Prague Kampa Island

Prague Kampa Island

Once the location of some of the poorest housing in the city, it regularly provided the backdrop for many post WW2 Czech films up to the late 1980’s. Now it’s a commercially developed historic area, very attractive, many things to see and do but not many residents live there any more. Kampa Island is covered on my Prague City Walking Tour.

view of prague little venice canal with water wheel in background
The Certovka Inlet and the Water Wheel

What’s to See ON Kampa Island?

The Devils Inlet is a natural stream and was used to drive 7 different water wheels for grinding wheat and corn of which two still exist. The whole year round the park is used for various festivities and external exhibitions. You can see the David Cerny “Babies” exhibit, the Kampa Modern Art Museum and adjacent riverside restaurant, the Sri Chinmoy statue, Little Venice, the Jan Werich Villa and the riverside canal. In late spring Kampa Island hosts the Witches Night bonfire. In the summer you’ll find Kampa Island is one of the venues for jazz festivals and other open-air Prague concerts. In October you’ll find it’s part of the Signal Light Festival. Fans of Mission Impossible will find that three scenes from the start of the original film were shot in this area.

Where is It?

Kampa Island is a very well defined piece of land in Malá Strana i.e. the Lesser Town. From the river Vltava runs a small stream called the Certovka which in English is popularly translated as the Devils Inlet. This stream works its way around Kampa Park until it rejoins the river Vltava so quite simply, anything that lay between the Devil’s Inlet and the river Vltava can be called Kampa Island. It “rose from the ashes” literally in this case as after the big 1541 fire much of the partially burned timbers ended up here and was used for the original buildings and mills. Up until 1915 to get here you needed to walk across a Ford or ladies would use a small ferry. The easiest way to get there now is to cross the Charles Bridge FROM the Old Town side going TO the Lesser Town side and when you see the square open up on your left, go down the steps to the scenic “Na Kampe” tree-lined square (pictured below). Here’s the Google Maps link.

double row of trees with benches on a cobble stoned road
Most weekends in the summer you’ll find food and craft markets on Kampa Island
prague kampa island street called na kampe at night
The “Street” end of Kampa Island at night viewed from Charles Bridge

Kampa Island was badly affected by the Prague 2002 flood (you’ll see several flood level markers in the area) and extra flood protection was added which you will see in Kampa Park and “Na Kampe” as a grey line in the ground but it has since recovered and the scenic square “Na Kampe” hosts several hotels and restaurants. During the year it hosts many arts, crafts and food festivals. But the Prague 1890 Flood caused more damage and killed more people.

Something Related or a Few Minutes Away

Attraction – Charles Bridge

Attraction – Water Wheel and the Demon

Attraction – John Lennon Wall

Attraction – Infant Jesus of Prague

Attraction – The Traffic Light Alley

Art/Culture – Kampa Modern Art Museum

Activities – Little Venice River Cruise

Films and Videos – Prague and Mission Impossible

Films and Videos – Prague and INXS

Memorials – 911 New York Firefighters Memorial

Cafes – Cafe Savoy

Staying on Kampa Island

Hotels on the scenic “Na Kampe” square include the Archibald at the Charles Bridge, Jezulatka, U Zlatych Nuzek and Kampa Garden.

Some Random Things to Do and See in Prague