This year, my family and I spent an entire month in Prague, Czechia. It did take me a while to write about our experience in Prague, but the full story is finally here and it’s going to be an epic one (hopefully!)
If last year we moved our base for one month in Valencia, we decided to stay away from the sun this time and go up North a bit in Prague. We chose it for various reasons, but the main one was that it was always topping lists of “best cities to visit. In the end, so many people can’t be wrong, we thought.
If you read this blog, you know that it wasn’t really the case. While it is definitely a nice city visit or live in, I personally consider Prague overrated. And even though it’s one city that I don’t really feel the need to visit again, the experience itself and living in Prague for a month was not bad at all – on the contrary, we had an amazing time there!
So let’s see how it all went and what to expect if you decide to visit Prague with your family (or alone) for a longer period of time!
Getting to Prague + Accommodation
One thing that I am not extremely happy about is the fact that I am pretty scared to travel by plane. Therefore, even though this greatly reduces our options when it comes to traveling the world, I always prefer to take a train (as we did for our epic train Euro-trip) or a bus, or a boat, or even walk. Anything as long as I’m not up in the air, ha!
While my fear for flying isn’t usually putting a large dent in my plans for travel, early this year the whole Boeing 737 Max scandal with the plane crashes and groundings was everywhere on the news and I simply couldn’t convince myself to get in any plane. An irrational fear, I know, but that’s what it is!
As a result, what could’ve been an easy three hour flight from home to Prague turned into a 3-day train ride: we first went to Timisoara, Romania; then we took the train to Budapest, Hungary; finally we took the train from there to Prague.
Our return trip was similar – but with a pit stop of a few days in Bratislava – a good excuse to check out the city a bit (but more about it in a future article!)
I personally love riding the train and I have nothing against embarking on longer journeys, but traveling with a 6 year old has its limitations, so we decided to split a long ride into fewer ones of around or under 6 hours and it worked well for us. If you are braver, you can definitely go for the longer rides.
Where we stayed in Prague (and costs)
Almost always, we choose Airbnb when it comes to staying for longer in a city and this time we made no exception. We found a really nice apartment in a great area, in Prague’s second district, a few minutes of walking away from the Narodni Museum (Prague’s National Museum) and the Train Station. In other words, it was really close to the city center.
I always say that location is extremely important and therefore I always make sure that we’re in a good spot, which keeps us within walking distance from main attractions and things we need nearby, like supermarkets and parks for our son.
But this also came at a cost: a HUGE one by my terms as we spent on it more than we ever did before on accommodation (and generally most than we spend on living for a month anywhere).
Combine the central location with us getting to Prague in June, which is the beginning of the top season, and you have the perfect recipe for overpriced everything.
In our case, for the two bedroom apartment you can see below (and a bit above), we paid a whooping €2559.27 (for 31 nights between June 6th to July 7th).
Initially, we were actually considering going to Amsterdam – or somewhere in Holland – and places there during the same period were around 9,000 Euros for a month (which is almost the price of a studio in the city we’re living in!).
You an imagine that paying 2.5k seemed like a bargain in this case. But it was definitely not one – prices do get out of control everywhere during the season, though!
Best things to see and do in Prague
Even though the city itself was packed during our stay and prices were higher than what we had anticipated, I have to admit that it’s impossible to ever get bored in Prague.
From the beautiful architecture and the great streets that you can simply walk around taking it all in, to its impressive attractions, there are a lot of things to see in Prague and I’m pretty sure that, even after a month there, we only scratched the surface.
Here are some of the top things we did see during our stay here:
The Old Town Square
The old town square is truly spectacular and the place to visit when in Prague, as the number of attractions per square meter is huge.
I am actually talking here about the entire central Prague area: from the Wenceslas square down to the old town itself and the Cech Bridge (Cechuv Most). Some of the main attractions in the city are located here, from museums to churches, towers and everything in between.
The Prague Castle
When visiting the Prague Castle, we took the metro to the nearby Malostranska metro station, not knowing that we’ll have to climb 5,000 meters to actually get to the castle. (Yes, I am exaggerating here, but do prepare to climb a bit. The bonus here is that you’ll get some of the most amazing views of Prague when you get to the top).
Even though impressive, to me the Prague Castle was one of the most disappointing main attractions and I personally enjoyed the surrounding areas better than the castle itself.
Probably the huge crowds played a major role in this, but it was pretty much meh for me being there. It’s strange to actually say that about a truly impressive structure that stood the tests of time – and has been there in a form or another starting they year 870 AC… but this is the truth and how I felt and I won’t say it otherwise just to keep in pace with the popular opinion.
