Attention! Attention! Kids love Cracow and Prague!
Parents wondered whether Cracow was a good destination for a trip with kids and whether Prague with a child was a good idea. Sometimes we don't understand them – it was obvious from the very beginning that we like family trips so much that we'd love all of them. And sightseeing with a family is the coolest.
We love mountains, seas and lakes, but we also like big cities because there are plenty of things going on. And there is ice-cream, plenty of ice-cream, all over the place. When we are good kids, our parents are willing to buy us my favourite strawberry ice-cream and the pink one chosen by Nela, and then we are ready to look for more attractions. Lately, castles were the biggest of them, therefore we looked for dragons and their traces. Because where there's a castle, there must also be some dragon nearby, right?
In Prague, before we found the dragon, we came across other animals. We met two big bears in the Old Town just on the first night. Huuuge! This very nice man was taking care of them, he would approach everyone in the crowd, speaking in all possible languages, inviting them to take a photo together. A photo with the bears, not the man, of course... He also had a hat to collect the money, certainly for food for those bears, so my parents also put something inside, and the satisfied bears were eager to take photos with us. They did not get tired until the evening, because we saw them become small, and three men speaking Russian carried them on their backs. But they were very cheerful when they were with us!
We also got tired at first by just looking at the ascent to the big Prague Castle, but, luckily, Daddy found a way on which the pushchair could be dragged – right next to the most popular steps taken by almost everyone. The way was steep, but Nela and I walked on foot as we were looking for traces of the dragon on the cobblestones. If we had used the pushchair, that we like to ride so much (we're both a bit too big, but we fit in if Nela bends her knees and if I sit on the front ledge), we could have missed some of them and, for example, we wouldn't have found the beautiful Golden Lane. Although there was actually no dragon there, we liked the small houses and the whole neighbourhood very much – especially the cannons up above and the fact that we could enter the houses. Daddy browsed through some books there, Mummy admired views from the outside and I looked at old suits of armour, bows and swords as well as at strange devices that, according to Daddy, could be very painful in contact, and very much so. That's true, they did look like very dangerous toys.
We found the dragon in several pictures in the royal chambers, on the throne (but not in the flesh/the real one, only its symbol) and in a beautiful painting at the ceiling in one of the churches. I concluded that this real dragon must have flown somewhere, for example to Cracow, because we know very well the fairy tales about the local Wawel dragon. And dragons must visit each other, right? Our parents agreed with me and promised to go to Cracow as well so that Nela and I would not be disappointed. They also bought us ice-cream and then tickets for a boat trip on the Vltava (Prague looks beautiful from the river, I liked them so much that I wasn’t even listening to what the captain was saying about the sites we were passing) and I was no longer sad that I had not met the dragon. Our parents also took us to watch a beautiful sunset at the bridge where we were supposed to meet my friend from the kindergarten, but Charles did not show up. I don't know where my parents got the idea from that it was his bridge because I had been there so many times and each time I liked it so much that I found something new – new sculptures, sights and new funny people in the crowd of tourists. It was also from the Charles Bridge that we set off for our Vltava cruise, it is a nice place.
We didn't meet the dragon, but other animals were fantastic. We spent almost a whole day in the Zoo. Daddy complained a bit because he had to pull us in such a nice cart because there are a lot of hills in the Prague zoo end even one chairlift (although this is meant for older children and adults), but we liked it veeery much. We saw elephants, giraffes and kangaroos, koala bears and lots of monkeys. People were even allowed to feed the giraffes, but only if they had booked for themselves – or actually for the giraffes, as those were their meals – a specific feeding time. You should keep that in mind.
We had great fun at the penguin and seal grounds, the zebras were also friendly, and the lions sometimes roared. We like very much the Warsaw zoo and we go there regularly, but the Prague zoo has become our favourite. There was no such safari as in Dubai, but we loved the huge spaces and the whole day spent in the Prague zoo. Perhaps even more than the castle, although the whole Hradcany was also very interesting, and one can walk in the Old Town endlessly long.
Our parents also took us to Cracow and we finally found the dragon there. An artificial one, it was standing and breathing out fire at the dragon's den near the Vistula (it is the same river which flows through Warsaw and which we once saw in Ustroń, how strange the world is), but the real one had its den under the castle. We know from fairy tales that the Wawel dragon drank too much water and burst, but the one that now lives in the den is probably friendly. It's a pity though that it gets up so early – when we came down to it along the winding stairs from the castle's courtyard – he was already gone. We saw its lair in the big cave, we watched the water drip from the rocks, but the dragon was already gone. This one is actually very nice (because the bad one burst, didn't it?), but if it wanted to eat some sheep, it should better be careful and come back, because his den is quite cool.
