The easiest and most popular way to get to the top of Petrin Hill is by taking the funicular railway. The funicular starts at Ujezd and takes you to the top of the hill in just a few minutes.
From there, it’s just a short walk to the historic Petrin Lookout Tower set amongst the trees. I often use the Petrin funicular railway when I don’t fancy the walk up the hill. You can also see a fabulous view of Prague as you are getting closer to the top of Petrin Hill.
What is PeTrin Funicular ?
The Petřín Funicular connects to the Prague tram public transport at the Újezd stop and runs along the Újezd – Nebozízek – Petřín route. All types of longer-time public transport tickets (1, 3 or 30 day passes) and special funicular tickets (60 CZK) are valid for this cable car ride.
In the Czech language, the funicular is called ‘Lanova Draha’ or ‘Lanova Draha na Petrin’ if you see it written anywhere, and it’s often translated as a Petrin Funicular or Petrin Cable Car.
Is Petrin Funicular worth visiting?
Since 2021 the tickets for the funicular were made separate from the rest of the public ticket system, so unless you already have the day, 3 days or monthly travel card it’s an extra cost.
The price is an equivalent of a very cheap coffee (60 CZK) so it’s definitely worth it to take you up to the top of the hill, as the hill is very steep if you were to decide to walk.
To save the return 60 CZK ticket, you can walk down through the beautiful green Kinsky Park and gardens or continue the walk to the Strahov Monastery and the Prague Castle on the top of the hill (a fairly level walk).
There is also a little exhibition about the history of the funicular at the top of Petrin station with old photos and descriptions in both Czech and English language, which I really liked when I visited last time.
Best way to use the Petrin Cable Car
It’s obviously better value to pay for the journey up to the top of the hill and then either walk down the hill through Petrin Park or continue to Strahov Monastery and slowly come down via Nerudova street or through the Strahov Garden (you can also walk behind the German Embassy to see the David Cerny art statue Trabant).
Interesting Facts about the petrin funicular
The Petrin Funicular is 511 metres long and the gradient of the hill is about 30%. The cable car manages to climb up to Petrin Hill where the difference is 130 metres from the Ujezd stop.
There are only two carriages at the Petrin Funicular. The two carriages are connected together with a very strong steel cable and as the top carriage comes down is pulling the bottom one up. There is a passing point in the middle, where the two carriages meet for a short time.
The maximum speed is 4 metres per second (it’s quite slow). There are only 3 stops – Ujezd, Nebozizek and Petrin and the whole journey is about 4 minutes.
Petrin Funicular, Petrin Hill, Ujezd, Prague 1, Lesser Town
How to get to Petrin Cable Car at Ujezd
The bottom station of the cable car is just a few metres away from the Ujezd tram stop. You can get there by trams 9, 12, 15, 20, 22. Some trams stop slightly round the corner depending on which direction you are travelling from, but all the tram stops are called ‘Ujezd’.
The Ujezd tram stop is about 5 minutes away from the Lesser Town Square (so you can easily walk if you wish), 7 minutes from the Narodni Trida (and the National Theatre stop – Narodni Divadlo) or about 15 minutes from the Wenceslas Square by tram number 9 from ‘Vaclavske Namesti’ which is in the middle of the square.
The best way to get to the Ujezd from the Old Town Square is to walk towards the Powder Tower through Celetna Street and then continue to the Namesti Republiky (the Peace Square) which is only about 10 minutes walk. Get the number 15 tram all the way to the Ujezd which will about 10 minutes journey.
If you want to walk to Ujezd from the centre, you can easily do that by walking across the oldest bridge in Prague the Charles Bridge and then either walk through the streets (Karmelitska and Ujezd) or walk through the green Kampa Island park and then through the back narrow streets at Ujezd to get to the funicular station at Ujezd.
- Tram 22 route – The self-guided tour of Prague >>
- Tram 9 route – What to see and do along the way >>
Opening Times Opening Hours
The funicular starts to work at 8 am (8:00) and the last train leaves at 11 pm (23:00) from both the top and the bottom funicular stops.
The trains run every 15 minutes for the whole hour and at 15 minutes, 30 minutes and 45 minutes past every hour during off-peak (8-9 am in the morning and 8-10 pm in the evening). During the main operating day from 10 – 7 pm the trains run every 10 minutes starting at the whole hour.
