Climbing the Acropolis, communing with the druids at Stonehenge or marveling at the sprawling remains of Pompeii -- exploring the remnants of Europe's distant past brings a special thrill to those of us able to resurrect all that rubble.
I had such a thrill recently in Epidavros, where I visited the finest and best-preserved of Greece's many ...Read more
I'm always inspired by Norway's capital Oslo -- a classic old city that keeps chugging into the future. It's architecturally fascinating, extremely livable, and mellow. While buying things is expensive, many of Oslo's joys are free.
Situated at the head of a 60-mile-long fjord, Oslo sprawls out from its historic core. Its streets are a mix of ...Read more
The words "Greek Isles" evoke visions of sun-bleached houses shoulder-to-shoulder against a hillside with a mesmerizing view of glittering blue water. But with more than 200 Greek islands scattered across the Aegean and Ionian seas, where do you start?
Chances are Santorini is the island you're picturing. Once a complete island like its ...Read more
When someone asks me about visiting Ireland, I tell them not to miss the southwest coast. This is the place to experience the wonders of the Gaelic language and old Irish civilization, as well as the country's contemporary charms. It's the most mystical, Celtic, spiritual and rugged region of Ireland -- and the towns along the way are just plain...Read more
When traveling in the Netherlands -- with its canals, windmills and tulip fields -- it all seems so cute and sweet; you may find yourself exclaiming, "Everything's just so... Dutch!" But for another side of the Netherlands, visit the no-nonsense "second city" of Rotterdam.
Mighty Rotterdam has a gleaming skyline and Europe's largest port. ...Read more
I love Venice at night, and recently, I was reminded why. The evening started at one of my favorite Venice restaurants. The chef served up a seafood bounty from the lagoon, accompanied by deliciously grilled local vegetables and polenta. After dinner, twinkling from my sprightly Venetian white wine, I wandered through the tangle of back lanes, ...Read more
Chances are you weren't invited to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle taking place at Windsor Castle -- neither was I -- but that doesn't mean you can't visit the place where it happened, or other royal residences in Great Britain. In addition to Windsor Castle, London's Kensington, Buckingham and Hampton Court palaces -- and the more...Read more
Berliners joke that they don't need to travel anywhere because their city's always changing. While you could spend weeks in Berlin and not run out of things to do, even the natives like to get out of town once in a while. Recently I tried out three easy day trips from the German capital.
First I spent half a day at Frederick the Great's opulent...Read more
Scandinavia's Viking days may be long gone, but its legacy of maritime exploration (and plunder) continues to capture our imagination. Tap into the region's seafaring heritage by visiting excellent museums in Stockholm, Oslo, and just outside Copenhagen.
Scandinavia's entrance into civilized Europe was swift and dramatic. On June 8...Read more
Nestled on the Rhine across the border from Germany, Strasbourg offers your best chance to experience the urban side of France's Alsace region. Each time I walk its people-friendly streets, I'm struck by how progressive and livable the city feels, with generous space devoted to pedestrians and bikes, sleek trams and meandering waterways. With ...Read more
In the southwest corner of Switzerland, Lake Geneva separates France and Switzerland with a serene beauty. A collage of castles, museums, resort towns and vineyards, this region merits a few days of exploration, though you can get a swift overview of its highlights even in a day.
Last summer I took time to relax and enjoy the tranquil and ...Read more
Every year millions of Americans visit Ellis Island, where their ancestors may have arrived from "the old country." But Europe has many excellent "Ellis Islands in reverse" -- museums at the places where millions said goodbye to the land of their birth.
Is there anything more poignant than a person willing to sacrifice everything in pursuit of ...Read more
Many travelers wonder: "Youth hosteling ... can we still do that?" You can: Many hostels are filled with travelers well past their 20s -- and age cutoffs are generally a thing of the past. Even the International Youth Hostel Federation has removed the word "youth" from its name and is now known as Hostelling International (HI). If you're alive, ...Read more
With striking glaciers, craggy peaks and steamy geysers, Iceland appeals to the curious and the adventurous. In recent years, this remote and cold island-nation has vaulted from out-of-the-way backwater to can't-miss destination. Tourism is booming.
Part of the recent travel surge is convenience, of a sort. Nowadays, many Americans are dropping...Read more
In Paris last June, I kept running into a delightful woman from Indiana on her first trip there. Wonderstruck by the city's charms, she was doing everything right -- picking up French words, conversing with every local she could, and enjoying the great artistic and cultural experiences.
To get the most out of France, it's essential to connect ...Read more
Tiny Slovenia -- wedged between the Alps and the Adriatic -- is one of Eastern Europe's most unexpectedly delightful destinations. Located where the Germanic, Mediterranean and Slavic worlds come together, its capital, Ljubljana, enjoys a happy hodgepodge of cultures but remains relatively undiscovered. Walking through its cobbled Old Town, you'...Read more
With borders so close and transportation a delight, it's easy to throw a change of scenery and culture into your European itinerary. Here are some of my favorite cross-border day trips.
London to Paris. Zipping on the bullet train from London to Paris (or vice versa), deep below the English Channel (a.k.a. "Chunnel"), is exciting -- and takes ...Read more