Lesser-known Prague

by Simon Harker

A guide to one of Prague's most breathtaking locales, Petřín Hill, which is home to everything from a 12th-century monastery and a mirror maze to a reduced scale model of the Eiffel Tower

Bustling, beautiful Prague holds surprises around every corner, from thought-provoking works of modern art to incredible architectural achievements from centuries past. One of its most breathtaking neighbourhoods is Petřín Hill, home to everything from a monastery and a mirror maze to a reduced scale model of the Eiffel Tower.

The best way to begin your journey through this stunning area is to catch a ride on the funicular railway from Mala Strana (Lesser Town), a regularly running cable car ride that will take you straight to the top for a small price and provides an opportunity to take in some amazing sights along the way. From the top of the hill you are able to meander down by foot, preferably with the aid of a map to help you find everything you plan to see, although most of the sights are well signposted.

The first thing you'll come across are the beautifully landscaped gardens, and beyond those the mirror maze, ideal for both youngsters and the young at heart. Although it doesn't take a huge amount of effort to find the exit, this is still a fun way to spend 30 minutes, and as well as a labyrinth features a fairground-style hall of mirrors sure to draw a giggle.

Close by is the Observation Tower, a 60-metre high replica of Paris's Eiffel Tower. The views from the railway may be spectacular, but even after that experience you will be astonished by the panoramic views of Prague accessible from the top of this magnificent structure.

The hill holds a wealth of stunningly realised places of worship, from the 12th-century Strahov Monastery, which doubles as a museum and library, to my favourite location on the trail, the Church of St Michael. As well as being absolutely beautiful, this wooden structure has an incredible story. The building was relocated here from a valley in Ukraine when floods threatened to overcome it. It really is something to behold, and it's a building I instantly fell in love with. A reason to return to Prague in the future all in itself!

Aside from the grand buildings and fun diversions, there are an assortment of smaller treasures to seek out on your journey back down to the heart of the city. Miniature waterfalls and intricately detailed statues are in abundance in this beautiful woodland location and there are plenty of areas to eat, as well as simply sit and enjoy the view.

Many of the city's must-see attractions can be found here, so be sure to take along a camera because there are plenty of fantastic photo opportunities. Petřín Hill is truly a place where treasured memories are just waiting to be created.