Magical Prague can pull in the crowds, but the hidden gems in Prague – and a very different side to the city – are never far away. Many visitors spend their time seeing the Charles Bridge, Old Town and Prague Castle, and don’t get time for much else. However there’s much more to Prague than these magnificent sights, as we’re about to show you.
Within five minutes’ walk from Prague Castle, you could be stepping back centuries through some of the most beautiful Prague streets, with barely another soul in sight. There are more such places less than five minutes from Old Town Square.
You could also venture a couple of tram stops beyond where most visitors go to catch one of the delightful Prague river ferries, or board one of the boat bars where locals flock in summer. Or you could head a few tram stops beyond Prague Castle to one of the most beautiful Baroque churches in Central Europe, and enjoy a few beers from the millennium-old brewery to which is attached.
Our guide to the best hidden gems is arranged by area of Prague, beginning with the Old Town and gradually moving out to the suburbs and outskirts of this extraordinary city. We hope it gives you plenty of ideas and inspiration.
Off The Beaten Path In Prague – Our Top 5
Old Town Around St Hastal Square
Hidden Gems In Prague – Old Town
The Cubist Museum Prague is near the edge of the Old Town, a 3-4 minute walk from Old Town Square. And it’s one of the best secrets in Prague.
Cubism – whose exponents included Pablo Picasso – was immensely influential in the visual arts in the early 20th century, but the only place where Cubist architecture caught on was Prague. One of the most famous Cubist buildings is the House of the Black Madonna, which hopuses the Cubist Museum, a Cubist café and a Cubist restaurant.
The Museum is one of the best small museums in Prague, showcasing Cubist art and also rare Cubist furniture and information on the various Cubist buildings around Prague. The Grand Café Orient, on the first floor, is one of the best old Prague cafes, while the Cubism Restaurant on the ground floor also serves excellent desserts, including their famed coronavirus and vaccine cakes.
Around St Agnes Convent and St Hastal Square
You don’t have to venture far to get off the beaten path in Prague. Barely a hundred metres beyond the Jewish quarter of Josefov, between the church of St Hastal and St Agnes Convent, you step into another world, one of the best Prague secrets.
It’s hard to believe that this is part of Old Town Prague, which is often full to the brim with tourists. The medieval Gothic Convent of St Agnes of Bohemia is now home to a branch of the National Gallery Prague, focusing on medieval art from Bohemia and Central Europe. The Church of St Hastal, just a minute’s walk away, has some beautifully preserved Prague Gothic architecture, but much of the church was remodelled in the Baroque style following a fire.
It’s a pleasure to walk around this small area of cobbled streets. It’s not so much about the attractions as the atmosphere, one of the last places you’ll find Prague untouched. Just wander around the streets – U Milosdrných, Anežská, Řásnovka, Haštalská and U Obecního dvora and savour the silence.
Prague Municipal Library
Prague’s central library – the best in the city – attracts a steady stream of visitors to see the remarkable installation in the foyer.
It’s just two minutes’ walk from Old Town Square on Mariánské náměstí, and the artwork is at the top of the first flight of stairs. It’s called Idiom, and is the work of Slovak artist Matej Kren. It’s a tower of around 8,000 books into which you can peer and look upwards or downwards. Mirrors at the top and bottom give the effect of the tower being of infinite height.
Getting there: Staroměstská Metro or tram stop, then a 3-4 minute walk
National Marionette Theatre
Marionettes are hugely popular in the Czech Republic, and the National Marionette Theatre, a 3-minute walk from Old Town Square, is the place to catch a performance.
They specialize in performances of operas, especially Mozart’s Don Giovanni, which was performed on over 6,500 consecutive days between 1991 and 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic brought this incredible run to an end.
The venue is small and intimate, holding 270 people. It’s temporarily closed at the time of writing, but we’ll update the page to advise of any change to this when it happens.
Getting there: Staroměstská Metro and tram stop (2, 17 and 18) are a 3-4 minute walk away.
