Tucked in among the backstreets up the hill from Prague Castle, you find one of Prague’s most charming hidden gems – Novy Svet – Prague’s most romantic cobbled street. Cute as a button and similar to Golden Lane, Novy Svet is a medieval residential street.
And while Novy Svet is only a couple of streets back from the main route between Prague Castle and the Strahov Monastery, virtually devoid of tourists. It is a very atmospheric, peaceful street. So if you are visiting either the castle or the monastery, make sure to drop by Novy Svet. Prague is filled with winding cobbled streets, but none are as tranquil and charming as Novy Svet.
In contrast to its grandiose name (translated as New World), Novy Svet is a tiny street, about 200 meters long. So don’t rush and savour your stroll. You might like to walk there and back again to enjoy its ambience. I certainly did on both of my trips to Prague.
Novy Svet – What’s in the Name?
So how does a tiny street get a name like ‘New World’? By being a survivor. Back in the early 14-th century, Novy Svet was an entire neighbourhood on the outskirts of Prague, lying just within the city walls. Novy Svet street ran alongside the defensive mote. Later, during the reign of the holy Roman emperor Charles IV, who ruled the empire from Prague, a fortified wall was built.
The defence wall remains to this day, providing unusual seclusion to the street. In the later centuries, new fortifications were added, and if you climb on top of the battlements, you’ll get a fantastic birds-eye view of Novy Svet Street.
The neighbourhood was designed mostly to accommodate common people working at the Prague Castle. Today, this ancient working class street is inhabited by famous artists and celebrities. Some have been transformed to cozy hotels and cafes.
What to See on Novy Svet Street
Just like the street itself, the adorable houses also have ambitious names. There is the Golden Sun, the Golden Acorn, the Golden Pheasant, and the Golden Lamb.
It is believed that these names were given to the houses by their medieval owners, perhaps to compensate for the house’s unadorned, simplistic facades and lend a sense of importance to an otherwise minor neighbourhood surrounded by wealthy and prestigious environs of the castle.
Aparthotel Tycho de Brahe
Coming from Prague Castle, one of the first houses you see is the 16th-century residence that was once home to the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe who spent the last years of his life in Prague. He was the last major astronomer to peer at the sky before the invention of the telescope. By the way, if you are a fan of astronomy, don’t miss Tycho Brahe’s tomb in Tyn Church on Prague’s Old Square.
Today the building, the Golden Griffin, is occupied by Aparthotel Tycho de Brahe guest house that offers lovely spacious rooms and a private terrace.
Beer Spa Beerland
Further along, you’ll find a uniquely Praguesque establishment – a Beer Spa. Located in the Golden Pear building, Beerland is an unexpected fusion of modern wellness concepts with ancient alchemy and… beer. When you make beer as good as the Czechs do, why not.
The best part is the spa room in the restored basement of the building. It has a distinctly medieval appearance and ambience.
Vinobona Wine & Bistro
Just before you reach the bistro there is a narrow opening in the stone wall that leads to a shaded park on the other side.
Vinobona Wine & Bistro is a very very cozy and intimate space that makes you feel that you’ve stumbled onto a true hidden gem. The is mostly traditional Czech fare and the food here is absolutely delicious. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner on weekends.
Penny Farthing Bicycle House
Next, there is a house with a cute penny farthing bike above the doorway. Prague residents are quite fond of these bikes. There is even the Annual Penny Farthing Race in Prague.
Kavarna Novy Svet
Another gorgeous little cafe in a building with an external stairway from ground level to the second story. The interior is cozy, but the best seats are either on the balcony looking over a pretty green courtyard, or on the street at the front of the building. There are a few chairs where you can watch the picturesque street while sipping some of the best (and affordable) coffee in Prague.
Frantisek Ondricek House
A few doors further up the street there is a three-story yellow house where Czech violinist and composer Frantisek Ondricek, was born in 1857. There is a plaque on the wall of the building commemorating the composer.
The last house to see on Novy Svet is perhaps too cutesy of them all. It is a tiny pink how’s hunkered down on the corner of Cerninska Street and Novy Svet. It has a single window and considered to be one of the smallest houses in Prague. It’s hardly bigger than Harry Potter’s broom closet.
Romantik Hotel U Raka
And across the street from the tiny pink house, there is a charming house with a thatched roof – one of the last surviving wooden houses in Prague.
Today the building houses Romantik Hotel U Raka – a tranquil and, yes, romantic space with a lovely garden, gallery, and cafe. If you are looking for a tranquil hotel within a stone’s throw to Prague Castle, you won’t find a more serene spot.
And there you have it – your serene stroll along Prague’s most picturesque medieval street. From here you can stroll to Prague Castle, Strahov Monastery, the Church of Loreta and the Capuchin Monastery, or keep exploring the winding streets of this part of town – Cerninska street that wraps around the corner of the tiny house is also lovely. You can also trace the course of the Deer Moat (along Kanovnická street) that once surrounded the old city.