Hrad Karlštejn is a castle located in the village of Karlštejn, which is about a 40-minute drive from Prague. It is open to visitors daily except Monday; exact opening times vary by season. Entry to the castle is with a guided tour only (CZK 270/$13.75, kids under 6 years free), and English language tours are available. Once you complete the tour you are free to wander around the castle walls, etc. at your leisure.
The courtyard of the castle contains a snack hut that sells hot drinks and a few basic snacks, and there are a few stands set up where vendors sell Czech specialties such as honey products (including honey hot cocoa – yum!) and smoked cheese. In early afternoon a trio in medieval costume also set up shop to play some old-fashioned music, but I do not know if this is a regular thing. And yes, the castle does have clean, indoor WCs available to use for CZK 10.
When you arrive in the village there is a parking lot with a few souvenir shops. You have to park here and either walk the 2.5 km path up to the castle, or pay for a taxi or horse-drawn carriage to drive you up. Since I was 8 months pregnant when we visited, I insisted we pay the 400 CZK ($20.25) for the taxi to take us to the top. We walked back down, however, and I can report that the path is an easy walk: it is paved, the incline is not so steep, and it is lined with souvenir shops and restaurants so you have many opportunities to pause and rest.
We opted to have our meal at Restaurace U. Karla IV, which is the last restaurant that you come to before you reach the castle gate. We chose this one because it accepted credit cards, but it turned out to be a fantastic choice. First, it had a children’s play area complete with an IKEA play mat, table and chairs, and toys. Second, it had a “dungeon” (what looked like an old kitchen, but it was recessed in the wall and gated off), which kept our childrens’ imaginations going. Third and last, the food was terrific. Long story short, I ended up racing to eat my food because both my kids were also eating my lunch as fast as they could. And normally we have to coerce our kids to eat their meal!
Overall, this was a great day for our family. The castle was in very good shape and the tour was so interesting that even our 4-year old son was engaged. The tour guide was super-friendly and not bothered at all when our son started peppering him with random questions about the castle. The kids had a lot of fun exploring the castle walls after the tour, and the walk back down to the village was actually quite nice. I highly recommend this as a day trip from Prague.
for more information:
- Visit the castle’s website.