Best Towers in Prague to Visit

by Czech Republic

It might not be the greatest surprise to learn that there are many towers in Prague to visit in the famous City of a Hundred Spires.  They are among the most prominent landmarks of Prague, and essential stops if you want to seek out the best views of the city. We’ve compiled this guide to the best towers Prague has to help you choose which ones to see when you visit Prague.

We’ve written separate articles on the best viewpoints in Prague and photographing Prague, and visiting some or all of these Prague towers will help you on both fronts.  The towers of Prague come in very diverse shapes and sizes, from the Gothic tower of the Old Town Hall to the retro-space-age Zizkov Tower, the highest Prague tower of all.

Most of the towers in Prague we’ve written about can be climbed, and in each description we tell you what sights in Prague you can see from the towers, and indeed what to see inside the towers. We also suggest the best time of day to visit each of these Prague attractions, in order to help you get the best Prague photos possible.

So please join us on our virtual tour of the stunning Prague skyline – we hope it’ll help you to choose what to do in Prague when you visit.

Old Town Bridge Tower

Image of Prague from Old Town Bridge Tower at dusk
Prague Old Town from the Old Town Bridge Tower at dusk
Prague in Winter Image of Prague Old Town and Charles Bridge
Prague Old Town and Old Town Bridge Tower
Image of Charles Bridge and Castle Hill at dusk Prague Czech Republic
Charles Bridge at dusk from the Old Town Bridge Tower

The Old Town Bridge Tower could stake a claim for being one of the most famous towers in Europe. It also makes a great place to begin your Prague sightseeing and get your bearings. It’s at the Old Town end of the Charles Bridge, and commands stupendous 360° views of Prague city.

The Tower was built in the late 14th century at the same time as the Bridge, and was designed by the same architect, Petr Parler. It was a ceremonial gateway on the Royal Route and Bohemian kings passed through there en route from Prague Castle to Old Town Prague, and vice versa.

 

Czech name: Staroměstská mostecká věz

What you see from there: Looking west, the Charles Bridge is below you, with the Mala Strana district and Prague Castle above. Looking east, you have an incredible view of Prague Old Town, the skyline dominated by the domes, towers and spires of some of the finest churches in Prague. There are also excellent views north and south along the river, taking in some of the other principal bridges in Prague.

Best time of day to visit:  Dusk is the best time, far and away, when the attractions of Prague are lit up and make an unforgettable sight. Ideal if you’re visiting Prague in winter. If you want to photograph both the main views in daylight, around 1 pm is the optimum time. 

Cost: 100 CZK ($4)

Lesser Town Bridge Tower

Image of the Lesser Town Bridge Topwer in Mala Strana Prague
The splendid Lesser Town Bridge Tower at the Mala Strana end of Charles Bridge

The Lesser Town Bridge Tower is one of two towers either side of the gateway between Prague Lesser Town (Mala Strana) and the Charles Bridge.

The view of the Mala Strana end of the Bridge is one of the highlights of Prague, the two towers framing the tower and dome of the Baroque St Nicholas Church just up the hill.

The Tower looks almost identical to its counterpart at the Old Town end of the Bridge, with elaborate stonework and a distinctive sloping roof. It was built around 70 years later than the Old Town Bridge Tower, around 1464. Its companion tower on the other side of the gateway dates from the Romanesque era (12th century) and was originally known as the Judith Tower – unfortunately there is no public access to it.

Image of the view from the Lesser Town Bridge Tower in Prague
The Charles Bridge from the Lesser Town Bridge Tower

Climbing – and descending – the Lesser Town Bridge Tower is a little more demanding than most Prague towers. The final wooden staircase is more of a large ladder with steep steps. It’s ok going upwards, but for the downward trip, you need to open the door, then edge across the top step before turning to descend backwards. 

Best things to see in Prague Image of the Lesser Town Bridge Tower and St Nicholas Church in the Mala Strana area of Prague
The stately skyline of Mala Strana in Prague

 

Czech name: Staroměstská mostecká věz

What you see from there: Looking west, the Charles Bridge is below you, with the Mala Strana district and Prague Castle above. Looking east, you have an incredible view of Prague Old Town, the skyline dominated by the domes, towers and spires of some of the finest churches in Prague. There are also excellent views north and south along the river, taking in some of the other principal bridges in Prague.

Best time of day to visit:  Dusk is the best time, far and away, when the attractions of Prague are lit up and make an unforgettable sight. Ideal if you’re visiting Prague in winter. If you want to photograph both the main views in daylight, around 1 pm is the optimum time. 

Cost: 100 CZK ($4)

Powder Tower Prague

Also known as the Powder Gate Prague, the Powder Tower is a late Gothic tower at the border of Old Town and New Town Prague. It was completed in the late 15th century, and is the beginning / end point of royal processions through the city. It’s close to some fantastic Prague architecture, with the Art Nouveau Prague masterpiece of Municipal House and the House of the Black Madonna, home to the Prague Cubist Museum, both very close.

