Here you will find city and country guides to European destinations, travels tips for traveling Europe and practical information about Europe as a whole as well as individual countries.
Our aim is to share fun, engaging articles based on our own experiences to inspire people to explore all corners of Europe!
As We Travel is based in Europe and the authors are experienced European travelers who have traveled to over 35 European countries.
Whether you’re looking to go sight seeing or looking to do specific activities such as going on a yoga retreat in Europe, here, you’ll find helpful information on things that you need to prepare before your trip to Europe.
It also gives a list of things that you should and should not do while traveling.
Europe Travel Experts
With its rich heritage, beautiful scenery, and iconic infrastructures, Europe has been a favorite summer destination spot for tourists.
Before embarking on a European tour, you need to research well on the places that you want to visit.
For starters, you can read through this short intro to traveling in Europe.
You can even take a day trip to Camargue, where you can relish the beauty of Western Europe’s largest river basin in person!
Home to flamingos, wild bulls, and indigenous white horses!
Once you see the splendor in Provence, going home on the eighth day will seem so tragic!
Upgrade your holiday at anytime for extended stays in Provence. Also available are upgrades to hotels and train seats.
Seasonal travel and personal requests will impact prices.
Hotel de l’Horloge in Avignon and the Grand Hotel Roi-René are both four star hotels!
Travel Documentation includes tickets for the railways, hotel vouchers, restaurant recommendations, and other necessary documents.
You can extend your holiday to include a seven day trip through the French Riviera: Nice and Cannes!
Black Forest to Saxony: A Continental Railway Journey
Travel to the birthplace of so many famous fairytales as you make your way to the unimaginably inspiring Black Forest!
Here you’ll find yourself immersed in a rich culture of stories, history, and Cuckoos, all while taking in the beautiful sights Germany has to offer!
From London into Brussels, then from Brussels into the stunning Freiburg, you’ll start your epic holiday in a sunny, medieval Old Town!
The Gothic architecture will then transition to the heavily wooded slopes of the Black Forest.
Make sure to really take in the local histories, stories, and amazing craftsmanship and artistry of this strikingly exquisite region!
Days four and five you will find yourself in the city of Heidelberg on the Neckar River.
The Heidelberg Castle on top of Mt Königstuhl will give you all of the fairytale feelings and you can learn some incredible and interesting things!
Wrap yourself up in the fairytale experience as you tour through some of the most impressive scenic areas in all of Germany!
On day six you will go from the remarkable fairytale landscape of Southern Germany into the busy city of Frankfurt.
You can get out and see the beautiful city on your own, or sign up for guided tours.
Then for two days you’ll make your way to the city of Göttingen!
Leaving Göttingen, you will find yourself watching the handsome landscape of the Rhine whirl past as you make your way back to London!
What an amazing holiday spent absorbing the fantastic and alluring beauty of the Black Forest!
Extend your holiday to include a train journey all the way across Germany to Berlin!
Upgrades are available to hotel, train seats, and any other addition like an extension in each city.
Documentation includes city maps, hotel vouchers, comprehensive directions, rail tickets, and other necessary documents
Reach out for local tours of the Black Forest area and in the major city stops.
If fairy tales and mountains and sprawling hillsides aren’t your cup of tea, then maybe you’ll enjoy some of the world’s most spectacular beaches!
Traveling down the sunny coastline of Croatia along the Adriatic Sea will let you take in the sun-filled sights of the Mediterranean!
Day one will find you traveling from London to Turin!
Travel across France and then the Italian border into Turin.
Then day two you will travel all the way from Turin’s Porta Nuova station to Ljubljana through Venice (where you’ll get to stop for lunch)!
You’ll almost feel overwhelmed with the opulence and beauty of these train rides!
Once you find your way to Zagreb, you’ll finally set your sights on the richness and luxuriousness of the Croatian coast!
In Zagreb you can take in a few hours of cultures and traditions, before you make your way to the Dalmatia region and the city of Split.
Here you will bask in the sun and sea breezes!
After a few days in Split, with its medieval influences and Roman era passages, you can travel to the island of Hvar!
You can even include a full boating day on the Adriatic into your travels, or an extension down the coast to Dubrovnik!
Enjoy the sunshine and welcoming culture of Hvar Island for a few days!
You can see the beaches, soak up the sun, go hiking on the hills of the coastline, enjoy watersports, and even hire a car to take you on a private tour of the island!
Your eleven-day train journey will end with a trip from Hvar Island back to Zagreb, then onto Munich via the Alps, and finally home to London!
Stay in four-star hotels in Turin, Ljubljana, Split, Hvar Island, Zagreb, AND Munich!
Upgrade your holiday at any time to include five-star hotels, first-class train tickets, extra nights in each city, or a few nights more in Dubrovnik.
Prices will include accommodations, but are also based on seasonal travel and your own personal requests.
Europe’s Beaches and Forests and Mountains and Hillsides
European landscapes are so diverse and so inspiring!
Whether you’re traveling down the coastline of the sunny Adriatic Sea in Croatia, or your shaded by the snow covered Alps in Switzerland, there is a holiday that will take you away to some of the world’s most beautiful scenic views!
What better way to really enjoy the splendor around you than from the comfort of a train holiday!
From the United States, it’s common to reach Lanzarote via England. Both London Luton Airport (LTN) and the Manchester Airport (MAN) have flights into Lanzarote. If you are visiting Spain, you can take a flight — about two and a half hours — from Madrid.
It’s approximately 5 km to the southwest of the port town of Arrecife, the capital. Some hotels offer private airport transfers.
Check to see if your hotel offers this service.
If it doesn’t you can pre-book your shuttle bus or taxi and save yourself time with a company such as HolidayTaxis.
Another way to get to Lanzarote is on a cruise ship. Some European cruises make a stop in Lanzarote and the Canary Islands.
Some of the most intriguing aspects of Lanzarote are its geography and topography.
The island is a UNESCO biosphere reserve with an extraordinary landscape that has a otherworldly appearance thanks to more than 300 volcanic cones.
These are punctuated by furrowed black lava fields, that are somewhat surreal, and pastoral valleys filled with palms.
Its nickname is the “Volcanic Island” and “Island of the 1,000 Volcanoes.”
Thanks to a government-led island-wide initiative, there are lots of marked trails to walk to see the best of the geographical sights, including Timanfaya National Park and the lava caves of Cueva de los Verdes.
The beaches of Lanzarote are another interesting feature of the island’s landscape.
Among them are black volcanic sand beaches as well as swathes of golden sand.
There are also miles of rocky shore, so it’s important to consider what you want to do.
There’s a beach for every type of holidaymaker.
A sheltered and beautiful place, often called the most beautiful beach in Lanzarote, Papagayo is a crescent of fine, white sand sheltered by cliffs in a nature reserve. It’s ideal for a day of sunbathing.
Lovers of water sports will enjoy Famura. Backed by pink cliffs, it is popular with surfers, wind surfers, kite boarders, and hang gliders.
If you have young children in your holiday party, Playa Quemada, with its safe swimming, won’t disappoint.
It’s sheltered from the wind and abuts a quaint fishing village.
The resorts on the island are all built around beaches, including some Blue Flag beaches like Playa Blanca.
There are places to snorkel and dive as well as enjoy banana boat rides, jet skis, sailing, and pedalos.
Blue Flag beaches are certified by the Foundation for Environmental Education.
Others in Lanzarote include Matagorda, Del Reducto and Los Pocillos.
Things to see and do on Lanzarote
Cesar Manrique House Museum & Volcano House
Cesar Manrique was an architect and artist who left an amazing impact on the island.
Essentially, he shaped modern day Lanzarote, managing to achieve a pleasing balance between ecology and development.
Today his former studio is a museum dedicated to his life and works.
Jardin de Cactus
Especially beautiful in August and September when many plants are in bloom, the Cactus Garden in Guatiza is home to 1,000 cacti.
One of the attractions created by Manrique, the cacti from all over the world are planted in grey volcanic ash in an amphitheatre-shaped quarry, overlooked by a restored windmill.
Rancho Texas Animal Park has bird and sea lion shows, a dolphinarium, cowboy lasso displays, a Gold Mine, pony rides, canoe rides, a splash zone with pools for everyone in the family, and themed Western nights.
Bodegas El Grifo
The volcanic land is excellent for growing grapes.
Bodegas El Grifo has been producing wine since 1775 and offers winery tours and tastings. It’s the oldest winery in the area.
Make time to stop at the Wine Bar.
The staff is multi-lingual, speaking Spanish, German, English, French, and Italian.
The Museo del Vino — wine museum — is also something to explore.
A small city, but there’s plenty to see and do for a day or more in Arrecife.
It’s quite charming to take a stroll along the front at El Charco de San Gines.
It’s known as the ‘Venice of the Atlantic’ – an old part of Arrecife Marina, a lagoon lined by fishermen’s cottages, bars and restaurants.
There’s the Castillo de San Jose which used to guard the harbour from pirates and now houses the island’s Museum of Contemporary Art.
The Old Town is typically Spanish, especially the 7th-century San Ginés Church, which has a bell tower and a Mudéjar-style ceiling.
Islands make for easy, relaxing vacations. With its unique position, you will find much to do on Lanzarote.
The geological features will astound you as you soak up the sunny days and amazing views.
Planning to go on holiday is a great way to rejuvenate yourself.
What’s more, travelling at cost effective rates adds to the excitement of the trip.
Europe has many must-see destinations that are full of history and culture.
Best Way To See Europe
These places are easily reachable by buses or trains.
Now is the best time to start planning that adventurous trip to your favorite European countries. England Travel Guide
See Europe By Bus
If you wish to make the most of your journey and see the sights on the way, there are many tour buses that are air conditioned and fully equipped with washrooms.
Catching a bus to see a European city such as London or Rome saves the hassle of getting around by taxis and you will save money too, plus you can really enjoy the scenery while making the most of your time.
Most buses accommodate up to 44 people, and the front row seats have extra leg room.
See Europe By Train
If you are not too keen on standing in long queues to buy your bus ticket, there are many tour operators that offer river cruises and rail packages through Europe.
Backpacking is one of the most exciting ways to explore Europe.
It’s fun, it’s cheaper and it allows you to discover Europe from a whole different perspective.
Great backpacks for Europe
But needless to say it is a very different way of traveling from the traditional vacation.
Backpacking Europe Budget Tips
It needs a bit more planning, and there are a few good tools that are good to know about before you head out on your trip.
We will go through each of these topics more thoroughly, but here is a quick check list of things to know about when backpacking Europe.
Backpacking Europe Budget Tips
Europe is quite an expensive place to travel in, and while backpacking Europe is by far the cheapest option to explore the continent, it can still turn out pretty expensive.
Food, accommodation and transport are the big money suckers, but there are ways to get it all on a budget. Tips on Winter Scandinavia Travel
Backpacking Europe Accommodation
If you are a solo traveler, hostels are the cheapest option when backpacking in Europe.
As a rule, the more beds in a dorm room, the cheaper.
When you look for a cheap hostel, also check what is included in the price.
Sometimes a hostel might look the cheapest, but they might charge for things that other hostels offer for free, like bed linen, washing machine, towel and breakfast.
If you are a family, you might want to look into renting an apartment.
Then you pay for the whole apartment, not per bed, and if the place can fill a family of four it might actually be cheaper than a hostel.
If you want completely free accommodation, the budget of budgets, then couch surfing is the way to go.
Just remember that they expect you to hang out with them and be social, people don’t give a place out without expecting something in return.
And there is always camping.
Backpacking Europe Food
The cost of food is something you simply can’t get away from when backpacking Europe, but by cooking your own food you can get away with 1/3 of the costs from eating at cheap fast food joints.
Again, hostels usually have kitchens, and so do apartments, which will save you a lot of money.
However, when you’re out and about you don’t really want to go back to the hostel for dinner and then head out again, and since you’re on a trip after all you might want to splurge a little and try the local food.
Fast food places are obviously the cheapest places to get food, but that does not mean they don’t have local food.
In Europe, every country has their own “cheap food” which is still traditional and typical for their country.
So just because you want to eat cheap, it doesn’t mean you can’t eat local food.
The number one rule is to stay out of the touristy streets when looking for a place to eat.
The further away from the main tourist route, the cheaper it usually is.
How To Travel Around Europe
When backpacking Europe the most popular choice of transport is to go by train.
Backpacking Europe Train
Eurail offers passes in different varieties that will provide free train rides or hefty discounts on train journeys all over Europe.
But before you get your pass, do some research to see if it is worth it for you.
The passes are not extremely cheap, but if you will be traveling a lot, it might save you a lot of money.
It also depends on where you go.
If you plan on traveling through northern Europe (except Sweden) it is definitely worth it.
Southern Europe is more doubtful as almost all trains need a booking fee.
Backpacking Europe Bus
Eurolines is another option which offers similar passes to EuRail but with bus.
It is definitely something to look into since it’s a cheap option and it sometimes makes it possible to travel to places trains can’t.
Backpacking Europe Fly
If you want to fly there are several budget airlines that fly all across Europe.
Ryanair and Wizzair are two great ones, the latter one connecting eastern Europe to each other as well as to the west.
What To Pack Backpacking Europe
If you plan on doing a lot of flying while backpacking Europe, you will save quite a bit of money but bringing carry-on luggage, as many of the budget airlines charge extra fees for checking in your luggage, and in eastern Europe some bus operators also charge extra for larger bags.
Check out our travel packing list for some tips and advice what to bring when you travel with carry-on luggage.
Summer holidays don’t always have to be about lounging on a beach and working on your tan.
There are plenty of options for action-packed city breaks in Europe, where you’ll still be able to enjoy warm weather.
European Destinations For A Summer Break
Here are my three suggestions for getaways on the continent that offer a little more than just sun, sea and sand:
Best Places in Europe in the Summer
Not all European cities are ideal destinations in the summer, some are overcrowded, thick with smog and geared towards over charging tourists for everything.
However there are a few European cities which make ideal summer destinations.
Riga has it all, huge beautiful parks, a perfectly preserved Old Town, the sea, canals, large shopping centers and beer gardens. But perhaps the best thing about Riga is that it has not yet been overrun with tourists.
The prices are reasonable and you have a great combination of modern amenities, a complex history, historic buildings and Riga has a dynamic nightlife. A great summer destination whatever your travel style.
Although summer is the high season for traveling Europe, you can still find good Europe travel deals to Riga and its neighboring countries, as they’re cheaper than the most popular cities.
Enjoy the thermal baths and pools as well as the Danube River which cuts through the city offering boat excursions.
The Palatinus Beach on Margaret Island has 11 pools including a wave pool and thermal pools and the Alfred Hajos Swimming Center and Gellert Gyogyfurdo are just two of the many swimming opportunities in the city.
The city has all the history and beautiful buildings as London and Paris but without the crowds.
It is a great city to cycle in and the many outdoor cafes and mix of East and West make it fascinating to Western travelers.
Biarritz is one of the most beautiful coastal cities in France, and its great mixture of people gives the city a relaxed, fun atmosphere.
Glamorous party groups and girls in stilettos rub shoulders with hardcore surfers in flip flops, and everyone enjoys the beaches, the nightlife and the food and wine Biarritz is so famous for.
After all, who says surfers can’t be fussy with their wine, or that glitzy girls can’t enjoy some good waves?
During summer, Biarritz becomes an international city with people arriving from all over the world.
Traveling to France from Canada is easier than ever before, so many of the French speaking people you hear on the streets may just be Quebecans!
The city of the Sound of Music offers an exquisite castle, large open squares with market stalls, street musicians, delicious food and interesting stores.
The city has some quality museums and beautiful churches.
You can visit Mozart’s house, enjoy the many outdoor cafes and the city is conveniently located so that you can make day excursions to places like Munich, Germany and Neuschwanstein Castle.
If you’re getting too hot then take to the nearby mountains…”the hills are alive with the sound of music.”
Fun Ways to Get Around European Cities
Fun Ways to Get Around European Cities – There are many ways to travel around European cities that can add to your overall travel experience.
Finding an optimal travel method is very much dependent on the city that you are visiting.
London, for example, has a subway system known as the “London Underground” that is both convenient and historic as it was the first subway system introduced.
Venice offers travel by both water taxi and gondola which adds a unique charm to the city.
Be sure to research any unique offerings in each European city that you visit to explore the charms of that city.
Walking to explore European cities
Walking is a great way to explore many European cities.
As many European cities were built prior to the introduction of automobiles, there are many town squares and passages that are not accessible to cars.
Walking through these towns allows you the opportunity to explore the nooks and crannies of many of these town centers stopping at cafes, artisan shops, and courtyards on your way.
Cycling around Europe
Walking around is not always practical given the distance between locations you are attempting to visit.
Cycling seems to be the best way to explore many new cities whether you’re a local or a visitor.
A bike gives people the freedom and flexibility to chart their own paths through the city along with other cyclists and experience the ‘real’ city.
Unsurprisingly, seeing tourist on bikes is nothing new anymore. Government sponsored bike schemes make their bikes available to both locals and visitors guaranteeing a cheap trip through the city.
Momondo collected all the important information, starting from how to sign up for the schemes to recommended bike routes, and incorporated it in this handy visual guide on public bike schemes in European cities.
Hiring a Europe Cycling Guide
It is sometimes difficult to find your way when travelling to a new city with signs posted in a language you may not be familiar with.
