6 European City Escapes Perfect for a Weekend

There are countless European cities and towns to top a traveler’s list of continental adventures—many quintessential for a weekend getaway. So many fascinating details comprise the historical aspects of Europe’s greatest cities, showcased throughout museums, galleries, and impressive landmarks dotted across the continent. Add in some interesting gentrification, modern cultural amusements, and spice it up with a whole lot of contemporary fixings, and these six cities skip to the beat of their own drum. Whether you’re a budget traveler or a big spender, the following cities welcome almost any budget and propensity.

6. Rome, Italy

“Rome wasn’t built in a day” couldn’t be more sincere. The legendary city practically bleeds history through incredible, ancient buildings, beginning with the Forum. To the west is Capitoline Hill, to the east the renowned Colosseum, and the south is celebrated for the Baths of Caracalla and Palatine Hill. The backdrop along the beautiful River Tiber sets scenes for days of old and unbridled romance: you’ll find ancient Rome, Vatican City, endless cathedrals, and the Renaissance capital of Raphael and Michelangelo. Make time for the trendy shops, lively café culture, and fashionable restaurants—it’s all just one big, modern and delightful dichotomy. If you’re in Rome for history, forgo the car and relish instead in the pedestrian center where most famous ruins and buildings are clustered or hop the metro, ditching the dizzying traffic jams. Slip into Rome’s Mediterranean tempo while perusing the historical legacies and 21st century pleasures.

Rome, Italy

5. London, England

Incredible diversity, pulsing energy, centuries-old history, and innovatively impressive, London is England’s most progressive city. The Thames River carves through London like a snake, flanked by attractions both exciting and scenic. Head to central London to the most famous sites, including galleries, museums, and legendary landmarks but relax in the fact that, when the busy pace is overwhelming, there is a wide choice of green spaces to unwind, like pretty Hyde Park. Take pub culture by the horns—there’s no better place to pub hop—and sample some of the beautifully diverse, ethnic restaurants along with local English favourites. “Mind the Gap” as you venture onto the city’s renowned Tube, and enjoy affordable and convenient transportation. Take a twirl on the London Eye, crane your neck at Big Ben, and revel in the arts at Tate Modern—it would take years to soak this city up in its entirety.

Top Cities 2013 - London

4. Florence, Italy

Rolling hills, cypress trees, and olive groves come to mind when conjuring landscapes surrounding Florence in Italy’s Tuscany region. This is where you won’t just explore a piazza, you’ll experience it while settling in for an unforgettable meal or remarkable wine. Fans of art from the Renaissance shouldn’t miss this haven of period pieces, best seen at the Uffizi Gallery Museum. The Arno River passes through, setting the scene for a different mood from sunup to sundown while slender streets give way to historic palaces, towering cathedrals, and busy piazzas. As romantic as it all is, fashion is as fundamental in Florence as the arts are; both Roberto Cavalli and Gucci were born in the city, breaking bread with the well-dressed wealthy amid the wine-fueled cocktail parties in the hills. Fashion doesn’t rule the roost though; there’s plenty of history, great nightlife, and sights for non-Fashionistas to enjoy too.

Florence Cathedral

3. Munich, Germany

Crowds flock to Munich for Oktoberfest—the best destination for the Autumn celebration—and are equally enthralled with its beautiful, summertime setting, yet Munich can be enjoyed in any season. This Bavarian capital is party central, supremely conveyed when in the Old City (Altstadt), when every square is filled with people eating, drinking, and enjoying life. The beer gardens and local Hofbräuhaus are typically German, brimming with revelry. Sophistication and culture is as much a part of Munich as the merriment is, evident throughout a prominent arts community, gastronomic endeavors, and mercantile joys. Less gritty than Hamburg or Berlin, Munich’s central core is lively and enchanting, where the chime of church bells entrances and the streets are fitted for people over cars. Safe, clean, and somewhat rustic, visitors can walk or cycle the English Garden, shop, eat, and drink in the Gärtnerplatz, then cruise on over to the traditional farmer’s style Viktualienmarkt.

Marienplatz Munich

2. Barcelona, Spain

Catalonia’s capital city is drenched in history while featuring so many modern twists, it’s downright mind-boggling. Barcelona is one of the most thrilling cities in the world, hitting on just about every interest, from family fun to some pretty wild nightlife. The spread of attractions is incredible: Gothic architecture, vibrant markets, lovely beaches, and pumped up nightlife. Galleries and world class museums exhibit cultural highlights along with a full roster of music and theater performances. If you haven’t heard of Gaudi, look him up immediately. His jaw-dropping, magically styled buildings are literally unlike anything in the world. Every shopaholic gawks at what’s on offer throughout popular retail avenues of Passeig de Gracia and Placa de Catalunya while casual souvenir seekers love unusual shops along Las Ramblas, a colourful pedestrian avenue. From the Gothic district to the endless collection of famous Spanish tapas restaurants, there’s something here for everyone.

Park Guell Barcelona Spain

1. Prague, Czech Republic

The capital city of the Czech Republic, Prague, is one of the world’s most breathtaking cities. One sweeping look and Prague administers a scenic trance with its incredible skyline, soaring stone buildings, and cobblestone streets. The pull of the gardens and Renaissance palaces inside the Little Quarter (Mala Strana) seem extra magnetic for the riverside location and museums of modern art, along with fantastic bars and restaurants, colour this district with charisma—just south is pub-laden Smíchov. The 14th century Charles Bridge carves through; a spectacle and hotspot overlooking lazy and exquisite Vltava River, and the perfect spot to admire Prague Castle. Wandering aimlessly is how to really see Prague in its glory of mazy courtyards and cobblestone streets, always pulling you in for a little more. Walk through Old Town where unanticipated gardens, old school pubs, and pleasant cafes eat into hours, especially through neighborhoods like Bubeneč and Vinohrady.


The 15 Most Visited Cities in the World

We assume some cities to be de facto tourist meccas; we’re told over and over again that places like Paris, London and Rome are places that every traveler must visit in their lifetime. But have you ever wondered just how many people visit some of these cities each year—or, indeed, which cities attract the largest share of international tourists? While some of the tried-and-true destinations have made the cut for 2015, other entries on the list of the top 15 most visited cities might surprise you.

