Where to visit in Europe & travel photos of top European destinations
Category Archives: City Guides
List of European city guides with tips on the best things to see and do in many European cities; with reviews of the top attractions and restaurants .Many of our Europe city guides include insider tips from local residents.
Welcome to my blog, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!
The gorgeous Danish capital of Copenhagen is full of history and culture and can easily keep you busy for an extended stay. This post features 25 things to do in Copenhagen so I can guarantee you’ll find a few of special interest to you.
Say Hello to the Little Mermaid
Undoubtedly the most well-known symbol of Copenhagen is the statue of the Little Mermaid, the title character from one of Hans Christian Andersen’s tales. While she may be smaller than you imagine, it’s probably difficult to visit Copenhagen and not stop by for the obligatory picture.
Like many northern European cities, you can really get a great view of Copenhagen by taking a cruise through its canals. It’s picturesque, relaxing and there are several guided versions that supply you with all kinds of interesting bits of information about the city as you cruise.
Rome is one of those very special cities with so much history and culture that you could easily spend weeks there and still feel you didn’t want to leave. Rome is included in our best European cities to visit post. Our top tips for what to do in Rome is a collation of posts by the Europe a la Carte blogging team, with insider tips from local resident Kimberly Sullivan.
The Estonian capital of Tallinn is a relatively recent find, a city that was pretty much hidden from our travelling radar during the years of the Soviet Union. But when the Cold War ended it certainly sprang to life very quickly and became a hit with tourists, for many reasons – it’s an attractive city with lovely architecture, there are both interesting and unusual things to do. We’ve collated our tops tips into a Tallinn guide to help you plan you visit. Tallin is featured in our best European cities to visit post.
The Belgian capital of Brussels is sometimes overlooked as one of Europe’s less exciting cities but we here at Europe a la Carte definitely think otherwise and Brussels is featured in our best European cities to visit post. Here are some of the great things to do in Brussels from the blogging team, whether your interests are museums, shopping, Art Nouveau architecture or (in my case) Belgian chocolate!
While Bristol may not be the city that jumps to your mind when you think of planning a holiday, it is apparently fourth on the list of the most visited cities in England, and when you discover the long list of interesting sights to see in Bristol, you won’t be surprised. As the hometown of former Europe a la Carte contributor Heather Cowper, we have some very useful inside knowledge and I’ve drawn on Heather’s posts as well as adding some tips of my own to compile this list of top things to do in Bristol.
The Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, easy to find in a large Edwardian building on Park Street, includes all kinds of artefacts like Egyptian mummies, a biplane and a Romany caravan, and it also features excellent temporary exhibitions (such as the Banksy Exhibition it hosted a couple of years ago) which are also free to see.
Coming soon to Bristol, the M Shed looks set to be the key museum attraction in the city. Located at the site of the former Bristol Industrial Museum, the M Shed has been five years in the making and is due to open in June 2011. It will explore life and work in the city of Bristol and as it is located quayside a number of historic vessels moored in front of it will also form part of its exhibitions.
The Georgian House is a restored townhouse turned museum demonstrating life for the wealthy merchant John Pinney and his family back around the year 1800 – and as a bonus, admission is free. Similarly, the Red Lodge, furnished in a mix of Elizabethan, Stuart and Georgian styles also contains exhibitions from its past inhabitants and is also free to enter.
The Clifton Suspension Bridge is probably one of the most recognisable sights of Bristol. Designed by famous Bristol Victorian-era engineer Brunel, construction on the bridge started way back in 1836, although it wasn’t complete until 1864. These days it is not only a tourist attraction but a functional bridge carrying thousands of cars daily.
The Harbourside in Bristol is home to numerous landmarks including Millennium Square, Pero’s Bridge (complete with horns!) and the Steam Train which runs up and down the quay. You can also use the local ferry service to explore the harbour from the water.
And while the Harbourside area of Bristol gets most of the attention these days, the original Old City is also worth a look. The St Nicholas Market, Castle Park, St Peter’s Church and the areas around King Street and Corn Street all include historical buildings mixed with some interesting modern-day shopping and eating.
The recent See No Evil street art project is the UK’s largest permanent display; it’s the product of more than sixty international street artists.
The See No Evil Street Art Project
Family Attractions in Bristol
The Bristol Zoo Gardens once won Britain’s “Zoo of the Year” and is still a quality zoo to visit. It’s 175 years old and some of the animal highlights include red pandas, pygmy hippos and the seal and penguin section. Animal-loving visitors might want to continue the theme at the Blue Reef Aquarium Bristol, an aquarium designed around a large coral reef centrepiece and including various fish and sharks which can be seen from the underwater viewing tunnel.
