Hrad Karlstejn – The Czech Disney-like Castle4 September, 2009
The Karlstejn Castle is one of the most visited and beautiful castles in the Czech Republic. The Disney fairytale-like fortress was built in 1365 to house Charles IV’s royal treasury.
The castle is located in Karlstejn, 30km southwest of Prague. The train journey from Prague takes about 1 hour. Unless you are taking a taxi up to the castle, factor in some time for walking along a very steep slope leading to the castle :-).
The return train fare to Karlstejn cost 55 CZK – per person (discounts available if there are more than 2 people in your group). The ticket can be bought at the Prague main train station similar to how we did for our Kutna Hora Bone Church trip.
Czech trains are often victims to ‘creative’ vandalism and graffiti. The train interior is quite well-maintained and comfortable though.
There is also a large group of Czech kindergarten school children onboard this train – quite well-mannered and cute 🙂
Some are very shy especially the kid in this picture who must be thinking “What are these 2 weird people doing?”
From the Karlstejn train station, you have to walk for about 30-45 minutes uphill towards the Karlstejn Castle. The street leading to the castle is filled with souvenir shops and restaurants so while tiring, it is not a boring walk.
Karlštejn Castle Tours
You can only visit the castle interiors with one of the Karlstejn Castle tours. There are 2 tours you can choose from:
- Tour 1 (50-minute) will take you through the Imperial Palace, Hall of Knights, Chapel of St. Nicholas, Royal Bedroom, and Audience Hall.
- Tour 2 (70 minutes) offers a look at the Chapel of the Holy Cross, famous for the more than 2,000 precious and semiprecious inlaid gems adorning its walls; the Chapel of St. Catherine, Karel IV’s own private oratory; the Church of Our Lady; and the library. (Note: Tour 2 is available during 1 June to 1 Nov period each year)
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Tour 2 is highly recommended by many visitors to Karlstejn Castle and requires a prior reservation with the Castle. You can make a reservation with the Castle in 3 easy steps (even when you are more than 3000km away) – just need a credit card and email account.
- Follow instructions on the Karlstejn Castle Reservation page i.e. email them at the address listed. Note reservation fee for Tour II is 30 CZK per person (you have to pay this upfront and this is on top of the Castle admission ticket)
- You will receive info from them e.g. available timings and cost as well as a reservation form which you will need to fill in your name and address as well as credit card info. Complete the info and send it back to me via email.
- They will then process the reservation fee payment and issue the following voucher. Print it out, present it at the Karlstejn Castle ticket office, pay 300 CZK for the admission ticket and you are done!
The guided tour was quite interesting (especially the finale – the Chapel of the Holy Cross is really magnificent) and our guide was friendly and eager to help you with any questions you have about Czech history. What seemed quite strange was the bunch of keys he held that is supposed to open and close all doors in the Castle. As we proceed from one room to the next, he will need to lock up the door to the earlier room. This was supposed to be a security feature to prevent any intruders who could damage this castle interiors.
We are allowed to take pictures only when we are not in the castle interior e.g. at a bridge connecting a tower to another or in rooms where there are practically nothing to take photo of.
To protect the floors of some of the rooms, we were required to wear bathroom slippers over our footwear before being allowed into the rooms.
Trying to act cool in Karlstejn Castle . Vote for the coolest picture in the comment box below 🙂