How long does it take to walk up the Eiffel Tower? Is it worth doing?

Some people just enjoy a challenge, and others just want to do things a little differently to the norm. If you are one of these people and you’re planning to enjoy the magnificent views from the Eiffel tower, then you’re on the right page.

How long does it take to walk up the Eiffel Tower?

The Eiffel Tower has three floors; the 3rd floor can only be reached via an elevator. However, you can walk from the ground to the 2nd floor; it will take the average person about 15 minutes to climb the 704 steps. Longer if you stop to take photos, and you probably will as the structure and views are breathtaking.


What are the options for walking the Eiffel Tower?

Walking to the 2nd floor and skipping the top level.

The line for the lift to the top floor during peak times can be extremely long, and it’s not guaranteed you will ever make it up. It’s a prevailing opinion among visitors that do both that the 2nd floor has better views than the top level. It’s nice to actually be close enough to see the buildings, people and to be able to pick out the landmarks below.  

Walking to the 2nd floor and taking the elevator to the 3rd

So if there isn’t a three-hour wait and you want to compare the views for yourself. Yes, do it. It’s undeniably a great experience, but like they say ‘It’s crowded at the top,’ so be prepared.

walking up the towerGetting the elevator up and walking down.

This is the one I recommend for the first time visitor.
You can’t book the walking ticket on the official site in advance so you will be doing some (or a lot) of waiting in lines to buy your ticket at the gates.

Prebooking is a brilliant thing to do, especially at peak times.
You can do it here –

This is what I did the 2nd time I went up the Eiffel tower this time with ‘first timer’ family.
First I booked the tickets for the elevators to the 2nd level online.
You have to choose a booking time so make sure you’re not late for your allocated time, if you’re more than 30 minutes late they can cancel your booking, and you lose your money. There is a queue for people who book online, so be aware that you will still have to line up, but for a much shorter time.

We took the elevator to the 2nd floor.  If you think a lift should go straight up or down and have solid walls, then you will be in for a surprise.

After taking a million photos, the family was ready to walk down to level one. Level one is worth doing because there is a lot to see including a glass floor to stand on and a display of the history of the tower. The 1st level also serves as a bit of a break from the thigh-burning dissent.

You might feel like you have wasted some money on a two-way lift ticket that you didn’t fully use. Here is my opinion on that. Walking costs 10 euro, taking the lift (return) costs 16. That’s an extra 3 euro each way. That 3 euro you didn’t use to go up paid you back because you pre-booked it online and saved a lot of time in lines for tickets. And you got to try walking the Eiffel tower and the unique elevator. It’s a no-brainer for me.

Now if you want to walk both ways, skip most of the lines and not to have to book so far in advance, I recommend hiring a guide. This will cost you a bit more money, but it gives you the best of both worlds. You can book the guided tour from sites like Get Your Guide.

Tours like the  ‘Eiffel Tower skip the lines Guided Climb‘ you learn everything there is to know about the tower and it’s history with an entertaining guide. If climbing the Eiffel tower is on your bucket list, and you want to squeeze all the juice out of the experience, then this tour is the way to go.
This skip the lines method works well with most of the ‘long line’ attractions around Europe. Keep that one stored somewhere in the back of your brain for the rest of your vacation 🙂

Can children walk up the Eiffel tower?

Only you know the capabilities of your kids, and it’s best you decide for yourself. Keep in mind that walking down is MUCH kinder to the legs than going up and the promise of ice cream at the bottom may have them motivated enough to keep them going. For most kids though the view and fantastic structure will be sufficient motivation. Make sure you stop on the 1st level to give their legs a break, but to be honest, you will need it more than them.

Can my unfit spouse walk up the Eiffel tower?

Re-read the previous sentence substituting the word kid with the name of your spouse. Maybe change the words ice cream with beer or wine.

It’s not that hard to walk up or down the Eiffel Tower, remember you can stop anytime you like, there is a lot of space for people to overtake you.

rugged up on the eiffel tower

Best time to visit the Eiffel Tower.

To avoid crowds, go early in the day or later in the evening and only go on weekends or public holidays if you really have to. Go before sunset so you can experience the night, day and twilight or consider going twice.

Weekends can have absolutely crazy lines, but the stairwells are rarely crowded, and you could be the only person in sight even on busy days.

 Best time to experience the view.

Like I mentioned before the best time to visit is sunset.

You experience the view during daylight, you experience the light while the sun sets, and then you experience the look at night. 3 times as many photos!

At sunset, the shadows are longer, and the buildings will have a pink/golden tint that will be changing by the minute. It’s a truly magical experience.

After you get back down from the tower you will be able to see the light display, on the hour, every hour the tower will sparkle putting on a beautiful show.

Another thing to keep in mind is the weather. If you’re visiting in winter, mornings might have to be avoided unless you know it’s going to be a clear day. Fog can totally ruin the views, and so can heavy rain. Because the tower is exposed to the wind it can be a lot colder up there, think like you are going to a climate that is 10 degrees cooler and take the clothes suitable for that. On the colder days, a windproof jacket is essential.

How long should I spend at the Eiffel tower?

 Allow around 1.5 hours if you only do the 2nd level, and 2.5 hours if you plan on visiting the 3rd. Of course, this all depends on how busy the tower is and how much time you plan on taking photos, eating/drinking and whether you walk the stairs or not.

 Can I take drinking water for the walk up the Eiffel tower?

Yes, you can, but they don’t allow glass bottles or cans.

 What is the best metro station to get to the Eiffel Tower?

Ecole Militaire is at one end of Champ de Mars, and Bir Hakeim is at the other. Or you can walk across the bridge and use Trocadero. It just depends on where you are coming from. Trocadero offers the best views of the tower is you walk towards it, and you definitely won’t need to ask for directions as it will be right in front of you all the way.

 In summary.

If walking up and down the Eiffel tower is an essential bucket list item for you, then just do it, don’t hesitate. I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it. Book online if your itinerary isn’t flexible, book a tour guide for a premium visit and learn more, watch the weather, wear suitable shoes and ENJOY.

If you don’t want to be on the go for your whole vacation check out our guide on
21 Relaxing Things to do in Paris

We also have comprehensive post on the Top bucket list destinations, and experiences in Europe
also….. consider visiting our Travel Bucket List and start making your own bucket list right on this website.



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