The castle's Stag Moat (Jelení Příkop) is one of those places that is completely obvious but rarely visited. Honestly, every time we walk through this valley of greenery, we see a maximum of 10 people.
How is that possible when it's just below the castle's entrance? I guess the answer doesn't matter much - their loss is our gain!
You can watch our video of the moat (see below) to get a sense of the place with its flora and sculptures. To describe it as remarkable is such a complete understatement.
This place offers a wonderful sense that you are far from the city center with its trees, birds, occasional snail, little brook and even a natural fountain with clean cold water.
At one time, a few bears roamed around the moat and the bear keeper's house is still here, below the bridge to the castle.
The moat is actually a natural defense to the castle and when you walk through you get a sense of just how impressive the castle actually is. You'll see the Gothic spires of St. Vitus' Cathedral, the Daliborka Tower and other parts of the castle from a unique perspective.
The moat itself has lots to see as well. You can wander through and see a variety of sculptures and connect to other parts of the castle's grounds including the royal gardens and Queen Anne's summer palace.
One of the most surprising sights in the moat is the bricked tunnel that courses under the castle's gate - picture above.
The one drawback about visiting the moat is its summer only hours. The Stag Moat is only open April 1 - October 31.
Where is the Stag Moat?
The Stag Moat borders the north side of Prague Castle. It actually stretches beyond the castle going all the way up into other parts of this area (Hradčany).
The bridge to the castle's side gate is just above about the halfway point of the moat. This is the castle entrance closest to the tram stop.
Here are a few ways to get to the moat...
Take the tram 22 to Pražský Hrad. This tram line runs parallel to the castle on the north side. The tram in either direction will work. Once you exit the tram head straight toward the castle. Just before entering the gate, turn immediately to your right and follow the path down into all the greenery.
For a fuller experience, take the metro (or tram) to Malostranská. Exit the metro to the left at the top of the escalators. At the street turn to your left and follow the street for about 100 meters. You will pass the steps to the castle on your left - you'll note the crowds going up and down here! Keep walking past all the buildings to the small path in the grass. You'll start walking up this path to your left and eventually across a series of pathways and into the moat. This is one end of the moat and a fantastic walk. Continue up the main path to the castle or explore the numerous other paths. Up to your right is the Queen Anne's summer palace (Kralovské Létohradek). Climb up that way to reach the castle's royal gardens and then onto the northern gate to the castle.
Our favorite way to enter the Stag Moat is via the far western entrance. You might call this its main entrance of the moat. You'll see this and the first wooden pathway in the video. This way is even less used than other parts of the moat. We like to enter here after walking through another "hidden sight," New World Street.The shortest path to this entrance is by taking the 22 tram to the stop Brusnice then cross the street and continue down the side street, U Brusnice. Walk about 100 meters and the entrance is on your left. To add New World Street to your tour, take the tram to Pohorelec and walk across the street to the Loreta. From the Loreta walk to your left and follow the street down the hill and continue onto New World (Nový Svět). At the end of the street you will see the entrance marked Jelení Příkop on the opposite wall.