Europe2023-01-27T15:56:05+00:00

Discover the age-old continent through these Europe travel stories, its curious, unsung places as well as its more familiar spots.

You may notice a few countries that may not traditionally be considered European. Europe’s borders are never easy to define. So I’ve decided to go by the old definition I learned in school: In the east, Europe ends at the Ural Mountains. That means the Caucasian countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia – are part of Europe, according to Sophie’s World. This is probably also according to the countries themselves: all three are members of the Council of Europe and cooperate with the European Union with a view to future membership. Also, all three countries participate in the Eurovision Song Contest; can’t argue with that.

Albania
Andorra
Armenia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Belarus
Belgium
Bosnia and Herzegovina

British Isles

Bulgaria
Croatia
Czech Republic
Cyprus
Denmark

Estonia
Finland
France
Georgia
Germany
Greece
Holy See (Vatican)
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
Italy
Kosovo
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Macedonia
Malta
Moldova

Monaco
Montenegro
Netherlands
Norway

Poland
Portugal

Romania
Russia
San Marino
Serbia
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain

Sweden
Switzerland
Turkey
Ukraine

Latest Europe travel stories

Family road trip Wales: Aberystwyth – Abereiddi

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By |1 February 2023|Europe with kids, Road trips, Wales|

World at a Glance: The Long Room at Trinity University, Dublin

I love old libraries. Oh, I enjoy contemporary, futuristic ones, too (the new library in Birmingham comes to mind), but the old ones, well, they seem to have a depth of soul the newer ones haven’t quite attained yet. Top of my list is the 18th century Long Room, the library at Trinity College Dublin, with more than 200,000 ancient [...]

By |20 January 2023|Dreams. For now., Ireland|

11 things you’ll love in Metz

French then German then French then German then French Like nearby Trier (Germany), and Nancy (France), the city of Metz was first inhabited about 3,000 years ago, and you can see evidence of Celtic and Roman times here. Medieval ones, too. But I'll go out on a limb and say it is the last 150 years that sets Metz apart. [...]

By |30 November 2022|France|

Crespi d’Adda: Cristoforo and the company town

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By |27 November 2022|Italy, UNESCO World Heritage|

Nancy and the Polish king

From Trier in Germany's Moselle Valley, I have now stepped across the border into Lorraine - to Nancy, capital of the French département Meurthe-et-Moselle. My goal for the day is the city's three famous squares: Place Stanislas, Place de la Carrière and Place d'Alliance. Place Stanislas Just a 10-minute walk from the railway station, the largest and most magnificent of [...]

By |21 November 2022|France, UNESCO World Heritage|

Sacri Monti: Italy’s holy mountains

It's a lovely Saturday in June, and I am on my way to one of Italy's holy mountains. Holy mountain? And you said Italy, right? Not India? I did, indeed. Italy's nine sacri monti are complexes of chapels, little churches and other architectural delights, built on hilltops in the 16th and 17th centuries, in the provinces Piedmont and Lombardy. But [...]

By |17 November 2022|Italy, UNESCO World Heritage|

Wroclaw and the Hall of the Century

On a random Monday in October, I find myself in Wrocław. I am here to make a delivery: disembark, take two huge bags through customs, hand them over, then fly right back. That was the plan anyway. But my options were essentially either A. a roundabout route via Stansted, having to spend the night at what is not exactly the [...]

By |15 November 2022|Poland, UNESCO World Heritage|

Field work in Krakow, part 2

My latest tour in the field with A Drop in the Ocean* here in Krakow is coming to an end. Some reflections: The free shop Sfaza Dobra = 'the good cupboard' Back in spring, when the Russian war on Ukraine first began, the free shop was in a large, abandoned shopping mall, with more than 100 volunteers and up to [...]

Olomouc and the Obelisk

Is Olomouc one of Europe’s secret little pearls? An informal survey amongst friends revealed just 2 out of 11 had even heard of it. REM knows about it, though - or sings about it, at least. And Tolstoy, too. In War and Peace, Czar Alexander I and Emperor Franz II meet (pre-Battle of Austerlitz) at the Archbishop’s Palace here to [...]

By |8 November 2022|Czech Republic, UNESCO World Heritage|

Baroque frenzy in Turin

What is hiding behind this rather worried-looking face? This palace, that is what: Palazzo Reale di Torino, partially hidden behind scaffolding just now, but we'll disregard that. Turns out my temp flat in Turin has balcony views of main square Piazza Castello, and the palazzo. Score! (Yet again.) Back when Italy was not yet Italy, there were monarchs. And I [...]

By |2 November 2022|Italy, UNESCO World Heritage|

Rome of the North

Once again, I’m in Rome of the North. That’s twice in one year. And yet, I haven’t been in the same place twice… what’s going on? In the early summer, I spent half a day wandering around Roman ruins in Aosta, capital of the Aosta Valley and self-declared Rome of the North. That seems to be an all-round desirable label [...]

By |29 October 2022|Germany, UNESCO World Heritage|

Kaunas: Modernist city

City panorama from the top of Christ's Resurrection Church Lithuania's interwar capital We like second cities here on Sophie's World. They're frequently just as interesting as the capitals. Think Aarhus, Gothenburg, Munich, Manchester or Birmingham (the jury's still out on that one). Sometimes, second cities are even more interesting than the capitals, or at least more unique, like Antwerp, Bergen [...]

By |10 October 2022|Art and architecture, Lithuania|
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