Walking Tour: Castle Gardens & Hradčany Backstreets

  • Start Hradčanská metro station
  • End Petřín
  • Length 2.5km; one hour

From the metro station follow K Brusce towards the stone portal of the Písek Gate. This baroque gateway, decorated with carved military emblems, was built in 1721 as part of Prague’s new fortifications; the streets on either side still follow the outlines of the bastions.

Turn right on U Písecké Brány, and then left onto Tychonova. Here you will pass two cubist houses designed by Josef Gočár. Cross Mariánské hradby and enter the Royal Garden (open April to October only) beside the beautiful Renaissance Summer Palace.

Turn right, continue past the stunning Ball-Game House, and follow the upper rim of the Stag Moat to the western end of the gardens. Go through the gate and turn left to enter the Second Courtyard of Prague Castle via the Powder Bridge.

Leave the courtyard via the second gate on the right, which leads into Hradčany Square, once the heart of the aristocratic quarter. At the far end bear right on Kanovnická, past the Church of St John Nepomuk, built in 1729 by the king of Prague baroque, Kilian Dientzenhofer.

Turn left into Nový Svět, a picturesque cluster of cottages once inhabited by court artisans. No 1 Nový Svět was the home of astronomer Tycho Brahe and, after 1600, his successor Johannes Kepler. Turn left on Černínská to the pretty square in front of the extravagantly baroque Loreta; opposite is the imposing facade of the Černín Palace, dating from 1692.

Turn right into Pohořelec – a staircase between Nos 8 and 9 leads into the courtyard of Strahov Monastery, where you can visit the library before going through the gate at the eastern end of the courtyard into the gardens above Malá Strana. Turn right on the footpath (signposted ‘Rozhledna & Bludiště’) and finish with a stroll along to the Petřín Lookout Tower.