to do in prague for a first time visitor

Towering over Lesser Town is Prague Castle, the largest medieval castle complex in the world. Comprised of Gothic churches, Baroque halls, ornate palaces, and lush gardens, the castle dates back to 870 and was once home to Bohemian royalty and Holy Roman Emperors. Today it is the official residence of the Czech president and is visited by millions of tourists all over the world.

We recommend setting aside at least half a day to explore everything the grounds have to offer. While the actual monuments don’t open until 9am, the castle grounds are open daily from 6AM to 10PM. Get there early during the peak seasons (spring and summer) so you don’t have to deal with the crowds.

With its twin Gothic spires and ornate carvings, St. Vitus Cathedral is the prized jewel of the Prague Castle complex. Construction began for the church in 1344 and lasted nearly 600 years. The magnificent cathedral houses many ancient treasures, such as the tombs of St Wenceslas and Charles IV and the Bohemian crown jewels. Both inside and outside, you’ll marvel at the vaulted ceilings, elaborate frescoes, and carved doors.

Purchasing a ticket to the castle complex will also include entry to the Old Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica, Golden Lane, and Rosenberg Palace. Booking a guided tour of Prague Castle is a great way to learn about all of the history held within the castle walls.

Have a look at our complete guide to visiting Prague Castle for more information!

Mala Strana – Walk Through Wallenstein Garden

Wallenstein Garden - Guide to Mala Strana Prague

Wallenstein Palace was once home to general and duke Albrecht von Wallenstein. Nowadays, it houses the Czech Senate. While the Baroque palace features beautiful architectural elements inspired by the Italian renaissance, the real attraction are the palace gardens.

Wallenstein Garden is a serene oasis of lush greenery, romantic ponds, and sculptures depicting heroic figures from Greek mythology. In one area of the garden you’ll find the Sala Terrena, a gallery hall decorated with frescoes illustrating the Trojan Wars. This is where live performances and classical concerts are held.

If you’re looking to escape the crowds and enjoy some natural scenery in Lesser Town Prague, Wallenstein Garden is one of the most romantic spots in the city. This is definitely one of the places in Mala Strana you have to see!

See the Memorial to the Victims of Communism

Memorial to the Victims of Communism in Mala Strana Prague

The Memorial to the Victims of Communism is an unusual monument found at the bottom stairs of Petrin Hill. Seven naked bronze male figures are descending down a staircase. The foremost figure is intact; however each sculpture appears to further decay and lose more of their anatomy with every step you climb. The last sculpture is nothing more than a pair of feet.

This powerful series of sculptures was designed to symbolize the immense suffering experienced during dark Communist era of 1948 to 1989. It’s dedicated to all who lost their lives or suffered at the hands of the Soviet Union.

Climb to the Top of Petrin Tower

If you’re looking for the best viewpoint in Lesser Town Prague, Petrin Tower holds the title. Built in 1891, this steel-frame lookout tower was designed after the Eiffel Tower in Paris. You can reach Petrin Hill by foot, tram, or the Funicular Railway. If you decide to go there on foot, prepare for a 30-minute steep climb. We recommend taking the funicular for at least one way. Snag a spot at the bottom for amazing views.

It sits atop a hill surrounded by lush greenery and landscaped rose gardens. The grounds also feature an observatory, a church, and a number of cafes. While it’s not quite the Eiffel Tower, you can climb the 299 steps to the top for a spectacular view of Prague. Many locals hang out at Petrin Hill as it’s the perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city streets.

Marvel at the Church of Saint Nicholas

views of the Church of Saint Nicholas - Mala Strana Prague

At the center of Malostranské náměstí (Lesser Town Square) stands the grandiose Church of Saint Nicholas. This masterpiece was commissioned by the Jesuits in the 18th-century as a standing replacement for a 13th-century Gothic church.

It’s considered one of the most distinguished representations of High Baroque architecture in the Czech Republic. The interior features ceiling frescoes, marble sculptures and columns with gold embellishment.

You can pay a low entry fee of 70czk to tour the inside of this colossal structure and climb to the top of the spire. The church also hosts organ concerts throughout the year.

Drink a Beer at Strahov Monastery

Despite its incredible history, Strahov Monastery is one of the most underrated sites in Prague. Founded in the 12th-century, this medieval Premonstratensian monastery compound is home to a Romanesque church and a famous Baroque library with fresco paintings and rare literary volumes covering philosophy, mathematics, and the sciences.

Come for the history and stay for the beer. The Strahov brewery dates back to the 13th-century and serves a variety of unfiltered and unfermented brews, along with seasonal variations. They also feature a courtyard dining area and offer a full menu of hearty Czech cuisine. If you want to try a traditional Czech dish, we recommend the Svíčková (beef sirloin in a cream sauce with dumplings and cranberries).

