How to Visit the Prague Castle District

Travel through the heart of the Czech Republic’s capital, where history unfolds against the stunning backdrop of Prague Castle (or Hradčany Castle).

As your expert guide to European travel, I am excited to guide you through the enchanting Prague Castle area.

In this article, I’ll be providing not just directions to Prague Castle but unveiling the hidden gems and must-see wonders that make this district a historical treasure trove you’ll want to visit.

History of Prague Castle District (Hradčany Castle District)

cathedral through the trees of Prague Castle District or Hradčany Castle

The Prague Castle is an architectural marvel that traces its roots back to the 9th century. The saga begins with the construction of the Church of the Virgin Mary, a humble inception that laid the foundation for what would become a sprawling testament to centuries of Czech history. It was also the site of the first convent in Bohemia

Witness the ebb and flow of architectural prowess as the complex evolved over the centuries, each era leaving its indelible mark. A pivotal moment came under the reign of Charles IV in the 14th century when the royal palace underwent a grand transformation, standing as a testament to his vision and the enduring legacy of Prague Castle.

The Guinness Book of World Records attests to its grandeur, declaring Prague Castle the largest castle complex globally, spanning an impressive 70,000 sq/m.

The castle in Prague holds the prestigious designation of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This accolade not only recognizes its architectural significance but also serves as a guardian, preserving the rich history and cultural tapestry within its walls.

Things to See at Prague Castle

Cathedral with towering spire is the Prague Castle or hradčany 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 a Prague Castle entrance fee to see the entire castle complex. Here is what to see in Prague Castle location.

St. Vitus Cathedral

Imagine a labour of love spanning six centuries, starting in 1344 and evolving with the Renaissance and Baroque influences that have gracefully woven into this stone building.

St. Vitus Cathedral is not merely a building; it’s a living canvas, a testament to the artistic spirit that has embraced it over the ages.

Once the sacred ground for the coronation of Czech kings and queens, it now stands as the seat of the Archbishop of Prague. Wander through its hallowed halls, and you’ll tread upon the final resting place of Holy Roman Emperors, kings, and saints—a congregation of souls that adds an ethereal layer to its storied walls.

A visit to St. Vitus Cathedral unveils more than just architectural marvels; it grants you access to the most extensive church treasury in the Czech Republic. Among its prized possessions 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!

Old Royal Palace

building in the castle district prague with elegant opening and statues

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. 

Golden Lane

coloured houses on cobbled stone street in Prague castle district or hradčany castle

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. 

Prague Castle Gardens

pathway, gardens, palace of the castle of prague or hradčany castle

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.

Visiting Prague Castle

How to Get to Castle of Prague

staircase up to Castle of Prague with view of city of the hradčany castle district

There are multiple ways to get to Prague Castle located at its official address of Prague castle Hradčany Prague 1 Czechia.

  • On Foot: A pleasant walk from Old Town, across Charles Bridge and up the hill to the top. The complex extends down to the Little Quarter or Mala Strana, where several chateaux and palaces are found
  • 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

Prague Castle Entrance Fee & Hours

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

I highly recommend either of these two options: skip-the-line Castle ticket OR Castle tour with local guide

Beyond the Palace: what to see in the Castle District Prague

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 Palace.

But, beyond it there are a few more noteworthy sites to see that are equally 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.

Hradčany Square

Hradcany Square faces the entry point to Castle District Prague 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.

Strahov Monastery

white monastery in Prague with tower located in Hradčany-Castle-District

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, one of the top Prague libraries, which houses several 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.  

Nový Svět

cobble stone street with cafe table and chairs in Prague

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. 

FAQ About Prague Castle

How old is Prague Castle?

Prague Castle has been around since the 9th century making it one of the oldest castles 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.

What is the best time to visit the Prague Castle District to avoid crowds?

Early mornings or late afternoons on weekdays are generally less crowded. Visiting during the off-peak seasons, such as early spring, late fall or winter, can also offer a quieter experience.

As a Holidaymaker

Let’s face it, most go to the Prague Castle District or Hradcany only to see the castle of Prague.

But, beyond the castle is what I loved the most, just 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. 

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