THE LUXURY TRAVELER


Updated for

AUSTRIA

BELGIUM

CZECH REPUBLIC

DENMARK

ESTONIA

FINLAND

FRANCE

GERMANY

GREECE

HOLLAND

IRELAND

ITALY

LIECHTENSTEIN

LUXEMBOURG

MONACO

NORWAY

Portugal

RUSSIA

SLOVENIA

SPAIN

SWEDEN

SWITZERLAND

UNITED KINGDOM  

 


Welcome to a selection of destinations we have gathered especially for the enjoyment of our readers.  Each of these wonderful places enjoys a grand heritage and offers the visitor an ambiance rich in the arts and culture of Europe.   You’ll find cosmopolitan metros as well as towns & villages that offer the relaxed tweedy comforts of country chic.  Each locality's name is also a link to local tourism expertise.  As always, we wish you a wealth of enjoyable experiences in your travels. 

Frances & Jeff Moorhouse


 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

AUSTRIA

Austria is: The Heritage of the Hapsburgs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


A fiacre in Old Vienna

No other royal line on the continent lasted so long, left its mark on so many centuries, or so many countries as the Habsburgs.  Their Golden Ages were also high points in the cultural, artistic, and scholarly development of Europe.  No country enjoys more associations with the Habsburgs than Austria and no city enjoys more links to this great dynasty than the Imperial City of Vienna.  The following city/links (in bold) will take you to tourism organizations in selected destinations.

Select Destinations

Arlberg Where the rich and famous come to ski and to be seen.  Graz  This beautiful city, was favored by Emperor Frederick and reigned as the European Cultural Capital for 2003. Innsbruck  Fine examples of the Baroque Age are the Imperial Palace, Abbey of Wilten, Hall of the Diet, mansions and patrician residences.  Linz  Linz offers a vast range of varieties for planning your stay a walking tour, a ride on the Linz City Express, a visit to the Pöstlingberg with all its attractions or taste endless delicacies at the markets.   Editor's note:  Linz will be the European Capital of Culture in 2009.   Salzburg  Until 1803, Salzburg was an independent church state ruled by prince-archbishops.  So connections with the Habsburgs are quite recent.  Tirol  Welcome to the Hall-Wattens region.  Awaiting you here are ten picturesque villages (Absam, Baumkirchen, Fritzens, Gnadenwald, Mils, Thaur, Tulfes, Volders, Wattenberg and Wattens) and finally, Hall in Tirol, one of Austria's most beautiful towns.  Among the leading attractions are the historic town of Hall in Tirol, Swarovski's Crystal Worlds and Hall's Mint Tower, but not forgetting the Pilgrimage Church in Absam.   Vienna  Austria's capital has enjoyed a special position in imperial history since the election of Rudolf I as Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.  Today, Vienna is a marvelous and very sophisticated city offering visitors historical, arts and cultural treasures.

Related Articles

  Austria's Links to the Habsburg Dynasty 

  Graz - Cultural Capital of Europe in 2003 

  The Liechtenstein Re-Opens 

 Small Historic Towns in Austria

 

The Spanish Riding School

Vienna

The Winter Riding School (pictured above), the most beautiful riding hall in the world, is part of the Imperial Viennese palace and dates back to the time of Charles VI.  Today, you can enjoy performances here by world-famous Lipizzaner stallions and their riders. 

Please follow this link for further information about the Spanish Riding School.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BELGIUM

Belgium is: the birthplace of art deco

"There’s just something about Belgium. Maybe it’s the friendly & welcoming people, who with three official languages still find it easy to converse in English, the 4th unofficial language. Maybe it’s the stunning architecture decorating the quaint cobblestone squares. Or perhaps it’s the incredible cuisine found in the vast array of restaurants where each meal seems better than the last. Energetic and carefree, the overall mood in Belgium is infectious, summoning in all of us to live as Belgians and enjoy life to the fullest.  This little kingdom, about the size of the state of Maryland, is Europe in a nutshell.  It is brimming with medieval cities, quaint towns and villages, gothic cathedrals,  town halls and castles."  

Links to tourism organizations in the following Belgian destinations.

Antwerp  "Home of the Flemish Baroque master Rubens, not only has a  wealth of outstanding museums, picturesque galleries, sculpted streets and beautiful architecture, but is also laced with refreshing greenery and urban haunts.   Bruges "Upon visiting Bruges, you will immediately notice that this city has always carefully cherished its architectural and artistic treasures from the past.   What makes Bruges so typical though, is the way it deals with this past today.  The people of Bruges would like to invite you to join them and to enjoy it as much as they do."  Brussels is a city of contrasts with enormous diversity when it comes to places of interest and things to do.  The Grand Place, with its ornate baroque and gothic guild houses, is usually the first port of call for most visitors to Brussels and one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. Built as a merchants market in the 13th century, it serves as the center of the city and is a great place to experience Belgian hospitality at one of the many terrace cafes dotting the charming square. It also serves as a venue for numerous concerts and events throughout the year and during the warmer months is adorned by a vibrant, daily flower market.  Flanders "The historic cities of Flanders share a heritage of cobbled streets, guild houses, churches,  cathedrals and monuments.  Ghent  "In medieval times, Ghent was the second largest city in northwestern Europe after Paris.  In the historic heart of the city, visitors can explore traces of the Middle Ages."  Tournai  This, the ' Cité des Cinq Clochers ' (the town of the five towers) welcomes and invites you to its festivities and the rhythm of the seasons at the borders of the Walloon provinces of Belgium.   Tournai is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites Tournai cathedral one of the most beautiful religious monuments in the Western world, and the Belfry of Tournai which is the oldest building of it's type in Belgium and Northern Europe.   Ypres  was one of the main martyr towns of the First World War. A few months after the German invasion of Belgium on  August 4th, 1914, the front came to a standstill near the small, mediaeval town. From October 1914 to October 1918 the battlefield was barely a few kilometers away from the town centre. The trenches ran from north to south in an arc around Ypres. In this famous Ypres Salient no fewer than five bloody battles were fought."

