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Prague Castle (Pražský hrad) is one of the city’s most recognizable sights. This enormous castle is the largest ancient castle in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, and one of the most visited tourist attractions in the Czech Republic.

Given Prague Castle’s massive size, multiple ticket options, and long list of things to do, planning a visit here can feel confusing and complicated.

In this guide, we will be your virtual tour guide, navigating you through Prague Castle, to its must-see sights. We cover the best way to visit Prague Castle, including the top things to see, the best time of day to plan your visit, and whether or not it is worth taking a tour.

Let’s get started.

Visiting Prague Castle: 10 Helpful Tips

1. Cool Facts about Prague Castle

Before we jump in to how to visit Prague Castle, it is good to know why it is such an important site to visit.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Prague Castle is the largest castle in the world. It occupies an area that is almost 70,000 square meters (about 750,000 square feet).

Prague Castle is still in use today. It is the official residence and workplace of the president of the Czech Republic.

In its long history, it was the seat of power for Bohemian kings, Holy Roman emperors, and Czechoslovakian presidents. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2. Things to See & Do in Prague Castle

It may come as no surprise that the world’s largest castle would have a lot of things to see and do.

The historical buildings of Prague Castle (the Old Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica, St. Vitus Cathedral, the Golden Lane, and the Story of Prague Castle) open at 9 am and close at 5 pm in the summer and 4 pm in the winter. The South Tower of St. Vitus Cathedral opens at 10 am. Get updated hours on the official website.

Below is an interactive map of Prague Castle marking places to go, entrances, ticket offices, and a walking route from the Lesser Town Tower Bridge to the castle.

How to Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner of the map to view the layers (points of interest and the walking route). You can click the check marks to hide or show layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each point of interest.
If you click the star next to the title of the map, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

Old Royal Palace

This is the original residence of the castle and it dates back to the 9th and 10th centuries. It was later enlarged and a small chapel was added. Not to be missed is the observation gallery in Vladislav Hall…it has a very nice view of Prague.

Also in the Old Royal Palace is the Defenestration Window. In 1618, two regents of Holy Roman Emperor King Ferdinand II were thrown out of the window, an event that sparked the beginning of the Thirty Years War.

Prague Castle Old Royal Palace

Old Royal Palace

St. George’s Basilica

This basilica dates back to 920, making it the second oldest church at Prague Castle. Most of what we see today dates back to the 12th and 13th centuries and it was constructed with a Romanesque appearance. The tomb of prince Vratislav, the father of St. Wenceslas, is located in the main nave.

St Georges Basilica Prague Castle

St. George’s Basilica


St Georges Basilica Interior

Inside St. George’s Basilica


St Georges Basilica Frescoes

Ceiling of St. George’s Basilica

Golden Lane

This colorful street gets its name for goldsmiths that lived and worked in the castle, attempting to turn lead into gold. Famous people have also lived here, including Franz Kafka, who lived and wrote in house #22 during World War I.

Strolling this street and visiting the insides of these small houses is one of Prague Castle’s best experiences.

Golden Lane Prague Castle

Golden Lane


22 Golden Lane Franz Kafka

22 Golden Lane

The Story of Prague Castle

This exhibition tells the story of more than a thousand years of history of Prague Castle.

Saint Vitus Cathedral

This grand cathedral was the first church at Prague Castle, founded by Prince Wenceslas in 925. Construction of the Gothic cathedral we see today began in 1344.

Coronations of Czech kings and queens take place here and it is the burial place of several patron saints and notable people. Don’t miss St. Wenceslas Chapel, which contains the tomb of St. Wenceslas.

Saint Vitus Cathedral Prague

Saint Vitus Cathedral

St Vitus Cathedral Exterior

South Tower of Saint Vitus Cathedral

For a bird’s eye view over Prague Castle and the city of Prague, climb the 287 steps to the top of the South Tower. It’s a tight, spiral, stone staircase to the top and your reward is 360° views of Prague. From this elevated position, you can see just about every landmark in this beautiful city.