15. Milan, Italy

Perhaps most famous as Italy’s fashion powerhouse, the city of Milan is much more than that. Located in northern Italy, it is also home to Italy’s largest stock exchange, two major soccer teams and numerous theaters, museums and monuments. Milan has something to offer each one of its seven plus million visitors each year. Notable sites around the city include the Santa Maria delle Grazie, a UNESCO World Heritage site decorated by Leonardo da Vinci paintings. Although the city itself is entirely flat terrain, the nearby Alps form part of its cityscape, and the city’s proximity to Alpine tourist destinations have positioned it as a gateway community. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is the world’s oldest shopping mall and is located on the Piazza Duomo, near the fifth-largest church in the world, Milan Cathedral.

Milan, Italy

14. Rome, Italy

Given Rome’s ubiquitous position as the cradle of Western civilization and European civilization in particular, as well as its unique reputation as a tourist destination, it’s perhaps surprising that Rome didn’t rank higher on this list. Still, with a projected 7.4 million tourists in 2015, tourism to Rome is nothing to sneeze at. Rome is home to some of Europe’s most famous historical monuments, such as the Colosseum and St. Peter’s Basilica. Religious tourism to Rome is still an important factor; although the Vatican is a separate state, it is located inside Rome and many visitors tour through Rome’s churches as well. Under the influence of numerous popes, Rome has undergone a program of patronage since the Renaissance that aimed to make it the cultural and artistic center of the world—a lofty goal and one that has resulted in Rome long being a mecca for people around the world.

eternal city Rome

13. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

When The Netherlands first legalized the sale of cannabis in coffee shops, a running joke became that most young North American tourists would hit Amsterdam for one reason and one reason alone. While some of the city’s 7.44 million international tourists might visit for that reason, there are many other things to do and see in the Dutch capital. Amsterdam is, of course, famous for its cannabis cafes and red light district, which attracts many visitors, but other aspects of its nightlife, including numerous discotheques and world-renowned jazz clubs, are equally attractive to tourists. The city’s architecture, historical buildings and many museums are also incentive for visitors. Anne Frank’s House and the Van Gogh Museum are just two of the many historic sites frequented by tourists. The city is also well-known for its system of canals, which add to its picturesque appeal.


12. Barcelona, Spain

Capital of the autonomous region of Catalonia, in Spain, Barcelona has a long history of tourism: in medieval times, it was an important site for Christian pilgrims. Today, the tourism industry is still an important and growing part of Barcelona’s economy, with more than 7.5 million people expected to visit the city in 2015. Barcelona rivals Madrid, the country’s capital, in terms of major attractions and historic sites; the city boasts no fewer than eight UNESCO World Heritage sites and many museums. As the largest metropolis on the Mediterranean, Barcelona has also become internationally renowned for its many beaches; many Spaniards vacation in Barcelona for the beaches and the practice is catching on with foreign visitors. Notable sites include the fortress at Montjuic and the Basilica of La Merce, as well as the stunning, yet incomplete, Sagrada Familia Basilica.

Park Guell Barcelona Spain

11. Tokyo, Japan

Whether you’re looking for exciting subculture fashion, interested in experiencing the Japanese tradition of kabuki theater, or just want to eat the freshest sushi in the world, Tokyo has you covered. Japan’s capital city is a sprawling urban metropolis littered with skyscrapers, excellent restaurants and renowned museums, and interspersed with parks and greenspace. Various districts of the city are dedicated to nightlife (Roppongi and Shibuya), fashion subcultures (Harajuku) and electronics (Akihabara). Ancient Shinto shrines and historic castles are a testament to Tokyo’s long history as the center of Japanese culture, and now you can mingle with ultra-modern architecture like Tokyo Skytree and the iconic Tokyo Tower. With slightly over eight million foreign tourists expected in 2015, Tokyo continues to be one of the most visited cities in the world, although it remains outside of the top 10.


10. Hong Kong, China

In 1997, Hong Kong became an autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China. Beginning in the 1970s, the city developed into a global metropolis, functioning as a center for trade and finance. Hong Kong also developed an entertainment industry, producing many popular kung-fu action films. Today, more than 8.5 million people visit the city each year, some for business and others for pleasure. The cityscape is decidedly modern, with the number of skyscrapers outnumbering any other city in the world; architecture has blended between Eastern and Western styles, and elements of traditional culture, like feng shui and dim sum, mingle easily with Western influences. Despite this, Hong Kong is also renowned for its geographical features: its deep harbor has made it an important port, nearby Mount Kowloon offers steep terrain and the rugged coastline has many excellent beaches.

Hong Kong

9. Seoul, South Korea

More than 10 million foreign tourists are expected to visit Seoul in 2015. The financial, cultural and political heart of South Korea, Seoul was first designed as a capital city in the 14th century. The city’s lengthy list of historic buildings and UNESCO World Heritages sites includes palaces and temples, as well as the remains of neolithic settlements unearthed nearby. Two old residential districts are now preserved as museums to showcase traditional Korean culture and lifeways, including hanok houses. Seoul has many more museums, such as the Kimchi Field Museum. But Seoul isn’t all about the past; the city boasts some of the world’s most design-forward modern architecture and was named a World Design Capital in 2010. Ultra-modern buildings mingle with numerous parks, creating a unique and attractive cityscape near Mount Namsan.

Top Cities 2013 - Seoul

8. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The capital of Malaysia will attract more than 11 million international visitors in 2015, making it the 8th most visited city in the world. Tourism and shopping are major drivers of the Malaysian economy and nowhere is that more evident than Kuala Lumpur, which functions as the largest retail center in the country with 66 shopping malls. Major attractions include the Petronas Towers, the tallest twin towers in the world, the National Palace and the Jamek Mosque. Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown, is another notable destination for tourists, and the Hindu celebration of Thaipusam and its procession to Batu Caves is a major cultural festival that attracts visitors from many different locales. The city also functions as a hub for entertainment, art and events, including sports and music festivals. Kuala Lumpur is also noted for its multiethnic blend of cuisines and architectures.

Top Cities 2013 - Kuala Lumpur

7. Singapore City, Singapore

Nearly 12 million people will visit the city-state of Singapore during the course of 2015. Over the last decade, the country has garnered a reputation for being a “luxury” destination, with many high-end hotel chains setting up shop, and the legalization of gambling heralding casino tourism. The island country’s biggest draw, however, is said to be its cuisine: Singapore’s multiethnic mix has led to a unique fusion of Indian, Malay and Chinese cuisines—like the Peranakan style of cooking, a hybridization of Chinese and Malay culinary traditions. There are many restaurants and, in fact, dining is said to be one of Singapore’s national pastimes. Architecture in the city-state similarly reflects the fusion of various cultural influences. Water sports such as sailing, scuba diving and water skiing are popular recreational pastimes, while soccer is a popular sport to watch.