Having a local tour guide bring you to a variety of different sites and explain to you the history of the area can provide you with insight regarding the city you are visiting.
Once you sign up with a tour guide they often provide their own transportation, whether bus or other means to help you during your travels.
St Moritz is famous for being one of the first luxury ski resorts in the world, and is still today the place for the rich and famous to be seen.
Located in a fairy tale landscape with mountain peaks and green valleys, people come here to enjoy the best that Switzerland has to offer: beautiful nature, fresh air, five star restaurants and hotels, and a range of outdoor activities.
St Moritz boasts everything from 350 km of piste skiing in winter and watching the horse races on the frozen lake, to incredible mountain biking and hiking experiences during summer.
There is a bubbly “champagne” vibe in St Moritz, and while the surrounding nature implies that you’ve escaped into the middle of nowhere, the glamorous boutiques are never far away.
If hiking and sport activities don’t appeal to you, Saint-Tropez might have exactly what you want.
Perhaps the most famous of the glamorous resorts along the French Riviera, Saint-Tropez has more than just impressive yachts and “celebrity-spotting” to offer.
In spring, autumn and mild winter, the streets of this picturesque town are no longer as crowded, giving you the opportunity to really enjoy the town, and realize why so many artists were lured to this place over the centuries.
Walking along the waterfront, enjoying the beaches, art galleries and quayside cafes are great ways to make the most out of this glamorous resort.
Being the smallest independent state in the world, Monaco sure makes a lot of noise.
It has become a luxury resort for tourists, and many of the richest people in Europe make it their home, as it is known to be one of the best “tax havens” in the world.
Many of these rich people set up luxury resorts and hotels, so if you want to your hotel to be an experience rather than a place to crash, you’ll be sure to find lots to choose from in Monaco.
But while the hotels and restaurants will suck the money from your wallet at an accelerating speed, there are plenty of free things to do in Monaco as well, such as visiting Monaco-Ville.
It is very picturesque medieval village made up of pedestrian streets and old beautiful buildings.
There are also free galleries and museums, like the Marlborough Fine Arts Gallery.
Mountain biking is a big sport in Europe, and there are plenty of trails and routes to choose from, so going mountain biking on your holiday is a great way to see the country.
You get the best of both worlds: spending a lot of time in the most beautiful surroundings, while getting your adrenaline kick at the same time!
It’s really difficult to say which mountain bike routes are the best in Europe, but below we have listed some truly great ones to give you some ideas and inspiration for your next trip to explore Europe.
Great Mountain Bike Locations In Europe
Lake Garda – Italy
Possibly one of the most beautiful locations for mountain biking in Europe, Lake Garda makes for an unforgettable mountain bike experience.
With over 1000 kilometers of way marked trails for all abilities from beginners to pros, it lives up to its reputation for having some of the best mountain biking in Europe.
There are routes for all likes; some go past small villages, rural fields and olive groves to ruins, forests, cliffs and waterfalls.
Calderdale, Yorkshire – UK
UK has a lot of really good mountain biking, but Calderdale has to be among the best routes in the country.
It’s the best technical riding area in England with plenty of routes, including the ”Mary Towneley Loop” which is 47 miles long with some serious challenge in beautiful nature.
People spend years exploring the relatively small area finding new bits and places, but spending a week in one of the cottages in Yorkshire is often enough. Yorkshire-cottages.info
When you’re in the area or are staying in the holiday cottages Yorkshire dales, I should also mention that it’s worth checking out the Yorkshire dales national park, where it’s also possible to mountain bike or cycle.
Karavanke Alps – Slovenia
What puts Slovenia on our list is not only that it offers some incredible mountain biking, but that the place is rather ”undiscovered” and therefor it almost never gets crowded on the trails and you often have the whole place to yourself.
The trails here were cut by mules, huntsmen and miners over a long time, but have only recently been discovered by mountain bikers.
Morzine – France
The small French town Morzine sees itself as the heart of Alpine mountain biking, and with over 23 lifts and hundreds of kilometers of trails for both free ride and cross country bikers, this is a place that has it all.
While many people go to Morzine for their winter holidays, this place is just as good during the summer months for a bit of mountain biking and adventure sport.
Beautiful Sites in Europe
Europe is one of the most breath taking places to visit due to its natural beauty and vast range of luxury holiday destinations.
There are so many amazing countries to visit each filled with beautiful sites and their unique cultural identity.
When you visit Europe, there are some places that you cannot miss out on, and most are available to see on an escorted tour for added value.
The following list represents the best of the best when you are planning your trip across Europe.
Paris Beautiful Sites in Europe
Paris is classic European elegance at its finest, you can wander the cobblestone streets near the Seine or admire works of art in small Parisian galleries.
One thing that you cannot miss is the Eiffel Tower standing in all of its beauty above the French capital.
You can climb the tower to see the breath taking skyline of Paris or admire it from afar in all its glory.
Perhaps the best time to see it is at night when hundreds of lights twinkle against the night skyline illuminating the Eiffel Tower for all to see.
Paris is incredible itself, but no trip can be complete without gazing on this beautiful site.
Rome Beautiful Sites in Europe
Rome is the seat of ancient civilization.
You will see some of the most incredible ruins of the Western world in Rome.
From the Colosseum to the Baths of Caracalla, you need to visit Rome with plenty of energy to see everything!
There are monuments, arches, columns and ancient roads galore to explore and visit in Rome.
There is so much to see that you will need several days to space everything out.
If your idea of the incredible is seeing remnants of ancient architecture, then Rome is for you!
As you can see, Europe is full of amazing places both modern and ancient that need to be discovered.
In recent years, guided city tours have become more and more popular throughout Europe – tours like the ”Hop-On-Hop-Off” buses are now in pretty much every capital city across west and central Europe.
I think the reason why this sightseeing bus has become so popular is because they don’t just drive around the city talking about all the monuments and places they drive past, but they actually let you get off and explore the place, and then jump on the next bus an hour or so later.
People don’t want to see the city from the window anymore, they want to reach all the places of interest and be able to choose where to get off.
Another reason is of course that many of the city buses give you a pretty good deal, especially with discount coupons.
Other types of tours like walking city tours and free city tours are increasing even more in popularity.
Berlin Free Walking Tour
Walking is most often one of the best ways to explore a city and see more of it, but often visiting all these different monuments is boring if you have no idea what you’re looking at, which is why guided tours are so popular.
These days it is even easier for people to do it, because it doesn’t have to cost a fortune anymore – in fact, it’s free.
Berlin’s free guided vacation tours are one of the best and most praised in Europe, I don’t know anyone who has not been pleased with the tours.
The tour guides are young students who have a passion for the city, its history and people, and who know how to tell a story and be entertaining.
The good thing about these free city tours is that anyone can afford it.
The students are paid by tip, and you pay what you think the tour was worth and by how much you can afford – don’t worry, the guide usually doesn’t even look at how much you give, so don’t feel pressured or bad if you can’t afford paying much.
Stockholm Boat Tour
Stockholm is surrounded by water everywhere, which isn’t very surprising since the city is made up of several islands.
The best way to see this beautiful city and its surroundings is by a boat tour.
The boat tours take you around to different places, from the island where the Old Town is based to the island where the famous Vasa ship can be found, and do make a stop over at Skansen which is on the same island, the first open air museum in Scandinavia which gives the visitor a great insight into Swedish culture and history.
Some city boat tours even take you all the way out to the islands where the locals have their summer houses and where you can go swimming.
With some of the boat tour tickets you also get free entrance to the amusement park Gröna Lund.
Amsterdam Bike Tour
One of the best ways of exploring Amsterdam is by bike, but while the city is easy to get around in on a bicycle, it’s sometimes difficult to find your way on the map among all the canals and bridges.
Take a bike tour where the guide shows you the best parts of the city, from the most famous streets and and buildings to the local treasures unknown to tourists.
Some bike tours even take you to the outskirts of the city where you’ll find some beautiful parks and countryside with windmills and tulips.
To save even more, you can check out hotels.com voucher codes for a cheaper hotel, because as we all know that is usually the part that costs the most.
Europe is the second smallest continent based on land area but it is also one of the most powerful based on economic strength and political influence.
It has been the home of two powerful empires: the Greek and Roman civilizations.
Today, the largest and most powerful cities in Europe include: Paris, France, London, United Kingdom, Rome, Italy, Berlin, Germany, Madrid and Barcelona Spain, Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia, and Istanbul, Turkey.
These cities are not just large based on their land area, they are also highly populated.
Most tourists visit these cities especially during the peak seasons.
How Many Countries In Europe?
Europe’s population is above 700 million but it is slowly declining.
That is the reason why some countries are welcoming more immigrants.
Due to the rush of immigrants and Europe’s rich history, this continent’s culture is very diverse.
Its inhabitants speak around 255 different languages.
This continent is comprised of several peninsulas and some islands.
It has many coastal areas and is surrounded by different bodies of water which are the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Mediterranean, Black, and Caspian Seas to the south.
The main land Europe is also bordered by Asia and some parts of Africa.
Read through this article to know what are the different European regions based on different categories.
There are a number of Transcontinental countries which are in two continents at the same time.
Georgia, Turkey, Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan are considered to be located in both Asia and Europe, so depending on who you ask you will get a different answer to whether they are a European country or not.
If you include the transcontinental countries the number of countries in Europe would be 50 internationally recognized sovereign states with territory located in common definitions Europe and/or membership in international European organizations, of which 44 have their capital city within Europe.
All except the Vatican City are members of the United Nations (UN), and all except Belarus, Kazakhstan and Vatican City are members of the Council of Europe.
There are also a number of micro-states in Europe.
Due to their size they are most often closely linked with another larger state.
The Vatican city is a perfect example of this, located in Rome, the capital city of Italy it is very closely linked with Italy.
The Vatican City, Andorra, Monaco, Lietchenstein and San Marino are usually considered to be the micro-states of Europe.
There are a total of 50 countries and 6 dependent states in Europe which could be divided into different regions based on culture, politics, economics, religion, and geographical characteristics.
Culturally, Europe can be divided based on the tribal ancestors of the citizens of each country.
For example, we can clearly see the distinct cultural characteristics of the Scandinavian Nations or the heritage of countries which found their roots from different Germanic tribes.
Politically, Europe is classified into European Union and non-European Union Countries.
The European Union is considered as one of the strongest politico-economic organisations of the world.
It is comprised of 28 European countries which support each other in making political and economic decisions.
There are also economic and political influences in Europe that can be divided into four spheres or blocs.
These are the German Sphere of Influence, The Nordic Regional Bloc, Visegrad-plus and the Mediterranean Europe.
The German Sphere of Influence is comprised of economies which depend on German trade for economic benefits.
They do not see Germany as a threat, but rather as an aid in their economic pursuits.
The Nordic Regional bloc is composed of non-euro-zone countries which do not see Germany as a competitor or as a partner.
These countries do not favor Russia’s resurgence.
Meanwhile, the Vise grad-plus bloc is a mix of countries from different spheres.
They only support each other for security purposes.
Lastly, the Mediterranean countries help each other in protecting their Middle Eastern and African borders.
Most illegal immigrants come to this country via routes in Turkey and the seas.
This year, some of these countries have received many war escapees from Libya.
Most of them traveled by the sea and drowned but some still reached the European shores.
Based on religions, Europe can be divided into four groups:
Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Muslim Countries.
The headquarters of the Catholic Church is located at the Vatican City so many countries that are near it are Catholic majority.
The Catholic majority countries are Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Poland, Portugal, San Marion, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. On the other hand, Orthodox countries include Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, and Ukraine while Protestant countries include Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, and Sweden.
Lastly, Muslim European countries include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey.
The other European countries that are not mentioned in the lists above do not have specific religious orientations.
According to the United Nations Statistics Division Geoscheme, Europe can be geographically divided into four regions.
These are Western, Eastern, Northern, and Southern Europe.
This scheme has been used by the United Nations (UN) as an internal tool only for its statistics division, so it is not used by all divisions of UN.
Some of these regions overlap, but it is still a useful guide in categorizing each division.
Western Europe include 9 countries
According to the UN statistical scheme this region includes nine countries:
Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, and Switzerland.
Some of these countries can also be found in other geographical divisions.
During the cold war, Western Europe has been politically characterized by the influence of the United States of America in this region.
Some of the historical events that occurred in Western Europe are the Renaissance period and the Reformation.
The topography of this region is characterized by western uplands which are mainly composed of hard, ancient rocks that were formed by glaciation.
This is a process of lands being transformed by ice or glaciers.
These countries mostly have lakes, marshlands, and fjords.
One of the famous lakes found in this region are the blue lagoons of Iceland.
Eastern Europe has 10 countries
This region includes ten countries:
Bulgaria, Belarus, Czech Republic, Moldova, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Russia, and Ukraine. Again, some of the countries on this list can also be found in other divisions.
Most of the people in this region speak Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, and Serbian.
During the cold war, Eastern Europe has been politically characterized by the influence of Soviet Union and the prevalence of communism.
Based on religious dominance, Western Europe is primarily Orthodox.
The topography of this region is characterized by the Caucasus Mountain, Ural Mountains, and Ural River.
This region is quite close to Asia so some of the countries here have also been influenced by Asian culture, mostly Chinese.
This region is comprised of the Scandinavian Peninsula, the Jutland Peninsula, The Baltic States, the British Isles, the Low Countries, Iceland, and the islands that lay near the mainland northern Europe which includes Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
The Scandinavian Peninsula is the largest peninsula in Europe.
Geographically, the Scandinavian Peninsula covers Sweden, Norway, and a large art of northern Finland.
It is surrounded by different bodies of water including Baltic Sea to the east, North Sea and Norwegian Sea to the west, and Barents Sea to the North.
Culturally, Scandinavia is the cultural region of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway.
Most of the languages in this region have been derived from Old Norse.
These languages, also known as North Germanic languages, are Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, and Faroese.
The Jutland or Cimbrian Peninsula covers the mainland part of Denmark and some parts of northern Germany.
The name of the peninsula has been derived from the Germanic tribe called Jutes, which formerly invaded Denmark.
This peninsula is characterized by wide plains, open lands, and peat bogs.
The Baltic States are Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.
These are the states that mostly border the Baltic Sea.
On the other hand, the British Isles include two states: the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
The confederate nations of UK include England, Scotland and Wales.
It also has dependent territorial islands such as the Isle of Man, the Bailiwick of Jersey, and the Bailiwick of Guernsey in the Channel Islands.
Lastly, the Benelux or Low Countries include Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.
Generally, the weather in this region is temperate and subarctic.
This region is characterized by wide tundras, temperate coniferous forests, boreal forests, high mountains, broad leaf forests, and highlands.
With the exception of the British Isles, northern Europe is known for its extremely cold climate and harsh winters.
This region is comprised of the Iberian Peninsula, Italian Peninsula, the Balkan Peninsula, and the island country of Cyprus.
The Iberian Peninsula countries include Andorra, Gibraltar, Portugal, and Spain. Meanwhile, the Italian Peninsula is the home of Italy, Vatican City, Monaco, Malta, and San Marino.
Lastly, the countries in the Balkan Peninsula are Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia.
Southern Europe’s topography is characterized by small plains, dry hills, blue Mediterranean seas, pine forests, and olive trees.
The climate here is subtropical meaning the countries here have warmer summers than other parts of Europe.
These countries also rarely see snowy winters.
The people living in this region generally use the Romance language family which includes Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Catalan.
Some people in this region also speak Greek or Hellenic language, South Slavic language, and Basque language.
Europe’s southern region is predominantly Christian, with most countries being a Catholic majority.
Christianity has been widely spread in southern Europe during the Roman civilization.
Specifying the exact midpoint of Europe is quite difficult.
That is why some of the countries in these regional divisions overlap.
Nonetheless, these regional separations can give you a good idea of how to distinguish the different European countries based on their geographical locations, topography, climate, political affiliation, economic strengths, languages, and culture.
How Many Countries In Europe?
Ask this question to 15 different people and you will get 15 different answers, while most continents in the world are very well defined,
Europe is almost more like a concept.
Exactly how many countries are in Europe is hard to define, since some countries are on two continents at the same time – Istanbul, a city in Turkey, is actually situated both in Asia and in Europe.
England Travel Guide – The UK, or the United Kingdom, offers a multitude of things to see and do – the area may be incredibly small, but the arts, entertainment, and historical sites make up for it’s size.
England Travel Guide
From history to adventure and dining and relaxation, the UK offers something for everyone!
Beautiful Cities In The UK
Stonehenge – One of the Fun Places to Visit in the UK
Built around 3100 BC, Stonehenge is one of the world’s most famous sites.
It is located in Wiltshire, England which offers a vast countryside full of beauty and wonder.
Stonehenge consists of prehistoric rocks and boulders which are scattered in a circular fashion.
There has been no proven theory of how or why Stonehenge exists.
Many people believe the rocks were placed in the area by aliens and UFOs while others believe they monument was built as a prehistoric joke.
The reason doesn’t matter because a visit to Stonehenge will have people amazed!
If you’re a fan of history, beauty, and architecture, the Windsor Castle is a must see place in the UK.
Located approximately 30 miles west of London, visitors can easily arrive from train or bus to the castle for tours.
Windsor Castle was built by William the Conqueror in 1066 and is known as being the longest inhabited royal castle.
