Prague Castle: how to plan the visit? 7 useful tips from a local guide

Prague Castle, number one highlight of Prague and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Even if you are coming to Prague just for a short trip, Prague Castle is the place you definitely shouldn’t miss. I am not going to explain the history now – that’s what you can find all over the internet. I will rather share with you some practical tips. For example how it works with tickets, opening hours, whether to visit the castle interiors or not, where to eat at Prague Castle, and much more. 

Prague castle

Tips from a local guide – January 2024

Who is writing this blog for you? My name is Dana and I am the owner of a small local touring company called Prague Behind The Scenes. Besides showing travellers around Prague in a less touristy way, I also like writing about my hometown. Especially about practical things and less known topics related to tourism in Prague. If you wish to see Prague with me, please drop me a line at or contact me via Facebook or Instagram.

Dana, owner and guide for Prague Behind The Scenes. Author of this blog post.

1. When is the best time to visit Prague Castle?

One of the best things about Prague Castle is that the opening hours are very generous: 6am – 10pm. Every single day! The best time to visit Prague Castle is until 9am or after 6pm. In the morning you will only meet locals, few photographers, castle employees or people leaving the morning service at St. Vitus Cathedral.

In the evening, everything will be lighted up, tranquil and peaceful. Absolutely no crowds. Bonus if coming in the afternoon / evening: Golden Lane will be open for free after 5pm! During the day time there is paid entry + crowds.

If you plan visiting the interiors, unfortunately, you need to come during the day time. Between 9 – 4pm (on Sundays Cathedral gets open at noon).

Prague Castle
This is the peak hour at Prague Castle – noon time. Travellers gather on the 1st courtyard to see the changing of the guards. The Castle guards are changing every hour but only at noon there is a ceremony with music. The musicians are stading in the windows.
St. Vitus Cathedral is standing on the 3rd courtyard of Prague Castle. Many people think that it´s standing somewhere else in the city – no, the Cathedral is part of Prague Castle complex and if you want to see it, you need to enter Prague Castle.

2. How much does it cost to enter Prague Castle?

Prague Castle grounds (courtyards, gardens, Deer moat) are open for free (please just check the opening hours of the gardens, they close earlier and during the winter they are closed permanently). You don´t need any tickets to get in, there are no such things as skip-the-line tickets, etc. The castle exteriors are free for all!

You only need a ticket if you plan visiting the interiors (St. Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane, Old Royal Palace and St. George Basilica).

Where to find the ticket offices: right on the 2nd and 3rd courtyard. Please don´t believe anyone who tells you that you need some skip-the-line tickets or to buy everything ahead of time, blah blah blah….don´t get stressed by this. Just stay flexible and enjoy your holiday. Whenever you plan to visit the interiors, just come and get the tickets at Prague Castle. The best ticket office is on the 2nd courtyard (less people).

It always drives me crazy whenever I see booking sites selling all those “skip-the-line tickets” for double price!! It´s simply terrible. The fair price for the interiors is 250 CZK, from March it will be 450 CZK. The tickets sold online can only help you to skip the line at the ticket office. But there are barely line-ups in the ticket offices and I am guiding at Prague Castle several times a week so I know the reality. In the ticket office on the 2nd courtyard there is a minimum people every day. The 3rd courtyard ticket office might be a bit busier but no extreme.

prague castle
Can you see the door on the left side with the green “i” infocenter sign? That´s the ticket office on the 3rd courtyard. Another ticket office is also on the 2nd courtyard.

The only place where you will be standing in a line up is the entrance to St. Vitus Cathedral. And no skip-the-line- ticket will help you with this.

What areas are paid at Prague Castle: St. Vitus Cathedral, Old Royal Palace, St. George Basilica and Golden Lane. For visiting these places you will need a ticket called Basic circuit (250 CZK / pp, from March 450 CZK / pp). It´s a combined ticket that allows you to enter all of the above mentioned interiors. You will easily buy it in the ticket office at Prague Castle (2nd and 3rd courtyard). There are no single tickets e.g. just for the cathedral, or just for the Golden Lane.

The Basic circuit ticket is valid for two days so you can split the visit. However, every interior can only be entered once!

Attention: starting from March 2024, the prices for the interior tickets will be increased, please see below the new price list.

prague castle
This is a new price list for Prague Castle interiors. In effect from March 2024!!!
To enter Prague Castle you don´t need a ticket! It´s for free! The only paid parts are the interiors. And this fabulous view you can enjoy from my Prague small-group tour

3. Visit Prague Castle interiors: yes or no?

This is one of the most frequestly asked questions of my clients 🙂 And I always answer that it all depends on their time – how much time they have for Prague.

To make it clearer, if you wish to see all the interiors of Prague Castle, you should definitely count with at least 2 hours. And that´s just for the interiors, then there are also exteriors: viewpoints, gardens…From my experience, most of the people skip the interiors visit. I am not saying it´s fine but I absolutely understand their time limit.

