On a whim, we decided to go to Prague for Thanksgiving to escape from the depressing aspect of looking at bare wires and empty walls in our house for too many days in a row. You see, our renovation was repeatedly delayed, and we were so tired of it. It turned out to be just the break we needed! On top of that, Praque was basically free from tourists during this time of the year, so we had the city all for ourselves (well, not exactly, but quite close).
Logistics: I would strongly recommend to stay in Old Town – this is where most of the site-seeing and activities are, and it is very convenient for little kids to walk and explore the city. You can also buy fruits, milk, and other necessities in mini-marts that are in every corner of the city.
Transportation: Buy a three-day tram/metro ticket for adults (310 krones, or about $14). There is only two-day pass available for kids, but you can always buy a daily one. Metro and trams are very frequent (every 5 or 10 minutes), and can take you every where in the city. With the daily, two-day, and three-day passes, you don’t need to scan the tickets in the tram/metro. One word of caution: the escalator runs at a thunderbolt speed here, so watch the kids!
Here are six things we loved to do in Prague.
1. Eating, obviously!
We was warned that Czech cuisine was all about potatoes and meat, meat and potatoes from breakfast to dinner, then dinner to breakfast. What we found was hearty meals, amazing beer, and warm welcome from local folks. The kids especially loved Czech fries and grilled pork ribs. You can also try a pastry called “trdelnik” which is a cone-shaped sweet bread filled with ice-cream or cream and some toppings like jams or chocolate. It is sold everywhere on the street, although we didn’t really find anything special about this pastry. Our favorite restaurants are:
- Potrefená Husa Hybernská: braised duck, fries, grilled ribs with traditional sauce.
Mlejnice Restarace: beer goulash from beef beat in a loaf of bread, chicken schnitzel.
- Mincovna: grilled sausage, knee of young piglets, pork ribs.
U Modrého hroznu: amazing little restaurant that feels like home.
- Vinohradský Parlament: dumplings, wild boar terrine, beef cheeks, pork neck.
2. Visiting Old Town
You can easily spend a day here:
- Old Town Square: get a map in the tourist office, grab a cup of hot wine.
- Charles Bridge, : walk across the bridge, admire the amazing view, and enjoy street performance.
- Praque Astronomical Clock: every hour of the day, twelve statues of Apostles with its attributes appear at the doorways above the clock with accompanied music. Try to be there at least ten minutes before.
- Powder Tower: nice architecture.
3. Visiting “New” town, on the other side of Charles Bridge
You will walk to:
4. Vising Praque Castle
We bought tickets “Circuit A” to visit all premises in Praque Castle including St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George’s Basilica, and Old Royal Palace. I absolutely loved the cute little shops along Golden Lane. Don’t worry if you cannot visit all premises within a day because you can always come back the next day with this same ticket. If you have only one day, ticket B or C may be sufficient.
5. Watching the Czech National Ballet
We came by a Ticket Office and bought whatever ballet tickets they had of the day. It was Swan Lake at the Hybernia theatre. As an encouragement, the kids also enjoyed a late-night sweet – such a rare thing to do if we were at home.
6. Enjoying Praque Christmas market
We happened to be in Praque on the first day of the Christmas market. The biggest market is in Old town Square, but there are many local ones around town (just take the tram and get off wherever you see a market you like). Personally, I preferred the smaller ones – it had a local feeling where people took their time to chat and mingle over a cup of warm wine, just how a holiday season should be. We gave the kids each 200 krones to buy anything they wanted. Needless to say, they were beyond thrilled. 9-year-old got a large heart-shaped ginger bread cookie and a couple of glass animals. 7-year-old loved a Harry-Porter-theme music box but he didn’t have enough money. So the boy was happy with a white owl, just like Hedwig, instead. 4-year-old picked a Praque key and almost lost it on our way back to the airport. Luckily, our taxi driver was such a kind man who patiently searched and returned this invaluable key to her. So sweet!!