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 C Z E C H  R E P U B L I C


The Czech Republic is: the writings of Franz Kafka

"A crossroads of European cultures throughout its long history, the Czech Republic remains a leading cultural destination to this day. Prague: a modern metropolis, city of bridges, cathedrals, towers and domes with a wonderful heritage of great architecture.

Note: Czech Center New York (the only Czech Center outside of Europe) is part of a network of 19 Czech Centers abroad administered by the Czech Center headquarters in Prague a subsidiary of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  Its presence in the U.S. dates to 1995, when the Czech Center New York was granted the status of Miscellaneous Foreign Government Office

 

 

 

 

FRANCE

France is: The Art of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec

Visit
Maison de la France:  the National Tourism Organization of France and the
producers of FranceGuide.com

Links to tourism organizations in the following destinations.

Bordeaux  The squares of Old Bordeaux are superb examples of 18th and19th century architecture.  The Old Religious Quarter reflects the wealth of the city in medieval times.  Cannes  Between festivals and major events, Cannes lives to the beat of the arts year 'round.   Evian Nestled between the lake and the mountains, Evian benefits from a truly exceptional natural environment that has made it an internationally famous resort. www.eviantourism.comGuerande  The wall of this fortified medieval city, bolstered by six towers and  four gates is one of the best preserved in all of France. Discover thatched cottages, period homes, mansions, public buildings and the Collegiate Church.  La Baule With beautiful south-facing sandy beaches, this picturesque seaside town is reminiscent of Belle Epoch lifestyles.  Le Mans  Saint Julian Cathedral is one of the largest in France and the most prominent feature of this Royal Plantagenet City.  Old Le Mans offers the visitors a glimpse on Renaissance times and the Classical period.  Parks, gardens, museums and great restaurants make for  enjoyable explorations.  A fine museum at Le Mans Raceway illustrates a history of the automobile.  

Château de Cheverny in the Loire Valley

 Loire Valley  A region with a wealth of monuments, parks and gardens, chateaus, picturesque towns and villages.  Western Loire  This is a place of the chateau, manor houses, abbeys and churches, formal gardens, spacious parks and spectacular beaches.  At chateaux such as Brissac, Le Lude and Goulaine, which are still family homes, the past is part of the present.  See the burial place of three English Kings at Fontevraud, marvel at the cathedrals and churches of Le Mans, Evron, La Ferte-Bernard or Guerande.   Nice  A city with a rich architectural and cultural heritage.  You may wander the narrow streets of the old town, then stroll along the famous promenade before entering the heart of the city.  Paris  This world class city is known for its museums, monuments, and boulevards lined with cafes, restaurants, designer  shopping and nightlife.  Reims  Famous for four monuments listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO: Notre Dame Cathedral, The Tau Palace, The St. Remi Basilica and the St. Remi Museum.  Saumur  To discover Saumur is to follow in the footsteps of the founding monks of Fontevraud, Plantagenet Kings and master horse riders of France  Strasbourg In the shadow of its magnificent cathedral, are a wealth of  museums, shops, cafes and restaurants.  You may also cruise its waterways,  viewing this visual treat from a whole new perspective.  Toulouse  From the River Garonne, to the Canal Du Midi, Toulouse offers many opportunities for discovery. 

The Hall of Mirrors, Versailles

  Versailles  In the XVIIth and the XVIIIth centuries the royal estate of Versailles was the main home of kings Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI. Closed during the Revolution, it was transformed into museum in the XIXth century by the last king having reigned in France, Louis-Philippe.  In the Chateau, the State Apartments, the Hall of Mirrors, the Chapel, the King's Chamber, the Opera and he " Grand " and the " Petit Trianon "are popular with visitors to Versailles as are the French formal gardens, the Coach Museum or the room of  "Jeu de Paume 

Follow this link to visit the Château de Versailles on-line  The Vendee  The Poitevin Marshes, at the heart of the Vendée’s Atlantic seaboard, form a region of greenery and waterways, a place rich in fabulous discoveries that open out in a

mosaic of landscapes that bear the imprint of man’s influence over the last ten centuries    A Special Experience  Puy du Fou, a major historically based theme park on a 40 hectare site that offers authentic replications of eras in French history from earliest times to the 20th century.  Editor's Note:  With a cast

of 1000 players La Cinescenie ® portrays the story of France in the most compelling multi media enactment we have ever witnessed.