Hidden Gems In Prague – New Town
Cold War Museum
Deep below busy Wenceslas Square, there’s a quiet corner of Prague that would have served as a shelter in the event of a nuclear attack. And this bunker – accessible via the Hotel Jalta – now houses the Cold War Museum, Prague.
The bunker was built together with the Hotel Jalta, which became one of the places for Western guests to stay in Prague. Its uniquely attentive brand of customer service included listening in on a guest’s telephone calls, and you get to see the switchboard through which this was done.
The Museum is a record of life during the Cold War in what was then Czechoslovakia, so you get to see plenty of paraphernalia such as secret police listening posts and army uniforms. You also see the ventilation and air filtration system, which would have kept occupants alive (if all else failed, there was a hand crank!) and a hospital room, which would have been kept very busy had the shelter ever been put to its intended use.
In a way, the shelter itself is the main point of interest, as it gives you a strong sense of claustrophobia, and reminds you that this subterranean labyrinth was the most any survivors could hope for.
The exuberant Jerusalem Synagogue – also known as the Jubilee Synagogue – is one of the most exotic buildings in Prague. A three-minute walk from Prague main train station, the exterior façade is a riot of colour, with Moorish arches that wouldn’t look out of place in Cordoba and two towers overlooking the narrow street below.
It was built in 1905-06 by Viennese architect Wilhelm Stiassny, and opened in time for the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Franz Josef I. The interior is even more dazzling and striking, with strong Art Nouveau influences and decoration. It has remained one of the relatively hidden places in Prague because it’s not covered by the Prague Jewish Museum ticket, whose sites are all located close to each around the Josefov district in the Old Town.
Don’t miss the gallery level, which hosts changing exhibitions about Jewish Prague, and gives you great close-up views of the roof and upper tier of arches.
The Palac Lucerna (Lantern Palace) is the most intriguing of the shopping arcades off Wenceslas Square. Most visitors drop by to see David Černý’s upside-down statue of King Wenceslas on a horse – a counter-point to the upright statue of the same at the top of the Square, below the National Museum. The Lucerna Passage is one of the last creations of Art Nouveau Prague, with different elements also emerging.
While there, head upstairs to the ornate Café Lucerna for coffee and cake, before catching a film at the excellent Kino Lucerna, one of the best cinemas in Prague. Lucerna Music Bar is one of the best small music venues in the city, and there is also a gallery and shops to explore.
Getting there: The main entrance is on Vodickova, a few metres from the Wenceslas Square – Vaclávské náměstí – tram stop, where the 3, 5, 6, 9, 14 and 24 services all call.
Crypt of SS Cyril & Methodius Cathedral – The National Heydrichiada Memorial
Just up the street from the Dancing House, the Orthodox Cathedral of SS Cyril and Methodius was the scene of the final battle between the occupying Nazi SS forces and the group responsible for the assassination of senior Nazi Reinhard Heydrich (see also Heydrich Assassination Site, below).
Heydrich died a week after the seemingly botched attempt to kill him, and the Nazis immediately set about exacting revenge. A group of seven paratroopers, including the assassins Jozef Gabcik and Jan Kubis, sought refuge in the Orthodox Cathedral and Crypt, only to be betrayed by their colleague Karel Čurda.
It took up to 700 SS soldiers and the Prague fire service (forced to flood the crypt) to defeat the paratroopers, who were either killed or committed suicide. You can still see bullet holes on one of the exterior walls, around one of the crypt windows. The Crypt houses the National Heydrichiada Memorial, which tells the story in detail. There is also a series of statues of the Czechoslovak soldiers who sacrificed themselves rather than face capture by the Nazis.
Hidden Gems In Prague – Mala Strana
Lesser Town Bridge Tower
Despite being in plain sight at the Mala Strana end of the Charles Bridge, the Lesser Town Bridge Tower (Malostranské mostecká věž ) counts for us as one of the hidden gems in Prague because it gets considerably less visitors than its counterpart at the opposite end of the Bridge, the Old Town Bridge Tower.
