Prague Castle tops list of tourist attractions

Based on paid admissions, Aquapalace Praha surprisingly is in fourth place

Prague Castle, the funicular at Petřín and Prague Zoo were the city’s three biggest tourist attractions in 2017. Figures from Prague City Tourism count places with paid admission, which excludes sites like Charles Bridge as there is no way to accurately count visitors.

The Castle and funicular also saw big increases over 2016, with the Castle having 2.38 million visitors, up from 2.10 million, while the funicular had 2.07 million up from 1.75 million.

The number of visitors to Prague Castle counts only people who bought a ticket for one of the exhibitions or for a tour route. More than 8 million people came to the castle grounds without a ticket, according to estimates.

Last year, the exhibition The Light within a Picture – Czech Impressionism was seen by almost 100,000 people at Prague Castle. This year, audiences are expected to show high interest in exhibitions marking the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Czechoslovakia. Some parts have already happened, such as the exhibition of the crown jewels, which drew 32,000 people and had lines for over three hours to get in. But as this was free, these people won’t be counted in the 2018 tally.

The funicular at Petřín itself isn’t really a tourist attraction in the classical sense, but it helps to get an impression of how many people visit Petřín park, a steep hill with orchards and other items of interest. The Petřín Lookout Tower was visited by some 713,000 people, up from 660,00 in 2016. The Mirror Maze (Zrcadlové bludiště na Petříně) had 391,000 visitors, up from 388,000.

Prague Zoo actually saw a slight drop in visitors, but that was attributed to being closed for several days due to bad weather. In 2017 there were 1,445,126 visitors, just 3,227 fewer than in 2016. A big draw in 2016 was the birth of two baby elephants.

One place on the list of popular attractions that might surprise people is Aquapalace Praha, which had 1.22 million visitors in 2017, up from 1.02 in the previous year. Unlike the other spots on the list, this one is used mainly by local people, some of whom go multiple times each year.

Other popular places include the Jewish Museum with 717,000 visitors, the National Theater with 600,000, Žižkov Television Tower with 318,000, Průhonice Park with 255,000, the National Technical Museum with 245,000. While Průhonice Park is technically outside of the city limits, it is counted as part of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Figures were not given for the Old Town Hall Tower, which had been closed for renovation for much of 2017. It has 867,000 visitors in 2016.

The list did not include events and festivals, such as the Signal Festival, which drew around 600,000 people over four days in October.

Prague is visited by about 7 million people annually. For the first three-quarters of 2017, some 5.7 million people visited Prague, with foreigners accounting for 4.9 million. December, popular for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, saw some 650,000 visitors. Full figures for 2017 are not available.

Prague is the 20th most-visited city in the world, according to the Global Destination Cities Index by Mastercard, which bases the ranking on overnight stays from international visitors. The most visited city was Bangkok, with 20.2 million international visitors.

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