Spanning an area of almost 70,000 square metres, Prague Castle is the largest castle complex in the world, a fact that is quite obvious as you walk inside its walls. The Castle and the historical buildings inside it, such as the magnificent St. Vitus Cathedral, have a mesmerizing gothic and renaissance architectural design. This is the most significant Czech monument, where history can be found outside and inside each structure. Within certain buildings are exhibits containing treasured artifacts, centuries old human remains, and detailed history of the Castle from its earliest stages. Prague Castle also boasts some beautiful outdoor areas; luscious gardens and serene fountains in the summer, St. Wenceslas Vineyard, and old cobblestoned lanes that reveal a more romantic and gentle side to this formidable fortress.
- St Vitus Cathedral (VIII) – Rising high above the rest of Prague Castle, St Vitus Cathedral is a commanding presence of dark gothic architecture and exquisite decorations. You’ll find yourself constantly angling your head upwards in an attempt to take in every inch of this cathedral. Inside the Cathedral are the statues of patron saints from 1696, beautiful stained glass window decorations designed by famous Czech artists, and the grave of St. Wenceslas, the nations main patron saint, decorated with stones and wall paintings from 1357. Within its walls rest the Bohemian Crown Jewels; the Royal Apple, Royal Sceptre, St. Wenceslas Crown, and the Coronation Cloak, displayed once every five years. Despite this concealment, they add to the overall grandeur of St Vitus Cathedral, which leaves a lasting impression on all who enter.
- St. Vitus Cathedral South Tower (X) – The South Tower is over 90 metres tall and provides some of the greatest views of Prague Castle, and the surrounding city and countryside. There are 287 steps to climb before reaching the look-out gallery, but the incredible view is worth the effort.
- Golden Lane (V) – With its cobblestone streets intimately tucked between modest houses built to reflect those from the 16th century, Golden Lane possesses a romantic atmosphere. Certain houses are open to guests and contain furnishings that depict how the poorer classes of Prague Castle lived. House number 12 grants access to Daliborka Tower, once used for fortification and as a prison.
- St. Wenceslas Vineyard – This is one of the oldest vineyards in Czech Republic, reputedly cultivated by St. Wenceslas himself. What makes it such a great part of the Castle is the unbroken panoramic view of Prague’s Old Town, Lesser Side, and rest of the city. It also provides a great place to sit down and relax, with food and beverage vendors set up nearby. There’s the Villa Richter restaurant for a more fine dining experience; however, expect high prices to accompany such an amazing view.
- Royal Garden – The Royal Garden is the largest and most breathtaking of the Castle Gardens. Constructed in the 16th century, the Royal Garden contains elements from English-style parks, the Renaissance period, and stunning ornamental flower beds influenced by Baroque elements. This is one of the quietest areas of Prague Castle and is great for an intimate walk with your significant other.
- Vladislav Hall (I) – The Vladislav Hall is located within the Old Royal Palace, which is itself worth a visit. Vadislav Hall’s high ceilings and wide floor space make you feel small in comparison. Like the rest of Prague Castle, the Hall contains some unique architectural design, and out on the terrace is a fantastic view of Prague city.
- The Story of Prague Castle (II) – This permanent exhibit is perfect for history lovers. It tells the detailed story of the main castle and the people who influenced it: rulers, presidents, jesters, famous artists, architects, scholars, and more. There are numerous displays in this exhibit that reveal much about Prague Castle’s history. From acheological remains of the Castle’s earliest settlers, to exact copies of the Bohemian Crown Jewels, each display has its own link to the mysteries of Prague Castle.
Prague Castle Long Visit – St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, “The Story of Prague Castle” Permanent Exhibition, St. George’s Basilica, Golden Lane with Daliborka Tower, Prague Castle Picture Gallery, Powder Tower, Rosenberg Palace.
|Child (6-16)||175 CZK|
|Student (26 or under)||175 CZK|
|Senior (65+)||175 CZK|
|Family (1-5 children and 2 adults)||700 CZK|
Prague Castle Short Visit – St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica, Golden Lane with Daliborka Tower.
