5 Authentic European Food Stops

Gastronomy is the culmination of cultural expression, characterizing allegiance to both innovation and tradition. Culinary culture and the foods created by distinct groups symbolize unique differences and interlaced voices throughout the world. Wine and food tours transcend epicurean feasts; they are exemplary of a travel experience exalted to its most extravagant and unique. The global stops hailed for rich ingredients and incredible food are countless, but exceptionally unmistakable in many cities around Europe where feasting on delectable dishes is as much a pastime as a necessity. Experience the soul of European traditions, cultures, and history with these five authentic European food stops.

5. Copenhagen

Copenhagen’s culinary acuity has continued to rise drawing throngs of curious food-lovers to delve into hot food spots and eat like tomorrow may never come. Danes love innovation, especially when it comes to food and this is completely emphasized in the cool restos, hopping cafes, entertaining food tours, and markets like Torvehallerne offering traditional and unconventional food and ingredients. The gastro scene is completely inviting and promotes plenty of simple ingredients too: mulberries are pulled from urban parks, open-faced sandwiches laden with cured meats and rich cheeses, and fish smoked aboard wood tabletops in funky cafes. Visit in August and be privy to the party unfolding at the Copenhagen Cooking Festival, a highly esteemed European food event. Copenhagen’s diverse food scene is best explored by a more aimless than calculated walk and with any bit of acumen for aromas, you’ll find your way to any number of persuading tables.

4. Munich

There are abounding prospects throughout Munich, one of Europe’s most treasured and alluring cities. The beer gardens across the city are where some simple but delicious food comes together with the continent’s most expertly brewed beer; Marientplatz, Munich’s central square, is a great launching point for food circuits and one most local foodie tours begin at; then the walk to Munich’s most esteemed market, Viktualienmarkt, is just about a five-minute walk. The 200-year-old market is Munich’s most prominent food destination where a wealth of local delicacies can be snapped up–bring a shopping bag or two–and the variety, selection, and exclusiveness of the goods add to its special feel. Another five to six minutes’ walk away is famous beer garden Hofbräuhaus where the best German beers share taps behind the bar. Round off the day and your appetite with a final stop at Dallmayr Delicatessen, a café and bistro sure to entice your wallet out with some aromatic creations. Stat another food-isnpired day with an exploration of the shops and market stalls of Elisabethmarkt where fish, sausages, soups, and other Bavarian favourites are sold.

3. Barcelona

There are few places in Barcelona where food isn’t featured:, from street stalls sell freshly cooked dishes, small shops hawk fresh bread and regional wine, all shapes and sizes of tapas bars with irresistible eats–and oh the markets, with exquisite offerings appealing to infinite tastes. If market’s are your inclination, stop in at the extensive Mercado San Antoni, conveniently set on bustling La Rambla. It’s perfect for a wander but even better for the freshest of ingredients for a simple lunch or finely cooked dinner. Part farm-fresh produce, part on-the-spot café, and part wet market, you’ll find everything from pears to sandwiches to crabs. La Boqueria is a dazzling specimen of a market and much larger then San Antoni but expect much of the same beckoning foods. If honey-infused cheeses and Catalan baked goods makes your mouth water, don’t miss this market which features natural and organic goods.

2. Bordeaux

France’s Bordeaux wine region is famous for incredible wines and the culinary scene has jumped on board, accompanying celebrated vintages with the country’s most impressive indulgences. The gastronomic landscape draws on historic French traditions, constructing a varied and appetizing landing point for discerning palettes. Bigorre pork, certified Pauillac lamb, and specially raised Bazas beer (Boeuf de Bazas), display the best southwest meat dishes. The Sunday organic market along the riverfront, La Ronde des Fromages cheese market, Capcucins Market stocked with food stalls, cheese mongers, butchers, and the gamut are also prerequisite stops. With four-dozen-plus Michelin star restaurants in Bordeaux, it’s worth forking over the bills to experience refined eateries like La Gabriel, or summertime dining under twinkling lights and chestnut trees at Le St-James. Small enough to explore on foot and filled with charming, funky neighborhoods, food isn’t the only temptation you’ll find in Bordeaux, but it’s about the best.

1. Brussels

The Safest Cities For Women to Travel Alone in Europe

There has never been a better time than now to be a solo female traveler looking to explore Europe. Cities are becoming safer, female-friendly hotels are popping up and it is getting easier to meet other solo female travelers around the world. Here are 20 safe European cities for female solo travelers.

20. Vienna, Austria

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Austria is ranked number 4 on the Global Peace Index, making it an excellent and safe country for female solo travelers to visit. Vienna, the capital of Austria has earned the name of “city with the highest quality of life” several years in a row.

Vienna is full of stunning architecture, music, and history. There are plenty of museums to visit, such as Sigmund Freud’s house. This museum will help you understand why Vienna is known as the “city of dreams”.  You may also want to make a stop at Prater park to see the iconic Riesenrad Ferris wheel landmark. Finally, be sure to head to a local restaurant and try authentic Austrian food such as Wiener Schnitzel (a thin, breaded, pan-fried veal cutlet), Sachertorte (chocolate torte), or an Apfelstrudel (apple strudel).

19. Edinburgh, Scotland

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Between the breathtaking landscapes, ancient castles, and rich history, Scotland has a lot to offer. Scotland, a region of the United Kingdom ranks 45 on the Global Peace Index and is considered safe for female solo travelers. There is so much to do and see in Edinburg, the capital of Scotland. To begin, if you visit in August, there is a month-long arts festival called Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This festival offers theatrical performances, comedy shows, and many other activities that would be perfect for a female solo traveler, especially if you’re hoping to meet new people.

Moreover, consider taking a guided tour of Edinburgh Castle and take in the medieval architecture. After visiting the castle, be sure to head to Calton Hill which is a high point in the city that allows you to catch a full view of Edinburgh. Finish your day at a local pub and indulge in authentic food while meeting the locals.

18. Berlin, Germany

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Berlin, Germany’s capital is home to 3.5 million residents. Berlin is rich in history and full of culture and would be an excellent place to explore on your own. There are many restaurants, markets, and cafes in Berlin that will make you feel comfortable dining alone.

Discover what this city has to offer by taking a free walking tour, use the bike-sharing program, or hop on public transportation. Be sure to check out the Brandenburg Gate, and the Holocaust Memorial, and the remnants of the Berlin Wall.

17. Bruges, Belgium

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If you are a solo female traveler looking to immerse yourself in a fairy tale this would be the city to visit. Straight off a postcard, the city of Bruges is loaded with cobblestone streets, historic houses, and canals. It is here where you will be inspired to take long strolls throughout the streets and enjoy Belgian pints of beer by street-side cafes while people watching.

This city is extremely safe, for all travelers and welcomes visitors, especially in the summertime when it becomes peak travel season. There is a range of good hotels along with budget hostels that will meet any traveler’s budget, and English is widely understood throughout. Female travelers will feel safe as locals are willing to lend a hand if needed and are more than happy to give advice on where to go, what to see, and where to grab the next pint of beer.

16. Santorini, Greece

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If you want to see jaw-dropping scenery, be sure to add Santorini, Greece to your travel wish list. The emerald Mediterranean Sea is enough to take your breath away, but also the picturesque white villas are a sight to see too. Many people travel to Santorini with a partner or friend but that doesn’t mean you can’t travel there solo.

With friendly locals and an affordable bus system, you’ll be able to navigate your way across the city.

