Features // Europe

12 dreamy pictures of Ireland
12 dreamy pictures of Ireland

With its remote beauty, rugged landscapes and windswept coastlines, Ireland is a photographer’s dream. Here, Philip Joyce shares some of his best pictures of Ireland.  The Emerald Isle is one of the most spectacular locations on the planet. From rolling hills to vast cliffs and beautiful coastal drives, Ireland rivals anywhere in the world when it comes to…

You can now play cult 90s gameshow The Crystal Maze for real in London
You can now play cult 90s gameshow The Crystal Maze for real in London

That’s right. Those days of buying a nylon jumpsuit and turning your house into a makeshift obstacle course are over. Thanks to a crowd-funded project set up by three visionary twenty-somethings, you can now play the cult nineties gameshow The Crystal Maze for real in London. We sent Rough Guides editor Greg Dickinson along to…

Beyond tapas: the Spanish food and drink you need to devour
Beyond tapas: the Spanish food and drink you need to devour

Spain is known throughout the world for its Mediterranean diet, heavily featuring seafood, meat and fresh vegetables, all splashed with a healthy dose of olive oil. But while you may think Spanish cuisine is all about tapas, paella and sangria, there are many more dishes that are not so well known, but are just as…

8 great alternative UK city breaks
8 great alternative UK city breaks

London, Edinburgh, Cardiff… These are the usual suspects when visitors are thinking about UK city breaks. But there are actually 66 other cities to be explored throughout this land, each with something different to offer. Here’s our pick of the 8 best alternative UK city breaks. 1. Belfast, Northern Ireland Belfast rarely makes the cut on…

Brave new world: the quirks of Finland’s saunas
Brave new world: the quirks of Finland’s saunas

To Finns, it is the most natural thing on the planet: disrobing, sweating it out naked in front of strangers in temperatures of 80°C, occasionally self-flagellating and, ideally, following up with a plunge into water only a fraction above freezing. To the rest of the world, Finland’s tradition of sauna frequenting – the cornerstone of…

7 highlights that make Genoa Italy’s most delicious city
7 highlights that make Genoa Italy’s most delicious city

Genoa is way off most travellers’ itineraries, but it’s time this northern Italian beauty – and its outstanding local cuisine – gets the recognition it deserves, says Natasha Foges. Genoa might just be Italy’s most under-appreciated city. Though overshadowed by the starrier sights of Venice, Florence and Rome, it’s a cultural heavyweight in its own…

A day-by-day itinerary for the perfect weekend in Madrid
A day-by-day itinerary for the perfect weekend in Madrid

One of the sunniest and liveliest capital cities in Europe, Madrid has a lot to take pride in. Indeed, its inhabitants, the Madrileños, are so proud of their city that they modestly declare “desde Madrid al Cielo”: that after Madrid there is only one remaining destination – Heaven. While their claim may be open to dispute,…

5 reasons why Nijmegen might just be the Netherlands’ summer capital
5 reasons why Nijmegen might just be the Netherlands’ summer capital

Nijmegen is a lively university city around an hour-and-a-half by train from Amsterdam. Beyond its famous Four Days Marches, it’s a fairly unassuming place and doesn’t exactly sit on the country’s tourist trail. But, with typical Dutch confidence – after all, the saying goes “God created the world and the Dutch created the Netherlands” – this…

Slow travel: exploring Catalunya’s back roads
Slow travel: exploring Catalunya’s back roads

Barcelona is one of the world’s most visited cities, but relatively few tourists venture beyond the suburbs. Yet, just a couple of hours’ drive from the metropolis, there’s a relaxed region that’s ready to be explored at your own pace: the province of Girona, a jewel in the Spanish crown. The best way to experience…

5 reasons why Seville is the quintessential Spanish break
5 reasons why Seville is the quintessential Spanish break

Seville is Spain undiluted. Every image that springs to mind when you think of Spain, Seville not only provides, but revels in with theatrical abundance. There are sun-drenched plazas, outbursts of flamenco, dusty barrelled sherry, all-night fiestas and orange tree-lined streets tangling beneath sharp, clear skies. Clichéd? Yes. Over-the-top? Of course. But if you’ve ever…

Meet Norway’s new ambassadors: 4 sheep named Erik, Frida, Lars and Kari
Meet Norway’s new ambassadors: 4 sheep named Erik, Frida, Lars and Kari

This summer, the Norwegian tourist board have taken a new approach to sharing their country’s magnificent landscapes. They’ve shunned slick ad campaigns in favour of enlisting the help of four woolly friends. Erik, Frida, Lars and Kari are four sheep who’ve just landed the job of a lifetime – and their own Instagram account. Roaming free in…

6 reasons why Sarajevo is the coolest city in the Balkans
6 reasons why Sarajevo is the coolest city in the Balkans

