Prague, also known as Praha, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Capital and the largest city of the Czech Republic, it is situated on the Vltava river. Talk about beauty, it has equal charm as Paris, talk about the beer, Czech is famous as one of the finest brews in the world, talk about the history, it has one of the richest ancient past.
Prague will always be special for me as it was our first vacation as a family when we traveled with our 1.5-year-old twins. It was 7 hours road trip from Poland. As soon as we boarded the bus, both the kids started throwing the tantrums. Within 10 minutes, I asked my husband to cancel the trip, deboard the bus and go back as it seemed daunting to me.
I already felt tired, crazy and helpless but my husband insisted to travel further. After some time, we decided to sit separately with one kid each and it worked in our favor. With some tricks and mindfulness, we survived the journey and reached Prague in the morning.
The first thing that caught my sight was the colorful buildings of this city. After the check-in formalities at our Airbnb, we freshened up, and stepped out to discover the city and directly headed to the Prague Castle.
Vintage beauty in the city
The most captivating and highly visited destinations in Prague is this magnificent Castle situated on a hilltop of the Vltava River. Spread in a huge area of 70,000 m², this is the largest coherent castle complex in the world, as per the Guinness Book of World Records. It is also one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. It is a huge complex of buildings internally connected by courtyards and you need at least half day to explore it at leisure.
But it is worth as you will witness amazing architecture, gardens, exquisite churches and halls, the seat of Bohemian kings. Most of all, you will be thrilled to see the best views of the vibrant city from the castle. The conical tops of the buildings look symmetrical and make a perfect backdrop for clicking the pictures. Sadly, I lost all my pictures of the castle and many more of this trip. Blame technology!
Note: There is strict security at the entrance of the Castle, make sure not to carry any sharp object with you. Also, large pieces of baggage are not allowed inside the premises. Buying tickets online is always advisable.
St. Vitus Cathedral:
The important sights within the Castle are St. George’s Basilica, St. Vitus Cathedral, the Powder Tower, the Royal Palace, and the Golden Lane where Frantz Kafka used to live for a while. St. Vitus Cathedral is the most popular and extremely beautiful part of the Castle. It is located on the hilltop overlooking the city.
It is a Gothic Church, with many buildings, gardens, and courtyards. I was amazed to see the intricate interiors of the church. There are many gardens within the castle which opens on various seasons, as we visited during the summers, we could enjoy the beauty fo Royal garden, South Garden and Stag Moat.
I fell in love with this unique part of the castle. It was just a narrow cobbled lane with small houses turned shops of souvenirs, puppets, medieval armors, and handicrafts. The tiny doors and windows were too cute to resist.
Note: There are stairs to go down towards the exit as the Golden lane ends, so if you have kids or the stroller, you will need a helping hand. Luckily we got one.
It was already late afternoon when we left the castle. After tucking the kids back to their stroller, we decided to visit the Charles Bridge which can be reached on foot from the castle or by metro. We always prefer walking so that we can explore the city more and enjoy the performances of the roadside artists and the local food too. Enroute we tried some interesting local roadside cuisines.
As seen in the videos and pictures, Charles Bridge was even more beautiful and lively. We encountered many Indian tourists and honeymooners while strolling at the bridge. The massive statues on both the sides of the bridge were highly impressive. I love the happening vibrations of this place with various local musicians performing, a lot of roadside shopping options (jewelry, souvenirs, magnet, stones, etc.) and artists making live sketches. It was a fun place to be at where kids also enjoyed equally.
As we descended from the Charles Bridge, we reached this artificial city island. There were cruises available but we were hungry and tired so we dropped the idea. Instead, we rested and tried the popular Chimney Cake which they prepare live with the topping of your choice. I had my favorite Nutella with strawberry and ice cream. It was absolutely drool-worthy.
Old Town Square (Staromestské námestí):
We decided to end our day and relax at the Old Town Square which was situated at the heart of Prague’s Old Town. A remarkably popular spot, flooded by tourists. It is located between the two famous places, Wenceslas Square and Charles Bridge. The square is home to many other tourist attractions like Týn Church, colorful baroque houses, St. Nicholas Church, and the world famous Medieval Astronomical Clock.
There is a musical show every hour from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. Built in 1440, this is the oldest working astronomical clock in the world. There are various signs on this clock that stand for the seasons, Christian Holidays and phases of the moon. You can get an amazing view of the Old Town by climbing up or taking an elevator to the Old Town Hall’s Tower.
Note: It is a must visit part of the city. The steps are steep and narrow, so if visiting with the kids, better to take an elevator.
We just trolled through the lanes of the Old town passing through The Wenceslas Square which is the most happening market street of the city. By that time, kids were tired and slept comfortably in their stroller. As Lennon Wall was close by, we quickly visited and how I loved this colorful cool place. Though it has a sad history as people used to outpour their grief and protest against the death of John Lennon here.
Once, this wall was damaged during a flood but was repaired later. In 2014, an art protest group whitewashed this wall and wrote “The wall is over” but today, it is the only legal graffiti wall in the city. You can buy the spray bottles at a very nominal rate and paint whatever you want. It makes a perfect photo location. Apart from this wall, there is nothing to do apart from a few open cafes where you can enjoy the Czech cuisines and beer. We ended our day to headed back to our accommodation by 7:30 pm.
The next morning we booked a taxi to Petrin Tower which is located on a hill. You can reach there on foot or by a funicular as well but we opted for a taxi as it was raining hence taxi was the only feasible option for us. Upon reaching there, we were enchanted by the beautiful sight of the city and the well-maintained gardens. There were many gardens spread into a massive area and each has a different theme.
It was a perfect place for the kids to get down from their stroller and have fun. There were many other activities to do like horse riding, rose garden, mirror maze, observatory and the Petrin Tower which was a miniature of Eiffel Tower, Paris. The air was so pure and fresh. It was a lovely experience visiting this hill.
The entire evening we leisurely enjoyed the walking tour in the colorful lanes of the city. We strolled through The National Museum, Spanish Synagogue, Vysehrad, and The National Theatre. An interesting structure we came across was the famous Dancing House which was a treat to watch. It was basically a tilted dancing shaped glass building that has a luxury hotel on two floors, a few offices and a restaurant at the rooftop. Later in the evening, we relaxed at a local park where kids enjoyed the rides and swings and made a few new friends too.
Finally, it was time for us to leave the city as we had a bus in the night. To our surprise, the vacation went really well. The kids had a great time so did we. Of all the European countries I have visited so far, somehow Prague holds a special place and if I get a chance, I would love to revisit it someday.
Note: If you have time in hand, you can plan a day trip to the gorgeous city, Cesky Krumlov. As we were traveling with kids, we went easy and stayed at one location only.
So, this was all about my vacation with kids to Prague. I would soon be sharing a post on how to travel with kids stress-free. So, keep watching this space.