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Tours in Europe
It is popular for tourists to visit Europe in Summer especially the northern countries such as Sweden, the days are long and boy do the people make up for that long and cold winter. It is a popular destination to go inter-railing where you buy a pre paid train fare that works across the various countries. It is popular for the backpackers.
When people talk about going to Europe, their first mention is the usual England, France, or Spain. For the "been there, done that" crowd, how about heading to Albania?
Albania? Who travels to Albania? Anyone who wants to try something totally different than the usual European Tour, that's who.
This Eastern European country is really known for bird watching; where you can see everything from eagles to herons, and even Dalmatian Pelicans.
History buffs will appreciate the 2500 year old ancient city of Butrint, and the archaeological sites of Apollonia. While Berati was once an Ottoman city.
There's even a castle to get excited about. Rozafa Castle has a centuries old military history. The capital city of Tirana is known for its religious art and its cultural scene.
Tirana always seems to have something going on, mostly what could be considered the "finer things in life", like the Opera, Ballet, or Classical music concerts.
The outdoorsy type should jump at the chance to go whitewater rafting along the Osumi River, or hike the Albanian Alps. Biking through the Gramoz Mountains might be a bit grueling, but so worth it when you see the vistas from the high vantage points.
It won't be too hot to do it, since Albania enjoys a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers. It can, however, get downright cold and snowy in the mountain regions.
This might be why Turkish coffee is so popular here--designed to keep you warm at night. It does have a Balkan spin on it though, the grinds and sugar are brewed together.
Other Albanian delights include Koran, a trout dish; and Kurkurec, which is like Albanian haggis--sheep innards cooked in..well, nevermind.
Think about shopping at the bazaar in Kruja instead, full of felt makers and rug weavers.
Getting around in Albania isn't all that easy, but worth the time and effort. There are no domestic flights between towns, and the rail network might be slow--but it'll give you the chance to see the countryside. A ferry links Komani to Fierza, and taxis can take you around in the bigger cities.
For most foreign nationals you don't need a visa to visit Albania, just a passport and return ticket to somewhere. Medical insurance is recommended since only basic services are available throughout the country. Avoid eating dairy products and drinking bottled water should help keep you healthy.
It isn't a big deal if you don't speak Albanian (the official language), as Greek and Italian are widely spoken. As is French and English--so you'll do just fine in a land that is just off the usual "European Tour".
Things to do in Andorra:
You can try some of the spas in the area of Andorra la Vella and then in the evening follow the local crowds up to the views of the Placa del Poble.
There are great hikes to be had anywhere here but try Llorts for some obvious trails.
The mountain biking is exhilarating at La Massana.
The wintersports resorts Soldieu - El Tartar, Pas De La Casa, and Arinsal are what place Andorra on the map.
The ski area is known as La Grandvalira is the largest skiing area in the Pyrenees. If you are looking for Apres ski then be careful its not so lively but Soldieu is pretty good. Don't believe that its as cheap as it used to be but its pretty good when compared to the other eurozone rip offs.
Tours in Armenia:
Things to do in Armenia:
But for starters, you have to know a few things about Armenia that'll help you navigate your way around. This isn't your average European vacation destination, and some patience is richly rewarded to one of the world's most friendliest countries.
It is also said to be the oldest Christian country in the world--the official religion since 301AD. Throughout its 29,000 square kilometers you'll find just short of a bazillion small churches and chapels smattered all over the place.
Some really high up, considering only 10 percent of Armenia is below 2,200 feet. That means winters can get really, really cold--and snowy for that matter. So, unless you're a polar bear--that means Armenia is best enjoyed in May and June, September and October. OK, July and August are great, too.
These are the best times to see some of Armenia's 346 species of birds--more than half of the 500+ species found within Europe.
Armenia is also known for its caves--the cave homes, found close to the town of Goris, are known all over the world. Other areas that should appeal to lovers of the outdoors would be the Alpine lakes in Dilijan, and all the hiking and horseback riding trails. Or, fishing at Lake Sevan, either.
For city life, head to Yerevan, Armenia's capital city, where you can see the National Gallery and the Yerevan Library--home to over 13,000 historical manuscripts.
Over in the city of Echmiadzin is the Cathedral of St. Gregory--said to house the spearhead relic that speared the side of Jesus. You shouldn't leave out a visit to Armenia's Geghard Monastery, built more than 1600 years ago.
In addition to all the religious sites in Armenia, the country is famous for its Opera, Theater, and Ballet performances. They're top quality considering how inexpensive tickets are.
To get around in Armenia to all these wonderful places isn't easy, but worth it. There aren't any domestic flights between cities, and roads are poor. Rail might be slow, but it is one of the most convenient ways to move between places. In Yerevan, there's a small subway system and taxis are readily available--just negotiate fares beforehand.
It is best to take out medical insurance before you leave, since even crossing the street can be, ah, hazardous. Drivers in Armenia look at stop signs and red lights more as suggestions.
Armenians aren't trying to be rude--in fact, they are some of the friendliest people. Hospitality is key--and they'll make you feel totally welcome, even if you don't speak Armenian.
Who cares if you don't speak the same language--just enjoy an Armenian Brandy like Dvin with your new found friends. A smile and good drink will go a long way.
Austria, where the moustaches are just so.
Visit Graz, the birth place of Arnold Swarzenegger and a lovely City clock, the Amazing architecture that looks just plain weird.
With the mention of things like wiener schnitzel and apfelstrudel, you might think yourself in Germany. Close. It is the German speaking nation of Austria.
Austria might speak German, but they are a tad different than its Alpine neighbor, or its seven other neighboring countries, by the way.
Most people are familiar with the capital city of Vienna, or Wien, as its written in German. This is one cultured city, full of little coffeehouses, wine gardens, restaurants, and all the Opera, Ballet, and Theater performances you can take in.
During the summer you really need to see the Floating Opera. No, it isn't the name of one--but a floating stage.
Outside Vienna, Austria is a country that sports lovers and history buffs can agree on. Austria has some 150 golf courses throughout its 83,000 square miles--and one of the prettiest places to do it is in the shadow of the Alps at Zell am See.
Hiking and biking through the Alps are two of the best activities in Austria, and visiting the Ice Caves, just outside Salzburg, is too.