To do this, you’ll need to add on the South Tower to your Prague Castle entrance ticket. Note: you cannot purchase this ticket at the tower; you must purchase this ticket at one of the ticket booths in Prague Castle.

St Vitus Cathedral View

View from the South Tower

The Changing of the Guard

The changing of the guard occurs on the hour every hour from 7 am to 8 pm in the summer and 7 am to 6 pm in the winter. However, the ceremonial Changing of the Guard occurs at 12:00 pm each day in the first courtyard of the castle.

Prague Castle Guard

PRO TRAVEL TIP: You can enter Prague Castle without a ticket. You will pass through a security check and then are free to walk the grounds of the castle. However, in order to enter any of the buildings (such as Saint Vitus Cathedral and the Old Royal Palace) and the Golden Lane, you will need a ticket.

Lobkowicz Palace

Lobkowicz Palace is a 16th century palace in Prague Castle. It is a privately owned palace and is on a separate ticket from Prague Castle.

This palace is now a museum, displaying paintings by famous artists such as Pieter Brueghel the Elder and Canaletto, decorative art, weapons and hunting equipment, and original manuscripts by Beethoven and Mozart. Classical music concerts are also held in the palace.

The palace has a restaurant and café that has an outdoor terrace with a panoramic view of Prague. You do not need a ticket to the palace or the castle to visit the restaurant.

Lobkowicz Palace View

View from Lobkowicz Palace restaurant

You can tour Lobkowicz Palace without purchasing a ticket to tour Prague Castle. To get to the palace, the best entrance into the castle is the Na Opysi entrance near the Malostranska metro and tram stop. Enter the castle and it is a short walk on the castle grounds to get to Lobkowicz Palace.

Tickets are sold online in advance and at the entrance to Lobkowicz Palace.

3. Must See Sights in Prague Castle

To visit everything listed above, it will take you between a half and a full day. Most people don’t have that kind of time, so if you want to narrow the above list down to the must-see sights, here is what we recommend.

1. Saint Vitus Cathedral. This grand cathedral is worth a quick visit, viewing the nave and Wenceslas Chapel.

2. The Golden Lane. This colorful street takes 15 to 20 minutes of your time and is a fascinating look into the living quarters of the people who lived and worked in the castle.

3. Old Royal Palace. Touring these historic rooms takes 15 to 30 minutes and is an essential place to visit in Prague Castle.

4. St. George’s Basilica. This ancient basilica is beautiful inside and takes less than 15 minutes to walk a loop around the ground floor.

Everything listed above is on the main circuit ticket. For one of the best views of Prague, climb the South Tower of Saint Vitus Cathedral. It’s a hefty stair climb and a few more Czech crowns, but it’s worth it for those who like lofty viewpoints.

4. Best Viewpoints from Prague Castle

Given Prague Castle’s elevated position in Prague, there are a few places in and around the castle where you can get panoramic views of the city.

The best viewpoint is from the top of the South Tower of Saint Vitus Cathedral. To get here, you will climb 287 steps (there is no elevator) and will have to purchase the ‘Tower of the Cathedral with a View Gallery,’ an add-on to the main ticket.

In the Old Royal Palace, there is a nice view of Prague from the observation gallery in Vladislav Hall.

In Lobkowicz Palace, visit the café and restaurant and step out onto the outdoor terrace for a great view of the city.

Finally, just outside of the east entrance into Prague Castle, Vyhlídka Na Opyši is an observation terrace with a panoramic view of Prague.

Vyhlídka Na Opyši View Prague

View from Vyhlídka Na Opyši

5. How to Get to Prague Castle

To get to Prague Castle, you can walk, use public transportation, or use a ride share app like Uber or Bolt.

Entrances into Prague Castle

There are three entrances into Prague Castle. The main entrance is on the west side of the castle, near Hradcany Square and Matthias Gate. Walk through the Garden on the Bastion, a small garden that sits to the left of Matthias Gate, to go through security and enter the 2nd courtyard.

There is a second entrance on the east side of the castle, near Lobkowicz Palace, at Na Opyši gate.

