Features // Europe

Natural beauty and outrageous luxury in Switzerland
Natural beauty and outrageous luxury in Switzerland

In 2014 Switzerland’s Graubünden region celebrates its 150th anniversary as the birthplace of winter tourism. Although much has changed since then, Neil McQuillian finds plenty of old-school luxury – and some pleasing eccentricities. My guide John and I were about to be shown round the spectacularly sited Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl, and had just met the…

Vienna remembers the Great War
Vienna remembers the Great War

If there is one European city that seems particularly focused on the World War I centenary then it is the Austrian capital Vienna, where a host of war-themed exhibitions will be opening over the course of the year. Such attention may come as something as a surprise when one considers that the Austro-Hungarian Empire was…

The best wine bars in London
The best wine bars in London

It’s an exciting time for wine lovers in London. Drinking culture in the capital has shifted: wine has become cool.  Gone are the days of directory-sized wine lists, haughty sommeliers and fusty cellars, the new breed of London wine bar is laidback, stripped down and unpretentious. Young Londoners are popping corks with abandon. “Events such as…

Snapshot: Dubrovnik and around, Croatia
Snapshot: Dubrovnik and around, Croatia

Huddled at the base of a rugged mountainside, the elegant city of Dubrovnik is Croatia’s irresistibly beautiful star attraction. Lapped by the glittering Adriatic Sea, its sturdy walls encircle white marble streets and Baroque churches; off the coast lie wooded islands with extensive, rocky beaches and crystal-clear seas. Taken from the Rough Guides Snapshot, these are…

European Capital of Culture 2014: why Riga?
European Capital of Culture 2014: why Riga?

January 2014 sees the start of Riga’s year-long stint as European Capital of Culture, an honour it shares with the Swedish town of Umeå. The occasion provides the Latvian capital with a golden opportunity to shrug off its reputation as a cheap destination for boozy breaks, and focus instead on the more creative aspects of…

Berlin – an interactive film guide
Berlin – an interactive film guide

Rough Guide readers voted Berlin one of the top places to visit in 2014, and it seems like the film industry agrees. Everyone from Tom Cruise to Quentin Tarantino has made films here in recent years, continuing Berlin’s extraordinary cinematic history. From the earliest days of filmmaking at Babelsberg studios through the Nazi era, Cold…

A guide to cycling in France
A guide to cycling in France

One of the authors of France en Vélo: The Ultimate Cycle Journey from the Channel to the Med: St-Malo to Nice, Hannah Reynolds, shares why she believe France is best explored by bike and give you some tips on how to make the most of your own Tour de France. Cycling in France can be the…

Seeing orange: autumn in Slovenia
Seeing orange: autumn in Slovenia

In the final part of our four seasons in Slovenia series, we meet the orange winemakers of the Goriška region, and discover why autumn is one of the best times to visit the country. Eleanor Aldridge went to find out more. Autumn is a beautiful time to visit the far west of Slovenia. The leaves of…

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…

Azores on film: why you need to explore this amazing archipelago
Azores on film: why you need to explore this amazing archipelago

Strung out in the mid-Atlantic, 1500km off the coast of Portugal, is a chain of nine breathtaking islands. These are the Azores, a volcanic archipelago thrust up from the seabed at the intersection of the Eurasian, North American and African plates. Home to around 250,000 people, the lush islands hide glassy lakes, towering waterfalls, bubbling hot springs and flower-filled meadows. If you’re looking…

7 must-visit places in Scotland you’ve probably never heard of
7 must-visit places in Scotland you’ve probably never heard of

Scotland sports such a strong selection of tourist attractions – from castles and cabers to kilts and whisky – it’s easy to forget that there is much more to this land. Venture away from the cities and you’ll find that Scotland holds over ten percent of Europe’s coastline and almost 300 mountains over 3000ft-tall. Ready to explore?…

The best of London’s breweries
The best of London’s breweries

Until recently I knew relatively little about beer. I assumed that crystal malt had something to do with Breaking Bad. I was blissfully unaware (vegetarians, look away) that fish bladders are used in the beer filtration process at most breweries. And I had absolutely no idea that Gordon Brown had been hailed as the “patron…

7 places to eat in the Scottish year of food & drink
7 places to eat in the Scottish year of food & drink

There is no doubt that Scotland offers up some of the finest produce in the world and, no, we are not just talking about all that glorious whisky. It wasn’t too long ago that the best of it was always spirited off to be enjoyed on the fine dining tables of London, Paris and Madrid. That…

Learn to ski: a beginner’s guide
Learn to ski: a beginner’s guide

Ski season isn’t over yet. It’s not too late to join those who’ve been galvanized into taking a winter sports break thanks to the wonderful spectacle that was the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. But if you are a complete beginner or, like me, someone who hasn’t been on the slopes since a one-off school trip twenty years…

Quiz: can you name these famous sights?
Quiz: can you name these famous sights?

