Features // Europe

Plane speaking: cure your fear of flying in a day
Plane speaking: cure your fear of flying in a day

British Airways’ Flying with Confidence course has been helping people conquer their fear of flying for over twenty-five years. We sent Eleanor Aldridge to put it to the test. Flying is one of the safest ways to travel. Last year, more people died in the UK sticking knives into toasters than in commercial aviation accidents…

Where to meet Europe’s only indigenous people
Where to meet Europe’s only indigenous people

Encompassing northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Russia’s Kola Peninsula, Sápmi is the collective name for the traditional territory of the nomadic Sámi – Europe’s only indigenous people, who migrated to northern Scandinavia after the last Ice Age and subsisted by hunting reindeer. As the reindeer grew scarce by the seventeenth century, hunters became herders; today,…

Discover the “real Ireland” in Skellig Kerry
Discover the “real Ireland” in Skellig Kerry

Away from the tourist hub that is Killarney, discover an exciting area of County Kerry in Ireland that’s rebranding itself and screaming out for independent travellers to explore its rich history and dramatic landscapes. The Ring of Kerry is a circular road from Killarney that traverses the stunning lakes and mountains of the Iveragh Peninsula. It…

Have the island of Colonsay in Scotland to yourself
Have the island of Colonsay in Scotland to yourself

Hiking through rain, wind and (eventually) sunshine, Rough Guides writer Ken Wallingford discovers a too-often forgotten island where straying off the beaten path is the only way to trek. Here’s an account of his journey on Colonsay, Scotland. As the ferry from Oban approaches Colonsay, a hazy ceiling of mist hangs over our heads. Beyond…

CLOSED Win £1000 of Sykes Cottages vouchers
CLOSED Win £1000 of Sykes Cottages vouchers

 Congratulations to our winner Francesca de Vries, whose answer was: “Cape Town South Africa it has all you need 2 oceans a beautiful mountain and an amazing wine route.” This month we’re offering you the chance to win £1000 of Sykes Cottages vouchers to spend on any cottage you like here in the UK and…

Win a trip to Istanbul, Turkey for two
Win a trip to Istanbul, Turkey for two

Congratulations to our winner, Chris Irwin, who got the correct answer of Eşrefoglu Mosque, Beyşehir. We’re giving away a trip to Turkey for two including flights, accommodation and excursions. Find out how to enter below… A country that sits between Europe and Asia, with hints of culture from both sides of the continental border, Turkey…

A guide to Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games venues
A guide to Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games venues

For too many years Glasgow has laboured under a negative – and unfair – reputation. Scotland’s second city suffered greatly in the twentieth century from industrial decline, but in the twenty-first it has gained a new lease of life. The Clyde has been cleaned up, the inner city regenerated and the hotel and restaurant scene…

A real Game of Thrones adventure in Dubrovnik, Croatia
A real Game of Thrones adventure in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Watching Games of Thrones you could be forgiven for thinking that the hulking walls and rugged fortresses of King’s Landing must have been conjured up on a computer. The truth is that Dubrovnik, once a mighty city state that held both the Venetians and Ottomans at bay, is that spectacular. I arrive in this ancient…

The best photography on Picfair: urban scenes
The best photography on Picfair: urban scenes

This month’s Picfair travel photography round up takes a look at some of their best urban shots. From London and New York to Shanghai and Delhi, we’ve picked our favourite images of the world’s sprawling metropolises. Next month’s theme is ‘winter’, so sign up to Picfair and upload your images, tagged with RGwinter, for a chance to…

A hectic 24 hours in Istanbul
A hectic 24 hours in Istanbul

 From Europe to Asia and back, Greg Dickinson finds a full 24 hours worth of things to do in Istanbul. 8AM: CRUISING BETWEEN TWO CONTINENTS It is 8am and I’m lurking on Kabataş pier with a few friends, blissfully somnambulant having not had my first Turkish coffee of the day yet. A gang of suited commuters…

24 hours in London
24 hours in London

“The city that never sleeps” is probably a cliché used for cities in almost every country in the world. But is London really a nocturnal city, where night-or-day you can find somewhere to play? Lottie Gross took up the challenge to find out… 6am: finding flowers at the wholesalers It’s 6am on a Saturday morning…

Our favourite things to do in Glasgow
Our favourite things to do in Glasgow

Set on the banks of the mighty River Clyde, this former industrial giant can seem less than enticing as you approach. However, after a little time exploring visitors will find a city that is, in its own idiosyncratic way, a cultured and dynamic place well worth getting to know. Taken from the Rough Guides Snapshot Glasgow, here are…

Night-skiing, sledging and melted cheese in Switzerland
Night-skiing, sledging and melted cheese in Switzerland

