Visit the creme de la creme of Europe’s fantastic cities. It’s hard to decide which ones merit a visit the most but the following four seem to stand out somehow. Bon voyage!
With the unique city’s future unclear due to rising water levels, it’s high time you paid it a visit. Not only is Venice a feast for the eyes, but also for the stomach and soul. Wander along the narrow alleys snaking through the city forbidden to any traffic other than boats and bicycles. You’ll get to admire stunning architecture, peek into hidden courtyards and admire the beautiful locals in their understated Italian chic outfits. Alternatively hop on a “vaporetti”, the local equivalent of a bus, or fork out for a gondola ride with a tour guide.
Delicious smells will follow you around wherever you go so make sure you do plenty of exercise to justify plenty of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack stops. Good pizzas, pastas and ice-cream are readily available even at fast food stands, but for a little something special head to a renowned seafood restaurant.
The most northern capital city in the world welcomes you with open arms. Locals here are friendly and hospitable as you may know from the excellent tourism campaign carried out last year, in which the prime minister invited foreign guests into his home for homemade pancakes.
Wander through the city’s streets stopping off at the many galleries to see local art, browse the fashionable boutiques and pop into at least a handful of the many stylish cafes cum bars. Icelandic nightlife is famous worldwide and you might easily find yourself mingling among the likes of Bjork and Sigur Ros, particularly if you choose to visit during the Iceland Airwaves music festival that comes highly recommended.
To relax and rejuvenate, visit one of Reykjavik’s many public baths with natural mineral water pools in a range of temperatures. The Blue Lagoon outdoor spa is also just a short drive away.
Ole, ole! Spain’s second city showcases the best of Spanish and Catalan cultures. You can spend days aimlessly wandering through Las Ramblas (a series of small streets) and just soaking up the atmosphere and sunshine. Take the funicular for awe-inspiring views across the city. These can also be admired from Park Guell that features some of Gaudi’s most famous works.
Other musts are visits to the city’s Olympic Park, home to the 1992 summer Olympic games, and the Sagrada Familia church, and a stroll around the Marina area.
While in the city make sure to try lots of tapas and fill up on sangria. For the freshest food, head to La Boqueria market. A great local experience is to take a cooking class. Enquire at your hotel or tourist information centre for details.
London is the ultimate modern city bringing together the best of local and international cultures. While no first visit is complete without visits to Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the Tower of London, it’s worth delving below the surface to see and experience the “real” London. Its market culture is wonderful with some of the best being Camden, Brick Lane and Borough Markets. To get a real feel for what the city’s like, explore areas around some of the big universities like London School of Economics and King’s College as they are lively, bustling with students and so home to some great shops and pubs.
If you stay in a central hotel in London Westminster or nearby area, you’ll be surprised at how much sightseeing you can actually do on foot. Distances within the city are shorter than you’d think.