Do postcards and travel posters paper your walls? Do you pride yourself on your travel knowledge? We’ve selected ten of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring sights around the world to put you to the test. Can you identify the famous sight from the picture? Be warned, sometimes places can look surprisingly similar…

Going underground at the wieliczka salt mine, Poland
Going underground at the wieliczka salt mine, Poland

In the depths of southern Poland Helen Ochyra goes underground to try out the claustrophobic work of miners in the Wieliczka salt mine. “Room for one more” I am told as I am gently nudged into an already packed out lift. The doors are pulled across behind me with much scraping of metal and we…

Quiz: can you identify the country from its outline?
Quiz: can you identify the country from its outline?

Are you a cartographic clever-clogs or due a geography refresher course? We’ve compiled the outlines of ten different countries – large and small – without any rivers, seas, mountains or cities to help you. Can you deduce the country from its shape alone? Take the quiz to find out…

18 Gorgeous pictures of Scotland
18 Gorgeous pictures of Scotland

Scotland boasts an abundance of beautiful white-sand beaches, fascinating prehistoric ruins and cities with a wealth of culture. To get your wanderlust going, here are 18 gorgeous pictures of Scotland. Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven Durness, north-west Highlands Isle of Skye, Inner Hebrides Ben Nevis, Lochaber Glenfinnan Viaduct, Lochaber Glasgow Jarlshof prehistoric archaeological site, Shetland Glen Coe, Lochaber Loch Ness,…

21 fun facts about Italy
21 fun facts about Italy

Do you know how old Italy really is? Any idea what Italy actually means or who Alessandro Volta is? No? Then you’d better read these 21 fun facts about Italy to get clued up before you go.  Source: italiantrips.com Source: eatingitalyfoodtours.com Source: eupedia.com Source: sciencekidz.co.nz Source: unesco.org  Source: mymelange.net Source: lifeinitaly.com Source: dera.ioe.ac.uk Source: lifeinitaly.com…

Passport to write: travel writing competition
Passport to write: travel writing competition

** This competition is now closed ** Do you want to become a travel writer? Have you always dreamed about getting paid to travel the world? We’re on the lookout for talented new authors for our online features section, and have teamed up with Journeys are made @ gapyear.com to give someone the chance to write for…

17 things you must see and do in Croatia
17 things you must see and do in Croatia

Planning a trip to Croatia and wondering which 17 things you shouldn’t miss? Always thought about Croatia for a holiday but never knew what it had to offer? Allow us to present our favourite things to see and do in the European gem.

Exploring Slovenia’s diverse coastline
Exploring Slovenia’s diverse coastline

The third part in our Slovenia In Four Seasons feature sees Senior Web Editor Tim Chester explore the country in August. Check out our trips from the winter and the spring too. Think of the northern Adriatic and you’d be forgiven for thinking of Italy – of Venice, Rimini, and Trieste – or Croatia, whose…

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…

Roughing it by container ship from Athens to Hong Kong
Roughing it by container ship from Athens to Hong Kong

Rebecca Hall takes the long way round: thirty seven days from Athens to Hong Kong via ports in Italy & Spain by container ship. “You’ll certainly have to lock your cabin door at night.” “You’ll have to sleep in a container like refugees do.” “And you’ll probably get taken hostage.” These are a selection of…

Top five things to do off the slopes in France
Top five things to do off the slopes in France

Winter is coming. No, not an episode of Game of Thrones, just the perfect time to get excited about the white stuff. Of course, you could ski or snowboard… but why limit yourself? Rough Guides editor Rachel Mills heads to Paradiski in the French Alps to check out the top five winter activities off the slopes.…

Nine quirky places to stay with the Landmark Trust
Nine quirky places to stay with the Landmark Trust

The Landmark Trust have been restoring buildings for almost fifty years and now have nearly 200 buildings in England, Scotland, Wales, the Channel Islands, France and Italy. Here are some of our favourite unusual places to stay by the Landmark Trust: Clavell Tower, Wareham, England Rescued from the edge of a crumbling cliff along the…

Travel news: ninja bus tours and Burmese visas
Travel news: ninja bus tours and Burmese visas

Heated sleighs, bag-tracking apps, Burmese visas and ninja-themed bus tours: Steve Vickers gets you up to speed with the latest travel news. An iBeacon in your bag You know that thing at the airport where you’re waiting to get your bag off the luggage belt, and the whole thing is surrounded by so many other…

In photos: 4000-year-old forest discovered in Ireland
In photos: 4000-year-old forest discovered in Ireland

The first few months of 2014 brought gale-force winds and record amounts of rain to Ireland and much of the UK. Homes were flooded and many lived without electricity for months. These recent storms reached the southwestern Atlantic coast of Ireland and have shifted sands, moved boulders and changed the face of the coastline. It…