The Lesser Town Bridge Tower is one of the best towers in Prague to visit, and its views are almost as impressive as those from the opposite tower. The best views are from the western side, looking over the Charles Bridge with the Old Town Prague skyline and Žižkov TV Tower on the hill behind. From the same part of the gallery, you also get a great view over the red rooftops of Kampa Island, one of the prettiest areas in Prague.
The Tower is right next to Hotel Pod Věži, one of the best hotels near Charles Bridge in Prague.
The Vrtba Garden – Vrtbovska zahrada – is one of the best hidden gems in Prague. Like several other off the beaten path Prague locations, it’s not as if you have to venture far – rather it’s a case of knowing where to look.
The Garden – commissioned in the early 18th century by Jan Josef, Count of Vrba – is built into the slope of Petřin Hill, so it has a ground level, two terraces and an even higher viewpoint.
It’s one of the best places to visit if you’re keen on photographing Prague, with glorious views, especially to nearby St NIcholas Church, and a collection of superb Baroque statues by Matyas Bernard Braun, and an amazing Sala Terrena (entrance hall) built like a stone grotto with frescoed walls and ceiling. One of the best hidden places in Prague.
Getting there: A minute’s walk from Malostranské náměstí, which can be reached by trams 12, 15, 20 and 22. Otherwise it’s a 5-minute stroll from the Charles Bridge.
Although they are only three minutes’ walk from Charles Bridge, Vojanovy Sady (sometimes called Vojan Gardens) are so easy to miss. They can only be accessed via an archway on U Lužičkého seminaře, a street in the Mala Strana district running parallel to the Vltava river.
Once you’re through the archway, you can savour one of the most beautiful Prague secret places. These are the oldest gardens in Prague, dating back around 800 years, though most of what you see is later, primarily from the Baroque period (17th and 18th centuries). For over 250 years it was a monastic garden – first owned by the Order of Carmelite Sisters, and later the Sisters of Loreto.
Vojanovy Sady is one of the most peaceful Prague gardens, with most of the noise coming from the screeching and squawking peacocks – of which there are several – strutting their stuff. The gardens are especially beautiful in spring time, when daffodils and then magnolia trees are in bloom.
Getting there: A 3-minute walk from Malostranska Metro station or the tram stop of the same name in the street outside.
Wander Thunovská Street
Thunovská is one of the most atmospheric Prague streets, and one that you may well chance upon if you’re walking up to or down from Prague Castle.
It runs parallel to Nerudova, the main route up the hill from Malostranské náměstí, and is also connected to Zamecke schody, the Castle Stairs, another popular way to reach the Castle.
The houses and palaces along Thunovská date from the 17th century onwards, but the street retains its medieval character because of the three distinctive arches along its length. The one at the bottom of the street – decorated with renaissance motifs – is a passageway between the buildings on either side.
A bronze bust of Winston Churchill stands at the lower end of the street, a few metres from the entrance to the British Embassy.
Getting there: A two-minute walk from Malostranské náměstí, which can be reached by trams 12, 15, 20 and 22.
See Also: Mala Strana Prague – Our Complete Guide To Lesser Town Prague
Hidden Gems In Prague – Hradčany
Novy Svět – which means ‘New World’ – feels like a different planet from much of the rest of Prague, especially nearby Prague Castle. It’s one of the most beautiful Prague streets, nestling at the foot of the hill in Hradčany, Prague’s Castle District.
Every time we come here it feels like we’ve stepped through a time portal. The narrow cobbled street is lined with Baroque-era houses, and it once would have been considered poor. Not now.
The main reason to visit Novy Svět is to experience the peaceful atmosphere, and get a glimpse of what a lot more of Prague was like a century ago and more. There’s a restaurant at one end and a romantic hotel at the other, with a coffee and cake hatch outside.
Getting there: tram 22 to Brusnice, then down the hill (south) on U Brusnice, turning right at the bottom
Queen Anne’s Summer Palace and Royal Garden
The Royal Garden is on the north side of Prague Castle, across the narrow Brusnice valley from the main bastion and palaces of the Castle. It’s usually much quieter than the Prague Castle precincts, and together with Chotkovy sady (Chotek Gardens) the other side of the Summer Palace gives an enticing taste of Prague off the beaten path.