Singapore city at night

6. New York City, United States

The only American entry on this list, New York City remains the U.S. destination of choice for international tourists, with over almost 12.3 million people expected to visit in 2015. Attractions such as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building continue to draw visitors, while major events like New York Fashion Week pulls in crowds from around the world. Times Square and Broadway also remain popular attractions for international visitors, while shopping, cuisine and nightlife are alluring for many others who choose to take a bite out of the Big Apple. Other notable sites include Central Park and the Brooklyn Bridge. For many, New York remains the premier American destination, ranking well ahead of other U.S. cities like Los Angeles. As America’s largest city, NYC is likely to remain the country’s biggest tourist draw as well.

New York City Times Square

5. Istanbul, Turkey

With over 12.5 million foreign tourists projected to visit in 2015, Istanbul is both the fastest growing destination in Europe and the 5th most visited city in the world. Located along the Bosphorus, the city has been an important center of European civilization since the time of the ancient Greeks. Situated at the heart of two historically important empires, Istanbul has a long and illustrious heritage. It’s easily one of Europe’s most multicultural cities, thanks to its unique positioning on the edge of both Europe and Asia. It was named a European Capital of Culture in 2012. The city boasts mosques and churches, bazaars and malls and a treasure trove of other attractions. Traditional Turkish cuisine, such as kebabs, are popular and the city is also well-known for a vibrant entertainment industry and nightlife. Its historic center, a partial UNESCO World Heritage site, remains the most popular tourist attraction.

Top Cities 2013 - Istanbul

4. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates and has recently emerged onto the global stage through its innovative architecture, such as the world’s tallest skyscraper and its history of hosting major sporting events. A center of world banking, Dubai has earned a reputation for being both pricey and luxurious—as a vacation destination, it’s often lauded as a sort of playground for the rich and famous. Its skyline is dominated by the Burj Khalifa, currently the world’s tallest building at 828 meters. The Burj al Arab is another iconic structure. Dubai’s attitude is clearly go big or go home: the Dubai Miracle Garden, opened in 2013, is the world’s largest flower garden and the Dubai Mall is the largest mall in the world. More than 14 million people are expected to visit Dubai from other countries in 2015 as tourism continues to grow.

Sophie James / Shutterstock.com
Sophie James / Shutterstock.com

3. Paris, France

Oh Paris,  the iconic city of love with its grandiose Eiffel Tower ranked 3rd on this list. Being the 3rd most visited city in the world says something about how many people travel here each year. Paris will attract over 16 million foreign tourists in 2015, and it is well behind the first and second-place cities. Nonetheless, Paris remains a top-tier destination for many travelers, often considered a must-take trip or a bucket-list destination. The capital of France is noted for its cuisine, including its many bistros and cafes, along with many 3-star restaurants. The Arc de Triomphe, the Palace of Versailles, the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre are all popular tourist attractions. Paris is also known as a center of fashion, hosting the twice annual Paris Fashion Week. The city is also the host of several important sporting events, including the finish of the Tour de France and the Paris Grand Slam tennis tournament.

Top Cities 2013 - Paris

2. Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand’s capital city is on-track to receive more than 18 million foreign tourists in 2015, making it the second most visited city in the world. With world-class shopping and dining and a dynamic nightlife, Bangkok offers something for everyone to see and do. Another major driver of travel to Bangkok is sex tourism; Bangkok has actually earned the nickname “Sin City of Asia” as a result of how many visitors it receives on account of the industry. Other visitors are attracted by the city’s mix of historical buildings, showcasing a variety of influences and cultures. Notable sites are Wat Phra Kaew, a Buddhist temple in the Grand Palace, and Jim Thompson House, considered an outstanding example of Thai architecture. As the seat of the Thai government and the royal family, Bangkok is also a hub for major cultural events, such as religious celebrations and festivals.

Top Cities 2013 - Bangkok

1. London, United Kingdom

London is projected to receive almost 19 million foreign tourists in 2015, making it the most visited city in the world. The U.K.’s capital ranks among its European counterparts, like Paris and Rome, boasting numerous landmarks, iconic monuments and a host of other tourist attractions. The city has numerous museums and a strong arts scene, as well as a world-renowned shopping district (High Street) and fashion industry, which includes the twice-annual London Fashion Show. Notable sites include Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, the Shard, Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster. The city also has a large theater district in the West End, with more than 40 theaters. The British Museum, the Tate Museum and the National Gallery were the top three attractions in 2010. Even the transit system is iconic: the London Underground is the oldest underground railway in the world.

Top Cities 2013 - London

5 Pizzas You Need to Try in Europe

Throughout its lifespan, pizza has grown to be a universal substance. A meal that we all have grown to love and enjoy – topped with virtually any kind of meat, sauce, and vegetable combinations. It’s grown beyond its original fare and into something incredible: the ability to mix and match any flavor to create something unique and delicious. While still being known as pizza. When not cooking at home, however, the pros are getting into this flavor expansion, too. Adding fruits, olives, and layers and layers of native goodies to their very own recipes. In Europe especially, their homegrown goodies are something to talk about for miles around – though generally featuring “normal” pizza toppings. Even long past the vacation is over and you’re back home, eating regular pizza once again (but still dreaming about what could have been across the pond). On your next overseas vacation, be sure and test out these delicious blends and gain a taste for yourself!

5. Grilled Pizzas

It might sound unorthodox, but in European countries, this is one of the premiere ways to cook their doughy slices. It works by placing the entire thing on a grill and letting it absorb that smoky flavor. Not to mention a perfectly crisp crust once cooked. Pro chefs use grills with traditional grates, while the layman might use a slab to ensure nothing slips into the coals. Either way, it’s worth a taste test (or two) – these flavorful pieces are hard to beat!

Grilled pizza

4. The Ultra Thin Crust

You just think you’ve seen thin crusts here in the U.S. – but once you try an overseas version, you’ll be amazed at just how thin the crusts can become. All while still supporting their toppings (seriously, they defy logic). Be sure to put this on your list of “must try pizzas” for an authentic European experience that your taste buds won’t soon forget. You can even make your own concoction, or ask the pros for recommendations on what toppings taste best.

