Petrin Hill Prague – A stunning collection of parks & gardens

by Czech Republic

Petrin Hill Prague

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?

Image of Petrin Hill and Tower from Prague Castle
The view of Petrin Hill from the top of St Vitus Cathedral Tower

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?

Image of blossom trees and a footpath in Petrin Park Prague
A footpath through Seminary Gardens from Hellichova

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. 

Image of the Lobkowicz Garden and Prague Castle
The Lobkowicz Garden from the Raoul Wallenberg Path

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

Image of the Strahov Monastery from the path to Petrin Hill in Prague
The view of Strahov Monastery from the Petrin path that begins in Pohorelec

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.

Petřin Tower

Image of the Petrin Tower Prague at night
The Petrin Tower, one of the most popular Prague landmarks, at twilight

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.

Image of the Petrin Lookout Tower Prague
The Petrin Tower on a lovely summer day

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.

Image of Prague Castle from the Petrin Tower Prague
Prague Castle from Petrin Tower

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.

Image of the Charles Bridge Prague from Petrin Tower
The Charles Bridge from the Prague Eiffel Tower

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 Rose Garden

Image of the Petrin Rose Garden in Prague
The Petrin Rose Gardens and St Lawrence Cathedral

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

Image of the Petrin Flower Garden in Prague
The gorgeous Kvetnice or Flower Garden is the hidden gem of Petrin

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.

Petřin Funicular

Imagoe of the Petrin funicular train Prague
Heading down the hill on the Petrin funicular – pleasant, butr the walk’s better!

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)

Image of the exterior of the Mirror Maze Petrin Prague
The fairytale exterior of the Petrin Mirror Maze

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

Image of St Lawrence Cathedral at the top of Petrin Hill Prague
St Lawrence Old Cathedral is part of the Petrin summit complex

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

Image of St Vitus Cathedral Prague from Petrin Hill
St Vitus Cathedr, one of the highlights of springtime in Prague

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.

Image of Our Lady Victorious Church from Petrin Hill in Prague
Another view of Prague in springtime from Petrin Hill

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.

Image of Prague Old Town at night from Petrin Hill
Old Town Prague at winter twilight from Petrin Hill

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. The same blossom trees turn shades of gold, red and brown in autumn, 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

Image of part of the Hunger Wall Prague on Petrin Hill
The Hunger Wall is built up the steep side of Petrin Hill

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

Image of the Memorial to the Victims of Communism on Petrin Hill Prague
An emaciated soul enduring the depredeations 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.

Štefánik Observatory

Image of the Stefanik Observatory Petrin Hill Prague
The Stefanik Observatory has a great vantage point at the top of Petrin Hill

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

Image of a Petrin Park playground Prague
One of the Petrin Park playgrounds, just below the Petrin Lookout Tower

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

Image of the Summer Palace at Kinsky Gardens Prague
The Summer Palace – now the Ethnographical Museum – in Kinsky Gardens

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 Ethnographical Museum.

Image of Prague city from Kinsky Gardens Smichov Prague
Looking over Smichov towards the Prague Dancing House and New Town

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 Etyhnographic 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.

Vrtba Garden

Image of the Vrtba Garden from the Gloriette Prague
The Vrtba Garden from the highest point, the Gloriette
Image of the ornate entrance hall in the Vrtba Garden Prague
The Sala Terrena, or entrance hall, in the Vrtba Garden
Image of the view of Praguer Old Town from the Vrtba Garden in Prague
The Old Town of Prague from the top of the Vrtba Garden

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.

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