15. Paris, France

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Paris, France is known as the city of love. So it may seem ironic that one would travel there alone. However, exploring this beautiful city alone means that you don’t have to abide by anyone else’s opinions or plans. Further, exploring this city is easy and best to do either on foot or by taking the metro.

There are so many amazing things to see and do in Paris, France. Be sure to check out the iconic Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the Arc de Triomphe. You should also enjoy a bottle of wine and a baguette all to yourself during your stay too.

14. London, England

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London, England is an excellent destination for solo female travels. Traveling through this city is easy from the amazing public transportation system to the remarkable hostels, hotels, and Airbnb’s. Not to mention English is their first language in this city of England.

During your stay, be sure to visit Buckingham Palace, take a tour of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and visit one of the many museums London has to offer. You should also dine at a local pub to indulge in traditional British food such as fish and chips, or a Toad in the hole. Further, dining at a pub will also help you meet the locals as well as other solo travelers too.

13. Oslo, Norway

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Oslo is a dream for female solo travelers, alas a bit expensive at times. It is Norway’s largest city and a great cultural city destination that is overflowing with things to see and do. Female solo travelers will feel safe no matter where they stay but may feel some extra comfort if they choose to stay on the women-only floor of the 130-year old Grand Hotel. Here they will find rooms stacked with books, magazines, a yoga mat, toiletries, and a female room-service menu, without the room service charge!

Wandering around the Vigeland Sculpture Park, which is 80 acres and feature 212 bronze and granite sculptures, you are sure to meet other solo travelers who will become quick friends. Head out to one of the many vibrant nightclubs or theaters with new-found travel friends for an unforgettable experience.

12. Dublin, Ireland

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Ireland is a very safe country. According to the Global Peace Index, Ireland ranks number 12 in the world. Further, as a female solo traveler, you will feel comfortable dining alone and you may even run into another solo traveler during your stay.

Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is laden with historic buildings including the captivating Dublin Castle. Some other great places to see are the St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the National Museum of Ireland, and other must-see historic Attractions in Dublin.

11. Lisbon, Portugal

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Lisbon, Portugal is a wonderful place for female solo travelers. To begin, there are many safe and affordable hostels to stay in where you will meet many other solo travelers too. Secondly, Portugal ranks 3rd on the Global Peace Index.

Lisbon is full of rugged yet wonderful architecture and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Consider having a beach day all to yourself, or explore the Castelo de S. Jorge or the Jerónimos Monastery. Exploring this beautiful city is easy and can be done either by public transportation, on foot, or on a bike.

10. Stockholm, Sweden

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Built over 14 islands and connected by over 50 bridges this lovely cosmopolitan city is home to more than two million people. It is known for its gorgeous modern architecture, friendly people, and captivating waterways. Women are treated equally like men here and solo female travelers will face no issues in terms of harassment, drink spiking, or pickpocketing.

There is a slew of budget hostels throughout the city that are both affordable and safe, and a great way to connect with other travelers. This is a great city to experience Nordic culture in its modern and multicultural avatar, as well as dine on delightful local food. English is widely spoken here, and the locals are often teased for speaking a mix of Swedish and English-nicknamed Swinglish. Women will have no trouble finding people to talk to, tours to take and culture to experience here in Stockholm.

9. Cardiff, Wales

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Cardiff is the capital and largest city of Wales. This city is also considered one of Britain’s safer cities and for that reason, it is Wales’s most popular tourist destination. Along with being a safe city, Cardiff is full of culture, has many captivating castles and if you meet the locals they’ll surely share some of their ancient Welsh legends.

Further, students make up about 10% of Cardiff’s population which means younger female solo travelers will surely be well taken care of. There are many things to see and do in Cardiff. During your stay be sure to check out the National Museu, Cardiff Bay, and Cardiff Castle.

8. Helsinki, Finland

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The capital of Finland is one of the best cities for female solo travelers, thanks to its friendly locals, its reputation for being safe and beautiful. This walkable city is loaded with lovely parks, free city events, music, and shopping. Solo travelers will delight in the 20th-century architecture, the Helsinki Cathedral and the National Museum of Finland, which are always, home to other visitors.

One of the best things to do when you first get into the city is to take a walking tour, in order to fully appreciate the city’s cultural heritage, then move on to the shopping and dining. One cannot travel here without taking a dip in the Yrjönkatu Indoor Swimming Pool, (the oldest pool) built-in 1928. Recently renovated to house three pools and wonderful saunas, this is where women meet after work and have a sauna and swim followed by a drink, all done without any clothes on.

7. Prague, Czech Republic

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Immerse yourself in the alluring culture of the Czech Republic by visiting its capital, Prague. There is an abundance of things to see and do in the wonderful city of Prague.

Prague is not only a beautiful place to visit but the country, the Czech Republic ranks in the top 10 of the Global Peace Index. Consider meeting other solo travelers by taking a walking tour, or keep to yourself and explore one of their many museums, or even check out a show at the State Opera.

6. Copenhagen, Denmark

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The capital of Denmark is a vibrant and colorful city, which still manages to maintain a small-town feeling. New meets old in this fairytale-like city that features ancient buildings and towering glass and steel skyscrapers. Many of the state-run museums in this city are free admission, making it easy to save on spending and you can’t miss out on visiting the world’s oldest amusement park- Tivoli Gardens Amusement Park.

This city offers a unique experience that is perfect for female solo travelers called ‘Meet the Danes.’ This service arranges home-dinners with a Danish family or a single woman and her friend. Expect a traditional Danish meal and plenty of conversation with your new-found friends. Don’t miss the goddess Gefjun fountain that depicts the mythology of Denmark’s creation and magic within the Norse religion.

5. Barcelona, Spain

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Barcelona, Spain is known for its captivating architecture and art and would be a great destination for female solo travelers. For starters, the public transportation system is excellent. You’ll have the option of taking a bus, metro, trains, or trams, however, you will also be able to see a lot of the attractions on foot too. While Barcelona is generally safe, it’s always important to still take precautions such as keeping your personal belongings close by to prevent pickpocketing and don’t flash around money or expensive belongings.

During your stay be sure to check out the Sagrada Familia church, designed by Antoni Gaudi, and the Picasso Museum.

4. Zurich, Switzerland

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Zurich is an extremely safe city and therefore traveling alone as a female here is also incredibly safe, and downright breathtaking. Snow-capped Alps loom in the background, museums and art galleries line the streets and the nightlife is something to speak of. Female travelers will find no shortage of shopping to do here, cobblers, tailors, metalsmiths, candle makers, jewelry makers, and watchmakers fill the streets.

Choices of accommodations are endless here and if you feel nervous at all in this city we suggest heading over to Lady’s First Design Hotel, which was built especially for female travelers. The ancient center is the perfect place to stroll through the winding lanes and look up to the tall church steeples, stopping for coffee at sidewalk cafes. Further, Zuri-West is where to find the hottest nightlife in the city, just in case you are looking to meet new friends that want to dance the night away.

3. Sorento, Italy

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Sorento is a coastal town located in the southwestern part of Italy. This charming town faces the Bay of Naples on the Sorrentine Peninsula. Be sure to make your way to Piazzo Tasso, a central square in Sorrento that offers plenty of restaurants and shopping. Here you can try their famous Gelato, or drink a cup of delicious coffee.

Not only is there a lot to see and do in Sorento, but it’s also a popular vacation spot for Europeans. This means that you’ll hear a lot of English in both the restaurants and in the streets of Sorento which will only make traveling by yourself even easier. Further, you’ll find that it is easy to navigate around the town which will only add to a stress-free experience.

2. Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Amsterdam received the nickname “Venice of the North” because it has many beautiful canals. This charming city has something for every type of female traveler. Whether you enjoy history, are a party animal, or prefer to simply take in the scenic view, Amsterdam has it all.

According to the Global Peace Index, the Netherlands ranks in the top 20 in the world.  There is plenty to see and do in Amsterdam and you will most likely run into other solo travelers too.

1. Reykjavik, Iceland

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It has been rated as the number one safest country for women to travel to alone and Iceland has been beckoning female solo travelers for as long as it can remember. This is the ultimate travel adventure for the traveler who loves the outdoors. Think glacier hiking in the Pingvellir National Park, skiing at Blafjoll, and Viking horse riding at Thingvellir.

If you aren’t the outdoorsy type, don’t worry there is plenty for you to do here including the chance to relax and de-stress in one of the many thermal pools and spas across the city. If you’re lucky you may even get to witness the famous Aurora Borealis. This city happens to be famously expensive though and we highly suggest staying at a hostel instead of a hotel to save money. This city is notoriously safe, even at night and as a female solo traveler, make sure you put Reykjavik on your bucket list.

7 Best European Cities to Cycle

Cycling throughout a new destination elicits a perspective entirely different than taking local transit or driving in a car. There’s a chance to get a closer look at what’s around you and the ability to stop at any point you see something that piques your interest. Cruising the avenues and streets at any pace you like, you might spy an intriguing café or restaurant, spot a must-have souvenir in a shopfront, or notice a scene perfect to capture in a photograph. Generally inexpensive, cycling in these 7 cities beats any other mode of transportation.

7. London

London’s new public bike loan plan has transformed skepticism into safe cycling reality. Called Boris Bikes after Mayor Boris Johnson, anyone can rent one out at anytime, 365 days a year and 24/7. With 700 docking stations and more than 10,000 bikes available, picking up your ride is as easy as touching a screen and following the instructions using your bank card–and the first half an hour is free. From Canary Wharf to Shepherd’s Bush and Camden to Wandsworth, getting around London by bike is a great experience. Once you’re done your ride, you can return the bike to any of the docking stations across the city hassle-free. The first 24-hours is less than $5–anything over costs more but is still quite inexpensive. Cycle to the Saturday markets, quirky areas, squares, parks and gardens, and become immersed in a captivating capital.

Cycling London

6. Antwerp

The city of Antwerp in Belgium is significantly influenced by bike culture across The Netherlands and has, in more recent years, been characterized as the best big city in Belgium for bicycling. Another successful European bike-share system is in place in Antwerp as is firmly set cycling infrastructure that has seen major improvements in bicycle parking at train stations, car-friendly parking facilities, and other spots around the city. As a visitor, one of the best available bike tours is the Antwerp castles tour, a trip beginning in Antwerp’s Grote Markt and winding in and around the best historic attractions, following an easy route with plenty of stops ideal for refueling or having a rest. Plan any cycling route by connecting a string of numbered junctions (comprehensive signs posted showing the best car-free routes) and cycle within Antwerp or venture out farther to explore some Europe’s best bike routes.

Cycling Antwerp

5. Strasbourg

Take a bicycle around the city of Strasbourg, revel in one of the most pleasant transportation options, and enjoy one of the most interesting experiences available as a tourist. Cycling is the quickest point A to point B scenario in most cases, especially with almost 540 kilometers of cycling routes and a bike-share program ensuring bike-less people can still access a set of wheels. If you plan to use the bike-share program, you can pick up a bike at one of the many docking stations around the city or plan out a long-term bike share–not to worry if you have kids: many bicycles are customized with baskets and child seats. Cycle the mostly car-free historic city center, tour the Franco-German forts trail bicycle course and enjoy nature mixed with French heritage, or hop on the EuroVélo 5, a 570-kilometer bicycle route crossing Strasbourg and connecting London to Italy.

Solodovnikova Elena / Shutterstock.com
Solodovnikova Elena / Shutterstock.com

4. Berlin

Berlin is an inherently excellent city to explore by bicycle and with the lack of an strenuously steep hills, it’s a rather leisurely place to discover by pedaling, and one with plenty of Radewege (bike lanes or paths). One of six cities in Germany providing the Call-a-Bike option, Berlin’s system operates easily by cell phone where the rider calls a listed number and receives a code to unlock bike at one fo the city’s stations. There’s also a planner available for marking out your bike route to travel between the city’s sites-how convenient! As with most bike-friendly cities there are plenty of options when it comes to guided ours, which is about the best of both worlds. Cyclists can tour the Berlin Wall, enjoy a cycle under city lights at night, bike the Gatow Route the more remote West End, or take a thorough tour of Berlin’s east end.

Boris-B / Shutterstock.com
Boris-B / Shutterstock.com

3. Amsterdam

Cycling Amsterdam is pretty much a no-brainer–the bike-friendly city has enjoyed a positive cycling reputation for years and is recognized as a classic cycling destination. It seems as if the entire city cycles, with bike lanes planned into most roadways and it’s obvious most people take advantage of the modern mobility method. Just as in London, anyone can rent a bike and tour through town alongside gleaming canals, through peaceful greenspace, and from one attraction to the next. The types of bikes available to rent are pretty mind-blowing–there are all kinds to choose from! Tandem bikes, family bikes with front-end trailers for kid to sit in (bakfiets), classically styled Dutch bikes, and more. As a first-time Amsterdam cyclist, avoiding the main roads is a good bet until you get your bearings so stick to places like Vondelpark and Westerpark, the multicultural beat of Nieuwmarkt, and along the scenic waterfront.

Cycling Amsterdam, Netherlands

2. Malmo

Malmo is Sweden’s third biggest city set in the region of Skane, the country’s most peddle-friendly destination. Southwest of Stockholm and a canal-hop from Copenhagen (there’s talk of connecting super bike-friendly Copenhagen with Malmo via bike lanes over the highway), Malmo isn’t only ideal for cycling, it’s also quite safe, with officials endlessly promoting the use of bike helmets and demoting unnecessary car trips” “No ridiculous car trips in Malmo.” is their motto. Almost 500 kilometers of cycling paths–more than any other city in Sweden–connects different districts of Malmo and cycling is still getting more popular. Today, around a quarter of Malmo’s transportation usage is by bicycle. Bicycle rental counters, tire pumps, and baskets are available along Malmo’s bike paths, offering plenty of convenience. Ride through beautiful Kungsparken, across Oresund Bridge, and through Little Square or book a guide and forgo scouring a map to see the best attractions.

Tupungato / Shutterstock.com
Tupungato / Shutterstock.com

1. Copenhagen

Copenhagen, like Amsterdam, enjoys a worldwide reputation for their popular bike culture. The bike loan plan in Copenhagen is a non-profit organization running since the mid 1990s–the plan includes loans to visitors for as long as they need with the only restriction being bicycles can only be used during daytime hours. Besides all that, cycling is indeed the very best way to explore Copenhagen–it must be true since about half of Copenhagen’s residents ride bikes daily. It’s difficult to turn a corner and not see a bike lane; they’re implemented all over the city. From one company called CPH, bike rental profits go to villages in Africa where used bikes are recycled into bikes for school, bikes for hauling water, and bikes for medical emergencies. Despite the consistent success of Copenhagens’s bike lanes, the city pushes forward, continuously modernizing cycling infrastructure with plans like cycling bridges of major roads.