Some say that the best time to visit is June to September, but then you'd miss out on all the winter sports. Austria's got it all--ski resorts that offer skiing (of course), snowboarding, sleigh rides, ice skating, and tobogganing.
Tirol is a winter sports lover's dream. The region is full of small Alpine villages, castles, and even a cablecar for a birdseye view.
The warmer months bring on the festivals, though. Yes, Bavaria in Germany is famous for its Lederhose, but Austria is the one with the Lederhosen Festival (in Windischgarsten). Is that kind of the chevvy chase scene in the national lampoons vacation film where they start slapping each others thighs ?
Another great event is the Johann Strauss Ball at the Hofburg Palace. And Salzburg is the birthplace of Mozart. You can hear his best work in your head as you wander around the Alte Galerie with all its Gothic paintings in the town of Graz.
To make it even better in Austria, you'll find that getting around is simple and efficient. Buses, metros, trains, and trams run punctually--and the 5,700 miles of rail can zip you just about anywhere you need to go.
Ferries run along the romantic Danube River between Spring and Autumn, as do they operate on the Bodensee--or Lake Constance (bordering Switzerland and Germany) as its called in English. Other lakes worth a mention are the Wörthsee and Wolfgangsee. There are some fabulous tours here on these impressive waterways.
Austria even has its own rainforest, found in the Donau-Auen National Park. And just about half the country is totally forested. Just be careful of ticks if you're going to trek it in the warmer months.
There really aren't any other health risks involved when visiting Austria--just to your waistline, since you'll find all kinds of delicious desserts. There are some 60 kinds of tortes alone to eat.
Austrian wine and fruit schnapps are delicious too--no wonder there are so many sporting activities in Austria, you got to work off all those scrumptious calories. Forget asking what the German word for diet is.
Along the Caspian Sea is Azerbaijan, a country that's so opposite the typical tourist destination. In fact, they really don't have all that much tourism. Sounds perfect for anyone who wants to get a feel for what it's really like.
Azerbaijan is a country of valleys and mountains, with a semi-arid desert thrown in just to make it even more interesting. This is a predominately Muslim country, but you'll find it to be quite secular. But, if you are going to visit--please try to dress modestly.
Getting that out of the way, think about getting around. The capital city of Baku is conveniently located to make your way from here. Baku's Metro system will zip you around the city, otherwise negotiate fares with taxi drivers beforehand.
Azerbaijan's rail system might not be fast, but it's exceptionally affordable. And if you're going to head up into the mountains, think about getting yourself a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
Baku can keep you busy for a while, though. So no need to head out too quickly. Its walled city is a UNESCO site, and the Shirvan Shah's Palace dates to the 12th century. The Maiden's Tower offers a 360-degree view. A good place to scope out all the ancient buildings you want to see.
Over in the village of Xinaliq you'll find an Iranian ethnic group known as the Tats--there are only about a thousand Tats living here, but they retain their own identity in a sea of over 8 million Azeris.
Azeri is also the name of the official language spoken in Azerbaijan, but you'll also hear Russian. Understandable since the country once belonged to the Soviet Republic.
The name Azeri also applies to the wonderful carpets you can buy here, as well as silk and ceramics. The Sharg Bazary in Baku is a great market to buy yourself something.
You might think nothing could compare to the beauty of an Azeri carpet, but Azerbaijan's scenery shines. The Yanar Dag, or Wall of Fire, should be seen at sunset; and the Beshbarmaq Dag juts some 520 meters overhead.
Eating in Azerbaijan is equally as wonderful, influenced by both Turkish and Asian cuisine. Since much of Azerbaijan tends to be warm, try Dograma, a cold potato and cucumber soup. On the cooler nights try some Piti, made with chickpeas and mutton.
Even being a Muslim country, of sorts, you can find all sorts of wines and brandies--although the drink of choice is tea.
All you need to experience Azerbaijan is a passport, and most foreign nationals can get their visa on arrival--but it's best to check with the consulate. Be sure to take out comprehensive medical insurance before you leave, and used boiled or bottled water only. Dairy in dishes and beverages is OK, just make sure you've cooked the veggies and peeled the fruit.
You wouldn't want anything to stop you from taking in any of Azerbaijan's Operas, Ballets, or Theater performances, would you? No, didn't think so.
Anyone familiar with World War II history might've heard of the region known as White Russia, or Belorussia. Today that area is the country of Belarus, a land of forests, lakes, and a very welcoming people.
If you're lucky enough to come to Belarus, and only get to see one thing make sure it is the wildlife. The Belavezha Wood is full of hiking trails where you can see everything from bison to bears and wolves. The entire Wood is a UNESCO Biosphere, and a real treat.
The outdoors don't end there, the Baslav Lake District (bordering Latvia and Lithuania) has some 30 lakes--find one you like and stick around for a picnic.
Museum lovers will want to head to the capital city of Minsk, where you'll find the the National Museum and National Arts Museum, just to name a few.
The Museum of History and Archaeology is found in Brest, as well as a medieval fortress and Puppet Theater. There's another castle (11th century) over in Grodno, and a 14th century one in Novogrudok. However, it is the 15th century Mir Castle that's earned a UNESCO designation.
In between museum and castle visits, try some locally made beer and vodka. You can get it anytime, day or night. And if you're really adventurous, try the Beloveszhskaya Bitters.
As flavorful as the drinks are, the food is too. Try some Borschch, a soup made with beetroot, or Dracheny, a potato and mushroom dish.
Just make sure you don't go picking any of your own veggies found within the forests. There is still a high level of radiation from Chernobyl, so exercise caution.
You'll be too busy shopping for handicrafts and Matreshka Dolls to go mushroom picking anyway. Or, heading to one of Minsk's discos, bars, or nightclubs for that matter. Don't rule out an Opera or Ballet performance, either.
Belarus might be covered a third by forest, but the rest of White Russia, is stunning and historical. You better hope you don't have to choose only one thing to see.
Most people when thinking of Belgium might think of chocolate, or the Manneken Pis. For some it might be places that talk of WWI or WWII history. For others, it might be little towns that date back to their medieval glory days.
Whatever your reasoning for coming to Belgium, be sure to know that you'll find all this--and plenty more to go along with it.
Belgium is kind of small, just 30,000 square kilometers divided into three regions. Wallonia, is the French speaking region, filled with all sorts of fantastic castles--more per capita than just about anywhere in the area.
