5 Things Kids Love about Prague
The Czech Republic’s capital city of Prague has become one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe. While it’s high on the list of young single travelers, retirees and backpackers, it gets less attention from families traveling with children.
But Prague has a charming, fairy-tale-like quality, is, easy to navigate, and is relatively inexpensive. It offers a wealth of activities that will appeal to toddlers, children, and teens.
If you’re planning a visit to Europe with your children, consider adding this eastern European gem to your itinerary. Here are five things we think will engage you and your kids in one of the most historic and beautiful cities in all of Europe.
Prague Castle — Of Course
Prague Castle and the St. Vitus Cathedral overlook the city from the east side of the Vltava River and the Charles Bridge. Both are incredible historic and architectural wonders.
Most likely constructed around 880 when this part of the world was called Bohemia, Prague Castle is part of a larger complex that features Gothic, Romanesque, and Renaissance architecture. Children will love the gargoyles on the exteriors, and the classic and mysterious aspects of the interiors. They can be surprisingly impressed by St. Vitus Cathedral.
Give yourself half a day to fully explore both if your kids can handle it. Be sure to hire a tour guide so you get all of the details and stories about the castle.
Old Town Square
Most European cities have some version of a town square, but Prague’s Old Town Square is something special. Surrounded by open air restaurants and packed with street performers and other fun activities, time spent simply wandering among the people in the square on a sunny day is leaves most kids bouncing with excitement.
On any given day you might find find puppeteers, musicians, magicians, and people selling toys and crafts. Many backpackers who have found themselves low on cash will take to busking at Old Town Square, so expect to see people blowing giant bubbles for the kids to play with, people in costume vying for your attention, and plenty of others who are happy to entertain you and the kids for a few Czech crowns.
The Astronomical Clock
The astronomical clocks are located located just off Old Town Square at the Old Town Hall is arguably one of the world’s most famous. Not just a timepiece, these clocks also indicate the position of the sun and the moon, and often will illustrate the location of constellations and other heavenly bodies, as well.
Nearly destroyed by fire during World War II, the clock has motorized figurines that ring a bell on the hour. One of the twelve apostles makes an appearance above the clock at the same time. Try to visit at noon when all twelve apostles come out, but be prepared for crowds.
Opened in 1931, the Prague Zoo is consistently ranked as one of the top five zoological parks in the world. Located to the north of the Old Town area, the zoo is accessible by taxi, public transport, or even a ferry on the Vltava.
Set against a lovely botanic garden backdrop, the Prague Zoo features all the usual favorites like elephants, lions, and tigers as well as some more unusual creatures like the Komodo dragon, the Przewalski horse, and the western lowland gorilla.
National Marionette Theater
Prague is famous for its marionettes, and you’ll come across many shops selling handmade puppets that are works of art as much as they are toys (and make great souvenirs). To see these wooden puppets in action, visit to the National Marionette Theater, just south of Old Town Square.
Performances vary throughout the year but these include classic opera tales such as Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute, which highlight the work of Mozart. They also offer special tours and events and a “make your own marionette” session for a truly unique souvenir.
Prague is a beautiful and fascinating city that appeals to people of all ages. Be sure to put this vibrant Czech city on your next Eurpean itinerary.