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Unspoiled Dordogne

The Art and Times of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec

Medieval Magic in the Sky - Cordes sur Ciel

The Loire Valley - Chateau Country

Champagne! 

Exploring the Western Loire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

   

 

 

 

GERMANY


Germany is: The Music of Johann Sebastian Bach

Follow this link to the top 100 attractions in Germany

"Germany enjoys a history of three centuries as major tourism destination.  It offers the visitor a blend of old world traditions, as well as the finest contemporary living.  Its arts and culture make it one of Europe's favorite destinations."

Links to tourism and cultural organizations in the following destinations in Germany

Aachen "The city has a flair and atmosphere of its own. The attractive layout of the old city centre, the important historic monuments, the wells and baths over the hottest natural springs in Europe, the bustling activity in the streets and squares, the cultural diversity and quality and the many recreational and leisure activities make Aachen an exciting and pleasing whole."  Arnstadt  "An inviting countryside, vast forests, and world-  class cultural centers."  Berlin "This great city attracts visitors from all over the world with its unique mix of history and modern times, Eastern and Western Europe, classic and contemporary architecture, arts and culture."  Bremen A famously historic city - 1,200 years have woven a rich tapestry of Hanseatic heritage and cosmopolitan culture in Bremen. Strife for independence left an indelible mark on the city. Today, Bremen and Bremerhaven are near neighbors banded together in a two-city state, which is Germany’s smallest Federal state from sixteen.  Brühl The pearl of the Erft district, offers an exemplary selection in the fields of culture, gastronomic enjoyment, leisure and sport, as well as the natural environment.  The Augustusburg electoral palace is a cultural and historical highlight of the town. Its grand European history can be traced back to medieval times.  Cologne This "Old Town" is not really all that old. After it's destruction during World War II, the people of Cologne lovingly rebuilt it. Today its narrow lanes and many original pubs attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Whether you want to relax in the park along the Rhine called Rheingarten or enjoy a Kölsch in one of the typical breweries – it is worth while to take a look.  Dessau  The Bauhaus Building together with the Masters' Houses and the Garden Realm Dessau-Woerlitz are adopted to the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage.  Dresden After the floods of 2002, Dresden is now fully recovered and better than ever.  Erfurt  The capital city of  Thuringia (Thüringen) located in the "green heart of Germany".  Frankfurt  Where Goethe was born, and  its innumerable cultural and historical treasures, famous museums and active art scene.  Goslar Old Town, strongly influenced by mining, also belongs to the world heritage site. The Imperial Palace built under the Ottonians was extended by the Salian emperors to form their biggest palace complex.  Leipzig has a reputation as a city of music, historic associations with Bach, an opera company dating to 1693, and Gewand House Orchestra founded in 1743, making it the oldest city orchestra in Germany.  Link: Leipzig City of Music   Lubeck  Let yourself be swept away by the incomparable atmosphere of the Hanseatic city of Lübeck. This means moments bursting with beautiful panoramas and one-of-a-kind sights.   The 15th century fortified gate is a landmark of Lübeck, and  symbol of the fortified medieval town - the former Queen of the Hanseatic League.  Munich The legacy of seven centuries of rule by the Wittelsbach Family is foundation for Munich's present day importance as a centre of European culture.  Potsdam  The Brandenburg State Capital and former centre of Prussia with its castles and gardens which are part of UNESCO’s world cultural heritage.  Quedlinburg The Old Town covers an area of some 80 hectares. UNESCO declared it to be an outstanding example of a European city of medieval origin which has preserved through the centuries its precious architectural heritage of Romanesque and half-timbered buildings, partly in exceptional quality. Quedlinburg was at the heart of the East Franconian Empire at the time of the Saxon dynasty - the Ottonians.  Reichenau The itinerant Bishop Pirmin knew already in the year 724, why he had taken up residence and found a monastery on this island in the "Untersee", even as it was really inhospitable at that time. During three centuries, the monastery had an extraordinary heyday. Until today, the magnificent churches are showing this "cradle of occidental culture". With the "Reiche Au", which means Rich Island, with its fertile grounds and the rich fishing grounds, the islanders have created a jewel.  Trier The Romans founded Trier in 16 B.C. By the end of the 3rd Century the city was an Imperial Residence and capital of the West-Roman Empire. Six emperors held court here, and as early as the 4th century, Trier had a population of 80,000.    Upper Middle Rhine Valley The history that is visible even today in the towns and villages of the Middle Rhine Valley, to some degree goes back to Roman times. In the high Middle Ages, the region represented one of the core locations of the Holy Roman Empire. The struggle for the control over the Rhine since the 13th century resulted in numerous fortified towns on the banks of the river. The wealth of the region at the time is expressed by many ambitious buildings.  Wartburg The Palais, the main building of the medieval castle, was constructed between 1155 and 1180. It is one of the best preserved secular buildings of the late Romanesque period north of the Alps, and it is surely one of the most beautiful.   Weimar A UNESCO world heritage city known to Goethe, Bach, and Liszt.  

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GREECE

Despite it's current economic woes, Greece remains famous worldwide as a cradle of human civilization. Visitors may easily visit museums, archaeological sites, monuments, cultural centers throughout the country, all year round.  We look forward to the time when the Greece stabilizes and once again is able to welcome visitors into secure economic environment.

