Prague Castle │ 9th Century Czech Castle
Prague Castle (known in Czech as Pražský hrad) is a castle complex in Prague, Czech Republic, dating back to the 9th century. Being the number one tourist attraction in this city, we definitely wanted to check it out while we were in Prague. The only problem was that when we got to the castle, there were hoards and hoards of people everywhere. We are more inclined to do the less visited sights, in an effort to avoid situations like this. We therefore, instead, chose to explore only certain areas of the castle grounds. Even just the views of the city, from the castle grounds, makes a trip to the castle well worth it!
According to the Guinness Book of Records, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world, occupying an area of almost 70,000 square meters, at about 570 meters in length and an average of about 130 meters wide. The castle is among the most visited tourist attractions in Prague attracting over 1.8 million visitors annually. It is the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic.
Getting to The Castle
In order to reach the castle you need to do a bit of a steep uphill walk. This was quite challenging with a two year old in a stroller, but not impossible! If you prefer, you can take a cab up to the entrance, and be dropped off at the top, but then you lose a lot of the charm that the little streets have to offer. If you follow the signs that begin from the west end of the Charles Bridge, about 10-15 minutes later you will arrive at the outer walls of the Castle. More directions at the end of this post!
Roaming the Grounds
Much of the sights are free to visit with in the castle grounds. The gardens are beautiful, and away from the crows around the entrance/ drop-off area, it is very tranquil. There are entrance fees for some of the churches and for one side street that has some really old houses. The views of Prague from up around the castle are simply beautiful.
Sights and Attractions at Prague Castle
The Prague Castle is a very large complex so it is best if you come prepared with a map – or a guide, if you wish – otherwise you could miss out on some of the sights. I have to admit, we came with no set plans, and we were quite intimidated by the crowds at the entrance. Perhaps we should have just pushed on… but at this point in our trip, I think that we preferred to just wander around aimlessly. We therefore didn’t thoroughly explore the castle, and as you might notice from the pictures, we stuck mostly to the outer areas, and the main walls.
Some of the top attractions from here includes the St. Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane that housed the Castle’s guards and gunners (payment of entrance free is required here), the South Gardens, and also the Royal Gardens that are located on the north side of the Castle, St. George’s Basilica, and the Sternberg Palace for art lovers.
St. Wenceslas Vineyard
“In the central part of the complex and on the southern slope between the support wall of the Old Castle Stairs and the upper scenic overlook ledge path lies the renovated St. Wenceslas’ Vineyard, early beginnings of which reach back to the 10 century A.D. According to the legend this is one of the oldest vineyards in Bohemia, where the “Lord’s vineyard” were cared for by Wenceslas’ (St.), the patron of the Bohemian Lands himself. Renovated vineyard is thus being made accessible to Prague Castle visitors in a year that marks 1100th anniversary of the birth of St. Wenceslas’. History of the land is connected to the establishment of Czech statehood and acceptance of Christianity.” – Villa Richter
Panarama Express Cafe
With a long narrow outside sitting area, this is a gorgeous place to sit down. Every table overlooking the vineyard and the city below. A nice place to order a glass of wine and a light meal, and then admire the views of Prague.
Interesting popular culture fact:
Prague Castle is the location in the second level of Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb video game.
We enjoyed our time spent lazying around the castle grounds. We weren’t very diligent about our explorations, and that is okay! Despite not seeing much of what the caste has to offer, we thoroughly enjoyed the peaceful areas that we found, and the beautiful views of the city of Prague. I am sure that if we ever returned to Prague, we will explore the castle in much more detail!
HOW TO GET THERE:
You can get to Prague Castle from many directions:
- Tram no. 22 and 23 and get off at stop Prazsky hrad. Then continue over Powder Bridge.
- Get there by metro green line A and get off at Malostranska. Then climb up the Old Castle Steps, which you find when you walk up the street Klarov.
- When you walk from the direction of Charles Bridge, walk along Mostecka and Nerudova streets and you’ll get to Hradcanske namesti. You can also make make your journey shorter by turning from Lesser Town Square (Malostranske namesti) into Zamecka street and climb up a few steps.