Prague Castle complex and the Bastion Garden 6.00 – 22.00 Apr – Oct / Nov – Mar: Entrance with ticket 9-17 / 9-16; Prague Castle Gardens 10-18 / closed St. Vitus Cathedral Mon-Sat 9-17; Apr 12-17 / Mon-Sat 9-16; Apr 12-16
District A – full 350 CZK; concession 175 CZK; family 700 CZK. Constituency B – full 250 EEK; concession 125 EEK; family 500 EEK. District C – full 350 EEK; concession 175 EEK; family 700 EEK. Free of charge – children up to 6 years of age, disabled.
Prague Castle – the most important attraction of the Czech capital. Strictly speaking, it is a castle with centuries of history. But would you surprise anyone in Europe with castles? Probably not. Unless you miss a tiny nuance – the total area of the castle confidently holds its leading place in the book of world records.
More than 7 hectares, a city within a city! There is an incredible number of cultural and spiritual attractions, you can not miss it when you go to Prague.
On the site of the present castle once was an earthen rampart, which served as a natural protection for the wooden fortress inside. Nearby carried its waters the majestic Vltava. In the 9th century, the castle on the left bank of the river was demolished to make Prague Castle, which gradually became the current residence of the rulers of Bohemia.
You can easily dedicate an entire vacation to see even the most cursory Prague Castle. But if you only have a couple of days to spend on vacation, we recommend that you take a quick look at the main castle attractions.
The Royal Garden is a beautiful place, where experienced travelers recommend you start your visit to Prague Castle. Here you can breathe a little after the tourist bustle of Prague. Tranquility, silence and soulfulness permeate everything here. Groomed paths framed by sculptures lead you to the Queen Anne’s summer palace, royal orangery and singing fountain.
The Old Royal Palace – The palace was originally conceived as a place of residence and receptions for the ruling family. Every legislative period left its mark on it: it lived through Romanesque and Gothic times, but in the end the Renaissance period had the greatest impact on its architecture. In addition to the princely residence, at various times it housed the central Bohemian state institutions. In the 20th century, the palace was reconstructed and opened to the public.
St. Vitus Cathedral is a Catholic shrine and the national pride of the Czech people. The cathedral carries the aesthetics and classical Gothic principles in architecture. Traditionally, its walls are the coronation and burial place of royalty and church nobility. It contains a collection of medieval coronation regalia. The cathedral is the residence of the Archbishop of Prague.
Golden Lane – these little houses, nestled against the castle wall, were built in the 16th century for the guards who defended the castle. Originally they were located on both sides of the narrow street, where in some places the distance between the houses was barely a meter. The street got its name thanks to a popular belief: rumor has it that the street was home to royal alchemists, who created gold, philosopher’s stone and all sorts of elixirs for the ruler.
St. George’s Monastery, famous because the first Czech princes who chose the path of Christianity were baptized within its walls. The nobles gave their daughters upbringing here. Many of them became abbatis nuns. For a long time the monastery itself was a functioning convent of Benedictine nuns. In the basilica, the founder of the monastery, the Czech prince Vratislav, is buried.
The Loreto is a church, which appeared within the walls of Prague Castle much later than the rest, at the beginning of the 17th century, built according to the project of Giovanni Orsim. It is most famous for its bells, which are nearly thirty in the Loreto bell tower. Made in Amsterdam and installed in a specially created belfry, the temple bells still play “Glory to Thee a Thousand Times,” a religious hymn, every hour.
In addition to the bells, Loreto is famous for its collection of jewels and cultural and historical objects.
The Strahov Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries of the Premonstratensian Order. The monks of the order took on several difficult asceses – for example, in addition to their vows of celibacy, they observed a vow of silence here. The name of the monastery refers to the word “guards”, and there is a reason for that: there used to be a watchtower on the site of the monastery.
Walk around the Prague Castle (video)
Changing of the Guard
Prague Castle is accessible through three entrances, each of which is guarded. For this there is a special Presidential Guard, more than 600 military personnel, the best of the best – the Guardians of the Castle. A separate event that people enjoy coming here to watch is the changing of the guard.
