Why walk up a mountain when there’s something as great as a funicular. The Petřín funicular goes up Prague’s Petřín, a mountain west of the center.
The history of the Petřín funicular began in 1889, when the members of the Czech Tourist Club returned from their trip to France and decided to build a scaled-down version of the Eiffel Tower on Petřín. The walk up there was relatively far from the city center and also quite steep, so they decided to build a funicular.
1891 – 1916 the first phase of operation
The operation of the funicular railroad also opened in July 1891 for the Great National Jubilee Exhibition. The Petřín funicular was initially a so-called water ballast railroad, which ran on a three-rail system. Approximately in the middle of the line there was a passing point where both cars of the railroad could pass each other. The train was powered by water ballast. The downhill train traveled with filled water tanks and pulled the downhill train uphill with the help of gravity. During the journey, the water was gradually drained. In total, the train traveled a distance of 395.50 meters with a maximum gradient of 295%. The ride lasted about 6 minutes and about 50 people could sit in the carriages.
In 1916, the traffic of the Petřín funicular was stopped for the first time. Not only the low utilization, but also the increasing lack of water on the mountain made it impossible to use.
1931 – 1965 the second phase of operation
A major event was planned in Prague for 1932 in the newly built Strahov Stadium. In order to be able to transport the expected spectators to the Petřín, it was decided to make the Municipal Transport Company in Prague the new owner of the funicular and to commission its repair.
First, the line was widened to a standard gauge width and converted to electric traction. The single-track line was extended to 511 meters. The bottom station was built in a historic building from the Baroque period. The upper station was also located a little higher and the Hunger Wall on Petřín (dating back to the 14th century) was breached. About in the middle of the line they built a passing station and a stop with a garden restaurant. The train stopped here when needed on the uphill journey.
The carriages were ultra-modern for the time and could carry up to 100 people per carriages. A novelty was the full automation. The carriages attendant only had to press one button and the ride started independently.
In 1965, after heavy rains, there was a landslide that destroyed the line. Passengers had to get off in the middle of the track, and the carriages could be carefully driven into the stations. In 1967, the track was again destroyed when a landslide broke loose. The damage was so extensive that it was impossible to think of resuming operations.
1985 – the Petřín funicular runs again!
In 1985, another major event was to be held at Strahov Stadium. And once again, the Petřín funicular was reactivated. It was renovated and modernized, new carriages were purchased, and operations were resumed in the summer of 1985. From now on, carriages were also used again in the trains, which, as in times past, offer many glass surfaces for a great view. The 100-passenger carriages are illuminated and have heating.
Get on board – the ride begins!
We start our ride at the Újezd valley station. With our public transport day pass we are also allowed to use the Petřín funicular. The individual compartments are well filled, but not yet uncomfortably crowded. After a short wait, a train driver comes and closes the doors. With a jolt, our ride begins.
The view from the windows is already impressive. You can see the Prague Castle and have a fantastic view of the Vltava River.
Shortly before the middle station, the ride slows down and finally the train stops. The oncoming train is at the mid station and some passengers get off. Then another jolt and for us it continues to the mid station. We also let some passengers off and then continue the ride.
Very slowly, we enter the top station. When we stand, the doors open and the passengers crowd to the exit. The train guide already looked a little impatient, because I was not quite in a hurry. But finally she was allowed to close the door behind me and wait for passengers for the next downhill ride.
For us, we now went on a tour of the Petřín with its sights and little insider tips.
November – March
daily 9 – 23.20
April – October
daily 9 – 23.30
The trains run at 10-15 minute intervals.
During regular revisions, the funicular is out of service.
Public transport adults (more detailed information on ticket prices)
32 Kč (Basis), 24 Kč (short distance)