Kampa Island
A hidden gem right under your nose

Kampa Island is one of my favorite places in Prague. It symbolizes much of what I enjoy about the city. It has a perfect blend of history, greenery, modern art and hidden character.

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Kampa Island is an endearing place. It's the kind of place where you want to just hang out, relax on a bench or wander around.

It's the kind of place that rewards you for just being there. And it combines local and tourist friendly sights.

And, no extra effort is needed to find it. Because nearly every tourist passes right over it. Literally.

Kampa Island. Will you pass by too?

Locally the island is simply known as Kampa. It lies on the left bank of the Vltava River - across from Old Town.

It's an elongated strip of land with its northern tip stretching under Charles Bridge.

It's easy to visit without even knowing you are on an island. Because it's bordered on the left by a simple canal that the bridge dwarfs with its great stone arches.

I think the majority of tourists walk over Charles Bridge on their way to Old Town or the castle. So when they look over the bridge down to Kampa, they presumably see "just another" part of Malá Strana.

They don't see it as a destination. Ugh, that's too bad!

From the bridge you can easily walk down the stairs to Kampa. And, from there, it's a whole other world.

I've always been impressed by how Charles Bridge lumbers over the island. Take a second to get up close - walk underneath and around the support arches.

That's 14th century remarkable ingenuity, still at work today. Wow.

Moreover, check out the view back across the river to Old Town.

While everyone is above you walking back-and-forth over the bridge, Prague has quietly become yours and Kampa is there to explore.

The best thing is, these intimate places are all over Kampa.

Just wander around to get inspired. Find the mill wheels and the little brick bridge over the canal. The canal (known as Čertovka) was man-made for the addition of mills in the area. Two of the original mill wheels still exist today.

Key Highlights include...

  • Museum Kampa - a smart contemporary museum with outdoor art, waterfront cafe and lovely views
  • Giant Babies - find these enormous statues near the museum to get a sense of thought-provoking, Czech artist David Černý's work 
  • Canal cafes and restaurant - there are at a few cafes on the canal side of Kampa - my favorite is the converted millhouse, Mlýnská Kavárna.
  • Riverbank - the part of Kampa that is most overlooked might be the riverbank just south of the museum. Find the peaceful statue gazing toward Old Town. 
  • Massive London plane tree - this beautiful shade tree has been bestowed monument status.

My family and I come visit Kampa Island to have a picnic or for one of the summer's local festivals. And, I've been known to come to practice my juggling. If you see a guy desperately trying to juggle, come say hi.

Hotels on Kampa

Don't think twice! Staying on Kampa is a special experience. The following hotels offer quiet, comfortable accommodation.

  • Archibald at the Charles Bridge - you get the total package here... unique rooms, very good restaurant, relaxing interior courtyard and riverside location.
  • Hotel Kampa Garden -  tucked next to the canal, this hotel is known for its cheap prices and quality rooms.

More hotels in Malá Strana

Restaurants on Kampa

There are a surprising number of restaurants on Kampa Island. Here are a select few...

  • Kampa Park Restaurant - one of Prague's fine dining locations, reserve a table in advance for a lovely experience.
  • At the Golden Scissors (U zlatých nužek) - just steps from the bridge, they offer a decent selection of Czech traditional meals. Sitting outside might be the highlight though.
  • Archibald Restaurant - sit among the bricked arches inside or if the weather is nice, choose their riverside terrace, both are delicious.

See map below for more details.

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