Squeezed between the Vltava River and Hradcany, Mala Strana is Prague's oldest neighborhood. Cobbled streets, elegant palaces and hidden gardens make this the city's most entrancing district. The Baroque St Nicolas Church and Kampa Museum of abstract art are the star attractions. Be sure to climb to the look-out tower on Petrin Hill for a bird's eye view of the city. Find out what pretty dress the Infant Jezus is wearing today. This little statue attracts visitors from all over the world who come to see the infant who works miracles and has a very large wardrobe. All items have lovingly been made by Carmelite nuns.
See & Do
Terraced gardens and wooded Petrin Hill make for the perfect stroll in the summer months. Wander around leafy Kampa Island and admire giant babies, sculptures created by the controversial Czech artist David Cerny. He is also responsible for the babies crawling along the telecommunication tower. Close to Charles Bridge you will find the John Lennon Wall, daubed with graffiti – an attribute to Lennon and a political statement at the same time.
Strolling through Mala Strana makes you hungry. This neighborhood has a plethora of cafés to refuel. Sample Videnska kava (Viennese coffee) in Michelska Baker and Café. Or pop into Starbucks for a soup-bowl sized Americano and admire the modernized but still very Baroque interior. U Maltezskych Ryteru, At the Maltese Knight, is the perfect spot for a candlelit dinner in a medieval building that was once home to the Knights of Malta. Be sure to try duck marinated in mead, served with cranberries and horseradish sauce.
St Nicolas Church is Mala Strana's star attraction. This monumental Baroque Church with its dome and bell tower dominates the Prague sky line. It is also the venue for choral concerts and organ recitals by Mozart and Bach. When the sun sets, climb up Petrin Hill for a romantic walk and a spectacular view of Prague. Spend the rest of the evening over a glass of Pilsner Urquell listening to funky music in the Blue Light Bar and dance until the small hours.
Mala Strana is the perfect neighborhood to stay for one or more nights. This district is very quiet and only a few minutes away on foot from Charles Bridge and Old Town Square. Music lovers will be more than happy to stay in Hotel Aria. The name is very appropriate for this 'musical' hotel. Each guest room is dedicated to a composer or musician and offers arias and concerts from the artist on the in-room music system. Seize the opportunity and stay in Zlate Studne, the Golden Well, a historical building once owned by Emperor Rudolf II, member of the House of Habsburg.
Although Mala Strana has its fair share of stores, this neighborhood is not famous for shopping. Where tourists go, souvenir shops set up. Therefore, it is no surprise that Mostecka Street in lined with shops stocking everything a visitor might need. Step into Blue, a shop specializing in colorful glassware – elegant bowls, crystal wine glasses and graceful figurines. Manufactura is another intriguing shop. This store stocks body lotion, soap, wooden toys, candles and the like, all inspired by nature.