We dedicated our first full day in Prague to the famous large castle looming over the city center. It’s hard to miss the towering spires from anywhere along the water and once you get inside the walls, the view is just as impressive.
There are many ticket options to choose from but we went the short tour route for 250 Koruna (~$12.30) which gave us access to St. Vitus Cathedral, the Basilica of St. George, the Old Royal Palace, and Golden Lane. It was fairly chilly and this gave us enough to do for about 3-4 hours before we needed to warm up with some hot chocolate!
There are scan machines (and guards) at the entrance to each ‘attraction’ and you are only allowed one entrance per ticket. Plus, as an extra way to get money from tourists, you are supposed to purchase a photo license to take any pictures on the property. We bought Eric one as a souvenir. :)
Our first stop was the scenic St. Vitus Cathedral and although there were mobs of people in the entryway, only those with paid tickets could visit the majority of the church including the secondary altars. There were some very cool private crypts with lots of intricate tombs and stained glass. There was even a woman restoring some of the plaster on one of the archways. Throughout the church there were employees barking at people not to use flash photography and asking men to remove their hats.
Our next stop was the main palace which featured a huge ballroom, walls that were stained red from a fire several hundred years ago and ceilings decorated with family crests in land records rooms.
Next up was the Basilica of St. George, a central prayer chapel with some creepy bones and a crypt under the main altar.
The Golden Alley housed a torture chamber and weapons room…
and also recreated small houses along a picturesque alley depicting the typical dwellings of a seamstress, metalsmith, etc. Franz Kafka lived in House No. 22 from 1916-17. Most of these houses have since been turned into gift shops selling ceramics, books and other souvenirs.
Prague Castle is certainly worth a visit and you can’t beat the views from the top!
[…] On Friday, we hit one of the two cafes during our visit. A pretty standard Julius Meinl Cafe to be sure, but the restrooms were free for customers (not always the case) and the hot chocolate and mulled wine (svarak) was quite nice. It was a good place to warm up after the cold walk down from the castle. […]