Prague Is a Surprisingly Great Family Vacation Destination — and These 12 Activities for Kids Prove It (Video)
Any parent — or obsessed aunt, like me — will tell you that traveling with kids is different. They need boatloads of gear — specific snacks, stuffed travel buddies, carriers, etc. — and they aren’t afraid to put up a fuss when faced with long lines or museums they deem boring.
While some (arguably sane) parents have eschewed travel until their kids reach a reasonable age, experience-loving millennials seem to have no plans of passing on travel when kids enter the picture. Resonance Consultancy’s 2018 Future of U.S. Millennial Travel report found that 44 percent of U.S. millennials choose to bring their kids along when they travel.
It’s one thing to book an all-inclusive Florida resort and pass a week lounging by the kiddie pool, but for the 36 percent of millennial families who opt for a family vacation to a city (and the 25 percent who vacation internationally) things can get complicated.
A visit to an international city typically includes lots of walking, plenty of time spent on public transport, and often a language barrier — things that aren’t easy for most adults, much less parents who are responsible for a kid or two.
Thanks to my big sister — who’s lived in Prague for over 10 years and has two daughters ages 7 and 8 — I’ve gotten some handy insider insight on what it’s like to travel around Prague with kids. Here are the best things to do in Prague as a family.
Spend the Day on Petrin Hill
You’ll find one of Prague’s best playgrounds at the bottom of Petrin Hill, but the real showstopper is the funicular that transports you to the top of the hill for the cost of a public transport ticket (just over $1 for adults and free for kids under age 6). Once you arrive at the top, head to the Mirror Maze, a labyrinth of stone hallways and mirrors inside a castle-like building. The whole family can visit for just over $10.
If the kids still have energy to burn, challenge them to a climb up Petrin Tower — which resembles a mini Eiffel Tower — and take a moment to enjoy the best views over Prague.
Check Out a Local Market
If you visit over the holidays, it will be hard to miss the city’s famous Christmas markets — where you can sip on a warm cup of mulled wine while the kids nosh on Trdelnik, a sweet pastry, also known as a chimney cake.
During the summer and fall months (typically through November) my sister takes the family on Saturday morning trips to the farmers market. She recommends the Dejvice Farmers Market (open Saturday mornings) for the numerous food stalls sure to appease even the pickiest eaters. After your family enjoys a picnic-style breakfast at the adjacent park, you may luck out and find a pickup soccer game to join.
Eat at a Local Czech Pub (Where Your Kids Can Run Free)
My sister noted that a visit to a real Czech pub is a must for people who want to eat authentic, hearty Czech food and get a taste for the local vibe.
For little kids, she recommends Cafe Pointa, while Pod Juliskou, The Down Under, and Kulatak all have playground-like spaces. Then there’s Vinohradsky Parlament, which has a play room with a slide and ball pit — we’re guessing your kids will be hard-pressed to pass that up.
Visit the ‘Children’s Island’
Your kids will love this destination if for no other reason than the fact that it’s an island just for kids. And like any good kid-friendly spot, it’s got a playground so big and impressive that it covers half the island.
To access the island, you’ll have to cross a bridge where you might even see a passing steamboat or two. All this and more makes this day-time destination a family-friendly win.
Uncover the Secrets of Kinsky Gardens
This hillside park is adjacent to Petrin Hill but offers its own brand of kid-approved fun. The park has two playgrounds (my nieces prefer the playground at the bottom), and near the top of the park, you’ll find soft sandstone cliffs where people have carved faces and words. Hidden around the park’s winding trails are pools and waterfalls waiting to be discovered.
Take a Pony Ride Around Prague’s ‘Central Park’
Prague’s largest park, Stromovka, was built around the grounds of a lovely chateau, and it has everything you’d expect from a park this size, including trails, playgrounds, restaurants, and public art. However, when it comes to traveling with kids, it’s hard to beat a pony ride.
Pony Škola offers children’s horse and pony riding lessons on trails through Stromovka Park. A one-hour lesson is $25, while a casual 30-minute pony ride costs around $12.
Visit the Zoo — by Boat
Most international cities have a zoo, but Prague takes the family-friendly experience up a notch by offering access to the zoo by boat. Between April and October, boats on the Vltava River transport visitors to and from the zoo.
Go See a Real-life Castle
Tourists tend to flock to Prague Castle, but my sister recommends heading out of town for your Czech castle experience — especially if you have kids in tow. Not only will it feel nice to be out of the city, but the impressive Karlstejn Castle awaits.
Trains run between the city of Karlstejn and Prague every 30 minutes, making it easy to get to. The family pass (which includes up to three kids) costs just over $35. If you’ve got little ones, take a moment to do the math because kids under the age of 6 are free.
Hit the Water Park
When your kids are maxed out on culture (and you need a “day off”), head to Prague’s Aquapalace. Like any water park at home, kids can’t help but love it here — and in this particular complex, they’ll find water slides, artificial waves, a not-so-lazy river, and a children’s sauna. As my sister says, the place is “massive,” so boredom won’t be an option.
Lace Up Your Skates and Head to the Rink
In case you didn’t know, hockey is a big deal in the Czech Republic — so it’s no surprise that the city is littered with free ice skating rinks. During the city’s coldest months (typically December and January) it’s easy to stumble upon an outdoor rink.
We recommend Ovocny trh, which is located in the heart of Prague. Entrance is free and skate rentals are around $2 for kids and $4 for adults.
Get a Dose of Culture
For most families, museums can be tricky, but my sister assures me that if there’s one kid-friendly museum in Prague, it’s the National Technical Museum. The building is packed with old cars, planes, and trains that will keep any transport-obsessed kid entertained for hours.
The entire family can visit for less than $20, and once again, there’s no cost for kids under age 6.
Burn Off Excess Energy at the Trampoline Park
After a few days of sightseeing, an afternoon at Prague’s JumpPark will be just what your family needs. And after visiting this spot with my nieces, I can tell you — adults will love it too. Prepare for giant foam pits, a huge climbing wall, wall-to-wall trampolines, and the chance to dunk a basketball (trampoline assisted, of course).
My sister notes that parents with younger kids might prefer Toboga Fantasy.