Visiting Prague Castle District in 2023
Travel to the capital city of the Czech Republic and you’re bound to visit the top landmark in Prague – the Prague Castle. This famous landmark is located in the Prague Castle District or Hradčany Castle.
Visiting Prague Castle district is likely on your itinerary. So, use this guide to learn all the important facts about Prague Castle like how to get to Prague Castle, and what to see once there.
Table of Contents
Prague Castle History
The Prague Castle dates back to the 9th century when the Church of the Virgin Mary was built. Over the next couple of centuries, buildings were added as the complex expanded including the first convent in Bohemia.
Under the reign of Charles IV in the 14th century, the royal palace was rebuilt and restored and has remained the same ever since.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Prague Castle is considered the largest castle complex at 70,000 sq/m in the world. To protect its history and recognize the significance of its architecture, Prague Castle has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visiting Prague Castle
Of all the castles in Prague, this is the one to visit! Prague is known for its palace and is among the most visited tourist attraction receiving over 1.8 million people annually.
While you can roam the castle grounds for free, there is an entrance fee to see the entire castle complex.
Here is what to see in Prague Castle.
1. St. Vitus Cathedral
St. Vitus Cathedral is located at the centre of the castle complex and is the largest cathedral in the Czech Republic, not to mention the most important. It took almost 600 years to build it. Starting in 1344, many Renaissance and Baroque details were slowly added over the centuries.
Historically, this is where Czech kings and queens were coronated, but today it is the seat of the Archbishop of Prague, and the final resting place of Holy Roman Emperors, kings, and saints.
St. Vitus Cathedral holds the most extensive church treasury in the Czech Republic and is among the largest collections in Europe. This makes visiting this Cathedral a must. The most prized treasure is the arm of Saint Vitus, a Sicilian who died a martyr when the co-ruling Roman Emperors Diocletian and Maximian cracked down on Christians in 303! That’s the oldest, but all other items can be traced back to the early Middle Ages.
2. Old Royal Palace
Old Royal Palace is one of the oldest parts of the castle complex. It was built on the remains of the original structure dating back to the 9th century. The best part is the Gothic Vladislav Hall’s beautiful gothic vaulted ceiling. This vast hall was used for banquets, councils, coronations, and even indoor jousting tournaments. There’s even a Riders’ Staircase designed to allow a knight on horseback to enter.
3. Golden Lane
Golden Lane is a picturesque cobblestone street with small, brightly coloured houses from the 16th century where castle guards lived. In the 19th century, these cute houses were opened up for any citizens of Prague to live here. Even a few famous residents lived on Golden Lane.
Literary icon Franz Kafka lived in house No. 22 in 1916 and film historian Josef Kazda lived in No. 12. Kazda is best remembered for saving thousands of films and documentaries from the Nazis during World War II. He hid copies in his house – and even organized small screenings in secret – in his tiny home. Madame de Thebes, the famous WWII fortune teller and the home of the goldsmith the lane was eventually named for. Lastly, Daliborka Tower, the Prague Castle Tower served as a prison.
4. Prague Castle Gardens
The Prague Castle Gardens are a beautiful Renaissance garden built in 1534, showcasing rare botanical flowers and exotic plants from other countries. The gardens were meant to entertain the royal family and other nobility.
Structures were soon added and included the Ball Game hall (1569), the Summer Palace or Belvedere (1560), and the Lion Court (1560). Today, it’s a peaceful place to stroll and admire the peaceful and beautiful surroundings.
One of the areas to seek out is the Orangery, a tubular-shaped, glass-enclosed greenhouse built in 1999 in the Royal Gardens.
How to Get to Prague Castle
There are multiple ways to get to Prague Castle.
- Metro: The nearest metro station to Prague Castle is Malostranská, which is on Line A. From there, you can take tram number 22, 23 or 12 to the Prazsky hrad stop
- Tram: Trams number 22, 23 and 12 stop at the Prazsky hrad stop, which is located just outside the castle gates
- Bus: Buses numbered 224, 504, and 163 stop near the castle
But most will arrive on foot. It’s a pleasant walk from Old Town, across Charles Bridge and up Prague hill, to the top to reach Prague Castle. The complex extends down to the Lesser Quarter, or Mala Strana, where several chateaux and palaces are found.