Copenhagen Cycling

10 Things to See and Do in Copenhagen

The most populated city and capital of Denmark, Copenhagen has a metropolitan population of almost two million people. It is situated on the eastern coast of New Zealand and stretches across parts of the island of Amager with the enclave of Frederiksberg being contained within its borders. It was originally founded as a fishing village in the 10th century and became the country’s capital city in the early 15th century. This beautiful city has much to offer for visitors including tours, many wonderful restaurants, shops, exciting nightlife, wonderful sweets and coffee shops and much, much more.

10. Dyrehavsbakken

Located about 10 km north of Copenhagen near Klampenborg, Dyrehavsbakken (The Deer Park Hill), also referred to as the Bakken (The Hill) is an amusement park opened in 1583. It is the world’s oldest operating amusement park attracting more than 2.5 million visitors per year and is Denmark’s second most popular attraction right after Tivoli Gardens. It is home to six roller coasters including Rutschebanen, a wooden roller coaster opened since 1932 and numerous other amusement rides suitable for all ages. Some of the other rides include Bumper Cars, Afro Cups, Crazy (laser shootout) Theatre, Ghost Train, Go-Carts, Water Slide and more. Kiddie rides include a roundabout, carousel, mini Ferris wheel, mini Drop Tower, mini Train ride and an obstacle course. When you’re done enjoying the rides, you can then sit back and take in a live show.

Photo by:  Guillaume Baviere via Flickr
Photo by: Guillaume Baviere via Flickr

9. Valby

Valby is a suburb of Copenhagen and is one of the official 10 districts of the city located in the southwestern corner of the Municipality of Copenhagen. The suburb consists of a variety of housing which includes apartment blocks, terraced housing, areas with single-family housing allotments and the remaining portion of old Valby village around which the district was formed mixing past and present industrial sites. Valby Hill marks the boundary between Valby and Vesterbro district. It is referred to as an up and coming district with its relatively new shopping center – Spinderiet. The streets in the district have been used in many Danish films. Valby Parken is a large park in the district that hosts concerts, features a natural playground and 17 theme gardens making it a popular destination for tourists. There is plenty to see and do in Valby, so make sure you take the time to enjoy it.

Photo by: Thomas Angermann via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: Thomas Angermann via Wikimedia Commons

8. National Gallery of Denmark

Located in the center of Copenhagen, the National Gallery of Denmark is the Danish national museum, the largest art gallery in in Denmark and is free of charge to visit. The permanent collection consists of Danish and foreign art dating from 14th century to present day pieces. The collections are made up of almost 9,000 paintings and sculptures, about 240,000 works of art on paper, and more than 2,600 plaster casts from ancient times, the middle ages and renaissance. They also host a variety of temporary exhibitions and art-based events like the SMK on Fridays which combines art, art talks, music, food and drinks. It’s a hub of cultural activity and great stop while visiting Denmark.

Photo by: Daderot via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: Daderot via Wikimedia Commons

7. Copenhagen Zoo

Located in Frederiksberg in Copenhagen, the Copenhagen Zoo is a zoological garden founded in 1859 and is one of the oldest zoos in Europe. The zoo is open 365 days a year starting at 10 am daily and houses over 3,000 animals from 264 exciting species. The 1,500 m2 Tropical Zoo offers a tropical adventure no matter what the  weather. You will see snakes, crocodiles, marmosets, hornbills, dwarf deer, free-flying birds and butterflies in this magnificent large rainforest setting. It also features a children’s zoo where kids can pet African dwarf goats and meet farm animals at the Zoo stage. You can also experience horses being trained and pet them while they are being groomed. The Elephant House is considered one of the best habitats for elephants in captivity with its deep pool. The Arctic Ring gives you the opportunity to get up close with polar bears, North Atlantic birds and seals.

Ricardo Esplana Babor / Shutterstock.com
Ricardo Esplana Babor / Shutterstock.com

6. Grand Theater

Located on Mikkel Bryggers Gade, a small side street off Stroget, the Grand Theater is one of the oldest cinemas in Copenhagen. The central location, makes it a convenient stop for entertainment right after you finish shopping. The building features an imposing set of entrance doors and smart gold signage making easily visible and if that’s not enough, the street is filled with movie posters, cafe tables and neatly arranged parked bicycles. While there you can watch leading European films, other independent productions and new Danish releases. It gives you the opportunity to watch often overlooked films that you wouldn’t be able to see at mainstream theaters. They also run a distribution company called Camera Eye, who recently displayed signage including Armour, Searching for Sugar Man and Rust and Bone. It promises to offer a unique cinema experience you won’t soon forget.

Photo by: heb via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: heb via Wikimedia Commons

5. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Located on Dantes Plads in Copenhagen, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is an art museum whose collection was built around the personal collection of Carl Jacobsen, the son of the founder of Carlsberg Breweries. The collection primarily consists of sculptures as indicated by the name, with the focal point of the museum being an antique sculpture from the ancient cultures around the Mediterranean which includes Egypt, Rome and Greece. There are also more modern sculptures like the Rodin collection – considered the most important outside of France. It’s a wonderful place to visit and enjoy some culture while viewing some incredible works of art by famous artists.

NY Carlsberg Glyptotek, Denmark

4. Rosenborg Castle

Rosenborg Castle is a renaissance castle originally built as a summerhouse in 1606. It was built in the Dutch renaissance style that was typical of Danish buildings during that time and has been expanded several times. The castle houses a museum exhibiting the Royal Collections and is open to the public for tours. The Crown Jewels and the Danish Crown Regalia are the most notable exhibits located in the castle. In the knights’ hall, you can view the coronation thrones and three life-size silver lions standing guard. There are also tapestries on the walls commemorating battles between Denmark and Sweden. There are even wax figures of former royal inhabitants. In the summertime, you can enjoy the flowers blooming in the castle gardens outside. It’s definitely worth scheduling into your vacation.

Rosenborg Castle, Denmark

3. The Little Mermaid

Displayed on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie pier, The Little Mermaid is a bronze and granite statue depicting a mermaid. It is 1.25 meters tall (4.1 ft) and weighs 175 kilograms (385 lbs). The sculpture is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of the same name. In the story, the mermaid gives up everything familiar to her in her quest for love on land with her handsome prince. Every morning and evening she would swim from the bottom of the sea, perch herself on a rock and look longingly at the shore hoping to glimpse her handsome prince. The unimposing sculpture has become an icon and major tourist attraction since it was erected in 1913. In spite of vandals removing her head, sawing off her arm and pouring paint over her, she has been rescued and stands where she was originally erected greeting visitors every day.

Photo by: Dennis Jarvis via Flickr
Photo by: Dennis Jarvis via Flickr

2. National Museum of Denmark

Located in the Prince’s Mansion in Copenhagen, the National Museum of Denmark is Denmark’s largest cultural history museum. The main building is located a very short distance from Stroget at the center of Copenhagen. Showcasing Danish and foreign cultures and contains exhibits from all over the world from Greenland to South America. It also covers the Stone Age, Viking Age, Middle Ages, Renaissance and Modern Danish history. You can check out their permanent collections and then venture into the Children’s Museum to amaze and educate your little ones. During the summer months, you can go on a guided tour which is offered in English or you can take a self-guided tour whenever the museum is open for visitation. It is free of charge, but even if it wasn’t it would be worth a fee because of what it has to offer the entire family!