Thin crust pizza

3. Neapolitan Pizza

No, it’s not just a term for ice cream, Neapolitan is also a type of traditional Italian pizza. It’s made with fresh cheeses (usually parmesan and mozzarella) and fresh basil leaves – as well as fresh tomato sauce. What makes the pizza unique, however, is that toppings come in chunks (vs. American styles with shredded cheeses), which means you might get a different, yet still delicious, flavor every time you bite. Be on the lookout for chunks of mozzarella and basil, both of which pack delicious chunks of flavor.

Neapolitan Pizza

2. Fresh Herbs

These people are all about the flavor. And not just with spices or ingredients baked into the crust, but by infusing fresh herbs right on top of virtually every dish – with pizza being no exception. Most versions have herbs on top, while some have only herbs baked in. Crusts are topped with olive oil (made from the best quality olives to create the best flavor) and then sprinkled with all types of herbs. Fresh ones, of course, to provide even more flavor. The result is delicious and will have you gunning for fresh herbs in all of your at-home dishes.

pizza with herbs

1. Rectangle Slices

This version has often been seen in “party boxes” in the U.S. but in Europe, specifically Rome, it’s normal pizza fare. Giant versions are cooked up in large rectangle pans, then customers can choose their own size and pay by weight. Different toppings are usually placed on sections of each pan, allowing for a more personalized taste. (Think of it as choosing your piece of cake.) While it might not sound that much different than any other type of pizza eating, the experience of choosing and weighing alone is enough to remember a great vacation activity.

Rectangle pizza

The 8 Most Overrated/Underrated Attractions in Big Cities

Big cities are often at the top of the list for any traveler and there always seems to be a check list of “Major Attractions” that tourists are expected to experience; despite long line ups for tickets, crowds of people and more often than not disappointing results. Cities such as Paris, New York, Hollywood and London harbor less known attractions that are not only just as awesome but much less crowded and often much less expensive.

8. London, England

Overrated: London Eye
Starting off with the great city of London, England it doesn’t take a genius to identify The London Eye as one of the most significant tourist spots in the city. With its two long lines; one for tickets and one for rides it’s easy to identify this giant Ferris wheel as a tourist hot spot. Passengers travel in capsules that fit up to 25 people circling in a giant loop high above the city offering 360 degree views. It is considered one of the best places to view the city from above. The downfall to this attraction is not just the ridiculously long lines that you have to wait in but the high price of admission. Currently in early 2015 the cheapest price is $22 euro’s which gets you a standard ticket, the option for fast tracking the line will cost you a whopping $30 euro’s with no discount for children over the age of 4. The length of the ride is about 30 minutes in which you will be stuck with 20 or so strangers and depending on your luck could be good or bad.

London Eye

Underrated: Parliament Hill
The alternate to the London Eye is to head to the top of Parliament Hill for amazing views of the city. This view has the WOW-factor, the price is free and it is the perfect setting to fly a kite, have a picnic or share a romantic glass of wine with your partner. The city’s skyline is best seen on a sunny day or head to the top nearing sunset and watch as the glowing orange sun sinks slowly and the city turns into a dazzling display of lights. The best parts; no lines, no crowds of tourists and a chance to experience the view like a local.

Parliament Hill

7. Hollywood, California

Overrated: Walk of Fame
Hollywood, California; a place that is best known for anything and everything celebrity related. It’s no surprise that tourists here come to see the infamous Hollywood Walk of Fame. Instead of the star lined street you expect to see full of celebrities and hip trendy shops; visitors are hounded to buy souvenirs, take pictures with characters in costumes and give to the homeless. The garbage floats endlessly down the streets due to uncaring tourists, the crowds are thick with tourists all gasping for the chance to spot a star and the only reason you should really visit is if you have an unhealthy obsession with celebrities and “need” that picture of their star.

littleny / Shutterstock.com
littleny / Shutterstock.com

Underrated: Runyon Canyon
Instead head to Runyon Canyon where you might actually have a better chance of spotting a celebrity. Many celebs head here to walk their adorable collection of dogs, burn off some calories and grab a fabulous view of the city. With sightings including Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling, Jessica Biel, Mathew McConaughey and Ben Stiller this is one hot spot to not only get a great workout but to work out those eyes feasting on some major celebs. You can thank us later when Ben Affleck runs by you shirtless.

Runyon Canyon

6. Rome, Italy

Overrated: Colosseum
The Colosseum is not only a gigantic piece of Roman history but it is one impressive structure where you can imagine the battles that were won and lost by ancient gladiators. It is also extremely HOT, overcrowded and surrounded by plenty of locals looking to make a buck off the unaware tourists. Admission is expensive, the interior is HUGE and it seems to be constantly under renovation; with many areas closed off to tourists. We don’t recommend skipping this attraction entirely as the outside of the Colosseum is almost as impressive as the inside and can be seen from the street where excellent pictures can be taken.

Colosseum Rome

Underrated: Bath of Caracalla
Instead of fighting the crowds inside the Colosseum head to the Baths of Caracalla; an impressive complex of structures that were built as the second largest public bathing complex in the ancient empire. The ruins are simply magnificent and although the structure is now a modern day concert theater (which is just another reason to head here and watch an opera) the site remains true to its history offering visibly exquisite mosaics and objects that were once found here. The underground museum in the tunnels below is particularly interesting. This site is usually deserted making your time here peaceful and at a quarter of the cost; this is one underrated Roman attraction that shouldn’t be missed.

Bath of Caracalla

5. Cairo, Egypt

Overrated: Pyramids of Giza
When we say Egypt you think pyramids; let’s be honest as does everyone. Specifically we think of the pyramids of Giza; the great pyramid that is the oldest of the seven wonders of the ancient world and is still largely intact and the great sphinx. What we don’t think of is littered streets of garbage, tourist traps and never ending harassment from the hawkers that fill the area around the pyramids. A heavy use of armed guards and police seem to put a damper on the whole experience.

Pyramids of Giza

Underrated: Pyramid Fields of Dahshur
These are not the only pyramids in Egypt to discover though and just a short drive away is the Pyramid Fields of Dahshur where the pollution and crowds are much less. Still a well kept secret it seems that visitors are too focused on Giza to explore this beautiful site. The 2nd largest pyramid in Egypt; The Red Pyramid is here and visitors can climb all the way down to the bottom into the royal chambers. The Bent Pyramid and the Black Pyramid are also here and within three miles of each other. Do yourself a favor and stray from the beaten path and explore these unbelievable structures in a place where you can truly appreciate the beauty in silence.