Bath is known as the oldest tourist destination in Britain and is famous for both its Roman baths and its typical Georgian architecture, and being just 100 miles from London makes it a relatively easy destination for visitors to reach. This compilation of the top things to do in Bath includes the sights dating right back to ancient times, but also has plenty of highlights for Jane Austen fans too!
The most famous thing to do in Bath is to visit the Roman baths. They’re on the site of the only hot springs in England and date back two thousand years, and touring the baths includes checking some underground tunnels along with incredible archaeological finds – and you can even taste the water!
Just behind the Roman baths you can’t miss seeing Bath Abbey, a thousand year old church which is particularly famous because the first King of England was crowned here. You can see this and the baths by following one of the free walking tours which Heather found.
The other sights which pop up most commonly on Bath postcards and tourist paraphernalia are the Georgian style buildings which cover the city. It’s easy enough just to stroll through the main streets and admire the architecture.
Heather visited The Assembly Rooms and Museum of Costume on her trip to Bath. The Assembly Rooms include the Ballroom and other spots for socialising made famous by Jane Austen’s novels. Downstairs, the Museum of Costume showcases the typical styles from the 1800s – some of which you can even try on!
The Building of Bath Museum is small, but often rated as one of the most interesting museums in Bath. In particular, it looks at the development of the Georgian aspects of Bath and includes some great cross-section models to show what Georgian houses looked like both inside and out back when they were first built.
Heather also recommends visiting No 1 Royal Crescent, a townhouse converted to a museum showcasing the Bath of the late 18th century.
Jane Austen Attractions in Bath
Jane Austen may have only lived in Bath for five years, but her legacy to this city has lasted centuries. Whether you’re a true Jane Austen fan or just have some acquaintance with her work (or the films and TV series derived from it), you’ll definitely encounter some Jane Austen-related attraction while in Bath. Keen fans can take the Jane Austen Walking Tour which includes stops at locations featured in her novels and their film adaptations, with knowledgeable guides throwing in Jane Austen trivia with every step.
The Crescent, by Kimberly Sullivan
You can also visit the Jane Austen Centre, a mock-up of her home which even includes some of her manuscripts and personal articles. They run a documentary film inside and it’s also very nearby the actual house where Jane Austen lived while in Bath.
And finally, if you remember the Pump Room featured frequently in Jane Austen’s “Northanger Abbey”, then you can also visit the Pump Room today. These days it is a rather expensive place for a snack but it does make you feel a little bit closer to Jane Austen and her fascinating characters!
If you time your visit for Christmas time, then you can take in the Bath Christmas Markets which are held in the main square outside Bath Abbey (and spread further through the city centre as well), with all the features of a European Christmas market like mulled wine, local foods and handmade gifts.
Munich is probably one of everybody’s favourite German cities (and one of mine, too!). With all the stereotypical Bavarian traditions and plenty of good beer (heard of Oktoberfest?!), it is easily one of Germany’s most-visited cities and it’s easy to spend a few days or a week there enjoying different Munich attractions. This collation of Europe a la Carte’s best tips for things to do in Munich will help both persuade you to add Munich to your must-visit list and give you ideas for planning your trip once you’re there.
Munich is certainly well known amongst beer lovers and is synonymous with the excitement of Oktoberfest. Fortunately, if your visit doesn’t coincide with late September and early October for Oktoberfest, you can visit the Hofbrauhaus all year round. It’s an enormous pub in the centre of Munich with plenty of character and, of course, plenty of beer!
If you are able to time your visit for the Oktoberfest fun, be prepared for Munich to be pretty crowded but for your trip to be memorable (well, depending upon how much beer you consume!). Located on the Theresienwiese, all the major beer companies set up their tents and it’s advisable to get a seat in a tent as early in the day as possible – in many tents you’ll only get served beer if you’ve got a seat. Then sit back and enjoy the traditional costumes, music and good German beer.
Museums in Munich
Munich is particularly rich in interesting museums and their themes are truly many and varied. Perhaps one for the men (or, at least one I’m not particularly intrigued by!) is the BMW Car Museum. However, the museum does sound particularly well put together with interesting and interactive displays on the development of BMWs over the years and just the building it’s housed in is worth a look in itself.
For something totally different, you can try the Munich Toy Museum, located in one of the towers of the Rathaus (Town Hall). There are toys of all kinds from Europe and America from the past two centuries and even an impressive Barbie doll collection.