The Royal Garden was founded in 1534 and took over land previously used as a vineyard, though much of what we see now is Baroque (around the Summer Palace) or 19th century English-style parkland.
Queen Anne’s Summer Palace – sometimes referred to as the Royal Summer Palace – is one of the most beautiful buildings in Prague, a Renaissance masterpiece commissioned by Ferdinand I for his wife, Anne of Bohemia and Hungary, who sadly did not live to see it completed.
The arcade gallery, which runs around the entire building, is particularly beautiful, offering views across to Prague Castle from the southern end. I often visit these gardens, and have to keep reminding myself I’m not in the Veneto or Tuscany. A remarkable building indeed.
Hidden Gems In Prague – Along The Vltava River
Vyšehrad is the second most famous castle in Prague, overlooking the river 2 miles (3 km) south of Prague Castle. Because there are so many sights to see in Prague, many visitors simply run out of time to get a tram a couple of stops up the river from the Dancing House and make the short uphill walk to this ancient citadel.
Vyšehrad is the legendary home of the Přemyslid dynasty which ruled the area around Prague and, later, Bohemia for around 400 years, between the 9th and early 14th centuries. It has a large presence in the Czech national consciousness, and its Cemetery is the resting place to a great many famous Czechs (including the likes of artist Alfons Mucha and composers Antonin Dvořák and Bedřich Smetana).
The stout walls of the Castle aren’t originals – they are from an 18th century rebuild. Once you get inside the ramparts, you’ll find one of the most beautiful Prague parks, with one of the oldest churches in Prague, the Rotunda of St Martin, and a wonderful Gothic Revival basilica with rich Art Nouveau decoration inside.
The beer garden on the south side is a great place to while away an evening in Prague, and it’s worth heading back down to the city via the steps down to the river, which offer one of the best views in Prague.
Getting there: Trams 2,3, 7 or 17 to Výtoň, then a 5-10 minute uphill walk
Naplávka is the section of riverbank between Vyšehrad (and the Výtoň tram stop) and Palackého náměstí a few hundred metres downriver.
Between May and September it’s one of the best places to enjoy Prague nightlife. There are usually ten or more bar-boats where you can sit and enjoy views of the twinkling lights on the river, and down towards Prague Castle. There are also bars in some of the arches in the embankment wall, and a floating volleyball court just beyond the railway bridge. It’s a wonderfully atmospheric place to spend a few hours.
Naplávka is also home to the weekly Saturday morning farmers’ market.
Getting there: Trams 2,3, 7 or 17 to Palackého náměstí or Výtoň
One way of experiencing Prague off the beaten track is to take a ride on one of its ferries. Getting along and across the Vltava river in Prague is usually covered by tram, Metro and occasionally bus, and the ferries fill the places where there are gaps in the services. These tend to be away from the centre of the city, with some in the outskirts.
The boats are small, carrying 12 passengers at a time, with seats sometimes arranged in a circle under a canopy. They’re beautiful boats too, worth the journey even if it never lasts more than a few minutes.
The closest Prague ferry routes to Prague city centre are the P7 from Rohansky ostrov in Karlin to Pražská tržníce (Prague markets) in Holešovice and the P4 and P5, which cross the river from Výtoň, towards the southern end of Naplávka.
These are also arguably the most scenic of Prague ferries routes. The P4 makes the quick crossing between Výtoň and Smichov Naplávka, with a great view downriver to Prague Castle, The P5 takes you across to the long, narrow island of Cisařská louka, and on to Kotevni, a quiet corner of Smichov, with superb views of Vysehrad Castle, Basilica and the Cubist houses below.
The ferries are part of the Prague public transport system, so if you hold a day ticket or longer pass, it’s valid on all Prague ferry journeys.
It’s only a couple of hundred metres upriver from the Charles Bridge, but very few of those who walk across the stunning Prague landmark would get to enjoy this lovely Prague island.