Lot of visitors are also expecting Prague Castle to be more “romantic”, with oppulent baroque interiors (like Versailles)…nope, the interiors are quite austere because they are much, much older than Versailles…

In the castle complex you can also visit a lovely observation deck at the top of the Great South Tower of St. Vitus Cathedral (150 CZK).

Sunrise in front of the St. Vitus Cathedral – and no one around! Timing is a key!

4. What is free to see at Prague Castle?

St. Vitus Cathedral. If you don´t want to buy the combined ticket for Prague Castle interiors, you can still see the St. Vitus Cathedral for free. Not so many people know about it, but the front part of the cathedral is open for free. Just for the idea how it looks inside it´s absolutely fine. Daily services are open for free to anyone (please just respect the whole ceremony and don´t leave before it ends and don´t take pictures!!!). THE FREE PART IS TEMPORARILY CLOSED. FROM NOVEMBER UNTIL….NOBODY KNOWS:-) THEY ARE INSTALLING A NEW ORGAN THERE. BUT YOU CAN STILL ENTER WITH THE TICKET!!!

Prague Castle Gardens: The most beautiful ones are the south gardens (entrance through the 3rd courtyard via Bull stairs – CLOSED FROM NOVEMBER – APRIL).

Golden Lane. This picturesque street with tiny colorful houses is the paid part of the castle – but only during the day time, after 5pm it stays open for free.

All courtyards and exteriors.

Views from the South gardens of Prague Castle. During the high season I finish my off-the- beaten-path tours here.

5. Opening hours of Prague Castle: exteriors, interiors, gardens

They keep changing it according to the low or high season. Please, always check the actual info on the link below before you go there:-)

Opening hours of Prague Castle

6. Where to eat at Prague Castle?

Prague Castle attracts a lot of tourist. Therefore there are many touristy and cheesy restaurants, shops, cafés and bars in the neigborhood. You really need to know where to go. All of my recommended places are local and authentic businesses not owned by some anynomous companies.

Kuchyň na hradě: (“Kitchen at Prague Castle”) right by the main entrance to Prague Castle at Hradčany square. This place is perfect for a lunch/dinner and fresh beer. They specialize in Czech meat meals, but there are always some vegetarian / lighter options, too.

Kafe a hrnky: (“Coffee and Mugs”) cozy place located on Nerudova street. Former souvenir shop. Now friendly Czech coffee shop and ceramics workshop with secluded garden in the backyard. They serve small meals, coffee and beer. Simple hideaway place with very reasonable prices.

Kunsthalle bistro: This is actually a gallery bistro but it´s absolutely excellent (and not crowded!! Because people don´t know about this place yet.). Kunsthalle menu is not huge but they always cook from seasonal, fresh ingredients. Open every day except for Tuesday. Barrier free + super friendly helpful staff. If you only wanna coffee and rest your feet after visiting Prague Castle, go upstairs, there is a perfect gallery café with a view over Prague Castle!!

Kavárna Nový Svět: (“Coffee shop New World”) a small family café located just 10 minutes from Prague Castle. Tiny, clean and cozy place, serving small meals, cakes and high-end coffee. The menu is written on a board by a counter, no printed menu. As long as you don´t meet one unfriendly barista there, this place is super sweet. People keep complaining about the barista in reviews and I can just echo them. Very sad, but I still do recommend visiting this place because when he is not there, it´s simply great spot! Closed on Mondays.

Café Šternberk: Just for a coffee and good karma, go to Café Šternberk – Mezi řádky (closed on Mondays) this is an absolutely hidden gem, a café right in front of Prague Castle where people with mental disabilities work. Cozy and well hidden.

My favourite part of the Kuchyň restaurant. If you just pop in for a beer, take a seat in this beautiful garden. The restaurant is above. During my private summer tours I often take my clients here, to relax their feet and slake a thirst:-) So much better than the Starbucks nearby:)) Photo: Facebook of Kuchyň restaurant

7. Are you overhelmed with information? This is a summary of what I recommend most!

  • Visit all the exteriors and courtyards (free of charge). Open daily between 6am – 10pm.
  • Relax your feet and enjoy the views from Prague Castle gardens (free of charge), entrance via Bull stair on the 3rd courtyard (CLOSED DURING THE WINTER).
  • Climb up the Great South Tower of St. Vitus Cathedral.
  • Attend a service at St. Vitus Cathedral (free of charge).
  • Visit Golden Lane in the evening (free of charge after 5pm, open all year round).

Dana, owner and fully certified guide for Prague Behind The Scenes | small-group tours and experiences.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or want to see Prague Castle with me:

Let´s stay in touch, whenever you contact Prague Behind The Scenes you will always talk to me:-)

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