Prague is real city of contrasts where cobbled streets and medieval squares mix with modern art. Photography, politics, architecture, communism, great public transport and lots to see and do. Throw in a strong drinking culture and you have the perfect Globe Trotsky-shaped city break.
Having launched Globe Trotsky as my travel blog persona in 2019, the truth is that it was a fairly inauspicious year to start. My first big six-month road trip to the USA had to be postponed due to the covid travel ban and a city to break to Dresden was as far as me and my partner Dorothy got.
Even then, video blogging was a whole new game and much of the Dresden trip was spent trying to familiarise myself with a new camera and audio and the whole ‘vlogging’ process to say nothing of post-production learning.
Fast forward two years and we decided on a quick, five-day break in Prague. A city neither of us had visited. And, since I traded up to a new camera (EOS R5) along with a set of mirrorless lenses, it was back to the manual again for this visit.
Covid trip shivers
This was our first trip abroad since the Covid lockdowns of 2020. And problems with the NHS app meant that I nearly didn’t get to board the plane. I submitted the Covid pass application without my photograph.
Only the night before traveling with a desperate plea through the technical helpline was the issue resolved. Less than 12 hours before our flight my inbox pinged with the all-important paperwork and QR code.
Ryanair did confirm at the gate I would not have been able to travel without this.
As I read on my return, this was no idle threat.
Similarly, the trip was booked-ended with frantic attempts to get back into the UK by filling out forms on our mobile in the departure lounge as the plane was boarding.
And while in Prague you needed vaccine paperwork to enter any pub or restaurant. Following a spike in cases, this aspect was rigorously enforced.
Despite that worry we had a superb trip. I decided against making a dedicated itinerary. Dot needed a break and we didn’t want to feel obliged to complete a tick-list of local attractions. So, it was a case of see how we feel and what the November weather is like then decide what we get round to doing.
We stayed in the Archibald City around 10-minute tram to the main attractions. I actually found the hotel on Airbnb, so a good tip is to try that in conjunction with any hotel booking sites.
Along with the flights on Ryanair for both of us, the five-day break came in a around £400. We paid a bit extra for a Sunday night flight back otherwise the early Sunday return would have clouded our Saturday (drinking night).
We had set up an alert on Google Flights to keep an eye on price fluctuations, avoiding the school holidays. Around 5-7 weeks before is a good time to book.
Researching prior to our trip I often find anorak, trainspotter-type websites contain many of the best advice tips and cost-saving hacks. We both purchased three-day travel passes and my girlfriend got an extra discount as she’s over 60. My turn from next year!
Our hotel, the Archibald City, was a short walk from National Museum metro station and close to all the main attractions and centre of town; a 20-minute walk or a short ride of the plentiful trams to all parts of the city.
The hotel also has rooftop area open to residents with wonderful views over the city.
Globe Trotsky Top Travel Tip
When you are planning your trip remember to check out sites like Eventbrite, Airbnb and TripAdvisor which offer activities, calendar events and specialised tours that may interest you on a city break – from beer festivals and pop concerts to sporting fixtures. Here’s some examples for Prague:
Politics and History
Mixing high culture with cheap beer
Prague is a wonderful city of contrasts. Cobbled streets and medieval squares mix with modern art. It is a real delight just to walk the streets and marvel at the architecture. You can marry cheap food and beer with high culture and amazing history. Check out my YouTube channel to see more of the architecture.
Remember the best value pubs and restaurants are generally at basement level, below street level.
It so easy to get around with plentiful trams and a compact, well connected city. What I love about visiting former Communist countries is that the travel is generally efficient and cheap for the city tourist.
Dot and I are not huge foodies. Food is functional in between sightseeing, photography and beer. But we did try some traditional Czech restaurants and dishes aside from fast food and were not disappointed.
Two of the restaurants we tried close to our hotel. U Pravdu (see gallery above) and U Sedleru, a traditional bar restaurant at basement level. Both were close to the hotel and reasonable in price and service.
As the inventors of Pilsner lager, there are plenty of bars in Prague as you would expect. The main thing to remember is that the downstairs bars – in the basement floor – tend to be the cheapest with the best service.
We did end up in an Irish bar called, Rocky O’Reillys. Now I know that isn’t particularly ‘on brand’ for Globe Trotsky – a bit cheesy. But it was handy for the hotel, had a flexible closing time and mainly because I was keen to see Celtic in the Europa League.
At a time when English club sides take precedence for live screenings, the friendly Irish barman “Podge” assured me he would put Celtic on one of their many screens. I was treated to a rare away victory. Plus, Dorothy took to their delicious Irish Coffees. I’m not a whisky drinker but it went down a treat.
Haifa from Israel were in town for their game against Slavia Prague and a sizeable good-natured group who made the trip found their way to Rocky’s. Not sure of it exists for other clubs but there is a wonderful Celtic pub fan site called Celtic Bars. I’ve relied on it in many foreign trips to catch a match. Plus the Scots and Irish tend to have a warm welcome.
While late night beer and short winter days are not the best combination, we did manage to get around the city, even managing a boat trip and meal which Dot treated me too. As a reward I let her carry my expensive tripod around the city.
Prague: photograher’s paradise
Prague is a real magnet for tourism. And you can see why from the mix of medieval and modern architecture. With both styles cheek by jowl with each other it’s a strange but rewarding experience.
Most people head for Charles Bridge and the iconic castle on the hill. But even the back streets are filled with hidden gems.
The Phoide website is a must for any photographer visiting an unknown city where time and light are short.
If you want to be at the precise location for that golden hour moment, this free site includes advice on the best spots with links to maps and transport.
I used this to visit Chesy Most. This is where you get that iconic image of Prague’s many bridges over the Vltava River. Other photographers offer advice on location, lenses and even technical advice on shooting to achieve certain shots.
This is where I took the timelapse image of on the YouTube video just as the daylight was fading. The spot used to feature a huge bust of Stalin. But that has since been replaced by an enormous metronome to mark the changing of time and the end of the communist era. The statue was the largest representation of the Soviet leader in the world. Read more via this link.
I’m still getting to grips with my new Canon R5 body. So, for video I’m still learning the ropes. (Not to mention vlogging and storytelling and the fact that it was a holiday break for Dorothy from work).
Still, with such fantastic beauty and wonderful architecture it was difficult not to come away with lots of photographic and video memories.
I had started a planned itinerary but that evaporated in a busy run up to the trip. So there lots of places that went unseen and will require another visit. Not least of all to document some of the cities communist era places and events which fascinate me.
Enjoy a few images of our time in Prague and please feel free to leave a comment or tell me what Globe Trotsky tips you would use in your travel planning.
Globe Trotsky’s Sightseeing Takeaways
Join the Travel & Tshirt Tribe Conversation
What’s your ideal activity on a city break? How do you plan your trip. Will you be using any of Globe Trotsky’s tips and takewaway? Please feel free to comment or just join in the frivolity at the Meme-ing of Life page.