Sitting high on a hill overlooking the Charles Bridge and Vltava River, Prague Castle (Pražský Hrad) is a huge complex of museums, churches, palaces, and gardens dating from the ninth century. Nestled in the historic center of Prague—all of which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site—the largest castle complex in the world is an outstanding relic of Prague’s architectural history and a must for any visitor to the City of a Hundred Spires.
Comprised of dozens of buildings, Prague Castle can feel like a small town. To allow for ample time to explore, tickets are valid for two days: the day of purchase and the following day. Nearly all city tours include a stop at Prague Castle, and a variety of tickets are available depending on how much of the complex you want to see. Explore the castle on your own with a skip-the-line ticket, or book a guided walking tour for a more in-depth experience. To take in even more of Prague’s highlights, combine a visit to Prague Castle with a cruise on the Vltava River or a walking tour of Old Town.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Entrance to the castle grounds is free and tickets to individual buildings are sold at several spots around the grounds.
- History buffs may want to allow an entire day to take everything in.
- Interior photography is prohibited in certain exhibits and allowed only with a permit in others.
- Don’t miss the ceremonial Changing of the Guard, which takes place daily at noon.
- Be prepared to wait up to 30 minutes to go through security upon entering the castle grounds.
How to Get There
Easily reach Prague Castle by taking tram 22 to Prazsky Hrad. Other options include taking a tram to Kralovsky letohradek or Pohorelec, or taking the metro to Malostranska or Hradcanska.
When to Get There
Prague Castle is open year-round with slightly shorter hours in the winter. To beat the crowds, arrive early in the morning, and try to avoid weekends and holidays.
Prague Castle Highlights
Prague Castle is rich with architectural and historical marvels, including the neo-Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, which may be the most recognizable part of the complex. Inside, don’t miss St. Wenceslaus Chapel and its magnificent decorations. The treasury is one of the largest in Europe and includes a relic of St. Vitus’ arm, while St. George’s Basilica, with its austere interior, provides an interesting contrast to the elaborate cathedral. The small homes along Golden Lane originally belonged to servants, goldsmiths, and marksmen; look for house 22, where writer Franz Kafka once lived. The Old Royal Palace is now home to an interactive exhibition providing an overview of the city’s history, the Story of Prague Castle.