 
 

The Netherlands


Holland is: the girl with a pearl and that special look

Holland: beautiful countryside, vibrant cities, picturesque villages, rich in history, arts and culture  Links to tourism and cultural organization in the following destinations in Holland.

Amsterdam A compact city so you are never far from your destination.  "Quaint districts" include The Red Light district, "Jordaan" with bars restaurants and shops, "Museums Quarter," "KNSM Island", "De Pijp" home to artist, writers, laborers a real melting pot, and fashionable "Between the Canals".   The Hague With its broad tree lined boulevards Holland's Royal city is long on history and tradition.  More information  Maastricht Holland's most southern city is a culinary delight and a shopper's heaven. Stroll past the historic sights, and enjoy the atmosphere of energy and relaxation.  More info.     

Rotterdam Holland's "other" city. The city on the Maas, which the Dutch call Manhattan on the Maas, it's a young, exciting place with great architecture and an exciting culture.  More info   Utrecht The old medieval center of Utrecht kindles a passion for the past! Stroll along the century-old canals, and past the stately houses and wharves. More info

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Helene's Favorites 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I R E L A N D

Ireland is: the art of Francis Bacon


River Liffey, Dublin

What separates Ireland from it neighbors is the arresting beauty of the land, the turbulent history of the island, the broad smile that welcomes your arrival and the heartfelt farewell that signals your departure. Discover Ireland, it's yours to enjoy  

Dublin Driving in this city is definitely not for the faint of heart but almost everything else in Dublin is highly enjoyable.   

 

 

 

 

 

I T A L Y

Italy is: Leonardo

It can be said that Italy has more of the world's great art than any other country.  When not immersed in cultural pursuits the visitor to Italy can indulge in marvelous food, wonderful wines, fashionable shopping and enjoying all things Italian.Links to tourism and cultural organization in the following Italian destinations.

Florence  is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy and the center of the Italian Renaissance.  Liguria  Land of a Thousand Beauties.  Genoa, with the Rolli Palazzos, the maze of the historic area, the exhibitions in Palazzo Ducale and the National Galleries, is a capital of art.  Don’t miss Cinque Terre, which is UNESCO World Heritage; but every place has a treasure for you to discover.  Cultural Capital of Europe for 2004  Milan can trace it's impeccable cultural credentials to the Visconti and Sforza families who ruled from the 13th century through the Renaissance.  Today Milan is Italy's capital of the media, design and fashion.  Pisa Pisa has so much more to offer than simply the spectacular leaning tower for which it has become so famous.  Rome This ancient city is a must for travelers who visit Italy.  Its artistic and architectural heritage is justifiably world famous.  Great shopping, outstanding cuisine wonderful entertainment.  Venice is filled with museums and buildings of great historical and artistic importance. 

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L I E C H T E N S T E I N

Alfresco dining in beautiful Liechtenstein.

With an area of only 61.8 sq miles, Liechtenstein is the fourth smallest state in Europe.   Despite its diminutive size, the country has a very eventful history more recently characterized by a post World War II transition from an agrarian society to  a highly developed economy with an infrastructure that has attracted numerous international corporations (such as Hilti, Swarovski, Krupp Presta, Ivoclar, Unaxis) to headquarter in Liechtenstein.  As a consequence of this, Liechtenstein is one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

The Princely House of Liechtenstein is one of the oldest existing noble families in Europe. The family has over 100 members, with only a few who reside in the Principality of Liechtenstein.

 
 

Vianden Castle, Luxembourg

L U X E M B O U R G

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is an independent sovereign state with borders adjoining Belgium, France and Germany.  The country is divided into two clearly defined regions: -The "Eisléck" or "Oesling" in the north, which is part of the Ardennes.  The "Good country" in the Center and the South, covering the remaining territory, is mainly rolling farmland and woods.  Small in size, big on interesting things to do.

The origins and the name of Luxembourg are intimately linked with one person, and with one place.

The City of Luxembourg, is the capital of the Grand Duchy.  This is a city with an ancient, turbulent past, and an optimistic outlooks on the future. Luxembourg boasts an array of historical and cultural sights that are well worth seeing.  Interesting and picturesque spots to discover make it easier to discover the former “Gibraltar of the North.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

MONACO  

The Casino, Monte Carlo

Monte-Carlo, a district of the Principality of Monaco, was created in 1866, in honor of Prince Charles III, hosts an internationally famous Casino, luxury hotels and leisure facilities, some created recently: Larvotto beach, the Monte Carlo Sporting Club, the Boulingrins Gardens.

A  Glamorous Lifestyle in a Magical Setting

Basking between enchanting French Medieval villages and the ski trails of the Alps, Monte Carlo is an exquisite emerald in a setting of craggy rocks rising from the azure-blue of Mediterranean Sea. With over 300 days of sunshine a year and mild temperatures, it celebrates with passion the arts, culture, outstanding cuisine, restoration of mind and body, and high-adrenaline activities like the Formula One Grand Prix, casino gaming, land and water sports and exciting nightlife. The magnificent design, decor and service of its hotels more than meet expectations, while experienced destination management companies specialize in unique events

 

 

 

 

  

 

P O R T U G A L

Queluz National Palace, Queluz Sintra

Modern day Portugal enjoys along  legacy dating from pre- history to Roman Moorish and Celtic influences on its culture.  On the bank of the river Tagus, Lisbon is a city whose legendary history stretches back over twenty centuries.  The maritime Voyages of Discovery turned Lisbon into one of the world’s great ports and the centre of an empire that stretched from Brazil in the West to India in the East. On the banks of the river, great monuments testify to that history.