Flanders, where Dutch is the language of choice, is where you'll find Flanders Fields, a World War I Battlefield.
Up here in the northern part of the country is Bruges, with its UNESCO Old Town and little canals. No wonder it's called the Venice of the North. Ghent is another medieval wonder, full of cobblestone streets alongside totally modern buildings.
Antwerp is the diamond center, and a great place to buy yourself some. For anyone who'd rather be pampered, check out the spas in Spa.
Shopping can be therapeutic too, so get some wonderful lace made in Bruges, or Belgian chocolate to bring home.
You can't live by chocolate alone, so try a few of the 400 different beers made here--even by Trappist Monks. One of the most famous of Belgian beers is Stella Artois.
A beer goes great with just about anything--but exceptionally so with Ardennes sausages. Most Belgian cuisine is influenced by French cooking, except that French Fries are believed to have originate here; and eaten with mayonaise (a personal favorite).
Getting around in Belgium is quite easy (easier than deciding what to put on your fries), as there is an excellent network of roads, its rail system is fantastic, and its public transportation is safe and efficient. A cruise along Belgium's canals are a charming way to see the place.
Maybe now if someone asks about Belgium, more things will come to mind.
Bosnia and Herzegovina Please send us your tours and interesting destinations in the fascinating land.
Tours in Bulgaria: We currently don't have any tours in Bulgaria please suggest to us.
Countries come, countries go, but Bulgaria remains. In fact, it has kept its name for almost twelve hundred years. Be that as it may, Bulgaria is a country of ski resorts and beaches, conservative attitudes with a Mediterranean flavor.
The capital city of Sofia is the best place to start any Bulgarian journey, a place dotted with architecture from the best builders through the ages; from the Greeks, Romans, Turks, to the stunning Byzantine. That's all in addition to the art galleries, churches, and museums.
Venturing outside Sofia the best place to be is the Black Sea, full of beaches that can be enjoyed from May to October. It gets cold here in Bulgaria in the winter, so enjoy the beaches while you can.
Near the Black Sea you'll find ancient mineral spas, a perfect place to relax after hiking and mountain biking. The prettiest place to hike is the Trigrad Gorge, full of caves with names like the Devil's Throat Cave.
The Valley of the Thracian Kings is full of ancient burial mounds--another wonderful place to hike. It wouldn't be right to leave out the Rose Valley, blooming to its full glory in May and June.
The Middle Ages lefts its mark on Bulgaria--and you'll see the best of it at the Batchkovo Monastery (b. 11th century) and the Rila Monastery, built a century before that.
Wherever you go in Bulgaria it's safe to eat and drink just about whatever you want. And local specialites include the cold cucumber soup known as tarator, and surmi--meat stuffed cabbage leaves.
Bulgaria makes its own wines, and in the area of Melnik there are wine cellars to visit to sample them. The rich reds are delicious.
Getting around in Bulgaria is simple enough, even if you don't know how to read the Cyrillic alphabet or speak the official language of Bulgarian. English, German, French, and Russian are all widely spoken.
All the better to be able to see the cobblestone streets of towns like Plovdiv, framed with little cafes and shops.
Then again, screaming down one of the downhill ski trails in the Balkan Mountains trancends any language. During the warmer months biking causes the screaming down the mountainside.
Biking the mountains isn't all that easy, but for the most part getting from place to place in Bulgaria is relatively easy. There are all sorts of buses, planes, boats (along the Danube and on the Black Sea), trolleys, and trams to get you around. Driving around the mountain region isn't exactly the best idea to do on your own, so get a local to take you around if necessary.
What else is necessary is a passport and an ongoing ticket, which isn't even required if you're from the European Union. Most foreign nationals don't even need a visa. But, best to check with the consulate before you've left home.
Fantastic, all the easier to get to Bulgaria's historical sites, ski areas, and beaches--and screaming down the mountain, of course.
If you're truly seeking a place in Europe that has just about anything and everything you've ever wanted, Croatia is it. Spread out over 56,000 square kilometers, Croatia is a diver's dream with enough historical sites to make any history-buff fall in love.
The best place to go diving is Vis, where you can find all sorts of shipwrecks under the surface. The Blue Grotto is a serene place to visit while you're here; and the Mediterranean influenced weather means you've got from May to October to experience it all.
The busiest time of year is its warmest, from July to August. The rest of the year is pretty cold in Croatia, although its mostly known to snow more inland.
Even if you don't dive, Croatia offers all sorts of watersports, like kayaking and sailing to name just a few. Walking along Dubrovnik's Marina could count as a "watersport".
For the history side of Croatia, you won't want to miss cities like Dubrovnik with its medieval walls from the 13th century, monastery, and Baroque churches.
The captial city of Zagreb offers a stunning cathedral, museums, and lots of cafes to watch the world go by. It's got a happening nightlife with pubs, cocktail bars, and nightclubs for some serious nighttime action.
Don't be shy--all of Croatia's food and drink is safe.
Speaking of drinking, Hvar is a good place to try some locally made wines, while places like Pula offer Roman ruins like the Ampitheater; and Split is a third century AD town that's got a UNESCO designation.
Inasmuch as Croatia is great for diving and history, it's a wonderful country to experience nature. The Slavonia Kopacki Rit Nature Park is just the place if you're looking to do some birdwatching. And you've also got the Brijuni National Park spread out over 14 islands to do the whole flora and fauna thing. It's even better if you can squeeze in a round of golf here in the park.
Getting to all of Croatia's sites is made easy by its extensive network of public transportation, ferries, and trains (excect to/from Dubrovnik that has no train service) makes getting around simple and efficient. Within cities the public transport is good, and bike rentals are readily available. No need to worry about speaking Croatian, everything from Hungarian to Italian, English to German (Slovenian, Serbian, etc.) is spoken throughout the country. Besides, you'll be too busy eating Black Risotto and drinking the local wines to think about talking.
What you need to be thinking about is shopping. Croatia offers some terrific deals on lace, embroidery, ceramics, and glass jewelery. Perfect, all small enough to fit in your luggage to bring home.
Great souvenirs to bring home to brag to your family and friends about how wonderful a place Croatia is. And with a population just over 4 million, it's not crowded at all. It's almost like you'll find you have the Adriatic Sea all to yourself--now that's a real vacation.