It is true that we didn’t actually get inside the castle – just strolled around because the queues were discouraging to say the least, but I doubt that seeing the cathedral, the castle and everything else while squished by hundreds of other grumpy tourists would’ve improved our liking of the place.
My recommendation? Skip the castle completely (or just go up there for the views) and instead head over to the nearby Royal Gardens, a beautiful park where you can see Queen Anne’s Summer Palace and get similarly breathtaking views over Prague.
Or go a bit further to the nearby Letna park, see the impressive Stalin statue and explore the beautiful nature around. Two better options, in my opinion!
Picnic at Stromovka
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and experience an extremely tranquil and completely charming – at the same time less popular – part of Prague, a visit to the Stromovka park is a must!
While not close to any metro line, there are several tram lines that leave you right in front of the park. As a bonus, in case you want more than the place’s natural beauty, you also have the Planetarium and the Prague Sea World nearby (with the Zoo itself relatively close).
I absolutely loved our day at Stromovka – and I liked the area so much that I decided that I would’ve been much happier if we booked our stay there instead of the busy center.
You have this huge park with playgrounds for kids, grass, water, trees and birds and serenity. Absolutely beautiful so do yourself a favor and visit it if you have time to spend at least a few hours there!
The Gallery of Steel Figures
We just stumbled over this attraction while exploring the old town and we were blown away by it. It’s completely spectacular to see all those metal giants and take goofy (or not so goofy) photos with the exhibits.
It’s probably a lot more fun for a younger audience, but I personally loved it just as much as my kid did. It is expensive, like most things in Prague, at 700 CZK (27.5 Eur) for the 3 of us, but at least it was totally worth it.
HINT: Some of these kid-oriented attractions offer you cards with discounts to other places when you visit. For example, when at the Gallery of Steel Figures, we received discount cards for the Museum of Senses and the Lego Museum. When we go to the other two places, we received cards as well.
Since the Gallery of Steel Figures is the most expensive of the bunch, it would be a good idea to visit any of the other two first in order to get the discount card. The Lego Museum, for example, is just a few hundred meters up the street from the Gallery of Steel Figures!
The Prague Zoo
Traveling with a kid, the zoo in any city you visit is almost always a must see and we didn’t miss the one in Prague. And this one impresses with its sheer size. It probably is the biggest we have ever seen so far.
It wasn’t necessarily the best – I personally liked the Budapest and Vienna zoos better – but it was good. Do bring a lot of water and comfortable shoes because you will walk up and down the hills for the entire day!
We paid 550 CZK (21.6 Eur) for the three of us, but families with 2 kids only pay 600 CZK for a pass (and 100 CZK extra for every additional child). Otherwise, adults pay 200 CZK and kids – 100.
Now this was one of the best aqua parks that I have seen: massive and impressive, it has everything you can wish for from such a place, even though it’s a bit on the outskirts of the city, so not very easy to get to.
You can get there by bus. You have to pay a special ticket – can’t remember how much, but not a lot, but you pay even if you have a monthly card and regular tickets don’t work – you buy the ticket directly from the driver.
Also, there are two different buses that get to the Aquapalace – one which is direct, and one that takes a longer route with more stops. Ask around and get into the direct one.
Or do like we did the second time we went there – just grab an Uber! We paid around 10 Euros from the city center to the Aquapalace, but we got there in less than 15 minutes, while the bus took 50 minutes. And since you pay the special bus tickets anyway, the Uber is not that much more expensive…
As for the admission fees, we paid 1750 CZK (around 69 Euros) for the three of us, for a 1 day pass at the water world (you can also opt for sauna access, which increases the price a bit).
Prices for adults are 759 CZK per person, while kids pay 549 CZK, if you don’t want to get the family ticket. You can buy the tickets online – which I recommend you to do in order to avoid the relatively long queues at the entrance. You can find out more on their official website.
St. Peter & Paul Basilica and the Vysehrad Cemetery
I never thought that I will ever tell anybody to go visit a cemetery, but this is the day when I say that it’s one of the must see attractions in Prague. It was a surprisingly pleasant experience for all of us: a bit eerie, but also amazing at the same time.
The Vysehrad cemetery is the place where some of Prague’s most important people are buried and their tombstones are made to match. Each of them is accompanied by a unique statue or sculpture of sorts or something special. You will simply end up walking around, taking in the unexpected beauty of the place and gawking at all the details.
And then, you have the nearby cathedral. We were fortunate enough to be in the cemetery when the bells started to ring: not your traditional ding-dong of the church bells, but a sweet melody that made the entire experience even more pleasant.