After the earthquake of 1755, the Baixa Pombalina downtown was rebuilt in the classical style while many of its adjoining medieval neighborhoods survived and are now home to an amazing array of stores, restaurants and cafés.  Lisbon’s exceptional and highly individualistic light has charmed writers, photographers and filmmakers with the polychrome façade tiles serving to create a particular atmosphere.

Lisbon  Lisbon's historical quarters (Lisboa) are generally in the city centre.  Some still retain the old structures of Muslim and medieval origin, with courtyards where people usually gather. The typical features of these quarters are old houses, narrow streets, wrought-iron balconies, tiled façades and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.  The best and most pleasant way to visit these quarters is by "eléctrico" (tram). And be sure not to miss a stroll by the River Tagus and lunch at the Santo Amaro docks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

RUSSIA

 
 

Slovenia is: a hint of the Renaissance

 SLOVENIA


          photo: B. Jakse S. Jersic

Slovenia, the fourth smallest member of the European Union in terms of area, boasts an extraordinary diversity of landscapes in a relatively small territory.  Slovenia`s cities and towns offer more than history, monuments, churches, museums, and restaurants with delicious food and drink; they are also the venues of numerous events, from minor festivities only found on the local calendar to traditional world-renowned events. Our cities and towns not only offer the ancient cores where their life began millenniums ago but also serve as starting points for excursions into the immediate and more distant surroundings where many historical and natural sites wait to be discovered.      For further information, use this link to contact the Slovenian Tourist Board.

 

Ljubljana

Both residents and numerous visitors perceive Ljubljana as a city made to the measure of man. Ljubljana is classified as a mid-sized European city, but it has preserved its small-town friendliness and relaxed atmosphere while providing all the facilities of a modern capital. It is a very unique city dotted with pleasant picturesque places where you can expect all kinds of nice little surprises. During winter, its dreamy central European character prevails, and during summer its relaxed Mediterranean feel. Due to its geographical position, Ljubljana is a perfect base for exploring the many faces and beauties of Slovenia. Follow this link for further information

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S A N  M A R I N O

Thousands of years of tradition in an ancient medieval town.  

In San Marino evocative traditions are based on authentic, documented history which saw the ancient standard raised, the sound of the clarions blaring and the cross-bows taking aim. Never attacking, but ever defending ancient freedoms. Every year for a full week the various  historic centre undergoes a metamorphosis; the multi-colored daytime tourist paths become a  of  living theatre where actors create a climate of colors, notes and emotion

Editor's note:  San Marino, located on Mt. Titano in north central Italy, is 24 square miles and has 29,000 residents. The country claims to be the oldest state in Europe, having been founded in the fourth century.

THE SCANDINAVIAN COUNTRIES


Scandinavia is:
Opera under Northern Lights

DENMARK

Denmark is: The Royal Danish Theatre

Even though Denmark is one of the smallest countries in Europe, great experiences await the visitor.  Great diversity separated by short distances is a wonderful characteristics of Denmark.

Copenhagen   This marvelous Scandinavian city offers the best of the modern and traditional, friendly Nordic hospitality, plus wonderful arts and culture.  Much of the city's architecture reflects its long history in ancient castles and palaces.  The historical city centre is a maze of narrow streets and cobbled squares, while beyond you may enjoy open spaces, parks and gardens. 

Related Article

Copenhagen

 FINLAND

Helsinki  Photo: Matti Tirri   © City of Helsinki


Finland stretches from the Arctic Circle to the Baltic Sea.  This is a country where sophistication and technology exist in complete  harmony with nature.  

Helsinki  Without doubt, Helsinki is one of Europe's trendiest and most fashionable capitals.  A centre of traditional and contemporary arts, great performances, shopping and a traditional cuisine in transition to contemporary tastes. 

Related Article: 

The Gastronomy of Finland

NORWAY


Norway is: the art of Edvard Munch

Cities in Norway tend to be small compared to their counterparts in other European countries.  However, this makes for easy movement as you explore a culture that includes Vikings, famous authors, actors, composers and artists.

