Visiting Prague with kids
We just got back from a long weekend in Prague and it was a really great trip! This post is going to get right to the highlights for you because after doing my own research before going to Prague, I was really frustrated! Why is the internet such a cluster of information? GAH. After clicking on a bunch of blog posts and articles I was irritated, I just wanted someone to give me the cliff notes on what there is to see, do and a few places to eat. So I am going to be that person for you. If you are visiting Prague with kids here is the low down. You’re welcome.
Where we stay in Prague with kids
We stayed at a really cool and pretty budget friendly hotel called The Emerald. This is a historic building is in the Jewish Quarter and has 15 apartments that have been converted and redesigned into an apartment rental/hotel type concept. Giving you much more room than a standard hotel room, which is sometimes necessary when traveling with kids, especially tweens and teens. Our apartment was simple but stylish, had a full kitchen and sitting area, which was nice for my husband to work in the middle of the night. There is no front desk or anyone to help with luggage or answer questions and we let ourselves in with a security code that was emailed to us. So there is no extra bells and whistles or a lobby to hang out in, but I loved this place for the location. We were literally four blocks to the Old Town square, but it was on a quiet side street so it wasn’t busy with people.
The only thing I wish these apartment-style places would do is to give you more towels and better quality!! A family of four for three nights, we need more towels people.
Before I write about the highlights, here is my “Have fun in Prague!” cheat sheet that will at least give you an idea of what to see and do in Prague with kids! I know, how fancy of me.
Even though we were only in Prague for two and a half days, l felt like we covered a lot of ground but by no means did we feel rushed or that it was too much. There were a few things we did not get to do like go ice skating or visit the Wenceslas Square Christmas Market. I also only saw the Frank Gehry Dancing Building from the window of a taxi and when we finally walked up to the Prague Castle it started to rain, so, unfortunately, we were not able to spend much time there. There were also some restaurants I did not get to check out, because well, I can only eat so much and traveling with kids you sometimes make different dining decisions.
Old Town Christmas Market
This was the first thing we did after dropping our things at our hotel. Wow, was this gorgeous! It was a Thursday night, and so even though it was busy, it was not as busy as the rest of the weekend so I was happy we did this right away. And this was literally only four blocks from The Emerald. Even if it is not Christmas time this main square should be on your list of places to see. It is a remarkable square with the iconic gothic style Church of Our Lady before Týn. This square was filled with food stands and Christmas decorations. They also had a gigantic Christmas tree in this square that had a light show set to music. The other Christmas Market that I am kicking myself for not going to is Wenceslas Square Christmas Market. We just didn’t get over there.
You cannot miss all the Trdelnik (a donut-like cone pastry that they fill with all sorts of goodness (like ice cream, chocolate and whip cream!) but what really stood out to our family, was the Lángos. Our family was literally fighting over this doughy delight. It’s a super soft warm dough that is smothered in garlic butter and topped with shredded cheese! My kids pretty much had this for dinner the last night.
Prague’s Astronomical Clock
Across from this church is the Old Town Tower which has the Astronomical Clock, you cannot miss it. Be sure to get there 15 minutes before the hour strikes, along with ALL the other people that are gathered to see the hands move and the 12 Apostles appear. You can also pay to go up in the tower and get a 360-degree view of the city. We did not do this, but I sort of wish we had.
A colorful walking tour of Prague
I booked the “See colorful Prague with a fun local!” tour of Prague through AirBnB experiences and this was by far the best walking tour we have ever done. We don’t do a lot of walking tours, because well our family gets bored easily, and not just the kids;) But Petr’s tour is fast and fun. You will get to see a lot and hear some unique and “colorful” stories of Prague. Petr is a wealth of knowledge and so much fun! The minute the tour was over my daughter said “That was the best walking tour we’ve done.” and my son said “Yeah, that guy was pretty cool.” So there you have it two jaded tweens give it the seal of approval. Petr also made us a dinner reservation at a fantastic restaurant later that evening, and it was our best meal in Prague!
Swans of Prague
If you go on the walking tour with Petr you will see many things and one of the stops is to see the swans of Prague. I had actually already read about this so I got up early the first morning and went to see about these swans before the hoards of people would be there. With all my travels that is the one thing I always do, I go and see the city by myself early in the morning because any popular city is usually crowded by midday, especially on a holiday weekend or in peak seasons.
