Features // Europe

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…

Get on board: the 5 best European river cruises
Get on board: the 5 best European river cruises

Among a certain segment of travellers, cruising is sometimes maligned: the dismal buffet and watered-down cocktails. Those kitschy lounge acts. The contrived shore excursions. But that, as they say, was then. Cruising today, and especially river cruising, offers an entirely different experience, from celebrity chef-driven cuisine to stargazing lounges to bike rides along leafy canals.…

7 stunning European islands you’ve probably never heard of
7 stunning European islands you’ve probably never heard of

We’ve all heard of the big hitters, such as Ibiza, Corsica and Sicily, but what about Europe’s lesser known islands? Have you ever dreamt of mixing it up with a windswept, heart-pumping hike on the remote hills of Foula? Or kicking through the sweeps of sand that pass for roads on La Graciosa? It pays…

Make the most of Malta: a first-timer’s guide
Make the most of Malta: a first-timer’s guide

For a few chunks of rock in the southern Mediterranean, Malta is a hugely versatile destination. Like its unique language, the country is an intriguing blend of Italian, Arabic and British influences, a legacy of centuries of invasion and assimilation. As its capital, Valletta, gears up for a stint as European City of Culture in 2018, Andy…

Hot tub happiness: the dos and don’ts of Icelandic spas
Hot tub happiness: the dos and don’ts of Icelandic spas

Going for a spa in Iceland can feel wonderfully alien. Against a backdrop of barren moonscapes and denuded hills, the waters are so preternaturally blue, so exaggerated and preposterously warm, that a simple dip can feel borderline indecent. Venture from the capital Reykjavik as far as Reyðarfjörður in the extreme east and you’ll also find…

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

Almost fifty years since John Lennon and Yoko Ono promoted world peace from room 702 of the Hilton, Amsterdam’s hotels are more worthy of the spotlight than ever. Even for seasoned travellers, it’s fair to say that the city’s accommodation options are among the most exciting in Europe. Take your pick from handsomely converted old…

Greek food: 11 delicious dishes you need to try
Greek food: 11 delicious dishes you need to try

Greeks love their food. They love to eat and love to feed others; this is one place you’re guaranteed never to feel hungry. Unlike the typical British or American three square meals a day, the Greeks eat up to five times a day. Greek food uses mainly fresh local ingredients such as Mediterranean vegetables, olive…

7 must-visit places in Spain you’ve probably never considered
7 must-visit places in Spain you’ve probably never considered

Spain’s massive size means that it’s thankfully not as hard as you might expect to wander off the well-beaten tourist track. Whether it’s quiet coves, tucked away old villages or eerie landscapes you’re after, here are seven places that you’ve probably never heard of but really should visit in Spain. 1. Las Alpujarras, Andalucía South…

1500 chefs around the world will celebrate French food next week
1500 chefs around the world will celebrate French food next week

When it comes to food, the French don’t do things by halves. It should come as little surprise then that this year sees the launch of the second Good France event, a global celebration of the country’s gastronomy to surpass all others. The day was created in 2015 to mark the inclusion of French cuisine on…

6 of the best beach holidays in Italy
6 of the best beach holidays in Italy

Italy’s sun-kissed coastline is undeniably easy on the eye, but that doesn’t always translate into great beaches. Take the Amalfi Coast: surely one of the most beautiful stretches of coast in the world, but its pockets of grey sand (or silver, as the locals spin it) can come as an anti-climax. In general, Italy can’t…

The 10 most beautiful places in Europe – chosen by you
The 10 most beautiful places in Europe – chosen by you

To celebrate publication of the new Rough Guide to First-Time Europe, we took to Facebook and Twitter to ask our followers to vote for the most beautiful places in Europe. After much debate, it was whittled it down to the top ten. These are the most beautiful places in Europe – as chosen by you. 10. Iceland Exploring…

Why London is the world’s most eccentric city
Why London is the world’s most eccentric city

London is celebrated for many things. And rightly so; it’s up there with the most progressive, creative and historic cities in the world. But here at Rough Guides the thing we love most about London is its marvellous eccentricities. While editing the latest Rough Guide to London, Greg Dickinson took note of some of the…

30 things to do on your first trip to Europe
30 things to do on your first trip to Europe

Europe offers more architecture, wine, music, fashion, theatre and gastronomy per square kilometre than any other continent. It boasts over seven hundred million people, in excess of 450 World Heritage Sites and more renowned paintings than you can point your camera at. Which means heading off the main routes will still land you waist-deep in…

6 must-visit places in Wales you’ve probably never heard of
6 must-visit places in Wales you’ve probably never heard of

