Amsterdam Mamas' Quick Guide: Prague with Kids

October 17, 2017 By Donna Bardsley 0 Comments

Prague and charm go hand in hand: a whimsical clock in a picture-perfect town square, twisting cobbled lanes, shops bursting with puppets and gingerbread, a gothic bridge leading to a castle on a hill! No wonder Prague is great for kids! Here’s our guide for family fun in the Czech capital.

See and Do

1. Your first item of business is to stop in an official TI (Tourist Information office) to pick up the excellent (and free) Kids in Prague guide. It’s a fantastic resource and doubles as your city map. The TI on the old town square is the perfect starting point.

2. While on the square, join the masses craning for a view of Prague’s unique Astronomical Clock “show”  at the top of every hour (9:00-23:00). A true innovation for its time, tell your kids it was the iPad of the 14th century. Be sure to read up on the clock in advance so you know what to look for; it’s quick and it can be easy to miss the action.

3. For the best view of Prague and the old square, do the Tower climb (or optional elevator ride): Hot tip—buy tickets online and skip the (often very long) line! There is also a children’s tour of the inner clock workings on Sundays at 14:00. (FYI: restoration work is scheduled for the clock and tower during 2017-2018. Check in advance for changes and closures.) Alternatively, for a just-as-beautiful view minus the crowds at the top, climb the Charles Bridge Tower instead.

4. See the famous sights of Prague via a vintage tram ride. The nostalgic tramline #41 (formerly #91) runs on weekends only, April–November, and will take you to some of the top sights in Prague.

5. For a fun Czech tradition, take in a Puppet Show! The theater Říše Loutek offers shows just for children on weekend afternoons—or, just pop into one of the many adorable puppet and toy shops throughout town. (Our favorite is V Ungeltu, located on the charming Ungelt courtyard behind the Old Town square.) If you discover you have aspiring puppeteers, you will want to visit the Puppet Museum.

6. For something a little different, with the emphasis on the little, visit the Museum of Miniatures. A miniature museum itself, it features “microminiature” art exhibits only visible through microscopes, such as a camel caravan in the eye of a needle. It’s quick, fun, and memorable.

7. It's a rare child who can appreciate the history and architecture of an old church, but The Basilica of St. James not only has a gorgeous Baroque interior, it also features a shriveled arm hanging from a chain—this macabre feature just might get them interested!

Play

1. The Franciscan Gardens Playground is a gem of a place for adults and kids. Let your kids play while you relax in a peaceful garden, tucked away from the teeming city center. And ice cream or pastry from the popular Ovocný Světozor just inside the adjacent Světozor Mall doesn’t hurt.

2. As is often the case, some of the best views are from the water. Kids will love pedalling boats shaped like cars and animals up and down the Vltava river. A good place to rent a boat is on Slovanský island (multiple rental places but they’re all about the same), where you can also enjoy a playground, a small electric train, and the kid-friendly restaurant Žofín Garden. Alternatively, take a ride on the Prague Steamboat Co (March–October) out to the Prague Zoo for an all-day outing.

3. Escape the jumble of the city to spend an afternoon or a day exploring Petřín Park: play at the playgrounds, ride the Funicular, climb a miniature Eiffel Tower, get lost in the hall of mirrors (hilarious, but tiny), touch a medieval wall, enjoy the gardens and take in more views of Prague. There are restaurants and street vendors, but it’s also the perfect place for a picnic.

4. During inclement weather, play inside at the Lego Museum. Yes, it’s a little random and in a basement, but this privately-run museum is also indoors, manageable, and sure to please little Lego fans (and maybe big Lego fans too).

5. In the winter, be sure to visit one of the outdoor ice skating rinks that pop up in the city.  

Eat:

1. The Výtopna Railway Restaurant on Wenceslas Square might seem kitschy at first, but the atmosphere is lively, the food is decent, and drinks are delivered via electric trains right to your table. What’s not to love? Plus, reservations can be made online to avoid a wait with the kiddos. FYI: the surrounding area can get a little seedy after dark.

2. Trdelník is a cinnamon-sprinkled pastry, baked on a stick and typically sold by street vendors. They’re fun to watch, and messy to eat. Trust me, you’ll go back for more.

3. Gingerbread decorating is an art form in Prague. The Gingerbread Museum on Nerudova street is more shop than museum, but is a must-see (and taste) for kids.

Play “I Spy”:

1. The Prague coat of arms features three lions and three towers. You’ll see it all over town. Perhaps treat yourself to some Trdelník for every 20, or three or four, you find.

2. Look for the colorful, restored doorway signs on Nerudova Street—relics from a time before house numbers. Keep an eye out for three violins, Medusa’s head, a golden key, a turnip, a lobster, and more.

3. A beloved Czech children’s character is Krteček the mole. Offer to buy a stuffed souvenir if your kids can learn to pronounce his name correctly.

Caveat Emptor:

The Museum of Toys and Golden Lane on Castle Hill might be disappointing and/or frustrating for families. The Museum of Toys feels tired and somehow manages to be rather boring, while Golden Lane has no demonstrations and lots of breakables in teeny-tiny shops. In fact, for castle-wary kids, the Prague Castle complex (while lovely and historic) doesn’t offer much excitement and you’ll likely pay for more than you might want to see. My recommendation: have the adults take turns visiting alone while the other takes the kids to a playground. Or, even better, save it for a kid-free weekend getaway.

Get Around:

1. The center of Prague is compact and walkable, but is also well-served by an extensive metro, tram, and bus system.

2. Tickets are conveniently the same for all types of public transportation, but can be quite inconvenient to find and purchase. Look for newspaper kiosks and machines at Metro stations, though you might get lucky and find a ticket machine at a few scattered tram stops.

3. Children under six ride free, and ages six to 15 ride for a discount. You can purchase tickets for 30 or 90 minutes of travel. Don’t forget to validate your tickets!

Looking for family-friendly accommodation in Prague? Consider booking your stay via booking.com/amsterdammamas. Find the perfect accommodation for your family while supporting Amsterdam Mamas at the same time!


Donna Bardsley is the travel-loving mother of three homebodies who hate to leave the house. After living in Amsterdam for six years, she has recently moved her family back to the US where she is experiencing all the joys of reverse culture shock. Perhaps she’ll write about it one day at www.bardsleyland.blogspot.com.


photo credits: Astronomical clock - Yay, Trdelník - 123RF, Gingerbread - Donna Bardsley

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