The Persians, Egyptians, and Romans knew a good thing when they saw it; and see it they did in the island country of Cyprus. They didn't want to leave, and neither will you once you've seen the rugged and sandy coastline, and tasted its fresh seafood dishes.
Most of Cyprus speaks Greek, but German, French, Turkish, and English are spoken1 throughout most of the island, especially in the tourist areas like Ayia Napa.
This is where you'll find some of the best nightlife; and some of the best seafood around. Try dishes made with prawns and seabass, they won't disappoint. Go ahead, try everything on the menu--Cyprus' food standards are totally safe.
Not all of Cyprus is the beach-going scene. Skiing is done up in the Troodos Mountains; and where you can see some wonderful old churches, hike through the forest, and see Mount Olympus (the highest point in the country).
The thought of Mount Olympus brings on images of Greek Gods, so only fitting that the Baths of Aphrodite are here, which is a freshwater grotto pool pretty as Aphrodite herself. You'll find a Temple dedicated to her in the town of Kouklia, so beloved she is here on Cyprus.
Long after the days of Greek Gods and Goddesses, the Middle Ages came to Cyprus. The Kykkas Monastery was built during that time (1100AD), which you can learn more at its Museums, after you've seen all its icons.
Although not in as good a shape as Kykkas, the Bellapais Abbey is a 13th century ruin located in the northern part of the country.
No one should ever leave Cyprus with seeing the Pafos Medieval Fort; or the St. John Cathedral in Nicosia, the capital city. This isn't the only church in town, the city is full of Byzantine Churches scattered everywhere.
Shopping is just as important as anything else in Cyprus, so make sure you leave room in your luggage to bring home lace, silk, pottery, and jewelry. After all your souvenirs are taken care of, go see the flamingos that stop at the hala Sultan Tekke Mosque.
Ah, the hidden gems you'll find if you take the time to explore Cyprus' 9200 square kilometers.
It's easy to get around Cyprus, as signs are in both Greek and English. Bus service is available, taxi and motorcycles are an easy option--but a car-hire is the best bet to see and do it all.
The island is full of stunning coastline and forests, so it's easy to lose yourself if you so desire. So take your car rental, and find your own little piece of deserted beach or forest to relax.
No wonder the Ancients didn't want to leave. Imagine how much more they've wanted to stay if there were all the super-fun bars and cafes like there is now--where local wine and strong coffee flows. Salute!
There is no way to pigeon-hole the country of the Czech Republic. Many of you might've grown-up knowing it as Czechoslovakia throughout the Cold War years, and now that its open to just about everyone, you can simply call it the "Best Country in Europe".
The splendor that is the Czech Republic goes beyond its captial city of Prague. Places like Cesky Krumlov with its medieval streets, and Olomouc with its September Harvest Festival are also "must-sees and dos" in the country.
However, if all you get to see is Prague, consider yourself lucky. The dominating castle is one of the biggest in Europe, and its a city of outdoor cafes, graceful lawns, and friendly people.
Prague once had a vibrant Jewish community, and its Jewish Quarter is once again going strong. Here's your chance to visit a few historic synagogues along the way.
This magnificent city is full of Gothic and Baroque architecture, and its medieval St. Charles Bridge is full of artists painting and drawing its unique design. How has this bridge stood for centuries? The eggshells and wine used in the mortar.
Of course, if you want something different then check out the Seldec Ossuary made entirely with the bones of some 40,000 people, right down to its chandelier and Coat of Arms.
Morbid? Perhaps, but still a site to behold.
One stop in the Czech Republic that can be a bit hard to see is Terezin, a town once home to a Nazi Concentration Camp. The Ghetto Museum tells the story of this "model" camp, as if the mass graves don't do that for you.
If it's too much for you, head to Kutna Hora, a UNESCO town with an old silver mine and Cathedral. Or, the spa town of Karlovy Vary with its hot and mineral springs that has attracted royal guests for years.
Hiking through the Czech Republic is spectacular, especially if you're near the Austrian border in a National Park filled with lakes, streams, and forest.
Shopping is as delightful as any other activity, especially if you're looking for Bohemian Crystal, amber, and lace. Afterwards take in a theater, ballet, or opera performance. Mozart premiered Don Giovanni here in Prague back in the 1780s, so they know how to do it right.
Afterwards head to a cafe for a beer, wine, or brandy. Locally made, of course. The Czech Republic's food is influenced by Hungarian and Austrian cuisine; and a word of caution--sometimes English menus will have higher prices than ones written in Czech or German.
Want a little more action? than trying to save a few Euro on breakfast? Try rock climbing, skiing, fishing, canoeing, and cycling around its 78,000 square kilometers, seeing exactly why the Czech Republic is the best country on the continent.
It's quite convenient in Europe to get to, borderd by some four countries (Germany, Poland, Austria, and the Slovak Republic). Trains from international destinations will get you here quickly; and its good network of roads, trains (many with express service to resort towns) make getting around within the country easy enough--even if you don't speak Czech, the official language. A smattering of German will suffice enough, and English is spoken by a good number of its 10 million people to get you by.
The hardest part of a European vacation isn't where to go--that's simple, the Czech Republic. The hardest part is picking where to spend the most time in the country.
If you're coming to Denmark, welcome to the land of the Vikings. Denmark is more than just the once Viking full Jutland Peninsula, but also some 400 islands including the Faroe Islands encompassing some 43,000 square kilometers.
In tribute to Denmark's Viking roots, it is only right to see the Alborg Viking Site first. This is one huge Viking burial ground, but it's also got a Christian Cathedral and Monastery.
And just outside the capital city of Copenhagen is the Viking Ship Museum, whose highlight is the five Viking ships saved from the ravages of the sea.
As proud as the Danes are of their Viking heritage, it is a modern country too. Copenhagen is alive with jazz concerts, beer gardens, and Opera, Ballet, and theater performances.
It is also alive with all sorts of outdoor recreational fun, like golfing and fishing, and the sport of kayak polo. Denmark is fun in that it has its own Legoland, open from April to October, too.
The most popular time to come to Denmark is between June and August. Winters can be harsh with days that don't see much sunshine; although the Faroe Islands do experience warmer winter weather. The price they pay for it is days that are almost always cloudy.
