When you’re visiting Prague, Czech Republic, Karlštejn Castle must be on your list. Your kids will enjoy the Harry Potter-esque castle and the view from the top is breath-taking.
Visiting Karlštejn Castle with kids
A day trip to the town of Karlštejn, and the beautiful Karlštejn Castle, is a must on your list of things to do in and around Prague. From the train station Hlavni Nadrazi in Prague, it is a quick 40 minute trip to this picturesque town in the countryside.
As a family of five everything takes a little longer, getting shoes on, walking to the bus stop, boarding a train. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that it probably took us twice as long as everybody else to take the walk through the town of Karlštejn, up to the imposing castle. It was a gorgeous day! And the fact that I took so many pictures is pretty damn amazing, because going up there with 3 kids is hard! Especially since we are outnumbered and 2 of them have only 2 default speeds; run and stop.
Note to self: next time, just buy the ice cream right at the beginning.
Luckily our kids don’t keep up a constant moaning of ‘moooommyyyyy I want iiiice creeeeaaaam’. Nope. Not at all. They switch it up with ‘moooommyyyy I want tredlník!’ (Yummy cinnamon donut cones, definitely get some if you haven’t yet). Best of all, I was really prepared for our trip, with snacks and lunch and everything. But about half of the little touristy shops in the town is either an ice cream stall, tredlník vendor or restaurant … and it doesn’t compare with my simple bread rolls and sausages. I was quite surprised though that the prices were all pretty ‘normal’. Not at all the ‘tourist trap’ you would expect it to be. Great plus!
Choosing a castle tour (or not)
Once inside the castle complex you can join one of three guided tours (all tours here are guided, in reasonably small groups of 20). Choose between a Czech tour or a foreign language tour. The Czech tour is almost half the price though, so if you do some good research beforehand, you won’t really need to have it in English. For our family the View Tower tour (Czech version) was 410kc, compared to the 710kc for an English tour.
Karlštejn Castle travel tips for families:
- Travel with a very light backpack.
Basically just bring enough water for everyone and maybe a snack or two to keep the rumbling tummies happy. It’s a big walk up, especially with very small children, and all the food temptations will look better to them than whatever you packed anyway.
- Have reasonable expectations.
Be honest with yourself about whether your children are capable of doing a 50 minute tour through the rooms of the castle. The View Tower and Basic Tours are around 50 minutes each, and they don’t allow children into the Exclusive tour. The trip through the town is absolutely worth it, and seeing the castle really makes you feel like you’re joining Hogwarts. If your children are not the ‘stand-quietly-in-a-line’ type (like two of ours), don’t feel bad. Rather spend that money on a good meal in any of the restaurants in town, on your way down. Have a look at the different castle tours though, if you have older children it is very interesting!
- Do NOT go with a stroller.
This is maybe my top tip for anyone traveling in Prague as well. You’ll have a much harder trip up, pushing a stroller, and on top of that there are many places to enjoy the gorgeous view of the valley and town, where a stroller will not fit. Big hassle.
- Use a baby carrier instead.
If your baby or toddler is small, rather have them with you in a baby carrier or backpack carrier. This is the best thing for your family during your visit in the Czech Republic! This is a must to make your trip easier and keep your littlies close. (Trust me, snapping pictures with a 3 year old thinking the castle is her playground … a little stressful.) Have a look at the carriers we love, and make your trips a breeze.
All things considered, this trip was great as a family (we all made it back without any sunburn).