Windsor Castle is not only an educational experience but a unique one.
The architectural design of the castle is known to overwhelm many due to it’s detailed beauty.
The area of Bath is located in Wiltshire, England.
The area consists of ancient Roman baths that date back to approximately 2000 years.
Residents during these ancient times believed the water to have healing and anti aging qualities to it.
Many of the world’s richest people would travel to experience the baths for themselves.
Today, any tourist can experience the historical baths or visit the hundreds of spas located in the area.
Bath is a great place to visit and have fun in the UK summer holidays: it’s a beautiful city that not only offers pools and spas, but also amazing shopping and dining establishments.
The United Kingdom is nothing without it’s Royal Family so it’s imperative to include Buckingham Palace on the list of places to visit.
Located in the southern part of the United Kingdom, the palace is an official resident of the Queen.
It is also a main attraction and seen by millions of people each year while the royal family is not there.
Every visitor to the United Kingdom should get a glimpse of the gorgeous beauty that boasts phenomenal history.
Trafalgar Square is another important area of the United Kingdom that is a must see for travelers.
Located in the center of London, Trafalgar Square is open to the public.
Some of the best times to go is in the summer bank holiday as there will be plenty of events on the square, especially for children.
Many pieces of famous contemporary art and sculptures from hundreds of years ago.
There is a great deal of history due to it being created to commemorate the 1801 Battle of Trafalgar.
England Travel Guide to the Best Beach Towns in the UK
There are only so many French riviera towns and Greek island villages you can visit until you’re longing for a beach town that offers something completely different.
For that, the UK is perfect.
Not the typical sunny beach holiday destination, the UK has some picturesque and wonderful beach towns that offer a unique and typically British experience.
Beachy Head in England
This spectacular 500 ft high chalk headland can be found in Southern England and apparently is the most famous suicide location of the area.
The photos found online are so stunning, almost unreal!
Beachy Head in England
This dramatic location is a must visit if you’re in the area, has views of Eastbourne and the English Channel as well as a neat red and white-stripped lighthouse.
I realize it’s late summer when…the sun sets earlier again in Sweden, leaving us all longing for spring again.
The sun is very important for Swedish people, as we live in an extreme climate – during winter, it’s dark all day long, while in summer the sun never sets.
So it’s always a big celebration when the spring arrives with longer days, and always melancholic when you start to notice the sun setting earlier, and slowly disappearing until the next year.
Walberswick, Suffolk, England
Not far from Southwold (another quaint beach town) is this picturesque beachfront hamlet just past the River Blyth.
To cross the river from the Southwold side to Walberswick you can take the row boat ferry or the bridge.
The small community is nestled in the idyllic Suffolk countryside.
There is a harbor trail you can follow and several beautiful beaches almost overshadowed by forests.
The town has ancient ruins and the 15th century St. Andrew’s Church as well as cozy pubs serving local dishes.
From the 13th century until World War I Walberwick was a major trading port but now half the houses in the town are holiday homes and the tourist industry is the heart of this great beach town.
The town has marshlands and heath which attracts flocks of birds and the town is surrounded by protected wetlands.
Walberswick is also a popular spot for celebrity holiday homes.
In August the town hosts the British Open Crabbing Championships where the prize goes to the one who catches the largest crab within 90 minutes!
Camusdarach, Inverness-shire, Scotland
Travelers come to this beach near to Morar and Glenancross in the Highlands for the wide windswept beach of white sand facing the Isle of Egg.
The beach was the location for the filming of Local Hero.
The austere landscape and stunning sunsets makes this a quiet peaceful beach town perfect for long walks on the beach and getting back to nature.
Woolacombe, Devon, England
This is a beach town for those who really want to spend their time on the sand and in the sea, unlike other towns on this list where the focus is more on the town itself, Woolacombe is all about the beach!
It is known as a good surfer’s beach and you can get lessons here.
The Blue Flag beach runs for 2 miles and in the summer can get crowded with people enjoying both the family atmosphere and the perfect surroundings.
If you prefer a more secluded stretch of sand then walk along the coast to discover some of the hidden coves.
You can take boat excursions out on the open sea to see dolphins, seals and maybe even sharks.
Above the water on the cliff tops is a path following the edge of the cliffs and in and around the town are marked cycle routes.
This is one of England’s typical seaside towns like Brighton, Blackpool and Ramsgate.
The town has been a magnet for tourists for the last 250 years and was once a thriving port city.
Today many historic buildings remind us of the town’s illustrious past and the Victorian pier gives the seafront a certain elegance.
One of the town’s attractions is the Shell Grotto, a Grade I listed building of unknown origin.
Inside the rooms and tunnels the walls are covered with over 190m² of shells.
Also in the town you can see a 16th century timber framed Tudor house.
Margate has a Blue Flag beach where you can swim and take surf lessons.
You can discover the place where the Vikings landed by following the Viking Coastal Trail past historic buildings and magnificent Kent countryside.
For those seeking culture there is the Turner Contemporary Art Gallery and the Margate Museum.
The Theatre Royal is the 2nd oldest theater in the UK. The Tom Thumb Theatre is the 2nd smallest theater in the country.
Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales
This is a fortified Norman town with picture perfect Georgian buildings colored in a rainbow of pastels.
Many of the small narrow lanes are pedestrian-only and perfect for exploring the unique stores and tearooms.
Facing the sea are rolling dunes which break onto the Blue Flag beaches considered some of the best in the country.
Tenby is at the entrance to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park so you can connect up with the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path which can be followed from Tenby to Pembroke. Take a boat trip to Caldey Island.
On the island you can visit the Cistercian Abbey, see a large seal community or sun yourself on Priory Beach.
England Travel Guide to the Most Popular Beaches in the UK
With the glistening, white beaches of France, Spain or Italy within easy traveling distance, there are not many people who cherish the idea of holidaying along the British coast.
Gloomy skies and grayish waters is the picture that most of us conjure up, however, during summer, this idea couldn’t be further from the truth.
Popular Beaches in the UK
Coastal wildlife is abundant and beautiful, as is the variety of plants and geological makeup.
Many of our beaches offer a variety of water sports and activities for any thrill seekers too restless to relax beside the water.
I’m going to list a few of my favorite beaches and hopefully convince you that British beaches should not be put out of sight and out of mind this summer.
One of the finest beaches in the UK has to be Tynemouth Longsands in North Tyneside.
A jewel in the crown of the North East and home to surfers, fishermen and a steady stream of sandy-footed beach lovers.
In the North of England it doesn’t actually matter if the sun is out or not, the beaches are so beautiful and atmospheric that they are a year-round attraction for families, dog-walkers and runners.
Longsands is a glorious stretch of golden sand and is nestled just below Tynemouth town-center.
The seaside settlement is an up-market Victorian town with tall, terraced houses and cobbled streets.
The town center is nostalgic and cheery and a relatively easy town in which to book accommodation.
It is home to an array of high-end bars, restaurants and appealing little boutiques full of one-offs and surprises.
The perfect setting in which to relax after a brusque walk along the beach.
Rhossili Bay in Wales, often tops the ‘Best Beach in UK’ polls and rightly so.
It is huge and encircled with luscious green grass.
The perfect contrast to the nearby sea which is always a perfect, crisp blue.
The water is clean and inviting – perfect for a splash about – and always lively with surfers and swimmers!
Rhossili village is traditional and unspoiled, despite having a lot of visitors from ramblers, hikers and surfers, and has held onto its quaint charm.
There are plenty of bed and breakfasts or camping spots so it makes an ideal location for a weekend break.
The area is dotted with traditional multi-colored beach-huts which really add to its charm.
The beach is surrounded by an unspoiled environment and has stunning views across the Dorset coastline.
Highcliffe Castle is a nearby rambling option (to break up your day at the beach) with its cliff-top grounds, ancient architecture and breath-taking view of the sea!
Cornwall, of course, has an expanse of beautiful beaches, which will leave most visitors utterly spoiled for choice.
Penzance, the seaside town, has some of the best.
The drawback – as the most westerly town in Cornwall – it’s quite a trek (for most) to get there.
On the plus side, it has a noticeably warmer climate and has a gorgeous Georgian high street speckled with quirky shops, art galleries and lovely places to eat and drink.
The area is dotted with great beaches, including Longrock Beach, which is perfect for families, and is close to the town of Penzance so isn’t a long walk from the action.
Make sure you head to one of the restaurants in the town serving fish caught that day – a real treat!
Don’t write-off Britain as a destination for a coastal holiday.
Check it out this summer and you’ll, without question, be glad you did…
How to Enjoy the Southern Coast of England
Framed on one side by towering white chalk cliffs and the other by rolling pastureland, the South Coast of England is literally packed with things to see and do.
Whether it’s exploring a national park on bike, learning how to windsurf or dive, marveling at Regency and Victorian architecture, or learning about the unusual customs of past inhabitants.
The immediate area surrounding a nuclear power station might not sound like the ideal tourist destination, but the eerie other worldliness of Dungeness is definitely worth a visit.
The desolation is offset by the ramshackle self-built cottages seemingly randomly dotted about the place.
These were erected by people in the aftermath of WWI when housing was at a premium.
As one of the largest shingle expanses in the world, Dungeness is of vital ecological importance, playing host to over 600 plants and designated as a National Nature Reserve, a Special Protection Area and a Special Area of Conservation.
No visit to the South Coast is complete without a trip to Brighton – the region’s most notorious city – re-live Regency England with a stroll down the promenade and a wander round the opulent Brighton Pavilion.
Sample the city’s wild nightlife and vibrant cultural scene.
When the bustle gets too much, the newly designated South Downs National Park is less than half an hour away.
With its hilltop castle, winding streets and independent spirit, the historic market town of Lewes is a wonderful place to explore.
In the 16th century, seventeen Protestant martyrs were burned at the stake in front of what is now the Town Hall.
To enjoy Lewes at its explosive best however, wait until early November to visit, when the town begins its bonfire night celebrations.
The event sees various ‘bonfire societies’ dressing up and parading through the streets letting off firecrackers and carrying flaming torches.
The proceedings are anarchic to say the least and justifiably famous.
The South Coast is ideal for language students hoping to see as much of England in as short a time as possible.
For those studying at an English school London provides easy access to towns and cities along the entire coast.
For example, for those enrolled in Portuguese classes London to Brighton takes less than an hour.
Traditional Local Foods to Try in Britain
Britain has some incredible holiday destinations, and many choose to rent a little cottage for a few days on the British countryside to truly soak up the British culture and traditions.
But sadly many people forget to seek out the typical British cuisine, since there is such a variety of exotic foods in Britain.
In London, especially, will you be able to find Chinese and Indian restaurants much easier than a traditional restaurant serving British cuisine.
But by making that extra effort, we can promise you won’t be disappointed.
Here are three cheap eats that will give you a true taste of Britain, and will be easy to find…
Eel, Pie and Mash
if you ever find yourself in London – which you likely will on a holiday to Britain, you might want to try something which is very much a London-invention.
Eel, pie and mash is a traditional London working class food, dating back over 300 years.
In the 18th century eels were cheap, in fact they were just swimming about in the Thames, but strangely enough the dish didn’t become popular until later on when there were no longer any eels in the polluted river.
Today you get other variations with fillings like minced beef and onion.
Fish and Chips
Fish and chips are fillets of deep fried fish served with French fries.
The chips are plain and doused with salt and vinegar, which are great when on the move, and barely have time for a full course meal.
They serve the fish in tartar sauce, a white sauce made of egg yolk based mayonnaise, finely chopped prickles.
You will find this dish in pubs as well as fish and chip shops all over the country, but have a look online for some recommended places in the city you’re in because quality varies highly!
Scones with Cream And Tea
Visiting a proper tea house on a visit to Britain should almost be customary.
The afternoon tea is more than just a snack in Britain, it’s an important and respected tradition, and the tea houses like to keep it traditional.
Order a pot of tea to share, and a couple of scones with cream and jam (often there will be a range of different kinds of scones, our favorite are the date scones!).
Visiting a tea house is a fun experience that you will want to do more than once.
England Travel Guide to Visiting London
London is a city that basically has it all, but for many it’s often hard to know where to begin, it has great shopping, beautiful architecture, awesome nightlife, parks, markets and lots of things to look at!
There are many free child friendly things to do in London as well.
A weekend in London will be packed with stuff to do – here is my guide to a great weekend trip to London:
Getting Around London
Many of the places of interest are concentrated in one area so you can walk between them, however, the public transport in London is quite good and by using the subway you save a lot of time.
A day pass is a good idea to get, it costs 6£ and is valid from 9.30 am and lasts all the day until 4.30 am the next morning.
You can use the pass both on subways as well as buses.
Parks and Speakers Chair London
London is full of beautiful parks to hang out in on a nice day or stroll along the green alleys, so take some time to slow down the pace in the parks between shopping.
St James park and Hyde park are two big parks located right in town which are both very nice.
In Hyde park they have something called ”speakers chair” every Sunday, where people stand on a stage and talk about whatever they want in a microphone for whoever wants to listen.
If you have the guts, you’re welcome to get up there yourself!
St James park is a beautiful park to check out after or before a visit to the Buckingham palace.
Changing of the Guard London
The changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace at 11.30 every morning is a big tourist attraction.
Don’t hold any high expectations on the actual ”show”, especially not in bad weather (which isn’t too rare here), but it’s worth a look just to experience the crazy crowds.
The London eye actually gives a great view over London, and it’s especially beautiful at night.
But even the area itself is worth a tour, there is a pretty cool area full of Graffiti art right nearby.
The best view of Big Ben is from the Westminister bridge going between the London eye and Big Ben, and who doesn’t want that iconic photo shot?
Shopping in London
Oxford street is the place for shopping.
There is something for everyone here, and for most budgets.
But for an actual experience, head to Harrods.
Perhaps buy something really small as a souvenir from this place, or just window shop around this historic, exclusive shopping complex.
Markets in London
London has HEAPS of markets: small, big, famous and unknown.
Camden Market is one of the more popular ones, and it’s a fun place to buy things from local unknown designers.
Be sure to check out Covent Garden. It also has a market, and after some shopping you’re likely to see some awesome street performers on the square.
This is the square where famous street performers do their acts.
For a beer at a cozy pub with good atmosphere and intimacy, The Cittie of York on High Holbourn is a good choice.
The pub has a very traditional design, and you sit in little wooden booths.
For the cheapest beer in town, Ye Olde Cheesire Pub on Fleet street is the place to go.
The pub is the oldest in London, and they brew their own beer out of town.
For a real club experience, Cafe 1001 is a cafe and DJ bar on a side street in Brick Lane which we got a tip about from a local guy.
Many tourists don’t know about the place, but it’s a huge hits among the people living in London.
Where and What to Eat in London
It’s almost more “typical” to eat international food than the traditional British food in London.
Cuisine from all corners of the world can be found here, so make the most of it!
Restaurants that are located a bit out of the central areas are of course a lot cheaper.
The smaller streets around Kings Cross have some good deals, but chances are that you will be in the center for lunch.
There are a lot of “all you can eat” buffets spread around the city center in London, especially Chinese cuisine, but also a lot of Indian restaurants.
For good Mexican food, Chilango is a great Mexican eatery located at five different places across the city.
We ate at the one in Chancery Lane 6, and the burritos and nachos were awesome.
Where to Sleep in London
We recommend Clink 78 hostel, a hostel right next to Kings Cross.
It’s located in a nice area with a village feel to it, with small streets and cozy cafes and pubs.
The staff at the hostel are very helpful and informative, and more than happy to share their local tips and favorite spots around the city.
Ask them anything and they will know, if not they will check it up for you.
You get a big breakfast buffet included in the stay, and they also have a pub downstairs which is very popular with the guests.
If you want to cook your own food there is a big kitchen there as well.
A pretty cool detail about the hostel is that it’s actually a restored 200 year old Courthouse with a few authentic prison cells. and a courtroom used as an internet room.
Get out: Take the scenic train to Wales, and experience the Welsh culture only a few hours away.
And since London is, well, London, cheap flights leave the airport every minute!
Best Nightclubs In London
Far from the stuffy establishment brush that this town is often painted with, this grand city on the Thames by contrast offers a world of gritty and exciting capers to be had!
London’s nightlife is a playground waiting to happen for all and sundry, so if you’re up for one heck of a wild time away, sort your flights to London and get among it!
Clubs, and more clubs
There’ no shortage of clubs in London – many of which be found in the most unlikely of places, such as former theaters, warehouses and railway arches.
In fact, many of the most famous clubs here started their life out as illegal party venues, over timing growing into some of the world’s most popular (and now legal, obviously) party spots.
There’s a massive music scene in London, needless to say, and the real draw card for party goers is the all-nighters for which London clubs are most renowned.
Locals and tourists alike pack the dance floors early in the evening, partying all night at spots both glaring and secluded.
London’s posh club Fabric is located on the former site of a Victorian meat cellar.
This diverse nightclub on Charterhouse Street sets itself apart from many of the others by putting on music rather than the traditional DJs that typify the club scene.
Their eclectic line-ups of talent include new artists as well as established musicians.
The floor fills up early, with the night kicking off talent early evening.
It’s not until late, though, that the real action starts, with the best acts usually coming on around 3:00am!
If you’re keen to take in a bit of London’s rich history while partying, you could do worse than to make a stop at KoKo.
