Travel tales

Prague from above: The Petrin Tower

View across Prague from the top of the Petrin Tower, Czech Republic

Perched on the top of Petrin Hill overlooking Prague, you might spot what looks like a miniature version of Paris’ Eiffel Tower. The Petrin Lookout Tower might not be quite as imposing at a diminutive 60 metres high compared to the Eiffel Tower’s 324 metres. But once you add on the height of the hill it sits on, then at the top of the Petrin Tower you’re 50 metres higher up than at the peak of its French big brother. Two observation platforms in the tower provide some of the best views across Prague. And on a clear day you might be able to see as far as Snezka, the Czech Republic’s highest mountain almost 150km away.

Prague Castle

Views across to Prague Castle from the path up Petrin Hill

The Petrin Tower came about after a group of Czech tourists travelled to Paris in 1889 for the World’s Fair. They were so impressed with the Eiffel Tower, which had been built as the entrance-way to the exhibition, that they came home and started raising money to built their own version. And two years later the Petrin Lookout Tower was opened. It was later used as a TV and radio tower but fell into disrepair in the 1970s and was closed off to the public until 1991 when it was refurbished and reopened.

Petrin Tower in Prague

The Petrin Tower, and the view down to the Charles Bridge from the top

To get to the tower you first need to get to the top of Petrin Hill. The hill is covered by parks and gardens stretching down to the riverbank below. The easiest way to get to the top is by the funicular railway, which runs from at the bottom of the hill. Or the more scenic way up is by following the paths that wind through orchards and woodland as they loop around on their way upwards. On a sunny weekend afternoon there were plenty of people about, but you can always find a patch of shade under the trees or a bench in the flower gardens to catch your breath.

Prague panorama

The panoramic view across Prague from the top of the Petrin Tower

The tower has two spiral staircases that twist their way up the 299 steps to the top – one to go up and one to go down. Or if you’re feeling less energetic (or if it’s too hot, which was my excuse), there is a tiny box-like lift that’ll take you straight to the top. And from there a panorama of Prague stretches all around you – you can see the huge scale of the castle building with St Vitus Cathedral towering above them, the Charles Bridge  packed with a mass of tourists, the UFO-like Prague TV Tower in the distance, and a whole forest of bright red tiled roofs stretching out across the city in front of you.

Prague Castle view

Prague Castle and St Vitus Cathedral

The details

The Petrin Tower is open every day between 10am and 10pm from April–September, closing earlier off-season – at 8pm in March and October, or at 6pm from November–February. Entry costs CZK 120 (about £3.20) for adults and CZK 65 for children/students, plus an extra CZK 60 for the lift to the top.

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Prague from above: The Petrin Tower – On the Luce travel blog

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Madhu
    August 16, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    What a view! Wonder whether it caused as much of a furore as the Eiffel tower did!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      August 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm

      Lovely isn’t it. No I think the Czech’s liked it more that the Parisians liked the Eiffel Tower to start with!

  • Reply
    aBitofCulture
    August 16, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    First time I saw it, I thought it was a giant helter-skelter!

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      August 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      That would be great, a much better way of getting back down from the top!

  • Reply
    Anita Mac
    August 16, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    I love climbing up whatever is tallest to get a fabulous view of the city. The Petrin Tower fit the bill perfectly! Loved walking up the hill through the Park too! I hear it is lovely in spring. Was peaceful and quiet when we visited in the winter.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      August 17, 2012 at 3:55 pm

      Me too, I’m always looking for the best viewpoints. The hill was lovely in July, though a bit busy, would love to see it all in winter covered in snow.

  • Reply
    Travelbunny
    August 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Fabulous panoramic views of Prague. I was mad enough to want to climb the 498 steps of the Asignelli Tower in Bologna last month but it was closed for renovation…

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      August 21, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      I remember climbing up that when I was in Bologna years ago, great views from the top.

  • Reply
    Cole @ Four Jandals
    August 21, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Great way to snatch a view over Prague. We still haven’t been but might need to make a trip there this winter.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      August 21, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      I hear it’s beautiful in winter, with the Christmas markets and lots of mulled wine!

  • Reply
    heyshaye
    September 2, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Pretty pretty pretty!! So happy I chanced upon your blog <3

  • Reply
    Rachael
    September 3, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Superb! Great travelogue.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      September 4, 2012 at 3:17 pm

      Thanks, I couldn’t get enough of those red-roofed views!

  • Reply
    Marni
    January 22, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    WOW! I keep hearing/reading about how Prague is one of the best travel destinations, and I am truly beginning to see why. It’s absolutely stunning!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      January 24, 2015 at 5:41 pm

      Prague is so pretty! Definitely one of the most picturesque European cities I’ve visited. Though it’s really popular so very busy in summer – if I went back I’d love to see it covered in snow in winter.

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