Rough Guides editor and adrenalin junkie Helen Abramson is charmed by night-skiing and scared witless by sledging in Adelboden, Switzerland. I sit looking out over the moonlit valley ahead, dotted with the twinkling lights of Adelboden, transfixed. I am alone, in silence, surrounded by the fierce peaks of the Bernese Oberland in southern Switzerland. If…

Video: 18 things not to miss in Cyprus
Video: 18 things not to miss in Cyprus

From ancient ruins to beautiful beaches, Cyprus has a multitude of incredible things to see and do. Whether you’re after a challenging hike, fancy some wildlife spotting or want to go diving, this sun-kissed country will deliver. Here are our top things not to miss in Cyprus:  Explore more of the world with the Rough…

Where to stay in Croatia on a budget
Where to stay in Croatia on a budget

Is there such a thing as a cheap sleep in Croatia? It’s certainly something that’s hard to find in summer, when the coast fills up with visitors and prices rise proportionately. There’s probably no other country in Europe where the cost of accommodation is subject to such seasonal distortions. However there are still plenty of…

5 magical getaways fit for an Airbnb king
5 magical getaways fit for an Airbnb king

Airbnb continues to excite travellers in their quest for the perfect accommodation. With scores of rentals across the globe, kipping on someone’s sofa or crashing in the spare room is no longer the only option available to weary travellers. If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to live like a Lord or Lady, you…

Travel News: the new Everest railway & Icelandic volcanoes
Travel News: the new Everest railway & Icelandic volcanoes

Steve Vickers checks in with another suitcase full of travel stories, including news of free wi-fi on London’s red buses and the new ‘roof of the world’ railway line that’s bringing tourists closer to Mount Everest. More on Myanmar visas Last month we reported that Myanmar (Burma) was about to introduce a new e-visa that would…

5 of the best running routes in Britain
5 of the best running routes in Britain

Whether you want to keep fit while on holiday, or just explore new corners of the UK on foot, Jen and Sim Benson – authors of the new Wild Running: 150 Adventures on the Trails & Fells of Britain – have compiled their five favourite running routes in Britain.  East Cornwall The south east of Cornwall boasts…

CLOSED: WIN a trip along the Portuguese Coastal Way
CLOSED: WIN a trip along the Portuguese Coastal Way

This competition is now closed. Please check back in the New Year for details of the winner. Always wanted to walk the Camino de Santiago but never had the time or means to do it? Now you could win a chance to walk part of this famous pilgrimage trail with the help of CaminoWays.com. Read on…

An exhilarating ride through Lisbon’s backstreets
An exhilarating ride through Lisbon’s backstreets

On a city tour with a difference, Matthew Hancock explores Portugal’s capital in an old Jeep to find the best things to do in Lisbon. I’ve always been averse to city tours. It’s the cheesy commentaries and obvious itineraries that put me off, but the prospect of taking part in a ‘safari’ in an aged Portuguese…

Europe’s best mountain biking: the Dolomites, Italy
Europe’s best mountain biking: the Dolomites, Italy

With a little courage, a lot of leg-power and some encouragement from an exuberant Italian guide, Greg Dickinson discovers some of Europe’s best mountain biking in the Dolomites, Italy.  “Do you suffer from vertigo?” Paolo is straight faced, but it’s hard to take him seriously in his patchwork yellow and pink sunhat. I tell him I’m alright…

Adventure sports in the Pyrenees
Adventure sports in the Pyrenees

Rough Guides editor Helen Abramson does what she loves most, seeking out adrenalin sports in the stunning Pyrenees region around the town of Sort, Catalunya. The Pyrenees lend themselves well to outdoor activities. Sort, on the northwest tip of Catalunya, has a reputation as a handy base, where you’re never far from some of the…

Delving into Kelvedon Hatch: a secret nuclear bunker
Delving into Kelvedon Hatch: a secret nuclear bunker

From 1947 until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, secret bunkers sprung up across Europe in an effort to protect capitalist and communist states from potential nuclear attacks. Adam Bennett explores a secret metropolitan bunker in the Essex village of Kelvedon Hatch. During the Cold War, the prospect of a nuclear attack was…

Gothenburg: a glam gateway to island life
Gothenburg: a glam gateway to island life

Rachel Mills spends a long weekend exploring the ever-stylish Gothenburg and Sweden‘s stunning West Coast archipelago. Sweden’s swanky compact second city is a perfect weekend getaway. Easy to navigate on foot, Gothenburg (Göteborg in Swedish) has a cool laidback charm and a burgeoning food and arts scene. It’s impossible to get lost in the tiny…

