A Guide to Prague’s Historical Quarters: Malá Strana | DreamPlanExperience.com
Czech Republic

A Guide to Prague’s Historical Quarters: Malá Strana

Prague was been known to have many nicknames – ‘city of a hundred spires’, ‘the magic city’, ‘the mother of cities’, ‘the city with 100 bell towers’, ‘the golden city’, the Old Town, the New Town, the Jewish Quarter; and the ‘heart of Europe’. Travel to Prague, and you will instantly understand why. It is a captivating city full of beautiful buildings and historical sites just waiting to be explored. This bohemian city built on the hills alongside the Vltava River, features a stunning skyline of gothic spires. It is so photogenic with its cobblestone streets, red rooftops, extensive gardens and brightly coloured buildings.

Prague used to be known as the ‘Five Towns’, although it is divided into 10 separate districts, most visitors tend to concentrate on the five historic towns:

  1. Hradčany (Castle district)
  2. Staré Město (Old Town)
  3. Malá Strana (Little Quarter)
  4. Nove Mesto (New Town)
  5. Jewish Quarter

This travel guide is part of a five-part series focusing on each of the five areas at a time. It will highlight some of the area’s best of, so you won’t miss a thing.  This is the third one, focusing on Malá Strana, or “little Quarter” or it also used to be known as Lesser Town.

A Guide to Prague’s Historical Quarters: Malá Strana | DreamPlanExperience.com
Lesser Town Tower with Saint Nicolas church in the background

Malá Strana is the large area below Prague Castle to the Vltava River and the Charles Bridge. The wealthy bourgeoise settled here in 1257, but due to devasting fires in the 15th and 16th centuries, everything was rebuilt in Baroque style architecture in pretty pastel-colours. This area is undeniably enchanting – from the cobblestones on the road to the lantern lit streets to the quaint side streets – it is as though you have stepped back in time. In fact, many film crews use this area of Prague as their ancient backdrop.

This is the area we chose to stay in, and we are so glad we did! It is much quieter than Old Town and the New Town (where you will find most accommodations). Wandering around, especially in the evening, was exceptionally romantic and practically deserted.

A Guide to Prague’s Historical Quarters: Malá Strana | DreamPlanExperience.com
A Guide to Prague’s Historical Quarters: Malá Strana | DreamPlanExperience.com
Coming through the Lesser Town Bridge Tower onto Mostecka Street, which is lively and picturesque, is where you will find many shops full of traditional Czech souvenirs.

Key Attractions in Malá Strana

A Guide to Prague’s Historical Quarters: Malá Strana | DreamPlanExperience.com

Church of Saint Nicholas

The baroque-styled church with the iconic green dome and bell tower served as our beacon for our apartment, but more importantly, it has long been part of Prague’s historic skyline. Famous composers, Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart both had concerts at this Church. We missed the opportunity to climb to the top of the bell tower, where I can imagine the views of the city must be magical.

A Guide to Prague’s Historical Quarters: Malá Strana | DreamPlanExperience.com

John Lennon Wall

The origins began in the 1980’s when locals would add messages on the wall about peace and freedom as a way to revolt against the communist government. When communism eventually ended in 1989, the wall was dedicated to the singer and became a popular place for people to inscribe lyrics, graffiti and messages of peace, love and equality. The wall frequently receives a fresh coat of paint then recovered in new graffiti making this look different depending on when you visit.

A Guide to Prague’s Historical Quarters: Malá Strana | DreamPlanExperience.com

Kampa Island

This is such a quiet peaceful respite just off of the busy Charles Bridge. This is where the locals come with their families and enjoy the outdoors and take in the incredible scenic views of the Vlata River. It is also where you will find the Kampa Modern Art Museum or where you will find outdoor sculptures, like the Crawling Babies, created by David Cerny. Historically, this area used water mills to power local homes and businesses. Today, only two mills remain along the canal, known as Devil’s Stream. It is a picturesque area with tiny stone bridges that allow you glimpses of the former mills flanking either side of the canal.

A Guide to Prague’s Historical Quarters: Malá Strana | DreamPlanExperience.com

KGB Museum

A museum that chronicles the country’s touches with communism over time. Some of the artifacts include a bronzed death mask of Lenin, Trotsky’s murder weapon, weapons, interrogation equipment, photographs, propaganda posters, and more. This is a very small museum that is owned and curated by a sole enthusiast. Check hours and availability before you go, we were not fortunate enough to visit.

A Guide to Prague’s Historical Quarters: Malá Strana | DreamPlanExperience.com

Petrin Tower

The Petrin Tower is a copycat of the Eiffel Tower. To reach the highest peak of the city, 318 meters (1, 043ft) high, you can walk or take the funicular. At the top, you will be awarded with panoramic views of the city below. You can wander through the landscaped gardens or climb the tower at 299 steps to the top.

A Guide to Prague’s Historical Quarters: Malá Strana | DreamPlanExperience.com

Wallenstein Palace

This palace was built for a military in chief, Albrecht von Wallenstein, in the 17th century. It features 26 different houses, five courtyards and a large French garden. The peaceful surroundings of the Wallenstein Garden feature many sculptures, fountains and a grotto is a lovely way to spend a couple of hours. (Photo credit: Prague-Stay.com)

Beyond the Key Attractions

A Guide to Prague’s Historical Quarters: Malá Strana | DreamPlanExperience.com

My favourite thing to do is have no itinerary and just get lost in the city streets and see what we can find. Come along and see a bit more of what we saw in Malá Strana.