In the summer, you can enter the castle through the Royal Garden.

To walk to Prague, it is a 15-minute uphill walk from the Lesser Town Tower Bridge in Mala Strana. If you plan to enter the castle on the west side, the final portion of this walk will be on the New Castle Stairs, which is a hefty stair climb. At the top of the stairs, you will be standing at the west end of Prague Castle.

Prague Castle Steps

New Castle Stairs

By public transportation, take tram 22 to stop Pražský hrad, and it is a 5-minute walk to the castle.

The official website lists multiple ways to get to Prague Castle, with maps of the routes, so I recommend looking at these to help pick the best option.

6 Walking Route through Prague Castle

Next we list an efficient walking route through the castle, which includes the must-see sights.

Start your visit on the west side of the castle, at Matthias Gate.

Enter through the Garden on the Bastion and the 4th Courtyard, which sits to the left of Matthias Gate. You will go through security and then enter the 2nd Courtyard.

Once in the 2nd Courtyard, purchase your tickets if you do not already have them. Tickets can be purchased at the Prague Castle Information office in the 2nd Courtyard and from the Prague Castle Information office in the 3rd Courtyard, right in front of Saint Vitus Cathedral.

Enter Saint Vitus Cathedral and then the Old Royal Palace.

If you want to climb the South Tower of Saint Vitus Cathedral, this opens at 10 am, 1 hour after the historical buildings open. So, if you arrive at 9 am, take your time in the cathedral and the Old Royal Palace, putting you at the South Tower around 10 am. If you have free time, visit St. George’s Basilica.

After the optional tower climb, visit St. George’s Basilica and then Lobkowicz Palace. At Lobkowicz Palace, you have the option to have coffee or a snack at the restaurant and view Prague from the terrace.

End your visit with a stroll down the Golden Lane. You will exit outside of the castle gates (the Golden Lane is one-way). From here, walk over to Vyhlídka Na Opyši, the observation terrace with a view of Prague.

It takes 2 to 3 hours to follow this walking route.

From this point, you can walk down the Old Castle Stairs into Mala Strana or to the Malostranska Metro, or walk along the south side of the castle towards the west entrance, and then take the New Castle Stairs to Mala Strana.

We took the New Castle Stairs and then had lunch at Medieval Tavern “U Krále Brabantského,” a really cool medieval tavern. The food is so-so but the ambience is awesome…it is like stepping back in time.

Prague Medieval Tavern

7. How Much Does it Cost to Visit Prague Castle?

Ticket Options

There are several ticket types to visit Prague Castle.

Basic Circuit Ticket: 250 CZK. This is the base ticket and it gives you access to the Old Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica, the Golden Lane, and Saint Vitus Cathedral.

Permanent Exhibition Ticket: 250 CZK. This ticket gives you access to the Story of Prague Castle, Castle Guard Exhibition, and the Prague Castle Picture Gallery.

Tower of the Cathedral with a View Gallery Ticket: 150 CZK. This is the ticket to climb the South Tower of Saint Vitus Cathedral.

Audioguide: 350 CZK for 3 hours

Photography Pass: 50 CZK. If you want to take photos of the interiors of the buildings, you will need to purchase this pass (and staff members will check to see if you have it).

Guided Tours: You can book a tour of the castle with a guide for 150 CZK.

Lobkowicz Palace: This palace is privately owned and it is a separate ticket from the Prague Castle sites. Tickets start at 340 CZK. They are available onsite and on the official website.

There are discounts for children 6 to 16, university students, and those 65 years and older. See the official website for the full price list and to get up-to-date pricing.

For most visitors, the Basic Circuit Ticket is sufficient. Add on the South Tower ticket to climb the Saint Vitus Cathedral tower. And if you plan to take photos, don’t forget to add on the photography pass. Your grand total is 450 CZK.

Purchasing Your Tickets

Currently, the official website does not sell tickets online in advance. They are only available at the castle or through a third-party seller like GetYourGuide. This could change at some point, so I recommend checking the official website as you plan your trip.

