Across the river Vltava in Prague, up on a hill overlooking the entire city is the Prague castle. It was the perfect way to spend my first day in the Czech Republic, and I was grateful that I got a chance to revisit the stunning palace grounds.
The castle is comprised of many buildings, dating back to different periods and rulers in Czech history. Because of this, the castle is a melange of many different styles of architecture. From renaissance, baroque and the stunning gothic St. Vitus cathedral. I love that you can experience all these styles and history in one location.
St. Vitus Cathedral is a stellar example of a gothic church. The first time I visited the castle last year, I only took a walking tour and did not go inside. I felt taking the time to visit all the churches and buildings added to my understanding and their place in Prague’s history. The cavernous gothic cathedral was beautifully restored inside, and I got chills as someone started to play the pipe organ.
One of the most famous parts of Pražský hrad is the Golden Lane. It got its name because King Venceslav supported many alchemists who lived on this street, who were trying to turn plain metal into precious gold. Over the years, many famous people have lived in these little houses. From film historians, to storied fortune tellers, and of course, Franz Kafka. It’s no wonder his existential works were so claustrophobic. The little blue house has a four-foot-high doorway and is the size of my bathroom.
Many romantic legends surround the castle, including Dalibor and his violin. Dalibor was a prisoner for a couple years, and during his sentence, he learned to play the violin. Villagers nearby would come far and wide to visit and listen to his melodies.
The Prague castle is the largest ancient castle in the world, and the largest castle that is still occupied. Currently, many embassies are located near the fortification walls, and the President has their office there.
Of course, Prague castle has some stunning panoramic views. On a clear day, I would love to enjoy a picnic in the gardens or just take in the view.That day, I was wearing a Topshop dress featuring a lovely china blue print and cut-out shoulders, a statement necklace from Jewelmint, and my vintage Coach city bag.
It’s also a good reason to get good food and value. If you’re visiting the castle, U Labuti has traditional Czech food for a reasonable price, a steal amongst restaurants offering overpriced prix fix menus across the road. I had the baked trout and grilled vegetables. I was amazed to get a whole fish for under 300KC and it was well cooked and flavourful. While I couldn’t enjoy the beer, I was oogling my sister’s velky pivo (large beer).
The Prague castle is definitely a top destination in Czech Republic and Central Europe. For its breathtaking vantage point and architecture, this living palace is massive, so set a day aside to take in all the sights.