Map of Armenia

A map of Armenia

Armenia is considered to be on the very edge of what we would call modern day Europe. Some experts would say it is part of Asia Minor but one thing we know is that it definitely is a country that spans the east/west divide. The capital of Armenia is Yerevan with a population of about 1 million people as of 2018.

Here we have a large map and you can expand it to it’s maximum size by clicking on the image and then clicking on the cross in the top right hand corner.

Map of Roman Cities and Roads in Ancient Britain

Iron age Britain was dominated by one form of man made structure, that being the Roman road. Arguably the two Roman walls: the Antonine wall and Hadrian’s wall looked more impressive to the naked eye and the garrisons that became towns like Lindum and Veronis held large groups of humanity. The Roman roads did more to change and open up ancient Britain to Roman domination than any other structure. Most of these roads were built between 43 and 410 AD.

Even to this day some of the Roman roads are still in use in great Britain. Although upgraded and mostly covered by bitumen they are still there and are perfectly serviceable millennia later.

Posted on Categories History

German Election Map 2017

German election map for the 2017 election

Here we have the German electoral results by region for the 2017 German election. It is as of  September 24, 2017 and the results are by no means final. What we do know already is that Angela Merkel has won a fourth term but AfD makes gains. Angela Merkel ‘s party the CSU has dropped from 49% to 38% in Bavaria. This is the worst result since 1949.

This election appears to be a crossroad for the CSU and the SPD (Social Democrats). Both parties have had historically low results with the AfD (Alternative for Germany) party making big gains. The AfD is a far right wing anti-immigration party and is the first far right party to join the German parliament in decades. With a 13.1 percent result it appears that the AfD will be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come and may even have a role in the upcoming coalition.

The SPD’s deputy leader (Manuela Schwesig) announced soon after the exit poll results

“For us, the grand coalition ends today”

and

For us it’s clear that we’ll go into opposition as demanded by the voter.

With the APD announcing that they are going into opposition, Merkel’s main option to form a coalition is to join with the Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens. The FDP received approximately 10.1% and the greens received about 8.9% of the vote at this point in time. This coalition is colloquially known as the Jamaica coalition due to the colors of the parties involved making up the colors of the Jamaican flag.

The above 2017 German election map is based on exit polls and some counting of votes. It is likely to change in the next few days but not by much so we now go into a period of negotiations with Angela Merkel and her party trying to fuse together a working coalition.

Eurail Map

Eurail Map

Eurail Map or also known as Euro Rail Map

Here we have a huge Eurail Map of train lines that cross Europe. We have a list of the destinations and an indication of the path that the trains take. We have kept the map large so you can make out the names of the towns/destinations. If you are using a mobile phone to view it, you may have to scroll around to find the particular train station or train route you are interested in.

The best way to use this train network is to get yourself a Eurail Pass. Eurail passes are eaily the cheapest way to travel the European train network, especially if you plan on making many trips during your holiday. Go here if you want a simpler rail map of Europe.

Posted on Categories Travel

Map of Georgia

Map of Georgia

Map of Georgia

Georgia is a small country of a about 4 million people as of 2017. Situated at the most eastern end of Europe, on the shores of the Black Sea. In Ancient times it was a key point on the famous Silk Road and possibly where Jason and the Argonauts found the Golden fleece.

During the Soviet years it became a backwater and was little considered by the west other than for the Soviet navy bases stationed there. Although recently embroiled in hostilities with Russia, it has come out of this period with a strong sense of self and willingness to embrace the rest of the world. The people are friendly and hospitable. It is definitely a must see if you are touring the other countries in the area.

Map of Munich

Map of Munich

A simple road map of Munich.

When you travel Europe you to collect lots of help items, contacts and other paraphernalia. This is great this is what helps you remember your holidays and will also come in handy next time you go touring the great continent. One thing in particular that I collect when travelling are maps and I dont mean gps maps, I mean paper maps. The maps are of cities and countries and even continents and I mark the places I visited on them and they become memorabilia of my adventures. A paper map of Munich I have is one such thing and is one of my prized possessions and every time I look at it those memories come flooding back. So make sure you always have a real map on hand to document your travels.

 

Map of London Including The Tube Underground

Map of Londo

The above map outlines the main boroughs of London and the major roads. Below is a map of the Tube which is Londons underground railway and bar far the easiest way to get around London’s busy streets.

map of London Tube

Posted on Categories Travel

Pokemon Go Regional Exclusives Map

Pokemon Go Regional Exclusives Map

Pokemon Go has swept the world by storm. We here at Map of Europe all play the game. In pokemon Go there are pokemon that can only be found in certain regions. These are called regional exclusives and here we have a map that will help Pokemon Go traveler work out what regional exclusive is likely to be caught in the area that they are in.

The 6 regional exclusive pokemon are as follows:

  • Tauros – found in North America, mostly in the USA.
  • Heracross – Found in South America, although it can be found in southern parts of the USA like Florida.
  • Mr Mime – Found in Western and Central Europe.
  • Kangaskan – Found in Australasia, mainly in Australia.
  • Farfetch’d – Found in East Asia. Countries like Japan, North and South Korea.
  • Corsola _ This pokemon is interesting as far as we can tell it is found in a band that stretches across the whole globe. The band is roughly between between the latitudes of 31 North and 26 South.