We ended up getting inside the St. Peter & Paul Basilica as well although I got to a point where I believe that I’ve seen it all in terms of churches… but the atmosphere there just made me want to get inside for the experience to be complete.
It was, without a doubt, one of the most surprising visits during our stay in Prague and one of the top attractions in my books – even though it’s “just” a cemetery!
There are tens of museums in Czechia’s capital (including a particular one that’s not kid-oriented at all). We did visit a bunch of the family-friendly ones, and I will quickly go through them below – also with some tips to keep costs under control.
There are actually two museums that make up the National Museum of Prague: the Historical Building (seen above), which is right in the center of the city, overlooking the famous Statue of Saint Wenceslas, and the New Building of the National Museum which is… right across the street.
Funnily enough (or not), when we were there, each of these buildings had their own entry tickets and different exhibits. We were also there during some sort of renovation works, so the Historical building was emptier than it should’ve been, but most of the main attractions – like the massive whale skeleton were still there.
It was a really nice experience and I also have a tip for you: while you can’t get the tickets online, there are offers when you get there that give you a single ticket which can be used to enter 5 different museums in the spawn of 3 days if my memory serves me well.
We’re talking about the Historical and New Building of the National Museum, the Museum of Music, The Museum of Asian, African and American Civilizations, the Ethnographic Museum and the Vitkov National Monument. If you get this package, you end up paying just a fraction of the total cost!
Museum of Chocolate & Wax Museum
Strangely or not, these two go hand in hand and are both part of a massive Chocotopia: a huge sweets store that’s also located right in the heart of the city.
You can also make the whole thing better by creating your own chocolate (which was so and so in terms of the overall experience) and, of course, you can sample the sweets available for purchase in the shop (or try their ice cream).
Expect to pay a premium as well: 390 CZK (15.3 Eur) per adult per museum (so 780 if you want to do both which, I repeat, are in the same building) and 250 CZK (9.8 Eur) per ticket per child over 6. Kids under 6 get free access.
Museum of Games
I spotted this one while on the tram, getting back home from our picnic at Stromovka and I knew I had to come back and visit, being the video game geek that I am.
And the Museum of Games in Prague definitely didn’t disappoint: it’s heaven for those passionate about video games and especially retro gaming: you have everything from arcade machines to old PCs, as well as all the previous Playstation, Xbox and Nintendo consoles ever launched, plus a bit more – all filled with games for you to play as much or as little as you want. I loved it!
Museum of Senses
I mentioned this museum before and I have to write about it a bit more in depth, because it is a really fun experience. I always have a blast in this type of “museums” where illusions are taken to an art level and result in some of the funniest photos ever.
So if you’re looking for some Instagram-worthy photos or just to have a lot of fun, don’t miss this musem, also located in the city center. It’s a bit smaller than others we have visited, but great fun nevertheless.
Reon Argondian – Magical Cavern
A small art gallery almost hidden away from tourists sits on the Petrin Hill. Visiting it was a really interesting experience and one I had to share. Extremely tight and strange to say the least, it was pleasant overall and our son loved it more than I thought he would – since there’s a bit of creepiness about the entire place.
We’re talking here about a small house – two levels filled with paintings created by the same artist, Reon Argondian, who turned his home into a Magical Cavern. The entire house is a work of art and definitely worth checking out: it’s also good for taking a breath while going up the hill!
Adults pay 70 CZK (2.75 EUR) for a ticket, but kids up to 15 years old visit for free.
Food in Prague
One thing that definitely tipped the balance towards me loving Prague like a maniac was the deliciousness of the food there. We had truly amazing food wherever we went: although we weren’t looking for traditional cuisine, we found amazing stuff for our taste buds.
Below I will share some hopefully mouth-watering photos of the food in Prague (and remember – there’s a LOT more you can sample!) and some of our favorite places to eat:
This was my favorite place to eat in Prague and we visited it on several occasions. As a fun note, we discovered the restaurant while it was located on the Vaclavske street (one of the main touristic streets in Prague) only to see it closed a few days later. I was devastated!
You can imagine my joy when we stumbled upon it at its new location – also in the area, but now in a Mall, while randomly walking up and down the streets.
It’s one of the hidden gems in Prague, especially if you enjoy hummus, falafel and the likes (but the meat is also delicious). Tasty, huge portions, perfect atmosphere and staff. Really the best place we ate at in Prague! (Check them here).
Chinese Bistro Man Yi Ge
I also love Chinese food and this one was a perfect find, right next to a tram stop. You will probably never find this kind of restaurants in a guidebook, but the food here is amazing, the portions are huge and the price is really low. Exactly what you want from a Chinese restaurant.
