Europe has many wonderful cities with tourist attractions to suit just about every taste. The choice is by no means restricted to capitals or even to the larger cities. Many of the smaller cities offer enough things to see and do to keep a tourist absorbed for days and still wanting to return after their visit is over. To single out any one city and to say that it is better than the others would be to ignore the fact that beauty is in eye of the beholder. All that can be said is that personal experiences make some cities even more special than others. On that basis, I have described four of my personal favourites and have included my best travel tip for each one.
Amsterdam is a friendly, welcoming city that tourists usually remember most for its warm hospitality. They are also likely to remember how they spent many joyful hours wandering along the canals, admiring buildings, monuments and canal bridges without worrying too much about what or where to visit next. Amsterdam is that kind of place and needs no set travel itinerary to make it enjoyable. However there are some places that just have to be visited and probably the best travel tip for Amsterdam is not to miss visiting the Anne Frank Museum. This museum has been built inside the house where Anne Frank hid from the Nazis. The Jewish girl’s diaries record the months of confinement she spent in the cramped hiding place on the top floor. Her experiences are brought to life as you tour the house. The tour lasts for about an hour and the museum opens every day at 9.00 a.m.
Budapest is a wonderful city in two parts, Buda and Pest, separated from each other by the Danube. There are fabulous places to see on both sides of the river, including the World Heritage site, Buda castle district.
Both parts of the city have many excellent restaurants and bars, serving food and drinks at prices well below those of most other European capitals. Budapest also has a vibrant night life, offering everything from atmospheric jazz bars and pulsating dance clubs to strip bars and sex clubs that cater for organised stag and hen party weekends.
The best travel tip for Budapest is not to miss a boat tour on the Danube. Although, some of the boat operators advertise trips at any of the year, avoid the winter months if you want to be sure of getting a good choice of cruises. Even if a cruise that is actually running can be found on a dull winter’s day, it would not be a very enjoyable experience.
Florence is many people’s idea of the most beautiful city in the world. There is so much to see in this relatively small city, that it is possible to go back there time after time and still find new things that you “must see”. Just to soak in the atmosphere of the piazzas or to stand at one of the many viewpoints overlooking Florence makes it a city to remember for the rest of one’s life. Practically every travel tip, giving advice about what to see in Florence would be a tip worth heeding if you only had time; but probably the best travel tip for Florence is to relax and to resist packing too much into the visit.
Prague has inspired many flattering descriptions most of which are justified. It is one of Europe’s most popular city-break tourist destinations and even though some of that popularity can be accounted for by its appeal to those seeking stag or hen night fun, many more flock to Prague to savour its immense treasure store of art, history and culture. Prague’s most visited tourist spot is its castle and that is certainly one attraction not to be missed. Similarly, the old town square is an essential part of every trip to Prague, making it feel as if you have stepped back over five hundred years in time. However the best travel tip for Prague is not to miss the beautiful Charles Bridge that connects the Old Town and Mala Strana. The word “Bohemian” immediately springs to mind as you soak in the atmosphere amongst the artists, actors and musicians who make their living from working their talents on this ancient stone bridge over the Vitava river.
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