Dog-friendly Britain: where to eat, sleep and walk
Dog-friendly Britain: where to eat, sleep and walk

Britain is without doubt a nation of dog-lovers, and as such it’s a fab way to see the country; you’d be surprised by how easy it is to get chatting to people when you have a hound in tow. As publisher of the UK travel site Cool Places, Martin Dunford has spent some time seeking…

Valencia: the perfect Spanish city break
Valencia: the perfect Spanish city break

Basking in sunshine pretty much year-round but surprisingly untroubled by tourist crowds – they’re queuing for the Prado in Madrid, or lining the beaches of the nearby Costa Blanca – Valencia is the perfect city for a laidback weekend break. Lacking the iconic sights of Barcelona and Madrid, the focus here is the amazing food.…

East vs West: win a weekend stay in your favourite side of London
East vs West: win a weekend stay in your favourite side of London

This competition is now closed. Please check back soon for the winners. Particularly fond of the West End’s musical offerings? Or perhaps you love hipster-heaving east London? Either way, enter this competition and you could win a weekend in your favourite part of London. I’m one of those people that’s torn between east and west…

26 things not to miss in France
26 things not to miss in France

From the countless majestic châteaux along the Loire to the sandy, sun-kissed beaches of the south, here are 26 things you shouldn’t miss on your next trip to France: EXPLORE MORE OF THE WORLD WITH THE ROUGH GUIDES YOUTUBE CHANNEL.  Explore more of France with the Rough Guide to France. Book hostels for your trip, and don’t forget…

Buggy rollin down a bobsleigh course
Buggy rollin down a bobsleigh course

Rough Guides editor Helen Abramson tried out the unusual extreme sport of buggy rollin, headfirst down the Olympic Bobsleigh Track in the French Alps resort of La Plagne. The French Alps in summer are a wonderful sight. The mountains are lush and green after a wet few months, and Mont Blanc’s snowy cap twinkles in…

The travel bucket list
The travel bucket list

The Travel Bucket List 30 unforgettable travel experiences chosen by Rough Guides writers and editors and other travel experts Read the list >> Get lost in Fez el Bali Keith Drew, Co-author of the Rough Guide to Morocco There are few places left in the world where you can get well and truly lost. But…

Ten things to do in Manchester for free
Ten things to do in Manchester for free

The IRA’s 1996 bomb in Manchester city centre was one of the city’s darkest days. Extensive damage was done, but ultimately it served only to unleash a flurry of investment that carries on to this day. This means, of course, that there are myriad ways to spend your pennies here these days. Yet deep down,…

Video: Things not to miss in Italy
Video: Things not to miss in Italy

Incredible scenery – from coast to mountain-top – amazing art and world-adored cuisine, Italy really does have it all. No matter how many times you return to Italy you’ll never be short of things to see and do. But for your first trip, here is our list of the top things not to miss in…

The Rough Guide to Czech beer
The Rough Guide to Czech beer

Taken from the new Rough Guide to Prague, here’s our guide to Czech beer – and where to drink it. The Czechs drink more beer than any other nation, downing approximately a pint a day for every man, woman and child in the country – in fact, more beer is drunk here than water. Czech beer (pivo)…

A titillating tour of the world’s finest sex museums
A titillating tour of the world’s finest sex museums

Sex museums are nothing new. Dozens were erected across Europe during the Swinging Sixties when the sexual revolution was in full swing. These days the orgy of sex museums has slowed to a mere mouthful, though they have been stimulated by a new breed of ‘erotic’ museum that aims to steer more towards art than…

Centro: delve into the heart of Portugal
Centro: delve into the heart of Portugal

In search of a more authentic Portuguese experience, Olivia Rawes escaped the Algarve to discover Centro: a quiet, charming region at the heart of Portugal. Baking hot sun, packed beaches, busy restaurants and beautifully manicured golf courses – for myself, and for the millions of holidaymakers who flock to the Algarve each summer, this was…

Quiz: how well do you know London?
Quiz: how well do you know London?

Could you pass for a true Londoner or are you just a tourist? Put your London trivia to the test and find out how well acquainted you really are with England’s capital.  

