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Prague Castle is the largest castle complex in the world and is well worth a visit when you’re in Prague. Learn more about visiting this ancient Czech landmark here.
This UNESCO World Heritage site is the official office of the President of the Czech Republic. Throughout its long history, Prague Castle has served as the seat of power for kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors, and presidents of Czechoslovakia.
Today, Prague Castle is one of the most-visited tourist sites in Prague. I visited this castle during my family’s 3-day vacation to Prague.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about visiting Prague Castle, the historic buildings in the castle complex, and interesting castle history.
Prague Castle History
The castle’s history began in 870 with the construction of its first walled building, the Church of the Virgin Mary. In the next century, the castle would expand with the addition of St. George’s Basilica and St. Vitus Cathedral, built by Vratislaus I, Duke of Bohemia and his son St. Wenceslaus.
During Medieval times, King Ottokar II of Bohemia rebuilt the palace as a royal residence and a seat of government. In the 14th century, Charles IV had the royal palace rebuilt in the Gothic style, including St Vitus Cathedral.
It holds the record for being the largest castle complex in the world, with an area of about 750,000 square feet and measuring 1,870 feet long and 430 feet wide.
The castle has been damaged over the years by fires, revolts, and wars. It was occupied by Nazi Germany during WWII, and then was the seat of the communist Czechoslovakia government until the split in 1993.
The castle has since been the seat of the Head of State of the Czech Republic and is an active government complex.
Touring Prague Castle
The castle complex itself is free to visit, but to see inside the many historical buildings, you’ll need to purchase a ticket.
I’ve detailed each of the castle’s historic buildings below, along with what ticket you’ll need to access them.
Old Royal Palace
The Old Royal Palace was the original residence building at Prague Castle. After the 15th century, it was used for coronations, conferences, an doffices.
Entry to the Old Royal Palace is available on the Basic Circuit ticket.
St. George’s Basilica
St. George’s Basilica was the second church built at Prague Castle, and now it’s the oldest surviving church within the complex. It was built in 920 in the Romanesque style.
Entry to St. George’s Basilica is available on the Basic Circuit ticket.
St. Vitus Cathedral
St. Vitus Cathedral is actually the third church built on this site. Construction began in 1344 but wasn’t completed until 1929.
The cathedral held the coronations of Czech kings and queens. It is also the final resting place of several patron saints, sovereigns, noblemen, and archbishops.
Entry to St. Vitus Cathedral is available on the Basic Circuit ticket.
Great South Tower of the Cathedral
If you want to get a birds-eye view of the castle and the surrounding city, then you’ll want to head up the 100-meter high tower of the cathedral. You’ll climb more than 280 steps to reach the top of the cathedral’s bell tower.
Entry to the tower is available as a separate ticket.
The Golden Lane is a colorful row of small 16th century homes built to house the castle soldiers and goldsmiths.
At the end of the lane, you can also access Daliborka Tower, the old castle prison.
Entry to the Golden Lane is available on the Basic Circuit ticket.
The Story of Prague Castle
The Story of Prague Castle is the castle’s permanent exhibition set on the Gothic Floor of the Old Royal Palace. It displays items and original relics from the castle collection. The exhibit details key historical events, the construction of the castle, and inspiring stories from the castle’s history.
Entry to this exhibit is available on the Permanent Exhibitions ticket or as a separate ticket.
Lobkowicz Palace is the former home of one of the oldest Bohemian noble families. It first came into the family in the early 1600s but was taken by the Nazis during WWII and was only returned to the family in 2002.
A tour of the palace lets you see the Lobkowicz family’s collection of art, furnishings, music, and military equipment. This is the oldest and largest privately owned art collection in the Czech Republic.
Lobkowicz Palace is technically part of the Prague Castle complex, but it is privately owned by the Lobkowicz family and requires a separate ticket. You can also purchase a Lobkowicz Palace and Prague Castle combo ticket that adds the palace onto a Basic Circuit ticket. Or you can attend a midday concert at the palace.
Visiting Prague Castle
The castle complex is open daily in the summer (April 1 to October 31) from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and the historical buildings are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In the winter (November 1 to March 31), the castle complex is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and the historical buildings are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Each historical building may have different operating times.
Basic Circuit tickets cost 250 Kč for adults; and 125 Kč for children ages 6-16, university students up to age 26, and seniors 65+. Permanent Exhibition tickets costs 200 Kč for adults; and 150 Kč for children, students, and seniors. The Tower of the Cathedral ticket costs 150 Kč.
Tickets are valid for two days, but each castle building can only be entered once.
Audio-guides and tours with castle guides are available at an additional cost.
Lobkowicz Palace tickets cost 290 Kč for adults; 220 Kč for children ages 7-15, students, and seniors. Audio-guides are provided with your entry. You can purchase a combo ticket to Prague Castle and Lobkowicz Palace here.
Since the castle is a working government building, your access to certain parts of the complex may be subject to change and portions of the complex may be closed. So that’s something to double check before you visit.
Top Prague Castle Tours
There’s a lot to see in Prague! To take some of the stress out of planning your visit, opt for a guided tour. Check out this list of the top tours that include Prague Castle.
- Prague Castle Walking Tour Including Admission Tickets
- Prague 3-hour Afternoon Walking Tour including Prague Castle
- Prague Castle and Canal River Boat Tour
Castle Count: 36
Want to visit more castles around Prague? Karlštejn Castle and Křivoklát Castle make great day trips!
Ready to visit Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book Your Flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find Accommodation: You can find top hotels in Prague using Booking.com.
- Start Packing: Check out my packing list resources so you’re prepared for your trip.
- Explore the City: Get access to 70+ attractions at a great price with the Prague CoolPass.
Have you visited Prague Castle? Let me know about your trip in the comments!