A self walking guide to explore the hidden gems in Prague, away from the tourist crowds. And if that’s not enough, they’re all free things to do in Prague too.
Prague is undeniably one of the most beautiful cities in the world. But its beauty comes at a price. Tourists. Tons of them. Even in winter when it is supposedly less busy.
This self walking guide will show you how to explore the 10 hidden gems we found in Prague. Not only do these hidden places make great photography spots, they’re also budget friendly (all free things to do) and will fit perfectly in a 2-3 day itinerary.
If you’re planning to travel to Prague in 2020, read our Prague Travel Tips Guide to find out how to budget for your trip.
Prague Hidden Gems Self Walking Tour
We’ve created a custom Google map outlining the location of each of these hidden gems in Prague. Our map starts from the Legion Bridge (Most Legií) by The National Theatre of Prague and ends at the Frank Kafka sculpture.
The tour is planned in a way to maximise daylight (useful during the autumn and winter months). The last two hidden gems can still be enjoyed well after sunset.
Feel free to follow the walking guide as is, or adjust it based on where you’re staying in Prague.
1. Most Legii (Legion Bridge)
Legion Bridge may not be as grand or famous as Charles Bridge, but the views of Prague’s Old Town Center and Prague Castle are arguable better. That’s because Charles Bridge is always busy, even before sunrise.
We tried our hand at ‘the early bird catches the worm’ and arrived before sunrise. We still couldn’t avoid the horde of selfie sticks. But fear not, you can still enjoy the same (if not better) magnificent views of Prague from Legion Bridge.
Interesting facts about Legion Bridge in Prague
You’ll see two towers as you walk along Legion Bridge. In the 1990s, these towers were used to collect tolls. Lucky for you, no more tolls are collected on this bridge as you’ll need to walk along it to get to your next hidden gem.
2. Strelecky Ostrov
When you’re done admiring Prague’s city views, walk along Legion Bridge towards Prague Castle. Around half way across the bridge, you’ll come across a staircase as well as an elevator that will take you down to our favourite hidden gem in Prague, Střelecký Ostrov.
Střelecký Ostrov is one of a few man-made islands on the Vltava River. It’s a favourite amongst locals. A popular picnic and relaxation spot especially during the warmer summer months.
We loved it because you can enjoy unparalleled views of the city sitting along the edge of the river. The cherry on top? You’ll have hundreds of swans, ducks and even coypus to keep you company.
What is a coypu, you may ask. Don’t worry, we thought it was a beaver at first. Coypus are semi-aquatic and belong to the rodent family. It looks like a leaner version of the beaver, but with a rat tail. But unlike rats, coypus are herbivores and not omnivores. So they don’t eat meat, including humans.
Make sure you bring some bread to feed your new-found friends. We enjoyed it so much we went twice!
If you love photography, visit Strelecky Ostrov just before sunset for some great shots.
Interesting facts about Strelecky Island
Střelecký Ostrov which directly translates to ‘Sharpshooters Island’, is a man-made island on the Vltava River. In the 15th century, it was used as a training ground for longbow and crossbow shooters. It was later used to defend Old Town against enemies during the 17th and 18th century.
One thing is for sure, it didn’t have the romantic and picturesque setting it has today.
3. Prague Yellow Penguins at Kampa Park
If you’ve walked towards the northern edge of Střelecký Ostrov (Charles Bridge side), you’ve probably noticed a line of bright, yellow penguins to your left. This is the Prague Yellow Penguins art installation. The main attraction of our next hidden gem.
To get a closer look, head back up to Legion Bridge via the staircase or elevator. Leave the bridge on the Prague Castle side and turn right towards Kampa Park.
Walk through Kampa Park towards the outdoor terrace of Cafe Restaurant Museum Kampa. You’ll get the best vantage point of the 34 penguins standing in a single file from here.
Interesting facts about the Prague Yellow Penguins
The Prague Yellow Penguins is an art installation created by the Cracking Art Group. It is a group of international artists whose mission is to highlight the dangers of climate change and the need for society to take positive action to protect the environment.
