One of the typical day trips from Prague that can be easily done is visiting Karlstejn Castle. Karlstejn Castle is one of the most visited castles in the Czech Republic because of its proximity to Prague and its spectacular surroundings. Check the essential information for a day trip to Karlstejn Castle from Prague.
This medieval castle is located southwest of Prague in the small town of Karlstejn, just 30 km from the capital of the Czech Republic. This town is crowned by a gigantic Gothic castle that was built between 1348 and 1365 by the order of the prominent King and Emperor Charles IV to keep the most important royal and sacred treasures in it. The castle was named as hrad Karlštejn in Czech, meaning Karlstejn Castle.
Based on the experience of our trip to the Czech Republic, if you are going to stay in Prague for several days, we would recommend taking a look at the list of the best day trips from Prague to enjoy more distant historical sites and the countryside of the country.
Our visit to Karlstejn Castle
Although there are many companies that offer day trips to Karlstejn from Prague, it is completely feasible to go on your own to make a visit more flexible and economical.
We decided to travel from Prague to Karlstejn by train. Trains to Karlstejn depart from Prague Central Station (Praha hlavní nádraž) and run approximately every 30-60 minutes during the day. The train ticket for a round trip cost us 108 CZK (about 4 Euro) per person.
After a couple of stops in the suburbs of Prague, the train continued the journey through the Czech countryside. In just 40 minutes, the train dropped us at the small railway station of Karlstejn town. From the station, there is a short 2 km walk to the castle, much of it uphill. It’s just about 30-40 minutes of pleasant walk during which you can admire the scenery.
The path to Karlstejn Castle is well indicated and crosses the charming town of Karlstejn, where colorful small houses with flowers on the windows, souvenir shops, small museums, antique shops and restaurants of traditional Czech cuisine abound.
Along the way, it is impossible to miss the view of the gigantic castle and the fairly thick mountains in the background. You can take pictures of the castle from all possible angles at every step.
After passing the town, you need to go up a little more on the steep slopes to arrive at the castle. The walk can be a bit tiring but there are shops on the way where you can stop for a drink on the way.
Visiting Karlstejn Castle
Once through the entrance, the main courtyard is the first thing to see in Karlstejn Castle, which can be visited without paying a guide. The castle built by Charles IV is a perfect example of the typical Bohemian castles. The building is an example of the late Gothic style architecture. It is important to note, however, that over the years it underwent numerous reforms.
We also accessed one of the turrets from which a spectacular view opens up.
After that, we decided to take a path that went down to the Well Tower, a 78-meter deep well with a unique medieval water wheel.
To explore Karlstejn Castle more, it is necessary to join a guided tour. Specifically, you have the option to sign up for one of the three different Karlstejn Castle tours with different duration and different rooms visited. With the guided tour, you can get an idea of how important this castle was during the Middle Ages and the treasures that were kept there.
1 .Basic tour: The private and representative rooms of Emperor Charles IV
The tour includes historic interiors of the 1st and 2nd floors of the Imperial Palace and the 1st floor of the Marian Tower with valuable furnishings from the 14th - 19th centuries (Courtiers Hall, Knights Hall with the St. Nicholas Chapel, Marian Tower Courtyard, Karlstejn Castle Deanery, Emperor´s Bedchamber with the St. Wenceslas Chapel, Audience Hall, Royal Hall of Ancestors and Banquet Hall, Karlstejn Castle Treasury and a former castle prison on the ground floor of the Marian Tower). In the Castle Treasury, you can admire a copy of the St. Wenceslas Crown, the medieval crown of the kings of Bohemia.
Duration: 55 minutes
- Adult: 220-330 CZK
- Youth 6-18 years & Seniors 65+: 150-230 CZK
- Children 0-6 years: Free
- Family (2 full + 1-3 kids up to 15 years): 580-880 CZK
2. The sacred rooms of the castle with the chapel of the Holy Cross
The tour includes the most valuable and impressive rooms of this medieval castle with original and unique decoration. You will see the Eastern wing of the Imperial Palace, the 2nd floor of the Marian Tower with the Church of the Virgin Mary and the St. Catherine Chapel, the Great Tower - stairway with original medieval wall painting decoration, Lapidarium (ground floor), castle gallery and exposition dedicated to architect Josef Mocker and his 19th-century reconstruction of the castle (1st floor) and the Chapel of the Holy Cross (2nd floor), the spiritual heart of Karlstejn Castle and once of the Holy Roman Empire as well. If you want to discover the spiritual heart of the castle, then this is the tour you absolutely must choose.
