Mala Strana Lesser Town District – Prague One
Mala Strana sits just underneath the area of the Prague Castle. Literally it translates as the Lesser Side or the more popular option, the Lesser Town. The favoured location for politicians connected with the workings of Prague Castle including the locations of the oldest embassies in the city. The area extends down to the riverside but that last part between the river and the Certovka Inlet is also known as Kampa. It’s as old as the Old Town and was here even before the construction of Prague Castle. In fact the one of the reasons that the castle was built here was to protect the Lesser Town and it’s market.
There are many buildings on this side of the river that are as old if not older than many places in the Old Town so people like to explore this area because of its narrow streets and quaint houses but without the crowds of the Old Town. If you want to really explore the area then take a look at my Prague City Walking Tour for more details.
Why Stay in Mala Strana?
Mala Strana has the reputation for being a quiet area. There are some hotels on main roads but in general you’ll find most hotels are tucked away in small streets and squares so if you want more details about places to stay then check my Recommended Mala Strana Hotels page.
What will you be visiting here?
The most well known attraction is the John Lennon Wall which always draws crowds (but you have to be here on December 8th for the biggest crowds). Always a scene of protest going back to the 1950’s and in 2015 it was painted completely white by an arts protest group.
The largest attraction in Mala Strana is undoubtedly the Saint Nicholas Church which sits in the middle of the square. It has the third biggest Cuppola in the world. Popular for it’s evening classical concerts, internal decor and associated bell tower which was the location of an STB (Czech security service) monitoring point where they could look down into the properties of Western Embassies.
From a religious aspect, the most well known is probably the Church of Our Lady Victorious which contains the Infant Jesus of Prague. An absolute magnet for Catholics visiting the city.
Apart from the churches, the other attractions are largely parks and gardens. The Wallenstein Gardens are the most famous of the set piece gardens in Mala Strana. Close to the Wallenstein Gardens (actually on the other side) you’ll find the entry to the Landscaped Gardens which cover the steep part leading up to the castle walls. The lesser known is the Vrtbovska Garden accessed from Karmelitska (next to the U Maleho Glena bar). Note that if you are staying at the back of the Aria Hotel then you have these gardens as your view. Finally for the parks and gardens you’ll walk through Kampa Island at some point. Although not much in the park itself except the Kampa Museum, it does allow access to the riverside.
The part of Mala Strana closer to the Manes Bridge lets you get right down to the riverside so bring some bread so you can feed the swans.