Because the trains are connected the times are given for the last end stops at the bottom and the top of the funicular.
If you are getting on the funicular at Nebozizek add 2 minutes extra but to be on the safe side I would suggest that you get there at the same time as the timetable for the Ujezd stop.
Opening times in summer and winter
The funicular is open all year round, but it might not run on some special Czech public holidays, such as Christmas Day.
It also has scheduled maintenance during the low tourist season from 20 March to 6 April and again from 9 – 27 October.
Summer frequency is 10 minutes during the main working hours. Winter frequency is 15 minutes throughout the whole day.
How do you ride the funicular in Prague?
The funicular has only one carriage, which has about 20 seating places and 80 standing places.
If the funicular is very busy you might have people standing in front of you when you are sitting down, so if you want to film or take photos or just have a great view you either need to stand upright in the front or the back of the funicular carriage.
Petrin Funicular Cost
Tickets are 60 CZK (each way) or free if you have one day, 3 days or monthly Prague public transport travel card.
Since 2021 the Petrin Funicular tickets are separate from the 30 or 90 minutes public transport tickets and you can’t use these even if you still have some valid time on these tickets. You have to purchase separate tickets.
Children up to 15 years old and seniors over 65 travel free, but they have to have an official ID with them. The only official ID the ticket inspector will accept from foreign visitors is a passport. (for Czech people this is either ‘obcansky prukaz’ citizen’s id card or passport or a specially issued card by the public transport department).
How to buy tickets for Petrin Funicular
Tickets can be bought directly at each stop at Ujezd and Petrin and there is also a ticket automat machine at Nebozizek station.
The ticket machines take cards (any debit or credit card) or Czech currency coins. If you are using coins, it’s always a good idea to have exact money as these machines can be sometimes temperamental and might not give you your change back.
If you have a day, 3 days or monthly visitors ticket, the Petrin Funicular fee is already covered in your ticket and you don’t need to purchase a separate ticket.
If Petrin Funicular is the first attraction you want to see and you already know that you want to buy one or the 3 days travel pass, you can buy it at the funicular station. The smaller modern yellow machine gives you the option to buy a single ticket (60 CZK) or 24 hrs ticket (120 CZK) or 3 day ticket (330 CZK).
A super important rule that you need to know when you visit
There are two different types of machines where you can get your ticket. If you buy it from the new yellow small machine that’s mounted on the barriers as you walk into the paid area of the funicular, you just take your ticket and that’s that.
But if you buy your ticket from the large yellow machine (yup, confusing, I know…) you need to stamp the ticket at the smallest yellow marking machine (that can’t give out tickets, just stamps them).
Please, make sure to mark (stamp) your ticket in the machines at the bottom of the cable car before you take the ride up. There are inspectors waiting on the top, checking tickets and if you don’t have a stamped ticket with a date and time, they will fine you 1000 CZK on the spot.
Most people think that buying the ticket is the way you ‘validate’ the ticket, but it’s the stamping in the yellow machines as you pass through to the cable car entrance that makes the ticket valid and official.
How long does the journey by the funicular last?
The journey is very short – 3-4 minutes maximum with a short stop at Nebozizek and to pass by the funicular carriage that’s going down (or up…depending on where you are).
There is a little refreshments booth at the Ujezd station selling soft drinks, sweets and savoury snacks. As you are approaching the Ujezd station, there are plenty of restaurants, pubs and a few food corner shops. There is a restaurant at the Nebozizek station and there are further refreshments stalls and a small restaurant at Petrin Hill.
There are no toilets at the funicular, but the nearest toilets are at the top of Petrin Hill as you come out of the funicular and also close to Petrin Tower. There are no public toilets at Ujezd, but there are many pubs, restaurants and ice cream places that have toilets for their customers.
Unfortunately, the funicular is not wheelchair accessible. The walk to the stop at Ujezd is a bit uphill and about 100 metres from the tram stop. Once you are inside the paid area of the funicular, there are a few steps to manage to get to the cable car, but these are minimal.
Once you are on the top of Petrin Hill, everything is fairly flat or level walking until you start to go down again. You can choose to go down via park serpentines, which are not that steep.
How to avoid crowds at Petrin funicular
To avoid tourist crowds at Petrin funicular, try to visit during off-peak hours – either between 8- 9 am or after 6 pm when the day visitors have already left the city. The problem is that the main attractions at the top of Petrin Hill are open between 9 am -5 pm most days, which is why the funicular is always going to be busy during these hours.