For a small country, Wales offers an incredible diversity of landscapes and experiences, many of which remain surprisingly undiscovered. From pristine white-sand beaches and rolling, quintessentially Welsh valleys to tucked away villages, here six places you really should visit – but which you’ve probably never heard of. 1. The Tywi Valley, south Wales In the…

The best rooftop bars in London
The best rooftop bars in London

On those precious sunny London days, there’s no better feeling than sitting outside with a drink. Pub gardens have their time and place, but in a city growing taller by the day, there are more and more places where you can get up high. Here’s our pick of the best rooftop bars in London. Frank’s,…

In pictures: when a little town in Italy went to war with oranges
In pictures: when a little town in Italy went to war with oranges

When we heard there was going to be an orange fight in Italy, we had to be there. Here are some of the best photographs taken by our roaming writer-photographer, Kiki Deere. The small town of Ivrea, 55km north of Turin, hosts one of Italy’s most exuberant carnivals. Dating back to the end of the…

Our expert’s guide: the best area to stay in Lisbon
Our expert’s guide: the best area to stay in Lisbon

Heading to the Portuguese capital this year? Whether you want rich history or shops galore, these are the best areas to stay in Lisbon according to our expert. Best for the historic centre: Baixa and Chiado Lisbon’s Baixa, or ‘downtown’, is an appealing oblong of handsome buildings flanked by the squares of Rossio, Figueira and the…

A British institution: the best afternoon tea in London
A British institution: the best afternoon tea in London

It’s no secret that, for Brits, tea is not just tea – it’s a national institution. All too often, though, treating yourself to an afternoon tea can translate to spending a couple of hours eating tiny sandwiches and slightly dry slices of cake, then paying £50 for the privilege. Luckily, we’ve done all the arduous…

14 photographs that show the many sides of Amsterdam
14 photographs that show the many sides of Amsterdam

As one of Europe’s top weekend break destinations, Amsterdam features on many a traveller’s bucket list – as well as our list of the top 10 cities to visit in 2016. With three world-famous attractions – the Anne Frank Huis, the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum – it’s hardly surprising. But there are also countless pretty canals and great green spaces…

Why now’s the time to visit Nottingham, England
Why now’s the time to visit Nottingham, England

It may not feature on top of everyone’s British city bucket list, but it’s time to see this East Midlands city in a new light. Nottingham boasts a slew of new attractions for 2016, a recently expanded tram network and a burgeoning independent arts scene. Plus, in the year when the stalwart British fashion designer…

Emilia-Romagna: Tuscany without the crowds
Emilia-Romagna: Tuscany without the crowds

Blame Frances Mayes. Ever since she penned Under the Tuscan Sun twenty years ago the region has seen an unstoppable influx of English and American tourists descend on the area, which has left neighbouring regions, with just as much to offer, decidedly in the shade. Emilia-Romagna, home to an officially designated ‘Food Valley’, the majority…

10 of the best weekend breaks in the UK
10 of the best weekend breaks in the UK

From city breaks to romantic countryside escapes, options for short trips in the UK abound. Whether you’re looking to get active, overindulge or just chill out, we’ve got you covered. Here’s our pick of the best weekend breaks in the UK. Need more inspiration? We’ve also rounded up 20 of the most memorable places to stay. Best for romance:…

Finding love in the UK’s least romantic city: 7 reasons to visit Hull
Finding love in the UK’s least romantic city: 7 reasons to visit Hull

This year we listed Hull as one of the top ten cities to visit in 2016 – an accolade that had many people surprised. Here, Lottie Gross explains why it made the list. It’s safe to say, most people’s preconceptions of Hull aren’t brilliant. In the past it has been named Britain’s worst city and the least…

Biking the Camino de Santiago: cycling for the soul
Biking the Camino de Santiago: cycling for the soul

Traditionally, pilgrimage meant hoofing it, wayfaring the hard way. Yet most Catholic authorities will tell you there’s nothing particularly sinful about making it easier on yourself. You could roughly trace Spain’s Camino de Santiago, or Way of St James, by car … but then taking full advantage of the fringe benefits – discounted accommodation and gorgeous red wine – would…

Croatia: 10 tips for first-time travellers
Croatia: 10 tips for first-time travellers

Croatia is one of Europe’s rising tourist stars. This remarkable Adriatic country of 1244 islands, bear and wild boar inhabited forests and world-class vineyards is so much more than just a beach destination. To make sure you hit the ground running in this complex and diverse nation, follow our top ten Croatia travel tips. 1.…

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?…

On a budget: 15 cheap places to visit in Europe
On a budget: 15 cheap places to visit in Europe

