On maps of the city the Prague Funicular may be listed with its Czech name i.e. Lanova Draha. Some sites describe it as a cable car. That’s true in so far as it is pulled by a cable but it runs on tracks. Hence why we call it a Funicular and not a cable car.
It was first operated by water compression in 1891 as a means of getting up to the newly constructed Petrin Tower but it lasted only until 1916. In 1932 a private business took it over to rebuild and electrify it to service the tower and the newly opened observatory but in 1965 it was largely destroyed by a landslide. Since 1985 it has been working again, this time as part of the public transport network.
Where is the Prague Funicular?
It’s on the Castle side of the river but on the opposite hill with all the trees. At the top end you are aiming for the Stefanik Observatory. At the bottom you are aiming for the Ujezd tram stop. Coming from the Castle or the Lesser Town just get off at Ujezd (trams 15, 20 and 22). Cross the road and walk up to the garden then turn right. The Prague Funicular building is at the end of the garden and pictured below.
If you are coming across the river from the Old Town side then when you get off the tram at the Ujezd stop you need to walk to the end of the road, turn right, cross the tramline to the other side, turn right and walk to the end of the garden. By then you’ll see the signs. The website further down this page has details.
Frequency depends on the season and the time of day but give or take it’s every 15 minutes. Just note that there is an intermediate stop called Nebozizek and you can get off here to walk the last part through the Petrin Park. Otherwise, stay on the Funicular to the end.
How Much Is It?
You can consider that the Prague Funicular is part of the regular integrated public transport system so it accepts all valid DPP tickets/passes and associated discounted/free options (if you are aged 60 or over read the Exploring Prague Over 60 post for how to get free/discounted travel in Prague). If you buy tickets at the Funicular then check the How to Use a Touch-Screen Ticket Machine post. A basic ticket to ride is CZK24.
Why Use It?
Not only is it scenic, it’s also the fastest and most comfortable way of getting up to the Petrin Park/Watchtower (Little Eiffel Tower). From the Prague Funicular entry area you have the option to follow the pathway which comes out in the same place but it’ll take you 30 minutes of slogging uphill walking. Travelling at 4 metres per second on the Prague Funicular it takes a little over 2 minutes.
The route people often take is to cross the Legie Bridge (by the National Theatre). Then stop at Cafe Savoy for a break before continuing to the end of the road and the Communist Prisoner Memorial. Then the Funicular to Petrin Park, the Little Eiffel Tower and working your way around to the left you head to Strahov Monastery (stop for a beer/food), Loreta and finally Prague Castle.
Note that maintenance of the Prague Funicular is always in March and October. Normally it’s out of service for at least 2 weeks but occasionally for longer. Check the DPP Website for exact operation dates.