 SWEDEN


Sweden is:
dance and ballet choreographed by Mats Ek 

From untouched wilderness, to  relaxing on a cruise in the island-rich archipelago, or standing on the top of a snow-covered mountain, to hanging out at a bar at one of Europe's finest nightclubs, this is Sweden where life is to be enjoyed.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S P A I N


Spain is: the art of
Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez

 

Links to tourism and cultural organizations in the following  destinations in Spain

Barcelona  is a modern, cosmopolitan city on the sea.  A city which is the perfect place for a stroll. Barcelona opens its doors so that you can enjoy its wealth of history and culture, its attractive range of shops, excellent cuisine, and a whole host of leisure attractions.  The climate, the Mediterranean light, the people, the beaches and its atmosphere invite you to experience it to the fullest at any time of the day or night  Granada  The history of Granada can be dated back further than even ancient times, perhaps its founding lay at the hands of Noah’s daughter or, conversely, the daughter of Hercules named Granata.  History, invariably an aesthetic option, assures us that in Granada there once stood important Iberian and Roman settlements.  Though its origins of both the Alhambra and Generalife are confused, there are clear remains from the 9th century, the Alhambra’s most brilliant creations date from the Nasrid Empire and the reign of Carlos V, between the 13th and 16th centuries.  Madrid The history of Madrid dates from its 9th century origins by the Moors.  A modern city offering visitors a wide variety of arts and cultural attractions including an architectural heritage of the highest quality.       Features a preserved medieval village, a quarter known as Madrid of the Austrian, the Plaza Mayor the Plaza de la Villa with a superb Baroque City Hall Building, and the Royal Palace.  The Museo del Prado heads an impressive list of museums, galleries and botanical gardens. Seville  Numerous and varied cultures have been present in Seville's history. The city's cultural, monumental and artistic legacy gained over the centuries can be admired in it's streets and museums. Seville's dark origins have provided legends such as the one that attributes Hercules as it's founder. In order to appreciate the ancient history of Seville, one must visit the Museo Arqueológico (Archaeological Museum), a spectacular site in itself; once a Pavilion of the 1929 Exhibition. Here one can observe the remains of cultures that traveled from across the Mediterranean, bringing with them their distant gods. 

Plaza de Platerías, Santiago de Compostela

 Toledo is one of the Spanish cities with the greatest wealth of monuments. Known as the “city of the three cultures”, because Christians, Arabs and Jews lived together there for centuries, behind its walls Toledo preserves an artistic and cultural legacy in the form of churches, palaces, fortresses, mosques and synagogues. This great diversity of artistic styles makes the old quarter of the capital of La Mancha a real open-air museum, which has led to it being declared a World Heritage Site.

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S W I T Z E R L A N D

Switzerland is: the shores of Lake Geneva
 

Links to tourism organizations in the following Swiss destinations.
 

A glimpse into the middle ages in Stein am Rein.  Staff Photo

Lucerne  The “Quality Label for Swiss Tourism” programme is supported by all major Swiss tourism associations. Its purpose is to encourage establishments to enhance and safeguard the quality of service in Switzerland.   Baden  (Baden (Zurich Region) (no local website, visit My Switzerland The Roman spa city of Baden has kept much of its earlier appearance, with the old town stamped by late-Gothic style. City tower, church and town hall bear witness to the city's high status in old Switzerland. Baden was also the seat of the Brown and Boveri industrial families. It is to their passion for Impressionism that the city owes its gratitude for the Langmatt Museum, one of Switzerland's loveliest art collections.  Basel  In this former centre of humanist scholarship, art and culture still occupy an important position.  With the city's enormous range of culinary and cultural offerings, visitors may enjoy themselves to the fullest.Bern  The Old Town of Bern has been featured in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1983.  Take a stroll around this fabulous cultural site and enjoy the charm of the covered arcades, cobbled streets and decorated facades. Also of note are: the Cathedral, Clock Tower, Bear Pits, Houses of Parliament and Bundesplatz, River Aare, over 100 fountains, arcades, Zoological Gardens.  These and many more are key sights of Bern.  Chur  (no local website, visit My Switzerland) The "gateway to Graubünden", Chur, is proud of its 5000-year-old cultural history. This considered Switzerland's' oldest settlement, with a city centre that retains an old-town charm. The influence of neighbouring countries is still evident in the Gothic old town (built in the 15th & 16th centuries) and testifies to the skill of Italian master builders.  Geneva  "The smallest of the big capital cities boasts a wide array of music, opera, theatre, musicals, dance and cinema events, as well as an exciting nightlife."  Interlaken  This capital of Switzerland's Bernese Oberland is located between the lakes of Thun and Brienz, at the foot of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.   Lausanne Dominated by the Old Town, bearing witness to its rich medieval past with its Gothic Cathedral and historic homes, has its opera, theatres, corps de ballet, musical ensembles, museums and Summer festivals – a really  exceptional European city of art and culture!.  Locarno  The Piazza Grande is the heart of Locarno's city centre. In the old town, patrician houses with concealed balconies bear witness to the supremacy of this once-wealthy trading metropolis. The Casa Rusca Gallery is one of Locarno's most beautiful palaces: its huge collection includes works by celebrated Dadaists. Galleries, shops and cafés line the lanes of this city which boasts the mildest climate in Switzerland. Locarno`s landmark is the pilgrimage church of Madonna del Sasso - a place of prayer with extraordinary views over the lake and mountains. Lucerne  Whether it be opera or theater, contemporary dance or cabaret, technological rarities from the history of transportation, precious works by Picasso and Klee, a large-scale panorama painting, findings from the Stone Age, folklore from the region, doubtful records and comical events, concerts and festivals with classical or modern music, world music or folk music - Lucerne has the right program for every cultural taste.  Lugano  The architectural beauty of Lugano, Switzerland's third most important banking city, is awe-inspiring. It's no wonder that over the last 50 years, Ticino has become one of the most important regions in terms of architecture. The most renowned representatives of the Ticino School are Luigi Snozzi and Mario Botta. Botta`s Banca del Gottardo building on Viale Franscini, Palazzo Ransila on Via Pretorio and his atelier on the Via Ciani are examples of his striking style.  Lake Maggiore Region  Lake Maggiore or Verbano, Switzerland's second largest basin, with its blue waters offers nature, parks, reserves, mountains, flowers, valleys and everything you could wish for in an invigorating filled with relaxation and excitement!  A mountain range encloses the lake basin: dominating this incredible landscape is the huge Alpine chain of Monte Rosa, Europe’s second highest peak.   Only 50km as the crow flies separate Lake Maggiore’s waters from this “Himalayan” region with mountaintops that reach over 4000 metres in height.   St Gallen  This UNESCO World Heritage Site, a lake adjoining three countries in the north of Switzerland are the main elements of the region St.Gallen-Lake Constance.  Come and experience the city of books close to the beautiful landscape of the "Swabian Sea"!   St. Moritz St. Moritz is one of the most famous holiday resorts in the world, and its name is synonymous with quality and elegance.  Stein am Rhein (visit My Switzerland Stein am Rhein, a picturesque country town in the county of Schaffhausen, is a medieval gem that exudes tranquility and charm - painted facades, pretty oriels and a riverside promenade invite you to stroll and enjoy the sights.   The square is bordered by houses with painted facades and neat bays, and by splendid half-timbered houses. Overlooking the town is the Castle of Hohenklingen, built into the forest and vineyards. St. Georgen, a very well preserved Benedictine Cloister, was built from the 14th to the 16th century, and is, together with the museum, well worth visiting.   Winterthur  The sixth largest city in Switzerland with around 96,000 inhabitants and the largest interconnected pedestrianized area in Europe is waiting for you. The city’s medieval centre pulsates at every hour of the day. Shops, restaurants, markets and festivals bring the historical walls alive. The varied cultural offer, from experimental theatre to internationally-famed museums, will thrill all culture enthusiasts.  Zurich  In Zürich everything is that bit smaller - but with so many things to do, this simply means you have all the more time for an unforgettable visit.  Located next to Lake Zürich with stunning views of the Swiss Alps, this exciting city is just 10 minutes away from its international airport. 