4. UK

Overrated: Stonehenge
One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is the remains of a ring of standing stones set within earthworks. The mystery around how these stones came to be is what draws visitors from all over the world. Unfortunately this tourist attraction is laden with expensive souvenirs, a steep admission price and over eager crowds of tourists all trying to snap a “selfie” with the stones. The barriers that are put in place prevent visitors from touching the stones and a large amount of staff are in place to make sure everyone stays on designated paths. Although a visitors center is now up and running with a video on the history or should we say ‘story’ of this site, that cannot make up for the ulterior motives of  trying to sell anything and everything Stonehenge related; they even make you walk through the gift shop before you enter the outside stone area.


Underrated: Callanish Standing Stones
As a pleasant alternative to this historical site you will want to head to the Callanish Standing Stones. Although these two attractions are quite a distance apart if you are heading to the UK for the stones we highly suggest going for the later. Not only can you get up close and personal with the Callanish Standing Stones as the crowds of tourists are not present but you can touch them and even hug them. The visitor’s center does a great job explaining the history of the stones and a small café offers local cuisine. Did we happen to mention that the admission price is free? If you are looking for history, energy and a well-preserved mystical place Callanish Standing Stones should be #1 on your list.

Callanish Standing Stones

3. Dublin, Ireland

Overrated: Guinness Storehouse
Home of the infamous Guinness Beer, the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin is one of the most widely known attractions in the city. The fabulous building and the promise of “the best Guinness you have ever had” lures visitors from all over the world. Over the years the working factory has been turned into a “Disney World” for Guinness fans with lights, lines and loud and rowdy people. The Storehouse, as it’s named now is completely self-guided and takes you through various floors that explain the history and brewing process through a series of plaques, objects and photographs. The tasting room and the gravity bar are where you will end up with your pint of Guinness, which is highly debatable as to whether it’s “the best pint ever”.

Brendan Howard / Shutterstock.com
Brendan Howard / Shutterstock.com

Underrated: Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny
For a real working factory tour visitors will want to head to Smithwick’s Experience in Kilkenny. A historian will guide your small group (reservations encouraged) throughout the brew yard, into the actual brew rooms all the while talking about the history of this 300 year old brewery and the incredible town. The full pint that is poured with such balance and pride is a welcome treat at the end of the tour. It’s well worth the drive to the charming medieval town of Kilkenny where the passion for the beer truly shines through above all else.

Photo By: Marc O'Sullivan (Diageo) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo By: Marc O’Sullivan (Diageo) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

2. New York City

Overrated: Times Square
Times Square, either you love the thrill of the bright lights, huge billboards, numerous smells and sounds and the seemingly endless crowds of people or you hate it for the very same reasons. Crowded with throngs of tourists both day and night with a dizzying amount of lights, advertisements and costumed characters this is one of the most visited places in all of NYC; but not by the locals that is. They tend to stay away from the sewer smells that often take over, the con artists that prey on tourists and the sky high prices on everything from food to merchandise.

Underrated: Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood
An alternative to this crazy overcrowded tourist trap is to head over to Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood; located within Midtown. Here you will find cinema worthy streetscapes, theaters, fierce independent local businesses, thriving restaurants, local hang outs and plenty of green space to explore. Whether you are on a budget or looking for fine dining this area is loaded with options so visitors can enjoy a true authentic NY experience.

ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com
ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com

1. Paris, France

Overrated: The Louvre
Imagine going to Paris and not spending a day in The Louvre where the infamous Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is housed. Imagine not having to show up first thing in the morning because the line to get in is stretched out for miles and imagine not having to fight crowds of tourists to view the art you want. The Louvre is an incredible museum; the architecture, the works that are housed in it, we aren’t debating that. But it is often severely overcrowded, expensive to eat at and is large and has a somewhat complicated floor plan (be sure you can confidently read a map before you head here).

Tnymand / Shutterstock.com
Tnymand / Shutterstock.com

Underrated: Musee d’Orsay
For those art lovers who can’t bear the thought of visiting Paris without going to the Louvre; head to the Musee d’Orsay for a beautiful building that houses gorgeous impressionist works and will delight fans of Van Gogh and Paul Cezanne. This train station turned Museum is a little cheaper in price, much less crowded and full of art that even the less experienced art lover will recognize. The layout is simple and easy to follow with plenty of places to sit down and appreciate the art. The building in itself has an amazing history and makes this museum twice as breathtaking. If you have a chance, head outside to the terrace by the restaurant for some beautiful views.

pio3 / Shutterstock.com
pio3 / Shutterstock.com

15 Favorite Museums from Around the World

What’s one of the first things you check out while visiting a new city? If your answer isn’t ‘a local museum’ then you definitely need to read this list! We’re exaggerating a bit, but while a museum might not be your first stop, it’s long been a favorite activity of travelers and tourists alike. It’s a great way to explore the history and culture of any city or country and help get a better understanding of its people. Many museums also feature beautiful architecture making them a must visit for those photography enthusiasts. With so many amazing establishments all around the world, choosing a museum can be difficult (although you can always visit more than one) so here’s a quick look at some of our favorites from major cities around the globe:

Museum of Anthropology –Vancouver

Located on the University of British Colombia (UBC) campus, the MOA is home to more than 40,000 ethnographic objects from around the world including the South Pacific, Asia. Europe, Africa and the Americas. The museum offers educational school programs, facility rentals for special events, a Native Youth program, and serves as a research facility for UBC students. Located just 20 minutes from downtown Vancouver, the museum is easy to get to by car or public transit. Admission is $16.75 CAD for adults and children under 6 are free. Museum of Anthropology Vancouver resized2

Royal Ontario Museum –Toronto

The Royal Ontario Museum or ‘The ROM’ as it’s affectionately known, is located near downtown Toronto and is among the world’s leading museums of natural history and world cultures. With constantly changing exhibits and galleries, one visit to the ROM is never enough as this facility strives for dynamic education and entertainment. Adult admission is $16 CAD, $13 for children age 4-14, or visit on Friday’s after 4:30pm for special discount rates.

