Prague is often overlooked by families heading to Europe. Eastern Europe can be daunting to first time travelers. What you think about the East will be obliterated by a visit to Prague. This warm, friendly, cultural mecca has a lot to offer families of all shapes and sizes.
Four Wondrous Days in Prague
The Charles Bridge:
Strolling down the Charles Bridge during the day is spectacular. There are street artists, jugglers, craft vendors and musicians. Prague is filled with the arts, and the epicenter is the Charles Bridge. At night, this bridge lights up and becomes even busier. The views from the bridge do not disappoint and the food vendors set up around dinnertime to serve local cuisine for cheap.
Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral
We were greeted on the trek up to the castle by artists, musicians and vendors of all sorts. At the top of the walkway, you’ll find a Starbucks. The Prague Starbucks terrace has one of the best views of the city we found, so popping by for a latte and photo-op is a must.
At the top, soldiers do daily demonstrations and greet visitors, gladly explaining the castle’s history. Once occupied by Roman Empowers and Bohemian Royalty, Prague castle happens to be one of the oldest and largest castles in the world. It is still occupied by the President of Czech Republic.
St. Vitus Cathedral is attached to this monstrous castle. Dedicated to St. Vitus, the patron saint of acting, the cathedral is a stunning piece of gothic architecture. Inside, hiring an English speaking guide is easy and a tour through the cathedral is a must-do. The gardens surrounding Prague Castle are perfectly manicured and worth a look. Also, Kafka’s former residence, a tiny home on the golden square, is a must see.
The Lennon Wall
Located across from the French Embassy, the Wall is a work in progress and therefore, never the same. Although John Lennon never visited Prague, students began writing their grievances with the Czech government, at the time they were communist, on the wall. The Czech government painted the wall time and again, covering the student’s work. Finally, the students began painting images of John Lennon and lyrics from his songs. The wall symbolized the Czech youth’s desire for freedom. Today, the wall is a reminder of the struggles we have still today, messages like “Je Suis Paris” and “Pray for the Refugees” were scrolled across it.
Old Town Prague contains stunning squares, the Jewish Quarter, the St. Nicholas Church, original cobblestone streets, absinthe bars, and lots of crystal.
The Jewish Quarter was the most fascinating, known as Josefov, complete with a well-curated museum, cemetery and a perfectly preserved old town. Josefov was the only place where Jews were allowed to reside in Prague. As the 19th century turned into the 20th, Jews from all over Europe crowded into the tiny Ghetto. Get there early to purchase tickets, the lines were very long even on a cold winter’s day.
Kafka’s birth home is also located in Old Town, in a demure building with a small café on the first floor. Kafka’s work was influential in fusing fantasy with realism.
Where and What to Eat
Prague is experiencing a culinary renaissance. It’s clear Bohemian foods reign, goulash and sausage are available everywhere, but there’s modern twists everywhere you turn. Historically Goulash would be served as a soup. Today, Goulash is slowly seared pork cheeks with sauce and bread dumplings to accompany. Street food vendors offer rolled pastries dipped in cinnamon, sugar and nuts and the occasional Czech-style Gyro consisting of goulash sauce, pork and cabbage in a pita.
There are fabulous restaurants down the tiny alleyways around Prague. Our litmus test for locating a restaurant: if it’s full of locals, it must be good. Two of our favorite places we tried were Delice, and BadJeff’s Barbeque. Both were child friendly, offered unique Bohemian dishes and reasonably priced.
Prague is full of swanky hotels at astronomical prices. We opted for the Appia Hotel Residences, a moderately priced hotel with enormous rooms, underground parking and a fabulous breakfast included.
For more on Prague, visit the city’s tourism website and read these TravelingMom insights:
This post was written by Shelby Van Voris, a traveling mom who lives in Western Europe and has visited 50 countries on six continents.
Have you been to Prague? What were your favorites?