To be totally honest, I lived here for nearly ten years before I got around to seeing this place and then less than three months went by before we visited again. Of course, having young children helps and if you know your Czech history it’s a “must see”. The complex is fortified and hence there are really only two ways into it. The first (and my favourite) is via the “Vysehrad Metro” end. If you are driving then you come inside the “Tabor Gate” (marked as No.1 on the map) and park in that road. If arriving by taxi you’ll be dropped at the same place.
If arriving by metro then you follow the signs and you walk along “Na Bucance” which brings you out at the Tabor Gate after a 5 minute walk. The other entry is to take any of the riverfront trams (No.18 gets you the closest) and get off at “Vratislavova”. You then have a long steep walk up the road to the “Brick Gate” (marked as 35 on the map).
The Map (it’s only 20kc), shows the contents of the complex, the historic buildings plus places to eat and drink.
As you walk down the road from the Tabor Gate you’ll find an information centre on the right. You can buy maps and assorted guides here. Right next to the centre is what is left of an old Gothic stone gate called Spicka (peak). As you walk further you pass a shop and school on the left and then a cafe on the right. Right in front of you will be the Leopold Gate pictured.
After passing under the Leopold Gate the next thing you’ll see (apart from the tow truck which is normally around) will be St Martins Rotunda (pictured and also an example of Romanesque Architecture). It’s not been open on my visits.
At this point we normally turn left onto the small track and then left again so that you come out on the edge of the fortifications. There are some fine scenic views of Podoli and the river Vltava (pictured) as you walk around the top of the red brick wall and you’ll have obstructed views of the Church of St Peter and St Paul. Pay close attention if you are here with kids as the fence has wide gaps and the bush makes it look deceptively strong.
Almost the first good glimpse of the church will come just before you pass “The Old Burgraves Residence” (marked No.15 on the map) on the right through the trees on the other side of the small park. As you go around the corner you now have the river in full view and you’ll be looking over the rock cliff down to the tunnel on the river road. Views of the river are good at this point but you won’t see much of Prague Castle until you get to the other side of the complex. Building 16 on the map (Gothic Cellar) is a small exhibition building that also houses a cafe.
A Recommended Tour
While you are browsing this page please note that I do recommend a tour of the complex. It’s 2.5 hours and although not listed as a small-group tour, it does not attract a large crowd. It starts with a short metro ride (ticket included) followed by a pleasant walk to the complex.
Then you get around two hours to be guided through the complex including the park, historic cemetery and church of Sts Peter and Paul. The bonus on this tour and largely why I recommend it is that includes the Gorlice so you’ll be able to see some of the original statues that used to be on Charles Bridge. Time flies. Check the Tour of Vysehrad Including Gorlice.
There are several ways to get through the small park and it has several interesting statues by Myslbek. As you leave the park this door is the first that you come to. The second or middle door is the actual entrance to the church. There’s a small entry charge if you want to walk around the church (it was 20kc last time).
The Cemetery is one of the main reasons for tourism here. The place is a “who’s who” of Czech history and culture. Many sculptors and artists are buried here and if you want to find the locations, you can buy a book that lists the numbers and locations of the most popular sites. Vysehrad is a nice place to visit on a sunny day when you can wander around the park but, it’s not so great when the weather is not good. There are three quite reasonable cafes on the site and one good restaurant (opposite the church door) but, as I mentioned earlier, the cemetery is the big draw and you’ll need to do a bit of research to make the most of a trip there.