For many visitors, Sarajevo means two things: the setting for the outbreak of WWI, and, from 1992–95, being subjected to the longest siege in the history of modern warfare. The city’s recent, traumatic history is of course well documented, but what is perhaps less well known is what a warm, welcoming and fabulously cool destination…

The 10 best scenic train rides in Europe
The 10 best scenic train rides in Europe

Easier than a car and more comfortable than a bus – what’s not to like about taking the train through Europe’s most picturesque regions? Sit back and admire spectacular mountains, lakes, rivers and incredible feats of engineering on some of the best scenic train rides in Europe. 1. Bernina Express, Switzerland It’s not often you…

Croatia’s 5 best honeymoon destinations
Croatia’s 5 best honeymoon destinations

With its breathtaking beaches, dramatic sunsets and palm-fringed ports, Croatia has never been short on romance. Transforming these raw materials into the holiday of a lifetime however necessitates meticulous planning, much of which can go to waste if the destination disappoints once you get there. Happily, Croatia is currently emerging as one of Europe’s best…

22 incredible pictures of Corsica
22 incredible pictures of Corsica

Just off the south of France, and closer to the coast of Italy, the small, mountainous island of Corsica lies in wait for the three million tourists that visit its shores each year. Few places in Europe have such varied landscapes, from sweeping white-sand beaches and deep gorges, to towering mountains and otherworldly coastal cliffs. Corsica might…

A day-by-day itinerary for the perfect weekend in Florence
A day-by-day itinerary for the perfect weekend in Florence

If one city could be said to encapsulate the essence of Italy it might well be Florence (Firenze in Italian), the first capital of the united country. The modern Italian language evolved from Tuscan dialect, and Dante’s Divina Commedia was the first great work of Italian literature to be written in the vernacular. But what…

Why Pula should be your next Croatian city break
Why Pula should be your next Croatian city break

So you’ve circled Dubrovnik’s city walls and wandered the ancient alleys of medieval Split? Then the laidback and cosmopolitan city of Pula, home to some of the most impressive Roman ruins outside Italy, should be next on your list. While some Croatian destinations along the glittering Adriatic coast can sag beneath the weight of the…

33 astonishingly beautiful pictures of North Wales
33 astonishingly beautiful pictures of North Wales

Landscape photographer Kris Williams shares his best pictures of North Wales.  North Wales has a fantastic variety of mountains and coastlines. As a landscape and night-scape photographer it offers me everything I want within a short distance, whether its Anglesey surrounded by its stunning coastal views, lighthouses and medieval churches, or the diversity of Snowdonia National…

Where to eat the best pizza in Rome
Where to eat the best pizza in Rome

Naples may be the birthplace of pizza, but the Roman version is just as tasty. A thinner crust than the doughier Neapolitan pizza, and the addition of olive oil in the dough – not used by the purist Neapolitans – make for a crunchier finish. A handful of historic pizzerias are a must on any…

Bournemouth: more than just sun, sea and sand
Bournemouth: more than just sun, sea and sand

Bournemouth’s main draw has always been its long, wide and immaculate yellow sandy beaches. It was once the playground of rich Victorians – Charles Rolls (as in Rolls-Royce) and Edward VII both enjoyed its shores – and has been extremely popular ever since it was founded as a purpose-built resort in the early 1800s. But…

6 of the best road trips in the UK
6 of the best road trips in the UK

There is something about a road trip that creates an endless state of heightened excitement. It comes with a heart-in-mouth, funfair-like thrill. And no matter the destination, a road trip unfolds at the same, ascending rhythm. Back roads are followed (whenever possible), motorway service stations are avoided (at all costs), and the countryside flits by…

7 things every family must do in the Scottish Highlands
7 things every family must do in the Scottish Highlands

Wild landscapes and deserted beaches. Fine food and outdoor adventure. Deer, dolphins and mythical monsters. As Rough Guides Managing Editor Keith Drew discovered, the Scottish Highlands have all the ingredients for a family holiday to remember. 1. Row, row, row your boat Where better to start your family sortie into the Highlands than at Scotland‘s most picturesque loch? Ferries connect some of Loch…

A day-by-day itinerary for the perfect weekend in Copenhagen
A day-by-day itinerary for the perfect weekend in Copenhagen

Once a low-key underrated city, Copenhagen has recently been showered with superlatives, with polls claiming it to have the best quality of life and rating its citizens the happiest people on the planet. If that wasn’t enough, accolades for its cuisine, metro, cycling and design have followed and Danish TV dramas continue to bring its…

Croatia’s top foodie experiences
Croatia’s top foodie experiences

Why go to Croatia? The unspoiled coastline, with its hundreds of islands and crystal clear waters. The gorgeous ancient walled cities, their beauty so unreal they find themselves starring in the Game of Thrones series and Star Wars movies. The food… wait, the food? Perhaps that last reason is an afterthought, or maybe you’re concerned that…

