Prague is a center of culture, history, and economics in Central Europe, as well as home to some of the most beautiful and grand sights in the world. Many monuments and buildings in the capital of the Czech Republic were saved from destruction during some of the turbulent years in Prague’s history. This has made the city an important symbol of ancient days and a testament of the rich history that has transpired in it.
Sitting in the midst of Prague is a complex so monumental, it is a sin to miss. Prague Castle is the largest castle complex in the world. Inside this jewel in the heart of the city are various significant landmarks that could well form a small town of its own. If it is your first time visiting this historical depository of a city, a trip to Prague Castle is a must.
There is so much to see and do in the castle complex. Because of this, our local guides have teamed up and written down everything you need to know before touring Prague Castle with us. From important facts, ticket options, opening hours, how to get there, and more, here is your in-depth guide to Prague Castle.
Ever since its genesis in the 9th century, Prague Castle has been a seat of power for many kings, queens, presidents, and rulers. To this day, it is the residence of the President of the Czech Republic, and serves as the shelter of the famous Bohemian Crown Jewels. Not only is it politically important, but the castle complex is also rich in history, art, and architecture.
Because of the castle complex’s long history, it is reasonable that different styles of architecture can be seen throughout.The first walled building to be constructed was the Church of the Virgin Mary. It was later followed by St. George’s Cathedral and the Basilica of St. Vitus, two Romanesque landmarks we recommend you visit.
The royal castle was built by King Ottokar II of Bohemia, but it was during the reign of King Charles IV when the palace and other buildings were rebuilt and redesigned to the Gothic style of architecture, as we know it today. After a large fire in 1541 destroyed many landmarks in the area, the Habsburgs, the ruling dynasty at the time, rebuilt the castle in the Renaissance style. Today, we are favored to see and admire the changing architectural trends throughout the millenium.
In truth, one could visit Prague Castle (and the city of Prague, really) and stay for days without having the chance to fully appreciate its greatness. This may be because of the dozens of historical landmarks sprinkled throughout the city. Depending on your inclinations, the amount of days you will need for your trip will vary. Ask our professional guides for advice and recommendations to make sure your holiday is everything you want it to be. For now, our guides have given us a sneak peak into the must-see attractions of Prague Castle.
Old Royal Palace
If you are looking for a place with history and purpose, then the Old Royal Palace is the first place to head to. Since the 10th century, kings and queens have been crowned and all presidents sworn into office here, specifically in Vladislav Hall. The Hall’s interlaced vaulted ceiling is its crowning glory, so make sure to look up and look out for it.
Basilica of St. Vitus
The Basilica of St. Vitus is right next to the Old Royal Palace. Prague is blessed with a lovely number of beautiful churches and architecture, but surely none beats the Basilica of St. Vitus. Don’t be fooled by its imposing size - as you step inside, you will be dazzled by the amazing mix of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque elements complementing each other.
St. George’s Basilica
One thing St. George’s Cathedral has one up on the Basilica of St. Vitus is its age. It is one of the oldest churches in Prague, founded in 920, yet attracts much fewer visitors than its counterpart. Having been destroyed in a fire, it had to be rebuilt in 1192. The renovated building is what we see today: bright and beautiful.
In days of old, the cobblestone street making up Golden Lane was occupied by goldsmiths, soldiers, and servants attending to the needs of royalty. Many renowned names lived in the very buildings lining the street, one of whom was Franz Kafka. Today, you can stroll through the lane and browse the numerous souvenir shops and little museums.
After all that sightseeing, a quick rest off your feet and a bit of nature would do some good. Prague Castle is equipped with lovely sprawling gardens to lounge in. With handfuls of prim, proper, and well-manicured gardens that are easy on the eyes, a walk through one of them is like a mini-adventure of its own.
It is free to enter the castle complex grounds, but be aware that landmarks inside the complex may have separate fees. To learn more about ticket options, ask our local guides for up-to-date information.
The castle complex grounds are open everyday between 6 am and 10 pm. Do note that the summer and winter season opening times may differ. If you are wondering which season is the best to visit, our guides recommend absolutely any season, as the castle complex is bustling and busy throughout the year.
Of course, like many other landmarks, the complex is packed on the weekends. It is best to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon if you do not want to get lost in the crowds.
How to Get There
Because Prague Castle is in the city, it is accessible on foot, by tram, by metro, or by taxi. The closest tram stations include Pohorelec, Kralovsky letohradek, and Prazsky hrad. On the other hand, Malostranska and Hradcanska stations are the nearest for the metros.
As Prague Castle is part of the capital, we suggest ditching the car and using public transportation. If you are uneasy using public transportation in a foreign country, you can book a private tour with one of our professional guides to ease your worries. In this way, you will receive a customized and unique travel experience of Prague.
Prague is filled to the brim with historical gems and hidden surprises. You can go days exploring the capital and still find something new every time. To make the most of your visit, GoWithGuide can connect you with the friendliest and most professional local guides to tour you around this ancient city. Take it from us, Prague Castle is well worth the trip.