Overlooking the city of Prague is a fantastic medieval castle. It’s a mix of architectural styles, but the Gothic elements of its St Vitus Cathedral remain the most striking visual aspect from a distance. As you get nearer, it’s possible to notice that the slopes of the hill atop which the castle sits are lined with vineyards that stretch down to the river, while the castle complex itself is a large maze of buildings with a long and storied history that are best made sense of on a guided tour.
Many tours of Prague will include at least a walk-by of Prague Castle. Such is its grandeur, it’s quite hard to miss. But the skip-the-queue ticketed tours are ideal for anybody who wants to learn more about the history and stories specific to one of Prague’s most iconic sights. Local guides can help illuminate the relevance of certain facets of the castle, as well as help you cut down on waiting-in-line time. Here are five of the best Prague Castle tours.
From €34/ per person
Prague Castle can get quite busy, especially in the peak summer months, so a small group tour is one of the best ways to explore the castle comfortably. Over three hours you will see the castle’s highlights, including St Vitus Cathedral, the tombs of Charles IV and St Wenceslas (as well as his chapel), learn more about the architectural and creative touches that can be quite overwhelming to take in all at once, such as the 14th century Last Judgement mosaic and 12th-century frescoes of the Basilica of St George.
From €22/ per person
If your time is at a premium but you’d still like to get a great overview of Prague Castle’s highlights, then this one-hour tour, which also allows you to skip the entry queue, is a great option. The tour is intended to be an introduction to the Hradčany district of Prague, which the castle mostly fills, along with their attendant historical facts and stories. At this point you are free to explore the castle on your own, using a map that is provided, or head on to tackle the next spot on your itinerary.
FROM: €21/per person
For visitors to Prague who prefer to take a self-guided tour avoid the large groups and the prescribed order of things, this ticket-only option is a great idea. Also including a ticket to enter Lobkowicz Palace, with its sizable art collection, including pieces by Velázquez and Canaletto, you can get all of the salient information about the two lauded sites through the included audioguide. Within the Prague Castle complex, audio-led highlights include the Golden Lane, lined by cottages where the castle’s servants lived, and St George’s Basilica.
From €46/ per person
There’s so much more to Prague than Prague Castle, and although this is certainly one of the highlights, there is much to see and a longer tour can help open up more of the city. Over six hours, this excellent tour is not all walking either. There is an included sit-down lunch and drink (Czech food and Czech beer), and a cruise along the river Vltava too. The tour takes in the Old Town, Jewish Quarter, Charles Bridge and parts of the Prague Castle complex that are accessible without an entry ticket.
From €35/ per person
If walking for hours on end does not sound too appealing, then you can always fall back on technology. Cut down the time between each sight by taking a segway between them, led by a local guide. The tour starts off by visiting Prague Castle, with time allowed to visit St Vitus Cathedral and the gardens. Other highlights of the tour include the upscale Muller Vila and a 15th-century brewery and Strahov Monastery. Helmets are provided for safety.