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Berlin & Prague with Kids

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Apr 10th, 2013, 12:23 PM
  #1
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Berlin & Prague with Kids

We ventured a little farther this Spring and spent 5 nights in Berlin and 4 in Prague. The weather was quite cool but we were prepared. We enjoyed both cities and the more recent (20th century) history elements. Berlin had more sites but Prague's character won us over. Nice trip and glad we went.

I'll (try to) come back with some pointers. For now, the photos and blog:

http://ukfrey.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04...nd-prague.html
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Apr 10th, 2013, 09:35 PM
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Wow!! Loved the trip report and pictures! I'm taking my 12 year old son this summer to Berlin and Prague as well, your report is really helpful, as I was worried he would be bored of museums and history overload during our 2 weeks.
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Apr 10th, 2013, 10:18 PM
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Continuing on with the Trip Report info for those interested. The facts . . .

Who: Family of 4 (daughter 13, son 10), American ex-pats living in Derby, UK.

When: 9 nights in early April including Easter, essentially “Spring” Break

Where: 5 nights (4 days) in Berlin; 4 nights (3 days) in Prague

Itinerary:
Day 0: Evening Flight to Berlin
Day 1: Original Berlin Walks Discover Tour
Day 2: Reichstag, Memorial to the Murdered Jews, Topography of Terror, Checkpoint Charlie area, Berlin Wall Memorial
Day 3: Sachenhausen Concentration Camp (Original Berlin Walks)
Day 4: Pergamon, Neues, German History Museum

Day 5: Train to Prague – day of rest

Day 6: Private Tour w/ PragueWalker (Katka Svobodova), Communism Museum
Day 7: Castle area + Church of St. Nicholas
Day 8: Old Town Square, Tour of Old Town Hall (Clock Tower), Mucha Museum

Day 9: shop, fly home

A little heavier on the tours than normal. We do like an overview walking tour on the first day and since we went to two cities, that’s two tours. We also decided to also visit Sachenhausen so that added a third.

Both Original Berlin Tours were good. I liked the guide on the first tour better than the second but both were fine.

We really struck gold with our private tour in Prague. PragueWalker was highly recommended and we were fortunate enough to book the owner, Katka, herself. That really added to our experience. We really enjoyed hearing her personal experiences (like switching her foreign language in school from Russian to English after the fall of communism) and describing how much things have changed since 1989. We thought the price was quite reasonable for 4 hours (2400 CZK, $120 at the time).

Lodging

We are fairly simple folks when it comes to lodging. We don’t need fancy, just clean, quiet and well located. We’ll do apartments, B&B or hotels.

For Berlin, Novotel had a clear advantage with a reasonably priced family (quad) room. It was cosy but adequate. Full service restaurant and bar for those that want it but we decided to eat breakfast elsewhere.

Novotel Berlin Mitte
Fischerinsel 12
Averaged 109€/nt w/o breakfast

One niggle was that Wi-Fi was “available” but that meant available for a fee. We managed without but I should have known better.

We found a simply fantastic place in Prague:

Charles Bridge Residence
Mostecká 12, 118 00 Praha 1
(Mala Strana, just over the bridge)

Huge family room, great location and friendly staff. This was a guest house with 7 rooms. Breakfast was included at the Bohemian Bagel across the street. Wi-Fi included (!) as was the arrival transfer.

129€ (or the CZK equivalent) / night
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Apr 11th, 2013, 12:07 PM
  #4
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Transportation:
We flew “open jaw” into Berlin and out of Prague. We took the train between the two. The train worked out really well and was very low stress. I paid around 100€ for the 4 of us for 1st class (about 20€ more expensive). We didn’t seem to get much for that, but I wanted to try it.

With 4 people it’s not much more to get a taxi than try to figure out the public transportation to/from the airport/train station. We took a taxi from Berlin Tegal and to the train station.

In Prague, the arrival transfer was included and we hired Mike’s Chauffer to take us to the airport. 550 CZK. Punctual, polite and friendly. Highly recommended.

http://mike-chauffeur.cz/

In Berlin, we utilized the public transportation quite a bit: U-Bahn, S-Bahn and buses (once). I found the U-Bahn slightly more difficult to navigate than say the Tube in London since the signs weren’t as convenient. The S-Bahn was trickier still. We eventually figured it out (at least the U-Bahn).

As with most, you need to know the last stop on your line to figure out the direction. I think the tricky thing with the S-Bahn is that the busier stops have multiple lines coming through so you need to know your multiple options.

We did go across town for dinner one night and took two buses back. We needed a short one to the Zoo and then we rode atop bus 100 through town to Alexanderplatz (and then a short U-Bahn ride to the hotel). That was fun. We could have taken a more direct route but we wanted to try the 100.

In Prague, we mainly walked as the historic center is fairly compact. We did take tram 22 up to the castle to save us a hike one day.
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Apr 14th, 2013, 09:49 AM
  #5
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well, I'll finish up here for completeness -- hope this is helpful

Restaurants

Photos and comments were included in the blog link, but I'll summarize here as well.

Food is important to us. That's one thing I've learned with our trips. We like to eat well but not break the bank nor do we want long, fancy meals. Good food, good price, good times.

