Prague

A guide to Prague for families

Prague can be an incredibly romantic city for couples, but the city is also an amazing destination for families, too. After visiting the Czech capital’s traditional museums and historic sites, fill out your schedule with some of these off-the-radar options for family fun


BY EVAN RAIL
Evan, originally from California, lives in Prague with his wife, son and daughter, and writes about his new home city for The New York Times and Conde Nast Traveller. He is also the author of Good Beer Guide: Prague & the Czech Republic

Prague has become one of the most visited cities in Europe, and for good reason: the excellent eating and drinking, remarkable architecture and rich history. So much so, that when Mandarin Oriental, Prague was constructed, thousands of archaeological finds were discovered, and replicas are now displayed in glass cabinets within the hotel.

One of the newest city attractions is Prague’s riverside districts. Left in ruins when the banks burst 15 years ago, they now buzz with lively arts and entertainment projects. But does this mean that parents travelling with children will be accompanied by a soundtrack of “I’m bored/tired/hungry”? Not at all. The Czech capital is an excellent under-the-radar family destination with interactive museums, parks full of playgrounds and foodie treats for children.

Park life

Local families love Prague’s excellent playgrounds, found in just about every corner of the city. In Malá Strana, stop by the shaded sandbox at the nearly hidden Dětské Hřiště (Children’s Playground) on Kampa Island, or find a similar site on the Old Town side of the river at Slovanský ostrov, aka Žofín, also home to a working, pint-size train line. In warm weather, families swear by the massive Gutovka sport center in the outlying district of Strašnice, home to rock-climbing walls, a skatepark and an extensive ‘waterworld’, with running streams, dams and sluices, where children can play (and cool off) to their hearts’ content.
Ages: 4 and up

Zoo bound

Once a cherished local day out, Prague Zoo made global headlines when it was named the world’s fifth best zoo in TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards in 2017, thanks to its picturesque riverside location, extensive grounds, varied environments and perfect biological zones, as well as its important endangered-animal preservation programmes. For an unforgettable day trip, book Mandarin Oriental’s Prague Zoo Adventure, which includes transportation out on a historic steam boat, providing an added bonus of Instagram-worthy city views around every single bend of the Vltava River.
Ages: 4 and up

Football fandom

Czechs are far more famous for their skills in international hockey competitions, but football — aka soccer — remains the country’s most popular sport. Make like a local with an authentic jersey from one of the city’s first-league teams: Bohemians 1905, Dukla, Slavia and Sparta. Find apparel, posters and other souvenirs at local sporting goods stores and home stadium shops. And if you’re in town during the active season, catch a game in person at an intimate arena such as Prague’s Ďolíček, home to the beloved ‘Kangaroos’ of Bohemians 1905 and just 5,000 wildly cheering fans.
Ages: 8 and up

Game play

Your children might have plenty of contemporary games on their phones, tablets and consoles, but they’ve probably never played – or even heard of – half of the 160 absolute classics at the Arcade Museum. Pro tip: parents should use this to their advantage in family competitions. Located just outside Prague in the village of Červený Újezd, this super-cool museum houses more than 160 vintage games from the 1980s and 1990s, including Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Joust, Q*bert, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders and Paperboy. Leave your quarters at home: all games are free to play with museum entry.
Ages: 8 and up

Off-road

Even avid urbanites need the occasional break from civilisation. Get your children a healthy blast of fresh air as you experience the rough-hewn Bohemian landscape on a unique driving tour from Off-Road Bohemia, which guides adventurous travellers on (and off) local country roads in a fleet of Russian-made UAZ 4x4s. Start off with a blast of bouncy, off-road adrenaline, stop for lunch at a local tavern and cruise by ancient village churches before continuing on to bucket-list destinations such as stately Karlštejn Castle. (Don’t forget your drivers’ licence!)
Ages: 12 and up

Cooking classes

Prague’s exploding culinary scene has earned rave reviews from travellers in recent years, thanks in part to a new generation of international chefs. Learn directly from the experts at a family cooking class from Cocina Rivero. Originally from Mexico City, host Emmanuel Rivero teaches how to prepare the authentic dishes of his homeland, while guest chefs such as British-born, Malaysian-raised Sofia Smith reveal the secrets of spicy Malay, Thai and Indian recipes. Many courses are available in English, and you’ll get to eat the delicious treats your family learns how to make.
Ages: 13 and up

Younger Fans

Younger Fans are instantly made to feel at home at Mandarin Oriental, Prague. Upon arrival, they can enjoy everything from a special welcome present to complimentary crayons and colouring books. Special menus have also been created, which are available in the restaurant and through room service. Parents can also request complimentary cribs and beds, and buggies, among other amenities – and to top it all off, babysitting services can be arranged through the concierge.

Book your stay at Mandarin Oriental, Prague

Housed within a former 14th-century monastery, Mandarin Oriental, Prague offers five-star service in stunning surroundings. Blending contemporary design with period features, it is a truly unique hotel experience.

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