Photo by: Streets of Copenhagen
Photo by: Jessie Kolpak via Streets of Copenhagen

1. Tivoli Gardens

Founded in 1843, Tivoli Gardens is an amusement park located in Copenhagen. It is conveniently located a few minutes walk from City Hall and very close to the Copenhagen Central Station making it easily accessible. The Tivoli Gardens is like no other amusement park in the world. It showcases beautiful, exotic architecture, historic buildings and lush gardens and at night features a fairy tale-like atmosphere with its thousands of colorful lights. The park is suitable for all ages with a variety of rides for the bravest thrill seeker or the smallest child. The oldest and most popular ride is a wooden roller coaster from 1914 and is one of only seven roller coasters in the world that has a brakeman aboard every train. It’s a must-see destination for the family and a great way to spend an entire day.

Tivoli Gardens Copenhagen Denmark

The 10 Fastest Growing Destination Cities in Europe

It’s little surprise that Europe is full of destination cities. From Rome to Paris to London, people love getting a taste of the “Old World” charm of various capital cities and cultural centers on the continent. But what do you do when you’ve visited some (or most) of the tried-and-true destinations? You can visit some of the up-and-coming destination cities the continent has to offer. Explore 2015’s 10 fastest growing destination cities in Europe—your next escape may be waiting for you on one of these slides!

10. Barcelona, Spain

Whether you consider Barcelona part of Spain or as the capital of an autonomous Catalonia state, the fact that tourism to the city is rapidly growing cannot be disputed. Long an important cultural center in Europe—medieval cathedrals spurred pilgrimage and the kings of Aragon had palaces in Barcelona—the city has been more recently overshadowed by Madrid, Spain’s capital. As Spain’s second-largest city, however, Barcelona has many sites and attractions—something more than 7.5 million people will experience in 2015 alone. Tourism to the city has grown over 6.5 percent since 2009 and is a major factor in the city’s economy. Barcelona’s location has also rewarded it with many world-renowned beaches. With eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, many museums and a fantastic climate, it’s little wonder Barcelona is receiving so much international attention.


9. Düsseldorf, Germany

Düsseldorf, the capital of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, might seem to be an odd destination for tourists, but the city is on track to receive nearly two million foreign overnight visitors in 2015—a growth rate of nearly seven percent since 2009. Düsseldorf has been a major economic hub since at least the 1960s; today, the city is well-known for its fashion and trade shows, which attract many visitors. The city also has a large number of museums, historic buildings and sites and art galleries, which lend credit to the idea that Dusseldorf is an excellent choice for tourists. Nightlife includes the famous Kom(m)ödchen cabaret and the city is home to several internationally known bands, including the avant garde Kraftwerk. The celebration of Karnevel, the “5th season,” is one of Düsseldorf’s biggest cultural events, and occurs from November until February.

Düsseldorf, Germany

8. Warsaw, Poland

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall almost 30 years ago, tourism to Eastern Europe has been increasing, which means that cities like Warsaw, the capital of Poland, are experiencing year-over-year growth in the number of visitors; Warsaw averaged seven percent growth between 2009 and 2015. While conceptions of places like Warsaw as underdeveloped and poor continue to exist, nearly 1.5 million visitors in 2015 will discover a vibrant (and growing) city with a rich cultural heritage. Warsaw’s historic city center was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980, and almost one-quarter of the city’s parks and gardens, meaning that there’s ample greenspace in this urban location. Warsaw has many museums, although collections suffered heavy losses during World War II; nonetheless, museums like the Museum of Posters—the first and largest museum collection of posters in the world—continue to have internationally renowned collections.

Warsaw Poland

7. Budapest, Hungary

Another city that’s benefited from increased tourism post-1989, Budapest is the capital city of Hungary and home to some 1.74 million inhabitants. Since 2009, tourism to the city has increased nearly 7.5 percent, and over three million people are expected to visit in 2015—and with good reason. Budapest is frequently cited as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, ranking alongside Prague. Although many of the buildings were gutted by the communist government after 1949, restoration work was undertaken more recently and sites, such as Buda castle have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage list. Budapest’s long history has resulted in a mix of almost every conceivable architectural style, from ancient Roman to the ultra-modern. Famous buildings include the Hungarian Parliament and the State Opera House, as well as many churches and basilicas.

Budapest, Hungary

6. Bucharest, Romania

The tourism industry in Romania is still relatively small, as exemplified in the capital city, Bucharest, being expected to receive just slightly over one million foreign tourists in 2015. Growth, on the other hand, has been by leaps and bounds: the number of visitors has grown almost eight percent between 2009 and 2015, making Bucharest one of the fastest growing destinations in Europe. While Romania may seem to be off the beaten path for many, the capital’s charms are many: The National Parliament, the seat of the Romanian government, is the largest parliament building in the world and the former royal palace now serves as the National Museum of Art. The city is also known internationally for its music scene and nightlife, and is home to some of Europe’s best electronic dance music nightclubs, including Kristal Glam Club and Studio Martin.

Bucharest, Romania

5. Berlin, Germany

As the capital city of a reunified Germany since 1990, you’d expect Berlin to receive a lot of international tourists—and it does; the city is on track to welcome just over 4.5 million international visitors in 2015, a growth rate of eight percent since 2009. Berlin, much like other cities on the eastern side of the Iron Curtain, benefited from the fall of the Eastern Bloc in 1989 and has witnessed a revival of tourism, both domestically and internationally, since then. It’s obvious why: the city has long been a central location in German territory. The result is that Berlin boasts a wealth of historical sites and significant cultural importance in the form of everything from museums to monuments, art galleries to theater performances. Although much of Berlin was devastated by World War II bombing campaigns, many monuments have been restored, such as Schloss Charlottenburg, the largest castle in Berlin.

Berline Germany, Spree River

4. Lisbon, Portugal

Portugal and its capital city, Lisbon, are often overlooked by travelers to Europe; with major centers like Paris, Rome and Madrid close by, Lisbon tends to get bypassed in favor of cities that are considered more “iconic”. Nevertheless, tourism to Lisbon has been increasing—the number of visitors grew 8.3 percent between 2009 and 2015, with over 3.5 million foreign tourists expected to visit the city in 2015. Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, predating even Rome by centuries. For that reason, Lisbon is famed for its especially rich architectural history. The Belem Tower, constructed in the 16th century, is one of the best-known monuments in the city. The city is also the birthplace of Portuguese pavement, which creates mosaic patterns through the use of stone; this unique form of art can be seen throughout Lisbon’s city streets.

Lisbon Skyline Portugal

3. Copenhagen, Denmark

Denmark’s capital city is expected to receive just over 1.5 million foreign visitors in 2015, but tourism has grown at almost 8.5 percent since 2009. The city, located on the Øresund Strait between Denmark and Sweden, has served as the Scandinavian country’s capital since the 15th century. Although Northern Europe may not be the first place you think of when planning a beach vacation, the city’s geography gives it many notable beaches. Landmarks include the Tivoli Gardens, the Christiansborg castle and the Little Mermaid Statue—the city was home to fairy tale writer Hans Christian Anderson. Copenhagen’s skyline is generally horizontal, broken only by church spires, giving it the nickname “City of Spires”. There are many parks and open spaces in the city as well. The restaurant Noma has been named as the best in the world by Restaurant magazine in four of the last five years.

Copenhagan, Denmark

2. Hamburg, Germany

While Hamburg is projected to receive just 1.32 million foreign tourists in 2015—less than many of the other cities on this list—growth of tourism to the unassuming Germany city has been well over 8.5 percent since 2009. Founded as part of the Hanseatic League of merchants, Hamburg has long had economic importance in Europe and remains one of the most affluent cities on the continent. Tourism is a major part of the city’s economy, although until recently, most visitors have been Germans. A typical city tour would include a visit to the old warehouse district and at least one of the city’s harbors, as well as a stop at city hall and St. Michaelis church. Reeperbahn is Europe’s largest red light district, while the Schanze neighborhood is noted for its numerous street cafes and laidback atmosphere.

