To see Europe at its craziest, join the wild party that kicks off the reverent Easter season. Carnival is a boisterous time before the traditional period of abstinence and piety of Lent. Its finale -- what we call Mardi Gras -- is held this year on Feb. 9. Here are a few of the most colorful events.
Spread Your ...Read more
In the Eastern Mediterranean, Greece, Croatia and Turkey remain popular with tourists and present some important transportation and sightseeing changes for 2016.
Greece is one of Europe's great destinations, but concern about its financial crisis and the thousands of Syrian refugees entering the country is impacting travelers' vacation plans. ...Read more
Britain and Ireland are hard at work making the most of their heritage and sharing it with a special flair. Here are a few updates to keep in mind for 2016:
London seems intent on building itself out of any economic recession in its ever-changing landscape of sights. Be sure to have locals point out the many distinct skyscrapers decorating the ...Read more
Italy may be the cradle of the Renaissance, but lately it's been feeling like a work in progress. Travelers in the last few seasons have been finding cultural treasures buried behind scaffolding or removed from view because of ambitious renovation schemes. The good news is that many of these projects are winding down. Here is the latest for ...Read more
France has brought us so much culture and art and, at the same time, championed the modern concept of a vacation. To get the most out of your next visit, be mindful of these changes and developments for 2016.
In Paris, the Eiffel Tower's first level -- after a $38 million renovation -- is decked out with new shops, eateries, and ...Read more
When you visit Madrid, take a vacation from your vacation with some side trips that help illuminate Spain's rich history. Four key sights lie within an easy travel distance: El Escorial, Valley of the Fallen, Segovia and Avila -- all convenient by car, bus, or train.
A short drive from Madrid is the giant palace/monastery/mausoleum called ...Read more
Pablo Picasso was the most famous and -- OK, I'll say it -- greatest artist of the 20th century. Before he was 30, Picasso had revolutionized the art world. And that was just the beginning.
A Spanish expatriate, co-creator of cubism, and devoted womanizer, Picasso left an amazing legacy in his wake. In the course of his long life (he died in ...Read more
While I love urban thrills, it's worthwhile to get outside the city limits. Venturing 30 to 60 minutes from most European cities rewards you with great sights (Versailles near Paris), unique settings (Andechs Monastery near Munich), and small towns where you can feel the pulse of a place and its people (Haarlem near Amsterdam).
In Copenhagen, ...Read more
The Mystery of Jessica BensonC.K. Laurence
Jessica Benson is hot, beautiful, bisexual and dead. Her life and death intersects the drama of a professional football team and the detectives who are on the case. The author has been a student of crime activity and weaves an exciting story of mystery and intrigue, ...
I'm in Oslo, and it's the perfect winter scene -- a full moon arcs high overhead, ice-white holiday lights sparkle in the darkness -- and it's the middle of the afternoon! Norway, with its northern location, has the longest and darkest winters in Europe. It's also about the least church-going country in Europe. Maybe that's why Christmas in ...Read more
Lyon is France's best-kept secret. Its urban scene is enjoyably elegant without a hint of crass tourism.
For the people who live in the city -- sandwiched between the Burgundy and Provence regions -- dining out is a passion. Here, great chefs are more famous than professional soccer players. Plan for a full day of sightseeing and then kick back...Read more
Benjamin Franklin once wrote, "Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy." There is no better place in the world to confirm what Ben said than in Tuscany.
This region in the heart of Italy is chock-full of great wineries, but I like to focus on two well-respected red wines, each centered on a specific town: ...Read more
No city in Ireland connects the kaleidoscope of historical dots more colorfully than Derry, which is in British-ruled Northern Ireland. Small and pretty, the city is a welcoming and manageable place for visitors -- and most of its sights can be covered easily on foot.
Now a worthy tourist destination with the best city walls in Ireland, during ...Read more
It's a joy to surrender to the Greek way of living. Greece's welcoming people, mouthwatering food and drink and joyful music and folk dances make it easy to immerse yourself into the easygoing lifestyle.
When I'm in Greece, I eat as the Greeks do. Around 9 p.m., I head to a taverna and order a medley of "mezedes" (appetizers) and...Read more
In the heart of the Czech Republic, Prague is "the golden city of a hundred spires." This vibrant Baroque capital escaped the bombs of last century's wars, so it remains one of Europe's best-preserved cities. It's the ideal springboard for travelers new to Eastern Europe -- an accessible city with a story to tell and plenty to experience. When I...Read more
As the days get shorter and Halloween approaches, I've started remembering some of the spookiest experiences I've had during my travels. One happened years ago when I was a tour guide, traveling around Great Britain with eight people on a minibus.
We checked into a guesthouse on a hill, in a windy nether land that happened to be ...Read more
One of the most touristy places in all of Britain is at its far southwest tip, cleverly called Land's End. Every tour bus stops here so people can stand in a line and pay 10 British pounds to have their photo taken at the famous milepost. Tacky as this place is, there's something exciting about being at the "land's end" of ...Read more
In my quest to experience Europe as the locals do -- intimately and on all fronts -- I make a point to eat well. My trip is always the better for it. (My challenge is broadening my perspective while leaving my waistline unchanged.)
These days, my job of eating well is getting easier all the time. Food tours and cooking classes have become a big...Read more