It’s not just the crowds that might be the problem, but if there are too many people the funicular can’t take more than 100 people at one time. This means that you might need to wait until the next funicular which is normally 10-15 minutes.
Can you walk up to Petrin Hill?
Yes, if you decide not to use the funicular to get to the top of Petrin Hill, you can walk up. I sometimes do that, if I see that the queue is too long.
There are several paths that take you up to the top – basically, just take any path that goes up! The paths are a bit winding, so it might take you up to 20-30 minutes to reach the top, depending on how fast you walk.
The Petrin Funicular Railway History
The Petrin cable car was originally built in 1891 and specially opened for the National Exhibition which was held at the Exhibition Grounds close to Stromovka Park. At the same time, the Petrin Lookout Tower was built and the funicular was built to take people up to the tower.
The first version of the funicular was powered by water and designed by the engineers Reiter and Štěpán. The idea was simple – the water was pumped into the tank under the upper funicular carriage which was then pulling the lower carriage up as it was heavier. The driver’s job was to only apply brakes if needed. Whilst this was a genius idea in principle, the water quite often dried out and people still needed to walk up the steep Petrin Hill.
At the time the funicular route was also a lot shorter (just under 400 metres), although when it was built it was the longest funicular in Austria – Hungary Empire. The lower station was much higher than it is today and the Petrin station was much closer to the Nebozizek. The carriages at the time were 6 metres long and took 32 people. The carriages were made by the Ringhoffer Factory in Smichov only a few kilometres away.
During the First World War, the funicular stopped running and afterwards, there were not enough funds to re-open it. Eventually, Prague Electric Enterprises took over the running of the funicular and started with a major reconstruction in 1931.
The track was extended to its current length of 511 meters (and the upper station was moved closer to the top of the Petrin Hill) and a three-phase electric motor was installed at the upper station. The lower station was established in a Baroque house where originally a photographer Jindrich Eckert had his first photographic studio.
The top part of the funicular was extended by cutting through the Hunger Wall. The new terminus station was designed by architect Frantisek Sramek.
The funicular was also given new carriages, which resembled the trams of that time and was able to transport up to 2,600 people per hour. The funicular worked without any problems until June 1965, when the chief engineer Miroslav Furst reported to the dispatch that the funicular tracks were spreading apart.
It was later found out that this was caused by water that soaked the clay soil which started to slide over the slide the sandstone layer, and by 1967, two-thirds of the funicular track had been unusable and later destroyed.
The funicular had to be closed down and didn’t re-open until 1985 when it was incorporated into the Prague public transport system.
Things to do around Petrin Cable Car
At Ujezd station you have a lovely park which has beautiful pink flowering trees in the spring and there are flower displays running in the middle of the park.
At the end of the park, you will see the statues of the Memorial to the Victims of Communism as they walk down the steps towards the Ujezd.
From the Nebozízek station, there is a beautiful view of Prague Castle and the whole of Prague. Near Petrin Lookout tower is the famous Mirror Maze in the Pavilion of Czech Tourists, which was originally located at the Prague Exhibition Grounds in 1891 close to the large Stromovka Park and moved to its current location a year later.
The pavilion is a miniature of the medieval gate Špička, which was part of the fortifications of Vyšehrad Castle grounds. The building also houses a panoramic painting of the Defense of Prague against the Swedish army.
The cable car also passes through the historical Hunger Wall, built by one of the most important kings of Bohemia Charles IV between 1360-1362. It’s named ‘Hunger’ because it provided employment for the poor people of Prague who would otherwise go hungry.
The wall was part of the medieval fortifications of the city. Part of the Baroque fortifications of Prague has also been preserved on Petřín Hill – bastions No. IV (St. Charles), No. V (St. Lawrence), and No. VI (St. Adalbert).
As you leave Petrin station on the top of the hill, you can also see the Štefánik Observatory founded in 1930.
Halfway down Petrin Hill, you can also see the famous statue of the poet K. H. Mácha by J. V. Myslbek, created between 1910-1912.
Petrin Park is formed by several gardens, which over a period of time were linked together. You can walk through the Kinsky Garden, Lobkowicz, Nebozízek, Rose Park, Seminary Garden and Strahov Garden.
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This blog post was originally written on 19 July 2023 and last updated on 19 July 2023