Vyšehrad: Czech History Uphill and Downhill
This circular walk takes you along the riverfront to the Vyšehrad ramparts, across the Botič Stream valley and up the hill to little-known Karlov, offering inspiring views of the city, as well as a remarkable showcase of architecture. At the foot of Vyšehrad, you’ll discover the beauty of Czech architectural Cubism immortalised in the crystalline forms of the Kovařovic Villa and other buildings. Your path leads you to legend-wreathed Vyšehrad, to its cemetery with the Slavín mausoleum, Baroque ramparts, and wonderful views of the Old and New Towns. Walk along Folimanka Park and head up to Karlov before relaxing (if you’re so inclined) in the botanical garden at Albertov. Although this is one of the more demanding routes due to the terrain, it’s definitely worth checking out any time of the year.
Route Length: 5 km / 3 miles
Download: Five Prague Walks
- Palackého náměstí (Square) Tram and metro line B stop “Karlovo náměstí” – Zítkovy sady (Gardens) – Rašínovo nábřeží (Embankment)
Náplavka is Prague’s most popular promenade – you can walk, ride your bike, feed the swans, chat with friends, visit a sauna or gallery on the water, have a coffee or a drink, or just sit and observe the ever-changing colours of the sky over the river. From spring to autumn, various events take place here – concerts, food festivals, and dance evenings, as well as the regular Saturday farmers’ market, one of the most popular in Prague.
- under the railway bridge – Vnislavova St. – Libušina St. – Kovařovic Villa
Fans of modern architecture will be impressed by the Kovařovic Villa, which, together with its garden, is a masterpiece of Czech Cubism. Other Cubist buildings by architect Josef Chochol can be found under the Vyšehrad cliffs on the riverfront, and on Libušina St. and nearby Neklanova St.
- Rašínovo nábřeží/Embankment – Na Libušince St. – at the end of the street, turn right up the stairs to Vyšehrad
This mysterious, magical place, still closely associated with legends, was built as a fortress in the 10th century. Later, an independent chapter was established here, and it was temporarily the seat of the Přemyslid noble family. Vyšehrad is a cultural and spiritual centre, with the dominant Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul and stunning views of Prague. The surrounding gardens invite visitors to sit and relax or go for a stroll. If you are interested in the past and present of this place, Vyšehrad offers guided tours and tours of the underground casemates.
- Štulcova St. – turn left along the cemetery wall – Nové proboštství (New Provostry) – Vyšehrad Cemetery & Slavín
This cemetery is the burial place of some of the most important Czech cultural and scientific figures and has many interesting gravestones and tomb sculptures. It is dominated by Slavín, the joint final resting place for many of these personalities. You will also find here individual graves of such luminaries as composers Antonín Dvořák, Bedřich Smetana, and writer Karel Čapek.
- Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul – Vyšehradské sady (Gardens)
This area, originally a vineyard, has undergone many changes. Now it’s surrounded with ramparts which offer amazing views of Prague, and in particular of Podolí, with its majestic waterworks and the Vltava quay. Continue around the ramparts.
- Rotunda of St. Martin – Cihelná brána (Brick Gate) – Vratislavova St. – Přemyslova St. – Cubist corner building
The Romanesque rotunda is one of the very oldest buildings in Prague, built in the last third of the 11th century. The Empire-style Brick Gate is part of the Vyšehrad citadel fortifications. Inside is an interactive exhibition about the development of Prague’s fortifications, as well as the entrance to the underground casemates. The Cubist apartment building at the corner of Přemyslova and Neklanova Streets is a world rarity. The façade of this building by Josef Chochol from 1914 is origami-like, with many fine details.
- cross Neklanova St. and take the underpass under the railroad tracks – turn left – Na Slupi St. – Horská St. – Ztracenka Garden – Bastion
Bastion, with its unique view of Vyšehrad and the Petřín Lookout Tower, was part of the New Town fortifications. Not long ago, Bastion was sensitively converted into its modern form; part of the complex is now occupied by a restaurant.
- Ke Karlovu St. – kostel Nanebevzetí Panny Marie a sv. Karla Velikého na Karlově (Church of the Assumption and St. Charlemagne at Karlov)
This church, founded in the 14th century by Emperor Charles IV, and its Augustinian monastery have undergone many transformations
throughout their history. The monastery building served as a hospital and public hospice. It now houses the Museum of the Police of the Czech Republic.
- Apolinářská St. – Zemská porodnice u sv. Apolináře (St. Apollinaire Provincial Maternity Hospital)
This building, visible from afar, was built in English style using red fired bricks and continues to serve as a maternity hospital today (and is a favourite subject of filmmakers). The first childbirth was recorded here in 1875.
- Viničná St. – Kateřinská St. – Benátská St. – Charles University Botanical Garden
This small but significant university botanical garden with greenhouses and outdoor exhibits has a lot to offer – whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to relax in the middle of the busy city or wish to take in the exhibits.
- Vyšehradská St. – Emmaus Monastery Na Slovanech
This monastery, founded in 1347 by Emperor Charles IV, became a centre of Slavic education, art, and literature. Of special note are its unique Gothic murals. The church’s elegant towers are a modern addition – the US Air Force destroyed the original neo-Gothic towers in 1945 during the bombing of Prague, when in stormy weather pilots made a navigational error and mistook Prague for Dresden.
- Church of St John of Nepomuk on the Rock – Karlovo náměstí (Charles Square) – Na Moráni St. – Palackého náměstí (Square) with the monument to Czech historian and politician František Palacký