It’s located close to the Mala Strana side, and can be reached via Legii Most (Legions Bridge), one of the most attractive bridges in Prague. You can reach the island – Střelecky ostrov in Czech – from either side of the bridge, via steps or a lift.
The island is a beautiful riverside park, with a couple of great characterful cafes including the Cocovan caravan, with a teepee for the kids to shelter in and play. There’s also a bar (it wouldn’t be Prague without cold beer outdoors in the warm months) and superb views along the riverbanks, and from the end of the island along the length of the Charles Bridge.
You’ll often see swans gliding close to the island, and also some families feeding the local nutria, or coypu. This is officially discouraged – they’re essentially giant buck-toothed river rats – but they’re more than sustained by locals.
Hidden Gems In Prague – The Outskirts
Pruhonice Park is one of the less-known attractions of Prague, but it’s one of the best hidden places around the city. It’s not quite in Prague proper, but a mile or two outside the city limits in Central Bohemia. Even so, it’s one of the finest Prague gardens which has received recognition in the form of UNESCO World Heritage status along with the Historic Centre of Prague.
The landscaped park was founded in 1885 by Count Arnost Emanuel Silva-Tarouca, who worked tirelessly on it for the following 40 years. The first visitors see of it is the grand Pruhonice Castle, a 19th century Renaissance Revival marvel, which overlooks a picturesque lake.
However, most of the Park is a managed landscape, with meadows and woodlands created around the valley of the Botic stream, which flows there from Prague. There are three designated routes around the Park – the blue 2.5 km path takes you around the Castle lake and through the woods where the rhododendrons flower in May and early June.
Getting there: Metro to Opatov, then bus 363 or 385 to Pruhonice – you can buy tickets from the yellow machines in the Metro station or from the driver.
It’s surprising just how many Prague castles there are scattered around the corners of the metropolis. Ctěnice Castle is one of the hardest to find hidden gems Prague has, tucked away among flat fields in the far north-east of the city, a bus ride beyond the last Metro stop.
Ctěnice was most likely founded in the 13th century, though what we see today is the sturdy 16th century Renaissance manor house and an 18th century Baroque clock tower. The Castle is part of Prague City Museum, and hosts a permanent exhibition on the historic Guilds of the City of Prague.
The Castle also has beautiful gardens, and there are bars and a restaurant serving outdoors in the summer in the garden in front of the Clock Tower. It’s a delightful spot to spend an hour or two on a balmy evening.
Getting there: Red Metro line C to Letňany, then bus 159 or 182 to Ctěnicky zámek, which is a request stop.
Heydrich Assassination Site
One of the most intriguing Prague World War 2 sites can be found on the main Prague ring road in the suburb of Liben. A monument marks the site of the audacious assassination attempt on Reinhard Heydrich, the brutal Nazi ruler of Bohemia and Moravia, and a key proponent and architect of the Holocaust, in 1942.
The assassins believed they had botched their one shot at Heydrich, but the Nazi commander was hospitalized because of a shrapnel wound in his lower back. Within a week, his health had drastically worsened and he died, which brought on a series of reprisals culminating in the shootout at SS Cyril and Methodius Cathedral (see earlier entry).
The site has changed significantly in the 80 years since the attempt on Heydrich’s life, with alterations to the road layout and the addition of a subway since then. Our article on the Heydrich assassination site tells all.
Getting there: Vychovatelna tram stop (lines 3 and 10), then head down into the subway, turn left, left again and walk downhill towards the busy main road.
Troja Castle is a gorgeous Baroque palace, one of the most rewarding Prague hidden gems just across the road from Prague Zoo. It also has one of the most beautiful Prague gardens, a Baroque gem that, in April, has the best cherry blossom trees you’ll see in Prague in springtime.
The sumptuous Palace – which now houses part of the Prague City Gallery – was designed in the 17th century by French architect Jean-Baptiste Mathey for the wealthy Counts of Sternberg. It’s open between April and October, and the Main Hall is one of the great hidden gems of Prague. Al most every square inch of the walls and ceiling is covered with a cycle of paintings by Abraham and Izak Godin depicting the defeat of the Ottoman Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683.