Links to Regional Tourism Offices

Lake Geneva Region

The Matterhorn Region  

Related Article

Stein am Rhein - Window on the Middle Ages

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U N I T E D  K I N G D O M

The British Tourist Authority

ENGLAND


Great Britain is: Henry VIII

There is so much to explore in this land of historic cities, towns and villages. You may pursue your discovery on dramatic coastlines, moorlands, gentle rolling pastures, incomparable theatre, cathedral cities, country lanes or in the quintessential English garden.    

 Bath  This UNESCO World Heritage Site is England's finest example of Georgian architecture and style.  Famous for its Roman Baths, Pulteney Bridge and Gt. Pulteney Street, assembly rooms and a vibrant arts cultural scene. Brighton and Hove  Brighton & Hove is an extremely photogenic city and is often featured as one of the UK's most popular tourist destinations on TV or in newspapers and magazines.   Bristol  Bristol's maritime heritage was created by merchant adventurers, explorers who sailed the high seas.  In 1497, John Cabot sailed to America from Bristol.  Today ancient inns, cobbled streets and grand buildings remain from this exciting past.   Cheltenham  Located where the western hills of the Cotswolds meet the Severn Valley, you'll find all of the elegance and style of the Regency period in Cheltenham, Britain's best preserved Regency town.  Chester  Chester's crowning glory is the 13th century Rows - two-tiers of shops running along the main streets. You'll find nothing like them anywhere else in the world.  The City Walls were built by Romans, extended by Anglo-Saxons, invaded by Vikings, strengthened by Norman battle-lords, blasted by Cromwell's cannons, restored by the Victorians and cherished by all today, they are simply the finest in Britain.  The Cotswolds  Dozens of picturesque historic towns and villages populate the beautiful Cotswold countryside, including: Bourton-on-the-Water - "Venice of the Cotswolds", Chipping Camden - historic and beautifully preserved, Moreton-in-Marsh - 13th century market town and Tetbury - a medieval market town dating to AD 681.  East of England (East Anglia) This link will take you to the official visitor site for the East of England - covering the counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.  Gloucester  Cradled by the picturesque Cotswold Hills and ideally located in the heart of the country, the city of Gloucester has a vibrant, lively atmosphere that combines a rich historic past with all the excitement of a modern city.    

