Best Viewpoints in Prague

by Czech Republic

It’s one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and photographing Prague is something most visitors love to do. Before you arrive it pays to know where the best viewpoints in Prague are, to shoot the best Prague photos you possibly can.

There are many places to visit in Prague, and many of them are in a relatively small area between the Old Town (Stare Mesto) and Prague Castle Hill (Hradčany). The Prague skyline on both sides of the river Vltava is stunning. It’s known as the City of a Hundred Spires, and there are also plenty of towers and domes too.

We’ll show you all the best views in Prague, and seeing them will help you get an overview of the main landmarks of Prague. If you get around most of the following places in Prague in good weather, you’ll get some amazing Prague photography in the bag.

So enjoy our tour of the best viewpoints in Prague, from the most famous Prague bridge to the highest Prague observation tower.

Charles Bridge Prague

Image of Charles Bridge Prague and Old Town
Charles bridge and the Old Town during a dramatic dusk

We’ll start just above river level, at one of the most popular places to see in Prague. For most of the day the Charles Bridge is jammed with tourists stopping for selfies or group photos. However at sunrise you’ll only have a few photographers for company, and the bridge’s famous statues are silhouetted, along with the many spires and domes of Old Town Prague.

Image of the Mala Strana Bridge Tower from the Charles Bridge Prague Czech Republic
The view from Charles Bridge towards Mala Strana, or Lesser Town

The crowds remain through until the end of the day and beyond, even in the winter low season. It’s a pity that one of the best places to visit in Prague is so overcrowded, but you can still shoot some great photos of Prague, even with everyone milling around. How? Use a long lens (anything over, say, 150 mm) and zoom in on the magnificent Prague buildings at either end. At twilight, with most attractions in Prague illuminated, it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

What to photograph: The statues and Prague Old Town skyline at sunrise; the same at dusk, and also views the other way to Mala Strana (Prague Lesser Town) and Castle Hill Prague, dominated by St Vitus Cathedral.

Best time to visit Charles Bridge: Dawn and dusk

Prague Old Town Tower

Image of the Old Town Square Christmas Market in Prague
The view from the Old Town Hall Tower of the Christmas Market and Tyn Church

As we mentioned in our Prague Christmas Markets feature, Prague Old Town Square is one of the most beautiful Prague streets and most beautiful squares in the world.  It’s gorgeous at any time of year, with an array of stunning Prague architecture wherever you look.

The Old Town Hall Tower is a splendid vantage point over the whole scene, including three of the most beautiful churches in Prague. At the top of this famous Prague tower – accessed by elevator – you’re greeted by an outstanding Prague view, across the Square (Staromestské Námestí) to the fairytale Gothic spires of the church of Our Lady Before Tyn.  But that’s not all. Move around to the left for a view over the elegant Baroque church of St Nicholas on the other side of the Square. Continue around for an elevated Prague rooftop view to Prague Castle and St Vitus Cathedral.

What to photograph: Old Town Square Prague, Our Lady Before Tyn Church, St Nicholas Church, Prague Castle

Best time to visit: Any time, daytime, dusk or after dark

Karlovy Lazne Tram Stop

Image of Prague Castle and St Vitus' Cathedral at night
Prague Castle and St Vitus’ Cathedral from across the Vltava River

It’s a wonderful surprise when you run for a tram, miss it and turn around to find you’ve got to wait at one of the best photo locations in Prague. It’s so good that I ended up missing the next two trams, squeezing out the last of the blue out of the twilight sky.

The tram stop is around a three-minute walk from the end of Charles Bridge. Walk past the 5-storey mega-nightclub of the same name and continue as far as the #17 tram stop, The superb Prague Castle view is on your right. Some of the scene is often reflected in the water, adding a magical touch.

What to photograph: the view across the river to Prague Castle

When to shoot: Any time between morning and dusk

POWDER TOWER PRAGUE

Image of Tyn Church and Prague Castle from Powder Tower Prague
The fairytale Gothic spires of the Tyn church and Prague Castle from the Powder Tower

The Powder Tower – Prašna Brána – is a brilliant Prague lookout tower on the eastern edge of the Stare Mesto, next door to the beautiful Art Nouveau Prague concert venue, Obecni Dum (Municipal House). It’s similar to the Old Town Bridge Tower and the Mala Strana Bridge Tower, with a distinctive sloping roof. However, both predate it by around a century – work began on the Powder Tower around 1475. It gets its name from its later function as a gunpowder store.

Prague’s Powder Tower at twilight

The Powder Tower is one of the very best rooftop Prague viewpoints. It has an outstanding  360° view of Prague. It looks down over Obecni Dum, and the view over this Art Nouveau marvel is tremendous, especially at twilight. The view south over Nove Mesto – Prague’s New Town is great as well, but the best view is to the west. Try to make it up here at sunset or dusk and watch the sky glow pink, orange and red behind Our Lady Before Tyn church and St Vitus Cathedral. This place should be on many more Prague what to see lists – but then again if it did it would be too crowded. One of the best Prague hidden gems.

