European train travel is easier and better than ever, thanks to faster trains, new routes, and additional amenities to keep you comfortable and entertained on the journey. For me, there's nothing better than stretching out in a quiet car, blitzing through the European countryside, with hours of uninterrupted time to think and write.
Recently I ...Read more
Whether you're a serious athlete or a weekend warrior, those who like to keep their heart pumping while sightseeing have plenty of great options in Europe. From scenic jogs through Stockholm to paddling a boat in Hyde Park to biking through bustling Amsterdam, active travel can be better travel.
Biking not only provides a workout; it's an ...Read more
A couple of hours north of Lisbon, Coimbra is the Oxford or Cambridge of Portugal -- the home of its most venerable university. It's also the country's easiest-to-enjoy city -- a mini-Lisbon, with everything good about urban Portugal without the intensity of a big metropolis. I couldn't design a more delightful city for a visit.
One of the best...Read more
If you want to eat like a local -- enjoying tasty local specialties economically -- picnic. While I'm the first to admit that restaurant meals are an important aspect of any culture, in Europe I picnic almost daily. This is not solely for budgetary reasons. It's fun to dive into a marketplace and deal with locals in the corner grocery or market....Read more
April marks the 10th anniversary of the death of John Paul II, one of the most beloved popes of recent times. During his papacy, from 1978 to 2005, he was the highly visible face of the Catholic Church as it labored to stay relevant in an increasingly secular world. Today, he is commemorated in statues and paintings throughout the great churches...Read more
Way back in my student travel days, I discovered a handful of completely offbeat sights that remain among my favorite places in Europe. From sculptures of salt to sculptures of marzipan, from a wall dedicated to love and freedom to chapels decorated with bones, a carefully balanced tour of Europe mixes famous must-see sights with quirky, less ...Read more
Mastery of Europe's major cities -- Rome, Paris, London, Vienna -- is the mark of a good traveler. Teeming with color, energy, and cultural vibrancy, these places -- while expensive -- richly reward the thoughtful traveler.
There are plenty of ways to thrive in big European cities without going broke. And the good news is that, in so many ways,...Read more
While most travelers to Greece head for the islands, I head for the hills -- the mountains and valleys of the Peloponnese. Attached to the rest of Greece by a thin isthmus, this rugged land has always seemed isolated from the rest of the country. And while it holds some of Greece's greatest ancient monuments -- such as Olympia or Mycenae -- ...Read more
The great value of travel is the opportunity it offers you to pry open your hometown blinders and broaden your perspective. And when we implement that world view as citizens of our great nation, we make travel a political act. Here are my top ten tips for doing just that:
Get out of your comfort zone: Choose Managua over Mazatlan or Turkey over...Read more
I'm all about traveling efficiently -- and a great way to do that is by savoring local cuisine as you soak up the splendor of the place you came to see. While view restaurants often come with a steep price tag, I've learned to find scenic places to eat where the food is delicious, affordable, and memorable.
You might call taking in the view ...Read more
A port city on the Baltic Coast of Poland, Gdansk is truly amazing -- and amazingly historic. From its medieval Golden Age to the headlines of our own generation, big things have happened here.
Gdansk is the place where World War II began, and as any proud resident of the city will explain, it is the home of Solidarity, the workers' movement ...Read more
I love it when I convince people to engage with the Europe I show them. But when they become engaged with each other in Europe ... I like it even more.
Recently I heard from someone who took his girlfriend on one of my recommended hikes near Muerren, Switzerland. "I convinced Emily to get one last photo of the view together before it got dark, ...Read more
If there's an industrial wasteland where a great European city hits the water -- London, Berlin, Amsterdam, you name it -- it's slated for a major makeover. Derelict areas on the wrong side of the river -- what we in the USA might call "the wrong side of the tracks" -- are being rejuvenated with modern buildings and fresh greenery.
My pick for ...Read more
Eastern Europe has experienced more change in the last generation than any other corner of Europe. With war-era grandpas now gone, across the former Warsaw Pact zone new museums and memorials deal candidly with the dark side of communism -- and fascism before that. And now that the economy is perking up (with European Union help), impressive ...Read more
Germany and Austria are a work in progress -- each country has great and innovative museums and galleries to share its culture with its many visitors. Here's the latest for 2015:
While trains are usually the easiest way for Americans to get around Germany, ultra-cheap buses are a new option worth considering. The main bus lines are MeinFernBus ...Read more
France and the Low Countries have a wealth of art, history, and taste treats to share with visitors. While you'll never experience it all (thank goodness), if you're up-to-date, you'll get the most out of your time. Here's the sightseeing news for this year.
In Paris, the Picasso Museum has finally reopened after years of renovation. Because of...Read more
Spain and Italy are working hard to accommodate hordes of travelers hungry to experience their delightful cultures.
The big news in Florence is the food scene. The steel-and-glass Central Market has undergone an exciting resurgence. The top floor is now an inviting, upscale food court, and several of the restaurants stay open late. On the ...Read more