Vyšehrad Castle is a great place to visit in Prague. If you have more than two days in Prague or you want to get out of the touristy areas, then put this on your list!
Vyšehrad Castle is a little out of the way but it’s not too difficult to get to. We were staying near Wenceslas Square and decided to walk instead of taking public transportation. It’s about a 1.5 mile walk from where we were. So it’s a little trek, but not bad at all. It’s totally doable!
I highly recommend walking as much as possible when you travel! It’s a great way to see and get a feel for the unique atmosphere of each city. You get to see a little more of what “real life” looks like because you step outside of the heavy tourist areas. You can also discover some wonderful things along the way – from beautiful churches, to beautiful architecture, to little neighborhood shops, and even as you see above – sometimes a lovely park in the middle of the city. It can be a little challenging to navigate a city you’re not used to, so here’s some quick tips.
1. Your hotel should have detailed maps for your use. If not, a local tourist office will have some.
2. The street signs in Europe are generally on the sides of the buildings at the intersections and not on a post. It can be terribly confusing if you don’t know where to look!
3. Prague was very helpful and had sign posts with signs for various popular destinations pointing in the direction you were supposed to go. Sometimes it’s easier to simply follow the sign than try to figure it all out on the map.
Another reason I enjoy walking is that you can see parts of town that aren’t as pristine. You see the well-kept and the run-down. And those aging places have their own special kind of beauty.
Vyšehrad Castle is more what we would consider a fortress rather than an actual castle. In fact, I didn’t see a castle on the property. The whole property is surrounded by a tall, deep fortified brick wall. You can walk around the top of the wall and overlook the city since the castle is situated on a hill. I’d highly recommend doing that because the views of Prague from there are fabulous. You can even see Prague Castle off in the distance. There weren’t many people wandering the grounds of the castle so it was very peaceful and relaxed.
One of the main attractions at the castle is the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul. It was founded in the 11th century but has been reconstructed in in the Gothic and neo-Gothic styles since then. I loved that they haven’t cleaned the exterior of it. It gives you a good sense of its age this way.
Aren’t these doors absolutely gorgeous?! I love how colorful old churches can be. The mosaics were quite bright and the pink metal door is very striking next to the dark exterior.
There was quite a few more people visiting the church than you see wandering around, but it wasn’t at all crowded. Inside, the church is quite beautiful. It is ornately painted – from the ceilings, to the columns, to the walls. There were wonderful things to see wherever you looked. One of my favorite pieces of art was this angel that was hanging from the ceiling on the right corridor of the church. I’d love to have an ornament like that for my Christmas tree!
While the main nave of the church is wonderful, there was so much beautiful art to be discovered in the altars on the sides of the church. I love old European churches because the ornate beauty all around you just leaves you with a sense of reverence and worship. I don’t believe any of the signs about the art were in English and I didn’t happen to grab an English guide (if there was one) so I don’t know what all of the art pieces are. The one above on the right however, is obviously Jesus on the cross. And behind this piece in the stained glass, you can see Mary in the center with, what I am assuming are the 11 faithful apostles, on her sides.
When you travel, remember to look up and not just around! They don’t just reserve the beauty for the things that are easily seen and appreciated. Your neck may get a little sore, but it’s well worth it!
Outside of the church is an old cemetery. It looks more like a garden than our American cemeteries do, so it can be lovely to wander through. If you like classical music, both Dvorak and Smetana are buried here. I didn’t find out about this until I got back home so I missed out on looking for their graves.
There’s more things to see in the castle grounds including several gates, shrines, and small chapels. So there’s good variety here – you could spend an hour or two and see the things I’ve talked about or add on some more time to fully explore all the castle has to offer.
You don’t have to worry about what to do for lunch either. I saw 3 different restaurants on the castle grounds. There were 2 right outside of the church. One served Italian and I believe the other served Czech. We ended up walking past the back of the Basilica and found a small little cafe – V Cafe.
The food was very good! We all enjoyed our food – I had tomato soup, my mom had the salmon salad, and my dad got a sandwich. And of course, with all that walking, we deserved some dessert! We ordered two and split them between us. The apple strudel had a lovely flaky crust but was a little too heavily seasoned for my taste. We also ordered a Bavarian honey cake. That was delicious! We didn’t know what it was when we ordered so it was a fun surprise! It wasn’t a heavy cake even with all the layers and it tasted like brown sugar. Also as a bonus – their whipped cream was actually sweetened which made me very happy!
I hope you enjoyed exploring Prague with me! Would you put Vyšehrad Castle on your list of places to visit?