The complete visitors guide to Zizkov Television Tower in Prague, including tickets, prices, review, history and visitors guide (2024)
The modern Žižkov Television Tower is visible from pretty much anywhere in Prague, but it seems like it’s still very much of Prague’s ‘hidden secret’. After years of just looking at the tower, I’ve recently explored the Zizkov area and decided that I should visit the tower finally too.
In this guide, I want to share with you my experience of visiting the Zizkov TV Tower, and to give you inside tips on how to make the most of your visit to this fascinating building. I’ve included my favourite facts about the tower as well as practical information on tickets, opening times and what to see around once you are there.
What is Zizkov TV Tower?
The Zizkov TV Tower was built during the years 1985 – 1992 based on the plans of Vaclav Aulicky and Jiri Kozak.
The Žižkov Television Tower is not only the tallest building in Prague, but also the highest observation deck in the Czech Republic, standing at 216 meters. The tower structure is made with three cylindrical steel tubes reaching a height of 134 meters. The main tube has two high-speed elevators, which go up to the observation area. The extra television antenna mast reaches a height of 216 meters.
The decision to build the Zizkov TV tower was made due to Prague’s continued expansion and increasing interference with television signals. The weight of the entire structure is around 2,200 tons and when it’s a clear sky you can see mountains as far as 100 km away. The tower also features 10 giant babies, sculptures by artist David Černý.
Is Zizkov TV Tower worth visiting?
Yes and no. I know some of my friends didn’t find it good value when they visited, because the tickets for children are not that much cheaper than adult tickets (so the entrance is quite pricey) and all you can do is to look around from the three lookout areas. The children ‘saw’ everything in about 10 minutes and the few panels that describe the building of the tower clearly didn’t hold their attention.
But I have to say, that I have enjoyed my visit – I took my time looking at the view figuring out all the different areas on the map and then in front of me – it’s like seeing a huge 3D map of Prague! I also stayed in the hanging pod chairs for a bit and read the morning news (the place was empty). On my way down I stopped for a coffee in the retro bar and the views from there were great too.
I thought it was a shame that the double glass was a bit misty so it was really difficult to take a clear picture.
Zizkov tv tower is best for…
So, whilst anyone can visit, I think that this place is probably best for couples, adults and romantic dates. You can spend time looking at wonderful views of Prague, have a cocktail or a coffee in the bar and there is even a restaurant if you want to stay for longer.
What to expect when you visit the Zizkov TV tower
OK, so first of all, if you got the impression that you will be able to see clearly Charles Bridge from the tower (which is what the official TV tower website shows you) you are going to be hugely disappointed!
You will be able to see the overall view of Prague and you will be able to work out Prague Castle on the other hill and Petrin Lookout Tower on the other, but not the Vltava river or any famous Prague bridges as they will be in the dip.
You will, however, have the best view of the Zizkov District and the immediate views of the nearby town houses and streets. You will also have a bird’s eye view of the Old Jewish Cemetery just under the tower.
Another thing that you need to know is that the viewing pods have double-sided thick windows (for obvious reasons), but these are sometimes steamed and in places scratched, so you will really need to work out the best spots to take photos of the views below.
If you are planning to take selfies or portrait photos with the view of Prague, that’s quite tricky too, because you will be mostly taking the photos into the light (and if the views are great, the light will be quite strong) and the double glazed windows won’t play ball. But you can still take great photos inside (and the pods are one of the favourite places where people take great selfies).
Crawling Babies on the TV Tower
If you’ve seen the Crawling Babies at Kampa Island, you will recognise these giant faceless babies crawling up the Žižkov Television Tower. These figures are intended to provoke thoughts about society’s relationship with technology as they have what looks like a scanning shopping code instead of their faces.
There are 10 different statues which were placed on the tower in 2000. Their placement on the tower was going to be only temporary, but people liked them, so they stayed permanently.
In 2017 the statues had to be taken down and were replaced by completely new copies. The new babies were made even heavier than the original statues and instead of 190 kg they now weigh 350 kg. They look quite small from the ground, but they are 350 cm long and 260 cm tall! The new statues were installed in 2019.
The Crawling Babies sculptures were originally made for an installation in the Museum of Modern Art in Chicago, but they were also displayed at the London Czech Embassy.
Interesting facts and history
The building of the Zizkov TV tower wasn’t without controversy. The most poignant part of the tower history is that to build it many graves and tombstones from the old Jewish cemetery underneath had to be moved to the New Jewish Prague Cemetery at nearby Olsany.
The need for a more powerful TV signal was discussed as far back as 1974. At the time Prague TV was using the Petrin Lookout Tower for their signal, but it wasn’t strong enough. There was a suggestion to extend the antenna on the Petrin tower because building another TV tower on the other side of Prague would mean moving TV antennas from individual houses to the new direction (and this would have cost a lot of money). The heritage committee didn’t like the idea of the extension of the Petrin tower, so a different place had to be found.
The location in the middle of the neglected Mahler’s Gardens in Zizkov was chosen as a possible place to build the new tower. The work began in 1985 and by spring 1989 the building was nearly finished.
After the Velvet Revolution, a lot of people wanted the tower to be pulled down, but because it was nearly finished, the building was completed and started work in 1991. The analogue TV signal transmission finished in 2009, but there are still analogue radios transmitting from the tower as well as digital TV and radio. The tower is also used by mobile providers to strengthen their signal and there is also equipment for monitoring the quality of air in Prague.