In Cracow there was also delicious ice-cream, the castle and the church from which a fireman (but not Sam, because Sam doesn't have a trumpet) often played a trumpet call, and we wanted to watch him put out the trumpet through the little window in the tower and then wave to everybody standing in the market square over and over again. We also went for a short trip by a horse-drawn coach and climbed down underground to see how this whole Cracow had been built. Daddy was very proud of himself because he had bought the tickets to the museum underneath the Market Square beforehand, as otherwise we could have missed it, but shouldn’t have repeated that all the time, because we already know that he is the best Daddy in the world.
In Cracow we also liked the fact that we lived very close to the castle and to the walking areas, just like in Prague – it is nice to go somewhere by tram or by taxi from time to time, but the best thing is to get out of the hotel and be right away in the coolest place. Nela and I also loved the dragons that waited for us in the beds when we reached the Sheraton hotel – they were even cooler that the view of the castle and the Vistula, although it was difficult to drag us away from the window. Because Cracow would make no sense without the dragon and we liked our stay both in Prague and Cracow very much. Every child would love it. And, like my dad said, adults would adore it.
Could be important:
The Market Square Underground, which is still very little known, is an absolute hit in Cracow. The whole of Cracow across centuries in one place, under the market square level, among the original foundations of the old buildings, with all its multimedia history and a special little theatre for kids that is played on demand. The dragon and Krak come out of the walls, knights fight and kids can play nearby as they dress mediaeval figures on the touch screens.
NOTE: It is advised to book tickets in advance, free of charge at http://www.podziemiarynku.com/
When choosing a restaurant, go for one that offers a view of St Mary's Basilica's tower and the best access to pigeons. Of course, you should go inside with the kids and look around, but children running after pigeons and waiting for the fireman to play the trumpet call and wave his hand will offer the parents some time for themselves.
For a carriage ride, choose a weekday or late evening. Cracow is still beautiful after sunset, but the prices are lower, especially if you approach someone at the end of the line. Children will be pleased with the shortest route, while ladies agree to bargain. Even if later, when leaving the Market Square, they need to explain themselves to the coachmen, who join in for the route and in fact steer the horses and the carriage.
The castle is an obvious point on the sightseeing plan (the entry is free of charge on Monday mornings, so – what's important – there are no queues then), but children still like the Dragon's Den most. Entry at the top of the walls over the dragon, tickets cost PLN 3 and can be bought from a ticket machine. The descent is down steep, winding stairs, but the den is worth a visit, it is quite spacious, ideal for the dragon. Exit towards the Vistula and then waiting for the dragon to breathe out fire. A moment before that the gas can be heard reaching the muzzle, so you can capture the fire in a photo. Waiting for another breath of fire gives the parents time to enjoy the view of the castle and the Vistula.
A cruise along the Vistula is moderately attractive, not even close to Prague. There are no sights and the boat cruises for about half an hour. But it is worth going with kids, especially when you manage to really bargain down the price from the sellers, who approach you all the time. Welcome to Europe, ladies and gentlemen...
Make sure you select a hotel near the Old Town, both in Cracow and Prague, possibly with a view – every moment of walking is precious here and there is no point in wasting time and your children's energy on commuting. And the view guarantees that you won’t waste the evening when your kids are already asleep.
ZOO. A clear number one. Vast spaces, located on the hills, a huge number of animals, an excellent contact and proximity to many of them. If you have a child that is older than six, MAKE SURE you book FEEDING GIRAFFES. You need to do it in advance and it costs a mere 400 korunas per a four-person family. Book here: https://www.zoopraha.cz/en/before-visit/services-for-visitors/315-enjoyment/10850-feeding-giraffes.
The Prague ZOO is proud to be one of Angelina Jolie's favourites.
The boat. The Czech Venice is all right, and Cracow is no match for it. Senegalese men dressed as sailors stand in many places near Charles Bridge, selling the tickets. You should bargain. You should not expect too much of the promised ice-cream and beer on board – the trip is nice, but the beer is small and the ice-cream is no big deal. Yet you do get them.
Hradcany. It is worth buying a ticket to the Castle that includes all the attractions. History is visible everywhere there, although we liked the Golden lane most, an adorable place. You can easily exit with a pushchair from the entrance side, pedestrians go out at the end of the lane.
Charles Bridge is beautiful at any time of the day. The sunset looks fantastic from the bridge.
Make sure you try beer with an inscription "vareni", home-made. There are quite a few places where it’s sold, just ask in the street. It's worth it.