6 Things You Won’t Want to Miss Inside Prague Castle

A Tour Of Prague Castle: 6 Things You Won't Want To Miss

When traveling through certain parts of the UK and Europe, especially via road trip, castle sightings can be a frequent occurrence, sometimes even more common than petrol stations. (I’m looking at you, Scottish Highlands!) For those of us who come from countries where castles and palaces are things that previously only existed in our childhood storybooks, these sightings can induce all sorts of abnormal behavior; i.e., suddenly crossing three lanes of traffic and jumping out of a still-moving vehicle to get a photo of castle ruins on the side of a highway in Ireland. Despite seeing more castles than I could ever count over the course of our three years in Europe, the number of those we actually took the time to go in is, regretfully, much smaller. In fact, outside of London, I believe we only saw two – St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall and Prague Castle in, obviously, Prague.

Prague Castle, listed with the rest of the historic center of Prague as a UNESCO world heritage site, is considered to be the largest ancient castle complex in the world. I didn’t realize just how vast in size 750,000 square feet was until we visited and spent an entire half-day inside Prague Castle and still only saw a small portion of the whole complex. Several churches, palaces, towers, halls, and other buildings within Prague Castle are open to visitors, but you will need a ticket to enter a majority of them. There are several types of tickets available, and which one you decide to choose will probably depend on a) how much time you have and b) just how much you like exploring old castles.

For those who only have a short amount of time to explore Prague Castle, I recommend sticking with the free areas, but for everyone else, purchasing one of the tickets offered will allow for a much more in-depth experience. Wanting to see inside some of the ticketed areas, but preferring not to spend the whole day looking at churches and old palaces (is it just me or do they start looking sort of similar after awhile?), we opted for Circuit B tickets, which turned out to be a good middle ground between seeing it all vs only the free areas. The following are six things to do and see inside Prague Castle we think you shouldn’t miss!

A Tour Of Prague Castle: 6 Things You Won't Want To Miss

Golden Lane

If you buy one of the tickets into Prague Castle, the very first place you should head is Golden Lane. Golden Lane is a charming cobblestone street featuring tiny, brightly painted cottages where castle guards and various tradespeople once lived…but it gets a whole lot less charming after tour groups begin descending on it! Like the miniature houses lining it, Golden Lane is quite narrow and becomes almost impassable when crowded. If you arrive early, you’ll be able to avoid the worst of the crowds, though, and can wander in and out of the tiny museums inside the preserved homes with ease.

Two of the most interesting homes on the lane are No. 14, where the famous WWII fortune teller Madame de Thebes once lived, and No. 15, the home of the goldsmiths the lane was later named after. Also be sure to check out Daliborka Tower, the castle’s gun tower which also served as a prison.

A Tour Of Prague Castle: 6 Things You Won't Want To Miss A Tour Of Prague Castle: 6 Things You Won't Want To Miss

A Tour Of Prague Castle: 6 Things You Won't Want To Miss

A Tour Of Prague Castle: 6 Things You Won't Want To Miss

A Tour Of Prague Castle: 6 Things You Won't Want To Miss

St Vitus Cathedral

Prague Castle is fairly easy to spot from practically anywhere in Old Town thanks to the tall towers perched atop its most prominent sight, St Vitus Cathedral, located at the center of the castle complex. Besides being the largest cathedral in the entire Czech Republic, St Vitus Cathedral is also the country’s most important. In the past, St Vitus Cathedral was where the coronations of Czech kings and queens took place. Today, besides being a place of worship, St Vitus Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Prague, as well as the final resting place of several patron saints, kings, and Holy Roman Emperors.

Entrance into St Vitus Cathedral is technically free, but if you want to make it past the cordoned-off main entrance, you’ll need to buy a ticket. If you have time to spare, I highly suggest you do, because this is one beautiful church. Past the main entrance, the chapels and nave clear out considerably and it’s easy to walk around and explore the quieter areas of the cathedral. Like Notre-Dame in Paris, St Vitus Cathedral is an outstanding example of gorgeous Gothic architecture. If you like to take photos, don’t be surprised if you end up spending an hour photographing all the nooks and crannies inside this cathedral!

A Tour Of Prague Castle: 6 Things You Won't Want To Miss

A Tour Of Prague Castle: 6 Things You Won't Want To Miss A Tour Of Prague Castle: 6 Things You Won't Want To Miss

Rosenberg Palace

It doesn’t have to be Rosenberg Palace, but if you visit Prague Castle, you really ought to go in at least one of the complex’s old palaces. On the day we visited, the more popular Old Royal Palace was closed, so we saw Rosenberg Palace instead. (FYI: Tickets are required for both.)

Rosenberg Palace, also known as the Institute of Noblewomen, was a home for Prague’s unmarried noblewomen who had fallen on hard times. The home was run by an unmarried archduchess, and up to 30 women could live in the home at any given time. In my opinion, the story behind Rosenberg Palace ultimately ended up being more interesting than the palace itself, but its restored interiors were still quite beautiful to see in person!

A Tour Of Prague Castle: 6 Things You Won't Want To Miss A Tour Of Prague Castle: 6 Things You Won't Want To Miss

A Tour Of Prague Castle: 6 Things You Won't Want To Miss

St George’s Basilica

Living in the shadows of St Vitus Cathedral is another, albeit much, much smaller, church within Prague Castle that you absolutely must see. With its colorful red and white exterior, St George’s Basilica certainly stands out among the more muted tones of the buildings surrounding it, but if it weren’t for the map we were carrying with us, we’d never have known it was actually a church at all. Resembling something more akin to a Town Hall, St George’s Basilica is actually the oldest surviving church still standing in Prague Castle. (On the inside it looks far more church-like!)