The rows of cherry blossom trees tend to be in bloom for around three weeks, usually in the second half of April and possibly into the first week of May.
Getting there: Bus 112 to Zoologicka zahrada stops opposite one of the entrances.
Břevnov Monastery – Břevnovsky klaster – is one of the unsung wonders, and one of our top hidden gems in Prague. It’s a monastery complex dating back to 993, when it was founded by St Adalbert, and is now one of the most beautiful Baroque churches in Prague. But there’s more.
The church was one of the finest works of Christoph and son Kilian Ignaz Dietzenhofers, who were responsible for so much Prague Baroque architecture. Their church – known locally as Markéta, the Czech for its patron saint, Margaret – replaced an earlier one damaged by the Hussites, 15th century Bohemian religious reformers and formidable soldiers to boot.
The Monastery also has a brewery, believed to be the oldest in the Czech Republic. I’ve sampled their fare – Břevnovský Benedikt – on several occasions, and can vouch for it as one of the best Czech beers I’ve ever had.
Likewise the on-site restaurant, Klášterní šenk, serves some of the best traditional Czech food in Prague that we’ve tasted.
Divoká Šárka is one of the best parks in Prague, but the word ‘park’ doesn’t really do it justice. It’s more of a wild landscape, far removed from the busy metropolis around it.
There are two distinct parts to Divoká Šárka – the rugged, rocky terrain with several short, steep hill climbs and narrow gorges, and the two swimming lakes in the lower part, which are hugely popular in summer.
Getting there: Trams 20 and 26 terminate just outside the Nature Reserve.
See Also: Obora Hvezda Prague – another great park in the west of Prague in a former royal hunting reserve
Hidden Gems In Prague – Vinohrady & Žižkov
Also known locally as Grebovka Park (and Havličkovy Sady in Czech), this splendid hilly park sprawls down the hill between Vinohrady and Vršovice.
It owes its second name to businessman Moritz Gröbe, who bought the park and rebuilt the two-storey villa overlooking the vineyards.
Gröbe was inspired by the Italian Renaissance, and this is reflected throughout the park. Its best-known feature is its Grotto, a three-storey labyrinth that brought to my mind some of the Czech rock cities (like Prachov Rocks and Hruba Skala) that we’ve visited. It’s certainly a great place for the kids to play hide and seek.
Getting there: Trams 4, 13 and 22 stop close by at Krymska, or you could reach it from Nádraží Vršovice, where around 10 different tram services stop.
Jiřího z Poděbrad Square
Náměstí Jiřího z Poděbrad – often called ‘JZP’ by the sizeable local expat community – is one of the most intriguing Prague squares, with two of the city’s best-known 20th century buildings visible.
The square is considered to be part of Vinohrady, but it’s within a stone’s throw of the Žižkov TV Tower, which seems to be peering over the apartment buildings on the edge of the square.
JZP is dominated by the unusual wide-towered Church of the Sacred Heart of Our Lord, the work of renowned Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik, who was also responsible for some of the Gardens in Prague Castle. Its red brick and wooden interior is particularly impressive, its east wall lined with the statues of six Czech saints.
The square is a popular meeting place, and the setting for one of the best Prague farmers markets, which are held on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays
The Olšany Cemetery – Olšany hřbitovy – is the largest cemetery in Prague. It was founded in 1680 as a plague burial ground, with a view to keeping the unhygienic, infected corpses away from the populated areas of the city. It served this purpose again during another plague outbreak in 1787.
The cemetery is actually divided into twelve smaller units. These include several military cemeteries, including a 200-year-old section from the Napoleonic Wars. The burial grounds are divided by a busy road, which separates the Christian part from the New Jewish Cemetery, where the most famous grave in Olšany, that of author Franz Kafka, is located.
Many of the monuments in the vast Christian section of the cemetery are from the Art Nouveau period, and includes some of the finest examples of their kind in Europe.