Prague Castle, more than a medieval fortress, is a citadel that houses the most beautiful corners of the city, besides having the best views. It is a place full of history, with the great St. Vitus Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace, the Basilica and the Convent of St. George.
1. How to visit Prague Castle
To visit the Prague Castle, you have several options and routes, whatever your budget or the duration of your trip. I summarize them all so you can choose the one that best suits you:
2. Guided tour of Prague Castle in English with transfer from the center.
In a 2 hours and 30 minutes tour with admission included: you will tour the entire citadel behind the walls of Prague Castle while listening to anecdotes and discovering how life has been changing in Prague since the last century while the Castle remained intact as a time capsule.
What you will see
- Charles Bridge
- Small City
- St. Vitus Cathedral
- St. George's Basilica
- Old Royal Palace
- Gold Alley
3. Tickets to Prague Castle with transfer from the city center
Another option is to buy the tickets for Prague Castle with transfer from the city center, especially practical if you take into account that the Castle is somewhat remote and at the highest point of the city.
The disadvantage of this option is that you will miss the guided tour and will have to find out on your own about the different sites you can visit inside the Prague Castle, although it is true that the person in charge of taking you to the castle by minivan will give you a small introduction with practical tips when you get there to facilitate your visit.
4. Guided visit of Prague Castle with city tour and river cruise
A very complete way to see the city is to combine a tour of Prague with a visit of Prague Castle:. This experience combines a bus tour, a walking tour, a cruise ride on the Vltava River with drinks and also includes lunch and pick-up from your hotel.
This is probably the best option if you want to take a tour as soon as you arrive in Prague or if you are only going to be in the city for a few days, since in only one day you will visit the most important points of interest.
What you will see
- Gunpowder Tower
- National Theater
- Wenceslas Square
- Prague Castle
- Valdstejn Palace
- Malá Strana district
- Kampa Island
- Charles Bridge
- Jan Palach Square
- Jewish Quarter
- Old City Hall
- Prague Astronomical Clock
5. Visit Prague Castle on your own
In addition to advance purchase, you also have the option of buying tickets at several points of sale: the Prague Castle information booths in the second and third courtyard, at the ticket offices in the Foundry Courtyard, in the Castle Picture Gallery, in the Old Royal Palace and at the two ticket offices in the Golden Lane. Of course, you will have to wait in line.
Ticket purchase at the box office
My recommendation is to secure your tickets in advance and this is something I apply to every trip I make because in my opinion, the advantages outweigh the cons. You won't have to search for the place to get your tickets, wait in line, pay in the local currency, and you can compare different offers and customize your experience.
In addition, buying tickets to Prague Castle can be a bit confusing because there are several types of tickets corresponding to different circuits, which give you access to some buildings or others. If you buy the tickets in advance, do not worry, most of them are Circuit A with which you can visit the Prague Castle completely.
Internet ticket purchase
If you choose online tickets, you will receive confirmation as soon as you book and you can show the confirmation email from your smartphone at the Prague Castle entrance points or to your guide if you have chosen the guided tour. You can print the confirmation email if you prefer, but it is not necessary.
In case you buy the ticket on your own, remember to choose Circuit A which includes the Ancient Royal Palace, Prague Castle History Exhibition, St. George's Basilica, Golden Alley, Powder Tower, St. Vitus Cathedral, and Rosenberg Palace.
If you buy your ticket to visit Prague Castle on your own, you will have access to all points of interest inside the citadel and tickets are not subject to a fixed schedule, so you can explore at your own pace.
6. Why Prague Castle is worth the visit
Prague Castle was built in the 9th century by order of the princes of the Premyslid monarchy and thanks to its strategic position it became their permanent residence and thus a place where culture, religion and recreation could be cultivated.
Since then and until our times, Prague Castle has been evolving behind its walls with the successive reigns, so it is a historical testimony of the evolution of Prague and the Czech Republic. Today Prague Castle is the residence of the President of the Czech Republic, so it continues its tradition as a center of power in the country.
Both for its political and historical status as well as its architectural attraction, this is a must-see on your visit to Prague, which you will enjoy whether you are passionate about history or just want to enjoy a nice walk.
