Many visitors think about Bern as simply the capital city, devoid of anything but government buildings and locations where diplomats hobnob and figure out the world’s problems. But that’s not entirely true. While the city certainly does stand as the center of Swiss government, it’s also one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland and in Europe in general. It’s blessed with so much of its original medieval architecture that the entire city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site some 30 years ago. (more…)
Germany boasts a little of everything including wonderful large cities, picturesque small towns, awesome castles, and historic sites galore. But if you want to experience the “green” part of Germany and have a chance to truly get to know the lay of the land, head to the Black Forest, a bucolic wooded mountain range in the southwestern portion of the country where getting close to nature is a way of life. Known as “Schwarzwald” in German, the Black Forest earned its name because the huge, bushy trees in the region – mostly pines and firs – block out the vast majority of the sun so that it doesn’t penetrate the forest, making it quite dark, even during daylight hours.
But The Black Forest is more than just trees. The area, which forms a 93-mile-long rectangle down in the corner of the country, consists of a number of lovely little towns, thermal spas, majestic mountains, a few museums, old historic mines, lots of good eateries, and all those clockmakers who are so famous for their precision time pieces. And with tourism now it’s main source of income, the Black Forest region has done more and more to entice visitors to stay a while and explore the area. (more…)
Croatia is one of those up-and-coming destinations that discriminating travelers from the U.S. are just discovering, though Europeans with wanderlust have long recognized it as superb. While the Dalmation Coast area is among the most popular beach destinations for sun worshippers heading in that direction, the southern islands of Croatia are also becoming more and more well-known, especially the islands of Hvar, Brac, and Korcula.
Located in the middle of the Adriatic in an area that is nothing short of breathtaking, these islands all the ultimate destination for beach goers in-the-know, but also boast more than warm sand and clear, sparkling waters. Most are blessed with lovely boutique accommodations – some that are quite over the top, excellent restaurants, really cool small towns, and historic sights. (more…)
If you’re considering a trip to Belfast, Ireland this year, good for you! For decades, the wonderful Northern Ireland capital was largely avoided…and rightly so. It was long a hot bed for nasty IRA activities including riots, bombings, and more. But today, this tough city shows its gentler side, offering tourists a bevy of opportunities for anyone who loves a good urban destination.
In the 21st century, this small city has become Ireland’s second-most visited destination, coming in just behind Dublin. And even though it’s not very large, you’ll find plenty to do as well as great places to stay and eat, all wrapped up into a very manageable package. As you peruse the list below, you’ll clearly understand all that the city has to offer, including activities and attractions for all ages and interests. (more…)
Do an internet search on Zurich and, no doubt, every informational site you access will tell you all about the fact that Switzerland’s largest city is one of the world’s foremost financial capitals and the wealthiest city in all of Europe. That’s great for the people of Zurich! Read a little further and you’ll find that many publications have dubbed Zurich one of the highest ranked cities for “best quality of life”. That’s terrific, too.
Keep reading through the paragraphs, however, and you’ll also see that Zurich is one of the most fascinating cities on the continent as well as one of the most romantic. Wrapped up in all that luxury and wealth is a honeymoon destination that’s sure to provide you not only with the best Europe has to offer but also with experiences that will create romantic memories to last a lifetime, from the posh hotels that dot the city to the beautiful Lake Zurich to candlelit Michelin-starred restaurants that will provide you with the best meal you’ve ever had. And everything you do and see in Zurich is even better when you share it with your new spouse!
Perched about 200 miles north of London, York, England is one of those cities that you simply must include on your travel itinerary, especially if you’ve got a keen interest in British history. That’s because York is one of the most historic cities in all of Great Britain, boasting ancient walls, eclectic architecture, and a cathedral that is nothing short of all-out breathtaking.
Unlike London, you won’t need several days (or more) to explore York. This historic but compact city isn’t overloaded with attractions but it is a lovely place to explore, especially on foot. You can travel through the city on your own or – better yet – opt for a walking tour led by a local, who will provide you with lessons in past history and entertain you with local legend and more.
Costa Brava, Spain’s “wild” coast, is undeniably gorgeous. If you’re looking for a lovely place to stay and enjoy the beaches of Spain, at least for a day or two, it’s ideal. But what many travelers fail to realize is that Costa Brava – though famous for its lovely coastline – has much more to offer, including charming towns and a huge collection of museums, mostly with an emphasis on art.
Sweden’s third-largest city, Malmo hasn’t always been a popular city on Swedish vacation itineraries. Formerly a very industrial area, it experienced a lot of hard times, especially in the 70s when industry faltered and then again in the 90s when all of Sweden suffered a financial crunch. For years, a large portion of the city’s work sector was unemployed and things looked grim for Malmo.
Enter the Øresund Bridge project, which took flight in 1995. With this massive bridge-tunnel opening in 2000, connecting Malmo with Copenhagen, Denmark, suddenly Malmo had a new reason to live. In addition, Malmo University opened in 1998 and programs to re-gentrify the city in general, especially the harbor area, made it a much more attractive place to spend time. Now, it’s a much more cultural, much more visitor-friendly spot, and worth a few days time if you’re heading to Sweden or Denmark. (more…)
Train travel is marvelous! It allows you to sit back, relax, and take your time, sans the rush of multiple airports and the crazy traffic that is a regular occurrence throughout Europe, even in spots we might not expect. It harkens back to those grand old days of the golden age of railroads, when you were lulled to sleep by the hum of the rails, served dinner in style, and had a chance to get to know your fellow passengers by actually sitting and talking to them.
While train travel is not quite what it used to be – with some exceptions, of course – there are many opportunities throughout Europe to enjoy fascinating rail trips that range from just a handful of hours to more than a few weeks. Which you choose will depend on your time constraints…or, more accurately, whether or not you have any. (more…)
Some families love cities. Others…not so much. So if you’re heading to England for your summer vacation with the kids and don’t want to fall into the trap of spending all your time in the big city, plan for several night stay in the beautiful Cotswolds, an area in west-central England known for its amazing natural beauty.
The area is known for its lovely green areas and spectacular rolling hillsides, and you’ll find that families traveling with kids can partake of all sorts of activities and visit a variety of attractions that the whole family will love, especially if you’d rather be in the countryside than amidst tall buildings and big crowds. (more…)