Niloo / Shutterstock.com
Niloo / Shutterstock.com

The Guggenheim –New York

With so many amazing institutions to choose from in this city, it’s hard to pick just one to visit; but The Guggenheim Museum located in Manhattan’s Upper East Side is a real stand-out. Most notable for its unique architecture, the ‘teacup’ design was created by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Opened in 1959, visitors to this art institution can experience special exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, film screenings, performances, lectures and tours. Admission is $25 USD for adults and children under 12 get in for free.

f11photo / Shutterstock.com
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

 Field Museum of Natural History –Chicago

Where can you meet a scientist to learn about nature and history, or sleep over among creatures from prehistoric times? Chicago’s Field Museum has all this and much more. This museum inspires curiosity about life on Earth while exploring how it came to be and how we can work to make it a better place. With traveling exhibits on subjects from Indigenous peoples, to prehistoric mammals, even the history of chocolate…there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Basic admission to the Field museum is $18 USD for adults and $13 for children.

Jason Patrick Ross / Shutterstock.com
Jason Patrick Ross / Shutterstock.com

Los Angeles County Museum of Art –Los Angeles

Also known by its acronym; ‘LACMA’ is the largest art museum in the western United States today. The museum boasts a collection of over 120,000 objects ranging from antique artifacts to modern objects of today, which represent the entire geographic world and nearly the entire history of art. It’s clear that this museum strives to be best in class. Located in the heart of LA, it’s situated on 20 acres known as Hancock Park. General admission to LACMA is $15 USD for adults and children under the age of 18 are free.

Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com
Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

Niterói Contemporary Art Museum –Rio

Another museum that may be most famous for its recognizable architecture, the MAC Niterói is located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and serves as one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Designed by Oscar Niemeyer, the 16 meter high structure includes 3 floors and is surrounded by a beautiful reflection pool. Inside you will find many works of contemporary art from influential Latin artists as well as those from around the world. Adult admission is $10 Brazilian Real or about $3.20 USD, with children under 7 in for free.

lazyllama / Shutterstock.com
lazyllama / Shutterstock.com

The British Museum –London

Founded in 1753, the British Museum located in London brings history and art to life in England. This was the first national public museum in the world and offered free admission to guests since its beginning; a tradition that continues even now. Nearly 6 million people a year come to visit this museum and explore the interesting architecture and fascinating exhibitions which range from ancient mummies, to works of aboriginal art, to ancient Greek statues. The British Museum London

The Louvre –Paris

One of the most recognizable museums in the world, no trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the Louvre. This French landmark is the largest and most visited museum in the world drawing nearly 10 million visitors each year. Museum exhibits are grouped into 8 categories including Egyptian Antiques, Islamic Art, Sculptures, and Prints and Drawings. All-access admission is €16 or about $17.50 USD.

cesc_assawin / Shutterstock.com
cesc_assawin / Shutterstock.com

Vatican Museums –Rome

What world-wide list of museums would be complete without including the famous museums of the Vatican in Rome, Italy. The collection is made up of 54 galleries with the world famous Sistine Chapel being the very last gallery in the museum. The galleries display works of art built up by the Popes through many centuries including some of the most renowned sculptures and pieces of Renaissance art in the world.  Admission to the Vatican Museums is €16 or about $17.50 USD for adults and €4 or about $4.50 USD for students. Vatican Museums Aerial Rome

State Historical Museum –Moscow

Many people know Moscow’s Red Square as the home of the world famous Saint Basil’s Cathedral, but this colorful landmark isn’t the only sight worth seeing in the square. The State Historical Museum is also a most recognizable structure with its grand size and deep red color. The museum is an homage to all things Russian history and the total number of objects in the collection is said to be in the millions. Admission is 300 Russian Rubles for adults which is about $5.30 USD.

Elena Ermakova / Shutterstock.com
Elena Ermakova / Shutterstock.com

ArtScience Museum –Singapore

What first might look like some sort of lotus flower structure is actually Singapore’s ArtScience Museum, located at the Marina Bay Sands Resort. This newer attraction opened in 2011 and is the world’s first ArtScience museum; featuring 21 gallery spaces in over 50,000 square feet. Inside you’ll find permanent galleries as well as intriguing temporary exhibitions that change throughout the year. All access admission to the ArtScience Museum is $25 Singapore Dollars or roughly $18 USD for adults and $12.50 USD for children. ArtScience Museum Singapore

Hong Kong Museum of Art –Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Museum of Art seeks to preserve the cultural heritage of China while promoting locally produced works of art. Established in 1962, the museum’s collection contains over 16,000 pieces including paintings, calligraphy works, and antique treasures. Located in historic Victoria Harbour, a trip to the Hong Kong Museum of Art is a great way to learn more about the history and future of Chinese art. Standard admission is $10 Hong Kong Dollars or about $1.30 USD.

e X p o s e / Shutterstock.com
e X p o s e / Shutterstock.com

Tokyo National Museum –Tokyo

Located in Tokyo’s Ueno Park, the Tokyo National Museum is a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Established in 1872, this is the oldest national museum in Japan as well as the country’s largest art museum. The museum collection focuses primarily on Japanese art and antiques but also includes art from other Asian countries and along the Silk Road. Adult admission is 620 Japanese Yen or around $5.20 USD while those under the age of 18 get in for free.

cowardlion / Shutterstock.com
cowardlion / Shutterstock.com

Museum of Contemporary Art –Sydney

Located in The Rocks district on the edge of Sydney’s famous Circular Quay, the Museum of Contemporary Art first opened its doors in 1991. The MCA operates with the goal of exhibiting, interpreting and collecting contemporary art from all over Australia as well as around the world. The permanent collection includes over 4,000 works by Australian artists, while the museum also features ever changing temporary exhibits. Regular admission to the MCA is free of charge, though special temporary exhibitions may require a small charge.