Zizkov TV Tower, Mahler Orchards (Mahlerovy Sady), Prague 3
How to get to ZIzkov Tower from the centre of PRague
The Zizkov Television Tower is about 30 minutes away from the centre of Prague, which includes about a 15 minute tram ride or a few stops on the underground and no more than 10 minutes walk from the nearest tram or underground.
From the centre of Prague, take the underground from Staromestska (close to Old Town Square), Malostranska (under the Prague Castle), Mustek (close to the bottom of Wenceslas Square) or Muzeum (top of Wenceslas Square where the National Museum is) and get off at Jiriho z Podebrad.
If you want to take the tram, then take the number 9 tram called ‘Spojovaci’ from Ujezd (if you’ve just come down from the Petrin Lookout Tower), Narodni Divadlo or Vaclavske Namesti (middle of Wenceslas Square) and ride 10-15 min to Lipanska Street.
Other Prague trams to get you to Lipanska tram stop are trams 1, 5, 8. Once you get off, you will need to walk up the hill to get to the tower, which takes about 10 mins.
The nearest Prague underground station (on line A) and tram stop is Jiriho z Podebrad (trams 1, 11, 13) and then it’s about 7-10 minutes walk.
9 – midnight every day, all year round (major public holidays such as Christmas Day might be closed, so check directly)
Prices range from 190 CZK for children to 300 CZK for adult tickets. Over 60s concession is 250 CZK. Family tickets (2 adults + 2 children) are 640 CZK.
Tickets Where to get tickets
You can buy tickets online or directly at the reception at the bottom of the TV tower. Because the best time to visit is when the weather is good and the visibility is perfect, you might want to leave the purchasing the tickets until you get there in case the weather changes.
If you are buying your ticket online, you can buy it by using any debit/credit card, but if you want to purchase a ticket at the tower, you need to pay with cash (yup, don’t get that one either!). There is no cashpoint on site or nearby so bring some with you.
How much time to allow for your visit
You are welcome to stay as long as you like and enjoy the views from the viewing pods or use the bar or restaurant below.
The minimum amount of time you should allocate is at least 45-60 minutes. There is a short exhibition about the building of the TV tower, plus the weather can change so you might like to linger a bit to get the best photos.
I spent a good 2,5 hrs, because I was taking photos, catching up on e-mails whilst sitting in the fun pod chairs (there were not a lot of people around), waiting for the clouds to move a bit and then went for a drink to the bar.
When to visit
If you want to get a good view or take decent photos, you need to make sure that it’s a clear day. Check the weather forecast before you set out, look out from your hotel window and if the visibility is not great, it won’t improve much on the top of the tower.
I visited in the middle of winter, when the weather was changeable – rain and a bit of sun, so I had to stay for quite a bit longer than I wanted to be able to take some photos of the views.
There is an Oblaca bar and a restaurant in the Zizkov TV tower. The bar has a retro feel to it and serves all sorts of cocktails, tea, coffee and soft drinks too. Cocktails start from 195 CZK and coffee from 80CZK.
The Oblaca restaurant is in another side pod area and has also great views of Prague and the food here is described as a modern Czech with a twist (soups from 225 CZ and mains from 450-800 CZK. The breakfast menu at Bistro 66, which is also based in the tower, looks really good and starts from 135 CZK. The bistro is also great for an informal lunch (soups from 95 CZK and mains from 225 CZK) or coffee and a dessert at any time of the day (freshly prepared desserts from 135 CZK).
There is also another informal restaurant at the bottom of the tower called Miminoo Garden. This restaurant is inspired by Italian cuisine, so you will pizza, pasta and seafood on the menu here. The prices start from 95 CZK for soups, 225 CZK for mains and 125 CZK for desserts.
There are toilets in the mezzanine level above the restaurant and bar (you have to enter the bar area and then head for the iron staircase).
Can I visit Zizkov Tower independently or do I need a guided tour to visit
It’s perfectly fine to visit the TV tower on your own, the signage and information are all in Czech and English language and if you need anything the staff are used to speaking in English on a regular basis.
You might also like to combine the visit to the tower with a walk around Zizkov (see my full guide to Zizkov District area).
How to avoid crowds at Zizkov Tower
From what I could see, every time I walked around the tower and the time I actually visited inside the TV tower, there was never a huge amount of people anywhere, so it should be pretty easy to avoid the crowds. If you are worried that you might run into a lot of people, then weekdays are always going to be less busy than weekends.
The tower is open until midnight every day, so you can come here later in the day and stay for the sunset if you like.
You can also check on the Zizkov Tower website the exact number of visitors at any given point in time, the visibility and the weather forecast.
During the summer (July and August) there is an open-air theatre performing under a big tent in the little square in front of the TV tower. The plays are in Czech, but there are often Shakespeare and other international playwriters included in the programme.
In the winter, there is also a small ice skating ring, so if you are planning to visit Prague in December you can spend some time practising your pirulets! You can borrow ice skates at the ring, so just wrap up warm.
What else you can see & do nearby
- Old Jewish Cemetary under the Zizkov TV Tower
- Old Telephone Exchange building opposite the tower (closed to the public, but you can walk around )
- Palace Akropolis – interesting corner house from the 1930s with a restaurant, bar, cafe and music and theatre venue
- Mini Golf – there is an 18-hole mini golf underneath the tower, which is open all year round.
This blog post was originally written on 5 October 2023 and last updated on 5 October 2023
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