How to adventure responsibly in Pembrokeshire, Wales
How to adventure responsibly in Pembrokeshire, Wales

During a wet weekend in Wales, Lottie Gross is bowled over by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park’s natural beauty and learns how to enjoy this coastline’s many adventures in a responsible and sustainable way. The rain is like a thousand tiny pins attacking my face with brute force. There’s a small stream making its way down my…

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…

Scaling the Swiss Alps the easy way
Scaling the Swiss Alps the easy way

Among the imposing Swiss alps near Verbier, Helen Ochyra finds the easy and hard ways to scale these incredible mountains. I am cycling up a mountain and it feels like the easiest thing in the world. I am making my way up to La Chaux, high above Verbier in Switzerland, a place most people reach…

Ten great British B&Bs on a budget
Ten great British B&Bs on a budget

Taken from the Best Places to Stay in Britain on a Budget guide, here are ten of the best places to stay across England, Wales and Scotland on a budget. Old Red Lion, Norfolk There’s something magical about this simple, welcoming spot. Painted deep red and covered in Virginia creeper, the Old Red Lion sits just outside…

Into the wild in Estonia
Into the wild in Estonia

Most visitors don’t venture beyond Tallinn, but leave Estonia’s capital behind and you’ll find a country of vast, untouched wilderness. a haven for wildlife and a place to escape from it all. Olivia Rawes gets back to basics to discover some of the wilder things to do in Estonia. A congregation of jovial boozy stag…

Amazing images of Slovakia
Amazing images of Slovakia

Slovakia borders with Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and Ukraine. It’s home to a diverse population scattered across mountains, lakes, forests and the Danube basin. Earlier this year, Tatra Photography built three wooden wildlife hides in Slovakia’s Tatra Mountains, providing visitors with the unique opportunity to capture close-up images of wild brown bears in their natural…

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…

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…

How to escape from London on a bike
How to escape from London on a bike

London is a cyclist’s nightmare, so they say. Bus drivers cackle as they deliberately squeeze commuters onto the pavement, pedestrians wander into busy roads with complete disregard for silent pedallers, and what about the smoggy, toxic city air? There’s no doubt that cycling in the heart of London can be a bit of a slog, but there’s still…

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…

A voyage to the North Cape, Norway
A voyage to the North Cape, Norway

In a bid to finish a once-failed family trip to the North Cape, Greg Dickinson explores the bleak but beautiful northern coast of Norway. I was just four years old when my family set out in a knackered 1956 Land Rover Discovery to the North Cape of Norway, over 2000 miles away from our Hertfordshire…

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…

Ten great things to do in the Cotswolds
Ten great things to do in the Cotswolds

Characterised by rolling views of green countryside and English pubs, hotels and shops, a trip to the Cotswolds shows off a delightfully relaxed side of Britain. It’s the perfect place to simmer down the pace of life and get close to nature, but it’s not just bracing country walks on offer. From kid-friendly farm centres…

30 pictures of England to give you wanderlust
30 pictures of England to give you wanderlust

As it says in the Rough Guide, “no one enjoys knocking England more than the English”, but they do have an awful lot to shout about too. There are beautiful mountain ranges, historic ruins, incredible palaces and precious little coves along its coastline. If the English charm isn’t enough to bring you here, then check out these…

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…

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…

The best hostels in Europe
The best hostels in Europe

Taken from the Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget, here’s our pick of the best hostels in Europe. Europe presents an irresistible challenge to the budget traveller. From London’s Royal Parks and Amsterdam’s canals to İstanbul’s Grand Bazaar and the Berlin Wall, just getting tangled up in its sights is a huge draw –…

Croatia’s best beachside campsites
Croatia’s best beachside campsites

Croatia’s growing popularity with independent travellers has given a new lease of life to the Adriatic camping scene, with a new breed of small, family-owned sites squeezing themselves into some beautiful corners of the country’s famously stunning coastline. Facilities are improving – nowadays you get things like wi-fi as well as hot water – but it’s…

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…

Eight of our favourite places in Berlin
Eight of our favourite places in Berlin

When Gemma Smyth visited Berlin she decided to take a new approach to trip planning by asking Rough Guides’ Facebook fans and Twitter followers for their recommendations. With three full days at her disposal she endeavoured to visit a mixture of well known tourist sites and hidden gems, some recommended, some found along the way…

Searching for the magic on Skellig Michael, Ireland
Searching for the magic on Skellig Michael, Ireland

Lottie Gross discovers why the ancient monastery on Skellig Michael, eight miles off the coast of Kerry, has been captivating travellers for years. On Saturday I met a sailor, Ireland’s first surfer, a spear-fishing medalist and a ballroom dancing champion – and that was just one man. Joe Roddy was a small, unassuming gentleman around…

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