Jean-Philippe Menard / Shutterstock.com
Jean-Philippe Menard / Shutterstock.com

National Gallery of Victoria –Melbourne

Located in Melbourne’s CBD, the National Gallery of Victoria -or more commonly known as the NGV, is the oldest public art museum in Australia.  The organization operates 2 distinct sites: On the South side of the Yarra River you’ll find the NGV International where you’ll find an extensive collection of art from all over the world including Asia, Europe and America. North of the river in Federation Square is the NGV Australia, also known as The Ian Potter Centre where you find both aboriginal and non-aboriginal art from all over Australia from the colonial period to present day. General admission to either site is free of charge. National Gallery of Victoria Melbourne resized

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

The Best Places to Eat in Rome

Italy is like the Garden of Eden when it comes to finding heavenly bliss with food. There are so many amazing places that you can literally eat your way across the city and still not experience every delectable dish and restaurant the city has to offer.  We can say this; the best Roman food is made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. So as always, the best is made to order and seasonal. Here are a few tips for where to eat in Rome…

1. Follow the Locals

In Europe, like in every city in the world, the locals know best when it comes to food. So avoid that overpriced pizzeria beside the Parthenon, and follow the locals to those hidden restaurants and cafes. You know the ones, tucked down side streets, with unassuming signs that are open late—and dig in!

roman locals eating

2. Steer Clear of the Tourist Areas

Sure, walk around the tourist areas, see the Parthenon and the Coliseum, but when you’re done head in the opposite direction for the best and cheapest restaurants and cafes. You’re in Italy after all so avoid places with “Western” or American-style” menus for tattorias packed with crowds of locals and no-frills décor.

Italy Tourists

3. Invite a Roman Friend

As they say, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”. That probably means only eating great food. And that means eating where the locals eat. The best way to eat where the locals do is by inviting a Roman friend along to dinner at his or her favorite bonhomie restaurant. If that doesn’t work, ask locals for recommendations. Don’t be afraid to seek advice from the bus driver, newspaper stand owner, or cabbie.


4. Put your Meal in Professional Hands

Another surefire way to eat well is to put your dinner options in the hands of a professional chef. Look to restaurants touted as go-to places to eat because of the chef. For instance, Trattoria is owned and run by prized chef, Filippo La Mantia, who still whips up his signature caponata with pine nuts at this location.

italian chef

5. Look for Roman Specialties

The best way to experience any city is to eat authentically, and pizza is the specialty dish of choice when in Rome. Consult the guidebooks and dining websites on the best authentic pizza in Rome and 2 names will be prominent—La Montecarlo and Baffetto, pizzerias both located near the Piazza Navona. Luckily, you don’t have to decide between the two as the prior is only open during lunch and the second is only open in the evening.

kids pizza

6. Dine Alfresco

If you want to truly eat fresh and local, look to a Roman market for quality eats—not only will you find the freshest local produce in season; you’ll also have the luxury of packing up whatever you buy into a picnic to dine alfresco so you can take in more of authentic Rome.

Farmer's Market

10 Best Destinations to Travel After a Divorce

The idea of traveling soon after a divorce might seem strange. Perhaps you feel you’re too sad or exhausted to board a plane; maybe you’ve never traveled solo before. But traveling right after a divorce can be therapeutic, and can put problems into perspective. And who knows? Maybe romantic sparks could fly while you’re away.

These ten locales hold special appeal to the newly-divorced:

1. Costa Rica

F.J. Jimenez / Getty Images

If your recent divorce has been straining your savings, you’ll appreciate how inexpensive Costa Rican restaurants and hotels are. Plus, spending time alone with nature refreshes the spirit — and in this nation, the rainforests, jungles, beaches, and volcanoes are awe-inspiring.

2. St. Barths

Onne van der Wal / Getty Images

If you believe you deserve the utmost in luxury as a reward for surviving a marital breakup, then the Caribbean island of Saint Barthélemy, better known as St. Barths, is the place to go. A stay here isn’t cheap, but surely the gourmet restaurants, shops, spas, and beaches will take your mind off your ex.

3. New York City

© Marco Bottigelli / Getty Images

If you feel especially self-conscious about traveling by yourself, it’s New York for you. In the Big Apple, it’s easy to slip unnoticed into the throngs; no New Yorker would think twice about seeing someone eating, shopping, or riding the subway alone. While in the city, visit Tiffany’s, the store where Holly Golightly from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” went whenever she was feeling down.

4. Ireland

Edwin Remsberg / Getty Images

Sometimes after a divorce, people have an urge to meet lots of new people. There’s no place better for socializing than Ireland, where people are exceptionally outgoing. Drown your sorrows at a pub and share your heartbreak with fellow patrons. Everyone will be willing to hear your story, especially if you buy them a pint first. What’s more, Ireland’s beaches are highly underrated.

5. New Orleans

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

An excursion to New Orleans for a recent divorcee might go something like this: You visit a blues club your first night, where the music matches your mood if you’re feeling sad. The next day, you splurge on beignets and tour the magnificent gardens. Soon enough your spirits rise, and you’re ready to celebrate by attending lively jazz concerts or by dancing the night away in the French Quarter.

6. Thailand

Witthaya Prasongsin / Getty Images

Thailand is an ideal place to rid yourself of lingering post-divorce anxiety. You can eat, shop, and receive massages throughout Bangkok at very affordable rates. A jaunt to one of Thailand’s hundreds of islands, meanwhile, lets you sit on the beach, cocktail in hand, and take in the sunset.

7. San Francisco

Dan Kurtzman / Getty Images

Perhaps you feel ready to meet someone special. If that’s the case, head to San Francisco. In the City by the Bay, approximately 44 percent of the adult population is single, so you’ll be in good company. And the romantic opportunities in San Francisco, from cable car rides to bike trips across the Golden Gate Bridge, are unparalleled.

8. The Bahamas

Laurie Chamberlain / Getty Images

Kamalame Cay is a luxury resort situated on a private island in the Bahamas – an island boasting plenty of white-sand beaches. Even better, Kamalame Cay offers a special package for divorced people called “Le Divorce.” Among the activities included in this deal are a massage, manicure, pedicure, facial, and snorkeling session.

9. Rome

Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

Visiting ancient Roman ruins often helps people realize how fleeting our time on this planet is, and how important it is to make the most of every day, no matter what troubles we’ve been through. Not to mention, the cuisine throughout the city is mind-blowingly delicious. If you’re superstitious, local legend says that if you throw two coins into Trevi Fountain, you’ll find romance in Rome.

10. Burgundy, France

© Marco Bottigelli / Getty Images

The Burgundy region of central France is truly lovely, boasting one splendid vineyard after another. Additionally, the renowned travel company Abercrombie & Kent offers cabins for single people on their deluxe Burgundy riverboat tours.

10 Worst Cities in the World for Pickpocketing

When you are traveling, you always need to be watchful of your valuables. This is especially true of items that you carry in your pockets. When you are traveling in a foreign country, you need to be especially careful in certain places that are known for pickpockets. Here is a guide to the ten worst cities in the world for pickpockets.

