A symbol of Czech statehood, Prague Castle (Pražský hrad) is one of the most significant historic monuments in Prague. It is also the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic. The castle is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage site, and according to the Guinness of Records, it is the largest castle complex in the world.
Prague Castle is a complex of historic palaces, ecclesiastical and residential buildings, and gardens. It was founded by Bořivoj, the first Czech prince of the Premyslid Dynasty. Construction began in the 9th century and continued into the early 20th century.
Useful information for visitors
Prague Castle is situated on a hill above the Vltava River in the Hradčany district.
GPS coordinates: 50.0898689N, 14.4000936E
PUBLIC TRANSPORT CONNECTION
- The easiest way to get there is to take the 22 tram and disembark at the Pražský hrad tram stop. From there, it is a five-minute walk to the second courtyard.
- It is also possible to disembark earlier, at the Malostranské náměstí tram stop and walk via Nerudova, Zámecká and Thunovská Streets to the New Castle Stairs (Nové zámecké schody), which lead to the Gate of Giants entrance.
- A third possibility is to walk to the Old Castle Stairs (Staré zámecké schody) from Malostranská tram and metro station, which lead to the Na Opyši gate.
- Prague Castle is also accessible on foot from Old Town. A favourite route from Old Town Square is to cross Charles Bridge to Lesser Town Square and then climb up the hill to the main gate.
Under the reign of Charles IV, known as the Golden Age of the Kingdom of Bohemia, the Royal Palace was rebuilt in the Gothic style and its fortifications were strengthened. The foundation stone of the vast St Vitus Cathedral, the most important building built by Charles IV, was laid in 1344 and it wasn’t completed until almost six centuries later. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the medieval castle was rebuilt into a Renaissance style chateau with gardens.
In the 18th century, Prague Castle was reconstructed in the style of Vienna rococo and French classicism, under the rule of Marie Terezie. The works were led by the Austrian architect, Nicolo Pacassi.
Extensive modifications, under the noted Slovenian architect, Josip Plečnik, between 1920 and 1935, resulted in the current appearance of the Castle.
Prague Castle has been open to the public since 1989.
Buildings open to public
● Old Royal Palace with the Story of the Prague Castle exhibition. State ceremonies and presidential elections are held in the late Gothic Vladislav Hall.
● St Vitus Cathedral. Construction took more than 600 years and the Bohemian Coronation Jewels are kept in the St Wenceslas Chapel.
● St George’s Basilica. Founded in 920, it is the second oldest church in Prague.
● St George’s Convent. A permanent exhibition from the National Gallery’s medieval art collection can be viewed here.
● The Picture Gallery at Prague Castle. The Castle’s most precious paintings, dating back to the 16th century, are on permanent display in the Gallery.
● Powder Tower Mihulka. The tower dates back to the 15th century. An exhibition dedicated to the Castle Guard, an autonomous unit of Armed Forces if the Czech Republic, which guards the seat of the President of the Czech Republic, can be seen here.
● Rosenberg Palace. Copies of the royal insignia of Charles IV are housed in the Palace.
● Great South Tower of the Cathedral. The tower has the largest bell in the Czech Republic.
● Golden Lane with Daliborka Tower. Until 1781, the tower served as a prison and dungeon.
● The Royal Garden, the South Gardens, Garden on the Bastion, Terrace of the Riding School, Stag Moat, St Wenceslas vineyard, Orangery, Empire Greenhouse, Horticultural Garden. These gardens, throughout the complex, offer myriad of delightful walks.
State rooms are open to the public twice a year only. Open Days: the First Saturday after 8th May (Liberation from Fascism) and the Saturday after 28th October (Establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic).
The seat of the Czech President and the changing of the Castle Guard
Prague Castle is the seat of the Czech president and state occasions are celebrated there. The complex is protected by Castle Guard which changes every hour from 9:00am to 6:00pm at the Castle gates. At noon, the changing of the Guards is accompanied by a fanfare and banner exchange in the first courtyard.
Prague Castle is open all year round. The castle grounds can be accessed, without entering the complex itself, from 6:00am to 10:00pm daily.
Summer season: 1st March–31st October: 9:00am to 4:00pm daily
Winter season: 1st November– 30th April: 9:00am to 5:00pm daily
All gardens are closed during the winter season.
St Vitus Cathedral
Great South Tower of St Vitus Cathedral
Summer season: Mon–Sun: 10:00am–6:00pm
Winter season: Mon-Sun: 10:00am–5:00pm
Last admission is 30 minutes before closing time. The tower is closed during adverse weather conditions.
Chapel of the Holy Cross – The treasury of St Vitus Cathedral
Summer season: Mon–Sun: 10:00am–6:00pm
Winter season: Mon–Sun: 10:00am–5:00pm
Tickets are available at Prague Castle or at Ticketportal offices throughout the city. Credit cards are accepted. The ticket is valid for two days. Gift tickets can also be purchased.
Ticket offices at the Castle are located in the Information Centres. These are located in the second and third courtyards, the Old Royal Palace, the Golden Lane, and the Prague Castle Picture Gallery.
Concert tickets can be purchased at the Information Centre ticket office in the second courtyard. Exhibition tickets are sold in the exhibitions halls.
Discount admission applies to children aged 6–16, students under 26, and seniors over 65. Family admission applies to 2 adults with 1-5 children under 16.
Free admission applies to children under 6, ZTP, ZTP-P cardholders (+ one accompanying person), licensed tourist guides, nursery school groups accompanied by a teacher, and teachers accompanying school groups (minimum 15 students).
The three circuits at Prague Castle:
Circuit A includes: The Old Royal Palace, an exhibition entitled “The Story of Prague Castle”, St George’s Basilica, the Golden Lane, the Powder Tower, St Vitus Cathedral, and the Rosenberg Palace
Circuit B includes: The Old Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica, the Golden Lane, and St. Vitus Cathedral
Circuit C includes: tour in Prague Castle Picture Gallery and the exhibition “The Treasure of St Vitus Cathedral”
Up-to-date information about admission fee is available at official website of the Castle.
Guided tours with a professional guide are available in Czech, English, German, Italian, Spanish, and Russian. These should be reserved in advance during the summer months. Customised and individual tours are also available.
● 50 CZK/hr per person (minimum 4 people) Czech language
● 100 CZK/hr per person (minimum 4 people) Other languages
Other Useful Information
Mobile and iPad application
Visitors can download a Prague Picture Guide application for iOS and Android smartphones. There are four picture guides: St Vitus Cathedral, St George’s Basilica, Old Royal Palace, and Golden Lane.
Photos can be taken in the interiors for a 50CZK fee. However, photography is forbidden at the following exhibitions: The Story of Prague Castle, The Treasure of St Vitus Cathedral and the Prague Castle Picture Gallery.
Wheelchair access is provided throughout the complex excluding all towers: Daliborka Tower, White Tower, Powder Tower, South Tower of St Vitus Cathedral, and the defensive passageways in the Golden Lane.
Parking near Prague Castle is limited. The closest public parking is located near the Pražský hrad tram stop.
There are four public toilets in the Prague Castle Complex. A fee of 10CZK applies.
● Prague Castle Riding School: Mon–Sun 7:00am–9:00pm
● Third courtyard near St Vitus Cathedral: Mon–Sun 7:30am–8:00pm
● Third courtyard near the Old Royal Palace Mon–Sun 9:00am–5:00pm
Personal security checks are carried out. Delays can be expected.