Europe Trip Itineraries
Top Prague Spots for Sports Fans
The Czech Republic is a country of sports fans whose chosen poisons are hockey and football. If you want to experience a little Czech sport culture, or if you’ve been traveling for too long and are in need of a little fix, Prague is a great place to be. Take in a live hockey game at the O2 Hockey Arena or a football game at Slavia Stadium Eden or Football Stadium Viktoria Zizkov. If there’s nothing good going on within the city limits, head to a sports bar or beer garden to feel the excitement of competition over a pint with some fellow sports fan. read more about Top Prague Spots for Sports Fans... Read More
The Best Free Sites in Prague
Because much of Prague’s splendor lies in the streets and facades, some of its most important sites are free. You can experience Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, and Wenceslas Square, with their bustling market stalls, talented street performers, and tales of intrigue, without spending a dime. Add to that Prague’s gorgeous views, ideal from lush parks, and a splash of anti-communist peace graffiti, and you’ve got a beautiful and satisfying travel experience—for free. read more about The Best Free Sites in Prague... Read More
The Romantic Side of Prague
Prague possesses a definite magical quality. Black lanterns drip dim spotlights onto the cobbled streets, which weave their way through ornate facades and castle walls. Shadowed gargoyles peer down from the rooftops; they appear to be standing guard. Maybe they are the ones who have protected the city from becoming another faded European capital, who have preserved its enchantment. Whoever did the protecting, one thing is for sure: the second you arrive you know you’re somewhere special. What a perfect setting for a love affair! Maybe you’re traveling with your spouse of fifteen years. Maybe you’re planning your first trip with a prospective “the One.” Or maybe you’re backpacking through Europe and have just met the love of your life. Whatever the case, if you’re looking for a little bit of romance, you’ve come to the right place. read more about The Romantic Side of Prague... Read More
Back in the USSR
Unbelievable as it seems now, it is not so long ago that Moscow’s streets were awash in sickles and hammers, not McDonalds and Gucci. Those nostalgic for the days of the Evil Empire, here’s a tour for you. This one-day itinerary takes you back to the Soviet Union, with its cosmonauts, secret police, imposing architecture and one particularly cranky dictator. Bonus: Even communists get hungry, so there’s a special food inclusion. Happy travels, comrade! read more about Back in the USSR... Read More
Romantic St. Petersburg
Destination(s): St. Petersburg
Although St. Petersburg has its highlights in all four seasons, spring is the best time to visit in order to enjoy this city that was made for walking, biking, and boating to explore its streets, parks, and canals. read more about Romantic St. Petersburg... Read More
Most likely, you’ll be spending a few days in Prague; soaking up the culture, tasting the food and experiencing the nightlife. But for a brief artsy rush; consider this itinerary which brings you sample highlights of some of the glorious art and architecture the city has to offer.
Start your day gazing at the stunning Obecní dĹŻm on námÄ›stí Republiky, probably the best Art Nouveau building in town. Walk down Celetná Street towards Old Town Square. Be sure to notice the gorgeous Cubist building on your left, the House of the Black Madonna. There’s a Cubist museum and great café housed here. Once you get to Old Town Square; the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque surround you. Most of the buildings were originally built in the Gothic style, but subsequent remodelings in later years led to today’s current hodge-podge. Watch the astronomical clock do its thing at the top of the hour and continue on to cross Charles Bridge; a lovely homage to the Gothic period.
Once across the bridge you will zoom forward centuries by jumping on tram number 12 at Malostranské námÄ›stí and heading for DOX Centre for Contemporary Art. Housed in the emerging Holešovice neighborhood, the museum’s building (a complex of former industrial structures) is as interesting as the exhibitions inside. Displays are always timely and in touch with what’s happening in the outside world; a kind of bridge between art and society.
For contemporary art in a completely different setting, head back into town to the neo-Renaissance behemoth on the river; the Rudolfinum. Split equally between a contemporary art gallery and a concert hall; the building’s stature is impressive while the interiors are a glowing memorial to marble. The gallery’s semi-restrictive space limits their exhibits to pieces that can usually hang on the walls. The Czech Philharmonic regularly plays in the concert hall; so at the end of the day, give your eyes a rest and treat your auditory senses to a world class classical performance. read more about Visual Prague... Read More
This guide’s title refers to an underground culture that developed in Prague in the late sixties and seventies during Czechoslovak normalization. Non-conformity and anti-consumerism characterized the movement, so, as expected, it made communist leaders nervous and was therefore labeled “dangerous.” The underground’s subversive ideas of freedom from cultural and political controls most commonly came forward in the arts. Perhaps the most important players in this dangerous game were The Plastic People of the Universe. These avant-garde musicians, heavily influenced by the Velvet Underground and Frank Zappa, didn’t allow themselves to be intimidated by the Communist regime, even when they, along with many of their fans were put on trial for “organized disturbance of the peace” and had to face jail-time. Although the band isn’t exactly as it was then, you can still catch the occasional “Plastics” performance in the Czech Republic. If you can swing it, don’t miss the chance to see this game-changing band live. In addition to music, literature secretly published and distributed despite government bans, called “samizdat,” was a hugely effective way to get the message of the Prague underground out in the open. This guide honors the defiant Prague underground in two ways. By day, it’ll take you to sites of some important examples of cultural subversion connected with the movement’s beliefs. By night, it’ll lead you into some of the most unruly bars and clubs Prague has to offer. The places you’ll visit on this trip all reveal some facet of the philosophies put forth by the Prague underground. They aren’t about judgments or greed, but about breaking down barriers. These are places where you can try new things without feeling out of place and have experiences unlike any you can get away with in the States. read more about Prague Underground... Read More
Prague Without Plastic Wrap
It’s the general consensus among travelers that Prague’s center is more than just beautiful; it’s enchanting. Stories of intrigue surround Old Town Square. A painful history lives in the Jewish Quarter. The castle complex is almost overwhelmingly prodigious. In a city whose economy is hugely dependent upon tourism, though, the most-visited tourist areas obviously receive the most money and care. Locals don’t generally make their homes in these areas so, while they keep their beauty and history, they lose some authenticity. Prague is no exception. If you want to gain any understanding of Czech people, how they live, how they’ve been affected by that long, hectic history you learned about on your “Old Town Walking Tour,” you need to leave the plastic-wrapped city center, which has come to resemble a Disney World recreation more so than an actual city, and visit the living, breathing Prague that exists now. On your journey outside the box, you’ll still find stunning architecture, centuries-old sites, and twisted cobblestone streets but you’ll also find things that the sanitized center is missing: actual locals, Boho ex-pats, hard-working immigrants, scrumptious yet affordable meals, astoundingly cheap (and fresh!) beer, skillful graffiti, communist architecture, and bars bars bars. read more about Prague Without Plastic Wrap... Read More
Weekend in Moscow
Living in Moscow for three years, I was lucky to have a good number of friends visit. So many, in fact, that I devised a set program to deal with their tourist needs. This weekend guide balances Moscow's must-see tourist stuff and quirkier attractions to make the most of your Moscow trip. read more about Weekend in Moscow... Read More