Hamburg, Germany

1. Istanbul, Turkey

With over 12.5 million foreign tourists projected to visit in 2015, representing over 10 percent growth in visitor numbers since 2009, Istanbul is the fastest growing destination in Europe. Few would question why people want to visit the city: located along the Bosphorus, the city has been an important center of European civilization since the time of the ancient Greeks. The center of the Byzantine empire after the fall of Rome and then the center of the Ottoman empire until the early 20th century, Istanbul has a long and illustrious history—and one of Europe’s most multicultural, thanks to its unique positioning on the edge of both Europe and Asia. It was named a European Capital of Culture in 2012 and is the largest city in Turkey. The city boasts mosques and churches, bazaars and malls and a treasure trove of other attractions.

Top Cities 2013 - Istanbul

The 9 Most Bicycle Friendly Cities in the World

As more environmentally friendly methods of travel are being embraced throughout the world, a number of countries have begun to reinvest in one of the oldest means of travel: the bicycle. This eco-friendly outlook combined with the decrease in money consumers are willing to spend on cars has led to the bicycle making a major resurgence in urbanized areas all across the globe. With more research being done into the field, cities are now actively looking to encourage residents to leave cars at home and take to the streets on their favorite two-wheeler. Not all cities are created equal, however, and some are certainly a few notches ahead of the competition for having the most bicycle friendly city. Below is a look at 9 of the Most Bicycle Friendly Cities in the World.

9. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The privilege of hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics firmly places the international spotlight on both a nation, and the cities within. As a host city for both events, Rio de Janeiro has been revamping the landscape in preparations for the great number of tourists that will travel to the city. However Rio’s association with cycling can be tracked back to the Rio Climate Summit in 1992, which saw cycling tracks created along the famous Copacabana beach. This development proved to be a success, and the city now has a modest but ever-expanding network. The city has had success with a new bike share program, and while still behind the truly elite cycling cities, Rio looks to be taking the right steps toward modernizing cycling in Brazil.

lazyllama / Shutterstock.com
lazyllama / Shutterstock.com

8. Tokyo, Japan

As the largest city on the list, it is important to include and examine a city with the sheer size of Tokyo. Mega-cities tend to follow the trends set in other mega-cities, so Tokyo can provide an example for how to incorporate the bicycle into the densely populated urban environment. A very thorough driver training process in Japan makes the roads safer than some other major cities, which is certainly a plus for cyclists. Since public transit and cycling tend to be tied together, it should be noted as a positive that Tokyo now features a 24-hour metro service. Though the Japanese tradition of mixing cyclists with pedestrians is still alive and well, more infrastructure is being developed along roadways. Tokyo does a number of things right, and serves as a role model for mega-cities throughout the world.

longtaildog / Shutterstock.com
longtaildog / Shutterstock.com

7. Montreal, Canada

The premiere destination for cycling in North America, Montreal has long been ahead of the curve in the development of cycling tracks. With tracks dating back to the 1980’s, Montreal is a North American city where not only is the bicycle used for both commuting and errands, but features prominently in nightlife as well. Political advocacy plays an important factor in the development aspect of a city, and this is what has helped push Montreal to the top of North American cycling. An important step saw all of the influential players consult together to look for more efficient developments. The culture for cycling is in place in Montreal, but the city needs to take the next step to truly modernize the infrastructure in the city.

bms-photo / Shutterstock.com
bms-photo / Shutterstock.com

6. Malmo, Sweden

Situated so close to a number of famed bicycle cities, Sweden’s third-largest city has taken a number of measures in developing the infrastructure for cycling. Drawing inspiration from cities like Copenhagen, Malmo is looking to set an example for the rest of Sweden to follow. With major financial commitment and innovative communications, the city has demonstrated their strong desire to create a more cycling friendly culture throughout residential areas. One feature that has helped make life easier for cyclists is the seemingly minor concept of naming bike paths to make them easier to find on a GPS. Providing residents with easier access to knowledge regarding routes and pathways, alongside the new “No Ridiculous Car Trips” ad campaign has helped foster a friendlier outlook on cycling from residents. As with any new development, it will take time for Malmo to catch up with the cities ahead, but with further political emphasis, the future looks bright.

Tupungato / Shutterstock.com
Tupungato / Shutterstock.com

5. Bordeaux, France

Every country needs to have one city that is willing to step to the plate, and show what can be done with a little commitment, innovation and belief. For a number of years, Bordeaux was nothing more than an afterthought in terms of cycling in France. Sure, there were still a few cyclists in the streets, unlike other cities where bicycles had essentially disappeared. But Bordeaux has invested heavily in the creation of cycling lanes and tracks all throughout the city. There are now some 200km of bike lanes in Bordeaux, with an additional 200km when factoring in the surrounding urban area. Statistics show that the popularity of cycling is on the rise in the city, and the development of tramways should help further the progress of creating a new culture in the city. France is one of the European countries taking cycling most seriously, and Bordeaux is the leading example.

Lilyana Vynogradova / Shutterstock.com
Lilyana Vynogradova / Shutterstock.com

4. Seville, Spain

Seville is an excellent example of the power that bicycle planning can have. As recently as 2006, Seville was a city that had a very small percentage of the population using bicycles. Since focusing attention on cycling in the city, the rapid development saw some 80km of bike lanes created in just a year, with more added afterwards. Hand in hand with the development of the bike lanes was the creation of a bike share program, which helped fuel the growth of cycling among residents. Though Seville doesn’t have the highest percentage of riders, the clear commitment from local government is a strong indication of what the future holds for the city. The future looks bright for Seville, though cycling enthusiasts are strongly – and rightfully – worried that a nationwide mandatory helmet law would drastically cut back the growing number of cyclists in Seville.

KarSol / Shutterstock.com
KarSol / Shutterstock.com

3. Utrecht, Netherlands

Utrecht is perhaps the leading example for what cycling can be in a smaller city. In fact, there are videos of the bicycle “rush hour” online that demonstrate just how integral cycling is to the fabric of Utrecht. Some might be surprised to know that 33% of all journeys within the city are done on bicycle – in contrast to 19% of journeys being taken by car. Cycling is an accepted part of the culture for both young and old, and by individuals and families. Cycling is so popular in Utrecht in fact, that the City Council has taken steps toward developing the world’s largest bicycle parking station near the Central Railway Station. The parking station will feature room for some 12,500 bicycles, and will cost some $58-million USD to build. When thousands of bicycles are strewn haphazardly about town creating an eyesore and an obstacle course for pedestrians, it is clear why Utrecht has invested in such a large station for cyclists.

hans engbers / Shutterstock.com
hans engbers / Shutterstock.com

2. Copenhagen, Denmark

Every day in Copenhagen, cyclists travel an astonishing 1.1-million km. Given that 36% of residents commute to work, school or university that number starts to make a bit more sense. The city even has a goal of seeing that number rise to 50% in the year 2015. The extensive and well-used cycling paths in Copenhagen are separated from the main traffic lanes, and sometimes even feature their own signal systems providing riders a chance to turn more safely. Copenhagen is so renowned for its cycling culture that the development of bike lanes and infrastructure in other cities is measured by the term “Copenhagenize” in reference to the numerous features in the city. The next step being taken in Copenhagen is the development of greenways, aimed at developing a safe, scenic and fast way to travel from one end of the city to another.