Cheer yourself up during the winter with a visit to Denmark's Carlsberg Brewery, with Visitors Center, of course. It is the most famous of Danish beer.
Beer is good, but so is a Danish breakfast, it's a hearty fare full of rolls, jam, cheese, and bread. And Scandinavian coffee is also hearty, usually drank black. The schnapps, called Akvavit, will keep you warm on a cold winter day.
Keep eating and drinking, without any health concerns in that department you can pretty much eat and drink whatever you want. Go crazy on the koldt bord, a self-serve buffet of meats, fish, cheese, and desserts.
After a good warm-up (and fill up), time to head to Elsinore to see Kronborg Castle, a place of great importance from the 16th to 18th centuries. And used as the setting for a Shakespearian tale.
No trip to Denmark is every truly finished until you've been to Odense, the birthplace of the most famous Dane of all, Hans Christian Andersen.
Shopping is a delightful activity as any, and the famous Royal Copenhagen porcelain is made right here. In the Faroe Island all sorts of woolen items are made to keep you warm on a cold Scandinavian night.
What's great about Denmark is how easy it is to get around. Domestic flights are available, the roads are good, ferries are found all over the place, and bike lanes abound. You can even take the bikes on the buses, ferries, and trains.
All you need is a passport (or a simple European Union ID card), as most nationals don't even need a visa. You should always double check if you're going to need an ongoing ticket before arriving. You wouldn't want to be chased out by the Vikings now, would you?
So your interested in Estonia ! Then do the smart thing and join the group here ask questions of the members and make friends with other fans of Estonia.
Estonia today might be considered one of the Baltic States, but it was once a land ruled over by the likes of the Vikings, Soviets, Nazis, and Danes; albeit not necessarily in that order. This is a land of untamed forest and wetlands, home to some 7,000 rivers, and just over a million friendly people.
One of the best places to start your Estonian trip is in the capital city of Tallinn, full of onion-domed churches and cobblestoned lanes. Tallinn's history goes way back to its days of when it belonged to the Hanseatic League--and then some.
Saaremaa is another church filled city with windmills built into the meteorite created landscape. Take that, Netherlands, you don't have a monopoly on the whole windmill thing.
The landscape of Estonia is really what takes center stage, and its National Parks offer you the chance to see bear, wolf, and elk. Don't forget to lookup to see eagles and dozens of other birds. The island of Hiiumaa is also a wonderful place to go birdwatching; while the seaport/resort town of Pärnu is fun stop to spend some time.
FYI--there are some 1500 islands of Estonia, so you're bound to find one you like no matter what. Plus with all the cross-country skiing, canoeing, and a mulititude of other activities, you'll find something for everyone in the family to do anywhere in Estonia.
Actually, it'll be harder to chose what to do next in Estonia than it is to communicate. Estonian might be the official language, but more than a quarter of its million residents speak Russian; but English is more preferred.
Go ahead, talk to the shopkeepers in English--they'll appreciate it, and you can get some of the best amber, ceramics, and leather-bound books around.
Shopping in Estonia is good, but eating is better. That is if you can manage to try local specialities like Blood Sausage and Sült, a jellied veal dish. Oh, wash it down with some Eesti Kali, a drink made from fermented bread, and you'll never know the difference.
Consider it a warm up for the harsh, snowy Estonian winters. But, at least the summers are warm and bright. Perfect weather for a picnic around one of Estonia's 1400 lakes.
Since getting around Estonia is easy, you can be at one of them fairly quickly. Domestic flights within the country can run on the expensive side, but flying will get you anywhere faster. Take the train, you can get just about anywhere from Tallinn. Or, try the ferries that'll shuttle you to any one of the bigger islands.
Within Tallinn itself, there are buses, trolleys, and trams to get you around--so no need to rent a car.
While you might want to leave Tallinn to see the rest of the country, you won't want to leave Estonia at all. But, you can't stay if you don't come, and all you need to do that is a passport (or an EU Identification Card); no visa or onward ticket required. Ah, if that's not simple enough.
Places to stay in Finland: Helsinki (5.4 million) the capital, Rovaniemi for Santa claus village. Lapland. When to go : May to September will give you a much brighter warmer experience though Lapland is a wintertime touristic experience.
Things to do : Take a sauna, Enjoy a beer in the summer sun in the many of Helsinki beer gardens and terraces. Aurora Borealis is spectacular in this northern expanse of nature. Take a husky ride in Lapland. Enjoy the Finish architecture in the villages. Get to know the native Sami.
Remember the Moomins ? Books written by the Fin Tove Jansson, and they produce good drivers, mobiles and Saunas.
How to find the best value hotel in France in 1 step ! Step 1 Use our hotels tool that searches all of the major booking websites at once for your city. Click here to get Hotels in France
France is extremely proud and very regional made up of its Departements. It is one of the most tourist places in the world statistically. This is perhaps due to the Alps the Summer coastal regions like the cote d'azure and Bordeaux and of course Paris and Disneyland. It has everything. Considered in high regard are its education and healthcare services. A true European powerhouse.
The Population of France is 62 million with a population density of 111 people per km²
Skiing in France
Due to its fast occupation in world war II its destruction was limited. The eastern maritime climate of Brittany to the west and the Germanic feeling Alsace region. From the Northern European feeling of the country to the Mediterranean laid back south with a twist in the cote d'azure it is not a surprise that France attracts more tourists year round than any other nation. It's a true statistic.
Mention the place Georgia, and a few things come to mind. Peaches, the city of Atlanta, UGA the bulldog from the University of Georgia. Wait, this isn't about the State of Georgia in the southern part of the United States. No, this is about the country of Georgia.
There's a country of Georgia? Yes, as a matter of fact, there is. Found technically in Asia, Georgia was once part of the Soviet Union--but really has a European feel to it. And it was once a getaway for some of Russia's elite looking to get away from it all.
They came for the delicious wines and brandy, the ceramics and embroidered goods. You can get all that, plus enjoy yourself at Georgia's theaters and Folk Theaters, its bars and restaurants.
What's truly remarkable about Georgia is its all encompassing welcome of guests. Their motto is along the lines of "guests are gifts from God", and Georgians really take that to heart. Let someone overhear you're from someplace else, and you'll be bombarded with welcomes, drinks from just about everyone. It may seem a bit overwhelming, but don't let that stop you from enjoying the Black Sea Coast with its seaside resorts. And perhaps this is why the the spa towns like Borjomi are so popular.