These yellow penguins and all of their art pieces are made entirely from recycled plastic.
What is the meaning behind the Prague Yellow Penguins
There is a reason why the artists used penguins as the centre of this artwork. Firstly, penguins are social animals. This means that like humans, they choose to live together in large groups.
Secondly, the penguins highlight the strong ecological issues the world is facing. Penguins are particularly vulnerable to this as its survival is directly affected by global warming and the ice caps melting.
4. Devil’s Stream (Certovka)
Devil’s Stream is a short 3 minute walk from the Prague Yellow Penguins. The best way to get there is to follow Google map (our directions won’t do it justice).
You’ll know you’ve arrived when you’re overlooking a picturesque canal with houses on both sides.
Devil’s Stream (or Čertovka in Czech) is known as the Venice of Prague. You can even go for a romantic gondola ride by taking a guided riverboat tour.
Interesting fact about the Devil’s Stream in Prague
The old mill wheel you see in the canal is a Grand Priory Mill that dates back to the 15th century. That means that the mill wheel is more than 600 years old! Understandably, it’s not functional anymore but it does add charm to the romantic setting.
5. Mala Strana (or Lesser Town)
In Czech, Malá Strana translates to ‘the little side of the river’. The name is derived from its location on the left bank of the Vltava River, on the slopes just below Prague Castle.
It is one of the most historic districts in Prague. Take a leisurely stroll and admire its quaint streets and Baroque style architecture.
If you love art and history, make sure you visit the Memorial to the Victims of Communism while walking through Malá Strana. It’s located at the base of Petřín hill at the end of Vítězná Street.
Interesting fact about the Memorial to the Victims of Communism
At the memorial you will see 7 statues along the staircase. The first statue is complete, but each statue behind it has pieces missing from its body. This artwork, created by Czech sculptor Olbram Zoubek, was designed to symbolise the suffering of the victims during the communist period, 1948 to 1989.
6. Queen Anne’s Royal Summer Palace Gardens
From Malá Strana, it’s a 20 – 25 minute walk to Queen Anne’s Royal Summer Palace. You can take public transport there too, but we find walking to be the best way to discover little hidden gems along the way.
The Royal Summer Palace was built in the mid 1500s by King Ferdinand I for his wife, Queen Anne. Today it is a venue for fine art and artistic craft exhibitions. Its geometrically-designed garden also makes for a romantic stroll, especially in summer.
When we were there in November, there was an exhibition commemorating 30 years since the Fall of the Iron Curtain.
Interesting facts about Queen Anne’s Royal Summer Palace Gardens
It is an incredibly romantic gesture to build anything for the one you love, let alone a palace. Sadly, Queen Anne did not live to see it being completed. She passed giving birth to her 15th child.
In front of the palace, you’ll see the Singing Fountain. It was designed so that the water drops would produce a melodious hum as it fell onto the bottom basin. Unfortunately, this fountain has lost its tune since it was last restored.
7. Letna Park
For the best viewing point overlooking Prague, you must take a short climb to Letná Park. It’s a 7 to 10 minute walk from Queen Anne’s Summer Palace, but it’s mostly uphill. We promise, it will be worth it.
Letná Park is one of the biggest parks in Prague. You could spend a good few hours here, but if you’re short on time then head straight to the viewing point (find it on our map above).
From here you can see 9 out of the 17 bridges in Prague. It’s completely breathtaking and even more so at sunset. Have your camera ready because it’s an amazing spot for photography.
8. Prague Jewish Quarter in Josehov, Prague
Prague’s Jewish Quarter is a short 15 minute walk across the bridge from Letná Park.
Here you’ll find the oldest synagogue and the best preserved complex of historical Jewish monuments in the whole of Europe. It’s the only place in the world where there are 6 synagogues within a few minutes walk of each other.