If you’re short of cash, it doesn’t mean you have to starve the travel bug entirely; simply choose your destinations wisely. Europe can be pricey but there are many places where your money will go further. Here are fifteen of our favourites. For food: León, Spain In the barrios near León’s cathedral, delicious tapas is…

7 reasons to visit Trondheim, Norway
7 reasons to visit Trondheim, Norway

Aurora-chasers venture to the Arctic north, while slick Oslo lures the arty crowd. In the stampede to these A-list destinations, the rest of Norway is often forgotten. But leave some space in your itinerary for Trondheim, the country’s former capital and third largest city. With Scandinavia’s largest medieval building, rocking nightlife, and museums to charm…

10 great reasons to visit Northern Ireland
10 great reasons to visit Northern Ireland

It has often had to play second fiddle to its southern neighbour, but Northern Ireland offers a diversity of attractions that frequently confounds first-time visitors. Rejuvenated and irrepressible, Belfast now rivals any of the UK’s capital cities, but in addition, the country manifests superb natural heritage – including one of the world’s great coastal road…

Win a family ski holiday to the French Alps
Win a family ski holiday to the French Alps

It’s that time of year again, when the mountains become a playground, and skiers and boarders alike are keenly watching the snowfall across Europe that dictates their winter fun. If you want to take to the slopes, enter our competition for the chance to win a great skiing holiday in Valloire. Valloire is an old…

Creativity & consumerism: how to spend a weekend in Birmingham, England
Creativity & consumerism: how to spend a weekend in Birmingham, England

If we told you that Birmingham, the industrial powerhouse of the UK in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, had more than six million trees, you probably wouldn’t believe us. If we said it had more parks than any other European city, you might question our judgement. But you had better believe Birmingham holds some surprising…

10 of the best European city breaks
10 of the best European city breaks

In this article sponsored by Scenic Australia, Emma Gibbs picks 10 of the best city breaks across Europe. Europe is so crammed full of fascinating, vibrant cities that narrowing down the options to an actual decision for a weekend away can be surprisingly tricky. Thankfully, we’ve got a guide to the best European city breaks to help…

Video: 5 incredible views of London from above
Video: 5 incredible views of London from above

As far as capital cities go, London is big. It’s the largest capital in Europe and has land mass of over 1500 square kilometres. Within that space, over 8.5 million people from all over the world live, work and play, and a further seventeen million people visit the city each year. Those are big numbers…

Your Europe itinerary: 10 routes to explore the continent
Your Europe itinerary: 10 routes to explore the continent

You can’t expect to fit everything Europe has to offer into one trip and we don’t suggest you try. For those taking a big, extended trip around the continent you could join a few countries together. Each of these itineraries could be done in two or three weeks if followed to the letter but don’t push…

All change: the railway in Budapest that’s run by children
All change: the railway in Budapest that’s run by children

Trains are a fascination in many a child’s life – from the shrill blow of the commanding whistle to the clunky levers used to stop and go. Today, in Budapest, kids don’t have to dream about becoming the next train conductor, they can simply join the Children’s Railway. Rough Guides writer John Malathronas went to find out…

Madeira: shaking off misconceptions
Madeira: shaking off misconceptions

Famous for being the birthplace of footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and Madeira wine, this Portuguese island has a reputation as a holiday choice of the staid over-60s. Although it’s part of Portugal, Madeira is closer to North Africa than it is to Europe – and the island is attracting a new generation of independent travellers who know it’s not just…

Travel like Harry Potter: to Scotland by train
Travel like Harry Potter: to Scotland by train

Even in a country as scenic as Scotland, you might not expect to combine travelling by train with classic views of the Scottish Highlands; the tracks are down in the glens, after all, tracing the lower contours of the steep-sided scenery. But on the West Highland line, there’s a lot to take in. The scenery along this route is both epic…

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…

Copenhagen’s best kept secret: Retro Bobby’s arcade barbershop
Copenhagen’s best kept secret: Retro Bobby’s arcade barbershop

Bobby’s mullet blows in the wind as he pilots his dinky motorcycle down Copenhagen‘s cobbled backstreets. Wobbling past kebab shops and contemporary design stores on his way to work, he looks like a living relic from a bygone era: the 1980s. A turtleneck peeks out from beneath his blue denim jacket, which perfectly matches the…

Video: couple captures the romance of Norway’s wild storms
Video: couple captures the romance of Norway’s wild storms

If howling winds and unrelenting rains aren’t your idea of a romantic break, then perhaps this isn’t the trip for you. But watch this video, and it might change your mind… Norway‘s rugged coastline is battered by wild storms every winter, but that doesn’t mean adventure, and even a bit of romance, isn’t possible – as…

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