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.
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.
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!
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, harles 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.
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.
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.
How to get there
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