Prague Castle Entrance Fee
Prague Castle Opening Hours:
- The Prague Castle complex is open daily from 6 am to 10 pm
- The historical buildings of Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague Castle Gardens, Royal Palace and Golden Lane are open daily from 9 am to 5 pm
Prague Castle Cost:
- Prague Castle Circuit includes Old Royal Palace, St. George‘s Basilica, Golden Lane, and St. Vitus Cathedral is 250 CZK (adult), 125 CZK (child/student/senior), 500 CZK (a family of 5)
- The Tower of the Cathedral with a View Gallery is 150 CZK (adult), 80 CZK (child/student/senior), 300 CZK (a family of 5)
- The Story of Prague Castle is 150 CZK (adult), 80 CZK (child/student/senior), 300 CZK (a family of 5)
- Audioguide 350 CZK / 3 hours
- Tours with Prague Castle Guides 100 CZK / person / per hour
Or, the best value is with Get Your Guide’s Skip the Line Guided Tour of Prague Castle
- Get your Skip-The-Line Entry Ticket to Prague Castle – no lines, direct access and the best price. Click here to book
- Prague Castle 2.5-Hour Tour Including Skip-the-Line Entrance Ticket, click here for more information
About Prague Castle District
The Castle District in Prague, otherwise known as Hradcany Castle is almost made up entirely of the Prague Castle.
Visiting Prague castle district is a bit unique in that, there are no hotels or restaurants like the other historical quarters. Exploring here is solely for seeing the top attraction – the famous Prague castle.
Beyond the main attraction of Prague Castle, there are a few more noteworthy sites to see. The nearby buildings are also impressive.
That’s because Hradcany was an independent borough until 1784, and held the status of being a ‘royal town’. Because of that, the best architects were hired to build some of the most incredible buildings.
More Sites to See in the Castle District Prague
1. Hradčany Square
Hradcany Square faces the entry point to Prague Castle where all you can see are the towers of St. Vitus Cathedral when standing in the centre. It’s a square buzzing with people (mostly tourists) with pop-up markets and the starting point for vintage car tours of Prague.
Schwarzenberg Palace and Salmov Palace sit side by side on Hradčany Square. They’re both elaborately designed, each one painted a different colour and covered in naturalistic stucco designs.
2. Strahov Monastery
The Strahov Monastery was founded in 1140 and within its complex, you will find Church St Roch (1612), which is now an art gallery, and the Church of the Assumption of Our Lady (1143). Also of interest, but wasn’t able to visit, was the rare Stratov library which houses a number of medieval manuscripts and maps.
Seek out Peklo, an upscale restaurant in the Monastery offering one of the best views from its outdoor terrace. Be sure to try some of the featured wines grown from the small vineyard on the grounds of the Monastery.
Or, visit Klaterni Pivovar Brewery right across from the Monstery for a more lively and casual experience.
Loreta is a 17th-century pilgrimage site consisting of a Baroque Church of the Nativity and a replica of the Holy House surrounded by cloisters and chapels. From the tower, a 27-bell carillon plays the Loretan Marian song “A Thousand Times We Greet Thee” every hour from 9 am to 6 pm.
4. Nový Svět
Seek out Novy Svet, a tiny area just a couple of streets tucked away off the beaten path, and off the radar of most tourists. This hidden gem is full of charm with its picturesque cottages dating back to the Middle Ages. There’s a cute coffee shop called Karvarna Novy Svet to stop and sit awhile.
Travel Resources for Prague and the Czech Republic
If you want more Prague inspiration and resources to help with your Czech Republic travels, be sure to check out these articles.
Other Prague historical districts:
- Old Town or Staré Město
- Little Quarter or Malá Strana
- New Town or Nové Město
- Jewish Quarter or Josefov
Other destinations in the Czech Republic:
- Guide to the Spa Town of Karlovy Vary
- Guide to the Fairy Tale Town of Cesky Krumlov
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How old is Prague Castle?
Prague Castle has been around since the 9th century making it one of the oldest castle in the world that remains in use today for tourists and is the official home of the Czech Republic’s president.
How big is Prague Castle?
Prague Castle covers an area of approximately 70,000 square meters, making it one of the largest castle complexes in the world.
Is it worth entering Prague Castle?
Yes, it’s worth visiting Prague Castle to get a sense of the different periods of Czech history and to see the top landmarks of St. Vitus Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace, and the Palace Gardens.
Why is Prague Castle so famous?
The Prague Castle is famous for being the largest castle complex in the world and attracts millions of visitors every year.
As a holidaymaker
Let’s face it, most go to the Prague Castle District or Hradcany only to see Prague Castle. Beyond the castle, what I loved the most was how quiet and picturesque this area is. With its elevated position over the city, it offers some beautiful lookout points and a quiet respite from Prague’s busy, tourist-filled streets.