Visiting Prague with Children | Pittsburgh Family Photographer

June 16, 2017  •  4 Comments

Visiting Prague with Children | Pittsburgh Family Photographer

A Little Background | My husband is from Olomouc, Czech Republic. We met in Monaco my junior year of college. A couple years later I moved to Prague to see him more often and teach English. We got married in 2003, took a 6 week road trip/honeymoon across Europe and finally settled down in Pittsburgh. Prague has a special place in our family's hearts. Maybe it's the cobblestone streets, the spectacular views, the street musicians, the red tile roofs, the river filled with bridges, the food, or the historical buildings mixed in with modern European architecture. Or maybe it's all of it! I love Prague. I think it is the most romantic city.

The Best of Prague |Our children especially love playing in the playgrounds, riding paddle boats on the Vltava, shopping at Havelský Market and getting lost in Old Town. My husband and I love walking through Šárka, a park outside the center. We also love spending a lazy evening on the Charles Bridge and going for a drink at Certovka Restaurant, the restaurant at the end of Prague's narrowest street. We love the view of the river and bridge.  

The Highlights

Charles Bridge | This is my favorite place in Prague. It is probably my favorite place in the world! Prague's most stunning bridge is named after King Charles IV who commissioned the bridge in 1357. Enjoy a leisurely walk across the cobblestone bridge any time of day for very different experiences. Arrive at dawn to fully appreciate the 30 Baroque statues, a relatively empty cobbled path and watch the sunrise. I often find myself daydreaming of what life must have been like in times long ago. In the afternoons the bridge is packed with tourists, painters, musicians and various other vendors. Not exactly peaceful but definitely exciting! Evenings on the bridge are chill, you'll see lots of couples holding hands from the flickering light of the picturesque street lights illuminating the way.

Old Town Square | The historic center of Prague is filled with beautiful architecture. You will see the medieval astronomical clock, which was built in 1410. It is the world's oldest, working astrological clock. Be sure to see it any hour on the hour. It's a must see, even if it's not the most impressive show, remember it was built in 1410 and works!! The clocks on my old cell phones don't even work anymore and they're only 5 years old! You will also see the town hall, the gothic Tyn Cathedral, a statue of Jan Hus and many restaurants.

Wenceslas Square | The square is named for Saint Wenceslas, the patron saint of Bohemia. The square, which actually looks more like a boulevard than a square, has a notable history. It was built in 1348 as part of New Town by King Charles. Sadly, a student set himself on fire in Wenceslas Square to protest the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union in 1968. It was also the central meeting for demonstrations during the Velvet Revolution in 1989. Czechoslovakia was formed after WWI in 1918 when Czechs and Slovaks were allowed to become independent from the Austria-Hungry Empire. Czechoslovakia divided into the two smaller nations of Czech Repubulic and Slovakia in 1992, in what has been called the velvet divorce.

Jewish Cemetery I Although I don't typically enjoy visiting cemeteries, the Jewish Cemetery near Old Town is surprisingly interesting. Due to a lack of space the grave stones could not continue to sprawl outward, so the people of the town had no where to go but up by filling the cemetery with more soil. The oldest gravestone dates back to 1438, 54 years before Columbus sailed to the new World. The cemetery was used for over three centuries.

Estates and National Theater | We've enjoyed ballets, operas and drama at Prague's two most famous theaters. My husband prefers the Estates Theater. Mozart's first showing of Don Giovanni was in Prague's Estates Theater in 1787.  This is best for older children who are able to remain quiet and seated during the performances. 

Mucha Museum | This small museum  is dedicated to the work and art of Alphonse Mucha, the famous Czech Nouveau artist. (Mucha means a fly)

Skoda ride | Czechs make a car called škoda. (škoda means pity.) I've always wanted to take a tour of Prague in an antique Czech Skoda. If you have time, I'd recommend it! 

Petrin | We take the funicular (or incline in Pittsburgh) from Malá Strana (the little side) to the top to explore the hall of mirrors, climb the small Eiffel tower inspired look out tower, and catch some fresh air at one of the cafes before continuing our walk to the Soucha Panny Marie z Exile (the statue of Maria in Exile). Why Sisters of Mercy? Because it's peaceful, offers our favorite view of Prague and is off the beaten path. We have seen beautiful pictures from the library at Satrhovsky Monastery, it's very close to the overlook. We want to go to the library on our next trip to Prague. 

