I love climbing towers and seeing a city from different viewpoints. So I was excited to hear that you can buy one ticket that allows access to the most impressive towers of Prague.
This post covers the 5 towers covered in the “The Towers of Prague” ticket as well as a 6th tower not included (the Old Town Hall Tower). It details the towers, the climb you can expect, and features the amazing views of Prague that you’ll see along the way. I’ll also tell you which of the towers were our favorites and why they should not be missed by any visitor to Prague.
The Powder Tower
The Powder Tower lies at the border between the Old Town and the New Town. It also marks the beginning of the ‘royal route’ leading through the Old Town to Prague Castle. Construction started in 1475. From around 1715 the tower was used as a gunpowder storage facility.
What makes the views special: since the tower lies the at border between the Old Town and the New Town, you can see all the sights of the Old Town when looking West.
Above: First photo looking down on dome of Municipal House and across the street at the Theatre House. Second photo is facing west and you can see all of Prague’s major sights including Týn Church, the towers of the Charles Bridge, as well as the Castle district in the background.
The climb: the first part, up the the ticket office, is a typically tight stone staircase found in most old towers and can be claustophobic. But it takes about 3 minutes to get to the ticket office. After the staircase gets a bit wider and easier – until you get near the top and the stairs get steeper and you have to use a rope to help you with a few steps. It sounds bad (and it is the most challenging of Prague’s towers) but don’t be put off. Spanky doesn’t like tower climbs but was happy she did it and a few moments of nervousness didn’t put her off. Overall about 10 minutes to get to the top.
The Old Town Bridge Tower
The Old Town Bridge Tower is one of the most impressive Gothic structures in the world. It was built starting in 1357 (at the same time as the Charles Bridge) under the orders of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and was conceived as a symbolic triumphal arch through which Bohemian kings walked in their coronation procession to St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle.
What makes the views special: Great views in all directions. East is the Old Town and all the towers, spires and domes of its historic buildings. The west has amazing views looking down upon the Charles Bridge and across the river towards the Lesser Town and Castle District.
The climb: Very, very easy. First part on wide spiral (stone) staircase. Continues up wide, wooden staircase past ticket office.
The Lesser Town Bridge Tower
The Lesser Town Bridge Tower was built starting in 1464 and is the taller younger brother of the Old Town Bridge. It guarded the opposite end of the Charles Bridge and was the entrance gate to the Lesser Town.
What makes the views special: Looking east, the tower has great views over the bridge and the Old Town. The opposite side has amazing views of the Castle district.
The climb: very easy on a squarish, wooden staircase to the top.
The Town Belfry by St. Nicholas’ Church
The Town Belfry is taller than the towers mentioned previously (65m, versus the Lesser Town Bridge – the taller of the others – which is 43.5m high). Although built together with St. Nicolas Church, the tower was only finished in 1752. Interesting note – in the 1960’s, the tower became the observation post of the state police who monitored the embassies of western countries that were (and still are) located in the Lesser Town.
What makes the views special: Very good general views of the Bridge and the Old Town across the river. What I really enjoyed actually were the views on the trams below in the Lesser Quarter Square (Malostranské náměstí). On the opposite side, you see close up views of the Castle district and Strahov Monastery.
The climb: easy but strenuous up a very old stone (spiral) staircase and stairs.
The Petřín Observation Tower
The Petřín Observation Tower was built in 1891 and was inspired by the Eiffel tower in Paris. Although much shorter than the Eiffel tower, it stands on a large hill overlooking Prague – overall its height is actually higher than the Eiffel tower.
What makes the views special: The whole city is laid out in front of you. The only thing I can compare it to are the views from a plane when coming in for a landing. Beautiful as the sun comes down. The only negative is the lack of detail because of the distance.
The climb: easy but time-consuming. You can get to the Petřín tower by taking the funicular from the station in the Lesser Quarter (along Karmelitska street – about a 15 minute walk from the Town Belfry). When you get to the top of the hill, it is a pretty 5 minute walk through gardens to get to the tower. You can take an elevator to get up the tower or you can climb up a metal, spiral stairwell (they have one going up, another going down – easy but strenuous). Note; there are 2 viewing decks, make sure to go up further after exploring the first. The 2nd viewing deck has great views but has windows all around and everyone fighting to take photos out of the few open windows. Instead – walk down the stairs where you can take unobstructed photos.
Note: the above 5 towers are included in your“ The Towers of Prague” ticket. It can be bought at any of the Towers covered above. It costs 480 Kc (about $25) and is valid for a period of 3 months.
The Tower covered below is NOT included in the ticket.
The Old Town Hall Tower
The Old Town Hall Tower is located right in the Old Town Square. Famous for its Astronomical Clock, it is also the most popular Tower in town (probably the reason it is not included in the “The Towers of Prague” ticket).
What makes the views special: Fantastic views in all directions, including down on the Old Town Square and Týn Church. You can see the crowds form below when the Astronomical Clock strikes on the hour. Across the river you get views of the Castle district. Beautiful.
The climb: Easy, two sets of elevators take you to the top. As I mentioned previously, not included in the “The Towers of Prague” ticket – you’ll have to pay 110 Kc per person to get up there.
If you love climbing towers then I recommend seeing all the above; they all have unique views. IF I had limited time, I would rank them in this order: 1) The Old Town Bridge Tower (because views awesome in every direction), 2) The Powder Tower (for a great global perspective on everything else), 3) The Old Town Hall Tower (just because of the great views looking down on the Old Town Square), 4) The Petřín Observation Tower (for a bird’s eye view of Prague – try to go for sunset), 5) The Town Belfry by St. Nicholas’ Church (for upclose views of the Castle District), 6) The Lesser Town Bridge Tower – last only because it offers some of the same views, but less spectacular, as the Old Town Bridge Tower.
Related: Where to find the Best Views in Prague (this one covers more than just towers).
Have you climbed any of these towers? What do you think?
Accommodation: We stayed in this apartment for a month, paying CAD 1167 (That’s $900 US right now). Great location, fantastic views (you’ll notice some of the photos above taken of Prague Castle), the apartment was a bit rustic in some ways but fine for our needs. Good value. This other apartment, a block away was more expensive but fantastic (we only stayed one night due to a screw up on dates in the other apartment) . One of the nicer apartments we’ve ever stayed in, totally recommend. If you’ve never signed up for Airbnb, use our link and save $35 on your first stay. Hotels. A couple of suggestions in the mid-range category: The Blue Oak. It has a perfect location on the castle side of the river. Another very nice hotel at a good price is Dolce Vita Suites on the Old Town side of the river. Both are excellent. A great Budget choice is the Czech Inn Hostel.
Flights (and hotels). We use Expedia for all our flight bookings. We also use it to book hotels when bundling a flight with a hotel stay (bundling flights with hotels results in big savings and is the best reason to use Expedia).
The Kolkovna Olympia restaurant, right next to the above apartments, has great Czech food and beer at very affordable prices.
The Savoy Cafe, right next door to the above restaurant is very popular as one of Prague’s oldest cafes. We found the cakes and coffee ordinary though.
I’ve previously written about Prague in great detail, you can find all my posts here.
Ps. If you find our blog helpful, please consider using our links to book your flights, hotels, tours, and car rentals. Have a look at our Travel Resources page.