Various important figures are entombed in St George’s Basilica, most notably Prince Vratislav, father of St Wenceslas, and St Ludmila of Bohemia. Practically the opposite of the flashier St Vitus, St George’s is stunning in its simplicity. Thanks to its shape and acoustics, St George’s Basilica is also a popular concert venue.

A Tour Of Prague Castle: 6 Things You Won't Want To Miss

A Tour Of Prague Castle: 6 Things You Won't Want To Miss

Changing of the Guard

Presidential guards stand at all three main entrances to Prague Castle, and every hour they switch out without much fanfare. But what both ticket holders and those entering for free won’t want to miss is the ceremonial changing of the guard that happens every day at noon in the first courtyard of Prague Castle. If you’re interested in getting pictures, I recommend arriving in the courtyard and securing a spot along the barrier at least 10-15 minutes before the ceremony commences as it does get quite busy.

The ceremony begins with a musical performance and then a short parade follows as the guards switch out their duties. The whole thing is less than 20 minutes in length, but definitely worth working into your schedule if you plan to visit the castle!

A Tour Of Prague Castle: 6 Things You Won't Want To Miss A Tour Of Prague Castle: 6 Things You Won't Want To Miss

A Tour Of Prague Castle: 6 Things You Won't Want To Miss

Prague Castle Moat

The landscaped gardens within the castle are lovely, but in my opinion they’re completely one-upped by the less manicured, natural beauty found in the castle’s moat. For some of the prettiest walking trails in Prague, especially in autumn, look no further than the Upper and Lower Moat inside Prague Castle. There are a few different entrances to the moat, but the easiest way to access the Upper Moat from within the castle is via the entrance in the royal gardens. After that, you can make your way down into the Lower Moat via the trails.

There are a few things to see – a unique, bricked tunnel, the old bear keeper’s house, a variety of old sculptures – but the real appeal here is just the trails themselves. Maybe it was the fact that we were walking on a blanket of brightly colored leaves, or maybe it was because practically no one else was there with us, but the forested trails of the castle moat were my absolute favorite thing about Prague Castle. Completely free and open to the public without a ticket, Prague Castle’s moat is open from 1 April to 31 October.

For a list of other sights worth visiting, check out our full 3-day itinerary in Prague! And for a look at Prague Castle from above, check out the view from Petrin Hill!

Prague Castle: Website
Address: 119 08 Prague 1, Czechia

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A Tour Of Prague Castle: 6 Things You Won't Want To Miss

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  • Namrata Shah
    May 2, 2019 at 9:26 PM

    Thank you for the article, Sarah. I am not much of a castle (or even architecture) lover.
    For me, a visit to Bohemian Switzerland (about an hour of a drive away) was the main attraction. Have been in Prague for 4 days now and all I’d bothered to check in the castle complex was St Vitus Cathedral. Have one more day here and after reading your article, I think I’ll utilize it to visit the complex again to explore it a little more.

    • Sarah Shumate
      May 3, 2019 at 7:51 AM

      I bet Bohemian Switzerland was stunning. What a great idea taking the opportunity to travel over there while you were in the area.

      Prague Castle is a must-see for history and architecture-loving travelers, but if you’re not much into castles or architecture, and prefer the outdoors, you might enjoy spending your last day exploring the parks in Prague if you haven’t already. Both Letna and Petrin are beautiful. I definitely recommend climbing the observation tower in Petrin – the view is lovely and makes for great photos. Whatever you decide, I hope you enjoy your last day in the city!

  • Dannielle @ Chicadeedee
    October 18, 2017 at 9:09 AM

    Man now I’m really jealous Adam is going to Prague next year for a stag do, bet they don’t even go to this amazing castle! Makes me want to look at last minute flights…

    • Sarah Shumate
      October 18, 2017 at 5:02 PM

      Ha! I bet they don’t either! Not enough pubs inside the castle. :)

  • nikkiann
    October 15, 2017 at 12:55 PM

    I love visiting castles and this looks like such a wonderful place. I love the autumnal scenery :)

    • Sarah Shumate
      October 15, 2017 at 5:46 PM

      The time of year we visited definitely made an already beautiful castle even more stunning! I love all those changing colors, too!

  • Kasey
    October 14, 2017 at 5:17 PM

    WOW, this place is gorgeous! Love it. Btw, your comment about jumping out of moving cars to look at castles made me laugh because i can SO relate. We drove in the Loire Valley in France for only two days, but even in that short amount of time my husband got sick of me wanting to pull over every five seconds! But how can you NOT?

    • Sarah Shumate
      October 15, 2017 at 2:40 AM

      Haha! YES! My husband can commiserate. He just loves it when I let him know AFTER we’ve passed something that I want to photograph and then he has to turn around. :)

      Loire Valley in France…bet that was fab! I’d love to visit!

  • Emma @ AdventuresofaLondonKiwi
    October 14, 2017 at 9:08 AM

    This is making me wanderlust so, so much Sarah!

    • Sarah Shumate
      October 15, 2017 at 2:38 AM

      It’s almost Christmas market season again. Perfect time to visit Prague. Just saying…

  • Cynthia
    October 13, 2017 at 10:32 AM

    The Stag Moat is so pretty in autumn! Definitely best time to visit. I feel a bit ashamed now that I’ve never been inside the castle rooms…. now it will be harder having the pup around. One day!

    • Sarah Shumate
      October 14, 2017 at 4:07 AM

      I think a lot of people visit and just walk through the public areas, so you’re not the only one. There’s still a lot to see even without a ticket!

      How puppy-friendly is your town? Are dogs allowed in pubs and outdoor cafes?