So there you go Pokemon Trainers, get out there and catch those rare Pokemon.

 

Posted on Categories World

Same Sex Marriage Europe map

Europe map same sex marriage

What ever your take is on same sex marriage, this map shows has an interesting insight into the views of different countries in Europe. The legend ranges from dark blue countries that are extremely tolerant of the lesbian and gay right to marriage. Through Light blue countries that are somewhat tolerant, all the way through to red countries that have varying limits of intolerance towards gay marriage.

The map does not include Russia, which is known to be officially very gay intolerant.

Below we have named the countries and the relative tolerance level towards LBG marriage:

The Tolerant Countries (dark blue):
  • Iceland
  • Sweden
  • Norway
  • Finland
  • England
  • Scotland
  • Ireland
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • France
  • Belgium
  • Netherlands
  • Denmark
The Relatively Tolerant Countries (light blue):
  • Germany
  • Switzerland
  • Italy
  • Lichtenstein
  • Austria
  • Czech Republic
  • Slovenia
  • Greece
  • Estonia
  • Northern Ireland
Intolerant Countries (red)
  • Poland
  • Belarus
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Slovakia
  • Ukraine
  • Romania
  • Serbia
  • Bulgaria

 

The status of Croatia and Hungary seems t e in flux at the moment. These two countries swing between being somewhat tolerant (light blue) and intolerant (red). this is represented by red and light blue stripes.

Map of Europe – Importance of Ancestry to the Country

Europe importance of ancestry to country

Here we have a map of Europe that shows the countries that most value local ancestry in the population all the way down to the countries that value it the least. the lowest appear to be Norway and Finland. The Baltic and Eastern Block countries seem to value it the most. Countries like Russia, Ukraine and Georgia. Controversially some people call this the racism map of Europe. technically this is not rue as a major sign of racism in a country tends to be the number neo-nazi groups. When you map the number of neo-nazis over a map of Europe it does not necessarily follow this map.

Posted on Categories Fun

Europe Map – Geography, History, Travel Tips and Fun

Europe Map

Click on the Europe Map above to get a larger more detailed view

Map of Europe and information about the continent

We have added a map that is probably our best and largest Europe Map. On Map of Europe we have termed our political map and although strictly it does not contain everything a political map should have it is close enough and is much easier to read than your standard Political map.

Europe is the sixth largest continent by land mass (approximately 3,997,929 square miles or 10,354,636 square km). Only one continent is smaller and that is Australia. The population is about 739,300,000 individuals, which makes it the world’s third most populated and it boasts some of the oldest civilizations of any continent.

Travelling Europe is one of life’s pleasures and due to the above mentioned civilization age, it boasts one of the oldest tourism industries also. Being so long established Europe caters well for every type of traveller.

Europe is made up of 20 countries. The smallest is Vatican City, which is virtually only a suburb of Rome. The largest country is Russia, although if we are talking about Western Europe, then that would be France.

So if you are travelling a good map of Europe is necessary. We do live in a time of smart phones that have GPS functions but it is still a good idea to have a paper map of Europe as a backup. They fold up to be quite small, so every backpacker should have on one in her or his backpack. If you find yourself outside of signal range or if the battery in your GPS or phone empties, you still have a way of knowing where you are.

The diversity of cultures in Europe is one of the key reasons it is such a popular tourist destination. If you are looking for lazy summer beaches then Croatia, Greece, Spain and France are just some of the best hot spots for that type of travel. If Skiing is your thing then you might want to get out the maps of Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France and Slovenia. These countries have some of the best skiing in the world and some places you can ski all the year round. A good way to get to these ski fields is to travel by train as the train system in Europe is so good it is hardly affected by snow. buying a Eurail pass is the best way to go and here is a rail map of Europe to show you all the routes and destinations. We have also included a massive Eurail Map.

When looking at a topographic map of Europe you will notice that it is very mountainous and much of the wilder places are covered in arboreal forests. So if hiking is your thing then Europe is only quite willing to cater to your needs.

Some of the oceans and Seas that border the continent are as follows. The Barents Sea, Arctic Ocean and Norwegian Sea are to the north. The North Sea and Baltic Sea’s are more or less in the middle of the map. The Atlantic Ocean and the Greenland and Celtic Sea’s are off to the west of the continent. The Mediterranean, Adriatic and Aegean Sea’s lie to the south. The Black and Caspian Sea’s lie more or less to the east. Other naturally occurring borders are Ural Mountains and the Ural River and the Caucus Region (a group of countries, the best known of which are Armenia and Georgia).

Some Political information about Europe

There are about 50 countries that make up the continent of Europe. The largest being Russia and the smallest being Vatican City. Most countries in Europe belong to the European Union and use the Euro as currency. Click on the links below to learn more about each country.

Other physical features of the continent of Europe

The main rivers are the Danube, Rhine, Volga, Seine, Ural and Loire. The longest being the Danube. The main mountain ranges are The Alps, Pyrenees, Ural, Caucus and the Carpathian mountains. The highest mountain in Europe is situated in Russia and is called Mt Elbrus, it is 5642 meters high although the highest in Western Europe is Mt Blanc which is situated in France.