Of course, if you're looking to get away from just about anyone and everyone--head to the Caucasus Mountains that run from the Black to Caspian Seas. Winter or summer, it doesn't matter, because here in the mountains you can do everything from heli-ski at the ski resorts to hiking the mountain trails in summer.
Georgia's highest peak, by the way, is Mt. Kazbek at 16,554 feet.
Over at Lake Tabatskun you'll find a 60-meter high waterfall. And while you're out there trekking around, look for any and all of Georgia's 360 bird species. Georgia has its natural beauty, but its also got its architectural beauty as well. The Daba Monastery dates back to the 12th century, while the UNESCO designated Svetitskhoveli (a Cathedral) was said to have been built on the site over where someone brought Christ's Crucifixion robe back in 328. Narikala Fortress is just about as old, even though this current structure came along in the 17th century--its original one goes back 13 centuries before that.
Religious sites don't end here, the Ateni Sioni Church, near the town of Gori, offer the chance to see frescoes dating back a thousand years. If you think that's old, consider how ancient the pre-Christian graves found here are. With all this sightseeing the Sulphur Baths, with 19th century Bathhouse no less, is always a brilliant idea. And speaking of baths, the Turkish Bathhouse in Batumi is quite famous. The Ajarian Museum and Botanical Gardens are located here, too. It doesn't take rocket science to realize why those who could, would want to visit Georgia. The Spring and Autumn are truly the best months to enjoy it all--unless you're into the whole winter sports thing--then by all means, come when the snow does.
Don't even worry if you don't speak Georgian, Russian, or Azeri and Armenian--you'll get along fine. Who cares if gifts from God don't speak the same language, a gift is a gift no matter what; and Georgia is always glad to you.
There are a few things that come to mind when thinking about the country of Germany. Bratwurst and beer. East and West Germany. A place where the people are as cold as the Bavarian Alps.
All of these things are true. For the most part.
Germany is a land of bratwurst and beer, they are the second largest beer drinking country in the world (how could they not, they've got Löwenbrau). And yes, it used to be divided into two countries after its loss in World War II. However, Germany's 82 million people aren't as cold as the world portrays them to be.
Germans don't believe in small talk, which gives them the appearace of being standoffish. They're also a formal people, where addressing someone you don't know by their first name is a social no-no.
That being said, Germany is one of the most stunning countries in Europe--where you'll find ski resorts in the southern reaches of Bavaria, and little medieval towns with fairytale framework houses all over the place.
One of the best ones is Bernkastel-Kues, in the heart of the Rhineland-Palatinate (one of Germany's 16 states). Old churches, castle ruins, and some of the finest German wines await you here.
Berlin, Germany's captial city, is now together once again--and is bustling with festivals, museums, UNESCO sites, cafes, nightclubs, and everything else you can dream of. Its Checkpoint Charlie, however, isn't the real one that divided an East and West Berlin for some 30 years, this one's just for show.
If you've only got the time to see one part of Germany, try to visit the infamous Black Forest (Schwarzwald) that's full of legends, folklore, medieval monasteries, and cuckoo clocks.
Germany's a big country, some 357,000 square miles, but its extensive network of trains (including its S-Bahn and U-Bahn) is excellent--and in true German fashion, punctual. So getting around really is efficient.
This is also one of the best ways to see Germany's countryside, and how to quickly get from the Alps to the coasts of either the North or Baltic Seas in the north.
Then again, zipping along the Autobahn might almost be as fast. This fast-paced road isn't for the leisurely Sunday-driver. Speed is the name of the game--but not too fast, the Polizei (Police) are watching.
Rushing isn't an option along the River Rhine, where a leisurely cruise follows past a bunch of castles and castle ruins. A leisurely bike ride is just the thing up in Lower Saxony, a flat land filled with ancient burial mounds.
Germany's got its fair share of medieval and Baroque churches, none more famous than Cologne's Cathedral whose spires were the tallest in the world at one point. The Baroque Pilgrimage Church in Wieskirchen is one of the most ornately decorated churces anywhere in the world.
Eating in Germany is just as diverse as the country itself. Sure there's bratwurst, and doner kababs (the only food in Germany that should be eaten with your hands), but there's Bavarian Cream, Black Forest Cake and ham.
Try some local dishes served at one of the local beer gardens, or pick a restaurant serving regional specialties. Beer isn't all there is to drink in Germany, the Kirchwasser is a Black Forest specialty made with cherries, and all sorts of differnt flavored schnapps await.
After an afternoon spent in a beer (or wine) garden, take in one of Germany's theater, Opera, or Ballet performances. And just about everywhere there's a cabaret or jazz event going on.
There are a few more words that should come to mind when thinking about Germany--how about: wonderful, fantastic, and terrific?
Places to stay in Greece: For a holiday people usually go for Rhodes , Crete and Corfu, though the island of Santorini is a gem and popular as a destination for couples. Throughout all these islands you can find package holidays and vacation rentals that are suitable for families and the young alike.
Things to do in Greece: Try some of the local food (gemistas,saganaki,soutzoukakia or spanokopita) or great seafood dishes like octopus or the classic tzatziki yogurt dip and a lamb kebab. Go island hopping getting wrecked on Ouzo if your young and mental or get away from it all in a Pension in a quiet rural village in Crete. Check a nice restaurant and enjoy some fine Greek wines. Visit the Parthenon in Athens. Trek Vikos Gorge Rhodes old town with the Knights Quater and Turkish relics. Sunset in the northern village of Oia Santorini. Meteora monasteries. Appreciate the welcome of the Greeks and observe their customs religion and clothing.
Greece in South East Europe is largely made up of islands in different seas.The Aegean Sea lies to the east of mainland Greece, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Situated at southern end of the Balkan Peninsula. The country has borders with Albania, the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the east. Approximately 1400 islands make up Greece and 227 of which are inhabited), including Crete, the Dodecanese, the Cyclades, and the Ionian Islands among others. Eighty percent of Greece consists of mountains, of which Mount Olympus is the highest at 2,917 m (9,570.21 ft).
Modern Greece traces its roots to the civilization of ancient Greece, generally considered to be the cradle of Western civilization. As such, it is the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, the Olympic Games, Western literature and historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles. Greece is home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Bordering seven countries (Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, and Austria) in the heart of Central Europe is the eternally beautiful country of Hungary.
