Prague is often referred to as the ‘city of a hundred (or thousand) spires”. We haven’t counted but there’s definitely quite a few.
One of the best ways to get a bird’s eye view is to go up one of the city’s many publicly accessible towers. Here’s our pick of three of them.
Old Town Hall Tower – Old Town Square
Old Town Square is often full of tourists, gathering in a large crowd for the hourly cuckoo-show from the Astronomical Clock. What is surprising is just how few people take the time to go up the tower.
Entry is 100Kc, there are two lifts that will take you most of the way up, from there you can choose to take a rampway, then a staircase that spirals around the inside of the tower, or another smaller lift.
The view, once you are at the top, is superb. You can look down on the crowds in the Square, or across the rooftops of Old Town and beyond, to the outskirts of the city. Because you’re right in the center of the city, you’re surrounded by Prague’s sights. These are helpfully picked out for you on signs around the parapet.
Petrin Lookout Tower
Situated atop Petrin Hill in Mala Strana, this tower is referred to as a ‘bad scale model’ of the Eiffel Tower. It was built in 1891. There is a lift for disabled access but everyone else will have to take the stairs. When you reach the top you will be rewarded with superb views of Prague Castle and its surroundings as well as Old Town and Nove Mesto on the other side of the river. Again, entry is 100Kc. One of the most interesting ways to reach the tower is by taking the funicular railway up the hill from Ujzed to Petrin.
TV Tower – Zizkov
The TV Tower, built between 1985 and 1992 is the rocket-shaped thing you may have noticed on the skyline. It is rumored its original purpose was to block television signals from the West, although it wasn’t completed till after the Velvet Revolution. Many think it ugly, I’m of the opinion that it’s so ugly it’s beautiful. The massive plastic crawling babies that adorn the outside of the tower (a temporary exhibition of the work of Czech artist and ‘enfant terrible’ David Cerny that became permanent when local residents campaigned to keep them) definitely soften its lines.
On a clear day you can see up to 100km away. Because of its location most of the interesting sights are on one side of the tower. As it is situated on a hill the view feels very much ‘from above’ as you tower above the apartment blocks. To get an idea of the view for yourself take a look at this impressive high resolution 360 degree panorama.
There is a restaurant on the level below the viewing cabins, it’s closed at the time of writing, and in its previous incarnation it was nothing to write home about. Hopefully the new one that opens in its place will be an improvement.
Entry is 120Kc. The tower is reached relatively easily from Jiriho z Podebrad metro station