 It’s one of the lower-key Prague tourist attractions – I was surprised to be the only person up there the first time I visited. I recommend it as one of the best places to visit in Prague, offering some of the best views of the City of 100 Spires.

Czech name: Prašna brana

What you see from there:  Superlative views east up Celetna to the iconic Gothic Tyn church and Old Town Hall Tower, with Prague Castle in the distance, and also of the dome and roof of its next-door neighbour, Municipal House (Obecni dum).

Best time of day to visit: I visited at dusk during winter, and again soon after opening time in summer. Both were optimum for photography, and I can’t imagine there would be better times to visit.

Cost: 100 CZK ($4)

Old Town Hall Tower

One of the first two or three things to do in Prague is to visit the Old Town Square, and while you’re there, see the famous Prague Astronomical Clock. This is near the base of the Prague Old Town Hall Tower, the tallest tower on one of the most magnificent squares in Europe. The Square looks magical from any standpoint, and one of the best viewpoints in Prague overlooks it, at the top of the Old Town Hall Tower.

It’s usually the busiest of the towers in Prague, and in normal times the gallery can be very crowded. The Old Town Hall Prague ticket also includes entry to the historic halls of the Old Town Hall and the underground chambers – both of these can be visited on a guided tour. The tower tends to stay open later than the other parts of the Old Town Hall.

 

Czech name: Věž Staroměstské radnice 

What you see from there:   The best view from Prague Old Town Hall Tower is across the Square to the fanciful fairytale spires of Our Lady Before Tyn church, one of the best things to see in Prague. The Old Town Square, one of the top places to go in Prague, has a new landmark, the Marian Column (Mariansky Sloup) which sits in the Square between the Old Town Hall and Tyn Church. The original was destroyed in 1918, and was considered a symbol of Habsburg and Catholic oppression. The view is at its best between late November and early January, when the Square plays host to the best of the Prague Christmas Markets.

You can enjoy the view from all four sides of the outdoor gallery, and the north side looks out over the Baroque St Nicholas Church (not to be confused with the church of the same name in Mala Strana). The view from the east side of the gallery is also spectacular, with some of the Prague towers and St Vitus Cathedral visible.

Best time of day to visit:  Dusk is the best time to take in the views from the Tower. It’s especially busy around Christmas time, when too many people are crammed into a limited space there. Otherwise, afternoon is the optimum time to photograph the Prague Old Town Square from there.

Cost:   250 CZK ($10) for adults, 150 CZK ($6) for students and seniors, 500 CZK ($20) for a family ticket.

Klementinum Astronomical Tower, Prague

It’s only possible to visit the Astronomical Tower of the Klementinum as part of a guided tour. The Klementinum is a large complex of buildings across the street from the Charles Bridge, and includes the Baroque Czech National Library, which should be one of the top things to see in Prague.

The Baroque Library is magnificent, but the guided tour is rather overpriced and disappointing. You can only stand in the corner of the Library for a few minutes, you can’t walk inside and can’t make photographs. The views of Prague from the Tower are outstanding, and we had around 20 minutes up there to savour the scene.

Czech name: Astronomičká věž

What you see from there: Uninterrupted 360° views of Prague city centre. The view over the Churches of St Salvator and St Francis of Assisi and the Old Town Bridge Tower, with Prague Castle off to the right, is jaw-dropping. The view in the opposite direction, dominated by the spires of Our Lady Before Týn is pretty special too.

Best time of day to visit: I visited on the first tour of the day, so was up the tower by 10.40 am.  This was ideal for photography, especially the views across the river towards Prague. Castle. It was an hour or two early for the shot of the Týn church – the 1200 tour would be better for that shot, but it’s a trade-off as the shots in the opposite direction won’t be as good.

Cost: 350 CZK ($15) for adults

St Nicholas Church Prague Town Belfry

Image of the view from the St Nicholas Town Belfry in Prague Mala Strana district
The view of the dome of St Nicholas’ Church from the Town Belfry

St Nicholas’ Church in Mala Strana is one of the great Prague landmarks, dominating Lesser Town Prague from seemingly every angle. The church’s tower was operated by the local council, who employed a keeper to maintain the tower. It was built a few years after the completion of the church, between 1751 and 1756.

The bell tower is 79 metres tall, and it’s one of the most interesting places in Prague to explore. The ascent is broken up by several stops, including the living quarters of the tower keeper. The view from the external gallery is magnificent, especially the close look you get of the church’s superb dome.  The attic above, which you can also visit,  was used by Communist regime spies during the Cold War to eavesdrop on the numerous embassies around Mala Strana.

Czech name: Svatomikulášska městská zvonice

What you see from there: The view of the dome of St Nicholas’ Church is outstanding,as is that over Mala Strana, Strahov Monastery and Petřin Hill and Tower. There is also a view south towards Ujezd and Smíchov, and down onto Malostranské náměstí, the transport hub of the locale. There is also a view across to the Old Town, but the views of that area are better from the Lesser Town Bridge Tower and Petřin Hill are better.

