Prague » Tours » Out of Prague » Karlštejn

Prague is a beautiful city; rich in both history and culture. But there are also wonderful places to visit that are not too far from the busy capital city. Just about an hour’s drive or rain ride outside of Prague, in the Central Bohemian region of the Czech Republic is Karlstejn Castle. The castle was founded in 1348 by the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles IV. The castle was the intended storage place for the treasures and coronation jewels of the Roman Empire. The jewels were kept safe there for nearly two centuries. This is the perfect location to visit when one is seeking to spend a day outside of Prague.

Karlstejn isn’t easily seen until one is close upon it. The hill that it sits atop is hidden by other hills. Not being visible from far distance has proven to be very effective. There has never been a time in history when the castle has been taken over. It is recommended that vehicles be parked at the base of the hill. Visitors can walk the rest of the way or enjoy a horse drawn carriage ride that will cost between 100 and 150 Czk per person. Taking a cab is also an option.

The originally Gothic castle was rebuilt during the 16th century to give it more of a Renaissance appeal. Yet, towards the end of the 19th century it was remodeled again by Josef Mocker. He turned to the original design for inspiration but included a modern twist; giving the castle what some would refer to as a “Neo-Gothic” appeal. Prague’s city of New Town was also undergoing construction and rebuilding at the time of the castle’s second face lift.

There are two options available for those who wish to tour the Karlstejn Castle:

Option #1: The first option is the shorter and cheaper of the two. The tour costs 220kc and takes about 50 minutes.  This tour is very informational as it provides interesting facts about the life of Charles IV. The tour includes exhibits of priceless relics. Tickets for this tour, which is referred to as “ROUTE I” can be purchased at the castle. Large groups of 10 or more will need to make arrangements in advance.

Option #2: Known as “ROUTE II”, this option for touring Karlstejn Castle costs 300kc and is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes long. Yet, there is good reason. The tour begins at Church of Our Lady and St. Catherine Cathedral.  The castle tower, which is adorned with original sculptures, is then reached via a wooden bridge. The study of the architect responsible for the 19th century remodeling, Josef Mocker, is also a stop on this tour. This tour option also offers an exhibition of the works of Master Theodorik. “ROUTE II” is by reservation only because of the limit of people that are allowed in the Chapel of the Holy Cross, which is on the tour, at one time.

Karlstejn Castle is open for business every day, except for Mondays. The holiday schedule depends on which days the holiday fall during that particular year.