Another lesson learned for us is that we don't do as well winging it. So, I did my research ahead of time and picked the places I wanted to go to. In fact, I pre-booked all but the last night in Prague before we left.

In Berlin, I even made the point of having "destination" meals. That is, ones that weren't necessarily by our hotel but easy enough to reach on public transportation.

The food (and beer) in Berlin and Prague were great. I'd give the overall nod to Berlin for what we experienced (but the best meal was in Prague). All prices shown are for our family of four with 1-2 rounds of drinks, entrees and usually a starter or two and a dessert or two.

Best meal: Pasta Fresca, Celetná 11, Prague (1727 CZK, $86)
http://pastafresca.ambi.cz/en/#index

Very Good / Outstanding:

Marjellchen, Mommsenstrasse 9, Berlin (88&euro
http://www.marjellchen-berlin.de/

Steakhouse Asador (Argenentian), Wilhelmstrasse 22, Berlin (81&euro
http://www.restaurant-asador.de/

Gugelhof (Alsatian), 37 Knaackstrasse, Berlin (78&euro
http://www.gugelhof.de/pages/pages_e/index_e.html

Good

Tri Stoleti, Misenska 4, Mala Strana, Prague (1470 CZK, $73)
http://www.tristoleti.cz/

Brauhaus Georgbraeu, Spreeufer 4, Berlin (54&euro
http://www.georgbraeu.de/default.asp....de&lang=en-GB

Lokál U Bílé kuželky, Míšeňská 12, Mala Strana, Prague (1000 CZK, $50)
http://lokal.ambi.cz/en/#restaurace

Great Beer Experience
Loved the Czech beer varieties here. You can order taster sizes as well (and I did). Food wasn't bad (wings, quesadillas, salad, etc.). Okay for families, but smokey.

Prague Beer Museum, Dlouha 46, Prague (cash only -- don't remember cost but very reasonable)
http://www.praguebeermuseum.com/en
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Apr 14th, 2013, 01:06 PM
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Great report, Indy and perfect for my upcoming trip this September.

Thanks for posting all the great details!
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Apr 14th, 2013, 04:14 PM
  #7
 
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Thanks for another wonderful report!
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Apr 14th, 2013, 09:18 PM
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Enjoyed your report, and the restaurant list. We had considered Berlin for our spring break and had a busted holiday in Croatia instead. We should have gone to Berlin!
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Apr 14th, 2013, 10:12 PM
  #9
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Thanks for the comments.

@fourfortravel -- I saw your report. So sorry that it didn't work out for you. Fortunately, we haven't had a complete bust (yet). With holiday time and resources so scarce, it really stinks to have a bust. Best of luck next time whether Berlin or elsewhere.
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Jun 23rd, 2013, 02:19 PM
  #10
ltr
 
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Bookmarking. Thanks for the great ideas.
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Jun 23rd, 2013, 07:02 PM
  #11
 
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love reading your reports! what great experiences the kids are having!
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Jun 23rd, 2013, 10:37 PM
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Loved your report. We visited both cities two years ago and your report brought back wonderful memories.
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Jun 30th, 2013, 04:38 AM
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Wow!! Great photos and fantastic ideas. Leaving for Prague in a couple weeks and will definitely including many of your suggestions. Thank you!
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Jul 8th, 2013, 02:09 PM
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hi- thanks so much, your blog is useful too! we are travelling with a 12 and 14 year old at the end of the month, and have been advised as NOT to visit concentration camp (too tough). did you run in to that advice too?

thanks
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Jul 8th, 2013, 09:04 PM
  #15
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Hi danuuta

I didn't ask for that advice. We had a chat with both, particularly the youngest, about the seriousness of what we were seeing. We also talked about it afterwards. I thought it was an important lesson but you'll have to judge for yourself if it is appropriate for your kids.

Good luck.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 05:53 AM
  #16
 
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Indy_dad:

When you took the train from Berlin to Prague:

1) what was the cost per person for 1st class

2) where did you put your luggage? I will have two large suitcases and understand that it will not fit in the overhead rack- was there a luggage storage area in the front of the train car?
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 10:02 AM
  #17
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Hi BillT

According to my records, it was 106€ for the four of us. We were in a 6-seat compartment. There was room overhead for our carryon size bags. Not sure where larger luggage would have gone -- I don't remember that. Most trains do have that option though.
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Dec 14th, 2013, 09:19 AM
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indy_dad, question: did you purchase any of the museum or combination museum/transit passes for Berlin? We will be spending six full days in Berlin after Christmas this year and I'm trying to figure out what pass might be worthwhile. Thank you.
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Dec 14th, 2013, 12:12 PM
  #19
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Hi fourfor -- we got the Welcome Card with Museum Island option (3-day). I think it saved us a little time and a little money but probably not a great deal either way. Have fun.

Glad to see you are still taking advantage of the opportunity. We actually fly back to the States (for good) tomorrow.
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Dec 15th, 2013, 06:23 AM
  #20
 
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Thanks. And, best of luck with the repatriation! That's not something we are prepared to think about just yet. We're still in the "must explore Europe" phase of our post.
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