Choir Stalls St Pauls Cathedral, London

London  One of the world's most popular and accessible cities with a varied and exciting cosmopolitan culture, rich in pageantry, pomp & circumstance.   London Theatre district is considered the world's  finest.  Shakespeare Country  Your links to information on Historic Warwick, Kenilworth, Stratford-upon-Avon, Royal Leamington Spa and South Warwickshire.   Somerset  A West Country mixture of heritage, coast and countryside including England's smallest city and its beautiful cathedral, quaint villages and stately homes clad in local honey colored stone.  South East England Take a city break to Brighton, Oxford, Canterbury, or Winchester. Discover the coast of the South East with The Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, Chichester, or Eastbourne. Escape into the countryside of Kent, Cotswolds, The River Thames, The New Forest or The South Downs. South West England  The South West of England stretches from Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds down to Dorset and westwards as far as Lands End in Cornwall. It includes the wide open spaces of Dartmoor and Exmoor, picturesque villages with thatched cottages nestling in amongst rolling hills, the Roman city of Bath, Stonehenge, and a magnificent and varied coastline dotted with fishing villages, seaside resorts, and 600 miles of coastal footpath.  Southport  Beautiful Beaches - The Southport & Sefton coastline is renowned for its beautiful beaches. Southport, Formby, and Ainsdale are regularly awarded the ENCAMS Seaside Award Flags. The beaches must pass rigorous tests including the provision of first aid facilities, good access for mobility impaired people and ensure the sands have a high standard of cleanliness.  York  England's most famous medieval city reflecting its Viking and Roman heritage.  Visit the stunning York Minster, enjoy Stonegate and Shambles shopping and live the York history at the JORVIK Viking Centre, National Railway Museum and York Castle Museum.  York is a compact walled riverside city and home to countless world-class attractions, museums and galleries. York is a year round destination offering a lively café bar and restaurant culture and vibrant entertainment and festivals.   Yorkshire  Yorkshire has a fascinating and intriguing history, with stories of romance, violence, heroism and adversity spanning over 2000 years. Monuments of centuries shaped by the hands of Roman and Viking invaders and medieval monks have been preserved to recount such tales. Yorkshire has been witness to a great deal of national history, including Roman invasions, Viking settlements, Saxon successes, Monarchy changing battles, the foundation of Methodism, great aristocracy and the industrial revolution.

Other relevant links

The British Monarchy

Historic Royal Palaces

Britain's Heritage Cities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S C O T L A N D


 

Golf in Scotland

The Queen's Course at Gleneagles

Scotland: unspoiled, wild and dramatic scenery with castles, battlefields and ancient settlements combined with modern, cultured, vibrant cities.  

Aberdeen & Grampian  The capital of the Grampian Highlands is even more unique thanks to the treasures on its doorstep. Follow the Castle Trail taking in 13 of the finest gems the region has to offer. Or head to the coast where picturesque fishing villages and dramatic cliff top scenery are waiting to be explored. Play on championship golf courses or follow in Queen Victoria’s footsteps – the choice is yours.  Angus & Dundee  Uncover a different part of Scotland, where two thousand years of magic, mystery, and romance, are interwoven across a land as unspoiled as it is rich in history, tradition and culture. Whatever your reason for visiting Scotland, explore for yourself the legacy of ancient peoples, kings and queens, adventurers and inventors. Enjoy a contrasting landscape, where rugged coastlines, gentle lowlands and Highland Glens, merge easily and unexpectedly, and produce world-class golf locations set against dramatic and breath-taking scenery.  Edinburgh  Until the late 18th century, Edinburgh consisted, almost exclusively, of what is now known as the Old Town - where you’ll find the Castle, Royal Mile and Grassmarket).   The University was founded in 1583, setting in motion the city’s educational and professional development. The Bank of Scotland was founded in 1695, the first of many new ventures that would see Edinburgh established as a leading financial capital by the end of the 20th century.

Fife  'The Kingdom of Fife' is the perfect setting for a short break or a longer stay on Scotland's sunny east coast.  Whatever you want to explore - the country's best-kept beaches, the world home of golf in St Andrews, the delightful East Neuk fishing villages, the historic capital of Dunfermline, it's all in the Kingdom of Fife.  Glasgow & Clyde Valley  Greater Glasgow & Clyde Valley is one of Europe’s most exciting and beautiful destinations, which combines the energy and sophistication of a great international city with some of Scotland’s most spectacular scenery.  Glasgow is an architectural dream: Victorian red & honey sandstone, Italianate steeples and medieval spires sit harmoniously with neo-gothic towers, the sensuous Art Nouveau of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the titanium, glass and steel of the contemporary city.  Glasgow has an amazing portfolio of more than twenty museums and galleries – many of them free – including the unique Burrell Collection, stunning Mackintosh House and cool and contemporary Gallery of Modern Art.  The Highlands of Scotland  The Highlands of Scotland Tourist Board has put together a list of fifty favorite things to do in the Highlands that cost little or nothing  follow this link  for more information.   Orkney  Orkney is an archipelago of 70 or so islands and skerries, of which 17 are currently inhabited. Orkney can be found off the northern tip of Scotland, lying on latitude 59° North, where the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet. The Islands cover an area of 974 square kilometres, of which more than half is taken up by the Mainland, which is the group’s largest island.  The islands are about 85 km from north to south and 37 km from east to west. Approximately 20,000 people live in Orkney, the majority of which live in the main towns of Kirkwall and Stromness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WALES  

Wales is a land of legend, song, powerful wizards, and rumors of fire-breathing dragons,.  Indeed there are sheep, more sheep, still more sheep and a fair bit of natural beauty. And, you just might stumble upon an ancient standing stone or a Celtic cross.  it could happen.  it could.