The Castle District
Prague Hradcany, from Charles Bridge ©
The Castle District stretches across the top of the hill overlooking the city and incorporates the best churches and museums in Prague, set around three courtyards, immaculate gardens, fortifications and state apartments. The dominant feature is St Vitus Cathedral, which occupies most of the third courtyard. The Castle was founded in the 9th century and is still the official residence of the president. The Old Royal Palace was home to the Kings of Bohemia from the 11th to the 17th centuries. The Royal Apartments and Vladislav Hall, where Bohemian knights once jousted, kings were throned and presidents are sworn into office, can be visited, as well as the little chapel next door. Next to the red façade of the Romanesque Basilica of St George, lies the Benedictine Convent, housing the National Gallery's remarkable collection of old Bohemian art. Behind the gallery is the picturesque cobbled alley known as Golden Lane, a row of 16th-century tradesmen's cottages, brightly coloured and built into the fortifications. Visitors can watch the Changing of the Guard on the hour every hour, with the fanfare and flag ceremony included at noon.
Transport: Tram 22, 23 or X-A to Prazsky hrad, or metro to Hradcany
Opening times: Interiors, daily 9am to 6pm (4pm in winter). Castle grounds, daily 5am to midnight (April to October) and 6am to 11pm (November to March). Gardens closed in winter. The changing of the guards ceremony takes place every hour, but the flag ceremony is only at 12pm
Admission: Full ticket: CZK 350 (adults), CZK 175 (concessions); includes the Old Royal Palace, the permanent exhibition, the Basilica of St George, Convent of St George - National Gallery and the Golden Lane/Daliborka Tower. Individual tickets also available.