How Hastings has become Britain’s must-visit seaside town
How Hastings has become Britain’s must-visit seaside town

The East Sussex coastal town of Hastings isn’t exactly a go-to beach break for Brits, or visitors to the UK. But with a brand new pier and the world’s largest underground BMX skatepark, it’s just put itself firmly on the British seaside map. Lottie Gross went to find out what makes Hastings one of Britain’s…

In pictures: the great British seaside
In pictures: the great British seaside

Trips to the seaside, rain or shine, are a great British summer tradition. So what better way to welcome in summer than a round up of some seriously British moments captured by Picfair’s best photographers? Here are some of our favourite photos of the great British seaside. Woolacombe beach, North Devon By Steve Meddle /…

Video: the 1 minute guide to Italy
Video: the 1 minute guide to Italy

Italy has long been one of Europe’s most popular destinations. From the magnificent remnants of ancient Rome to the coolest in contemporary culture, secret beaches to snow-covered peaks, tranquil countryside to frenetic city streets, plus an all-pervasive passion for food – the allure of this boot-shaped nation has proven itself timeless. With so much diversity, deciding where to go in Italy…

6 great places to visit by train in Europe
6 great places to visit by train in Europe

There are few better ways to see Europe than by rail. Budget flights might abound, but nothing can match the experience of travelling by train. Forget about tedious airport transfers and unsociable departure times, by rail you’ll get glorious views, spacious seats and – best of all – the ability to hop off a train…

We slept with the lions in London Zoo – and now you can too
We slept with the lions in London Zoo – and now you can too

Wondering where to stay when you next visit London? London Zoo just made your decision a bit easier. Forget glitzy hotels in Covent Garden or banged-up hostels in King’s Cross, you can now book a night at London’s first ever lion safari lodge. Rough Guides editor Greg Dickinson slept over in London Zoo’s brand new…

A first-timer’s guide to the Faroe Islands
A first-timer’s guide to the Faroe Islands

Way out in the cool North Atlantic Ocean, there’s a cluster of craggy islands inhabited primarily by sheep and puffins. The Faroe Islands are Scandinavia’s ultimate off-the-beaten-track destination. Here’s our guide to what to expect on your first trip to this remote archipelago. What and where are the Faroe Islands? Contrary to popular misconception, the…

The best places to get off the tourist trail in Rome 
The best places to get off the tourist trail in Rome 

Ticked off Rome’s big sights and wondering where to go next? Natasha Foges picks some of the city’s off-the-beaten track highlights. Lose yourself in the Quartiere Coppedè There’s so much to grab tourists’ attention in central Rome that a magical spot like the Quartiere Coppedè can go unnoticed. Tucked away in the Trieste quarter (tram…

A coastal trail with a difference: sea kayaking in Northern Ireland
A coastal trail with a difference: sea kayaking in Northern Ireland

The Northern Irish coast is justifiably famous for its beauty, all craggy inlets and brooding cliffs topped by crumbling castles. Most people explore this coastline from the land, walking along the clifftops and driving the winding road that snakes along from the Scotland-facing east coast to the large inlet of Derry in the west. But…

Video: a 1 minute guide to France
Video: a 1 minute guide to France

There’s little wonder that the land of châteaux, Champagne and croissants regularly tops lists of the world’s most visited countries. France beguiles travellers from around the globe, whether they come to laze on the beaches, ski in the mountains or soak up the culture in the capital. From the rugged coastline of Brittany to the charming villages of Provence,…

Split or Dubrovnik: where should you go first?
Split or Dubrovnik: where should you go first?

Split and Dubrovnik are the stars of Croatian tourism. Both have an ancient core historic enough to be listed by UNESCO yet vibrant enough to remain home to a sizeable local population. Both have beaches backed by clear waters, fresh local seafood and plentiful bars with Adriatic views. And both have appeared in Game of…

An Instagram journey through Albania: 11 beautiful pictures
An Instagram journey through Albania: 11 beautiful pictures

During two weeks researching in Albania for the Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget, Web Editor Lottie Gross took over our Instagram account to document her travels. Here are some of her best photos.  It’s nigh-on impossible to take bad pictures in much of Albania. There’s a wealth of natural beauty and historical charm that just…

6 reasons to love Leicester
6 reasons to love Leicester

In the future, British children won’t study the Biblical story of how David triumphed over Goliath with the sling of a stone. Oh no. They’ll study the shock 2015/16 English Premier League season, when underdogs Leicester City won the title despite starting the campaign with odds of 5000/1 to become champions. But there’s more to…

A day-by-day itinerary for the perfect weekend in Reykjavík
A day-by-day itinerary for the perfect weekend in Reykjavík

