Nestled deep within the Czech Republic’s Central Bohemia region, Křivoklát Castle is one of the most fascinating landmarks in the country. With its origins dating back to the 12th century, it has been resided in by a string of royals and important historical figures, and today serves predominantly as a museum and tourist attraction.
There is so much to see and explore at the wonderful Křivoklát Castle, and it would be so easy to spend an entire day allowing yourself to get lost and submerged in the centuries’ worth of history. Here is the ultimate guide to visiting this fantastic castle:
A Guide to Krivoklat Castle
History of Krivoklat Castle
Hailed as being one of the oldest and most important castles of the Czech Republic, Krivoklat Castle has a rich and expansive past, with its origins dating way back to the 12th century.
Founded by the Kings of Bohemia in the midst of the 12th century, a large and monumental royal castle was constructed during the reign of Premysl Otakar II. However, this early castle was later enlarged and expanded by several different kings, including King Vaclav IV and King Vladislav of Jagellon.
Unfortunately, this castle was heavily damaged by fire on several different occasions, and was later, as the building slowly started to turn to ruin, it was transformed into a harsh prison.
This feared prison was established under the Furstenberg’s, and numerous notable individuals were imprisoned here, including Bishop Jan Augusta of the Czech Brethren, and Edward Kelly, the Rudolfine alchemist.
The Furstenberg’s eventually reconstructed the deteriorating castle in 1826, and over the decades since, it has been slowly renovated and remodelled and is now open to the public year-round.
Things to see in Krivoklat Castle
It is only possible to visit Křivoklát Castle with a guided tour, but the castle offers four amazing ones in total:
Gothic Palace – Long Tour
This incredible tour will take you from the second castle courtyard, showing you many of the remnants of the prison, such as August’s prison and the dungeon, as well as some of the remaining features and rooms, such as the small Knight’s Hall, the Large Knight’s Hall, the library, the picture gallery, as well as the lapidarium and the museum.
Gothic Palace – Short Tour
This wonderful tour will guide you around many of the sites of the Gothic Palace Long Tour, but it covers it in a shorter time, taking around 45 minutes in total, rather than 80.
Castle Grand Tour
For the ultimate tour around the interiors of the castle, as well as the fantastic ramparts and the Large Round Tower, the Castle Grand Tour is the most valuable of the tours for history enthusiasts. Taking around 100 minutes in total, this tour is a truly immersive experience.
On the Ramparts and Tower
If you would prefer to explore the castle’s defensive system without a tour guide, On the Ramparts and Tower tour is the best option. Taking 20 minutes in total, this is a great way to explore the castle, take in the surrounding views, and explore the exhibition of hunting that is held in the Large Round Tower.
How to get to Krivoklat Castle
The closest cities to Křivoklát Castle are Prague and Plzen, and there are several ways to travel between them, depending on the number of people you are planning on travelling with, your time frame, as well as your budget.
When travelling from Prague, perhaps the quickest and most efficient way of travelling to Křivoklát Castle is by car. Taking approximately 49 minutes depending on traffic, this is a fantastic and flexible way to travel, providing that you already have a rental car on hand. If you don’t, it is possible to take a taxi between the two destinations. Though this is a quick mode of transport, it is fairly pricey, and you can expect to pay anywhere between 65 and 85 Euro.
Alternatively, it is possible to take the bus from Prague to Křivoklát Castle. From Prague Hradcanska station, you will need to take the hourly bus, which costs between 1.50 and 4 Euro, to Lany. From Lany, you will need to take the 555 bus, which runs 3 times a day, and takes you directly to Křivoklát Castle. In total, this journey takes around two and a half hours, including a one-hour transfer. Though it is cheap, it is not the quickest, nor the most reliable mode of transport.
Another cheap transport option is train. From Prague Hlavni Nadrazi, you can hop on board the train that travels to Beroun; this takes 53 minutes, and runs every half an hour. You will need to look out for either the 776, 774, 772, 770, 768, 764, or RE8832. From Beroun, you will then need to take the 36-minute hourly train to Křivoklát Castle. In total, this mode of transport costs between 4 and 7 Euro.
Most visitors will be travelling to Křivoklát Castle from Prague, but it is also relatively easy to travel from Plzen, and there are several modes of transport available.
Like Prague, the most efficient, quickest and direct mode of transport from Plzen to Křivoklát Castle is driving. If you have a rental car, this will take just 54 minutes. If not, a taxi is available, though this is a little pricey, and costs between 75 and 90 Euro.
There is a bus available, though this is not recommended, as it takes three and a half hours in total. It involves changing at Prague, before catching another bus, changing again at Rakovnik, before finally arriving in Křivoklát Castle.
It is possible to travel by train, which like for Prague, involves changing at Beroun, before heading to Křivoklát Castle.
Křivoklát Castle is one of the highlights of the Czech Republic, and there is so much to explore and discover. Dating back to the days of the Czech Kings and Princes, this castle truly feels like a step back in time. So, what are you waiting for?