It's capital city of Budapest is two cities, Buda and Pest, with its cobblestone streets and thermal springs. Dominating the cityscape is Buda Castle, one of the largest in Europe. So imposing this castle was the city was spared many medieval attacks. Medieval marauders probably just didn't want to hike up the hundreds of steps it takes to get to it.
Hungary isn't full of castle, just about a hundred or so, but the ones it does have are delightful. Another castle in Budapest is the Vajdahunyad Castle, built over a thousand years ago.
And Diósgyőr Castle might be in ruins, but that doesn't stop it from hosting all kinds of events like theater performances and concerts. Gyula has one of the best castles (rated as one of the Top 15), a Gothic design with a lake, a museum, prison, and garden.
It is little towns in Hungary that really give the country its unique flair. Towns like Göyr (just 90 minutes from Budapest) has all sorts of wonderful Baroque architecture; and Szeged's got amazing churches. Its market square doubles as a fantastic outdoor theater in the summer.
Beyond Hungary's towns and villages, its countryside is serene and pristine. UNESCO has given its designation to the Caves of Aggtelek, all 260 of them.
Hiking through the Carpathian Mountains might not be an easy task, but well worth the effort you have to put in. Treat yourself to a trip to Lake Balaton afterwards; and who cares if you can't swim there in the winter, it then becomes a winter sporting area.
It isn't just winter or summer in Hungary, the country experieces four distinct season. However, it can get quite cold here during the winter, and summertime temps can reach into the 90s-F.
For some that might be too hot to eat, but if you didn't munch your way through Hungary you'd be missing out. Their specialites are sausage, salami, and caviar; and some 20 different types of wine are made locally.
Pair one up with some egg dumplings or stuffed cabbage, and much of what is served uses paprika--a mighty big spice around these parts. Don't like wine? It's OK, try the brandy, beer, or fizzy mineral water instead.
Hungary is a cultured country with Opera and Ballet performances, but it is also a fun-loving place with nightclubs, bars, discos, and casinos for a night out on the town.
Shopping is just a good time as any, and you can't go wrong if all you buy is some embroidery or porcelain products. Think of all the fantastic stuff you get to bring back home.
Before you can buy and see all that Hungary has to offer, you gotta get here first. All that's needed is nothing more than either a passport or European Union ID Car; no visa or onward ticket required. But, it is always best to double check with the consulate, just in case.
You don't want anything to keep you from Hungary's history, or its extreme sports, like wakeboarding and skydiving, do you?
The capital and largest city is Reykjavík.
It has a population of about 320,000 and a total area of 103,000 km2
Iceland is located in the North Atlantic Ocean. with the surrounding area being home to some two-thirds of the national population. Iceland has active volcanic disturbances and they has caused a lot of problems for air traffic in europe of late.
Vatnajökull National Park
The Westfjords Foodtrail
In outdoor locations there are many pools and natural warm springs which has given rise to what is known as the water trail http://www.westfjords.is/DiscoverWestfjords/Watertrail/
Those tricky, tricky Vikings. Can you believe they named Iceland so you'd think it was all full of ice, and not want to come. Now a thousand years later the country of Iceland is one of the best places in Europe to visit.
And for those of you who don't know, Iceland isn't full of ice. Nope, it's quite green. Consider it a gift from the earth, since its geothermal water makes it that way.
This is why Iceland is so popular with its spas. And places like the Blue Lagoon is both relaxing and good for you with its mineral rich water.
Still, parts of Iceland reach up into the Artic Circle, like the Island of Grimsey. Ah, no wonder parts of the country are plunged totally into darkness during certain times of the year.
Maybe this is why the Vikings went out all over Europe and North America to plunder--they were looking for a little sunshine.
All the had to do was wait for summer when Iceland experiences almost 24-hour sunshine from June to August, so the bars and cafes are almost always hopping. Other cultural activities in Iceland include the Symphony, Opera, theater, and local Folk singing events. But a midnight ballgame is just as wonderful as anything else you'll find.
When something quiet is on your agenda, take a visit to the Golden Waterfall where the water drops some 105 feet into the deep canyon below. Pretty and powerful. The Westfjords are also striking, whose cliffs jut some 1,312 feet into the air.
On top of it all, Iceland offers whale watching, and Skidoo which is snowmobiling on a glacier. Or, try horseback riding on an Icelandic horse. Whatever you do, don't call it a pony.
The ultimate Iceland has to offer is the chance to see the Northern Lights, done between September and March. This is a phenomenon that's best described as the Earth's own light show.
Getting around Iceland to do and see all this is kind of easy, but keep in mind that many mountain roads are not passable in winter. Most towns are best seen on foot or bicycle, but taxis can take you around.
There isn't any rail system in Iceland, but ferries work in their place, and flying is always an option. Come to think of it, getting around the island is easier than eating some of its dishes. Stick to things like lamb, Artic char, and halibut if you're not into adventurous cuisine. Otherwise give rotten shark or the "sensitive" parts of the ram a try. Smoked puffin fish or the street food known as pylsur (a hotdog kind of thing) might be as crazy as you're willing try.
You'll have less of a problem communicating in Iceland that you might eating. Icelandic is the official language, but you're just as likely to hear Danish and English being spoken. It's a gamble if the Vikings would've approved of that, but now that they're not here to ask now, are they?
Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travellers have to say about hotels in Ireland
Since we're going to be talking about Ireland, it's best to start off with a traditional Irish greeting; Top of the morning to ya. For which the response would be, "and the rest of the day to yourself." You might not get the day to yourself in Ireland with so much to see and do; especially if hiking one of the country's 31 long distance trails. Or, if your out exploring many of Ireland's castles. A few things to remember about Ireland though. First, while it might be an island--the Republic of Ireland isn't the entire island. The northern part of the island of Ireland is Northern Ireland, belonging to Great Britain.
Secondly, English isn't the official language even though its spoken by just the entire 4.5 million people (with a sexy brogue, no less). No, the official language is Gaelic.
And yes, the Irish are the world's biggest consumers of beer in the world (followed quite closely with Germany). Guinness is one of the most famous exporters of good Irish beer; and the Guinness Storehouse details the beer maker's history from its start in 1759 to modern day. Make your way through the museum and you've earned yourself a free pint.