This club, located in an old theatre in Camden Town and originally built in 1900, is famous for hosting live bands.
Guests from decades past have included the Sex Pistols, The Eurythmics and Madonna. Need we say more?
The deep red decor and old-theater feel of KoKo add to the throwback ambiance that makes this club great for those feeling slightly nostalgic or wishing to experience a retro setting while being privy to some of the best live music of today.
If you’re up for a glamorous adventure while out hitting the pavement, you can’t go past Pacha.
Located behind the industrial Victoria Station, this club oozes glitz and sophistication.
The club’s 1920s building features a stunning stained glass ceiling, and opulence is reflected in its numerous elegant chandeliers – attendees here are expected to match their surroundings by dressing in vogue fashion…so, this is no place for dowdy duds!
Back in Camden Town, this hard-to-find gem of London’s nightlife is packed to the rafters by locals.
After sundown, this art gallery transforms into club that attracts a crowd of thirsty bohemians!
This 200-year-old building located in Camden Stables Market has been meticulously restored, and you can often see band on the cutting edge of London’s music scene.
If you’re into partying into the wee hours of Sunday morning, Egg is where it’s at.
Egg, in King’s Cross, is a club that was prepared in anticipation of the smoking ban years in advance, with a gorgeous garden and terrace that will happily host you until the sun comes up.
Indoors, the three-story building features different atmospheres on each floor, with the ground floor giving a much more industrial vibe than its counterpoint – a posh loft bar that might feel more at home to those sporting a velvet jacked!
This dance-music Mecca is at its wildest on Sunday mornings when North Londoners welcome the sunrise over an after-party breakfast.
London is renowned for being one of the best cultural hot spots that sometimes borderlines dingy, but in that very cool, understated manner.
Pick one of the best flights available and get on board for a low-down tour of one of the most fun places to party on the planet.
London is one of Europe’s most popular cities to visit, and there are many reasons for this; the city offers a variety that few other cities in the world can compete with – best of all, many of the great things to do in London are free!
To give you an idea for some free things to do in London on your next visit, check out our top picks…and this excellent London Guide Book
Child Friendly Things To Do in London
Go to the Museums
In most cities, museums charge hefty entry fees – in London however, all of the major museums are completely free!
The Museum of London is an all-time favorite, and the famous art gallery Tate Modern is also a must with some amazing contemporary art.
Buckingham Palace Changing of the Guard
No trip to London is complete without Buckingham Palace – and when you visit, make sure you do so during the changing of the guards!
Every day at 11.30 am this military tradition begins, a spectacle with music and a great chance to see the interesting outfits the guards wear.
London Street Performers
Walking down the street is an event in itself in London, especially on the square at the Covent Garden Market.
There, street performers entertain huge crowds every afternoon, and many of the performers are well seasoned professionals that are well worth seeing.
Although it’s free to look, if they’re really good a small tip doesn’t hurt.
Hang out in the Parks
London has plenty of green oasis to relax in and rest your feet for a few hours. St. James’s park offers stunning views over Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are huge green oasis in the middle of the city, and Queen Mary’s Rose Gardens in Regent’s Park is a favorite among many.
A free event in Hyde Park is the well renown “Speaker’s Corner”, a sort of “event” which has been held every Sunday since the right of free assembly was recognized in 1872.
In the Speaker’s Corner people from all walks of life gather to listen to speeches about anything and everything… and to heckle.
The speeches can range from political to sausages to alien invasions, you really have to go there to know what it’s like
With so many free things to do you might want to splurge on some nice and comfortable accommodation.
Some great apartments in the city that are well worth checking out, and keep in mind that a kitchen will also help saving a lot of money rather than eating out every day.
We hope you found these tips useful for your next trip to London…
Child Friendly Places to Visit While in London
The Cartoon Museum
Who says a museum has to be full of paintings of weird people and abstracts we all think we could paint better?
The Cartoon Museum is a serious collection of cartoons, seriously, that date back to the 18th century.
The kids will enjoy seeing them and won’t even realize that they’re getting a history lesson as they learn about how cartoons have developed and become a part of our everyday culture.
Kids love ice skating and bowling, though it’s advisable not to do both at the same time. That does sound fun, though, doesn’t it?
Let the kids work off some of that energy for a day of ice skating and bowling all in one place.
There’s also an arcade, cafe, and bar.
Thames River Cruise
One of the best ways to see London is from the river as you cruise past many of the most famous sights like the Tower of London and Canary Wharf.
The kids will think it’s cool floating past Westminster Abbey and Big Ben from atop the open upper deck.
You can take the cruise even when the weather is less than perfect, as the boats offer a lower saloon with a panoramic view.
You and the kids will be wowed by the experience.
The London Bridge Experience
Your kids will think you’re the coolest parent ever when you take them on this tour which has won it’s second Screamie award for “Best Year Round Scare Attraction.”
It might be too intense for kids under ten years old, so be sure your kids aren’t easily traumatized by creepy special effects and people in spooky costumes that you will meet along the way.
The tour starts within the arches of the London Bridge and is a two-part experience.
The second part of the attraction, the London Tombs, will have you face-to-face with the un-dead in a spine-tingling adventure not for the faint of heart.
For kids under eleven, the Guardian Angel Tours offer a guide to accompany them through the Tombs and protect them from anything that may be too frightening.
Gamerbase Piccadilly Circus
You might have to drag the kids out of this place after they get involved in an intense, multi-player game they can play online or with anyone else in the centre.
This state-of-the-art facility has several X-Box 360 and PS3 consoles and PCs that allow for online gaming that include many of the most popular games available such as World of Warcraft and Call of Duty.
Your kids will probably enjoy challenging you to a grueling game where they can annihilate you in public, so be prepared to be humiliated. It’s all in fun, right?
Whether your kids are very young or in that awkward, brooding teenage stage, they’re going to have a hard time complaining when you take them to these fun spots in London.
They might even have to grudgingly admit that their parents are pretty cool as far as parents go, at least for a while.
Get Active with London’s Summer of Sport
Swim the Serpentine, row the Thames, and touch down at Finsbury Park…
With hopes of British sporting glory cruelly dashed at Wimbledon this week, Team GB will be hoping to make up for it as London’s Olympic summer of sport gets underway.
In true British spirit, it’s not the winning that counts, it’s the taking part, and the nation’s capital is packed with fun sporting activities the whole family can break a sweat to this summer.
Serpentine Swimming Club, W2
If you’re willing to get up early, and we mean early, the Serpentine Swimming Club offers up the briskest way to start your day.
The Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park is open to the club’s open air swimmers before 9.30am each morning, 365 days a year.
Take a dip in the bracing depths and get up to speed for the weekly Saturday morning races.
Water temperatures can get up to a tropical 20˚ in summer, but take a sharp dive come the autumn, and this hardcore swimming group turn their noses up at wet suits, even for their famous Christmas Day race.
If you’re not the competitive type, or you just don’t fancy hauling yourself out of bed for a shockingly cold 6am bath, try the Serpentine Lido or Hampstead Heath ponds, where you’re free to swim outdoors with the ducks all summer between 10am and 6pm, May to September.
Thames Rowing Club, SW15
Cruising the Thames on a tourist-packed tour boat is for chumps.
Put your oar in and see the city’s iconic river in a whole new light with the Thames Rowing Club.
Established in 1860, this historic club offers up competitive rowing to men and women, beginners and professionals alike.
They pride themselves on their past record of transforming beginner rowers into national team winners, with their women’s rowing teams becoming regular Henley champions.
Their clubhouse at Putney, dating back to 1876, is a treasure trove of British rowing memorabilia, and if you don’t want to race competitively, there are Veterans and Casuals groups designed for those who want to take it easy on the river.
Frame, EC2A & W10
A dance school with a difference, Frame has set out to make dance fun, affordable and open to everyone.
Forget the torturous world of the Black Swan, the emphasis here is on getting your body moving in a way that you enjoy.
With two dance and fitness studios, one in Shoreditch, the other at Queen’s Park, classes are designed so you can drop in any time you want to try something new.
Alongside the limb-lengthening yoga, Pilates and ballet, there’s hardcore boot camps, and Saturday workshops designed to target specific areas, lifting bums, slimming hips and working off those bingo wings.
Boost your confidence on the dance floor with their range of quirky dance classes, where you can work up a sweat with 80’s aerobics Jane Fonda-style and master the moves from your favorite music videos in your lunch break.
London Blitz, N4
Formed in 1995, London’s championship-winning American football club welcomes players of all ages, from 7 and up.
With a senior team competing in the BAFA Community League Premiership, and four junior teams too, now’s your chance to score your very own touchdown in Europe’s answer to the Superbowl.
Head to London Blitz team HQ in Finsbury Park to join the training and workshops, and you could be going for gold in the Eurobowl tournament next year.
Accessible London – A Perfect Holiday for People with Disabilities
London has more accessible attractions to visit than any other city in Europe, travelling for a good cause is much more convenient.
Paris may offer grand 18th-century houses containing vast museums crammed with artwork masterpieces, and Rome may offer the ancient ruins of the Forum and Coliseum, but if it’s a hassle-free break with plenty of wheel-chair accessible sites you’re looking for, it’s London that can provide the perfect city break.
London offers tourists with reduced mobility so much to do that you could easily plan a week’s break in London and still be left with plenty to return for.
Accessible London Choose your accommodation
London is a big city with a great variety of neighborhoods.
A little bit of research will help ensure you select a suitable hotel for your needs.
There are an ever increasing number of hotels that are especially adapted for people with a range disabilities.
Take your time and choose to stay close to the tourist attractions you wish to see.
Make sure there are some easily accessible fine restaurants nearby.
Choose your London attractions
There’s so much on offer it’s important to be realistic in your planning.
Trying to cram the British Museum, Tate Modern, St Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square and the National Portrait Gallery into one day will not help you make the most of them.
The British Museum, for instance, could easily merit a whole day, or even two half-days.
The collection is vast, and it contains iconic objects from all over the world, such as the Rosetta Stone, which was instrumental in helping Egyptologists understand ancient hieroglyphs.
The British Museum building itself is stunning, and what’s more, it’s all easily accessible, with elevators between floors.
Vary your London sightseeing
Some districts are perfect for exploring at leisure, without the need to use public transport…and they are free child friendly things to do in London as well.
Westminster is one of these, with attractions such as Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and the Cabinet War Rooms all close by one another.
One leisurely way to see London is to take a boat tour on the river Thames.
The sights of London float past you as you drift down the river enjoying a warming drink or something stronger.
For something a little more exciting, the London Eye offers views of London from a big wheel located on the Thames.
For the ultimate rush, however, you can avail yourself of one of the many pleasure flights that are available.
Helicopter flights over London let you see the big picture and offer an experience you’ll remember for a long time.
Reach for the stars
If you enjoyed cruising through the sky over London, why not mingle with the stars in London’s West End?
You should always check theater accessibility before booking, as many of the buildings are old and offer limited access.
No stay in London is truly complete without seeing a musical or a play.
Check out the listings and contact numbers for theaters and enjoy the show.
With just a little planning, your visit to London can include so many different experiences, and this year you may even catch an outdoor Olympic event in the streets of the city.
We hope you find this guide to London useful, and if you have any further tips leave them in the comments below!
Be Savvy About When You Fly in UK
Fly in UK – Our airports are getting busier and busier and so are our roads.
This can make your journey to the airport a bit like running the gauntlet when you are trying to make your way to your flights for your holiday or business trip.
If you have flown from one of the many UK city airports before then you will no doubt have felt the agony of being stuck in a traffic jam whilst you are trying to get to the airport to meet your plane.
The Highway VS Railway
The hit and miss nature of the M25 and the current congestion on the roads means that your journey to the airport can be very stressful and can leave you thinking about whether or not it would be wiser to get the train.
If you do get the train then you will also have to contend with potential delays on the train lines, as well as having to stick to the train timetables.
If you are flying as a family then individual train tickets can also all add up.
Travel Off-Peak Hour
One possible solution would be to still drive but to book a flight time that was not in line with the major travel times and rush hour traffic on the roads infrastructure.
This would of course mean that you would have to travel either late at night or very early in the morning, but it might be worth it if it means that you are almost guaranteed a clear run to the airport.
If you do drive at an unsociable hour then you will be pleased to know that the airport car parks that surround most of the UK airports are open 24 hours a day and if you need to make your way to the airport straight away then they will usually offer you a free shuttle bus that will take you straight to the airport terminal.
Stay in an Airport Hotel
Another way that you could avoid traffic chaos would be to travel at off-peak times on the roads and stay overnight at an airport hotel, as this will mean that you will be able to take your time driving and not have to worry about getting stuck in traffic as you will have plenty of time to get to your flight.
You will wake up the next morning refreshed and very close to the airport and you will then be able to drive to the airport car park and then get the shuttle bus to your check-in desk.
You will be able to find Airport Parking at all of the UK airports and a quick search on line will bring up Heathrow Parking, Gatwick Parking and Liverpool Airport Parking.
Cumbria UK for a Proper British Holiday
There is so much more to England than just London. The city is fun with many events, happenings, museums and shops.
But if you want to experience the true spirit of England, I suggest you go elsewhere.
To Cumbria, for example, this northern rural county is one of England’s most popular tourist destination, and for a good reason.
From mountains to the coast, forest to the towns, there are so many things to explore:
The Lake District
With its mountainous landscape with fells, lakes and abundance of flowers, there is no doubt that most of the 15.8 million visitors are drawn to Cumbria for its natural beauty.
One of the most popular places to visit is the Lake District and Lake District National park, which is one of England’s most outstanding areas of natural beauty.
The scenic hills and lakes makes it a perfect place for hiking, and there are many famous hikes like the ”coast to coast” walk and Pennine Way.
While there are many long walks lasting for days, most people prefer to base themselves somewhere and go for day walks in the Lake District.
One of the best towns to base yourself in Lake District is Grasmere and Keswick.
While the Lake District often is the main reason people visit Cumbria, many of the little towns pride on long history and quaint architecture, and definitely deserve a visit as well.
Many artists and photographers also like to base themselves here because of the beautiful lake and mountain scenery.
The great thing about this area is that you don’t have to take exhaustively long walks to see some natural beauty that Lake District is so famous for.
Many walks can be done starting from the town, some just a ten minute stroll away, and unlike many other hiking areas in the UK you don’t need your own car, there are many buses to use.
The streets of Keswick are very quaint, and the Saturday market with a history dating back several hundred years, is also worth a visit.
After a long day of walking and exploring the area, reside in one of the Keswick cottages and rest your feet before heading out to the local pub for some traditional pub grub.
Grasmere is Cumbria’s most popular village, with most of its buildings dating back to 19th or early 20th century, but the farms around the village are much older than that.
There is also a church, St Oswald’s church, which dates back as far as th 13th century, built in traditional Lakeland style with rendering on the walls.
The church is the most popular tourist attraction, and people also like to visit the graveyard where Wordsworth, the most famous writer and poet in the Lakelands rests.
Grasmere is also a popular place for its many Grasmere cottages, B&B’s and hotels which makes this town a good place to base yourself in when exploring the Lakelands.
How To Spend Your Holiday In Northumberland
Northumberland is one of the top destinations in the UK and offers a lot of things to see and do for tourists.
Holiday In Northumberland
Below are some great things to do in Northumberland:
Explore the Coast, Nature & the Castles
Northumberland offers a wide range of attractions and activities, but taking a walk along one of the beaches is essential.
There are many very nice beaches close to the towns where people enjoy spending some time on.
As Northumberland is the driest county in the country there are often opportunities to relax by the beaches, go swimming, windsurfing, and even go horse back riding on 27 miles of shoreline!
There is plenty of wildlife and you can take boat trips to sea hundreds of grey seals basking on the rocks.
Northumbria coast and country is also famous for its bird watching, and is sometimes referred to as ”a birder’s paradise”.
There are also quite a few castles in the area, all with their own charm and perfect picnic destinations.
A beautiful castle ruin is Lindsfarne Priority on Holy Island, which are full of history from the Viking invasions and the monks who lived on the island, and you can stroll around the Monastic buildings where they used to live.
Just remember that the crossing to the island floods at high tide, so check the tide times before you go so you don’t get stuck over there!
One of the most famous castles however, is Alnwick Castle.
It’s one of the largest inhabited castles in England, and has dominated the town since medieval times.
It’s been featured in the Harry Potter movie, but the main reason why people visit is the Alnwick garden, which is somewhat of a floral wonderland.
To visit this place you don’t need to pack a picnic as the tree house restaurant (which is actually in the tree house) offers some really good food.
The garden is one of the best in the country offering a lot of things to see and do. You can visit the ”poisonous garden”, paddle in the rills, visit the serpent garden, a labyrinth etc.
Finally, to finish the holiday with some history, a visit to Northumberland wouldn’t be complete without checking out Hadrian’s Wall.
It was built by the Romans to protect their colony in England from the Scottish tribes.
The wall is 87 miles long, and today you can see the remains of some forts and ruins of bath houses and temples, and there are some great museums in the area, like Vindolanda.
Having the Proper British Experience
To really make the most out of your holiday and experience English culture to the fullest would be to stay in one of the traditional Northumberland cottages and always make time for some afternoon tea and traditional Brittish cuisine.
Pinnacles in Seahouses offers some of the best traditional fish and chips in the county, so that would be a perfect place to start!
