Prague Castle Guide: Top Tips to Know Before You Go

Prague Castle

Did you know Prague is home to the largest castle complex in the world? Yes, that’s right! Not only is it the beautiful jewel of Czech Republic’s capital, but also includes a museum, ancient churches, and several other historical sites. Here’s everything you need to know about St. Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane, and how to buy your Prague Castle tickets.

Quick History of the Prague Castle

The Prague Castle was first built in the year 880 as the place of power for Bohemian Kings. Churches like St. Vitus Cathedral and other buildings would be added in the coming years. The city and castle in Prague truly thrived in the 14th century under the reign of Emperor Charles IV. 

Under the Habsburg Dynasty, wonderful additions such as the Royal Gardens, Summer Palace, and Ball Game Hall came along. All of these structures combined make up the largest castle complex in the world!

Today it holds important religious history, art, and much more. Interestingly enough, it’s also the current home of the President of the Czech Republic.

Guide Prague Castle

 

How to Get to the Prague Castle

Buying Your Prague Castle Tickets

The best way to get your Prague Castle tickets is to buy them online beforehand. For our visit to the castle in Prague, we chose the official Castle ticket. This combined pass gave us entry to Old Royal Palace, St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George’s Basilica, and Golden Lane.

Also, one of the most popular options when visiting the Prague castle is to book a ticket with a guided tour. This way you can learn more in-depth about the history of the complex as you go. 

We recommend getting to Prague Castle as early as possible as it gets very busy! Visiting outside of the weekend and peak summer months of July and August is also smart. Whenever you go though, you’re sure to have a great time at this historic attraction.

18 Fun Things to do in Prague on Your First Visit

Prague Castle Tickets

Our Visit to the Castle in Prague

We started our day early by walking over the famous Charles Bridge to the Prague Castle. This is the first thing to know! The massive castle complex is actually on the other side of the Vltava River. While Old Town and most of the iconic towers lie opposite the castle, it gives it its own special side of the city called “Lesser Town” to marvel over. 

After crossing the bridge we walked up the large staircase to get to the Prague Castle. It’s 220 steps to be exact! On the way up you can even stop at the oldest pub in Prague built in 1375. At the castle entrance, we went through security, bag check, and then finally entered the grounds. From there, we just had to decide what to see first. 

We recommend at least 2 to 3 hours at the Prague Castle. Yet, there’s enough to see that you could spend an entire day. If you bought your Prague Castle tickets online you will already have them electronically on your phone. Otherwise, they can be purchased at the main office after walking through security.

Castle Prague

Best Things to See at the Prague Castle

Old Royal Palace

The first part of the Prague Castle we explored was the Old Royal Palace. As soon as you step through the doors you can see the rich history of the Czech Republic in the large Vladislav Hall. Heading further into the interior of the Old Royal Palace, you’ll find colorful murals and old relics from centuries before. 

This was the perfect introduction for us to the castle in Prague and its impressive history. It’s crazy how many kings and empires have called this city home! Attached to the main hall is the All Saints’ Church and the Theresian Wing which holds different art exhibitions throughout the year.

Prague Castle Guide

St. Vitus Cathedral 

Our next stop at Prague Castle was the stunning St. Vitus Cathedral. While Prague has an incredible amount of churches, none truly compare to this one. Coming through one of the archways we caught our first glimpse of the cathedral… And wow! What a beautiful sight.

It is the largest of its kind in Prague and known as the most important church in all of the Czech Republic. The church contains tombs of kings, emperors, and patron saints. It has also been the site for many coronations of Bohemian royalty.

As we stood inside the St. Vitus Cathedral, it was difficult to comprehend how much history this place has witnessed over the past 1,000 years. The Gothic-style architecture, colorful stained windows, and sheer detail that went into building this is mind-blowing.

St. Vitus Cathedral Prague Castle

St. George’s Basilica

Although St. Vitus Cathedral is certainly magnificent, it was actually not the first church built in Prague. That honor goes to the nearby St. George’s Basilica! It was founded in the year 920 by the Duke of Bohemia, Prince Vratislav I.

Unfortunately, like many buildings of its time, it succumbed to a devastating fire and was rebuilt in 1192. Its bright-colored exterior and Romanesque-style architecture are a powerful contrast to the darker St. Vitus Cathedral. 

Prague Castle Complex

Golden Lane at Prague Castle

The last place we visited at the Prague Castle was super interesting! Golden Lane is essentially a neighborhood inside the fortress where people actually lived up until World War II.

Aside from defenders of the castle in Prague, its inhabitants included goldsmiths, servants, and other random jobs. Golden Lane has had many famous residents, including writer Franz Kafka and a world-renowned fortune teller named Madame de Thebes.

The unmistakable feature of Golden Lane is how small the houses are. Today the tiny homes are makeshift museums, each telling a story of its time. Some also offer souvenirs if you’d like to buy a gift from the castle in Prague.

Golden Lane Prague Castle

Have any questions about the St. Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane, or buying your Prague Castle tickets? Leave us a comment below!

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

 Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar

Where to Stay in Prague

Ultra LuxuryThe Grand Mark Prague – High-end accommodation inside a residential palace from the 17th century and part of the Leading Hotels of the World Collection.

Heart of Old TownMetropolitan Old Town Hotel – Affordable rooms in the heart of Prague with a beautiful hotel terrace overlooking the city.  

Unique Design Dancing House – Stay inside one of the most famous modern buildings in Prague which has received global recognition for its unique design.

Prague CastleHotel Waldstein – This 14th-century building is set just below the Prague Castle. Enjoy being in Lesser Town and just a quick walk to the Charles Bridge.

Hostel StayPrague Dream Hostel – Popular hostel within walking distance of many of the main Prague sites.

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Prague Castle

More Prague Tips

Czech Republic Travel Planning 

 Flights: We always find deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we got flights from Italy to Prague for under $40 USD!

Rental Car: Discover Cars is perfect for traveling abroad. Rent a car and spend one week visiting smaller towns like Telc, Kutná Hora, and Český Krumlov.

Public Transportation: Using public transportation in the Czech Republic is extremely affordable and easy! To pre-book buses use Omio to compare the best routes all over the country. 

 Accommodation: Compare competitive sites for hotels such as Booking.com and Agoda. Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget. 

Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for activities all over Prague. You can book everything from skip the line Prague Castle tickets to the famous Medieval Dinner with Unlimited Drinks, and even take a 3 Hour River Dinner Cruise

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Here’s all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists! Including electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials

Prague Czech Republic

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