Ischia: how to escape the crowds in Italy
Ischia: how to escape the crowds in Italy

While updating the forthcoming Rough Guide to Naples & the Amalfi Coast, Natasha Foges explains why Ischia is such a great escape from the tourist throngs of Capri.  It started as far back as the first century BC, when the Emperor Augustus gazed out on the Bay of Naples and decided to give his island,…

Car-free in the South Downs National Park
Car-free in the South Downs National Park

Rough Guides editor Rachel Mills road tested a car-free weekend escape in the gently sloping chalk downlands and pretty patchwork fields of the South Downs National Park, just an hour south of London by train. Get up close and personal with nature It is possible for city folk to escape to the countryside without foregoing…

Moreish, Moorish Malaga
Moreish, Moorish Malaga

Don’t head for the hills (or the overcrowded beaches and resorts) as soon as you land in Málaga and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Meera Dattani lets us in on the best things to do in Málaga, one of Spain’s most underrated cities.  A strange thing happens at Málaga airport. Almost everyone grabs their luggage and heads for…

West Bay: the real Broadchurch location
West Bay: the real Broadchurch location

ITV’s Broadchurch is back for series two, so we asked Matthew Hancock to take us on a tour of the hit show’s location, West Bay in Dorset. The body is probably male, medium build and partly decomposed. There is no obvious cause of death. I’m standing in West Bay in Dorset, below the iconic landmark for…

20 fun facts about France
20 fun facts about France

France is one of the world’s top tourist destinations, and there’s plenty to get your teeth stuck into, from great cities like Paris, Bordeaux and Marseille to the prehistoric sites of the Vézère valley and Brittany’s beautiful coastline. But how well do you really know the country? Embrace ”joie de vivre” with these fun facts about France: Source: thelocal.fr Source: lovetoknow.com Source: eupedia.com Source:…

10 reasons to visit Plovdiv, Bulgaria
10 reasons to visit Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Billed as the oldest continually inhabited city in Europe, Bulgaria’s second city of Plovdiv is also one of the continent’s brightest upcoming stars. As well as offering archeological treasures by the barrow-load, it is one of the most culturally vibrant places in southeastern Europe, with enough cultural festivals, arty neighbourhoods and cool bars to keep…

The top twenty best Belgian beers
The top twenty best Belgian beers

If you’re heading to Belgium any time soon you’ll want to take a good look at this list of the top twenty best Belgian beers. Whether you’re going to be in Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp, Ghent or one of the country’s other entrancing cities, you’ll discover that beer is big business for the locals and they take…

Britain’s barmiest Boxing Day swims
Britain’s barmiest Boxing Day swims

There’s no better way to dust off the yuletide cobwebs than with a Boxing Day swim. Here are some of Britain’s barmiest spots for a festive dip, ranging from pirate outfits in Tenby, to nudism in the Isle of Wight, to a gentle “run-and-swim” in North Norfolk.  Tenby’s famous Boxing Day Dip, Pembrokeshire Now in…

Eco travel – great green holidays
Eco travel – great green holidays

If you sometimes find yourself feeling a little environmentally guilty on your travels, and would like to do something a little more than reusing your plush towels two days in a row, consider one of these green holidays around the globe. Spend a week at Ecocabin, Shropshire Nowhere is 100 percent green, but Ecocabin –…

Five top cycling holidays in Britain
Five top cycling holidays in Britain

Rolling along the Ridgeway The Ridgeway really is as old as the hills – well, almost. For over 5000 years, travellers, farmers, soldiers and, more recently, cyclists have followed this 87-mile-long trackway (pictured above) between Avebury in Wiltshire and Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire – part of an ancient trading route that once stretched from the…

Hiking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Wales
Hiking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Wales

The Pembrokeshire Coast Path fringes Britain’s only coastal national park, which has resisted the onslaught of the twenty-first century in all but a few hotspots such as Tenby and St David’s (and even these remain remarkably lovely). Get out and stride along part of the 186-mile trail and you’ll soon appreciate this evocative and spectacular edge of Wales. Long…

An A–Z of Turkish cuisine
An A–Z of Turkish cuisine

Gourmets rank Turkish food, along with French and Chinese, as one of the world’s three classic cuisines. The country’s rich and varied cooking derives from its multi-ethnic Ottoman heritage – when it was part of an empire stretching from the Middle East to the Balkans and the Caucasus to North Africa – and food is…

The best cycling holidays in the world
The best cycling holidays in the world

As any cyclist will tell you, there’s few better ways to see the world than on two wheels. From Armenia to Vermont, here’s some of our favourite bike trips across the globe. Let us know your own favourite cycling holidays below. Mountain biking at Coed Llandegla Forest, Wales Coed Llandegla is a purpose-built mountain-biking centre,…

Ten great journeys in the UK
Ten great journeys in the UK

As the old cliché testifies, it’s often the journey not the destination that’s most rewarding. With that in mind, here’s ten spectacular journeys around Britain. Travelling on The Snowdon Mountain Railway, Gwynedd A haunting whistle cries out across the wild Snowdonia valleys as Wyddfa, one of the original 1895 steam locos, leaves the Halfway station bound…

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