Petrin Hill is one of the most popular places to visit in Prague, especially with locals. We rate it one of the very best Prague parks, as there are so many beautiful walks in Petrin Park, leading to some of the best viewpoints in Prague.
And that’s just the beginning. It’s also home to several of the most beautiful Prague gardens, from the blossom-filled Seminary Gardens on the lower slopes to the tiny hidden Flower Garden near the summit. It’s also the location of what was conceived as the replica of the Eiffel Tower in Prague, the Petrin Lookout tower, one of the most prominent landmarks of Prague.
Petrin Hill also has several other Prague attractions, from a Mirror Maze to an Observatory, with a number of cafes and restaurants spread around. Having lived in the city for a long time, we think it’s one of the true Prague highlights, and even if you only visit Prague for two or three days, it’s well worth an hour or two of your time.
So here’s everything you need to know about Petrin Hill Prague.
Where is Petřin Hill Prague?
Petřin Hill is located on the west side of the Vltava river in Prague. It overlooks Mala Strana Prague – loosely translated as Prague Lesser Town – and commands elevated views across Prague city centre and Prague Castle.
How to get to Petřin Hill Prague?
If you’re heading to the top, the easiest way up is via the Petrin Hill funicular, located next to the Garden above the Újezd tram stop. Climb the steps from the street, it’s around the corner on the right.
Alternatively, you can walk up the hill from Mala Strana, or even from Smíchov via Kinsky Gardens. The easiest starting points to access are the entrances next to the tram stops at Hellichova and Újezd, which are on the busy 12,15, 20 or 22 tram routes. The Hellichova entrance is barely five minutes’ walk from the Charles Bridge
You can also walk from Strahov Monastery in Hradčany (Castle District) to the summit of Petrin Hill. The route below the monastery offers the best views of Prague, looking out over the vineyards of the Lobkowicz Garden, before a short, steep climb to the Tower.
The Petrin Tower has been one of the main features of the Prague skyline since 1891. It was inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, which was constructed for the Great Exhibition of 1889. It was built in double-quick time, and the boast is that the top of the Tower is higher above sea level than its French counterpart.
It’s undoubtedly one of the best towers in Prague to climb. If you’re keen on photographing Prague, head here for the extraordinary view over Prague Castle and St Vitus Cathedral.
From here you also get a great view down over the main bridges in Prague. You also get a unique view over some amazing parts of off the beaten path Prague, including the enormous Strahov Stadium, a forgotten relic of the Communist era.
If you happen to need help getting to Petrin Hill Tower, look out for the brown tourist signs pointing towards ‘Rozhledna’. The Petrin Tower price is 150 CZK for adults, with children and reduced admission 80 CZK.
Petřin Hill Prague Rose Garden
The Petrin Park Rose Garden looks splendid throughout the summer months, a blaze of bright colour. There are two sections, one either side of the ‘Lanovka’ – the funicular terminus. The section closer to the tower is the more attractive of the two, with views of the Lookout Tower and the Baroque spires of St Lawrence Cathedral, just the other side of the wall. The larger section, next to the Observatory, is in flower for an impressive three months, with many roses hanging on at the beginning of September.
Petřin Flower Garden
The small walled flower garden – Květnice – is one of the greatest joys of Petrin Park Prague. Much of Petrin Hill offers a quiet retreat from the city, but this stands out as one of the best places to visit in Prague, especially if you’re seeking serenity and calm. It’s a beautiful, enchanting place, and not easy to find.
Tip: Head for the Observatory, then follow the path downhill past the Rose Garden. The arched gateway in the wall is on your right.
The Petrin Hill Funicular is the easy way up the hill. The ride – from the station at Újezd – takes about three minutes to climb the steep hill, with a stop halfway up at the Nebozizek Restaurant. The upper terminus is right at the top of the hill, so getting to the Tower and other things to see on Petrin Hill is very easy.
The Petrin Prague funicular fare is 24 CZK for a single fare, and it’s also included in the Prague public transport system. So if you already hold a one- or three-day Prague transport ticket, the funicular is included in the price.
Petřin Mirror Maze (Bludište)
The Mirror Maze is on many a family’s things to do in Prague list. It’s housed in a Disneyesque castle-type building, and there’s loads of fun to be had in the mirror labyrinth (tip – use your hands to feel your way around, and move slowly). It’s bigger than the one in Cesky Krumlov, and the best part is the distorted mirrors section.
St Lawrence Cathedral
You have to go to the top of Petrin Hill to even catch sight of St Lawrence’s Church. It’s one of the loveliest examples of Baroque Prague architecture, a twin-towered red beauty 100 metres or so from Petrin Tower Prague. I’ve found that it’s usually closed, but if you happen to be in the vicinity on a Sunday morning, you may get lucky. I happened to turn up just after Mass, and had a few minutes to look around its sparse light interior. It’s the Old Catholic Cathedral, a separate denomination from the Roman Catholics.
