Karlštejn is a small town located about 40 km west of Prague. It is situated on the banks of the Berounka river in the centre of the Český Kras nature conservation area. The dominant feature of the city is Karlštejn Castle, one of the Czech Republic’s most important cultural monuments as well as the country’s most visited castle. When visiting Karlštejn, visitors can also take a side trip to the stunning flooded limestone quarries, Velká Amerika and Malá Amerika (Large and Small America).
HOW TO GET TO KARLŠTEJN FROM PRAGUE
Karlštejn is approximately 40 km from Prague and a 45-minute trip by car. The best route is via the D5 highway in the direction of Beroun. Before Beroun, take exit 10 at Loděnice. The road then winds its way through the villages of Jánská, Svatý Jan pod Skalou, and Srbsko to Karlštejn. It’s worth stopping in Svatý Jan pod Skalou to visit the Church of St John the Baptist as well as the Benedictine monastery. There are also a few lookouts in the area offering scenic views, but these can only be reached on foot.
In Karlštejn, to get to the Castle, visitors must park in the central parking area in the lower part of the city and take the 2-km walk up to the Castle.
There is a train from Prague to Karlštejn (direction Beroun) every 30 minutes. It can be caught at the main train station (Praha hlavní nádraží) or Smíchov station (Praha Smíchov). The journey takes 40 minutes. After disembarking, visitors can follow the signs to the castle marked Hrad.
Train timetables, ticket prices and other information can be found on the official Czech Railways site.
There is no bus service to Karlštejn.
WHAT TO SEE IN KARLŠTEJN
GPS: 49.9391167N, 14.1882903E
The Castle was founded in 1348 by the Czech Republic’s most famous and influential ruler, Charles IV. It served as a place for safekeeping the Imperial Regalia, the Bohemian/Czech crown jewels, holy relics, and other royal treasures. With a fascinating history, Karlštejn Castle is one of the most significant castles in the Czech Republic. There are three different tours of the Castle which take about two hours in total.
Information on prices, opening hours and the history of the Castle can be found at ofiicial castle website.
Large America and Small America quarries (Velká Amerika and Malá Amerika)
GPS: 49.9580161N, 14.1935864E a 49.9538775N, 14.1744917E
There is also a tour from the Castle to the two flooded quarries, Large America and Small America. It is an 8-km round trip walk and takes about 2 hours. The Little America quarry is only accessible on foot unlike the Large America quarry which is accessible by car. The quarries are separated by a distance of one kilometre. If visitors decide to go to the quarries by car, they should take the route from Prague through the villages of Bubovice and Mořina, which is different from the route to Karlštejn recommended above. The quarries are located between the two villages.
Walking trip to Beroun
There is a walking trail from Karlštejn to Beroun clearly marked with red signs. It goes past the Bubovické waterfall, through the village of Svatý Jan pod Skalou and is an 11-km trip through the Český Kras nature conservation area. Visitors can finish their journey at Medvěd, a brewery and restaurant in Beroun, located in the courtyard next to the train station.