For the best experience, plan to enter the castle at or just before 9 am, when the historical buildings open. By 10 am, the castle is packed with visitors and tour groups and the ticket lines get to be very long.

Basic Circuit tickets can be purchased in advance through GetYourGuide, but not the South Tower of the Cathedral or the photography pass.

Tickets for Lobkowicz Palace can be purchased online in advance on their website. You can purchase a combination ticket of Lobkowicz Palace + the Basic Circuit Ticket for Prague Castle on the Lobkowicz Palace website. This is another way to obtain your Prague Castle ticket online in advance, but there are disadvantages. You will not be able to add on the photography pass or the South Tower climb. You will also have to turn in the voucher for the official ticket onsite at Lobkowicz Palace before visiting the Prague Castle sites, and the palace opens later than the Prague Castle historical buildings.

Ticket Offices

Tickets can be purchased at the Prague Castle Information office in the 2nd Courtyard and from the Prague Castle Information office in the 3rd Courtyard, right in front of Saint Vitus Cathedral. There is a third ticket office near the Golden Lane.

For Lobkowicz Palace, you can purchase your tickets onsite at the entrance to the palace or online on the official website.

Prague Castle Entrance

The view of Prague Castle from Hradcany Square

8. How to Visit Prague Castle for Free

For free, you can stroll the grounds of Prague Castle. You can walk through the courtyards, stand outside of Saint Vitus Cathedral to see its beautiful roof and decorations, stroll past St. George’s Basilica, and see the Changing of the Guard. To enter any of the buildings, you will need to purchase a ticket. The ticket to climb the ticket of the South Tower is the cheapest option, followed by the Base Circuit Ticket for 250 CZK.

You also have the option to visit the restaurant and café of Lobkowicz Palace for free. However, in return for the great view from the terrace, it would be polite to order a coffee, snack, or small meal.

Saint Vitus Cathedral Mosaic

Mosaics on Saint Vitus Cathedral

9. Best Time to Visit Prague Castle

The historical buildings of Prague Castle (the Old Royal Palace, St. George’s Basilica, St. Vitus Cathedral, the Golden Lane, and the Story of Prague Castle) open at 9 am and close at 5 pm in the summer and 4 pm in the winter. The South Tower of St. Vitus Cathedral opens at 10 am. Get updated hours on the official website.

The best time to visit Prague Castle is right at opening time. Since tickets cannot be purchase in advance, it saves you a lot of time to get there at opening, or even a little before, to save yourself the wait in the ticket line. By 10 am, Prague Castle becomes the most crowded place to visit in Prague.

The end of the day is also a good time to visit the castle, once the main crowds fade away and head to other parts of the city.

10. Tours of Prague Castle

If you prefer to tour the castle with an experienced guide, skip the hassle of purchasing tickets or finding your way to the castle, there are several tours that get very good reviews.

On GetYourGuide, you can purchase a Basic Circuit Ticket in advance. It saves you time in the ticket line but you will still have to meet up with a guide to pick up your ticket.

This 2.5 hour guided tour can be done as a group or privately. It is one of the highest-reviewed tours of Prague Castle.

This 2.5 hour tour begins at Charles Bridge and includes the Basic Circuit through Prague Castle with a guide.

If you have any questions about how to visit Prague Castle, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Prague

PRAGUE: Get started with our article Best Things to Do in Prague and here are the 10 best views of Prague.

CESKY KRUMLOV: In our Guide to Cesky Krumlov, learn how to plan your day trip from Prague.

CHRISTMAS IN PRAGUE: If you will be visiting Prague in December, don’t miss our guide to the best Christmas markets in Prague, which also includes other festive things to do in the city.

CENTRAL EUROPE ITINERARY: Learn how to put together Budapest, Vienna, and Prague together in our 10 day Central Europe Itinerary.

VIENNA: Get started with our article about the best things to do in Vienna. We also have a guide to 10 must-visit cafes and coffee houses in Vienna.

Read all of our articles about Czech Republic in our Czech Republic Travel Guide.

Prague Castle Travel Guide


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