What to photograph: The Tyn Church and St Vitus’ Cathedral, Obecni Dum, Zizkov TV Tower, Old Town rooftops and spires

When to visit: Any time of day, but twilight is best

Cost: 100 CZK ($4) for the entry ticket

OLD TOWN BRIDGE TOWER

Image of Prague Old Town skyline from Old Town Bridge Tower Prague
Start this side: the dome of St Francis and Church of St Salvator in the Old Town

The Old Town Bridge Tower dominates the Old Town end of the Charles Bridge. AS with the magnificent bridge below, gone are the days when you’ll have it to yourself. But this tower – Staromestská Mostecká Vež – is worth persevering with, so much so that we rate it one of the top sights in Prague.

The tower dates from the late 14th century, and the viewing gallery is 47 metre above the Charles Bridge. The gallery is very cramped, so composing shots is not easy with people constantly trying to get past. Everyone is trying to do the same thing as you – getting some of the best photos of Prague. With a little planning and patience, you’ll get them.

Prague what to See Image of Charles Bridge and Prague Castle at dusk
A glorious winter sunset from the Old Town Bridge Tower

Prague is at its most beautiful at night, and the Old Town Bridge Tower doesn’t just have one incredible Prague night view, it has two. One faces east over the Old Town skyline, whereas the other faces west over the Charles Bridge, Mala Strana and Castle Hill. If you’re there start with the view of the Old Town, with the dome of St Francis’ Church, the spires of St Salvator and the tower of the Klementinum.

Then you need to try to get around to the other side, which will be quite popular. Find yourself a spot, and soak up the view over the Charles Bridge with Mala Strana and St Vitus Cathedral dominating Prague Castle Hill. The sign at the entrance stated that tripods weren’t allowed, but plenty of people were using mini-tripods and Gorillapods when I visited. The one thing you need to bear in mind when shooting this scene is that the lights on Charles Bridge flare quite badly, and are difficult to avoid. A minor grumble though – this is one of the very best of Prague sites.

What to photograph: Prague Old Town in one direction, Charles Bridge and Prague Castle Hill in the other

When to visit: Dusk / twilight

Cost: 100 CZK ($4)

LETNA PARK PRAGUE

Image of bridges over the river Vltava in Prague at night Prague Czech Republic
The bridges of Prague from Letna Park

Letna Park is one of the best parks in Prague, one I’ve visited many times with my son to take him to one of his favourite playgrounds there. It’s also one of the best places to go in Prague if you’re looking for a Prague panorama. From the top of the short, steep hill above the Vltava river you have a great view of several Prague bridges, Mala Strana and the Old Town skyline.

There are several viewpoints along the ridge Letna Park occupies, though in spring and summer the leaves on the trees will obscure some of these. My favourite Letna Park viewpoint is just below the Hanavsky Pavilion, a pleasant Baroque whimsy that serves as a restaurant and bar. This is at the west end of Letna Park, a five-minute walk up the left-hand pathway from Cechuv Most bridge. This is an unobstructed vantage point, and for the view alone it’s one of the top places to visit in Prague.

Image of Tyn Church from Letna Park Prague Czech Republic
The splendid Tyn church at sunset from Letna Park

From below the pavilion, you can shoot an overall view of the river, or zoom in on some of the buildings, including the magnificent spires of the Tyn church. Otherwise, if you’re visiting Prague in the warmer months, seek out the Letna beer garden at the opposite end of the Park for great views over the Old Town. It’s one of the top bars in Prague, and a great spot from which you can admire the Prague cityscape.

What to photograph: The bridges over the river Vltava, including the famous Charles Bridge (Karluv Most). Also try zooming in on some of the other Prague landmarks, such as the Žizkov TV Tower and the National Museum Prague.

When to visit: Afternoon, evening or dusk

HOTEL U PRINCE

Image of Old Town Hall Tower and Tyn Church from Hotel U Prince rooftop bar Prague
The Old Town Hall Tower and Tyn Church from Terasa U Prince

The Hotel U Prince, on the approach to Old Town Square, has arguably the best rooftop bar Prague view. Terasa U Prince has an open-air Prague rooftop bar with one of the most breathtaking Prague views, of the Old Town Hall, its medieval tower, part of the Old Town Square and the unforgettable spires of Our Lady Before Tyn church. There is also a roof terrace restaurant.

Sometimes, if you want to visit Prague best places you have to pay a little for the privilege. I was directed to an elevator at the back of the hotel, which whisked me up four floors to the small reception area. The host then advised me that the minimum order was a glass of champagne costing 300 CZK. I would have preferred a beer, but this is fair enough. The view is stupendous. And compared with the $40 I paid for a drink at the Sky Bar Bangkok, it’s very reasonable.

What to photograph: Old Town Hall Tower and Our Lady Before Tyn Church

Best time to visit:  Any time from late morning onwards

Cost: 300 CZK (12 euros) for the glass of champagne

PETŘIN HILL

Image of Our Lady Victorious Church and spring blossom Prague Czech Republic
Prague in springtime – the views from Petrin Hill are breathtaking

Sometimes the best shot isn’t from the highest viewpoint. I’ve visited Petřin Hill several times at different times of year, and have found that the best views of Prague are from the park, rather than the Petřin lookout tower at the top of the hill.

