Only a stone throw away from the Prague Castle is Petřín Hill, perfect for a summer walk away from the bustle of tourists. Part of the land is set aside for an apple and a pear orchard from which the fruit can be freely picked from the trees. Much of the stone shed in building the major sights in Prague was quarried out of Petřín. However, today, this is not noticeable beneath the trees and gardens. The observation tower and a manicured garden dominate the summit, and halfway down is the famous restaurant Nebozízek – where you can enjoy a meal with a perfect view of Prague.
The hill is 318 meters or 1043 feet high. For those less energetic, a funicular will save you the trouble of climbing (the price of a normal tram ticket). Petřín Hill is also easily accessible from Hradčany and Strahov.
Funicular Railway to Petřín Hill
Just opposite to tram stop Újezd (trams 12, 22, 23) in Lesser Town. Railway runs daily from 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. (11:20 p.m. from November to March) in 10-15 minutes intervals.
The charming Victorian Funicular is one of Prague’s most popular sights. The original Újezd station, and the original Lanová Dráha, were built in 1891 for the same exposition that the Petřín watchtower was built for. It has since been rebuilt several times. Actually, this latest restoration, surprisingly before the end of Communism, is one of the most successful, as the various rebuilds have been required by the whole system’s falling apart again and again.
In the Middle Ages, there were vineyards and fields. There have always been numerous springs on the Petřín slopes, and the water was lead via a set of tunnels to Pohořelec and to Lesser Town. Currently, water is lead to the river Vltava. In the 1930s, the park was modified and now consists of Lobkowicz Garden, Nebozízek, Rose Park, Park at the Look-out Petřín Tower and Seminary Garden. All gardens, except for Lobkowicz Garden, are open to the public free of charge.
Petřín Look-Out Tower
An iron tower 60m high, built in 1891 by F. Prášil for the Jubilee Exhibition as a copy of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. 299 steps lead up to the top platform.
Maze (mirror maze)
Don’t forget the hall of mirrors for a new and varied perspective of yourself – The Petřín Hill Maze. Originally a pavilion of the Czech Tourist Club at the 1891 Universal Exhibition was transferred later to the Petřín Hill and turned into a mirror maze. It is a favourite spot for the children—fun for all.
The food isn’t that much great, but the views from the terrace are spectacular. The restaurant is often full, good to reserve a table. Getting there: can be reached by funicular, the second stop.
Vrtba Garden is situated on the slope of Petřín Hill and is one of the most precious and beautiful of Prague’s Baroque gardens.
Communist Victims Memorial
Olbram Zoubek’s stunning sculpture sits at the bottom of Petřín Hill. It features masculine figures – in different stages of desiccation – coming down a concrete stairwell. Through the middle of these steps, a metallic line counts the number of victims: 170938 driven into exile, 327 shot whilst attempting to escape over the border, 205486 arrested, 4500 who died while in prison and 248 executed.