Matejska pout, or St Mathhew's Fair, is a cultural institution here in Prague that celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. This annual spring fun fair attracts enormous crowds every single year, especially on weekends if the weather is nice. The fair has everything: plenty of rides (from modern to very old ones), food stands with cotton and hard candy, sausages and beer. We think it's a great venue when you have kids, and not only just because of St Matthew's Fair: the surroundings offer plenty of activities, too.
The fair is held each year on the old Holesovice Fair Grounds, just a short tram ride from the centre. The centre of the grounds is occupied by the old Fair Palace, one half of which burned down sadly a few years ago when someone forgot to put the kettle off during a dentistry trade show. The grounds also include an ice-hockey arena, a swimming pool and a famous fountain. The grounds are fairly empty throughout the year, only to come alive during St Matthew's Fair.
After you've enjoyed the rides, we recommend that you leave the fair and have a stroll in the adjacent Stromovka park, the biggest public park near the centre of Prague. It's one of our most favorite walks in Prague: you start from the fair grounds and walk into the park past the observatory to the "central circle" with a pond, benches and many joggers, families and lovers. We recommend you walk under the train tracks towards the river and cross it using the elevated bridge.
You enter Cisarsky ostrov, a lovely island in the river that accommodates an equestrian centre with a parkour pitch and stables. Parkour competitions sometimes take place there. From there, walk to the other side of the river using the pedestrian bridge and turn left. In about five minutes, you will enter the Troja Chateau - a big villa that dates back to the late 17th century with an impressive garden. Take a few snapshots and walk past the villa on the left. There, you have two choices: either the Prague Zoo, said to be one of the top ten zoos in the world by many, or the Botanical garden above it, which includes the Santa Clara winery: one of the best wineries in Prague that offers its visitors the chance to taste local wines.
We think this walk can create a wonderful afternoon that will bring many memories to kids and their parents alike. The whole walk should not take more than an hour, depending on your pace. If you don't feel like walking back the entire route, you can take the bus from the ZOO to the Holesovicke nadrazi subway stop and follow from there to the centre. St Matthew's Fair opened on 2 March and ends on 21 April. Enjoy!