Best time of day to visit: I visited in late morning, and this worked out really well. The dome is magnificent, and the church one of the most beautiful buildings in. Prague.

Cost: 100 CZK ($4) for adults.

King Henry’s Tower

Image of St Henry's Tower Prague

St Henry’s Tower, one of the main landmarks of Prague New Town

King Henry’s Tower is the least-known of the Prague towers. It’s one of the quieter Prague tourist spots, on a street near Wenceslas Square and the main Prague railway station, Hlavni nadrazi, in Prague New Town.

At 65 metres in height, it’s the tallest Prague clock tower. It was built in the 14th century to house the bells of the church of St Henry and St Cunigunde a few metres away. It was damaged during the Swedish siege of Prague in 1648, and wasn’t repaired until the 1870s. The tower now houses a restaurant, Zvonice, between the 7th and 9th floors.

Czech name: Jindřišska věz

What you see from there: The best view is east towards the churches of the Old Town and St Vitus Cathedral and Prague Castle. There is also another good view over the adjacent church and tower from another window.

Best time of day to visit: Morning, when the light is on the Tyn Church and Prague Castle.

Cost: Adults 140 CZK, students and seniors 80 CZK, families 280 CZK.

St Vitus Cathedral South Tower

Image of St Vitus Cathedral and its Great South Tower Prague

St Vitus Cathedral and its Great South Tower nearest to camera

St Vitus Cathedral’s Great South Tower is a relatively late addition to the greatest church in the Czech Republic. The architect Peter Parler was unable to finish it during his lifetime, so it was eventually completed in the 16th century Renaissance era, only to be replaced by the present dome in the 18th century.

Note that the ticket for the tower is not included in the normal selection of Prague Castle tours – you have to buy it separately.  If you’ve already visited the Castle and want to go back solely to visit the Cathedral Tower, you can do this without having to buy any of the other tickets for Prague Castle.

Czech name:  Velká jižni věž katedrály sv Vita

What you see from there: There are a few staging posts on the 287-step route to the top of the tower, each offering excellent views of the Cathedral’s west and central spires. The higher you climb, the better view you get of Hradčany Prague, the surrounding Castle district.

The views extend over the Vltava river to the rest of the city. The vantage points are high, so many Prague buildings look small from there, but it’s well worth the short workout to get up there.

Best time of day to visit: Morning to midday for the rest of the Cathedral, including the intricate, elegant twin spires. If you want to shoot photographs of the rest of the city, including the Charles Bridge and Old Town, later in the day is better.

Cost: 200 CZK ($8)per adult – this is in addition to the Prague Castle tickets that include admission to the Cathedral, St George’s Basilica, Golden Lane and the Old Royal Palace.

Petrin Tower

Also known as the Prague Eiffel Tower, thePetřin Lookout Tower is one of the two highest vantage points in Prague, on the summit of Petřin Hill above Mala Strana and Hradčany, the Prague Castle district. This tower is 63.5 metre (208 feet) high, a moderate climb up shallow steps, but with views through the metalwork one vertigo sufferers might wish to avoid.  It was very much inspired by Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel’s Tower, which was opened two years before it. The Petřin Tower took less than a month to build, in August 1891, an impressive feat indeed.

There are two levels, both offering exceptional views of Prague. The only drawback with such high towers is that the position is so elevated that it doesn’t make for the best photographs. Nonetheless it’s a hugely impressive view, and you can appreciate the layout of the city better from there than anywhere else.

Czech name: Petřinská rozhledna

What you see from there: The entire city of Prague. It’s certainly one of the best viewpoints of Prague Castle, and you also get a bird’s eye view of Petřin including the Mirror Maze and the lovely Baroque St Lawrence Church, close to the foot of the Tower.

Best time of day to visit: Morning to mid-afternoon for photographs. The later in the day you go, the more chance there is the light will have moved around from the front of the Castle.

Cost: 150 CZK for adults

Zizkov Tv Tower

The Žižkov Television Tower turned out to be the last architectural hurrah of Communism. Begun in the mid-1980s, it looks like a space-age syringe ready to squirt something into the sky. Attitudes towards it have softened considerably over the ensuing decades, and it’s now very much part of the Prague landscape. It has been embellished with ten crawling baby statues by the renowned Czech sculptor David Černy.

The Žižkov TV Tower Prague is 216 metres high, and is located on a hilltop overlooking Žižkov and Vinohrady. The observation deck is 93 metres high, and there are also three restaurants and a one-room 6-star hotel, surely one of the most unusual places to stay in Prague.

Image of the crawling babies sculptures on the Zizkov TV Tower Prague

The crawling baby sculptures on Zizkov TV Tower Prague

Czech name:  Žižkovská televizní věž

What you see from there: There are three observation cabins, and the best view is of The city looking towards the Old Town and Prague Castle. As the viewpoint is so high, the photography potential isn’t great because you lose so much detail with the distance. That said, it’s still a great Prague experience which we recommend.

Best time of day to visit: Dusk for the evening lights of Prague and the sunset sky.

Cost: 250 CZK ($10) per adult

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