Much of Ireland's culture can be absorbed in its pubs where listening to traditional Irish music is a wonderful night out. Anyone out there who needs more, there are other nightlife activities, like the clubs and theater. The only thing that could top that would be a nightcap of either Bushmills or Jamesons. For those of you who don't know, they are some of the best names in Irish Whiskey. Just like Waterford is one of the best names for Irish crystal. That's a perfect souvenir plan, bring home a crystal decanter from Waterford to put your Bushmills in. Whatever you're drinking, chances are it'll go great with much of the fare served in Ireland. Cork is said to make the best blood pudding in the world--but for those who don't know, don't expect a sweet dessert treat. Blood pudding is really a sausage. Yeah, it might take a cast-iron stomach to try--so sign up for one of Cork's cooking classes to learn to make something else. Maybe not Crubeens--made with pig trotters, slang for pig's feet. Stick to Irish soda bread and the fish dishes--divided or not, Ireland is bordered around by the Irish Sea, so seafood is as fresh as you're gonna find it.
You know what, forget food. Ireland has too much history to see, especially in places like Dublin with its Trinity College that's seen men like Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, and Bram Stoker come through its doors. As exciting as that is, the real attraction at Dublin's Trinity College is its Book of Kells, created back in the 9th century. Dublin also has its own castle from the very early 1200s, built over an area used by the Vikings. Long before there were Christians in Ireland, there were these prehistoric monuments found all over (like over by the Cliffs of Moher). Many of them were found around the Dingle Peninsula (along the famous Ring of Kerry) where thousands of items were found. You'll find a 7th century St. Gallarus Church around these parts, too. Of course, if you must limit your trip to Ireland to one spot--make it Kilkenny. Not only does it have a medieval feel around its streets, but it also as quite a number of pubs and other nightlife. And hosts the Kilarney Arts Festival, too.
Some folks come to Ireland, not just for beer and whiskey, but castles too. You can stay overnight in a number of them since they're hotels. What's great about that is, even if you can't find a castle hotel for yourself, there's always country and farm houses, bed & breakfasts, and if you must--regular hotel rooms. Most people want to only stay at Bunratty Castle, the best preserved castle of its kind in the whole country. Much of it has traditional furniture, wall tapestries, and other period pieces--and it offers the chance to have a traditional medieval meal. Too bad Blarney Castle is in ruins--but you wouldn't know it the way everyone talks about the Blarney Stone. The trick to "kissing the Blarney Stone" is your lips must do it below your body. Yup, get down on the ground, lean back, and SWAK the stone.
Too much for some? Yeah, how about a chance to see the nature side of Ireland? Kilarney National Park is full of lakes, mountains, and gardens. Sitting on a beach in the areas of Rossnowlagh, Curracloe, and Caherdaniel is just as good a way as any.
A bit more adventurous are hiking around places like the Ireland's craggy coastline. But it is only one thing that needs to be seen in Ireland---watch a Gaelic Football match. And if it looks familiar, chances are because it's a blend of soccer, rugby, and American football. The rest of the day to myself? There's no way you can everything in Ireland done to have the day to yourself.
Things to do in Italy: Visit Rome Guide
Best Rome Hostels and Tours,
Milan Travel Services, Florence Accommodation
Population 58 million plus change, a democratic republic and is the worlds eighteenth most developed country.
Visit during April,May ,June and again is September but its a year round destination, in summer Florence especially is too busy.
The Italy Twitter List
Italy in one word = STYLE ! From fashion to cars and mopeds (Vespa) and the crazy driving and upscale resorts and cliff towns such as Portofino and the rest of the Amalfi coast.
Top Italian Destinations : Rome, Florence,Amalfi Coast, Calabria
It's been said that all roads lead to Rome, but Italy is so much more than the capital city that saw its Empire stretch to the far reaches of Europe and Africa.
Today's Italy is romantic and robust, crowded and haute couture. It is also one of the best place to eat just about anywhere on Earth. No wonder why you'll find all kinds of cooking classes (and Italian restaurants in the far reaches of the world).
Sure, almost everyone knows it big cities like Rome (of course) with its Roman Colosseum, Forum, and Pantheon; Venice with its Doge Palace and St. Mark's Square; Florence with its Ponte Vecchio Bridge and Michelangelo's David.
But, often overlooked are places like Sienna, with its magnificent cathedral; and Verona, the setting for Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet. And who could ever come to Italy and not see the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Italy stretches beyond just its "boot", the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, and Capri are sun-kissed slices of Heaven.
La Dolce Vita, or the Good Life, in Italy is more than the canals of Venice, or its Roman ruins. Eating falls into this way of thinking, so try some locally made cheeses and ham, washed down with local wines, grappa, limoncello, and amaretto.
Just remember, Italians don't drink Cappuchino after 11am. And it is best to avoid eating Buffalo Mozzarella, but other than that, anything goes in Italy.
This is a big country, some 301-thousand square kilometers--and each region has their own unqiue flavor and fare. Try the pizza in Naples, pretend you're part of the jet-set on the Italian Riviera, or pretend you're a ski instructor or snow bunny on the Italian Alps.
Whatever your imagination allows, you'll find Italy has it. But, nothing prepares you for the splendor of the Amalfi Coast, whose road winds and twists along in places like Positano. Do yourself a favor, hire a driver to take you along this route, you don't want to miss a thing.
Chances are if you ask the residents of Pompeii about how great Italy is, they might have another story to tell. Two thousand years ago Mt. Vesuvius erupted, leaving the city virtually as it was when it was covered with ash and lava. Today the area of Pompeii is a whole outdoor museum, partially excavated with streets and frescoed homes.
Still, until that point they might've agreed that living here is La Dolce Vita. And even if San Marino and Vatican City are two totally different countries within Italy, they're living the Good Life, too.
The worst part of Italy (besides having to leave) is picking which region you want to visit. How easy it is to fall in love with Tuscany with its vineyards, or neighboring Umbria. Venice's canals are made for love, and Rome is a history lovers Heaven on Earth. Balsamic from Modeno is just the place for gourmands, and Milan is a haven for those looking for the most trendy shoes and handbags.
Oh, it seems that no matter where you go in Italy it'll be totally fantastic, and having you living La Dolce vita.
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