The 6 Synagogues in Prague Jewish Quarter
- The Old-New Synagogue
- Spanish Synagogue
- Maisel Synagogue
- Klausen Synagogue
- Pinkas Synagogue
- Jewish Ceremonial Hall
The Old-New Synagogue is one of the oldest and most valuable European Jewish monuments in the world. Today, it is the main synagogue of the Jewish community in Prague.
Interesting facts about The Jewish Quarter in Prague
The history behind how the Jewish community was formed in Prague extends back to more than 800 years ago.
During the 13th century, Jewish people living across Europe were ordered to settle in this particular district in Prague. Over time, the community grew as more Jews from Moravia, Germany, Austria and Spain were also forced to move here.
The only reason why the monuments in the Jewish Quarter survived Nazi occupation is because Hitler decided to preserve it as a ‘Museum of an Extinct Race’. Chilling isn’t it? Let’s hope humankind doesn’t repeat the same mistakes again.
If you find this interesting, consider going on a guided Jewish Quarter Tour. It will also give you access to see the Old Jewish Cemetery.
Purchase your tickets online so you don’t have to waste time standing in queues.
- Jewish Quarter in Prague 2.5 Hour Guided Tour with Entrance Tickets
- Prague Old Town and Jewish Quarter 1.5 Hour Guided Tour (English)
- Prague Old Town and Jewish Quarter 2 Hour Guided Tour (German)
9. Book Tower at Municipal Library of Prague
It may seem weird to add a library to a Prague hidden gems list, but just hear us out. The hidden gem isn’t the library itself, but rather the art installation inside it named ‘Idiom’ or ‘Book Tower’.
From the outside, it just looks like a spiralling tower of stacked books. But when you take a peek inside the book tower, that’s where the magic happens.
An illusion of an infinite spiral of books in both directions. A book lovers’ dream.
Interesting facts about the Book Tower at Municipal Library of Prague
This simple but highly innovative masterpiece was created by Slovakian born artist, Matej Kren. He assembled the books in a cylindrical pattern and inserted mirrors inside the funnel to create the illusion of an unending spiral of books.
We love the underlying meaning behind the artist’s ingenious work and how he connected the concept of infinity with knowledge.
10. Head of Franz Kafka Sculpture
Another rather unusual thing to do in Prague, seeing a 11 meter tall sculpture of a head that weighs more than 40 tons.
But it’s not just anyone’s head. It’s Franz Kafka’s head! He is considered to be one of the most acclaimed and influential writers of the 20th century.
Artist David Černý created this captivating masterpiece with 42 mobile tiers that rotate to ravel and unravel into Franz Kakfa’s face.
Whether you’re a history lover or not, you’ll find this kinetic artwork intriguing to watch.
Other Unusual Things To Do in Prague
Guided Ghost and Legend Tours in Prague
Looking for a bit more adventure in the city of Prague? Why not try one of Prague’s famous guided ghosts and legends tour?
- Prague Ghosts and Legends 1.5 Hour Walking Tour
- Prague Ghost Tour: Dark Shadows in Old Town 2 hour Walking Tour
- Prague’s Dark Past: 75 Minute Underground Tour
Medieval Dinner Experiences in Prague
Or if that’s too scary for you, how about travelling back in time to a medieval dinner experience.
- Prague Medieval Dinner with Unlimited Drinks (2 – 3 hours)
- Prague Folklore Dinner with Music and Dance (3 hours)
Unique Beer Spa Experience in Prague
You probably already know that Prague is world-renowned for its beer. But did you know you could bathe in it too at a unique Prague Beer Spa experience?
Free Things To Do in Prague
If you love this type of self-walking tour that explore free hidden gems to do in a city, let us know in the comments below. We’ll create more awesome content like this on other cities we’ve visited.
Looking for the cheapest way to get to Prague? Find out how you can save up to 53% on flights, hotels and car hire and travel cheap on your next vacation. We also share which bank card we use to always get the best foreign exchange rates for travelling.
If you’re planning to drive to Prague or road tripping through Europe, find out how you can hire a car in Europe for only €1.