Europe2022-01-21T22:12:30+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

Van Nellefabriek: the most beautiful factory in the world?

The last stop on this quick round of world heritage sites in the Netherlands, is Van Nellefabriek (the Van Nelle Factory) in Rotterdam. It's a lovely day and I have all the time in the world, so walking the 3-4 km from Rotterdam Centraal railway station is just the thing. Also, there is a lot to see along the way. [...]

An Utrecht state of mind

It's 28 April 2022, and I’m in Utrecht for two days, having a look at the UNESCO World Heritage sites here. I'm joined by a friend who has been locked inside Fortress Australia for two years now, so he says. Not that Oz isn’t good fun, but staying in one place is challenging for an ex-nomad. As soon as PM [...]

Par force hunting: cruelty as world heritage?

Dear reader! I'm going to begin this post by warning you that a serious rant is forthcoming. However delightful this pastoral scene, I find the par force landscape in Denmark a difficult world heritage site to appreciate. When UNESCO in 2020 rejected an application to classify bullfighting as cultural heritage in need of protection, I felt relieved, thinking that the [...]

By |8 May 2022|Denmark, Real-time, UNESCO World Heritage|

How about a beach holiday in… Dublin?

A few years back, I decided to take on a new challenge and start a series here on Sophie's World called Sophie tries new things. It is as sporadic as all the rest, but there it is. The challenge is all about saying yes to everything. Well... perhaps not everything, but to a lot. Whilst in Poland recently, I met [...]

By |30 April 2022|Ireland|

A delusion of frostwork that might vanish with a breath

What a wonder it is! So grand, so solemn, so vast! And yet so delicate, so airy, so graceful! A very world of solid weight, and yet it seems ...a delusion of frostwork that might vanish with a breath!... Construction of Milan's fabulously Gothic cathedral - Duomo di Milano - began in 1386 and it has awed visitors ever since, including [...]

By |26 April 2022|Art and architecture, Italy|

Field work: Camp Sounio, Greece

Notes from Camp Sounio, Greece - September 2016 A few weeks ago, while visiting the concentration camps in Poland and Germany with Cat and 80 of her school mates, we were introduced to Trude Jacobsen, passionate founder of A Drop in the Ocean, a non-profit humanitarian organisation, working with displaced people.* I was inspired to do my fair share and [...]

By |22 April 2022|Charities and volunteering, Greece, How to help|

Field work 2022: Krakow, Poland

When the Russian war on Ukraine began in earnest this round, I got in touch with A Drop in the Ocean*, to let them know I could help out for a week or so, with refugees arriving in neighbouring Poland if they needed an extra pair of hands. Turns out they did. I got a call from the head office [...]

The Danube Limes: Roman Vienna

Austria's newest world heritage site is the frontiers of the Roman Empire, specifically the ancient borders known as the Danube Limes. Odd word, isn't it, limes? The Romans didn't call it that - limes is a more modern term. But what does it mean? Well, when you take a closer look, and forget about English pronunciation for a bit, you'll [...]

By |11 April 2022|Austria, UNESCO World Heritage|

In transit: Przemyśl and the Polish-Ukrainian border

Przemyśl, 10 April 2022 Sunday is the day of rest at the Free Shop in Krakow. But there's no rest for the wicked. I've rented a car and headed for the Ukrainian border. I'm writing this, eh, let's call it an Insta Story story, at a cafe in Przemyśl. Just by the railway station. Can't find the name of this [...]

By |10 April 2022|Borders, Poland, Real-time, Road trips, Ukraine|

Halcyon Hallstatt

Continuing my little exploration of world heritage in Austria, I've left Salzburg, after circling the city centre a few times. The SatNav girl and I, we never seem to hit it off. But finally, I'm on the road heading south on B158, better known as Romantikstrasse, Austria's romantic road. And it's not hard to see why. Pretty landcapes along the [...]

By |7 April 2022|Austria, UNESCO World Heritage|

Prehistoric dwellings at Moon Lake

As I’m standing on the shore, looking out over Mondsee, the large Alpine lake with the mystical name, I can’t help but think of a woman of caliber. The woman I’m thinking of is fictional. Her name is Lisa Engel and she is – or rather, was – a police commissioner in an Austrian turn-of-the-century TV series called Eine Frau [...]

By |3 April 2022|Austria, UNESCO World Heritage|

Finding Wolfgangus Theophilus in Salzburg

I'm out searching again, this time for a childhood crush. He was a contemporary of Maria Antonia; the two of them met gleefully once during their childhood, so the story goes. I'll tell you about it in a bit. And there is a surprise at the end! Festung Hohensalzburg (fortress) guarding Salzburg's Altstadt (Old Town).  This one you will have [...]

By |31 March 2022|Austria, UNESCO World Heritage|
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