Cycling Copenhagen, Denmark

1. Amsterdam, Netherlands

No other city does cycling quite like Amsterdam. Though the city may slightly lack in uniform infrastructure, the extreme saturation of cycling in the core of the city truly shows what cycling means to residents of Amsterdam. The widespread use of a 30km/h speed limit makes roadways much slower – and much safer – for cyclists. The political good will toward cycling in Amsterdam starts at a local level, and stretches all the way to the national government. Nowhere else in the world is cycling more accepted and embraced among the local population, which creates a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere that is prominently mainstream. Some 38% of trips made within the greater city area are made on bicycle, and that number rises to 60% in the inner city. No city in the world is designed more to accommodate bicycles, and Amsterdam will continue to lead the way for the foreseeable future.

Cycling Amsterdam, Netherlands

Top 10 Cities in Europe to Travel with Kids

From Amsterdam to Berlin to Iceland to Denmark, there are more kid-friendly places to visit then you have ever imagined. From fairy tale castles to the oldest zoo in the world, to amusement parks and boats ride, to family friendly restaurants and museums; you will discover that travelling to Europe with kids is easier than ever. Gone are the days where travelling with kids overseas is frowned upon and you will soon discover that more cities than ever before are becoming “kid-friendly”. For the parents with young babies to the ones with teenagers; there is something for all of you to do. Get ready to take your kids on the vacation of a lifetime. So sit back, grab a coffee, get that pen ready and read on to discover the top ten best cities in Europe to travel with children.

1. Copenhagen, Denmark

Fairy tale castles, inspiring landscapes, brilliantly coloured buildings and a culture where children and adults are treated as equals makes Copenhagen one of the first stops in Europe to visit with kids. Housing the two oldest amusement parks in the world, Copenhagen is a kid friendly city that will have you wanting to stay forever. The Blue Planet; Denmark’s national aquarium is the largest in Northern Europe and is sure to thrill kids and parents alike with their walls of water and over 20,000 animals. Not only does Copenhagen house a science center, zoo, children’s museum and one of the world’s largest open air museums but also offers carefully laid out parks throughout the city so the young ones can run wild and free.

Evikka / Shutterstock.com
Evikka / Shutterstock.com

2. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Kid friendly is not often the first thought that comes to mind when you hear Amsterdam but the laid back culture makes this city perfect for the family vacation. Filled with kid friendly food such as french fries and pancakes, this city offers more than Heineken tours and the red light district. A walk friendly city also offers Canal Tours for the weary feet and offers impressive sights. Bicycles are in abundance so it’s great to take the time to rent a bakfiet and peddle around town. Not to be missed is the Tropen museum where in the summer the roof is transformed into a beach. Vondelpark, the most famous park in Amsterdam is sure to delight the little ones with a paddling pool, playground and cafe.

hans engbers / Shutterstock.com
hans engbers / Shutterstock.com

3. Paris, France

The most visited city in all of Europe couldn’t be left off this list. From street performers at every turn to tasty treats in every window, your kids will take delight in this city. Not to be missed is the Eiffel Tower in which your biggest decision will be to take the stairs or elevator; kids will revel in the enormity of it, even more than you do. Luxembourg Gardens is a place to let the kids exercise their legs and participate in sailboat races, riding the famous carousel and visiting nearly 100 statues that line the park. With kid friendly museums, parks and galleries; the possibilities are endless. The ease of navigating the metro makes this destination a must go to.

pio3 / Shutterstock.com
pio3 / Shutterstock.com

4. Reykjavik, Iceland

A safe, compact city that welcomes kids of all ages should certainly top your list of important factors to consider when taking your kids to Europe. Fortunately Reykjavik offers not only that but so many other family friendly activities. In a culture where babies are often left sleeping in their buggies while parents shop inside this is surely a city you don’t want to miss out on. From thermal hot springs with specific children’s pool and slides to the Northern lights to whale watching and trying on Viking armour; this city has endless things to do for all ages. Climb to the top of Mount Esja, make friends with the wildlife at Tjornin Lake or try your hand at horseback riding through the valleys.

Patricia Hofmeester / Shutterstock.com
Patricia Hofmeester / Shutterstock.com

5. London, England

Harry Potter, Paddington Bear, Marry Poppins, Peter Pan; where else in the world can parents and kids alike discover the birthplace of such classic childhood characters but London, England. Castles, towers and real life guards are sure to thrill children of all ages. A great bonus when visiting London is the amount of free museums and great discounts on public transportation. For the park lovers make sure to pack a picnic and head to St.James park where you can walk to Buckingham Palace and through Green Park onwards to Hyde Park, finally ending up in Kensington Gardens. For those little ones interested in armory, be sure to visit the Tower of London for an impressive display of weaponry and crown jewels.

Tower Bridge in London

6. Barcelona, Spain

With vibrant colors lining the streets and a kid friendly culture, Barcelona begs to be discovered by adults and children alike. La Rambla, the most famous street in Barcelona is filled with street performers who swallow fire, juggle swords and delight the eyes of little ones. If you are feeling adventures, take a lift to the top of Mirador de Colom where you will have a bird’s eye view of the harbour. One thing you won’t want to miss is the Museum of Chocolate where you will have the chance to participate in the making and tasting of all things chocolate. Last but not least pay a visit to Tibidabo, the amusement park that boasts an old fashion Ferris wheel and other delightful sights.

Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock.com
Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock.com

7. Vienna Austria

Besides having one of the best public transit systems in the world, Vienna has gone above and beyond in making their city kid friendly. Schonbrunn Palace should be the first pit stop on your adventure through Vienna. Packed full with gardens, the world’s oldest zoo, a palace tour and the children’s museum you will find yourself spending an entire day here. The Belvedere is a museum must on this trip and you can easily keep children entertained by picking up a special art detective book that allows them to embark on a scavenger hunt of sorts throughout the museum. A trip to Vienna wouldn’t be complete without an ice cream and a carriage ride through the city. Sit back, relax and enjoy the sights.

JeniFoto / Shutterstock.com
JeniFoto / Shutterstock.com

8. Rome, Italy

Where the locals welcome children running around, pizza is the food of choice and the history is full of gladiators and battles; this city is a wonderland for kids. Although a lot of walking is involved while touring Rome there are a number of other alternatives such as the “hop on hop off” buses, pedicabs and the metro which make getting around much easier (and more fun)! With water fountains at every corner, steps to climb and the ancient Colosseum to be explored it is no wonder so many families travel here every year. A splash in the Trevi Fountain, a gelato on top of the Spanish Steps and a hotel near the beach for a place to unwind will make this the perfect holiday.

Marius GODOI / Shutterstock.com
Marius GODOI / Shutterstock.com

9. Berlin, Germany

Over the past decade Berlin has become a budget-friendly, kid-friendly vacation destination and was named Europe’s most family friendly city in 2014. Along with the always popular LegoLand and AquaDome is Kollwitz Platz; the most family friendly oasis in Berlin. Lined with wooden bridges, playgrounds and shops for the adults this is one place not to miss. The oldest zoo in Germany is also housed in Berlin and is proud to house the largest number of species in the world. The kids will find delight in all the wall art as Berlin is often known to be an urban canvas. If being named Europe’s best city for families isn’t enough to convince you; maybe the pop up museums, huge hotel rooms, miles of bike lanes and delicious street meat are.

