Petrin Hill and Look-out Tower
Petrin Hill rises high above the city of Prague and offers a beautiful vista of the Vltava river and the city beyond with its ‘Hundred Spires’. This 318 metre-high hill is one of Prague’s largest green spaces and intersected by tree-shaded walks. Petrin Hill is crowned by the look-a-like Eiffel Tower which rewards visitors with a panoramic view of Prague. Petrin Hill is easily accessible on foot from Prague Castle and Strahov Monastry, or for the less energetic by the funicular railway.
Petrin Hill is the highest and greenest of Prague’s seven hills. Its peaceful slopes are covered with vineyards and fruit trees from which the fruit can be freely picked. In the seventeenth and eighteenth century the hillside quarry provided building material for many of the city mansions. Today, Petrin Hill is a peaceful oasis in the heart of Prague.
Enjoy the fragrant blossoms of the fruit trees, autumn colours of the Indian summer or snow in winter. Stroll along winding paths or take the funicular to the top where the enchanting view of the Vltava River the Old City beyond awaits you. Are you still not high enough? Climb the 299 steps of the look-out-tower for an even better view. More about the Vltava River.
Highlights of Petrin Hill
1. Look-out Tower
Petrin Hill lookout tower is a copy of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and was built for the Jubilee Exhibition in 1891. The Eiffel Tower look-a-like is 60m tall. Include to this the height of Petrin Hill itself and the look-out tower is at the same height as its Paris counterpart. The look-out tower is easy to find once you know that its Czech name is rozhledna. Climb the 299 steps to the viewing platform for a sweeping panorama of Prague. Photographers will be happy because there are no protective windows. The view is not hampered by glass and annoying reflections will not spoil the photos. More about Petrin Look-out Tower.
2. Mirror Maze
Mirror Maze, Bludiste in Czech, is located in a miniature castle next to the lookout tower. When you have navigated your way through the mirror maze you end up in a hall with distortion mirrors. Once you have laughed at you reflection, your reward is a diorama commemorating the battle of the students with the Swedes on Charles Bridge during the Thirty-year War in the seventeenth century. The Mirror Maze is the perfect attraction for the whole family. The walk through the labyrinth is quite quick and you may not even get lost. It is very suitable for young children! More about the Mirror Maze.
3. Nebozizek Restaurant
Location! Nebozizek is located on Petrin Hill and offers amazing views from the summer terrace. Be sure to have a peek at the interior with lots of Nordic-designed furniture and oriental orchids. Come when the sun sets and you will see Prague light up for the evening. Come here for a coffee or a full meal. The restaurant offers a wide range of dishes from traditional Czech to seafood. The easiest way to reach Nebozizek is by the funicular railway and get off at the half-way stop.
4. Hunger Wall
The Hunger Wall is a defensive wall stretching from Strahov on top of Petrin Hill to Ujezd at the bottom of the hill. It was part of the Castle’s fortification to protect the southern part of Mala Strana. Holy Roman Emperor and Czech king, Charles IV commissioned this wall to be built after crop failure and ensuing famine. In exchange for labour, the workers were fed from the royal storerooms.
5. Church of St Michael
A small Russian-Orthodox wooden church brought to Prague log by log from the Ukraine: an exquisite example of seventeenth-century folk art. In 1929, it was brought to Prague on the tenth anniversary of the annexation of subcarpathian Russia (now Zakarpati in Ukraine) into former Czechoslovakia after WWI. The Orthodox Church holds here liturgies every Sunday and Monday. St Michael’s Church is in Kinsky garden on the south flank of Petrin Hill. The church burnt down in October 2020 but will be rebuilt.
6. Monument to Karel Hynek Macha
Macha was the greatest of the Czech romantic poets. His most famous poem, Maj (May), is a hymn to love. Every 1st May young lovers gather at the statue where they lay flowers and do what lovers do.
Life-size bronze statue of the Czech poet Macha (1810-1836). The sculptor Josef Vaclav Myslbek started the work 1910, the centenary of the birth of Macha, and two years later it was placed on Petrin hill, not far from Ujezd Street where the poet was born.
As befits the Romantic poets, Macha died young and tragically. He developed a high fever the day before his wedding when he was visiting Litomerice, a town near Prague, where he helped put out a barn fire. He is buried in the cemetery of Vysehrad, the final resting place of artists and writers whose work has contributed to the revival and survival of the Czech national spirit.
The bronze statue represents a young Macha with a pen in his hand writing the poem ‘Maj’ (month of May), a hymn to love.