Reykjavík, a bustling port and the world’s most northerly capital, draws visitors from across the globe in record-breaking numbers – and its popularity shows no signs of waning. This is a city with a reputation for hedonistic revelry, where highbrow museums mix with colourful streets and buzzing nightlife. Ready to see what all the fuss…

11 tips for travelling in Greece
11 tips for travelling in Greece

Although the news has been full of negative stories about the financial and immigrant crises which have engulfed Greece in recent years, there are still many reasons to visit this delightful country. From its stunning beaches and superb mountain scenery to great food and, above all, its warm Hellenic welcome. Here, co-author of the Rough Guide to Greece,…

The great British seaside: how Margate got cool
The great British seaside: how Margate got cool

Not all that long ago Margate was a forlorn seaside town rejected by even the bucket-and-spade brigade. In a sad story echoed across England, the already struggling high street was devastated by the opening of an out-of-town shopping centre; pubs and restaurants were closing, and the future of this once thriving seaside resort looked grim.…

Madrid or Barcelona: which should you visit first?
Madrid or Barcelona: which should you visit first?

Spain’s two biggest cities have long had a friendly rivalry – and it goes far beyond football. Madrid is, of course, Spain’s capital city and as well as being more or less geographically at the centre of the country, it is also the centre politically, economically and culturally – as well as the home of…

Photos: tulip season in the Netherlands is well under way and it’s gorgeous
Photos: tulip season in the Netherlands is well under way and it’s gorgeous

During a trip to Keukenhof in the Netherlands, travel photographer Nori Jemil captured Holland‘s tulip season through her lens and the results are beautiful. Here are 22 stunning images from the region’s striking tulip fields. Every spring the bulb fields of Holland’s Bollenstreek region flower in perfumed stripes as visitors flock to Keukenhof, the world-famous spring garden that’s…

An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in Barcelona
An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in Barcelona

Barcelona – Spain’s second city – sets the template for urban style, hip design and sheer nonstop energy. Where others tinker at the edges, time and again Barcelona has reinvented itself. Visit for the first time or the fiftieth, Barcelona never fails to surprise. The city’s popularity means finding a hotel vacancy at any time…

You’ll soon be able to stay at the ICEHOTEL throughout the year
You’ll soon be able to stay at the ICEHOTEL throughout the year

The ICEHOTEL, constructed from snow and ice each year, has long been Swedish Lapland’s blockbuster attraction. It features in our list of the top 21 things to do in Sweden, and crops up on bucket lists the world over. Yet when the weather warms in the spring, this extraordinary hotel just melts away. This year,…

An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in London
An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in London

Historic, sprawling, sleepless: London is a wonderful place to visit. Monuments from the capital’s glorious past are everywhere, while you’ll also find cultural and culinary delights from right across the globe. In other words, it really is the archetypal buzzing metropolis. Accommodation in London, however, is expensive. Compared with most European cities, you pay top…

Flamenco to fortresses: the top things to do in Granada
Flamenco to fortresses: the top things to do in Granada

Set in Andalucía, Spain’s southernmost region, Granada is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, and with good reason. The city is in an astounding setting at the confluence of four rivers, backed by the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada, and there are plenty of things to do. The extraordinary palace and fortress of…

The 10 best beach holidays in Europe
The 10 best beach holidays in Europe

For a relatively small continent, Europe has some extraordinary coastlines. Their variety is dizzying, from sheltered rocky coves fringed with olive trees to vast stretches of soft sandy beaches. Whittling down the list for possible beach holidays in Europe can be tough, so here are a few places that will get you in the mood for lazy days…

Island-hopping in Croatia: a practical guide
Island-hopping in Croatia: a practical guide

With its mountainous coastal backdrop, scattering of tawny islands and giddyingly translucent waters, the Croatian Adriatic offers one of the most compelling seascapes in Europe. Indeed it’s something of an island-hopper’s paradise, with a veritable shoal of ferries providing the opportunity to stride up the gangplank, sprawl on the sun deck and soak up the…

12 things to do in Amsterdam with kids
12 things to do in Amsterdam with kids

With its canals, narrow cobbled alleys and trams, the novelty value of Amsterdam can prove entertaining enough for many kids. There’s also a whole host of attractions specifically aimed at young children, ranging from circuses and puppet theatres to urban farms and one of the best zoos in Europe. There are also plenty of opportunities…

Šibenik: Croatia’s hottest long-weekend destination
Šibenik: Croatia’s hottest long-weekend destination

Richard Mellor explores Šibenik, a city tipped as Croatia’s next best tourist hotspot thanks to a new luxury hotel.  It’s appropriate that the parachute’s inventor – one Faust Vrančić, if you’re asking – was born in Šibenik, for this Croatian backwater has its feet firmly on the ground. Having a recent history of battle and bombs…

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