The best place for your afternoon tea is at Earl Grey Tearoom at Howick Gardens, a traditional tea room which makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time!
Fun Ways to Enjoy Wales
Wales is a country rich in natural beauty and history, with a culture different from the rest of UK and proud inhabitants.
There are many reasons to visit Wales, but to give you an idea of what the country has to offer, here are a few popular and fun things to do on a visit to Wales.
Fun Ways To Enjoy Wales
What attracts tourists to Wales is the beautiful nature, and for those who have been there that’s often the first thing that comes to mind when they think of Wales.
To protect this beautiful environment, certain parts of Wales have been designated ”National Parks” or ”Areas Of Outstanding Natural Beauty”.
These places are excellent for walking and a great way to appreciate the unspoiled beauty of Wales.
Walking is a big thing in Wales, and they even have several Walking festivals in different parts of the country every year.
With 800 km of National trails, there are many walks to choose from, and to make it easier for you there are heaps of luggage transfer companies and tour operators offering guided tours.
You can walk for miles in rural landscape, arrive by lunch time at a traditional Welsh pub and later in the evening relax by the fireplace in one of the holiday cottages in Wales and rest your feet after a long days walking.
There are many fun towns in Wales to visit for different reasons.
One very small town, has made a big name of itself: Lanwrtyd Wells – it’s the smallest town in UK, but is famous for other things than merely the size of it.
Some people visit this little place to participate in one of the most unusual events in the world:
Bog snorkeling… It’s a sport where competitors complete two lengths of a 60-yard water-filled trench cut through a peat bog.
The competitors must wear snorkel and flippers and complete the course without using conventional swim strokes!
Another quirky town is the ”book town”, Hay on Wye, famous for its abundance of book stores and second hand book shops.
Take a Food Trail & Try All the Tasty Welsh Food
The Welsh cuisine is known for its meat and cheese, and to get the best of the Welsh food there are many so called ”food trails” you can seek out.
Some of the highlights on a food trail includes visiting Derimon Smokery.
Try the smoked cheddar cheese and their Welsh Oak Smoked Anglesey Wild Seabass Fillets – they’re delicious.
Close by you can find a great place for dessert; Popty’r Bryn. There you can try the traditional Bara Brith (a type of fruit cake).
It is of course possible to sample the Welsh cuisine in the comfort of your ”own” home, so if you stay in cottages in Wales you will be able to try cooking some Welsh food in the kitchen, or you can take the easy way out and buy some ”take away” food from the local restaurant and some Snowdonia Ale or local wine.
Peak District Film Location Guide
Peak District has been attracting tourists for centuries for its captivating natural beauty and royal buildings.
It’s one of the most diverse landscapes that England has to offer, from the Dark peak with its moorland to the White Peak with its limestone hills.
Many people escape the cities to the Peak District cottages to relax, soak up the surrounding nature and fresh air, and exploring the area.
A fun twist to your itinerary is to follow a movie-location map and visit places where famous movies have been filmed, and trust us, there are many of them.
The beautiful nature and stunning royal buildings have made the Peak District a very popular place for costume films.
Peak District Film Location Guide
Here are the top movies filmed in the Peak District and locations to check out.
Pride and Prejudice
The film locations to Pride and Prejudice are actually very accurate to the original novel, set mainly in the Peak District in the counties of Derbyshire and Lincolnshire.
Chatsworth in Derbyshire was used as Darcy’s family home, and where Elisabeth unexpectedly met Darcy.
Stanage Edge is a very beautiful spot where Elisabeth stands on the peak with an incredible view from the grit stone formation.
The spot is very famous for rock climbing.
Lyme Park is one of the most famous places to visit for people on Peak District holidays, which was the location where a very wet Darcy emerged from the lake.
The Malfoy Manor in ”Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows” was the beautiful Hardwick Hall, and they are very proud of it.
So much so, that if you visit Hardwick Hall today you will find a ”Chamber of Magic” where kids can try out Wizard wands and wizard capes, pretending to be part of the movie Harry Potter and his world.
Various Movies – Haddon Hall
Haddon Hall is perhaps the most popular film locations of them all.
Both Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, The Other Boleyn Girl and Elizabeth have used the place as a filming location – and rightly so.
It is very well preserved, with a great collection of English, French and Flemish tapestries, and a kitchen which has basically remained unchanged for centuries.
You get a good insight into what life was like here, both for the workers as well as the duke and his family.
Birmingham Music Scene Cultural Olympiad
Musical extravaganzas to look forward to in Birmingham as part of the Cultural Olympiad
From the Brum Beat scene of the 60s giving us The Spencer Davis Group, The Move and The Moody Blues, through the thriving 80s reggae scene of Steel Pulse and UB40, the birth of heavy metal thanks to Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, and The Streets, Broadcast and Felt for good measure, Birmingham is a city with vibrant musical roots.
The UK’s second largest city celebrates those roots this summer with a range of exciting musical events taking place as part of the UK’s Cultural Olympiad.
The London Festival got underway this month as a culmination and celebration of the Cultural Olympiad, designed to showcase the cultural talents of the host and visiting nations, and Birmingham plays a major part.
Offering up some of the most spectacular musical offerings in the festival program, including one hugely ambitious world premiere, here are some of the highlights taking place in and around the city over the coming months.
The unabashed highlight of the festival takes place from 22nd August at the Argyle Works on Great Barr Street.
Here the Birmingham Opera Company will stage Karlheinz Stockhausen’s monumental opera, Mittwoch aus Licht – complete with helicopters.
The notoriously challenging five-hour epic has six parts, which have never before been staged together.
In the first ever realization of Stockhausen’s ultimate musical vision, the result promises to be truly spectacular.
Featuring two full choirs, octophonic sound, leading musicians, Radio 1 DJ Nihal, flying solo instrumentalists and requiring two separate performance halls, the opera culminates in a string quartet performing in separate helicopters, with the whirring blades intended to become part of the music.
The London 2012 Festival promised to be a once-in-a-lifetime festival, packed with once-in-a-lifetime performances, and if this isn’t one of them, I’ll eat my hat.
Another aim of the festival is to celebrate the arts and culture of all 204 Olympic and Paralympic nations.
With 25,000 artists from all 204 countries performing over the course of seven weeks, Birmingham welcomes New York bhangra group Red Baraat to the UK for the first time.
This brassy nine-piece fuse together jazz, funk, Latin and go-go, with a heavy dose of North Indian bhangra.
Fresh from wowing the crowds stateside at the TED Conference in California, NY’s Lincoln Center, the Chicago World Music Festival and the prestigious Montreal Jazz Festival to boot, a good time is guaranteed.
Hot-foot it down to Birmingham Town Hall for this free gig on 7th September.
From 7th to 9th September, head for Birmingham Town Hall to sample even more of the talented world music artists flocking to our shores for the festival.
Mandala is set to be an uplifting event, blending South Asian dance, music and large-scale 3D projections.
Live contemporary and classical dance takes place outside the town hall, with vibrant 3D projections onto the hall and Nottingham Council House.
With live music from Talvin Singh, featuring the music of the legendary Anoushka Shankar and Zakir Hussain, alongside performances by Devika Rao and Aakash Odedra, there are three nights of non-stop dancing in the streets to look forward to.
Spend the Day in Liverpool UK
Who has been to Liverpool, knows that there is no other place like it.
Liverpool is famous for its Middle Age’s architecture, clean and narrow streets, countless pubs, one of the best football clubs and the first and perhaps most famous rock band of all time – “The Beatles”.
There is plenty of things to keep you busy for several days, but if you only have one day you better make the most of it.
Here is a quick guide to where to go and what to do when you have one day to spend in Liverpool.
One of the biggest attractions of the city is “Albert Dock”, a UNESCO World heritage spot that was triumphantly opened by Prince Albert more than 150 years ago.
One of the most important ship factories in the past has gathered the most racy attractions of the city.
The area has wonderful and interesting museums such as Tate Modern Art gallery and Merseyside Maritime Museum that will surely leave a lasting impression on any visitor.
Just a few minutes from the avenue you will find famous Royal Liver Buildings with a legendary Liver bird, which is a main symbol of the city.
Don’t forget to visit Albert Dock’s pubs – O’Neils is a great pub that we would recommend, but there are plenty of other options as well.
The Beatles Tour
Surely, a trip to Liverpool cannot be complete without exploring the rock & roll spirit and history of Liverpool.
The best way to get to visit all the places in a short time is to join a sightseeing tour around the most famous Beatles spots in the city.
On the tour you will visit Cavern district with The Cavern Club and the most popular pub in the city: The Grapes, famous for having hosted The Beatles for their first gig.
Walking the streets you will find that many of them were the inspiration for The Beatles songs, such as Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields.
The tour will take you to the childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, which are now properties of a national trust, and will give you a glimpse into Lennon and McCartney’s humble beginnings.
But while they’ve had a huge impact on the city, they are not the only ones who made their footprint in Liverpool.
There are numerous places dedicated to Queen and Freddy Mercury, including a 15ft tall statue in the city center.
The Anfield Stadium
Anfield Stadium Day In Liverpool UK
Apart from famous musicians, Liverpool is also famous for its football team, Liverpool FC, which is considered to be one of the best in Europe.
Liverpool FC is a 5 times champion of the UEFA Champion League and 18 times winners of the Championship of England.
Even if you have only a day in this fabulous city and there is no game, you can always visit the glorifying Liverpool stadium – Anfield.
Visiting Anfield will give you a wonderful opportunity to see the stadium from the inside and come to the holy of holies – Liverpool’s changing rooms.
This is more than enough to keep you busy for a day, and if you ever choose to come back there is much more to explore!
Tour De France: Why You Should Visit Yorkshire in July
In July, Yorkshire is set to host the ‘Grand Depart’, the opening stages of the lauded Tour De France, the world’s largest annual sporting event.
The route will start in Leeds, and will take riders twice through the Yorkshire Dales, passing through Harrogate, York, Huddersfield and Sheffield as it goes.
The tour is one of the biggest events in the sporting calendar, drawing in a worldwide television audience of 3.5 billion people.
The race is broadcast in 188 countries and receives 4700 hours of television coverage.
In a typical year, the route will be lined with 12 million spectators.
On the 5th July the opening stage of the Tour will make its way into Harrogate & District through the market town of Masham after an exhilarating route through the Yorkshire Dales.
The riders will start to jockey for prime position as they pass through Ripon, arranging their lead-out riders along the A61 as they approach the finish line.
By Ripley the main sprint teams will be jostling for the front of the peloton, with the lead-out riders doing their best to give their sprinter the greatest chance of success before racing into Harrogate.
The race finish will be unique with a short climb to the Flamme Rouge, after which the riders will hurtle down Ripon Rd, past the Royal Hall and Royal Baths, before climbing once again before a dramatic make-or-break sprint finish by the Stray, after which the first Yellow Jersey will be awarded.
There is every chance that first jersey will be placed on the shoulders of Mark Cavendish, former World Champion, who’s mother is from Harrogate and has said of the Harrogate finish “If I had to choose one stage of the 21 in the Tour, that’s got to be it”.
On Sunday the 6th July the Tour will leave York and make its way through Knaresborough, then down the historic High Street in Starbeck before cutting through High Harrogate and then leaving the district with a dramatic climb on the A59 through Blubberhouses to Kex Gill.
Knaresborough and Harrogate will see the first breakaways as the riders begin the fight for the King of the Mountains title.
Each town will offer great viewing opportunities for spectators, as well as a warm Yorkshire welcome to visitors from around the world.
But the race itself will be just one part of a carnival of events across the district to celebrate this amazing event.
Over the coming months Masham, Ripon, Harrogate and Knaresborough will release the details of their Grand Depart events; so keep checking back to Visit Harrogate’s Tour de France page for more details of this once in a life time spectacle.
Whether travelling from other parts of the UK, or flying in via our nearby aiport, Harrogate and its surrounding Market Towns will give you the best Tour de France experience you could have!
The Tour De France will plunge Yorkshire onto the world stage for the opening of the world’s foremost bike race.
If you can’t wait to cheer the riders along, then get right into the heart of the action and join the greatest county in England in celebrating the greatest of events.
July Is the Perfect Time to Visit Yorkshire
With ‘Le Tour’ fever gripping Yorkshire, there couldn’t be a better time to visit.
Here is a sample of what’s on offer.
Tour De France Yorkshire
On the 4th of July, the Dare 2b Festival of Cycling will launch at Harewood House in Yorkshire, the official starting location of this year’s Tour De France.
Spanning two days, it will offer a variety of events to amuse the whole family, including specially organized led-rides.
By coordinating with Yorkshire Police, the festival’s sponsors have planned routes to take participants to the premier spots.
On arriving at their viewing points in and around the Yorkshire Dales, cyclists can kick back and unwind at roadside hubs, congregating to watch the race as it goes by.
Get yourself kitted out by sponsors Dare 2b and get in on the action.
York plans to celebrate this epic event in style. The Tour De France in York is envisioned as the biggest celebration Yorkshire has ever seen, offering huge screens to view the race, themed campsites, street performers, live music, great food, a supreme shopping experience and the largest free urban festival in England.
Harrogate and District is in the unique position of seeing the peloton twice over the Grand Depart weekend.
The location will offer great viewing opportunities on both days, and a warm Yorkshire welcome is guaranteed.
The race itself will be just one facet of a carnival of events to celebrate ‘Le Tour’.
The city’s offerings promise to be a once in a lifetime spectacle.
Sheffield has organised a series of hospitality packages, offering visitors preferential viewing of the finish line.
Included in the program are a warm greeting by a Tour hostess, a welcome drink, Yorkshire buffet lunches with wine, beer and soft drinks, a behind the scenes tour of the technical zone and a Tour De France gift.
In July the eyes of the world will be on the Harrogate & District for the Yorkshire Grand Depart, the opening stages of the Tour de France. Harrogate & District is in the unique position of seeing the peloton on both days over the Grand Depart Weekend!
In July the eyes of the world will be on the Harrogate & District for the Yorkshire Grand Depart, the opening stages of the Tour de France.
Harrogate & District is in the unique position of seeing the peloton on both days over the Grand Depart Weekend!
Explore our Tour de France pages for all there is to know…
Leeds Weekend Shopping Guide
Yorkshire’s top destination for pubbing, clubbing, dining and shopping, Leeds has cast off its industrial cocoon and emerged a shiny, new cultural haven.
You’ll find cool music venues, arts spaces, delis and eateries all over, especially in the hip and student Headingley, but we’re here to get serious about shopping.
Leeds Weekend Shopping Guide
Leeds ain’t been dubbed the Knightsbridge of the North for nothing.
This city is home to more designer boutiques than even a seasoned WAG could handle.
The first city outside of London to be deemed worthy of a Harvey Nichols store, since the uber-department store moved in, the arcades of the city’s gorgeous Victorian Quarter have been transformed into a home away from home for the likes of Vivienne Westwood and Mulberry.
With five indoor shopping centers and 4.3 million square feet of retail space packed into five miles of shopping streets, you might want to swap those heels for flats as we take you on this shop-til-you-drop tour of the city.
If you’re serious about shopping, and aren’t afraid to flash that credit card, the Victoria Quarter is the destination for you.
With a mix of designer fashion, beauty and lifestyle stores contained within the jaw dropping architecture of the quarter’s ornate arcades, you’ll find over seventy stores in all.
Alongside the aforementioned Harvey Nic’s, Vivienne Westwood and Mulberry, there’s Karen Millen, Jo Malone, Reiss, Whistles, Diesel, Space NK, Paul Smith, Kurt Geiger, Kiehls, Louis Vuitton, French Connection and more.
The Corn Exchange
Leeds’ self-proclaimed Home of Boutique Shopping, The Corn Exchange is a unique Grade I listed building, and it’s fitting that the shops that it houses are unique too.
Home to endless delicious cafes, as well as exhibition space and music events, it’s also one of the only corn exchanges in the country that still operates as intended – as a center for trade.
This is the place to head for independent boutiques like Lou Lou Puchalka the milliner, silver jeweler Outrage, and vintage/reworked/handmade clothier Mad Elizabeth.
The largest covered market in Europe, and home to over 800 regular traders, Kirkgate Market is a real Leeds institution.
Dating back to 1822, the Edwardian building which houses the market is worth a visit in itself.
A great place for a bit of bargain hunting, you’ll find clothing, arts and crafts, DIY goods, fishmongers, bakers, butchers, world foods, florists – anything and everything you could ask for from a local market and more.
Head into Headingley and you’ll find an area buzzing with bars, vintage stores and charity shops, with a cool vibe thanks to the high student population.
The Bowery on Otley Road is a retail, education and arts space that serves up delicious coffees and treats in its coffee bar, regular creative workshops on everything from digital photography to made to measure blinds, and a fabulous independent shop.
Designed to showcase the work of emerging artists and designers, many of whom have taken part in and taught workshops here, you’ll find art work, ceramics, jewelry, cards, textiles and more – the perfect place to pick up unique gifts that you won’t find anywhere else.
How to Spend Your Holidays in Devon
How to spend your holidays in Devon – Devon has long been regarded as one of the top holiday destinations in Britain – here are just a few of the many wonderful attractions that this beautiful coastal county has to offer.
Oh we do like to be beside the seaside!