Without any disruptions, this ceremony is held every day, every hour from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. (in winter the last changing of the guard begins a little earlier – at 6 p.m.).
The 12-hour ceremony is accompanied by a military band – this event looks especially solemn and Czechs are proud of it.
Prices at the Prague Castle 2022
Deciding to see Prague Castle with your own eyes you need to decide what sights you definitely want to see. Your choice of ticket will depend on it, because the castle is divided into districts.
District A includes the Old Royal Palace, Rosenberg Palace, St. George’s Basilica, St. George’s Cathedral, the exhibition “History of Prague Castle”, the Golden Lane:
- full 350 crowns;
- discount 175 CZK;
- family – 700 CZK.
District B ticket allows to see the Old Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica, Golden Lane and Daliborka, Cathedral of St. Vitus, Wenceslas and Vojtěch:
- full 250 crowns;
- discounted 125 CZK;
- family 500 CZK.
District C – Treasure Trove of St. Vitus Cathedral exhibition, art gallery:
- full 350 crowns;
- discount 175 CZK;
- family – 700 CZK.
Family ticket is open to spouses or one parent accompanying 1 to 5 children up to 16 years old.
All tickets are valid for two days. Full price list for all services and exhibits at Prague Castle can be found on the official website.
Prague Castle tickets
Prague Castle opening hours
The Prague Castle grounds are open to visitors from 6am to 10pm regardless of the season.
But the access to the Prague Castle Gardens depends on the season. In the summer period (from April to October) the Gardens are open from 10 am to 6 pm, the Bastion Garden from 6 to 10 pm. In winter, you can get only in the Garden at the Bastion.
All attractions, where you must buy tickets, are open from 10 to 18 hours, in winter one hour less – from 9 to 16.00.
St. Vitus Cathedral is open to visitors every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for a special Sunday schedule (12 noon to 5 p.m.). In winter the opening hours are shortened by an hour and the cathedral closes at 4 pm. It is not possible to get in a couple of minutes before closing time, the last visitors are allowed in when there are twenty minutes before the end of work.
The Presidential Palace can be visited twice a year during the major national holidays: May 8 (Liberation Day) and October 28 (Foundation Day of the Czech Republic).
Guided tours and audio guides
You can order a tour with a professional Russian speaking guide. The standard program takes about an hour and includes a visit to the St. Vitus Cathedral and the Royal Palace. Price of the tour is 100 CZK per hour per person. The minimum order amount is 400 CZK.
If you want to walk around the Prague Castle at your own pace and choose the places you want to know more about, there are audio guides in many languages (including Russian). This is more than 3 hours of recording, almost a hundred different sites of Prague Castle. Audioguide tells not only the general points, but also the inner workings of the major attractions: St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George’s Cathedral, the Royal Palace.
You can rent an audioguide for 3 hours for 350 CZK or for the whole day for 450 CZK.
You can book a tour or take an audio guide from the Prague Castle information centers.
How to get there
The easiest way to get to Prague Castle is by streetcar № 22. Get off at the same name stop (Pražský hrad), go down a little bit to the guard post – and you’re at the entrance.
You can also take the Prague Castle by metro. The station you need is Malostranská. From there you will have to walk about 400 meters by the old castle stairs. The ascent is quite steep, so it is better to choose this option for returning from Prague Castle.
Queen Anne’s summer palace and the singing fountain in the Royal Garden – Google Maps panorama
Prague Castle: Heart of Bohemia
Prague Castle is an ancient symbol of Czech state, official residence of rulers of the country for centuries. Covering 70,000 square meters, it is the largest castle complex in the world (as certified by the Guinness Book of Records) and at the same time the largest presidential residence. This amazing castle will take you back in time, like a time machine. Prague Castle reflects architectural styles of the last millennium. And of course, you can relate a lot of amazing stories to its ancient towers, magnificent palaces, majestic temples, streets and squares.
