Good for: sightseeing
Not good for: Panorama hotel is bad, those who want to be impressed
- Hradčanské námĕstí Hradčany
- 224 372 423/224 373 368
- grounds 5am-midnight Apr-Oct, 6am-11pm Nov-Mar; gardens 10am-6pm Apr & Oct, to 7pm May & Sep, to 9pm Jul & Aug, closed Nov-Mar; historic buildings 9am-6pm Apr-Oct, to 4pm Nov-Mar
Lonely Planet review for Prague Castle
Prague Castle – Pražský hrad, or just hrad to Czechs – is Prague’s most popular attraction. According to the Guinness World Records, it’s the largest ancient castle in the world: 570m long, an average of 128m wide and covering a total area bigger than seven football fields. Its history begins in the 9th century when Prince Bořivoj founded a fortified settlement here. It grew haphazardly as rulers made their own additions, creating an eclectic mixture of architectural styles. The castle has always been the seat of Czech rulers as well as the official residence of the head of state, although the Czech Republic’s first president, Václav Havel, chose to live in his own house on the outskirts of the city. Prague Castle has seen four major reconstructions, from that of Prince Soběslav in the 12th century to a classical facelift under Empress Maria Theresa (r 1740–80). In the 1920s President Masaryk hired a Slovene architect, Jože Plečnik, to renovate the castle; his changes created some of its most memorable features and made the complex more tourist-friendly. There are six different tickets (each valid for two days), which allow entry to various combinations of sights. You can buy tickets at either of two information centres in the Second and Third Courtyards, or from ticket offices at the entrances to Golden Lane, the Old Royal Palace and the Story of Prague Castle exhibition. Concession prices are for those aged seven to 16, students and disabled visitors; children aged six or under get in free. The family ticket is valid for two adults and any children aged 16 or under. Taking photographs indoors will cost you an extra 50Kč, and the use of a flash or tripod is not allowed. Tickets listed here do not include admission to other art galleries and museums within the castle grounds; those admission costs are listed in the individual reviews. Castle entry is free, but individual attractions charge entry fee.