There’s no doubt that many people flock to Devon in the spring and summer months for the sun, sea and sand, and with the stunning Atlantic ocean on one side and the calmer and more sheltered waters of the English channel, there’s no doubting Devon has its fair share of all ingredients listed!
The North coast of Devon really does have everything.
Head to any area of the north coast and you will see wet suit clad surfers heading to the shores.
Ready to catch the superb waves generated by thousands of miles of swell from across the Atlantic.
The strength of the waves over hundreds of thousands of years means that the sand in this part of the world is fine to the point of being almost perfect.
Thankfully, despite the full force of the Atlantic hitting many beaches, there are plenty of sheltered coves on the north coast if you don’t fancy ‘Hanging ten’!
Hele Bay in particular is a lovely family beach. Located just to the east of Ilfracombe, it has been awarded the blue flag for its outstanding waters.
Swimming is considered safe here, and there are plenty of rock pools to get stuck into at low tide.
Devon is known as a coastal county, and most people make the assumption that holidaying here should be all about the sea.
The great thing about Devon is that there is so much more to it than the water that surrounds it.
Head inland and you will come across the mighty Dartmoor National Park.
Spanning an incredible 368 square miles, Dartmoor is one of the largest National parks in the country.
For anyone who embraces the great outdoors, it is a place that has to be seen to be believed.
The tors – large hills with rocky outcrops – punctuate the horizon in every direction.
It truly is a unique place to be.
Whether you love to get your teeth into a proper hike over miles and miles of rugged terrain, or you just want to take in nature at its best, Dartmoor will be right up your street.
Devon is full of wonderful places to visit, and there is some truly stunning architecture within the county.
A trip top Exeter is well worth it from any part of Devon, if only to see the incredibly beautiful Exeter Cathedral – a stunning and now unusual example of decorated Gothic architecture.
It’s well known for its two Norman Towers, and its collection of historical documents, including the Exon Doomsday book.
Devilishly Devonish foods!
Whilst Devon is very well catered for in many culinary ways, we have to talk about the wonderful Devonshire cream teas, which are of course famous all over the world.
The Fingle Bridge Inn in Drewsteignton is reputed to offer the best cream tea in the whole of the county, but we don’t think the venue is that critical.
Find yourself a nice pub in any of the hundreds of rural pubs in Devon, and you are likely to find a great cream tea.
Once you’re looking across the rugged beauty of this magnificent county, it would be hard not to enjoy a simple scone, some tasty Strawberry Jam and some locally churned clotted cream!
Where to stay & how to stay
When it comes to finding accommodation, Devon comes up trumps.
There are hundreds of options available to you – there are some amazing campsites in Woolacombe, and the entire North Devon coast is littered with lovely campsites that will suit everyone, regardless of interests or budgets.
Devon is so hard to beat in so many different ways.
With beautiful coastlines, incredible rural sights, great food, warm weather and a welcome as friendly as you’ll encounter anywhere, it’s hard to think of a reason why you wouldn’t visit while travelling for a good cause!
To maximize your Disney World adventure, you can choose to buy a park-hopper ticket which would allow you to visit all of the four theme parks in this resort.
If you buy in advance and get a one-day park-hopper ticket, you would only pay $64.
If you want to add water park adventures, you would pay $90 for a ticket.
Planning a long trip?
Walt Disney World in Orlando may be a better option, simply because there are far more rides and attractions, as well as more accommodation options, from nice hotels inside the park to big villas just a few minutes drive away.
Each location has its pros and cons, but depending on your travel needs, one may be a better option than the other.
There are also many villas you can choose to stay in if you want a quieter place away from the resort during your trip.
Location and Climate
Proximity to your home may be a large factor as far as travel costs go, but there are other things to consider when thinking about location. Each park differs in climate and weather.
One of the pros to Walt Disney World’s Orlando location is that it has warm weather all year round, although summer days can get to be quite hot.
Disneyland Paris’s weather is milder, but can get quite cold in the winter.
Certain rides at Disneyland Paris may be closed if it is snowing.
Size One of the most major differences between Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World is their size.
The Orlando location is spread across over 20,000 acres of land, while the Paris location is only about one tenth of the size.
Walt Disney World has 23 resort hotels, two water parks, and four theme parks, while Disneyland Paris has only seven hotels and two theme parks.
Rides and Entertainment at Disneyland
Although there are significantly fewer rides and attractions at Disneyland Paris, the parks do share some of the same popular attractions, including Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Peter Pan’s Flight, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Tours, and Space Mountain.
Cost of Disneyland
One of the cons of Disneyland Paris is that generally it will be much more costly as far as park tickets, food and dining, and hotels go.
Most dining options and souvenirs are much cheaper in Florida.
There are many more hotels surrounding the Orlando location, so it may be easier to shop around for a better hotel price if you are traveling to Walt Disney World.
When deciding between Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World, the length of your trip, your budget, and entertainment preferences will be the most important deciding factors that will have an impact on your choice.
Verdict of Disneyland Paris vs Walt Disney World Orlando
Disneyland Paris has been made out of Disney’s desire to build a resort outside U.S.A. that is similar to the original Disney resort in Orlando, Florida.
So in comparing Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World Orlando, we are actually comparing a new one from the original.
When it comes to theme park attractions and rides, Disney World Orlando offers more options.
On the other hand, Disney Paris offers unique attractions and a chance to mingle with people of different cultures.
In conclusion, we can say that in the Disneyland Paris versus Walt Disney World Orlando battle, the original, Disney World Orlando wins.
With its numerous theme park attractions, restaurants and other amenities, Disney World Orlando is still the best Disney Resort in the World.
That is the reason why it is Disney Corporation’s flagship.
However, if you want to learn about new culture and see unique attractions, you should go to Disneyland Paris.
So, what are you waiting for?
Visit Disneyland Paris or Disney World Orlando with your family and let the magic happen right before your very eyes.
Both Disney resorts have their pros and cons.
One park may be better suited for some than it is for others.
Regardless of which location you choose, it’s certain that you’ll have a magical Disney vacation.
Traveling to France
If you are traveling to France, you want to be sure to see everything while you have the chance.
Our Traveling to France sector will make it easy for you to plan your holiday.
With popular cities and lesser-known areas, you won’t miss a thing.
Our articles feature superb eateries, wineries, historic sites, and much more.
In this featured section all about France, you will find useful information about must-see cities, major attractions, beach towns, historic sites, cultural attractions and events, and fabulous French food and wine.
You may even decide to learn French! Use these traveling to France tips and enjoy planning a carefree vacation.
What to see in France
You are planning your big trip to France and need to be certain you will have a good idea of major attractions to see while you are there.
We encourage you to build in time to revisit something you enjoyed or to linger at an outdoor cafe.
Get a feel for the area before you go with articles in our Traveling to France section.
City breaks to Paris aren’t just for the grown-ups, although French food and shopping in Paris is.
There are actually dozens of great attractions for the kids to enjoy in Paris that will make it a strong contender for your summer holiday.
Here are just five ways to keep the kids busy in Paris after arriving on (hopefully) cheap flights.
It goes without saying that perhaps the ultimate place to take your kids in Paris, is to Disneyland.
Comprising of two parks, Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios, inside the resort is where children of all ages can meet their favorite cartoon stars.
See the fabulous themed parades and enjoy the many fantastic rides like Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain Mission 2.
It’s an unforgettable experience that even adults can’t help but enjoy!
Cité des Enfants
If your kids are of the curious disposition, they’ll adore a visit to the Cité des Enfants, a children’s museum that’s as educational as it is downright entertaining.
From a TV studio to a water park, there’s something to delight all of the senses in this colorful, cleverly designed museum.
It’s so fun-filled, you may have a problem persuading the kids to leave.
Dating back to the 19th century, this adorably quaint children’s park has been brought up to date yet still retains much of its old-time charm.
Not that your kids will care, as they’ll be too busy losing hours on the jungle boat ride, exploring the zoo and dodging the jets in the sprinkler park.
Make sure you take the narrow-gauge train from the entrance too for a meandering journey around the Bois de Boulonge.
Le Jardin des Plantes
If you’re blessed with good weather on your trip to Paris, take the little ones for a stroll through Le Jardin des Plantes, a lush and flower-filled botanical garden along the banks of the River Seine that also boasts a zoo within its grounds.
On the other hand if it’s raining, head here anyway to wander around the parks’ natural history museum and see the many hundreds of dinosaur bones that fill the museum’s great hall – a day out the children won’t forget anytime soon.
You might not be able to convince the kids to take a trip to the Louvre, but nearby is the Tuilleries Garden which may be more of a hit with your little adventurers.
In the middle of the garden is a large fountain where you can hire a sailboat for a trip around the park with a difference, plus if you visit during the summer the annual carnival will have been set up in the grounds, complete with giant Ferris wheel.
Best cities to visit in Europe – European travel offers a rich heritage, beautiful sceneries, and iconic infrastructures. Long been a favorite summer destination spot, Europe lures tourists.
Before embarking on a European tour, you need to research well on the places that you want to visit.
Use our Traveling to Europe resource, and plan out your itinerary.
We make it easy, whether you will be able to stay a week, two weeks or longer.
We will help narrow down the countries and cities on your must-see list and inspire you to come up with ideas if you’re not sure where to visit.
With so many unique countries and diverse cities, we offer great tips for traveling to Europe.
Your European holiday is sure to be one to remember with our user-friendly European travel site.
Traveling to Europe in Summer
Summer is a great time to travel to Europe.
However, you need to be ready for the high temperature and the huge tourist crowds.
Summer is a peak season for tourists, so the travel and accommodation fees can be more expensive.
Planning and preparing your travel documents and baggage ahead of time can help you save money, time, and effort.
Traveling to Europe
Do you want to learn more about Europe and where to go for your next holiday?
Traveling to Europe for your vacation may sound overwhelming but our site will help you navigate all the best places to go, how to get there, and what to be sure to see.
Preparations Before Your Trip
When you are too excited for your vacation, you may forget to prepare and bring some necessary travel documents and materials.
This can cause delays and unnecessary problems in your trip.
Here is the list of things that you should do before engaging on your European tour:
Have a Valid Passport
Before travelling to foreign countries, you must make sure that you have a valid passport.
If you do not have a passport yet or your passport has just expired, you need to get a new passport at least 4 months before your trip.
This would ensure you that you will get your new passport in time.
Check Visa Requirements
Each country has its own Visa requirements.
Check for the tourist visa requirements and travel advisories of the country that you want to visit at least 4 months before your trip.
Purchase Plane Tickets
Purchasing your plane ticket ahead of time can help you save money.
Plane ticket prices usually increase a week before the flight date so you should not opt for last minute fares.
There are three ways to get plane tickets.
You can choose to book a flight from a travel agent, purchase tickets online via travel websites, or buy them directly from airlines.
It is recommended that you purchase your ticket around 3-4 months before your flight.
The quality and safety of the place where in you choose to stay can greatly have an effect on the outcome of your trip.
Booking accommodations early can help you weigh your options and make the right choice.
There are many available accommodations in Europe which may range from five-star hotels in Paris to cozy Danish inns, from overnight stays in old Ireland castles to night camps in the Alps, and from skyscraper condominiums in London to houseboats in Holland.
You must carefully research the available accommodations in the country that you are visiting.
There are many hotel reviews online that can give you insights if the place provides good service and is located in a safe environment.
To save money, you must choose accommodations that are near the airport or your travel destinations.
There are some hotels that offer travel service from the airport and straight to the hotel.
Also, you need to decide if you would choose accommodations with complimentary food deals.
Do a Research on the Country that You Want to Visit
Researching about a country is now easy due to the available online resources.
You can research about the culture, language, food, mode of transportation, currencies, and best tourist destinations in the country or countries that you want to visit.
Knowing basic foreign language phrases can help you have a better trip.
You should at least know how to say common greetings, ask for directions, introduce yourself, and seek help.
Why Learning French Can Be Beneficial For Visiting France
Exploring France – Learning French – Hacks to Enjoy France More
France is a beautiful country, and the country is filled with exciting opportunities to explore.
From historical sites to beautiful art, there is no limit to what France has to offer.
If you are planning a trip to this country filled with magic, beauty, and the language of love, then you have to keep two things in mind:
You should make a list of all the beautiful places and attractions you want to see there so that you do not miss out on anything important.
You should be aware of at least the basics of the French language because the French people love their language and prefer to speak in their language only.
Learning French Helps with Interaction
Considering the language is spoken widely in France, and the French people resent speaking any other language, it is a good idea to know a little French before visiting.
This will ensure better communication which is extremely important especially in a foreign land.
Without this basic interaction, you will have a difficult time asking people where to go or which direction to take to reach a particular place.
Also, it is a simple fact that without basic human interaction no matter where you are, getting by becomes a little difficult.
All Sign Boards Are In French
In France, you will find that everything you see around you will be written in French.
Even the maps for tourists available there will be completely filled up with French.
Hence, if you do not know the language or are not even slightly aware of it, you will have a tough time getting around and finding places.
Sometimes, you are in dire need of something and are in a hurry to get it.
If you are in France, with little or no knowledge of the language, and are in such a situation, then you will have no option but to try and comprehend what the French people are saying to you in response to your question.
With urgent situations, you are bound to get irritated and annoyed and the French people will get even more annoyed with you.
Learning French Can Truly Help You Make The Most Of Your Trip
If you are well versed with the language, or even know a few important phrases here and there, you can truly benefit from your visit to France.
For starters, the language can help you vastly in a place which is mostly only French speaking through and though.
Unless you have prior knowledge of the various cities, monuments, and the French traditions and rituals, you will have a tough time and will have to put in a lot of hard work and effort just to get from point A to point B.
Before making a decision to visit and explore the beautiful and ever radiant France, learn the language.
It will help you not only get by, but enjoy a great deal more.
The language will help you get a richer French experience and facilitate you in your day to day activities.
Food menus in restaurants may be written in foreign languages so you need to know at least the famous food and cuisines of the country.
If you are game for an adventure, you can also try the exotic food in the region.
Mode of Transportation
It is quite expensive to rent a car or ride taxis all the time.
In order to go from one travel destination to another, you may take a bus, train, or even a boat ride.
You can also rent bicycles if your destinations are near each other.
It is better to pay in local currencies.
Although many European countries use Euros, other countries have their own currencies so make sure that you would use the correct one.
Most of the time, you can only use your credit card as payment on big establishments.
This is why you should change your money to local currency as soon as you arrive in the country.
Famous Tourist Destinations
Each country boasts iconic tourist destinations, but if you want to avoid the crowd, there are also some beautiful yet not famous tourist spots that you can visit.
If you would conduct a thorough research, you may be able to find unique destinations.
Prepare Your Travel Bag
Preparing your bag early can help you make sure that you would bring the necessary items and avoid excess baggage.
Before packing your bag, you must check the allowed package weight with the airline.
You must also make a checklist of the things that you should bring.
Listed below are some of the things that you need to include in your bag:
Do not bring too much clothes. Just pack clothes that are light and easy to wear.
Also, make sure that the clothes you bring are fit for the weather.
It is better to roll your clothes instead of folding them.
This can help you save space.
Instead of bringing fancy shoes or high heels, you should bring comfy travel shoes that you can wear all day.
This should be light but durable.
Instead of bringing large bottles of shampoo, toothpaste or other hygienic products, you should bring sachets or small pouches to save space.
If you are taking any prescription drugs, make sure that you bring them along with the doctor’s prescription.
You can also bring small bandages and other emergency over-the-counter-medicine.
Do’s and Don’ts of Traveling to Europe
As a tourist, it is important to know the things that you should do and the things that you should avoid doing in the country that you are visiting.
Listed below are some of the general do’s and don’ts that you need to remember if you plan to visit any country in Europe:
Traveling to Europe Hacks
Speak courteously and try to use as much local language as possible.
Learning a few basic phrases won’t hurt.
It can actually help you easily locate your destinations and gain new friends.
Bring your prescription drugs especially if you need to drink it several times a day.
Engage in conversations with locals and try to make new friends along the way.
This would enhance your travel experience especially if you are touring alone.
Bring emergency money in case of theft, lost of baggage, or other unexpected expenses.
Use local currencies. As stated earlier, some stores do not accept credit cards or foreign money.
You can get a currency converter application in your mobile phone to compare the prices when you buy products in local currencies.
Travel light and carry only the things that are needed for the day.
While touring, just bring a small bag with your wallet, camera, umbrella and other necessary items.
Come on time.
you would attend parties, meetings and planned tours on museums and other iconic locations, make sure that you come at least 5 minutes earlier than the appointed time.
Follow the basic street rules of the country.
would not to spend your vacation in the police station.
Don’ts’ When Traveling to Europe
Speak too loud especially in public places or transportation services.
Europeans do not talk to each other loudly in public.
Talk about religion, politics, sexuality, and other controversial topics to avoid arguments.
Spend money like there is no tomorrow.
You should spend your money wisely for it to be enough for your whole trip.
Rely too much on credit cards.
Using credit cards too often would make it more difficult for you to control and monitor your expenses.
Europeans are mostly strict in their schedules so you should never come late.
For example, if a train is set to leave exactly at 10 am, it would not wait for you even if you arrive at 10:01 am.
Throw trash or cigarette on the street. You may pay a huge fine for littering.
Carry huge or heavy items.
You would get tired easily if your bag is too heavy.