|Child (6-16)||125 CZK|
|Student (26 or under)||125 CZK|
|Senior (65+)||125 CZK|
|Family (1-5 children and 2 adults)||500 CZK|
“The Story of Prague Castle” Permanent Exhibition
|Child (6-16)||70 CZK|
|Student (26 or under)||70 CZK|
|Senior (65+)||70 CZK|
|Family (1-5 children and 2 adults)||280 CZK|
Prague Castle Picture Gallery
|Child (6-16)||80 CZK|
|Student (26 or under)||80 CZK|
|Senior (65+)||80 CZK|
|Family (1-5 children and 2 adults)||300 CZK|
|Child (6-16)||40 CZK|
|Student (26 or under)||40 CZK|
|Senior (65+)||40 CZK|
|Family (1-5 children and 2 adults)||140 CZK|
“The Treasure of St. Vitus Cathedral” Permanent Exhibition
|Child (6-16)||150 CZK|
|Student (26 or under)||150 CZK|
|Senior (65+)||150 CZK|
|Family (1-5 children and 2 adults)||600 CZK|
- Check Opening Times – Prague Castle, the historical buildings, exhibitions, and the Castle Gardens all have different opening times. The actual Prague Castle complex stays open the latest, so make sure you see all the other individual areas first before they close. Before visiting the Castle ensure that you know what time everything opens and closes, so you don’t miss out on anything. You can find out the opening times of all the exhibits on the official website. The Castle Gardens aren’t open during the winter, so time your visit for the summer season (April 1st-October 31st) if you want to see them.
- Audio Guides are Optional – At about $20 for 3 hours, the audio guides are quite overpriced. You’ll have a much more informative experience, but take the time to decide whether it’s worth the additional cost.
- The Changing of the Guards – Time your visit to Prague Castle so that you can see the Changing of the Guards, which includes a lot of fanfare and a flag ceremony. It occurs daily at midday in the first courtyard, and on the hour from 7am-8pm (summer) and 7am-6pm (winter) by the Castle gates.
- Hop On Hop Off Bus – You can use the Hop On Hop Off Bus for effective and reliable transport to Prague Castle. Make sure you catch the downtown route (green line). You can get off at stop A6 (Prague Castle) or A7 (Castle Steps). With a 24/48 hour ticket you can use the bus as many times as you want to visit all the other attractions in Prague.
- Tram – The tram is the easiest and cheapest way to reach Prague Castle. Catch tram No. 22 to stops Pražský hrad (the easiest), Pohořelec (for a pleasant downhill walk), Malostranské náměstí (official entrance of Prague Castle), or Královský letohrádek, depending on how you want to approach the Castle and what you want to see first. Use the map above as a guide. Stop Královský letohrádek is closest to the Castle Gardens, so don’t use it during winter because the Gardens aren’t open. A basic 90 minute ticket costs 32 CZK and can be used for trams, the metro, and local buses.
- Metro – Take the metro line A (green) to Malostranská stop. The Old Castle Stairs are about 100 metres away. Click on the map below for Prague Metro and Tram lines.
Prince Borivoj founded Prague Castle around the year 880. It was originally fortified with a moat and a rampart made of clay and stone.
From the 10th century, Prague Castle was the seat of princes, the head of state, kings, and the Prague bishop. Yet it was during the rule of Emperor Charles IV in the 14th century when Prague Castle first prospered. It became the seat of the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire. During this time the royal palace was magnificently rebuilt, fortifications improved, and building began on St. Vitus Cathedral, which would not be completed until the early 20th century.
After a period of time where Prague Castle was uninhabited and its fortifications and buildings dilapidated, a new king made it his seat and hired the architect Benedikt Ried to make improvements. Ried built the Powder Tower, the New White Tower and Daliborka Tower, as well as the magnificent Vladislav Hall. The Hall’s windows are thought to be the first use of Renaissance style in Bohemia (Czech Republic).
In the 16th century more Renaissance architecture influenced the Castle. The Royal Garden was constructed, along with buildings for entertainment purposes (a summer palace, shooting range, ball games hall), and today’s Spanish Hall.
During a long period of wars starting in 1618, Prague Castle was considerably damaged and looted. Fortunately, the 18th and 19th centuries saw a great rebuilding of the Castle. After Czechoslovak Republic became independent, Prague Castle reclaimed its standing as the seat of the head of state.
The St. Vitus Cathedral was completed in 1929, and more reconstruction continues today with the hope of making all areas of Prague Castle available to the public.
Today, Prague Castle remains the seat of the head of state and an important historical monument. It is used for cultural events, political ceremonies, and tourism.
- Famous author Franz Kafka lived in house 22 on Golden Lane from 1916 to 1917.
- The Bohemian Crown Jewels are sealed behind seven locks that require seven keys. The President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the Prague Archbishop, the Chairman of the House of Deputies, the Chairman of the Senate, the Dean of the Metropolitan Chapter of St. Vitus Cathedral and the Mayor of Prague all hold one key each.
- A prominent Czech legend says that if an undeserving person wears the Crown of St. Wenceslas they are doomed to die within one year of wearing it.