Karlštejn Castle

Karlštejn Castle is a magnificent medieval fortress perched atop a hill in the picturesque village of Karlštejn, about 30 kilometers southwest of Prague. It is one of the country's most famous and historically significant castles. Karlštejn is also easily reachable by public transportation. And that makes it an ideal destination for those who love Gothic architecture.

What is the best way to get to Karlstejn? When is the best time to go there? Which tour to choose to explore the interiors? You will find all the answers in this article.

How Do You Get to Karlstejn from Prague?


The easiest way to get to Karlstejn from Prague is by train. Trains depart every half an hour from Prague Main Station (Praha Hlavni Nadrazi). The journey takes approximately 45 minutes, and a round-trip ticket costs about 7 euros. You can find a suitable connection and purchase tickets at Czech railways website.

The train station in Karlstejn is 2.2 km (1.36 miles) from the castle. Please note that you will need to ascend a steep hill to reach the castle, so comfortable shoes are a must.

Photo of Velka Amerika quarry


A car journey usually takes 40 minutes to 1 hour, depending on traffic. You can also stop near Velka Amerika, a former lime quarry often used by filmmakers today (parking: 49.96081348700511, 14.203570642489472). An easy hike around the quarry takes less than an hour.

The center of Karlstejn is a pedestrian zone. You must park your car at the central parking lot, which costs about 8 euros per day.

If you need to rent a car, you can find a suitable options at rentalcars.com


Another option is to book a private tour from Prague to Karlstejn or join the group trip. There are different options — half-day trips to Karlstejn, day trips combining Karlstejn castle with Koneprusske caves, or e-bike tours from Prague to Karlstejn. You can explore available offers and make your reservation via GetYouGuide.com.

The Best Time to Visit Karlstejn

Karlstejn Castle is open for visits from March to the end of November every day except Monday. From November to the end of February, it's open only on Fridays to Sundays for Tour 1. You can find detailed information about the opening hours and tour descriptions at castle's official website. Buying tickets for a specific day and time on this website is also possible. If you want to visit the most precious parts of the castle, such as the Chapel of the Holy Cross, it is better to do so, as tickets for Tour 2 are often sold out.

Photo of the Costume processions during the Wine Celebration in Karlštejn

Those interested in historical festivals should not miss the Karlstejn Wine Celebration, which takes place every September. The event features knights, conjurers, singers, pipers, drummers, nobles, and winemakers dressed in medieval attire. It is dedicated to the founder of Karlstejn, King of Bohemia and Emperor of Rome Charles IV, who also happened to be a promoter of wine-making in local lands. During the two-day festival, you can watch theatrical performances, costume processions, and tournaments between knights. It is important to note that the town has an entrance fee during the festival, usually around 10 euros. However, wearing a historical costume allows you to enter for free. For more information about the program and entrance fees, please visit this website.

Brief History of Karlštejn

Karlštejn was established by the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia, Charles IV, in 1348 as a means to protect the Czech crown jewels, Imperial regalia, holy relics, and other valuable treasures. Its construction was finished in 1365 and has been an imposing sight ever since. The castle has undergone several reconstructions throughout its long history, and it now appears as it did after the neo-gothic renovation led by architect Josef Mocker in the late 19th century.

TThe different parts of Karlstejn are arranged at various heights. At the lowest point is the Burgrave's Palace. Above that sprawls the two-story Imperial Palace with the king's chambers, court, and quarters for noblewomen. Further up, the Marian Tower reaches towards the sky. Finally, the commanding Great Tower stands at the peak, designated to protect the esteemed Czech royal treasures.

Photo of Karlštejn castle

Visiting Karlstejn Castle

Today, the castle has a museum. It offers two main tour options: the Imperial Residence of Charles IV and the Castle Chapels. The first tour includes historic interiors of the Imperial Palace with valuable furnishings from the 14th–19th centuries. The second tour will take you to the castle's most impressive rooms: the Church of the Virgin Mary, the St. Catherine Chapel, and the Chapel of the Holy Cross. You will see original medieval wall paintings, a ceiling covered with gold and hundreds of glass lenses, and walls decorated with semi-precious stones.

However, a trip to Karlstejn is worth it even if you don't visit the interiors. You can still enjoy the freely accessible areas. To learn more about the castle's history and architecture, download the free TrueStories app. Ask for an unlocking code for the Karlstejn audioguide at the cash register, or look for it near the entrance to the castle and enjoy the stories on your phone.

Photo of Inner yards of Karlštejn Castle.

This website uses cookies to improve your site experience. By proceeding, you are accepting our privacy policy.