Be carry or be involved in any illegal drug possession or smuggling.
Best Cities to Visit in Europe
Travelling to European countries can be both a rewarding and challenging experience.
However, if you follow the tips and guidelines in this simple intro to traveling in Europe, you can have a safe and hassle-free holiday.
Best cities to visit in Europe – Traveling around the Baltic’s I found a new part of Europe that fascinated me, I was amazed how I could be brought up in a neighboring country like Sweden, and yet never give these countries a thought, and I know I wasn’t the only one – in fact I knew nobody who had actually been there.
For some reason these little gems of Latvia and Lithuania are forgotten not only by most of the world but even its own neighbors, despite the impact the Swedish people once had in these countries.
In the Baltic countries I found both a new culture and a new cuisine that I didn’t know existed.
Riga Latvia Taste Of The Baltic
Riga was the city in which we found the best examples of traditional Baltic cuisine.
Riga is the Capital City of Latvia, and has many fun activities to offer.
Lido, a network of 8 restaurants in the city, was a great place to sample traditional food for a cheap price.
The food was stable and hearty, but unlike German food there were some surprising spices and flavors to the cuisine.
The Baltic food is no-nonsense kind of food – they put little effort on the presentation, but it tastes damn good and it fills you up, which is what a meal should do.
I was hesitant to try the food at first, but once I got over myself and tried that purple, slushy, cold soup I trusted that the people knew what they were doing and went with it – they even made cabbage and buckwheat actually taste good..!
I found some new favorite foods there, and the home made Kvass drink which we found people selling on every street corner is a drink I will really miss.
The infamous Kvass which we loved so much was once banned for many years but was back on the streets again in 1998 and is today the most preferred drink in the country.
If you ever visit, don’t miss out on trying this so called “bread drink” made from fermented black bread!
When it comes to food, Riga topped all the other Baltic countries in quality, it was cheap, there was an abundance, and it was really good.
But when it comes to attractions and beauty, I have to be honest and say that Riga wasn’t as fortunate as its neighboring capitals Vilnius or Tallinn.
A lot of tourists come to Riga on a cruise ship and the city is great at marketing itself – advertising cheap holidays online and promoting Riga as “a mixture of both Tallinn and Vilnius”.
This is partly true – but to really get the best experience from this area, you must visit all 3 cities and go to Tallinn for the beauty and its friendly people, go to Riga for the great food and visit Vilnius for the interesting attractions.
Riga Latvia Capital City in the Baltics
If you ever visit Riga, don’t miss out on trying this so called “bread drink” made from fermented black bread called Kvass!
When it comes to food, Riga topped all the other Baltic countries in quality – it was cheap, there was an abundance, and it was really good.
But when it comes to attractions and beauty, I have to be honest and say that Riga wasn’t as fortunate as its neighboring capitals Vilnius or Tallinn.
We’re in Riga, the capital city of Latvia.
Riga has so many different cultures, from Russian, German, to Swedish, so I think it’ll be a really interesting day.
We’re at the Freedom Monument, which is a memorial to all the Latvian people who died during the Latvian War of Independence.
It’s a really majestic monument, and I love the detailed statues there as well.
Today, it’s a really important symbol of freedom for Latvian people.
Behind me is the another love lock bridge.
We’ve seen quite a few of these around Europe, and while Nathan doesn’t really see the point, I think they’re really romantic.
This is, by far, my favorite one, and if I would’ve know this was here, I would definitely have brought a little lock and written our names on it.
We’ve had a great morning checking out Riga.
Now we’ve bought some traditional Latvian food.
What do we have? We’ve bought some pancakes.
We’ve bought some potato pancakes and pancakes with cheese.
Well, that’s the cheese one obviously.
It’s very good.
After lunch, we’re going to check out the rest of the Old Town.
That’s so nice.
We’re standing by the Swedish Gate which was built by the Swedish in 1698 when they occupied the city.
I think it’s a really cool structure, and they’ve got these red flowers above the gate, and I personally think it’s in memory of the executioner who lived above the gate and hung a red rose out the window on the days he was going to kill somebody.
Kind of creepy, but kind of cool as well. Behind me is the House of the Black Heads.
It’s pretty hard to miss, and it’s also one of Riga’s most photographed buildings, and I can see why; it’s absolutely beautiful.
It used to belong to German bachelors who used to host lavish parties here for the rich and famous. Kvass.
Sofia just bought me some of this stuff, it’s called kvass, and she’s forcing me to drink it.
It’s made from yeast.
Drinking – Pretty cool, the girl poured it out of like a beer barrel.
It’s non-alcoholic, smells interesting.
Ah, it’s actually pretty good.
I expected it to be pretty disgusting.
It tastes pretty nice.
It’s really good actually.
Mm, strange…We’ve had a great day walking around Riga.
It’s been really fun to see the different styles of architecture.
You can really tell the Germans used to live here, the Russians and also the Swedish.
So we’re going to finish the day with some Latvian Ice cream.
Budva, our destination in Montenegro, has many nicknames: Balkan’s St Tropez and Montenigrin Miami to name a few of them.
It was different from most of the other places we had been during the Europe Train Challenge, both in nature and in experiences.
With Budva’s chill vibe and scorching heat, we soon found ourselves falling into the rhythm of the town, and it became ok that we didn’t do very much.
The heat lay like a veil over the city during the day – everyone was at the beach or in the shade resting.
We’re not the ”sunbathing and swimming” holiday-making types, so hanging out at the beaches and in the sun all day long is not really our (especially Nathan’s) idea of fun.
But if there is one thing these holiday makers are experts at, it’s knowing how to chill out and do nothing.
In places like this more than anywhere else – people forget about time and keeping track of must see and do attractions.
You’re here to enjoy, to spoil yourself and let yourself do as much or as little of anything you like.
So we walked and talked and sat and did nothing for a few days – just enjoying the ocean breeze and church bells which rang every half hour.
The Old Town of Budva was one of the cutest we’ve seen, and if we would have had more time we probably would have traveled around the the other old towns and beaches as well, but you know how it is with time at places like this – it just slips between your fingers, and before you know it – it’s gone.
We weren’t the only backpackers influenced by the slow pace.
Travelers here came to stay for a few days but ended up staying for weeks, only to leave when they started feeling bad for having stayed at the same spot for too long.
This is where we met one of the funniest and craziest people ever: Julia.
Shortly after having met she sat down in the window and did an improv ”Tango singing performance” for us, and five minutes after that she had already scribbled down numbers of ex-boyfriends and artist friends we could get in touch with at our next destination in Belgrade.
For some reason the travelers here were more social with each other than anywhere else we’d been.
Maybe it was just random, or maybe it was the relaxed atmosphere, that Budva vibe which helped these travelers loosen up a bit.
Whatever it was, I really enjoyed myself in Budva, and if it wasn’t for the Europe Train Challenge, it’s very likely that I would have ended up staying there much longer than we had intended.
Budva Montenegro has many nicknames: Balkan’s St Tropez and Montenigrin Miami are a few of them.
Budva was different from most other places we had been during the Europe Train Challenge, both in nature and in experiences.
The Old Town of Budva was one of the cutest we’ve seen, and we really wish we could have spent a few more days exploring the neighboring towns and beaches.
We started the week by taking a night train from Zagreb to Sarajevo.
The girl at the ticket office busted into a full laugh when we asked for a bed compartment, as though that was the silliest thing she had heard … so we got a seat for 10hrs.
After a long night train without much sleep we arrived in Sarajevo early the next morning.
Sarajevo was from the beginning to end a place with mixed experiences.
It was a beautiful, but rough and severely damaged city.
The old town was very cute and picturesque, but almost like an ”epic” bubble outside the rest of the city.
When you walked through the city it was hard to believe that the war had ended 15 years ago, it seemed much more recent than that.
There were bullet holes in every building, rundown houses everywhere and even some that had collapsed by bombs but not been removed since.
Everywhere you walked, the streets were full of holes and marks from mortar shell explosions (something they today call ”Sarajevo roses”).
It seemed to us as though the people are trying to move on, but everywhere around them are scars and leftovers which make it difficult for them to leave the past behind and move forward.
The city and its people were rough on the outside, but their toughness and straight-forward manner was quite charming when you got used to it, and the mountainous nature in the Bosnian country-side was simply breath-taking!!!
why is no-one talking about it?!
Montenegro, our second country this week – was a whole different experience.
We went to Budva, a town with many nicknames: The Theater City, Balkan’s St Tropez, Montenigrin Miami etc.
It’s one of the touristic pearls of Montenegro – beautiful nature, sunny, and relaxing.
Many tourists stay in Budva for a bit longer to participate in a few of the different adventure tours like rafting, hiking and paragliding.
The old town, where we stayed, was really cute, with so much history – and the fact that it had 17 beaches close by – wasn’t too bad either.
The nightlife was lively and it lived up to most parts of a typical beach and party destination, with some cool culture and history on the side and the old town hadn’t been ruined or exploited at all, but was really well preserved.
After relaxing here for an extra day we headed off on an overnight train to Belgrade in Serbia, where our 6th week of the challenge begins!
Sarajevo Bosnia – A City Stuck In The Past?
Our visit to Sarajevo was a very unique experience, and while we had these sobering impressions, we also had some really nice experiences there.
Bosnia is a beautiful country – full of amazing untouched nature, wild scenery, with some amazing rivers and cute villages.
It’s a part of Europe like no other, and we saw things there we haven’t seen anywhere else in Europe.
We hope you enjoy our Sarajevo video, and stay tuned for at least 1 new video every week – Next stop Montenegro!
Like I mentioned in our Europe Train Challenge: Week 5 Update – Sarajevo was a city which from beginning to end, was a place we had many mixed experiences with.
The old town was so cute and cozy that nobody would be able to resist it – from morning to evening you heard the constant tapping from pots, carafes and plates being decorated by hand in the Turkish quarter.
The fragrance of freshly made Turkish coffee making its way through the winding streets, and everywhere around you people were more busy relaxing in a corner cafe than actually working.
The people here are quite different – walking along the streets you see many facial expressions which are hard to define:
was it anger?
Some people here looked really tough, the type of people you wouldn’t want to mess with – and if you looked around yourself, past the small cute Old Town, you got a feeling that these cold stone faces had their story deeply stuck in the surroundings.
The remnants and signs from the Yugoslav war 15 years ago were still everywhere
collapsed bombed houses, bullet holes by almost every window and holes from mortar shell’s explosions deeply embedded into the foot path.
It felt as though the people were still living in their past, but who could blame them?
It must be hard for the people to move on when they are totally surrounded by their past, constantly being reminded of what happened.
Was this the reason to why everyone was smoking non-stop 24/7?
I’m not exaggerating when I’m saying this – the amount of people smoking really was insane:
public transport, train stations, tourism offices, clothing shops, restaurants – you couldn’t get away from it – once we were told off by a lady for opening a window on the bus, as we gasped for some fresh air.
Remnants and signs from the Yugoslav war
I heard more dry coughs and broken voices from chain smoking than I’ve ever heard before, maybe it is a result from all the pain and stress the people have gone through.
Perhaps we felt the pain even stronger since we were there when Ratko Mladic, also nicknamed “the Butcher of Bosnia” – a Serbian leader during the war who was responsible for a massacre of 8000 Muslim men and boys – finally was caught.
Our visit to Sarajevo was a very unique experience, and while we had these sobering impressions, we also had some really nice experiences there.
Bosnia is a beautiful country – full of amazing untouched nature, wild scenery, with some amazing rivers and cute villages.
It’s a part of Europe like no other, and we saw things there we haven’t seen anywhere else in Europe:
Old men and women hitchhiking their way to town from their houses in the middle of nowhere, shepherds walking their sheep to the next green field in the forest and cows hanging out freely on the road side.
All in all we had a great time in Bosnia, and we found that although many people looked tough on the outside, deep down if you gave them some time they where warm and hospitable on the inside.
Sighisoara Romania – Europe Train Adventure VIDEO
The next morning we were off on yet another train to Sighisoara.
Within 37 hours we had traveled on trains for 30 of them – but it was so worth the extra time it took getting to Sighisoara!
Sighisoara, being one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe, was SO quaint.
The houses looked like they were cartooned, with uneven sides and roofs, many painted in the brightest of colors, and old hunching ladies with scarves over their hair walking down the steep cobbled streets.
After spending 30 hours on trains within 36 hours to get from Turkey to Romania – we headed towards a small town called Sighisoara, which is known as the birthplace of Dracula.
The scenery in Transylvania is very special, and waking up to look outside the window and seeing the thick misty clouds slowly move over the hills and thick forests, mountains and small villages – you realize that if vampires really did exist, this would be the perfect place for them to reside…
To read more about our time in Sighisoara, make sure you check out:
We hope you enjoyed our Sighisoara video.
It’s about 10 pm, we’re about to jump on this train, take the overnight train from Istanbul, Turkey to Bucharest, Romania.
It’s a 20, 24 plus hour train ride.
We arrive in Bucharest tomorrow around 7, 8 pm, so, should be interesting.
We’ll see how it goes.
It’s crazy, I am sweating so bad.
The air con is broken.
We’ve been sitting here for over 20 hours.
I’m absolutely exhausted.
We have a small little window, poking our head out the top just to get a bit of fresh air.
The conductor, I have no idea where he is, we have no idea where we are.
It’s meant to be there a few hours.
I don’t think so, it was running pretty late.
It’s about 4 pm now.
We’re running out of food, so I hope we get there soon.
We made it.
We’re in Romania.
A crazy last few days from Istanbul here.
The train travel was a pretty interesting experience.
Yeah I think we traveled about 30 hours on train out of like 37, but we’re here in Sighisoara.
It’s a village famous for being one of the best preserved medieval villages in Europe, and also for being the birthplace of Dracula.
So we’re going to start the morning by walking along the streets and making our way to the Citadel.
It’s so cute here.
Yeah it’s gorgeous.
Looking around this place, you realize just how old everything is.
That wasn’t a true story, but it was based on the prince who lived here.
He was a bloodthirsty prince who had over a hundred thousand people killed.
Dracula also means “son of the devil.”
When we arrived yesterday in Romania, you could really get that feeling, that eerie, gothic feeling.
Yeah, mysterious, the mist was coming over the mountains and you could actually picture Dracula living here.
We found this really cute café selling only cakes.
That’s so nice.
Yeah so we chose this traditional Romanian apple cake.
Sighisoara is the perfect place to come for a day, especially if you’re based in Brașov, which is the most popular place to visit in Romania.
Unfortunately, we haven’t got much time here since we’re catching the overnight train to Budapest tonight.
Another train ride.
Sighisoara, Romania – Exploring Draculas Home Town
After the longest and most painfully boring train ride I have ever taken, with the electricity broken the entire 30+ hour journey and trapped in a small sauna-like bed cabin grasping for air through the small window that wouldn’t open up properly, we finally arrive at the train station in Bucharest.
The train from Istanbul to Bucharest turned out to be longer than it was supposed to, in fact, it turned out to be the longest and most uncomfortable train ride we’ve taken so far …
We were the only people taking the train the whole way to Bucharest, and after some time we realized why…
The supposedly 20 hour long train ride turned out to be 25 hours, stopping in the most random places, back tracking half the time and taking the longest way to reach the final destination.
25 hours is long but it would have been OK if the power in the train carriage and cabin wasn’t broken.
But yes, the power was OFF, meaning it was pitch dark at night, and since there was no fan or air con working and the windows could barely open up, it was like a sauna in the day.
Having no power makes you realize how reliant you are on it, and with dead laptops you sit there rolling your thumbs while the hours feel longer and longer.
We are the only ones left to get off at the final station in Bucharest – hungry and exhausted we pass out at the closest hostel.
We thought we had made the biggest mistake ever to have planned another train journey already the next morning – but we stuck to our plan, and soon later we were so grateful that we did.
Train ride from Bucharest to Sighisoara, Romania
Which was our final destination in Romania, turned out to be one of the most beautiful routes I have ever traveled.
The landscape was breathtaking with alpine mountains, unexplored valleys, lonesome forts and castles and animals grazing on the green fields.
Many of the villages we passed looked like they had not changed for hundreds of years, with a charming medieval architecture and rural locations.
Sighisoara has made a name for itself for being one of the best preserved medieval villages in Europe.
It was truly a quaint place and it made us really want to go back to Romania to explore more of the country side and villages.
The first interaction we had was with a woman handing out flyers at the station – she was advertising ”Gypsy tours”, which included a tour to a ”real Gypsy village”.
I think it’s strange and wrong to make a tourist attraction out of what in this case was poor people living in misery, many of them spending their days begging in Sighisoara’s streets and at the train station, but apparently this tour was very popular.
However, the reason most people go to Sighisoara wis not ”Gypsy tours”, but to visit the old part of town and cemeteries.
This is the town where Dracula was supposedly born.
Dracula was named and inspired by the notorious blood thirsty prince Vlad III Dracula, who was born in Sighisoara and lived in Transylvania during the 15th century.
Known as Vlad the impaler, he killed up to 100,000 people – mainly by using his favorite method of impaling them on a sharp pole.
It really was like stepping back into the past, and walking around the little town you could imagine exactly what life must have been like in the mideval century.
