Prague: 3 do-it-yourself walking tours
By Joann Plockova in Prague—
Prague was made for walking. At this time of year when Indian summer (or “Babi Leto” in Czech) is upon us, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of the city’s walkability.
After all, despite enjoying all the sights and experiencing all the “must-do’s” of a foreign city, it’s those special moments you have along the way – stumbling upon a striking statue, turning the corner and discovering the beautiful façade of a building or being taken aback by yet another astounding view – that remain in your mind when you reflect on your travels.
Here are three walks in Prague that I’ve taken many a time. Each step along their paths still satisfies.
Walk 1: Below the bridge, into the park and along the river
On the west side of the Charles Bridge, take a set of stairs down and into the lovely square Na Kampe. Walk straight ahead through the square and into one of the city center’s most lovely parks, also called Kampa. Keep to the side closest to the river.
Most likely you’ll come upon a number of kids playing around three massive statues of children crawling through the park made by Czech artist David Cerny. The statues are just outside the Kampa Museum of Modern Art. For free, you can walk through the outside entryway of the museum where there are several installations. There’s also an area on the ground where you walk over water that flows through a crack in the building that provides a view of the river. Once through the area, and out by the river, walk along the path that borders the water.
You can keep strolling or take a seat on one of the benches and look out at the island just across the way, the boats and the bridges.
Walk 2: Behind the castle, through the park and down into Lesser Town
For this walk, your starting point is the Prazsky Hrad (Prague Castle) tram stop on the street Marianske Hradby. Take a right at this back entrance to the castle, onto U Prasneho mostu and then a left into one of the Castle’s gardens – Kralovska Zahrada (The Royal Garden).
Inside you’ll find several lovely buildings and some stunning views of the city below. At the end of the Garden, where Queen Anne’s Summer Palace rests, you’ll go out the open gate (back onto Marianske Hradby) and make a right. Just a few steps away and on the right, you’ll walk into a park – Chotkovy sady. Here you’ll see some hidden sculptures and be immersed in the foliage of several big, beautiful trees.
Walking straight, you’ll cross over a small bridge and then you can either keep going straight ahead and into Letna park or walk to the left and around the corner (onto the larger street Chotkova) and down a set of stairs into the charming Mala Strana or Lesser Town.
Walk 3: Along the riverfront and back up to view a cubist gem
Starting at Palackeho Namesti (just look for the tram stop of the same name on a map) cross over the street toward the river. Walk down a nearby set of stairs that will take you to the promenade along the water (walk in the direction that will have Prague Castle at your back.).
You’ll pass bikers, see boaters, and have a full view of the cityscape of Prague’s fifth district across the way. At Vyton, which is near a bridge that trains cross over (there is also a tram stop called “Vyton” that you can look for as a marker) go back up on the street and keep walking in the same direction.
Just after passing under the train track bridge, look on your left for the Kovarovic Villa – a house built in the Cubist style by architect Josef Chochol between 1912-13. On the same side of the street, you’ll also pass by the Neo-Classical house by Emil Kralicek and the Sequens Villa (named after the family that constructed it) by Otakar Novotny in a Modernist Rationalist style.