Take a peak at one of the best views of Prague from the Historical Petrin Hill and Observation Tower. Petrin Hill also includes a manicured garden and the famous restaurant Vinarna Nebozizek.
Petrin Hill is the largest green space in the centre of Prague and offers not only a fantastic view of the city from Petrin Tower at its summit, but also a chance to escape from the bustle of tourists, especially in the summer.
Formerly the site of a quarry that provided the stone for many of the major buildings in Prague, today the hill is covered in trees (it is, in fact, made up of eight adjoining parks and orchards). It is dominated at the top by the Petrin Observation Tower, a miniature replica of Paris' Eiffel Tower, which was built for the 1891 Prague Exposition.
Its colourful history since then has seen both Adolf Hitler's keenness to have it demolished during the Second World War and the neglect into which it fell under the Communist regime (which also built some truly ugly apartment blocks on the hill, an unfortunate eyesore). Renovated after the 1989 revolution, the tower now serves as an illuminated symbol of the independent Czech Republic.
Also worth looking out for are the statues of Czech poets, the Rose Gardens and the "Hunger Wall," several miles long, commissioned by Charles IV and built by starving peasants in exchange for food. Kids will have fun getting lost and ogling their weird reflections in the Mirror Maze, whilst those looking for something a little more serious can investigate the nearby Strahov Monastery.
If you don't fancy making the climb to the top of the hill on foot (it is, after all, 318 metres or 1043 feet high, plus 299 steps to the top of the tower), there's the option of a ride in the funicular for the cost of a normal tram ticket. The funicular - originally water-powered but replaced with electricity in 1932 - was built at the same time as the tower, but suffered even greater neglect, finally reopening in 1985.
While it is an excellent place to take the kids during the innocent hours of daylight, Petrin Hill has always had slightly pagan connotations. In April there is the unusual and particularly spooky spectacle of Witches' Night, while on May Day it serves a venue for ardent lovers to meet.
Petřínská rozhledna (Petrin Lookout Tower)
Petřínské sady, 118 00 Prague 1
March: Every day, 10:00-20:00
April - September: Every day, 10:00-22:00
October: Every day, 10:00-20:00
November - February: Every day, 10:00-18:00