Berlin, Germany Cityscape

10. Lisbon, Portugal

Where else can you go out to eat, have a peaceful meal over a bottle of wine while your children are happily occupied in a “children’s only” zone in the restaurant. Lisbon not only offers numerous restaurants where mom and dad get to enjoy quality time together but also offers so many other family friendly activities. To relaxing on one of the many beaches while the kids splash in the ocean to hopping aboard a tramcar tour to explore the city, Lisbon is full of adventure. The largest castle in the land encourages kids to dive deep into the world of dungeons, dragons, kings and queens. The aquarium and zoo allow for close up encounters with wildlife from all over the world.

Ververidis Vasilis / Shutterstock.com
Ververidis Vasilis / Shutterstock.com

10 Most Beautiful and Underrated Cities in Europe

It’s no secret that Paris, Rome, Barcelona and Berlin are amazing cities rich with beautiful architecture, unparalleled history, amazing culture and much more. However, Europe is rich with many other wonderful cities that tend to fly a little under the radar of the average tourist. Traveling to a slightly more obscure city can be as great of an experience as hitting the capitals and bustling metropolises. Here are 10 of our favorites:

10. Heidelberg, Germany

Heidelberg Germany
Heidelberg, Germany

Located in the valley of the Odenwald Mountains and on the banks of the River Neckar, Heidelberg is a picturesque and romantic German city. Heidelberg Castle is the most notable landmark in the city. The city is also known for its historic “old town,” the Philosopher’s Walk up the nearby mountains, many historic churches and the University of Heidelberg.

9. Bruges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium houses over water

While Bruges has become more of a destination since the release of the film In Bruges in 2008, the city still lies in the shadows of Antwerp and Brussels when it comes to Belgian destinations. This historic port city is best known for its medieval architecture and numerous canals and sometimes dubbed “The Venice of the North.” Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child sculpture is located in Bruges.

8. Ferrara, Italy

Ferrara Italy
Ferrara, Italy

Ferrara is famous for being surrounded by over nine kilometers of ancient walls. The city also contains palaces dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries, amazing cathedrals and broad streets perfect for strolling through and taking in the sights. Ferrara has also been home to many writers, artists and musicians throughout its rich history.

7. Valencia, Spain

Valencia is the third largest city in Spain, located right on the Gulf of Valencia and in close proximity to Palma de Mallorca and Ibiza. The city’s historic winding streets, incredible architecture and amazing cathedrals make it a great destination. Valencia is also home to an enormous plaza and many famous museums and galleries.
Valencia Spain

6. Porto, Portugal

Porto shared the title as European Cultural Capital in 2001 for good reason. The city is home to numerous festivals throughout the year, such as St. John (late June) and Queima das Fitas (early May). Porto also has a long tradition in music, art and athletics, and is home to FC Porto among other football (soccer) clubs.
Porto, Portugal

5. Biarritz, France

Located on the Bay of Biscay, Biarritz is a vibrant seaside city popular with tourists and surfers. The annual Biarritz Surf Festival attracts surfers and fans from all over the world. Biarritz is also located in French Basque Country and just minutes from the border of Spain.
Biarritz France

4. Innsbruck, Austria

Innsbruck is unique in that it hosted the Winter Olympic Games twice (both in 1964 and 1976). The Alpine location makes Innsbruck a hot sport for winter sports as well as hiking, climbing and mountain biking during the summer months. Innsbruck is also home to many museums, castles and historic sites.
Innsbruck, Austria

3. Gothenburg, Sweden

Gothenburg is known as a large university city and is home to cool festivals including the Gothenburg International Film Festival and music festivals Way Out West and Metaltown. The city is known for its rich Scandinavian architecture, museums, sports and rich cultural history.

2. Budapest, Hungary

Although Budapest is the largest city and capital of Hungary, it’s still often overlooked on the itineraries of many tourists. The neo-Gothic Parliament building is a must-see, as are Castle Hill and the Castle District. No trip to Budapest is complete without a stroll down the banks of the historic River Danube.
Budapest, Hungary

1. Copenhagen, Denmark

While most tourists tend to stick to southern and western Europe, Copenhagen is a destination not to be missed. With historic roots going back to its early days as a Viking fishing village, the sights and architecture are a unique treasure to behold. There are also many beaches surround the city that are a little known secret to add to any great summer vacation.
Copenhagan Denmark

9 Most Unique European Cities

Europe is an amazing continent that features a rich history, varied cultures, breathtaking landscapes, and exciting attractions. It is the second smallest continent, but it is the most visited continent in the world. It is a great place to visit as there is so much to see and do in Europe. If you are going to the continent, here are 9 unique European cities to visit.

1. Venice

seng chye teo / Getty Images

Nicknamed The Floating City, this Italian city is just stunning. You can take a tour of the Grand Canal in a gondola, or you can tour the Doge’s Palace. You can also see the stunning Basilica di San Marco or just wander around St. Mark’s Square. The cuisine is excellent in this romantic city, so enjoying a lavish meal will be easy.

2. Berlin

RICOWde / Getty Images

Located in Germany, Berlin is home to numerous historical sites, interesting museums, and fascinating art. The city possesses vibrant nightlife and unique restaurants. One of the most sobering places to visit is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.

3. Amsterdam

Stanley Chen Xi, landscape and architecture photographer / Getty Images

This charming city in the Netherlands contains a unique culture and friendly people. You can take a scenic bike ride, or you can visit one of the iconic windmills. The city is also home to interesting museums and stunning canals. You will want to make sure you visit the home of Anne Frank.

4. Brussels

Jorg Greuel / Getty Images

This interesting European city in Belgium is home to amazing chocolates and great beer. You can enjoy a river cruise, view an opera production or visit the Grand Palace. If you enjoy music, you will not want to miss seeing the Musical Instruments Museum. The people of the city speak French, Dutch, and German.

5. Dublin

David Soanes Photography / Getty Images

This Irish city contains cultural diversity, scrumptious cuisine, historical sites, and excellent shopping opportunities. You can taste a pint of Guinness at the top of the Guinness Brewery that looks over the city. The city also is home to historical statues, bridges, and monuments. You can even take a tour of the city by train.

6. Copenhagen


Situated in Denmark, Copenhagen is known as one of the cleanest and safest cities on the continent. Water surrounds the city, so you can enjoy cruising down the canal. One of the most popular attractions of the city is Tivoli Gardens. While in the city, you can also visit the Hans Christian Anderson statue, and you can see the magical Rosenborg Slot castle. Copenhagen is home to fascinating museums, magnificent palaces, and stunning scenery.

7. Budapest

Sergey Alimov / Getty Images

This unique city possesses a worldly charm that will make you feel right at home. The city offers relaxing thermal baths that have been known to possess healing powers. While in the city, you can also enjoy great wine and excellent cuisine. The architecture in Budapest is exquisite, and you can buy home-grown produce at one of the markets. The city features savory sweets if you enjoy desserts, and it is home to some of the most unique hotels in the world.

8. Edinburgh

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Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is home to one of the most unique castles in the world. You can also visit Arthur’s Seat, a summit that sits on top of a volcano. Other Edinburgh attractions include Calton Hill, Museum of Scotland, and Scott Monument. The National Gallery of Scotland is also a great place to visit.

9. Sarajevo

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The city of Sarajevo has had to endure many hardships, but it has survived and is one of the most unique cities in Europe. You can visit Bascarsija Market, and you can browse the National Library. Other attractions include the Romeo and Juliet Bridge, the Sarajevo History Museum, and a fascinating mosque. Regardless of what you choose to do, visiting Sarajevo will be a unique experience.