Hradcany Prague – The Castle District – Prague One

Hradcany Prague in the First District Prague One

In Czech the area around Prague Castle is called “Hradcany” (pronounced Hradchany). It is without doubt the quietest area of the city so don’t expect any loud bars or clubs but, if you are looking for a quiet spot 60 seconds away from beautiful attractions then it’s worth a look at the area.

Cobbled roads at night
Cobbled roads at night

Accommodation In The Hradcany Prague Area

Even including the Strahov Complex and the area of Hradcany known as Novy Svet then you’ll have a choice of less than ten hotels. My own favourites of those are on the Prague Castle Hotels page.

Eating and Drinking

Most of the available places directly in the area are in the vicinity of Hradcanské Námesti (the square in front of the Prague Castle main entry) or further up the road at Loretanské Námesti (the square that contains the Cernin Palace and the Loreta). I don’t actually recommend any restaurants in the area but two or three do have lovely scenic views over the city. Also see the Strahov Brewery in the section below.

Tourist Attractions

It’s not all about the Prague Castle Complex although I do make my own Prague Castle Walking Route Suggestion. If you stay in the area you’ll be very close to the Castle so it’s worth reading about Saint Vitus Cathedral, Saint George Basilica, Golden Lane and the Old Royal Palace. Immediately outside the main entry both left and right of the square are palaces belonging to the National Gallery (Schwarzenberg, Salmovsky and Šternberk) so for more on visiting those places check the National Gallery page. Note that even though the historical buildings close at 5pm, you can walk around the Castle Complex until 10pm.

If you exited the Castle via something called the Pacassi Gate then you’ll first come to the Prague Castle Imperial Gardens and on the other side of the road will be the Sand Gate with a little piece of sculpture called Sophies Fan.

Leaving the castle via the large square at the original castle entry, you walk to the far side of the square and up to the top of the road where you’ll find the Cernin Palace (Czech Foreign Office – Read about Edvard Benes) and opposite that is the decorative facade of the Loreta. If you walked in the direction of the Loreta, stayed to the left and go down the hill then you come to Nový Svet (pronounced noh-vee-svee-et) which contains part of the old Castle wall defences and some of the smallest houses in the city. You might be surprised to know that this area was one of the last to maintain gas lighting up until 1985. From the Cernin Palace, had you continued up the road you pass through a square called Pohorelec and staying to your left you walk into the main entry of the Strahov Monastery Complex.

That's me with ST Vitus Cathedral, Prague Castle, in the background
That’s me with ST Vitus Cathedral, Prague Castle, in the background

Strahov Monastery Complex has three main attractions. The Strahov Library (Theological and Philosophical Halls which you can book guided tours but it must be fairly well in advance), the Basilica of Assumption of Our Lady and finally the Strahov Brewery. The Basilica has Romanesque foundations, Gothic construction and Baroque decor (so something for everyone). The brewery is popular for it’s Saint Norbert beer (in the summer you’ll need a reservation to eat outside). By exiting the complex via the Cloister end you’ll come to the scenic point and city-wide panorama.

Transport and Access

There is no metro in the area so you are restricted to the Number 22 or 23 tram which you can catch at the Malostranska metro station, the rear of the castle, Brusnice (for Novy Svet) and/or Pohorelec (for Strahov Monastery). Or from Charles Bridge it’s a 30 minute walk (up or downhill). Use this guide for How to Use a Touch-Screen Ticket Machine.