The scenery in Transylvania is very special, and waking up to look outside the window and seeing the thick misty clouds slowly move over the hills and thick forests, mountains and small villages – you realize that if vampires really did exist, this would be the perfect place for them to reside…
Luxembourg Impressions From The Well Designed Toy Village
We only had one and a half days in Luxembourg, which according to Laurent, our guide – was the average length of a stay there.
Our time in Luxembourg can be summed up with one word = RUSHED!
We arrived at 12pm, met our city guide at 3pm, went to bed at 10pm and caught the train to Paris 8am the next morning … and somehow managed to film this video episode at the same time…
There really was so much to see in Luxembourg, and we left really wishing we had at least 2 more days to see everything.
Luxembourg is a small city, so it’s not a big surprise that people don’t give it more time, but I’m sure that those who have been there for a day, leave wishing they would have had another few days to explore.
When I researched Luxembourg city, someone wrote in an article that if you’re not looking for a job, there is no point in visiting Luxembourg.
This was yet more proof that you shouldn’t always believe what you read online.
Luxembourg is a beautiful city, and the country is full of fairy tale castles.
Our time in Luxembourg can be summed up with one word = RUSHED!
We arrived at 12pm, met our city guide at 3pm, went to bed at 10pm and caught the train to Paris 8am the next morning … and somehow managed to film this video episode at the same time…
There really was so much to see there, and we left really wishing we had at least 2 more days to see everything.
We hope you enjoy our Luxembourg video, and stay tuned for at least 1 new video every week – Next stop Paris!
Being there for one day still left a big impression on me, and here are my thoughts:
Everything is So Well-Designed
Pretty much every building established in the 20th century is designed by some world famous architect – there are also many little houses built in 17th century, but the newer ones stand out in all their glamour.
Like Laurent said, if the banks can afford hiring I. M. Pei (the guy who designed the Louvren glass pyramid) to design their bank building, then go ahead.
Even the supermarket was designed by some world class designer!
You’re Living In Luxembourg Toy Railway Village
Look around yourself, and you’ll feel as though you have shrunken into a little toy figure, living in a miniature village in a kid’s toy railway set.
The bright green fluffy trees, the little river running along the frumpy little cottages in a valley, and high stone bridges where trains come passing every five minutes.
It’s almost unreal in some places!
The Tiny City Feels Huge
Luxembourg only has 90,000 inhabitants, but every day the city nearly doubles in size when people come in to work from out of town.
Many people who work in Luxembourg come in every morning from France, Belgium and other nearby countries, so during rush hour the streets are crammed with people and cars.
Luxembourg was a city of contrast: you could get the impression of a big city or small town depending on WHEN you were outside and WHERE you went.
The old town is quiet, small and quaint, while in the new area you saw high rise buildings, European institutions and men in suits.
The Country Has A Longer History Than You Think
The country has a history dating back almost 1000 years, and although the remaining from the fortress give the city a romantic look today, it was far from romantic for the people who lived there when the fortress was in use.
Luxembourg used to be surrounded by three big stone walls to protect themselves from attack, this made it extremely difficult to get inside the city, but also very difficult to leave.
History is everywhere in Luxembourg, and the people want to keep it that way.
It’s nice to see how they have kept the beautiful old houses and historic buildings, and then have put the modern designed skyscrapers a good distance away from the old town.
What Is The Best Way To Visit Europe
Poll on our site asking how our readers would travel if they had ONLY 2 months to travel Europe.
a) I would try to see as many countries I could within 2 months
b) I would travel to fewer countries but stay in each longer
c) I would visit one country and really get to know it
d) I wouldn’t go to Europe in the first place
We put the last alternative more as a joke, but surprisingly we got a vote even on that one. who was it?! :p
Well, I guess we all want different things in life… Myself I don’t see any reason not visiting Europe at least once in your lifetime if you’re interested in and have a passion for traveling.
The one that got the most votes was b) traveling to fewer countries but stay in each place longer – and to be honest with you, I think I would have to agree with you guys.
I’m a time optimist, but 2 months isn’t a very long time, and I’d prefer getting to know the places I go to on at least some depth before I leave, rather than just seeing the highlights before moving on.
When you actually take some time to explore a country, it starts to show you a different side you first didn’t see.
Plus, after having scraped the surface I want to see what’s really underneath… the *real culture!
However I do understand those who want to see it all in 2 months, that’s part of the beauty of Europe.
Having all these countries with their very own specific culture and language right by your doorstep is SO exciting, and it’s hard to stay away from wanting to see what’s behind the next corner.
I am from Europe, so I guess I have the opportunity to travel one country at a time without worrying about Visa’s or anything like that, but I have also traveled a lot in Europe the fast way.
It’s awesome but a completely different experience, and I also kind of like leaving a country with the feeling that you want to come back again soon for more.
Me and Nathan have both traveled to many countries in Europe, but only a few together and haven’t done a Europe round trip yet.
After a quick trip through a few countries in Europe last summer, we got a taste of the different countries and what they had to offer, and which ones we would like to come back to for a second round and explore in depth – maybe even a bike around every country in Europe trip 😉
The way you decide to travel is very individual, and whatever way you choose to travel is right for you, but I do find it interesting to see how most people like to travel, and now I’m interested in why you like to travel the way you do?
Both for you who voted as well as you who didn’t, I’d love to find out how you like to travel and why, share it with us in the comments below!
Luxury Hotels in Europe – How Much Will It Cost Me?
You reach a certain point in your life when you say I’ve had enough of roughing it as a backpacker and instead want to enjoy some of the finer things in life.
It’s my 30th birthday at the the end of November, so for this guest post I have chosen 5 hotels in Europe that I would love to go and visit for for a night.
I have worked out what it would it would cost to stay in each of them and including travel expenses.
So let’s see if my budget will fit. PS – prices were correct at time of writing this article – they may have changed since so I would take them with a pinch of salt
Hotel Splendido in Portofino, Italy
Voted as the best European hotel in the 2010 Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Awards, Hotel Splendido in Portofino, Italy attracts a loyal clientele of the internationally rich and famous.
Pictures of the star-studded cast of those that make up the hotel’s celebrity guestbook adorn the walls of this sixty-four roomed hotel.
Perched on the hillside above the picturesque natural harbor of Portofino, the hotel commands a grand view over the bay.
From the hotel, a winding pathway leads down to the village and the hotel’s sister hotel, Splendido Mare.
This intimate retreat has sixteen rooms and suites and shares facilities with the larger hotel up the hill.
Genoa is the nearest airport for visiting this luxurious hotel on a dramatically scenic part of the Italian Rivieria.
Budget Damage – £583 per night
Hotel Arlberg in Lech, Austria
Moving from Mediterranean glamour to traditional Alpine charm, the Hotel Arlberg in the quaint Austrian village of Lech, is a quintessentially Alpine retreat offering some of Austria’s best skiing.
In the center of the village, the family-run hotel offers traditional alpine comfort and is renowned for a superlative level of service.
The hotel boasts all the comfort of a modern luxury hotel, with a wood-beamed bar, a choice of two restaurants, and the acclaimed ‘Senses Spa’.
The spa facility includes an outdoor whirlpool, two saunas, steam room, solarium, relaxation lounge and suites offering a range of massage and beauty treatments.
The two gastronomic restaurants are ‘La Fenice’; the hotel’s signature fine dining Italian restaurant, and ‘Die Stube’; offering Austrian specialties in a traditional setting.
For skiing, the hotel is perfectly situated by the slopes for a choice of lifts, and is also popular in summer when the picture-postcard village of is Lech is surrounded by a panorama of Alpine meadows.
Damage – £215 per night
4 Seasons Provence, France
In the countryside of southern France, Four Seasons Provence, Terre Blanche is a resort of self-contained suites and villas surrounded by rolling valleys and mountains.
The style and architecture of the resort takes its inspiration from the local landscape, built from natural wood and stone, and decorated with a palette inspired by the bright sunshine and flowers of the region.
The secluded individual accommodation each has separate living rooms, bedrooms and terraces looking out over the tranquil countryside.
The resort has a large pool, tennis courts, a range of fitness facilities including a large spa extending over two levels; the nearby Terre Blanche golf club has two excellent golf courses.
In the surrounding area are mountains, pretty Provencal villages, vineyards, and the spectacular Gorges du Verdon.
Just inland from the Côte d’Azur, the resort is less than an hour from Nice airport.
Damage – £329 per night
Chewton Glen – Hotel, Health & Country Club, UK
Swapping countryside and ‘rivierias’ from the French to the English, Chewton Glen – Hotel, Health & Country Club, is situated in green and rolling Hampshire countryside not far from the beaches of the South coast and the New Forest National Park.
Just two hours from central London, Chewton Glen is a historic country house dating back to the early 18th century, with decor of antique furniture and fabrics to retain the traditional style in a sophisticated manner.
Traditional English activities such as croquet, shooting and archery are on offer to guests, as are traditional breakfasts such as a gourmet incarnation of ‘the full English’, and Kedgeree or Kippers.
Fine dining for other times of the day are served in the Marryat Restaurant.
The resort spa offers something for everyone, including exclusive beauty and body treatments, fitness, pool, and sauna and steam room facilities and the estate grounds have a golf course, tennis courts, and an outdoor swimming pool.
Damage – £303 per night
The Augustine Hotel in Prague
Similarly, The Augustine Hotel in Prague gives new purpose to an ancient building.
This new hotel is located in the heart of the city, close to Prague Castle, and has been created from a complex of seven buildings including an ancient monastery.
The hotel is carefully designed to preserve the features of the old buildings, including cloistered terraces, vaults and stone arches, and incorporates courtyards and elegant garden squares.
The hotel has 101 elegantly-designed bedrooms including 16 suites with views over the courtyards, monastery or castle.
All rooms feature decor inspired by early 20th century Czech cubism, with designer chairs and chaise-lounges.
For relaxation, the hotel’s spa has four treatment rooms, and a special hammam for heat treatments.
Damage – £234 per night
OK – so the grand total for my 5 nights is £1,664 but of course I need to factor in travel costs as well. Doing a *very rough* calculation I have worked this out as 1468 km (912 miles) for the whole trip.
Obviously my preferred mode of transport must reflect the caliber of my hotel selection therefore I’ll travel by helicopter 😉
I’m not up 100% familiar with the cost of hiring a helicopter however from my research it seems £15 per mile is a realistic cost.
Taking this into account my travel costs come in at £13,680 – oh what a birthday! 🙂
Ok so the outcome of this is that the total cost for this luxury trip will cost me £15,344 or £3068.80 per night – I think I’m worth it.
The British people are known for being crazy party-people, heading to the pub after work and staying up til the early hours of the morning.
While many of them like to travel to Greece and Tenerife Spain during the summer to party, many also choose to go somewhere closer, and spend the summer holidays partying in a town nearby.
A lot of students also take the nightlife into consideration when choosing a place to live for a few years.
Whatever your reason is to find good party cities in Britain, you will find plenty of options, below are some of the best cities for party people in the UK: Beautiful Cities In The UK
Party Cities In The UK
Brighton, a charming city in the south of England with bars, restaurants and nightclubs lining up along the sea front together with beach side resorts.
It’s warmer than most of England which makes it possible to enjoy the beautiful long beach during the summers.
It’s also known as having some of the best nightlife in the country, and what most people rave about is the live music scene.
There are a large number of events throughout the year as well, which makes it a vibrant, variable place to be in.
One of the most popular events is the Brighton Festival, the second largest festival in the UK.
Manchester is a city in northern England which has gone from once having a bad reputation from its industrial days, to being one of the most thriving metropolitan cities in the UK.
The city manages to balance the modern and metropolitan together with local charm very well; mixing trendy bars and cozy boutiques in the Bohemian quarter, with the Gay Village and the big urban shopping district.
The nightlife is great, offering everything from fancy high-profile clubs to quirky places like ”The Temple Of Convenience” which is an underground public toilet converted into a club – apartments Manchester are surprisingly easy to come by, and even if you’re just planning to stay for a couple of days or a few weeks, you can rent apartments for short term basis.
A visit to England wouldn’t be complete without spending some time in London. It’s more expensive than the rest of England, but it has literally everything you could ever ask for; big, small, local, crazy, cozy, world famous, underground… you name it, but the nightlife in London is for every taste and likes.
The hotels in London are generally pretty bad, in fact many have been rated the worst in the world, so we would recommend staying in apartments London instead.
You often get more value for your money, the standard is higher and it’s more convenient.
It’s also a city with events and happenings all throughout the year.
There is no day or night in the city which doesn’t have something special going on, and it’s the place where all big artists come to play.
Beautiful Cities in the UK
There are more fascinating cities to the UK than just London – and many more beautiful as well.
Here are our top list of the most beautiful cities in the UK we recommend you visit:
Edinburgh Beautiful Cities In The UK
Edinburgh is often referred to not only as one of the most beautiful cities in the UK, but the whole of Europe.
With its beautiful streets in the Old Town and the Edinburgh Castle this city leaves the visitor with a memorable experience.
The city is one of the best preserved medieval cities and with its narrow closes (alleyways) and Gothic architecture, it’s easy to imagine what life must have been like a few hundred years ago.
Both the new and Old Town have been granted Unesco Heritage Site, which tells you something about the beauty in Edinburgh – it’s everywhere.
Hotels in Edinburgh are cheap and there are many to choose from, but if you want to stay in the most cultural and beautiful part we recommend aiming for the Auld Reekie (Old Town).
Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the city has some of the most beautiful architectural buildings and sites in the country.
Its name reveals the most popular feature of the town, its baths…
The city was established as a spa resort already in AD43 by the Romans who built them around natural hot springs (the only ones existing in the whole of UK).
Today you can use the same mineral-rich waters that the Romans used and soak in one of the hot baths in the city.
The town itself is strikingly beautiful with neoclassical buildings and Roman remains, and is a perfect place to go for a weekend trip.
Cardiff is the capital of Wales and has to be one of the greenest cities in UK. Nature is not only within a close distance to the city, surrounded by some of the distinct beautiful Welsh nature, but it’s everywhere in the city as well.
Cardiff has more green spaces per person than any other city in the UK, and is nicknamed ”City of Parks”.
But while the parks offer some great things to do and a nice place to hang out, UK’s most beautiful National Park, Breacons Beacons, is very close.
Wales has a lot to offer the visitor, and since hotels in Cardiff are quite easy to come by, it’s a good place to base yourself in while traveling around Europe. Fun ways to enjoy in Wales.
York is an ancient cathedral city with some of the best preserved historical buildings and structures in Europe, and with the narrow streets and a 13th century wall it’s easy to see why it is known as one of UK’s most beautiful cities.
With a long history dating back to the Roman times, once captured by the Vikings, tehre is a lot of fascinating history to explore here, like the Jorvik Viking Center.
However, the best thing to do to really enjoy the beauty of the city is to walk around the city walks to the many viewpoints and discover the Snickleways (medeival alleys) with its many tea rooms and shops (most of which used to be butchers’ shops, and the hooks from which caresses were hung are still there in many of the places).
It’s also worth mentioning that the city has more to it than beautiful medieval churches and houses, it’s nicknamed the festival city due to its many festivals throughout the year – although that has nothing to do with beauty, it’s definitely a bonus!
Spending A Day In Helsinki Finland
Surprisingly few travelers who visit Europe and travel around ever make it all the way to Helsinki Finland – this means that the few people who do are rewarded with less annoying crowds and a warm welcome by the locals.
Spending A Day In Helsinki Finland
But while Finland seems difficult getting to, it is actually pretty easy – overnight ferries leave daily from Stockholm, and from Tallinn Helsinki is just a couple of hours away by ferry.
Finland is also considered to be a very safe country, but if you have planned to travel through several European countries it might be wise getting annual travel insurance to be safe no matter where you travel.
If you’re visiting Helsinki for the first time, a guided tour may be the best way to start.
In fact, people usually include a guided tour on any Europe travel plan because it is the fastest and easiest way to see all the important sites very quickly.
After a tour around the city, you can then go back and discover more about the parts that appealed to you, or simply wander around exploring the back streets and corner cafes.
It’s always nice to feel that you have seen the main sights, and get some time to just take in the city and atmosphere as a whole.
Helsinki boasts many historical buildings
Presidential Palace and Parliament building are just two places that are well worth seeing. Finlandia Hall and the Opera House are also nice buildings to check out.
Finlandia Hall is the main concert and congress venue and it was built by Alvar Aalto.
Alvar Aalto had a very important role to Helsinki’s architecture, and has designed many of the modernistic buildings that impress visitors to this day. Another wonderful building that must be viewed is the Church in a Rock (or Temppeliaukio Church).
This was actually hewn out of solid rock and is one of the foremost attractions in Helsinki.
Although a little controversial in its design, visitors and locals alike have now come to love the building.
Try to visit when there is a concert planned here to listen to astounding acoustics!
To experience what life in Finland used to be like, a visit to Seurasaari Island is a must.
Eighty seven buildings form an open air museum where guides, dressed in traditional 18th and 19th century costumes show visitors around.
See spinning, embroidery and troll making activities and buy some old fashioned treats before leaving the place.
You don’t need to take a guided tour around here though, simply enjoying the island and the fresh breeze from the water with an ice cream in hand is a great way to make the most of this beautiful place.
The island is also a popular place to go for picnic, so go to the market hall or the open market on the square and buy some local delicacies like local berries and Finnish pastries, before taking the short ferry ride to the island.