7. Timetables, duration and best time to visit it
Prague Castle opening days and hours
In the winter season (November 1 to March 31), the Prague Castle grounds are open from 6:00 to 22:00, and its buildings are open from 9:00 to 16:00.
During the winter season, the Lány Palace Park is closed and the opening hours of St. Vitus Cathedral are from 9:00 to 16:00 from Monday to Saturday and from 12:00 to 16:00 on Sundays. The last entrance to the Cathedral is always at 15:40.
In the summer season (April 1 to October 31), the grounds open in the same time interval, from 6:00 to 22:00, but the buildings remain open one hour longer, from 9:00 to 17:00. During the summer you can enjoy the Lány Palace Park and it is open from 14:00 to 18:00 on Wednesdays and Thursdays and from 10:00 to 18:00 on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
St. Vitus Cathedral is open from 9:00 to 17:00 from Monday to Saturday and from 12:00 to 17:00 on Sundays, with the last entrance always at 16:40.
Duration of your visit to Prague Castle
Most tours last between 45 minutes and 1 hour, but my recommendation is to stay a little longer and take the opportunity to discover all that this jewel of the city of Prague has to offer. If you visit in summer, you will want to explore the Lány Palace Park so this will extend the time of your visit. Also, if you go up after lunch, you'll surely be left admiring the sunset over Prague and the views of the Malá Strana district.
Best time to visit
My first recommendation is to visit Prague Castle early in the morning. If you arrive a little before 9 am you will avoid the crowds and you will be able to enjoy the quiet visit that the place deserves.
Try to avoid weekend days for your visit. On weekdays you will find much less people and you will enjoy a more pleasant tour and less queues to enter the main buildings of Prague Castle.
Alex's Traveller Tip
For the guided tour I recommend going in the morning to avoid crowds of tourists, but the views of the castle are amazing at sunset, so do not hesitate to come back another day to enjoy it.
8. Organize your visit to Prague Castle
To make your visit as comfortable as possible, I have done all the work for you and here are the answers to all the questions that will arise when you want to go to the Castle.
How to get to Prague Castle
If you choose the Prague Castle tickets with transfer from the center, you won't have to worry about how to get there, but in any other case it is best to take the tram 22 or 23 in the direction of Pražský hrad or Pohorelec and get off at the Pohorelec stop.
Another option is to walk up walking from the old Castle steps (Staré zámecké schody) that start near the Malostranská metro station and lead to the beginning of Jiřská, also known as St. George's Street and one of the entrances to the Castle.
In any case, my recommendation is to go by tram to Pohorelec and at the end of your visit walk back to the center of Prague, as on the way down you will enjoy the best views of the city.
St. Vitus Cathedral
Speaking of St. Vitus Cathedral, the best thing to do is to visit it first as it is usually full of tourists. With your batteries full you will enjoy it much more than at the end of your visit when your feet start to hurt and you are thinking about lunch or dinner.
What to bring
Be sure to wear comfortable shoes as visiting Prague Castle requires a lot of walking and also take a coat if you visit in winter or wear light clothing if you go to the Castle in summer.
Where to eat at Prague Castle
In the Prague Castle you will find a restaurant and a cafe, usually crowded with tourists. I do not recommend them, especially considering that near the castle you can find some restaurants that, although not spectacular, have a very authentic atmosphere and serve good traditional food:
U Černého Vola**: a bar where the smell of smoke and beer intoxicates you as soon as you enter, and this is usually a good sign in a pub. It's the perfect place to have a pint and some typical dishes like fried cheese and Velkopopovice kid.
Baracnicka Rychta**: in this restaurant, a bit far from the tourist area, typical Czech dishes such as pork or duck goulash, and one of the best beers in Prague, Svijanský máz, are served for a very good price (two people can eat for between 10 and 13 euros each).
Nebozízek**: this restaurant has a terrace overlooking Malá Strana and Prague Castle, and a meal that stands out for its duck and venison specialties. A premium option for dining after your visit to the castle while enjoying the sunset.
9. Other things to do in Prague
If you have fallen in love with the castle, I invite you to consider taking a tour of the city. It will give you an overview of its size, its history, its anecdotes... In addition, my recommendation is to do it at the beginning of your trip to get a good orientation before you go on your own. I tell you all about the best ones here: Best Tours and Day Trips from Prague.