Relax at Kampa Park

We love the quaint Venetian atmosphere of Kampa Park as do most of the city’s residents. Situated at the Lesser Town Prague end of Charles Bridge, this picturesque island has served as a filming location for WWII-era films and the first Mission Impossible. You can walk down the stairs directly from the Charles Bridge to reach the park.

There’s a peaceful 13th-century water mill and a tavern that serves traditional Czech fare. Czech sculptor David Černý’s famous giant (and super creepy) crawling babies are also showcased at Kampa. Ten of these babies once decorated the Zizkov TV Tower, however they are currently being renovated.

During the summer, Kampa is the perfect riverside oasis where you can relax for hours, sipping on a cold Pilsner, hanging out with friends, or reading a book. The park also hosts numerous art and food festivals throughout the year.

Leave Tribute at the John Lennon Wall

john lennon wall in prague
Some fun with a few of our favorite travel bloggers at the John Lennon Wall

Tucked behind a small church courtyard is the John Lennon Wall. After the assassination of the famous Beatles singer in 1980, this wall was transformed into a colorful symbol of love and peace in tribute to the late artist. Layers upon layers of graffiti, political messages, and song lyrics decorate the wall and tourists flock from all over to leave their own mark upon it.

When you’re done painting and taking Instagram selfies, consider stopping for lunch at the John Lennon Pub down the street. The menu items may be pricey, but it’s a nice spot to enjoy a beer and check out the Beatles memorabilia decorating the walls.

Visit the Franz Kafka Museum

On the banks of the Vltava River lies the Franz Kafka Museum, an exhibition dedicated to the famous 20th-century Czech novelist. Kafka is known for existentialist works including The Metamorphosis, The Trial, and The Castle, and is considered one of the most influential figures in Czech history. You can find tributes to Kafka throughout the city of Prague, but the museum features a dark gallery with original photographs, letters, newspaper excerpts, and videos.

Outside the museum is another display of David Cerny’s work. The sculpture consists of two moving bronze statues urinating in a Czech Republic-shaped pond. According to the artist, the statues are programmed to trace Czech quotes with their “urine” streams. Not too surprising that Cerny remains a controversial (but beloved) sculptor.

There you have it guys, our guide to visiting Mala Strana Prague, the most romantic quarter in the historical district. Don’t forget to make your way through Old Town and the other amazing neighborhoods that exist within the city. If you’re looking for more tips on affordable travel or how to get around Prague, check out our other articles on Prague. As always, happy travels, and we’ll see you on the road!

Where to Stay in Mala Strana, Prague

Boutique Hotel in Mala Strana – Vintage Design Hotel Sax

Where to stay in Prague - Hotel Sax in Prague Czech Republic

  • Address: Jansky Vrsek 3, Prague, 118 00, Czech Republic
  • Independent Reviews: Booking.com

If you’re looking for the best hotel in Mala Strana near Prague Castle Vintage Design Hotel Sax is probably the place for you. A mere five minute walk from the castle and ten minutes from Charles bridge, you can’t get any more central than this amazing boutique hotel.

The brightly decorated hotel rooms are adorned with designer furniture from the 50s, 60s, and 70s giving it a very interesting retro feel. But don’t worry, outdated this hotel is not. Each room is air conditioned so you won’t melt in the summer heat (in the 8 brief weeks it can actually get hot in Prague). Throw a nice buffet breakfast on top of all this and you have one of the best hotels in Prague.

We can absolutely recommend the Vintage Design Hotel as one of the best places to stay in Prague!

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Luxury Hotel in Mala Strana – The Alchymist Grand Hotel & Spa Prague

Alchymist Luxury Hotel in Prague

  • Address: Tržiště 19, Prague, 11800, Czech Republic
  • Independent Reviews: Booking.com

The Alchymist Grand Hotel and Spa is one of the best luxury hotels in Prague, and will definitely make your stay in this magical city that little bit more special! Ideally located Mala Strana Prague it takes the hassle out of getting around the Old Town.

The Alchymist Grand Hotel & Spa features an onsite spa and health club with a sauna, gym and swimming pool.! Enjoy a delicious breakfast each morning with fresh ingredients and rich coffee, as well as free cheese and wine tastings! If you’re unsure where to stay in Mala Strana Prague, and you can afford it, then this hotel is a great option.

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Guide to Prague's Mala Strana Neighborhood - All the amazing things to do in Prague's Mala Strana neighborhood including Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, and more! #prague #czechrepublic #europe #praguecastle #charlesbridge #europeantravel #europetravel #travel


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