Prague Castle: a history that goes back many centuries
Prague Castle stands on the left bank of the Vltava River, on the strategically advantageous Opysh Rock that stretches from Petřín Hill and dominates the valley below. Opposite it stands another Prague fortress – Vyšehrad – with which the Prague Castle has shared the title of the residence of the rulers for centuries.
The history of the fortress goes back to ancient times and is closely connected with the history of Bohemia. The citadel began as a Slavic hill fort, on the site of which in the IX Przemyslovichi princes (the first princely and royal dynasty of Bohemia) and built the first structures of the future citadel. As the centuries passed, the fortification grew, and in the years 1125-1140, under Prince Sobieslaw I, the Prague Castle was formed as a fortress.
The Prague Castle owes its present appearance largely to the efforts of Charles IV, who in the middle of the 14th century initiated extensive construction work. It was at that time that the first stone was laid in the foundation of the new church – St. Vitus Cathedral. Although, it took a long time before the main temple of Prague, and the whole Czech Republic, was finally finished. It happened only in the XX century!
At the command of Charles IV, the roofs of the White (now practically extinct) and Black towers were covered with gilded plates. This is often associated with the appearance of the expression “Golden Prague” (Zlata Praha) as the Czech capital is often called.
Over the following centuries, both the rulers and the architectural fashions changed. The Prague Castle complex was enlarged by new constructions – fortifications, palaces, gardens; Romanesque style was replaced by Gothic, then came Baroque and Renaissance. The best Czech architects devoted their talents to it, and the last reconstructions were made here in the XX century.
Modern tourists have a wonderful opportunity to admire the unique complex of the ancient fortress and royal residence. But it was not always like this – until 1989, for several decades, Prague Castle was closed to the public, because it housed the residence of the President of the Czech Republic. It is situated here even today: the residence and the presidential office have rooms in the South and Central Wing of the New Royal Palace, so they are closed to tourists. They are opened twice a year – in May on the Day of liberation from fascism and in October on the occasion of the Day of foundation of the Czech Republic. The remaining parts of the Prague Castle are available for tourists and generously share with them its cultural and historical treasures.
Prague Castle Attractions
St. Vitus Cathedral
The grandiose, majestic Cathedral of St. Vitus, Wenceslas and Vojtěch is the main dominant feature of Prague Castle and the whole of Prague. Many saints, Czech kings, noblemen and church officials are buried here, and unique royal regalia are kept (which can be seen only on very big holidays). The cathedral was laid in 1344 and was under construction for almost 600 years. Its predecessor was the oldest religious building in Prague, the Church of the Virgin Mary. A part of its preserved ruins can be seen during a visit to the Prague Castle Picture Gallery.
Chances to see the original royal regalia tourists have few – not everyone has the opportunity to get to them on major holidays. But you can see the exact copies of the royal jewels – in the Hall of the Sejm of the Old Royal Palace.
It is noteworthy that the cathedral itself stands on the site of a pagan temple dedicated to Svyatovit. Back in 930, on this site by Prince Wenceslas the rotunda of St. Vitus was built, in which the prince was buried just a few years later. Then there was a basilica on this site, and under Charles IV the construction of a huge cathedral began. Today you can see the preserved walls of the basilica through special barred windows on the southern wall of the cathedral.
In the south tower of St. Vitus Cathedral there is observation deck with a breathtaking view of Prague. Here you can also see the old bell tower with the famous 14-ton bell named Sigmund.
Old Royal Palace
It got its present appearance at the end of the 15th century and owes it to King Wladyslaw II Jagiellon, who initiated the rebuilding. Under him, the grandiose Wladyslaw Hall appeared in the Old Royal Palace, which at the time was the largest secular room in Eastern Europe. At the same time, the famous Horsemen’s Staircase was also built, especially for knights who could enter the palace without leaving their saddles.
Chapel of the Holy Cross
Court chapel, built in the 18th century. Inside there is a unique exposition of the Sacred Treasures.
