If you love romantic walks around Prague, you might already know Kampa. The long island, separated from the Lesser Town by the Čertovka millrace, offers a Venice-like atmosphere in the north and a peaceful rest in the green park in the south. You can visit both in tens of minutes.
The unique atmosphere of the Lesser Town
The island area is 5.2 ha, and more than a half of it is taken up by a French park. The first mentions of Kampa are from the late 12th century. Back then, the park did not have a name and the bank of the Lesser Town looked completely different. The stream bed of the Vltava River was not changed by weirs yet, the surface was three meters lower, and the river under the Charles Bridge flew much more deeply into the land (up to where Valdštejnská Street is today).
The island was artificially elevated in the 16th century after an extensive fire at the Lesser Town and Hradčany. The Čertovka millrace was built there, and mills and mill gardens followed. The Kampa Park was not established until 1947-48, and since then the citizens of Prague spend hours relaxing and admiring local art there.
Statues during the day and at night
The Kampa Park and the Vltava bank near the Sova’s Mills offer many artworks. On your walk, you can come across the huge babies by David Černý, previously placed on the Žižkov Tower. You can take a close look at them at Kampa. By the river, you will discover the statues of Harmony (inspired by Sri Chinmoy) and the Titans (three roughly processed wooden tree trunks). A row of 34 shining yellow penguins may draw your attention in the dark, and during the day, you can admire the popular three-meter high Chair and other sculptures.
Do have a drink at Kampa
The authentic Mlýnská café, situated in the south-western tip of Kampa, is a popular stopping place for both locals and foreigners. You will get there via a footbridge over the Čertovka millrace, usually lit by candles in the dark. You can take a seat at the bar or use the adjacent terrace when it’s warm. This place has a special atmosphere of the Lesser Town and it’s always full of people. If you cannot sit in the café, sit outside on a bench or in the grass and take the drink with you.
Feeding swans near the Sova’s Mills
You can enjoy the best views of lit Prague from the Lesser Town bank behind the Sova’s Mills. Couples in love and families with children come here to feed ducks and swans. If you will come during the day, there are flocks of them. After the sunset, you will appreciate the city lights reflections on the Vltava surface.
How to get there
Since 1844, you can come to Kampa from the Charles Bridge staircase. You will find yourself in the northern part of the island, built up with residential houses. Many prominent Czech people, including actor Jan Werich, lived there. To get to the park in the southern part of Kampa, walk from the Újezd or Hellichova tram stops (if you get off at Hellichova, walk across Maltézské Square to the bridge over the Čertovka millrace).