7. Petrin Hill Funicular
The first funicular cable car line opened in 1891 and stopped running at the beginning of the First World War in 1914. The trains ran on water overbalance mechanism. When the service was resumed in 1932, it had been electrified. In 1965 a landslide caused damaged and the service was suspended for twenty years. In 1985, it started again to take locals and tourists up to the top of Petrin Hill.
8. Corridor System
This is one of the entrances to the corridor system in the Petrin Hill. There are eighteen passages and the longest is 365 meters long. They date back to the Middle Ages when they were used for coal and iron ore mining. Most of them are still in use but now as water drainage.
This entrance is near the art gallery on the way to Strahov Monastery.
9. Nebozizek, Seminar and Rose Gardens
Two thousand fruit trees cover the slopes of Petrin Hill. Twelve thousand roses bloom in all colours and varieties spreading a sweet fragrance. The rose garden is as large as the same size as twelve football fields and laid out in the shape of a rosette. Nebozízek garden features a restaurant with panoramic view. The Seminar gardens situated on the Eastern side of Petrin Hill is famouse for its many fruit trees and almond trees.
The easiest way to reach the top of Petrin Hill is by funicular. The most beautiful way is via the winding paths that crisscross the park. Sit on one of the many benches on the way up and enjoy the view. There are quite a few playgrounds for children.
10. Saint Laurentius Church
Stations of the Cross along the path near the look-out tower lead to the domed Laurentius Church. The current church dates from the eighteenth century and was a place of pilgrimage. Pilgrims would follow the Stations of the Cross, say their prayers in the Chapel of the Holy Sepulcher and end their pilgrimage at Cavalry Chapel. The Holy Sepulcher Chapel is modeled after the Church of the same name in Jerusalem.
11. Stefanik Observatory
The permanent exhibition in the observatory shows the basic principles of astronomy and your visit includes a tour of the dome where you can admire the telescopes. English-speaking staff are on hand to answer questions.
On cloudless days, you can observe the sun through a telescope and at night when it is dark the planets of the solar system. You can also spot several stars beyond the confines of the solar system: nebulae, star clusters, and galaxies. The observatory is named after Milan Stefanik (1880-1919) co-founder of the Czechoslovak state, scientist and astronomer.
12. Strahov Stadium
Strahov Stadium is immense. It was built in 1926 for Sokol displays. The Sokol organization promoted physical education, and it hosted synchronized gymnastics shows. These shows were banned during the German occupation in World War II.
When the Communist regime took over, they changed the name of the Sokol movement to Spartakiad. These shows had about 750,000 participants. After the Velvet Revolution, the stadium was also used for pop concerts and training sessions for the Sparta Prague youth academy.
The stadium is in a poor condition and there are plans to convert it into a Museum of the Twentieth Century, focusing on the Nazi era and life during the communist regime.
13. Strahov hostel
Strahov hostel consists of twelve blocks of flats and offers accommodation to 4500 students. Built in socialist-realist style between 1964 and 1965, it initially housed the athletes who participated in the Spartiakiades held at the Strahov stadium.
Today it is the campus for students living outside of Prague and studying in Prague. Strahov hostel offers dormitories for 2 to 10 people with shared bathroom facilities. There are also communal facilities such as student canteens, clubs, bars, restaurants and shops. To live here, students have to meet several criteria, such as living far outside Prague, and academic results also count.
Address: Vaníčkova 7, Strahov, Prague
14. Monument to the Victim of Communism
Seven emaciated, life-sized figures climb a staircase. The monument symbolizes the disintegration of man growing up in a totalitarian regime, a world full of censorship. The artwork is inspired by works of the Swiss sculptor Giacometti and is located at the foot of Petrin Hill on Ujzed Street. More about this monument.
15. Magic Cave: Reon Art Gallery
The Magic Cave is an art gallery exhibiting some eighty paintings. The artist Reon converted a three-storey house into a cave museum and named his imaginary empire Argondia. His paintings consist of several layers of oil paint on a wooden surface. Only when each layer is completely dry, another one can be applied. No wonder that it takes about one year to complete a work of art. Reon is as eccentric as his work. He is a colourful character with a long beard and dressed in a velvet coat and a wide-brimmed hat, he resembles a wizard. More about the Magic Cave
How to get to Petrin Hill
Take tram 23 to the Ujezd stop, then walk up the hill along a wooded path. If you do not want to walk up, it is a bit steep, go by the funicular. The station is close to the Ujezd tram stop. Your public transport ticket is valid on the funicular. This is one of the few places in Prague that checks your transport ticket. If you have not got one or yours is expired, you can buy a transport ticket at the funicular terminals