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.
Holy See (Vatican)
Latest Europe travel stories
Saint Thomas of Canterbury Today, we’re going to talk about Thomas Becket. And I don't mean that dude on Sniper, but the original one, Saint Thomas of Canterbury. Our Thomas Becket came long before the US Marines – and was, frankly, more of a badass. That cost him his life. Right here in Canterbury Cathedral, where he was head honcho [...]
Few things enchant me more than libraries. I've often thought I'd like to sleep over in one, especially in a delightfully dusty, old library. Sneak in around closing time, say, then hide until everyone is gone and stay overnight. Sleeping bag, head lamp and a water bottle, perhaps some biscuits, that would be enough. Only me and possibly a ghost or [...]
Present-day Sweden has about 10 mill inhabitants, just over 1% of Europe's population. But back in the 17th and 18th centuries, this little country was an empire, ruling a rather large part of Europe. Around the Baltic, you can still see markers of the Swedish era, such as in the German city of Wismar. UNESCO Sweden Port of Karlskrona - [...]
I'm dreaming of glaciers lately, which you may have deduced. Possibly because of all this snow. So while we wait for spring to get here (come on, already!), why don't you come with me to another glacier. To Jungfrau-Aletsch. It's not going to be strenuous at all: we'll take the train up to 3454 metres. Once up in the heavens, [...]
I'm looking out at the tonnes of snow covering my back garden today, and my thoughts drift west, to Langjökull. Langjökull, you say? That sounds suspiciously like the li'l thing that spread volcanic ash all about the place not too long ago, stopping air traffic n'everything. We may not have cash, but we've got ash! Ah, but you mean Eyafjallajökull. [...]
The postcard pretty baroque church on tiny, lovely Bled Island is probably the best known image of Slovenia. If you could zoom out, you'd first see the stunning Lake Bled (Blejsko jezero in Slovene), then the little villages along its shores, then the green fields and the rolling hills. Zoom out even further, and you'd see the majestic Julian Alps [...]
Ljubljana with Veronika A book about suicide and madness, about shocking someone into wanting to live by convincing them death is imminent. Oddly, Veronika Decides to Die most of all made me want to see Ljubljana. Nearly 20 years later, and seemingly random, I'm on my way. The invite popped into my mailbox just a week ago. I’ve been meaning [...]
Croatia's Dalmatian coast is a treasure trove of quaint little villages, many within an hour or two from the hub, Split. Closest of all is perhaps Trogir, just half an hour away. Trogir is on an island, connected to the mainland by little bridges, and is all about art, culture, history, and wandering/wondering bohemians and travellers for two millennia. Colours, colours [...]
The powerful Hanseatic League has been mentioned frequently on this blog, and we've covered several Hansa cities: Hamburg, Bremen and Lübeck in Germany; Torun, Gdansk and Krakow in Poland; Tallinn and Riga in the Baltic countries. In neighbouring Sweden, there's Stockholm and enchanting Visby. In Belgium, there's Bruges and Antwerp. Finally, there's lively London and beguiling Bergen. And there are many more. 192 cities in 16 countries. They got around those medieval traders of Northern [...]
You'd like a stunning seaside town along the Dalmatian coast, you say? There are many of those. But you want calm and quiet, as well? In August, prime holiday season for weary Eurocrats and everyone else? Normally, we'd say 'ha!' right here, and deprive you of any such illusion. But then there is Šibenik. On this August weekend, unlike busy Split [...]
A donkey, a dog, a cat, a rooster - you're looking at the famous Bremen Town Musicians. This 200-year-old Grimms brothers' fairytale is about four friends, all a bit worse for wear and mistreatment at the hands of abusive owners. Well, nothing for it, only one thing to do: escape! But where to? 'Let's go to Bremen, yo - and [...]
I'm frequently asked which is my favourite world heritage site. My reply always used to be that there are so, so many. Then I went to the Orkney Islands. And discovered there was one that stands out, after all; the one that speaks the most profoundly to my imagination: Skara Brae Skara Brae, a Neolithic settlement in the Orkneys, was inhabited [...]