Czech Out Prague With Your Kids
“Prague!” exclaimed more than a few friends when we asked for a family-friendly destination in Europe. Everyone we talked with who had been to Prague said it was on their Top 10 list of favorite family destinations. As we planned a trip to Amsterdam and were looking to add one more city to our itinerary, Prague was the resounding recommendation from our trusted circle of influence.
And they were right! What an amazing Old World city — Prague is unspoiled from the ravages of the world wars and has maintained all of its historic charms while being modern at the same time. Our family loved it, and the kids found things to interest them at every turn.
Hilton Prague Old Town is located within walking distance of all the sights. We hired a local tour guide, Lenka for a very modest fee, and she showed us the city’s treasures in a way no guidebook could offer, making our tour fun for the kids along the way. Here are a few of our favorite things to do in Prague for you to consider as you plan your trip to this fascinating destination:
MUSICIANS & MURALS
Prague has a long history of hosting some of the most incredible masters of music, and their legacy lives on through live performances and street musicians all across the city. Mozart spent time here perfecting his famous opera Don Giovanni (among other little ditties), and we had the cool opportunity to attend a concert featuring a variety of his works. Don’t worry, it was only an hour long and held our kids’ attention for most of the time. Concert opportunities abound, and tickets are easy to purchase the same day. Tip: The beautiful concert hall in the middle of town was also a visual highlight, so when the kids got bored there was something to look at.
While wandering across the Charles Bridge, we happened upon some street performers that were so good we had to stop and listen. As locals completely took this golden opportunity for granted, walking past, we were dumbfounded at the incredible quality of these performers who were playing for tips.
From there, we explored an ancient neighborhood with waterways and old paddle wheels that once fueled mills along the river. Nearby, locals had demonstrated during the Cold War by painting colorful graffiti honoring John Lennon’s Imagine on a stone wall. Soviet officials removed it, and the locals defied them by painting it again. This cycle repeated itself until the Soviets grew weary and the locals celebrated a small victory. Now it’s a very impressive collage of messages about peace, love and hope.
LANDMARKS & LAGERS
What’s a great European city without a bunch of old stuff to visit? (We love old stuff.) Prague does not disappoint in this area, and our entire family enjoyed visiting the Charles Bridge, Royal Castle and Strahov Monastery, among other landmarks.
The Charles Bridge was originally built across the Vltava River in the 1300s. Local artists and street performers line up along the bridge, and visitors stroll along taking in the beautiful scenery while shopping for authentic trinkets to bring home. Depending on who you ask, this is also a Catholic pilgrimage site — an early Catholic priest was thrown over the bridge, earning him sainthood — or the scene of several bloody battles during the Dark Ages. Or both!
Up on the hill in a postcard-perfect perch overlooking the city and river, the Prague Castle looms impressively. A collection of several buildings, the castle tour is well worth it. And you’ll be safe, too: it’s guarded by some pretty serious looking dudes with bayonets. A nice combination of suits of armor, tales of woe and gorgeous rooms filled with medieval finery and royal jewels, the castle is remarkably well-preserved for being built in 880. Yes, only three digits. You may even catch a sighting of the president of the Czech Republic, who still rules from these headquarters.
Ready for refueling, we headed to the Strahov Monastery which, thankfully, has been a working brewery since the 13th century. Gotta love those monks! They still brew a mean dark lager, best served with a plate of traditional goulash (meat and an interesting bread-like dumpling thingies in gravy). Delicious.
TOYS & TIME
Last but not least, be sure to visit the Toy Museum, a vast collection of toys through the centuries that will both surprise and delight. Kids will see many of their favorites, and parents will fondly remember some childhood memories. You’ll be shocked by what parents used to allow their kids to play with; let’s just say some of these toys would probably not pass the safety tests required in our modern world.
We also really enjoyed the stroll through medieval streets to Old Town Square, where the clock tower is famous for its animated figurines that appear every hour. The Prague Astronomical Clock, as it is rightly called, displays the sun and the moon with stars, along with moving sculptures of the Apostles and even a scary figure of Death. Get there plenty early since crowds do gather.
Have an awesome time visiting Prague, and don’t forget to share your highlights with us!
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