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
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 [...]
Christmas marzipan has appeared in the shops up here in the northern European world; a sure sign of the approaching Yule (which is what we call Christmas, heathens that we are). A bit early, in my opinion, it's just October. But what can you do - except enjoy all the almond-y goodness, while it's still fresh... I'm reminded of something I [...]
Aarhus! Does the name sound familiar? Could be because Denmark’s second city was one of the two designated European Capitals of Culture in 2017. This led to a whole host of publications chiming in: National Geographic, CNN, Lonely Planet and others, all naming Aarhus a must-visit destination. Aarhus is small, yet offers everything a much bigger city does, without the hustle [...]
1918! A monumental year. World War I ended, empires broke up, national borders were rearranged, political orders changed dramatically, and new countries appeared. One of these was Latvia. The little Baltic country declared its independence from Russia on 18 November 1918, just one week after the end of the war. Sadly, a new war came along, followed by a 46-year Soviet [...]
If you want to show me a modern art museum, I’ll say it right out: it’s going to take something unique to capture my interest. Make me feel! There's too much bland in that world that doesn't move me. All the better then, when I find something I really like. ARoS Aarhus Art Museum is that. I love how this [...]
You're no doubt familiar with the five iconic small towns known as Cinque Terre but do you know the five equally enchanting villages across the border in France? Each has its own unique features: Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is for the artist in you, Beaulieu-sur-Mer is next door to Monaco, and almost as glamorous. Up in the hills a bit, Eze is for history [...]
You may have noticed I don't often write about food here on Sophie's World. That's for good reason. I'm rather picky - there's lots I don't care for (most meats, for example - and most Norwegian Christmas staples, adored by just about everyone else). Furthermore, I don't really appreciate the subtleties of flavours enough, and don't do food the justice it [...]
You will excuse the somewhat flippant title of this post, won't you, Denmark? The slogan 'It's lovely to be Norwegian in Denmark' has been around for nearly 30 years. And there's no doubt about it: it is indeed lovely. But you don't really do mountains, do you? When I was in school, 958 years ago, I learned that Himmelbjerget was [...]
My little quest to see world heritage - places that deserve special protection for future generations - has provided some truly amazing experiences I’d never even have considered otherwise. 10 days ago, I was in central Croatia to explore four of them. However, I seemed to be glued to the beaches! So how to explore AND relax? How to have [...]