While many envision spending spring in Europe, they usually picture urban adventures along the beaches of Barcelona, exploration through the small towns Italian towns nestled along the Cinque Terre coastline or a trip to Netherland’s fields of multicolored tulips. Despite the fact that there are no sunny beaches, cliffside villages or an abundance of vibrant flowers, Prague can make the perfect spring getaway—especially for multigenerational groups.
Wander the Local Markets
During the month of March, Prague is filled with festive Easter markets. Brightly colored streamers and decorative eggs hang from the trees surrounding the wooden stands that represent one of the country’s most traditional customs. Oversize chicks sit in giant eggshells, perched atop the wooden huts, which are famous for their colorful hand-painted Easter eggs. Local artisans in traditional costumes customize the eggs with messages or names. Your group can also shop for jewelry, ceramics, wooden dolls, and other handmade items. But on top of the markets’ handicrafts, there is a wide selection of local food and drink—my personal favorite aspect of afternoons spent in these markets. Pair hot strawberry wine with trdelniks, doughy pastries grilled while wrapped around a stick then covered in sugar and nuts.
The main Easter markets are located in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. Old Town Square is a historic area of town, home to gothic and baroque churches and various statues of historical figures. You can really feel the ancient vibe of the city here, with local musicians playing traditional music on the cobblestone sidewalks. On the other hand, Wenceslas Square is located in Prague’s New Town. The long street is lined with modern shops and dead ends at the National Museum. A third market is located in the Peace Square in front of the Church of St. Ludmila.
If you’re not visiting in March, stop by the permanent Havelske trziste market. Older generations especially will love the unique treasures found here. You can buy old-fashioned wooden toys, puppets, leather goods, small paintings, flowers and locally sourced fruits and vegetables. Located between Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, it’s centrally placed for any trip to the city center.
Group travel to Prague isn’t complete without a trip to the famous Charles Bridge—and this is another spot for those who love the shop. Local artists sell paintings and photographs of the city along the bridge. If you stop by, bring some extra padlocks so mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, aunts and uncles, or even you and your significant other can attach a love lock to the bridge. The gate connecting the bridge to Old Town is also a Gothic masterpiece to behold on your stroll through town.
Ancient Architecture at Its Finest
Because Prague is such an old city, the city’s architecture is especially beautiful. Big groups, especially those with many generations, will love the versatility of visiting Prague Castle. As the largest ancient castle in the world, it’s an impressive complex, filled with palaces, halls, churches and gardens to wander. Spring is the perfect time to visit because the weather is starting to warm up and the sun is out, making it a great time for a stroll. St. Vitus Cathedral and St. George’s Basilica are two must-stop places for those touring the castle. The massive cathedral still hosts daily mass. You’ll also want to take your group through the Old Royal Palace to view some ancient architecture and décor.
Before you leave the castle, wander down Golden Lane, a row of tiny connected buildings that once housed everyone from goldsmiths and prisoners to writers like Franz Kafka. You can meander throughout these colorful houses, some of which house historical artifacts including armory, textile and home displays. Others have been converted to small shops that sell things like lotions and soaps made from beer or wine, books and other souvenirs. As you leave Golden Lane and the castle complex, the sweeping views overlooking the city’s red rooftops and the Vltava River make for the best group photo opportunity in the whole city.
Outside of the castle, there are other spots known for their incredible architecture and history as well. In Old Town Square, visit the famous Church of Our Lady before Tyn, a Gothic structure that sits tall over the square, to see the oldest pipe organ in the city. The spires atop the church are beautifully designed. A Baroque church also lines Old Town Square and, in my opinion, it’s even more impressive than the area’s main attraction. It’s interior features a stunning crystal chandelier, a painted dome and other ornate décor.
Exploring History In Prague
There are a few other places that make Prague perfect for group travel. One of the most exciting and unique spots is the medieval astronomical clock. First constructed in the 1400s, the clock is mounted on Old Town Hall just next to the Old Town Square. Various dials intertwine to show the month as well as the positions of the moon and sun, something that was important to those in medieval times. In the 1800s, the now-famous Walk of the Apostles was added. This mechanized procession shows the 12 apostles moving past the windows, something that draws massive crowds to the area.
The Museum of Communism is a fascinating space as well. Though it’s small, it packs a lot of history in. In addition to statues of Lenin and a replica of the Berlin Wall, the museum details the history of communism in the region, including three rooms with information on schooling, media propaganda, sports, the secret police and labor camps.
Lovers of music and art can’t leave Prague without a visit to the John Lennon Wall. The colorful words and drawings perfectly embody the spirit of The Beatles and Lennon himself, promoting peace and love in a spot that was the site of protests and movements while the communist regime was in power in the 1980s.
Your group will find something to fascinate them at every turn, whether it’s the shopping, architecture or simply the history of this gorgeous ancient city.