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Petřín Funicular, Prague

For spectacular views of central Prague and the Vltava River, ride this 1890s-vintage cable car to the top of the city's most popular hillside park.

Petřín Funicular, Prague

ABOVE: The Petřín Funicular passes a family as it climbs to the summit of Petřín Hill above Prague's Malá Strana district.


Petřín Hill is one of Prague's dominant landmarks, rising some 146 meters or 479 feet above the Vltava River in central Prague. Although the park and its gardens are covered by paths, the quickest and easiest way to reach the top is a ride on the Petřín Funicular, which has shuttling passengers up and down the hillside for more than a century.

If you aren't familiar with funiculars, here's a crash course:

  • In a funicular, there are two cars (one starting at the upper station, the other at the lower) that are connected by a cable with a pulley. The cars are counterbalanced, so that one car goes up while the other comes down.

  • To make the cars move, an electric motor supplies propulsion. At least, that's how most funiculars work nowadays. Back in 1891, when the Petřín Funicular entered service, it used a "water-balanced" propulsion system. This involved filling a tank on the top car with water to make it heavier than the lower car, causing the top car to descend. As the upper car came down the hill, the cable connecting the two cars caused the lower car to ascend.

  • The Petřín Funicular has suspended operations twice over the years: from 1914 until 1932 (during and after World War I), and again from 1965 to the mid-1980s after a series of mudslides. Today's funicular entered service in 1985. It uses electric propulsion and standard-gauge track.


Where to find the station:

Look for the funicular's lower station (named Újezd), which is inside the park entrance near the Újezd tram stop in Prague's Malá Strana district between the castle and the river.

The Petřín Funicular is open daily throughout most of the year, with scheduled breaks for maintenance in spring and fall. Click here for more unofficial information, including seasonal timetables, or download an official timetable from the DPP transit agency's Web site.


Tickets:

You can buy a funicular ticket from a vending machine inside the station.(Thirty-minute or 90-minute tram/bus/metro tickets can't be used on the funicular.) However, you won't need a funicular ticket if you have a validated one- or three-day DPP public transit ticket: Just skip the ticket line and head for the departure platform.

Children under 15 years old travel free (no ticket required). Children 15 and above are considered adults.

If you're over the age of 70, you can travel completely free (no ticket required) on Prague metro trains, trams, buses, and the funicular.

Seniors and children over the age of 10 should carry a passport or other government-issued photo ID to show ticket clerks and inspectors if required.

Click here for detailed fare information from the DPP transit agency's Web site.


Riding the Petřín Funicular:

BELOW: Look for the Újezd sign and a picture of a funicular on a cream-colored building after entering Petřín Park.

The funicular's lower station is just inside the park, a short walk from the Újezd tram stop that is served by lines 9, 12, 15, 20, 22, and 23.

Passengers line up at the Újezd (lower) station of Petrin Funicular, Prague


BELOW: When it's time to board, follow the crowd (or the operator) to the waiting funicular car. The car has doors on multiple levels, so just follow the steps until you reach a compartment with available space.

Please note: As you can see in the photo, the Petřín Funicular is not fully accessible to wheelchair users.

Passengers board the Petřín Funicular, Prague

BELOW: During your uphill ride (which takes less than five minutes), you'll enjoy views of the park and the city's skyline.

View of park paths from Petřín Funicular, Prague


BELOW: The Petřín  Funicular has a single track with passing loops. This view shows an ascending car approaching a descending car.

Petrin Funicular car passing other car on tracks


BELOW: When you reach the top of the hill, you'll exit in a flat area with gardens and other tourist attractions.

Top station of Petrin Funicular, Prague


BELOW: Look for a sign with a map of the Petřín park complex, which will help you get your bearings. (Click here to see a much larger image in a separate window on your tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.)

Map of Petrin Hill, Prague


BELOW: One of the more intriguing sights on Petřín Hill is the Štefánik Observatory. It offers telescope viewing (both daytime and after dark), a planetarium, astronomical exhibits, and an "Astro Bistro" with outdoor seating in good weather.

Štefánik Observatory

Sign for Štefánik Observatory and Astro Bistro, Prague


BELOW: As you look around the top of Petřín  Hill, you'll see the Petřín Lookout Tower and the Cathedral of St. Lawrence. A Mirror Maze is nearby.

Scenery near upper station of Petřín Funicular, PRague


BELOW: The Petřín Lookout Tower was inspired by the Eiffel Tower, and its viewing platform is at the same elevation as its Parisian counterpart (thanks largely to the fact that it's built on a hill). The city's tourist office claims that, on a clear day, you can see nearly all of Bohemia from the top.

Petřín Lookout Tower, Prague


BELOW: On your way to or from the upper funicular station, you'll pass through a section of the Hunger Wall, which was built as part of the city's medieval fortifications.

Tip: Note the sign pointing to public toilets (WCs). 

Hunger Wall at top of Petřín Hill, Prague


BELOW: It's an easy--if time-consuming--walk from the top of Petřín Hill to Malá Strana (a.k.a. the "Lesser Town"). Still, if you'd rather take the funicular, look for the entrance beneath a green "Petřín" sign.

Upper station of Petřín Funicular (passenger entrance), Prague


BELOW: Here, you can see the operator's control panel of a funicular car in the upper or Petřín station.

Tracks of Petřín Hill funicular from upper station, Prague


BELOW: On both the uphill and downhill trips, the funicular stops briefly at Nebozízek, which is the site of a popular hillside restaurant and hotel.

 Nebozízek or middle station, Petřín Funicular


More resources:

Wikipedia: Petřín Funicular
The online encyclopedia's article includes technical information about the funicular. Also see Funimag's article for historical tidbits.

Prague Experience: Petřín Funicular
This page may look old-fashioned, but it's loaded with useful visitor information such as operating hours and frequencies.

DPP: Welcome to Prague
Prague's transit agency has English-language information on metro trains, trams, buses, and 1- or 3-day tickets. Its funicular page includes a map of the area around the Újezd funicular and tram stations.

If you have a few minutes to spare, watch this YouTube video from Nico of Real Prague Guides:


Also see:
Prague Tramway Maintenance