Petřin Park – Seminary Gardens
The Gardens in the lower part of the Park are breathtaking. If you’re visiting Prague in springtime, you’ll be treated to an unforgettable display of white blossom on the hundreds of trees on these lower slopes. As you climb the winding paths, the views develop quickly. You’re very close to two of the most impressive churches in Prague, the Baroque delights of St Nicholas Church in Mala Strana and Our Lady Victorious.
There’s a famous Prague tradition for lovers to kiss under the blossom trees on May 1st. This originated with couples kissing next to the statue of the Czech Romantic poet Karel Hynek Macha, which is also on the lower part of the Hill, near the Hunger Wall.
If you’re planning on photographing Prague the Seminary Gardens are one of the best places to go in the city at any time of year. If you’re visiting Prague in autumn, the same blossom trees turn shades of gold, red and brown, and if you’re in Prague in winter, the leaf fall means that views open up to the Old Town. Dusk on a winter evening is magical, the views clear to the domes, towers and spires of the Old Town.
Hunger Wall Prague
The Hunger Wall is one of the most visible Prague landmarks, especially during wither when the trees are bare. You get a great view from across the river, especially around Narodni Divadlo (the National Theatre), from where you can see its full extent.
It starts at the base of the hill, continuing all the way to the top. It begins next to the Memorial to the Victims of Communism (see below) though there are better places to see the wall further up the Hill, including a gateway which leads to a fantastic viewpoint in Kinsky Gardens.
The Wall was commissioned by King Charles IV (who also ordered the Charles Bridge to be built), ostensibly to fortify Mala Strana (Prague Lesser Town, at the time a relatively new entity). According to tradition it was built by a workforce recruited from among the local poor, hence its name.
Memorial to Victims of Communism
This Memorial is one of the more divisive things to see in Prague. It’s a series of seven sculptures of a man, the one at the bottom in good health. The series of figures on the steps behind show him slowly withering away, with parts of his body missing. It symbolises the suffering of the Czechs under the repressive totalitarian system – hundreds of thousands were either imprisoned or exiled, and over 5,000 directly killed by the Soviet-imposed regime.
The statues are the work of Olbram Zoubek, and were unveiled in 2002.
The Observatory at the top of Prague Petrin Hill is well worth a detour, especially if you’re in Prague with kids. You can explore the day and night sky, and on tours can also look through some of the Observatory’s telescopes. For the astronomically inclined, it makes for a great double-header with the Prague Planetarium in Stromovka Park in Holesovice.
Petrin Park Playgrounds
As one of the best parks ion Prague you’d expect a few places for the kids to run off steam, and it doesn’t disappoint. There is a decent playground between the Hellichova and Újezd entrances to the Park, and another one a short distance away next to the main entrance to Kinsky Gardens on Namesti Kinskych. There’s also a good playground with rope climbs very close to the Tower, hidden away behind the battlemented wall – you’ll see it if you approach from the funicular, just beyond the gate you pass through to reach the Tower.
Kinsky Gardens Prague
The southern slopes of this steep Prague hill are occupied by the Kinsky Gardens, which are part of, and overlook, the suburb of Smíchov. The lower part of the Gardens is dominated by the Summer Palace, which is home to the Ethnographic Museum.
The higher reaches of the Gardens are spectacular, and include the wooden Ruthenian Church of St Michael, which was brought to Prague plank by plank in the 1920s as part of the Ethnographic Museum. There are also two lakes and a warren of pathways and staircases. Some of these reveal amazing views of the Vltava river, Prague New Town and Smichov, especially in the area around the Hunger Wall.
The Vrtba Garden Prague is at the foot of Petrin Hill, a minute’s walk from busy Malostranske namesti and a few minutes from Charles Bridge. It’s one of the finest gardens in Prague, a Baroque beauty with a grotto, frescoes and some fine statuary.
It’s ingeniously built into the steep hillside, a series of terraces where the view over Mala Strana and the city gets better the higher you go. The Garden is open from the beginning of April to the end of October.
David Angel is a British writer and photographer who has been travelling and photographing Europe for over 25 years. His work is regularly featured in worldwide media including the BBC, the Guardian, the Times and the Sunday Times.
Check out these other Prague parks in our guides below:
Divoká Šárka Prague – a gorge and cliffs in the wildest park in Prague
Obora Hvězda Prague – former hunting reserve with fine Renaissance palace
Letna Park Prague – city park with great beer garden and one of the best viewpoints in Prague
Stromovka Park Prague – former royal hunting ground, now a great escape with woodland, lakes and more
Vojanovy Sady Prague – secret walled garden and park three minutes from the Charles Bridge
Pruhonice Park Prague – stunning park with Castle, lakes, meadows and woodland on outskirts of the city