Prague Castle Picture Gallery
Rich collection of paintings, the oldest in the Czech Republic. Prague Castle Picture Gallery was founded at the end of the 16th century on the basis of the rich collection of King Rudolf II. Unfortunately, many masterpieces from this collection were later looted. However, it is not all bad. The gallery was officially reconstituted in 1965, and today the collection consists of several thousand works of art, including beautiful works of outstanding Italian, German, Dutch, Flemish and Czech artists.
St. George’s Church
Church of St. George (as St. George the Victorious sounds in Czech) is the oldest preserved church in Prague Castle and one of the oldest in the whole Czech Republic. An important shrine of the church, which attracts not only tourists but also pilgrims, is the tomb of St. Ludmila of the Czech Republic.
The street of gingerbread houses, full of souvenirs and stores. It appeared in the 15th century at the Prague Castle together with the construction of the Castle Wall. It is believed that the street got its name “Zlatnická” because the goldsmiths lived there. Later various craftsmen settled here, and rumor has it that the eccentric King Rudolf II had alchemists who all tried to smelt lead into gold. In fact, these are just rumors, but those who really lived here are Franz Kafka (in the house number 22) and the Nobel Prize winner, the writer Jaroslav Seifert (the house has not survived).
And in the house number 16, visitors are welcomed to the tavern, recreated in the spirit of the XVII century. You can imagine where and how the medieval inhabitants of Prague Castle at first hand at the tavern. It was also used to cook food for the prisoners who were held in the two towers on both sides of Zlata Street – Daliborka and the New White Tower.
The Daliborka Tower adjoins Zlatá Street. It used to be the place where noble prisoners were kept and at the same time tortured. Nowadays the tower with a chilling history hospitably invites all guests to visit the exhibition of medieval torture instruments.
Isle of Childhood at Prague Castle. Don’t just look at the stark medieval towers and instruments of torture! This toy museum is one of the largest such museums in the world. A rich collection of toys, which even includes toys from ancient Rome and Egypt, was collected by director Ivan Steiger. And the museum is located in the former premises of the Supreme Burgrave – the residence of the highest Burgrave (high position in the court).
The Royal Garden appeared in Prague Castle in the 16th century, when the entire citadel acquired the features of the Renaissance style, which meant the obligatory presence of parks and gardens. In particular, the Royal Garden with exotic trees, fountains and the first tulips in Europe – these flowers, by the way, appeared here earlier than in Holland. They were donated by visitors from Turkey. There is also a “singing” fountain, created in 1568 by the ironworker Tomasz Jarosz. “True, it “sings” very quietly.
Prague Castle’s guard of honor
For many tourists visiting Prague Castle or even just walking around Hradcany Square, a separate “sight” is the guard of honor. Changing of the guard is always an interesting and colorful act. In addition, all the guards are dressed in costumes by Theodor Piestek, a costume designer who won an Oscar for his work on Milos Forman’s Amadeus. The changing of the guard takes place every hour in several places in the castle (where there are posts at the gates). But the most solemn happens once a day at noon sharp in the first courtyard – to a solemn march and, of course, with a large crowd of tourists.
Find out a lot of interesting stories, facts, and legends about the sights of Prague Castle in the audio tour ” Bohemian Treasury Treasury of Bohemia”, available in our Guide Prague.
Prague Castle on your own: tips for visiting it
How to get there
There are several ways to get to Prague Castle. Before visiting the complex, it is worth thinking about from which side you will approach it, because the fortress stands on a mountain.
It is logical to start the exploration of the Prague Castle from the side of Hradčanské Square, where you can get the same streetcar No. 22 (stop Pohorelec). It is here every hour there is a change of the guard of honor. After passing through the Giant’s Gate you will find yourself in the First Courtyard. From Hradčanské Square begins the route of our audio tour of Prague. of our audio tour of Prague Castle begins at Hradcany Square. .
Another option is to go to the fortress from the north gate, where you can get the same streetcar number 22 (only the stop will be called Pražský hrad).
