Visiting Prague with children is not without its challenges. For one, plan on lots of walking, and the cobblestones can be particularly gruelling for prams and short legs. Add to that the enormous crowds, especially in hot summer, which can certainly wear anyone down. Prague more than compensates, though, with its sheer, medieval fairy-tale feel. Prague Castle really is right out of a storybook. Outside the immediate centre, the city is surprisingly green, and the Vltava River and many parks and gardens offer a nearby, family-friendly respite.
Views from Petřín Hill
A journey to Petřín Hill, the tall outcropping on the Malá Strana side of the Vltava, makes for a perfect family outing. The “Eiffel Tower” on top, built in 1891 and modelled after the Paris original, serves as a lookout tower, with views on clear days stretching out to the border mountains to the west and the forests of Central Bohemia.
And that’s just where the excitement begins. Smaller kids will love the mirror maze and fun house, while older children and teens can tour a working observatory. The surrounding gardens, orchards and fields provide ample space for a picnic lunch. Take the funicular up to start the journey with some excitement, or hike up the paths that lead to the summit.
Playgrounds and green space at Letná Gardens
Sitting atop a bluff across the river, north of the Old Town, the sprawling Letná Gardens are a peaceful, family-friendly idyll of walking trails and big fields where kids can roam free. Parents will enjoy the dramatic views out over the river and city below, while younger visitors will gravitate to the playgrounds and more offbeat attractions, like a giant metronome on top of the hill. The trails at the western end of the park extend all the way to the gates of Prague Castle, while the eastern end terminates at the city’s prettiest (and family-friendly) beer garden, where you can grab a beer or soft drink and a light bite.
Pack a picnic for Vltava River & Slav Island
While much of the centre, including the Old Town, is built up and not particularly kid-friendly, the Vltava River, which runs through the heart of city, provides a relaxed space to chill. The banks are lined with walkways and are especially good for duck and swan spotting. Slav Island (Slovanský ostrov), a small island south of the National Theatre, has a beautiful, well-tended playground, complete with a mini train ride and cafe where parents can sip a coffee. The island’s northern end is home to a jetty that hires out rowing boats and pedalos by the hour in warm weather (April to October). Pack a picnic lunch to make an outing of it.