The best entry point for Petřin Park is Hellichova, off Ujezd, which runs from Mala Strana to Smichov. I follow one of the winding paths up the hill until a crossroads of several paths. If you’re visiting Prague in winter, this area is the ideal height for Prague night shots, and there are also great views to the left to Mala Strana and across to Prague Castle.

Image of St Nicholas Church Lesser Town Prague Czech Republic
St Nichiolas Church in Mala Strana, with Our Lady Before Tyn Church in the distance

If you’re in Prague in springtime, daytime is a much better bet. Those bare winter trees will by April have thrown off the shackles of the cold, and the park is full of stunning white blossom trees. It’s a wonderful sight, and the blossom trees make great foregrounds for views over the churches of Mala Strana, St Vitus’ Cathedral and the Old Town.

Petřin Hill Prague may also work as a sunrise location, with a long lens to the spires of the Old Town, similar to the lead shot of this article.

What to photograph: St Vitus Cathedral, the churches of Mala Strana, the skyline of Old Town Prague

Best time to visit: Twilight in winter. Sunrise or afternoon in springtime.

TOWN BELFRY BY ST NICHOLAS CHURCH LESSER TOWN

Image of the view from the bell tower of St Niocholas Church Mala Strana Lesser Town Prague
One of the best views in Prague, from St Nicholas Town Belfry in Mala Strana

The town belfry next to St Nicholas Church in Mala Strana (Lesser Town) is worth the climb for yet another great Prague tower view. Mala Strana is one of the most beautiful places in Prague, and a walk up this beautiful Baroque tower rewards you with some of the best views of this area and the church itself – you get a fantastic close-up view of the church dome form the outdoor gallery.

This is one of the most intriguing towers in Prague to visit because of everything you see on the way up, and the many stories behind it. The tower had a live-in keeper and caretaker, and you can see the living quarters as they would have looked in the 18th century. After the outdoor gallery, you can climb to a garret at the top of the tower which was used as a listening post by Soviet spies during the Cold War. Mala Strana is home to many of the embassies in Prague, so this was the perfect place from which they could eavesdrop.

What to photograph: St Nicholas’ church dome, the streets of Mala Strana, Petřin Hill, Malostranské Namestí, and distant views to Prague Old Town

Best time to visit: Morning to early afternoon for shots of Mala Strana and the church, afternoon for views over Kampa Island, the river and Old Town

VRTBA GARDEN

Image of the Vrtba garden and St Nicholas Church Mala Strana Prague
St Nicholas and Mala Strana from the top of the Vrtba Garden

The Vrtba Gardens are among the most beautiful gardens in Prague, a small Baroque oasis hidden behind a busy street in Mala Strana. It’s one of the best attractions in Prague, a Baroque garden built into the side of Petřin Hill on three levels.

You don’t get to see a lot at ground level, but as you ascend the stairs a great Prague panoramic view gradually unfolds. From the first level – next to a series of ornate stone statues – you get great views of the lower level of the Garden and the magnificent St Nicholas church in Mala Strana (see above), with another view to the church of Our Lady Victorious.

Walk to the next level, and head up the stairs to the top of the garden for one of the best views in Prague. Again, you have a fantastic close-up view of St Nicholas Church, and in the other direction across to the spires and towers of the Old Town Square, framed by the squat towers of the Maltese Church in Mala Strana.

What to photograph: St Nicholas Church Mala Strana, Our Lady Victorious Church, Prague Old Town skyline

Best time to visit – Morning or afternoon – it’s open April to September

Cost – 100 CZK ($4) per adult

VYŠEHRAD

Image of the view from Vysehrad Castle Prague over the city towards Prague Castle
The view from Vysehrad fortress towards Prague city center

Vyšehrad Prague is a fortress overlooking the Vltava river at the southern end of Prague city centre. It’s one of the most recognisable landmarks of Prague thanks to the twin spires of SS Peter and Paul church in its grounds.

There is a path around much of the ramparts, and as you head towards the river, the views get better and better. Near the church, there is a great outlook over the river, the railway (and pedestrian) bridge to Smichov and down the river to the other main bridges in Prague and, of course, Prague Castle.

I’ve visited the location several times with my son, as it’s one of his favourite parks in Prague. There is also a network of footpaths outside some of the fortress walls, some of which lead back to ground level and the tram stop, while others don’t. We followed a path through an archway next to the WCs, and the level footpath has a view beautifully framed by the trees that’s even better than the one higher up on the ramparts.

More information for your trip to Prague

Prague Christmas Markets

Our Guide to Photographing Prague

DAVID ANGEL

DAVID ANGEL

AUTHOR

David Angel is a British writer, historian and photographer. He has been travelling and photographing Europe for over 20 years and his work is regularly featured in worldwide media including the Guardian, BBC, Times and Sunday Times.

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