1. Barcelona

This beautiful Spanish seaside city hides a danger underneath its surface. It is notorious for thieves who like to prey on unsuspecting tourists. The large crowds and boisterous noise provide the perfect environment for pickpockets to operate.
Pickpocket 1

2. Prague

This is widely considered by many to be among the most beautiful cities in Europe. It draws in legions of tourists every year, but many of them leave with less cash than they should. Be very wary of the large crowds that provide cover for pickpockets at the tourist hotspots like the Charles Bridge in Prague.

3. Rome

Rome is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and that reputation draws in the thieves. They have easy pickings with the many tourists who walk around in a daze as they gaze upon all the famous sights. Be mindful of your surroundings at all times in Rome, especially in busy areas.

4. Madrid

Spain can be proud of many things, but having two cities among the top five most notorious pickpocket locations in the world is not one of them. The Spanish capital of Madrid is also one of the world’s pickpocketing capitals. The metro and the markets are the locations where tourists need to be especially careful to guard themselves against the sticky fingers of petty thieves.
Pickpocket 4

5. Paris

They say that Paris is a city for lovers. That reputation may help explain why it is one of the world’s leading pickpocketing sites. The lovers walk around in a haze as they enjoy their romances, which makes them easy marks for the thieves who patrol the city’s streets. They are especially prevalent on the city’s metro lines. The crowded trains make it easy for them to operate without getting caught. People are packed in so tight that it can be difficult to notice someone’s hand reaching into your pocket.
Pickpocket 5

6. Buenos Aires

This is one of the wealthiest cities in South America, which brings in lots of thieves who are looking to siphon off some of that wealth. One of the most infamous tricks these thieves pull is to have one person dump something on a tourist. An accomplice then comes in to “help” the tourist by cleaning them off, which gives them an ideal camouflage for rifling through the mark’s pockets.
Pickpocket 6

7. Florence

One of the most famous artists’ cities in the world is also infamous for its pickpockets. It is easy for these thieves to steal from tourists when they are gazing in rapture at the stunning artworks that abound in the city.
Pickpocket 7

8. Amsterdam

This is one of the most delightful tourist destinations in the world. Its thieves are just as welcoming as the rest of its residents, and it is easy for them to operate in Amsterdam’s laidback atmosphere. The thieves make easy work of the inebriated tourists who like to indulge themselves in Amsterdam’s legendary party scene.

9. Hanoi

The Vietnamese capital is also the pickpocketing capital of Asia. The city is full of noise with its steady stream of motorcycles, cars and taxis always honking. This noise and the bustling crowds provide a nice cover for the petty thieves who ply their trade on Hanoi’s busy streets.
Pickpocket 9

10. Athens

No city on Earth has more historical sites to see than Athens. These sites often put tourists into an enchanted stupor in which they become easy prey for the legions of pickpockets who operate here. Tourists need to secure their money well before heading out to see the famous historical ruins of the city like the Acropolis and the Parthenon.

8 Romantic European Weekend Getaways

The summer is already here, and it is a great time to go on some romantic getaways with your special someone. In brainstorming for locations, I can find no better destination for a romantic getaway than Europe. Now, this might seem pretty broad, but there is just so much history and romanticism in this continent that it is difficult to pinpoint which location in Europe is the most romantic. The following is an overview of 8 romantic European weekend getaways.

1. Rome, Italy

The Italian capital is the perfect place to go if you want a romantic weekend. This ancient city has cobblestone streets, amazing historical sites, and great food for you to enjoy. To start off, you can go to the Flavian Ampitheater and relive the age of the gladiator. Next, the Roman forum will provide sights such as the Temple of Saturn and the Arch of Titus. If you’re feeling hungry, you and your loved one can take a stroll through the Campo de’ Fiori, which is where farmers and fisherman go to sell their fresh fruits and catches of the day.
Rome, Italy

2. Paris, France

One cannot plan a romantic weekend getaway to Europe without considering Paris. Paris has a great culture that is a mix of the old and the new, and the food here is the envy of Europe. Start by going to the Eiffel Tower and then have a picnic in a nearby lawn. Next, explore the city and visit the Arc de Triomphe and the Jardin des Tuileries. If you have a sweet tooth, be sure to visit Laduree, which is a great place to sample some Parisian treats like macarons and other old world delicacies.
Top Cities 2013 - Paris

3. London, England

London is an extremely charming city, and it does not get the attention that it deserves when it comes to being a romantic destination. Taking a stroll around Westminster Abbey and listening to Big Ben chime is one of the most romantic things that a couple can experience. Walking around London, you two will feel like you are in a fairy tale.
Top Cities 2013 - London

4. Madrid, Spain

Madrid is a charming city that has all of the ingredients to be a romantic getaway. If you are art enthusiasts, you will love nothing more than to walk the halls of the Prado Museum, which has one of the most extensive art collections in the world. If you want to feel like a “Madrileño”, then visit the Puerta del Sol plaza, which is considered to be the cultural center of the city.
Madrid Spain

5. Venice, Italy

This iconic city is famous for its river streets and also for its romanticism. Take a gondola ride with your loved one and take part in the tradition of kissing under every bridge you pass. Take a stroll down the Piazza San Marco and experience the beautiful architecture of the Basilica di San Marco located nearby. Don’t forget to take a boat ride down the Grand Canal, which is the main waterway in Venice. The entirety of this bustling town can be seen from here, and it is a magnificent sight.
Venice 1

6. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is commonly known as the “Venice of the North” because of the abundance of canals that it has. Just like Venice, you can take advantage of these canals and go on romantic rides. Amsterdam, however, is a large city compared to Venice. If you and your loved one are up for an adventure, simply walk around and enjoy the beauty of the city. You might get lost, but it will be a wonderful experience!
Top Cities 2013 - Amsterdam

7. Bruges, Belgium

It is very difficult to find something as romantic as walking down a cobblestone street with beautiful gothic buildings on either side. This is exactly what you find in Bruges. With an abundance of castles and quaint shops, it is easy to have a romantic time here.
Bruges Belgium

8. Prague, Czech Republic

To continue with our theme of castles and cobblestone streets, here we have Prague. Arguably one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe, Prague has many buildings that date back to the 13th century and beyond. One look at the Old Town building and you will know that you picked the right place for a romantic getaway.
Prague Czech Republic