This is also a place that we did visit 2 or 3 times during our stay and each time tried something different and we were never unhappy.
You can see it on Google Maps Here – it’s right next to the Zborovska bus / tram station. Make sure to actually enter the Chinese Restaurant (Man Yi Ge), as there’s also a Thai one right next to it, but on the corner.
Sova IS one of those restaurants that you always see recommended in guide books and we decided to visit it since our apartment was actually located in the same building. (here).
The food was good and the presentation was even better. Plus, it was one of the few places in Prague that had air conditioning, which was a big bonus for the hot summer days. Not cheap – on the contrary – but the food was great and portions of just the right size.
More food in Prague
I think that you can’t really go wrong in Prague: just pick a restaurant and you will find at least good food there. I won’t go through all the places that we visited and we liked, but I will mention a few more:
- Pizzeria Einstein (in Prague 2) was our favorite pizza place and our son’t favorite spot in Prague.
- For cheap, vegan friendly food, we visited the Loving Hut Vinohrady (great cakes too)
- For a quick sandwich that’s fingerlicking good, the BB’s (Bageterie Boulevard) that you can find almost anywhere are perfect. We loved their sandwich box – it was perfect
- Finally, for the best ever ice cream you will ever have (or something along those lines), make sure to check out the Amorino Gelato Cafe.
Our cost of living in Prague for a month
This was our most expensive month ever, by far. This is what happens if your travel anywhere at the peak of the season – but we didn’t really have much of a choice because our son is enrolled in a traditional school system and that is when we have time for more extensive travel.
So here is how much we spent (on everything except for the train tickets). Prices are all in Euros:
Food (restaurants included): 815
All in all, we ended the month spending just shy of 4,000 Euros, which is quite a lot. I might’ve even missed writing down some expenses, so the final amount is probably (just a bit) higher.
We usually spend a lot less on accommodation (and I mean A LOT) and I don’t want to ever go anywhere again if the monthly cost is over 1,500 Euros. This is a challenge in Europe during the season, but definitely doable if you choose smaller cities.
We also ate out a lot and spent way too much on food: we barely cooked at home, and whenever we cooked it was mostly supermarket, pre-cooked food which is also more expensive than “real” food.
But, accommodation aside, I would say that I initially expected the amount to be a bit higher because everything seemed much more expensive in Prague than anywhere else. I am also sure that we could’ve easily slashed away at least a couple hundred Euros from our expenses if we paid a bit more attention.
All in all, we ended up paying around 125 Euros per day during our stay there which, in my opinion, is closer to what you’d spend during a holiday break and not longer term stays.
Thoughts & impressions about living in Prague
Czechia’s capital is undoubtedly an extremely beautiful city. The architecture, its parks, the natural beauty with the Vltava river running through the middle… everything adds up for a really nice city indeed.
But, for some reason, it didn’t really click with me. I remember that when we got off the train and arrived in the city center, I really wanted to love it. I liked the buildings, I liked the atmosphere, I understood its beauty, but for some reasons it just didn’t click. No idea why.
We were treated nicely and had absolutely no problems with anything during our stay there – and even though the public transportation system is chaotic, with pedestrians and cars going around trams and buses, there are no real reasons for you to complain, except for maybe the high prices.
We also let a lot of things unseen: Prague has a ton of attractions to offer and even though we were out and about almost on a daily basis, we still haven’t covered them all. But I don’t think I would ever want to come back and pick up where we left off.
I know that many people disagree: many absolutely love Prague and consider it the most beautiful place on earth. And it is beautiful. There are a lot of great things to see and do. For visiting, the city is definitely a good choice.
But despite all that glam and the cleanliness and the eye candy, there is something that doesn’t click with me, my personality or who knows what.
After Prague, I visited the small Serbian city of Kladovo – a town with under 10,000 people and I instantly loved it, as soon as I set foot there. And there’s absolutely no way to compare the two cities, with the Serbian one being a lot less impressive in terms of architectural beauty, attractions and tourism. Yet, it clicked with me like Prague never managed to.
Even on our way back home, we stopped for a few days in Bratislava – a city everybody told me that is not spectacular and has nothing to offer. But I absolutely loved it and liked it better than Prague! So yes, some cities feel better for some people and not so much for others.
So, yes… Czechia’s capital is indeed beautiful, it has a lot to offer, it is even spectacular here and there, but for me it didn’t have that bit of magic to make me love it like I love Budapest, for example… or anything truly memorable.
But it’s OK – we can’t just love all the places in the World.