You can also take the metro to Malostranská station and walk up the Old Castle Stairs. But this is probably the least convenient option. The uphill walk will take a lot of energy, which would be useful while visiting the Prague Castle. It is better to go down the stairs after the visit to the fortress to enjoy the panoramic views.
Prague Castle is open year-round from 6 am to 10 pm.
In summer (April 1 – October 31) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
in winter (November 1 – March 31) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
St. Vitus Cathedral – access to the temple stops 20 minutes before closing time. Do not plan your visit shortly before closing time.
On Sundays, the temple is open from 12 to 17 in summer and from 12 to 16 in winter.
The cathedral is closed to tourists on religious holidays and other special events, which are announced on its website www.katedralasvatehovita.cz . Great South Tower of the cathedral
Hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Access ceases at 5:30 pm.
The gardens and parks are open only in summer, with the exception of the small garden “On the Bastion”.
Tickets to Prague Castle
Entrance to the complex is free. And for a simple walk around the Prague Castle you do not have to pay, but you need a ticket to visit certain places. Such places include: St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, permanent exhibition “History of Prague Castle”, St. Jiří Church, National Gallery in St. Jiří Monastery, Zlatá Alley and Daliborka Tower, Prague Castle Picture Gallery, Powder Tower, exhibition “Sacred Treasury”.
On your ticket you will find a list of attractions that can be visited with your ticket. When visiting Prague Castle you can choose from several types of tickets. The most popular are Circle A and Circle B. The first gives you the opportunity to visit places on almost a “full” program, the other – on a reduced program. If you want to fit in one day, the “abbreviated” option is fine for you.
Old Royal Palace, History of Prague Castle, Basilica of St. George, Zlata Street, Powder Tower, St. Vitus Cathedral, Rosenberg Palace.
Full price 350 CZK, family price 700 CZK
The Old Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica, St. Vitus Cathedral, Zlata Alley
Full price 250 CZK, family price 500 CZK
Prague Castle Picture Gallery, “Svatovický poklad” exhibition
Full price 350 CZK, family price 700 CZK.
If you do not want an all-inclusive ticket, you can pay for admission to some of the exhibits separately (but this is considerably less advantageous).
History of Prague Castle Exposition: 140 CZK full admission, 280 CZK family admission
Svatovický poklad (in the Chapel of the Holy Cross in the Second Courtyard): full price 250 CZK, family price 500 CZK
Prague Castle Picture Gallery: full view 100 CZK, family view 200 CZK
Powder Tower (exhibition “From the Royal Encirclement to the Presidential Protection Castle”): full price 70 CZK, family price 140 CZK
Observation deck on the Great South Tower of St. Vitus Cathedral . The entrance to the tower is in the Third Courtyard to the left of the Golden Gate of the cathedral. Full – 150 crowns (no discounts apply here).
Where to buy tickets
Ticketing points can be found in the Second and Third Courtyards, the Old Royal Palace, Zlatá Street, and the Lobkowicz Palace.
Discounts and special rates
Get a ticket with 50% discount:
- Children and teens ages 6 to 16
- High school and full-time students under the age of 26
- Visitors over the age of 65.
You must show supporting documentation to receive the discount.
If you are traveling as a family, you can purchase tickets at a special rate. The family ticket allows 1 to 5 children under the age of 16 and a maximum of two adults.
Free admission to any of the attractions of Prague Castle can:
- Children up to 6 years old
- Persons with disabilities and their accompanying persons (must show ZTP Card)
- Guides with a license
There are days when you can visit all or most of the attractions for free – on national holidays or Open Doors days (they are announced separately, but it is generally accepted that such day marks the opening of the summer season – the date varies every year, you should ask additionally). However, on such days you risk losing a lot of time waiting in lines because of the especially high influx of tourists. And the complex itself is difficult to view in full because of the abundance of people.
Photography inside the walls of the Prague Castle is paid and only without flash and tripod, cost 50 CZK.
It is forbidden to take photos in the interiors of the Picture Gallery, when visiting the exhibitions “History of Prague Castle” and “The Treasure of St. Vitus.