After spending some time with the swans of Prague I continued my walk over Charles Bridge and this was probably the best thing I could have done, because later in our trip we walked over it with the kids and it was literally wall to wall people. When the bridge is packed with people you will not get to see the beauty of this 900-year-old bridge, so be sure to get up early one morning and go when no one is there!
**Travel Note – in 2019 they are closing the bridge for renovations because apparently, that thing is about to fall into the river.
Making Gingerbread Cookies in Prague
This one might be a little weird but sort of awesome. I found this gem on AirBnB Experiences too and I thought, making gingerbread cookies at some random ladies house might be kind of fun and my kids are sure to love me for it! What I loved about this the most was that our lovely host told us the story about her Grandmother who was a cook/chef that used to work in the Prague Castle before it was taken over by the Germans, she continued to work in the castle for a while until she was later assigned to work in a factory. She was raised by her Grandmother, so her love for cooking and baking she got by watching and learning from her. She showed us her Grandmother’s cookbook as well as several photos of her. The baking started out a little slow, but by the end the kids and even Harris had a great time!
*Check out AirBnB experiences we have had such good luck with these!
Bernard Beer Spa Prague
This is a MUST. Leave the kids back at the hotel (if they are old enough) and go do this!! I thought maybe going to a beer spa in Prague was going to be a bit cheesy, but it wasn’t at all! Besides the walking tour, this was my favorite things we did. My husband and I are not even beer drinkers, but this experience was just really fun. Bernard Beer Spa has a few locations so be careful making your booking. I, of course, did not book at the one closest to us in Old Town so we went to the wrong one then had to take a taxi across town, but all was good and we did not lose any time for our luxurious beer bath or massages. We booked a private beer bath which I highly recommend for couples, I will write a full post on this later. It was pretty amazing!
Where to eat in Prague
Listen, I am not a super uber foodie, I love great food but I was also very happy with my beer and Snitzel at the Christmas market. Finding dining options with my family is also pretty stressful, we ended up eating Thai food one night because it was just the easiest thing to do to keep the peace. But, our best meal in Prague was at U Kroka, a charming little spot away from the tourist center serving up traditional yet modern Czech food. This meal was so delicious and the price was amazing! Our tour guide Petr set us up with the reservation and I was so thankful he did. We seemed to find a few great spots for breakfast, Waffles & Coffee (how can you go wrong) the beautiful Cerna Madonna (black Madonna) which is right near the Old Town Bridge Tower, and Cafe Milani was my go for coffee in the mornings because it was right next to The Emerald. Be sure to make a reservation at the “Fairytale Restaurant” Velkoprevorsky Mlyn, this looked so adorable and was also a recommendation from our tour guide. I have a list of other restaurant suggestions on my PDF sheet 🙂
The Jerusalem Synagogue in Prague
The name is actually the Jubilee Synagogue, but more commonly known as the Jerusalem Synagogue, and it is GORGEOUS!! My husband is Jewish, but this is actually only the second Synagogue I had been in, but I am certain that this is one of the most stunning!! I had seen photos online and I knew that I wanted to at least pass by to see the colorful exterior so I mapped us to pass it early in the morning on the way to our Gingerbread cookie making activity. We thought we were too early to go inside, but when we arrived it was open! Not only is this a jaw-dropping architectural gem with historical significance but upstairs there is an entire exhibit on the Czech Republic’s traumatic Jewish history. Sobering of course, but so important and worth a visit.
Other things to do and see in Prague
Our kids love doing escape rooms so we like doing them in all the cities we visit. We went to Mind Maze and it was a good one, but not that hard, we got out on 45 minutes! Maybe we have done too many now that they are getting easy… but if you travel with kids these are fun to do to break up the walking around looking at old stuff;)
While walking around Prague, have the kids look for the Darth Vador Statue, Man Hanging Out (Freud hanging from an umbrella in the sky), the Black Madonna in a gold cage, and they will get a kick out of the Pissing Statues and the Naked Babies. Try to also go and see the Frank Gehry Dancing Building and the Jewish Cemetary (if it’s still open) they are closing it permanently very soon, and maybe the whole family wants to stop and get Thai foot massages (I sort of regret not doing this) there are Thai massage places everywhere (?).
That’s it, now go find some of your own fun in Prague!