One of my favourite museums in Munich (or perhaps the world) is the Deutsches Museum. It’s an enormous science and technology museum with excellent interactive displays and exhibitions on a huge range of topics from art to computers to toys – you should certainly allow yourself a good few hours to have a look around.
It’s not just beer and museums that will keep you busy in Munich. The Tierpark Hellabrunn is the main Munich zoo and it has plenty of natural habitats for its large variety of animals. I’m a bit fussy about zoos but really enjoyed this one!
You can get right on top of Munich, literally, by climbing the St Peter’s Church Tower near Marienplatz, the heart of Munich. The view really is impressive and it makes the climb up the claustrophobically narrow staircase well worth the effort.
Sports fans and lovers of green open space alike will be keen to visit the Munich Olympia Park, constructed for the 1972 Olympic Games. You can go up in the Olympic Tower for more great views over Munich, enter the Olympic Stadium, and look around the park areas too.
And finally, if you are in Munich in late November or December, you won’t be able to miss the Christmas markets, spread from Marienplatz through to other smaller squares in the town centre. As you’d expect from a German Christmas market, there is Gluhwein and other drinks to warm you up, plenty of traditional gift ideas and some snacks for sustenance as you browse.
Day Trips from Munich
Inka recommends a day trip to Prien am Chiemsee where you ride on the old steam tramway and visit the Heimatmuseum Folklore Museum, before taking a ferry over to HerrinInsel to visit Schloss Herrenchiemsee, the most lavish castle built for of King Ludwig the 1st of Bavaria.
A heavier going but interesting Munich day trip option is Berchtesgaden, where you’ll find the Institute of Contemporary History Muncih-Berlin, home to a permanent exhibition documenting all many aspects of the Nazi period in Germany.
Here’s my round up of all our travel tips on things to do in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, from our expert Neha. It’s one of those cities that a lot of people pass through on their way to somewhere else but don’t stop to appreciate – I’m guilty of that too, having spent two or three hours there in the middle of the night while changing buses! If you are planning a trip to Croatia, then take some time to explore Zagreb with the help of Neha’s insider tips.
The Croatian National Theatre is also well worth a look, and if you have any interest in opera, ballet or theatre, then check out what will be performed during your visit.
Zagreb’s Old Town is also full of intriguing architecture, including the Lotrščak Tower, which dates back to the 13th century. These days you can climb to the top of the tower for some good views over Zagreb. You should also take a look at the Stone Gate in Zagreb, the only surviving town gate from medieval times.
You will also inevitably come across Illica, the main street of Zagreb. Look out for the cafes in between the numerous buildings; there is also plenty of convenient accommodation along this street and it’s a handy location to stay in.
If you’re visiting in December, then the main city landmark becomes the Zagreb Christmas Markets, with a giant Christmas tree being erected on the main square and numerous stalls being set up to sell all kinds of Christmas fare.
One of the most visited museums in Zagreb is the Zagreb City Museum, housed in an old convent in the Old Town. Exhibits range from artefacts from the Iron Age through to modern models of the city of Zagreb.
Art lovers will get a lot out of this round-up of five Zagreb galleries, including the Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art and the Mestrovic Studio where famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic’s works can be found.
In the Old Town you can find the Croatian Museum of Naive Art; there were several famous Croatian artists in the naive style in the 1930s and they popularised this art form, making this museum full of the works of successful local artists.
And finally, while not quite a park, the tree-lined Strossmayer Promenade is still very green and is also home to the Strossmarte street festival during the summer.
Neha recommendations for locations in which to sip a coffee include Tkalciceva in the city or slightly further afield at the artificial lakes of Jarun or the Sljeme peak (reachable by cable car).
Day Trips from Zagreb
If you want to escape winter in Zagreb, Neha recommends heading about two and a half hours away to Volosko, a small fishing village on the coast which has a reputation for warmer weather. It’s famous for its seafood restaurants so take your appetite with you!
One of the most obvious day trips from Zagreb is to head to the Plitvice Lakes. This is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited and I can’t recommend it highly enough, except to say that rather than making a day trip from Zagreb to Plitvice, try to stay there for a couple of days instead.
There are plenty of great things to do in Dublin, and they don’t all involve drinking Guinness! Like many Australians, I’ve got a decent chunk of Irish blood in me (my grandmother was a Murphy) and I’m sure that’s why places like Dublin are so attractive to me. I’ve compiled some of the best tips we’ve had on Europe a la Carte to help you plan your trip to Dublin. The Irish capital is featured in our best European cities to visit post.
