Prague is famous for its stunning, historic buildings and sights, however, most kids, no matter what age, will find sight seeing all day long boring and pester you with “Can we do something fun instead of looking at old houses? But I can assure you Prague has lots on offer for children besides the usual sights. I have put together a guide of what to do with kids in Prague that we enjoyed and I am sure you and the little ones will too:
The Old Palace
The old castle is one of the largest in the world and consists of a number of palaces, religious and government buildings. Most of these contain a vast number of historical artefacts and lavishly furnished rooms fascinating for history buffs but less so for kids. While most children will find wandering through palace after palace boring, there are some interesting parts for kids to be explored. I would advise to concentrate explorations to one or two of the buildings. A good start would be the Vladislav Hall in the Old Palace, which held jousting competitions and the knights would enter the hall on horseback via a dedicated staircase.
St. Vitus Cathedral – South Tower
A follow up could be the St. Vitus cathedral at the centre of the castle, which is the most important church in Prague. The South Tower of the cathedral offers a unique panorama of Prague and the castle from its top. Climb the 280 steps and admire the giant bells and the clock on the way up. Kids will love the view down into the courtyard, where people look like ants and the vistas of the Petrin Lookout Tower and the bridges across the river in the distance are superb. Counting all those steps is also a good way to tire them out!
A visit to the castle gardens is a refreshing break from architecture and history of the castle. Head down to the old deer moat where children can run around on the shaded lawns and discover the cool brick tunnel running underneath a hill. Then take the kids to the Royal Gardens, opposite the Riding school where you may find a falconer with his owls, falcons and other bird of preys. For a donation of 200 CZK you may hold one of the birds and even stroke them. Please be aware that the falconer might only be there during busy times.
Changing of the Guards
Watch the changing of the guards take place every day at 12:00, while they march from their posts through the castle’s courtyard. The guards seem happy to have their photos taken but I would advise you to be respectful of their duties.
Market and Toyshop:
Outside the castle’s ground you will find a small market with stalls selling souvenirs and local food. Take your children to the blacksmith and sword maker and watch him forge a sword over an open fire.
Leaving the castle area by the main square, head up along Loretanska where you will find some options for food and drinks at one of the restaurants lining the road. You can also find a lovely little toyshop, “The Rocking Horse” dedicated to Czech toys and the most famous animal in the country, “Krtek – The Mole”. Jerome and I loved watching the cute cartoon series during our childhood and we could have spent hours browsing the traditional toys at a reasonable price.
Further on you will find the entrance to Petrin park, which is an oasis away from the busy streets of Prague and children will love the large lawns and shaded paths throughout. Take some time out from sight seeing and have some fun times on one of the playgrounds.
Ride the Funicular
A ride on the funicular to the peak of Petrin Park not only saves you and the kids from a long hike uphill, but it is also a lot of fun for children of all ages. Once you get off at the upper station take a look into the engine room to discover a world unique construction, which can be of interest to older children and adults alike.
Look out for the building that resembles a small castle with a fake wooden drawbridge. Inside you will find the Mirror Maze, a labyrinth with mysterious stone hallways, entirely covered in mirrors and a large room full of distorting mirrors. Kids will love the warped and twisted images of themselves and others in the crazy mirrors. It is over a century old.
Climb Petrin Tower
If your legs still have energy climb the 63 metres high Petrin tower, which was inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the viewing platform at the top shares the same altitude with its original in France’s capital. Please note that the stairs are outside and might not be suitable for the faint hearted. At times the queues can also be quite busy.
Back down at the river wander over this ancient Charles Bridge which is flanked at each end by fortified towers that can be climbed. Stroll past stalls of hand made jewellery and artists painting portraits against a fee and the many statues of saints. Children will enjoy the views to either side, watching the cruise boats pass underneath the bridge and the pedal boats. Look out for the swan and old-timer boats among them. The bridge can get very crowded and it is advisable to visit either early or late in the day. Cross one of the other bridges for a view of Charles Bridge at busy times.
Old Town Hall with Astronomical Clock
Leaving the river behind get a front line spot to view the chiming of the astronomical clock in the tower of the Old Town Hall with your children. The Orloj, rings every hour between 9:00 and 23:00 and kids will love the little door opening to let the twelve apostles appear from inside. Keep an eye out for the skeleton to the right side of the clock.
Pedal Boat Ride
A ride on a pedal boat is a must when in Prague with kids. Head to the Slavonik island and hire one of the fun boats at one of the rental stations. Let your child choose from a traditional rowing boat to a pedal boat that looks like one of the old-timer cars doing tours of the city and experience the city from the river. The pedal boats cost around 200 CZK for an hour, a very reasonable price.
One of the most enjoyable way to get from one side of the left side of the Vlatva river to the right is by taking one of the little Prague Ferries. You can use the ferries with your regular public transport tickets and even take your bike on board.
Ride the Tram
When the kids are tired of walking around on the cobbled streets of Prague, take a ride on one of the old trams that criss cross the city and enjoy the view from the rickety train cars.
Explore the city by bike
Hire a bike, if your children are not old enough to ride one themselves, there are plenty of options to hire a trailer of seat for the back. Ideally rent an electric bike to make your life easier on the hilly streets and lanes of the town and surrounding area. Ride along the river’s East side on dedicated cycle lanes and explore the pretty landscape and outskirts of Prague. Stop at one of the many cafes and beer gardens for lunch. We can recommend I like Ebike, they also offer interesting tours of varying length and difficulties.
Summers in Prague are hot and the kids will love a break at the outdoor pool or swimming lakes that are dotted around Prague. There even is a swimming station in at the river, I am not sure if I fancy a swim in the murky water of the Vlatva though. Podoli pool and Hostivar Reservoir are a great option for a swim. Both can easily be reached by tram.
Crazy and Football Golf
Everyone knows crazy golf but have you ever heard of football golf? Neither had we! Sadly we did not have enough time to try this new game, a cross between golf and football, but you should! Especially boys will love a round of kicking the ball into one of the 18 holes of the course. If you hire a bike it is a good destination along the river side cycle routes.
Also by the river side route is a wonderful playground. Every child would love to discover the slides and climbing frames of Europe’s largest cable climbing frame. Kids of all ages will savour the obstacles and whizz down the many slides, which have been incorporated into this incredible adventure playground. If you do not have the time to venture out of town there a plenty of playgrounds dotted throughout the parks and squares of Prague too.
Prague’s Zoo is considered one of the most beautiful zoos in the world thanks to its location. Kids will enjoy the valley of elephants, the red pandas, lions and many more exotic animals. There even is a children’s zoo where kids can ride a horse or feed some of the other domesticated animals.
Food for kids in Prague:
A delicious treat, a trdelnik is rolled dough wrapped around a stick and then grilled and topped with sugar or nuts. Usually filled with chocolate, cream or ice cream and fruit. There are a few shops that sell them with a savoury filling and can be found in plenty of places throughout the town.
Many restaurants offer children’s menus but I would advise the little ones to be a bit more adventurous and try some of the local dishes like dumplings, sausages and goulash. Some restaurants also serve refreshing, homemade lemonades of varying flavours.
I will give a more detailed account of our days in Prague in my following posts…