Duration: 100 minutes
- Adult: 520-780 CZK
- Youth 6-18 years & Seniors 65+: 360-540 CZK
- Children 0-6 years: Free
3. The Great Tower View
This is undoubtedly the most suitable for lovers of panoramas as it consists of a tour to the top floors of the Great Tower but without the Chapel of the Holy Cross.
Duration: 45 minutes
- Adult: 170-260 CZK
- Youth 6-18 years & Seniors 65+: 120-180 CZK
- Children 0-6 years: Free
- Family (2 full + 1-3 kids up to 15 years): 450-690 CZK
It is an interesting and recommendable visit.
However, for us, the most impressive thing is the exterior and the views from the top of the castle. The castle overlooking the village, the low houses adorned with flowers with the dense forest behind.
How to get to Karlstejn Castle from Prague
Karlstejn is located only 30 km from Prague and is easily accessible by train with a direct journey of about 40 minutes. You can take the train from Prague Main Railway Station (Hlavni Nadrazi) or even from Smichov Station. Just ask at the ticket office for a ticket to Karlstejn and board the train going in the direction of Beroun. Trains run roughly every half hour.
Train tickets can be purchased both at the station and online on the official website of Czech Railways. Train tickets from Prague to Karlstejn are cheap and costs about 2 Euro each way (buying a return-trip ticket is cheaper!).
As we described earlier, from Karlstejn train station, you have to do a half hour walk to the castle, which is situated in a spectacular location, on the top of the hill above the town of Karlstejn.
The most convenient way to visit Karlstejn Castle is taking an organized day tour from Prague, as it helps you to avoid the 2-kilometer walk from the station to the castle.
Half-Day Trip to Karlstejn Castle from Prague brings you to travel by bus through the beautiful countryside of the Czech Republic to visit Karlstejn Castle and take a tour of the interiors as well as see the treasury where the Czech crown jewels were kept.
Some tour operators also offer an E-Bike Tour from Prague to Karlstejn with a visit to the castle. When joining such a tour, you will cycle along the banks of the Vltava and Berounka rivers with refreshment stops, visit the village and Karlstejn Castle as well as admire the Czech countryside and southwest suburbs of Prague.
Another way to get to the castle is by using car rental, which might be the best way to get around the country. The trip to Karlstejn Castle by car takes just over half an hour and allows you to visit other places throughout the day.
Karlstejn Castle Entrance Fee
As it was mentioned before, the price of Karlstejn Castle ticket depends on the type of the tour, which requires guidance. We would recommend booking tickets in advance as the capacity of visitors might be reached at the time of your visit. Tickets can be purchased at the box office of the castle itself. It is also possible to buy tickets online on the official website of Karlstejn Castle. Updated prices will also appear there.
And finally, it is worth knowing that photographs / videos are not allowed inside the castle.
Karlstejn Castle Opening Hours
The operating hours of Karlstejn Castle vary depending on the time of year. The castle is open daily, except of Mondays. Karlstejn Castle is open from 09:00 to 15:00 during January, from 09:00 to 16:00 March to December and from 10:00 to 15:00 hours September to October. Also, keep in mind that sometimes from December to February the castle is also closed.
With the great variety of opening hours that vary according to the seasons as well as the available tours, the advice is to check the updated schedule of Karstejn Castle before your visit.
Where to eat in Karlstejn
In Karlstejn town, it is possible to find a great variety of restaurants to eat. It is advisable to check prices before entering the restaurant, since it is a very touristy town and some places charge exaggerated tourist prices.
For getting an idea of what dishes are worth trying while visiting Prague and Karlstejn, check this short overview of the traditional Czech cuisine.
Prague is one of the richest cities in Central Europe in terms of places to visit so make sure not to miss its jewels from the list of Prague Top Attractions.