A Guide to Prague’s Historical Quarters: Malá Strana | DreamPlanExperience.com
A Guide to Prague’s Historical Quarters: Malá Strana | DreamPlanExperience.com
The narrowest street in Prague (it runs off of U Lužického semináre). It even has its own traffic light to go up and down. What you will find below are some fantastic river facing restaurants and cafes.
A Guide to Prague’s Historical Quarters: Malá Strana | DreamPlanExperience.com
I love how in almost every European city you find their version of the overhead bridge that connects two buildings.This one is tucked away on a quiet street.
A Guide to Prague’s Historical Quarters: Malá Strana | DreamPlanExperience.com
A Guide to Prague’s Historical Quarters: Malá Strana | DreamPlanExperience.com
The Holy Trinity Column was created in 1715 as an expression of gratitude for the fact that the plague epidemic in Prague during which many people died from (1713-1715) ended.
A Guide to Prague’s Historical Quarters: Malá Strana | DreamPlanExperience.com

Are you convinced that you need to spend some time in this historic area of Prague? 

Be sure to check out the other four historical areas within this blog series.

Ahoj!

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A Guide to Prague’s Historical Quarters: Malá Strana | DreamPlanExperience.com
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23 Comments

  • Sam Sees World

    Omg! I just booked my flights to Prague for October and this just made me exponentially more excited to go! This area of the city looks absolutely stunning and I will 100% be exploring it like you! I’m going to keep this post in mind for October to brush up on all of this!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thanks for commenting Sam. You are going to absolutely love Prague, it is extremely photogenic. There are many great spots for scenic lookouts (or photography locations) to get those Instagram-worthy shots! Safe travels!

      • Louise

        I’ve not made it to Prague yet and this is a great guide to one of several areas of the city. Would love to visit the KGB museum!

        • The.Holidaymaker

          I hope you get there one day soon Louise! I too am sorry I missed the tour of the KGM museum. Maybe a return trip is in order! Thanks for your comment Louise!

  • Moawia Abdelkarim

    This is a great read, and it provided several insights. I enjoyed it especially that I have a trip coming up to Prague in October. I am like you, I normally leave enough time to wander and explore, and in some cases intentionally get lost. I have planned 3 nights for this trip, do you think it is enough?

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting Moawia. Prague is a large city with lots to see and do, so it depends on how you like to spend your day. We stayed 5 nights, and so we had enough time to wander and explore. But we know we weren’t able to see it all as well. If you are planning for three nights, then I would limit how many attractions you see and yes, be sure to leave time for getting lost, intentionally. Tip, go to Charles Bridge at dawn, not only to watch the sun rise, but to experience an empty bridge. Enjoy your trip!

  • Chewy Pineapple

    Ahoj… this is a great article. You made me miss home. Mala Strani is one of my favourite places in Prague! I just love wondering through the narrow street. Never discover the narrowest street though 😮.

    Have a great day, Sabina

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting Sabina. Coming from a local, this is great to hear that you enjoyed the post. The narrowest street runs off the busy U Lužického semináre. It looks like a passageway. Hope you get to find it next time you are in Prague.

  • Michael Hodgson

    How can one go wrong with winding cobblestone streets to the lantern lit streets to the quaint side streets — it is the stuff of fairy tales. Prague is so very high on our upcoming to visit list. And given your experience in Mala Strana, think we will explore staying there as well when we do.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you Michael for your comment. Yes, I definitely recommend this area to stay in. Practically speaking it is idea because it is so central to many main attractions, but also when the sun goes down, the lanterns glow and the entire area is sooo romantic and quiet. A great place to stroll after a delicious dinner. I hope you get there one day soon.

        • The.Holidaymaker

          Thank you for your comment Nitin. The story behind the “Crawling Babies” is that the artist thought the Petrin Tower was so ugly, that it was his idea to create an outdoor exhibit that would detract everyone’s view from the tower. Now, this entire area is filled with outdoor sculptures that make it a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours. This is also where the locals come to hang out as a family. It is a really pretty area for a stroll.

  • Sarah

    You’ve definitely convinced me to explore this area of Prague when I visit! It looks so beautiful with so many great photo opportunities. I especially love the tiny, narrow street with it’s own traffic light!

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting Sarah! I am glad I managed to convince you to explore this area, it definitely was our favourite area to return to after a long day of sight seeing and it was great just wandering around and seeing what it has to offer.

  • April

    I enjoyed reading this and all the attractions you mentioned here. The church interests me as my hubby is the 7th generation of Johann Bach. I really hope and wish my hubby and kids can see Europe someday.

    The small street made me smile while reading it. There are lots of tiny streets like this in the Philippines but never encountered a traffic light like this.

    Thanks for sharing this Renee.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you for your comment April. At first I wasn’t clear on the traffic signal until I realized people were coming up from the bottom to the top! There is only room for 1 person at a time!
      That is so interesting that your husband’s genealogy has a connection of Johann Bach. There would be lots of cities to visit in Europe that would have some connection to him that would be worth visiting. I do hope you are able to take a trip one day soon.

  • Sheila

    Great photos. I feel like I have visited by viewing your photos. That narrow street is crazy! I feel claustrophobic looking at it, I would not like to be walking along there if it was very crowded. What a beautiful city, I hope to visit someday.

    • The.Holidaymaker

      Thank you for your comment Sheila! I am glad that you enjoyed the post, and your kind words that you feel like you have been there now through the photos!I do hope you are able to see it for yourself in person one day!

  • Tania Muthusamy

    Yes I’m convinced I do need to spend some time in historic Prague. Your photos are delightful. The tiny street is funny. Do they really need a traffic light?! The architecture around the city is something I would really love to see.

  • anshul

    This whole place looks so beautiful and like a photographer’s dream come true. thanks for this elaborate post, I would love to go here personally and explore all this by myself.

  • Carol Colborn

    I would choose to stay in this historical quarter. Love St. Nicolas church, the John Lennon Wall, and the Crawling Babies. The neighborhood is so colorful and yellow-hued, my fave!!!

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