Dublinia houses an interactive history of Dublin during the age of the Vikings and Medieval times. Marcus visited and suggested it would be an especially good outing for families with children.
Next to Dublinia is the beautiful Christ Church Cathedral. It’s the oldest building in Dublin (dating back to the 11th century) and you can get a combined ticket with Dublinia if you want to save some money.
I’m always a fan of libraries and was pleased to hear that Karen particularly liked the Chester Beatty Library on her trip to Dublin. It is situated inside the gardens of Dublin Castle (another great place to visit!) and it’s one of Dublin’s free attractions.
My personal tip for something to do in Dublin is to head to the Dublin Writers Museum – obviously Ireland is home to many famous authors and this museum showcases the lives and literature of writers such as George Bernard Shaw and W. B. Yeats.
Tours in Dublin
For many travellers, visiting Dublin is synonymous with drinking Guinness, and Marcus decided to tour the home of Guinness in Dublin. The tour goes through the Guinness Storehouse and basically covers the history of Guinness (but unfortunately doesn’t show the brewing in progress) – but the highlight comes at the end when all tour participants receive a freshly brewed pint of Guinness.
There are numerous different walking tours to take around Dublin. Marcus took a free walking tour (tips appreciated of course) with a New Europe Tour guide and was impressed that they really ran the tours no matter what the weather, and he considered it a good basic introduction to the city’s sights if you hadn’t been to Dublin before.
Trinity College Dublin
Karen went on the “Original Tour” with a Historic Walking Tours of Dublin guide which cost 12 Euros at the time, but seemed to be well worth it. It takes in sightseeing spots like Old Parliament House, Trinity College, Temple Bar, City Hall and so on and lasts about two hours.
For a tour of a rather different kind, you might try the Dublin Ghost Bus Tour. Lindsay took the tour and found it a little more on the silly side than the scary side, but said it was actually a fun way to learn about some of Dublin’s history in a completely different way.
Shopping and Eating in Dublin
Karen has some excellent tips on where to shop in Dublin in her unique shopping venues in Dublin post from her last trip there. Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre sounds lovely, as does the Powerscourt Centre, built around an 18th century mansion.
Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre
If you’re looking for a good meal, Karen also wrote up reviews of a couple of good restaurants, including Bewley’s Cafe and Restaurant in Grafton Street and the Church Cafe and Bar near the Jervis Shopping Centre. This photo of the Church’s Irish stew is making me hungry!
Irish stew and soda bread
Find the Best Deals on Hotels in Dublin
Click hereto check out the best deals on Dublin hotels using the HotelsCombined price comparison site.
On her last trip to Dublin, Karen stayed at the Arlington Hotel near O’Connell Bridge, which has a very central location and friendly staff.
Dubrovnik in southern Croatia is easily one of my favourite European cities, because it seems to have everything I like: beautiful views of the sea, UNESCO-listed historical beauty, great food and friendly people. The city is featured in our best European cities to visit post. This collation of our tips for what to do in Dubrovnik should help you plan your trip or simply inspire you to add Dubrovnik to your list of must-see places in Europe.
The old walls of Dubrovnik are between five and eight hundred years old (they took a few hundred years to be built!) and are certainly one of the sights which give Dubrovnik so much charm. You can walk around the top of the walls in as little as an hour, but take your time and spend closer to half a day doing it if you can.
In the old town, exploring Stradun, the main street, will give you a good overview of Dubrovnik in a short time. Its gorgeous architecture is reason enough to take a walk here but there are also plenty of sights located in just this small area, including the Onofrio Fountain, the Sponza Palace, St Blaise Church, the Bell Tower and the Franciscan Monastery Pharmacy.
For a Dubrovnik attraction which (for once) is just outside the city walls, visit Fort Lovrijenac – you’ll probably have had a good view of it from the walls, and the entry price is included in a city wall ticket, so take the extra stroll and do it! You can get even more incredible views from the towers of the Fort and you might come across some newly-weds – it’s a very popular wedding photo venue.
With Dubrovnik often feeling a little over-run by tourists these days, it’s great to find something that still seems like it’s really for the locals. The morning market in Dubrovnik is held on Gundulićeva Square near the Rector’s Palace and amongst the fresh produce you’ll even find some stalls selling some locally-made souvenirs.
There are lots of fabulous day trips to make from Dubrovnik, and the most popular ones involve visiting some of the many islands situated nearby. Some of Neha’s island day trip suggestions include Korcula, Mljet and the group of 14 islands which make up the Elaphite Islands. You can use regular ferry services to these islands or join tour groups – take your pick – but you can guarantee a very scenic day out either way.
The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.