Castle & Golden Lane | Prague's castle is the largest castle in Europe and seats the Czech  President. We enjoy walking on the Golden Lane, taking pictures with the guards and walking around St. Vitus Cathedral.

Parks and Recreation

Divoká Šárka This is the perfect park for a family that enjoys hiking and being in the forest. Be sure to take your swimming suit, there's a swimming pool in the wilderness in the middle of the park. We all love swimming in Šárka!

The river bank between Mala Strana and the Charles Bridge has a clearing perfect for kids to skip stones in the Vltava, see ducks and play at a playground.

Our Favorite Restaurants

Terrace U Prince | U Prince has the best location. Enjoy a meal on a terrace above old town square, it's a photographic location, it's great for people watching and also provides an awesome view of the clock!

Baráčnická rychta | My family eats here every time we are back in Prague. My husband and I started back in 2002 on the recommendation of friends. We love the good food, rustic atmosphere and reasonable prices. You'll see more locals than tourists.  Its's always fun to stop at an authentic restaurant when travelling.

Vytopna Railway Restaurant | Vytopna is another family favorite. After you place an order with your waiter, a engine with a cargo train car travel to your table and stop long enough for you to collect your drinks. You waiter will bring your food when it's prepared. Vytopna is on Wenceslas Square towards the top of the hill.

Czech Food | Czech food is fantastic. It's delicious and heavy and rejuvenating for hungry travelers! I love trying new food, especially when I'm traveling. Years ago when my time living in Prague was coming to an end, I went on a mission to find the perfect Czech Cookbook, never expecting to be on the mission for years!! I can't imagine not eating Czech food at home in Pittsburgh! Today, I have several Czech cookbooks, but have only recently found the perfect recipes at www.czechcookbook.com. The recipes are created by a Czech woman living in the United States, she shares her delicious recipes along with videos explaining the steps. If you fall in love with Czech food, you too can continue to enjoy it even when you leave!

Svíčková | Beef sirloin in a creamy vegetable sauce and usually served with bread dumplings (houskové knedlíky)

Hovězí Guláš | Beef Goulash. A meat stew with a red pepper sauce and dumplings.

Vepřo knedlo zelo | Roasted pork and sauerkraut with bread dumplings. This is the national meal of the Ceach Republic.

Maravian Sparrow with potato dumplings. Surprisingly it's pork served with cooked spinach.

Smažený sýr & hranolky | Fried cheese and fries. Not a low fat meal, but fried food with mayonnaise is great!

Párek rohlík | A long, thin frankfurter, the Czech equivalent of an American hotdog, usually eaten in a hollowed out Czech roll.

Medovnik | Honey Layer Cake. 

Ovocne Knedliky Fruit Dumplings. Imagine fruit wrapped in a sweet dumpling, covered in butter, cheese and fresh cream.

Prague also has many rum flavored cakes, pastries and desserts in general. Look for a cukrana (cukrana translated to English would be something like a sugar shop, it's a cafe that focuses on deserts rather than coffee) to enjoy fantastic Czech desserts. 

Czech Souvineers

Hand made pottery

Czech crystal

Czech Porcelean

Marionettes

Garnet

Wooden Toys

Karlovy Vary spa wafers (Karlovy Vary is the most famous spa in the Czech Republic. The Last Holiday was filmed there.)

Becherovka, an herbal liquor made in Karlovy Vary

My Favorite Stores

Blue

Manufaktura | a bath and beauty shop

Havelský Market, near Vasclav Square


Laura Mares is an experienced photographer specializing in capturing timeless family keepsakes. Laura works on location and in her fully equipped home studio, located in Mt. Lebanon, eight miles south of Pittsburgh, PA. Laura’s style is creative, natural, and timeless. Would you like beautiful portraits of your newborn baby, to update your child and family portraits or to document a milestone in your life such as a wedding, graduation, birthday or reunion? If you are interested in high quality, timeless photographs, book your session today, call (412) 654-3367 or email [email protected]. To view a wide range of gorgeous portraits and to get great tips, advice and beautiful inspiration follow us on Instagram and Facebook.


Comments

Mariko(non-registered)
It looks like you have such great memories of such a beautiful city. I love the little tour of all your favorite places.
Angela(non-registered)
What a unique and memorable experience! Beautiful images!
Laurie(non-registered)
What an amazing place! No wonder you love it there. Great photos!
marty(non-registered)
Wow, what a beautiful city! Is it always that full of people? I imagine the street photography opportunities are abounding. You have a lovely family too!
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