Map of Trees Per Square Kilometer in Europe

trees-per-square-km-europe

This great little map shows just how wooded the countries of Europe are. One of the general trends we can see is that the northern countries of Europe tend to have more trees. Although there are a few exceptions one being Portugal and some of the Baltic countries like Slovenia and Croatia.

The most heavily forested countries in Europe are Finland, Sweden and the aforementioned Slovenia. there are some notable mentions like Montenegro, Russia, Albania and Estonia.

As would be expected, Iceland has a very low concentration of trees. Due to it being a country of mostly volcanic activity, topped with ice and snow. The countries that are a bit of a surprise for having such a low tree population are England, Scotland, Whales and Ireland. When thinking of these countries you generally conjure up images of green countryside, although the green in this case must be hedges, plains and farmland.

Posted on Categories Fun

Russian Ruble falls to lowest rate for 2014 against the US Dollar

Russian Ruble drops against the US dollar
Image from Yahoo Finance

With the Annexation of The Crimea and with Russia taking an active role in the war in the Ukraine, world opinion of Putin’s Russia has rarely been lower. This was highlighted when the West came together in March to enforce sanctions on Russia. Since then there have been another two rounds which seem to be having a quicker than expected constrictive affect on the Russian economy.

Today the Ruble dropped by 13% against the greenback and the day hasn’t finished. It is in fact the lowest it has been in five years. Oil prices are dropping again and as the Russian economy is linked to energy prices this slump has magnified the power of the sanctions. The fear that Russia would shut off the gas supply to Europe this year hasn’t seemed to eventuate and the speculation is that Russia can’t afford to carry out the threat without a massively detrimental affect on it’s own economy.

The other rumor is that a shady deal between Russia’s state owned Rosneft and the central bank that was supposed to fool the smart money, didn’t. The deal would allow Rosneft to refinance itself out of foreign bank debt and into Russian banks but this now looks like it has backfired.

With oil prices looking like they will be trending down and OPEC saying they expect low prices for a while as well as that they’re not afraid of $40 a barrel oil. Russia could be in a spot of bother as the economy seems to be geared for approximately $80 a barrel. Russian’s must be looking at Putin and wondering is he really worth all the bother? It looks like 2015 is going to be an interesting year on the world stage.

Posted on Categories News

How do the Irish see the Map of Europe?

Irish map of europeOk this Map of Europe is just a bit of fun. One of our employees is an extremely proud Irishman and was talking about the St Patrick’s Day. it was mentioned that the whole world seemed to celebrate St Patrick’s day (a bit like the German Oktoberfest). Then he decided to show us how the Irish viewed the rest of Europe by making a special map for us. so without any further a adieu we present “how the Irish see the Map of Europe”.

Posted on Categories Fun

Europe : Google Earth and Google Maps

Europe Google Maps
Click on map to enlarge
Europe Google Earth
Click on map to enlarge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here at MapOfEurope.com we are big fans of Google Earth and Google Maps. While we like the static nature of our maps, especially for quick reference. We recognize that the interactive nature of both Google Earth and Google Maps can be at times invaluable. Recently we were looking at the map of Europe on both Google Earth and Google Maps and thought wouldn’t it be handy to have a static version of both. So we did just that, we took screenshots of the Google map and have uploaded them to the site. While they are not detailed maps, they are handy for a very quick reference. They show most of the relevant countries.

If this proves popular we will even do static maps of all the individual countries of Europe. We might even extend this to the rest of the world. So stay tuned. If there are any particular countries that you are interested in seeing in this format? let us know. We are happy to help.

Europe to sanction Sanction Rosneft, Gazprom Neft And Transneft.

Gazprom Rosneft TransneftFollowers of the Ukraine versus Russia war in Eastern Europe would be aware of the increase in rhetoric among NATO and other European nations, regarding the need for further sanctions against Russia. Europe watches will know that threats never extend to Russia’s big energy producing companies, Rosneft, Gazprom Neft And Transneft.  It appears this all about to change.

A marked escalation in the actions of Europe’s leaders is rumored to be unleashed this Friday the 12th of September 2014. You might want to mark this day in your diaries as it could end up being one of those days in history. If what Peter Spiegel tweeted is accurate then Europe and Russia are in for one very “interesting” winter. One that will be remembered for generations to come.

Peter Spiegel, the Brussels bureau chief of Financial Times has apparently seen a leaked copy of what is being proposed for the next round of sanctions for Russia over it’s involvement in the Ukraine war. Russia denies any involvement in the war but recent reports have Russian troops and combat vehicles actively participating in the fighting in Easter Ukraine. He tweeted:

 

This is an extremely bold move by the European heads. Winter is fast approaching and Russian gas has a major role to play in keeping Europe warm through those long cold European winter nights. It will also force Putin’s hand in having to announce retaliatory sanctions. This is not as easy at it seems, Russia relies on much of Europe’s food to keep it’s population fed during those even longer and colder Russian’ winter days and nights.

Posted on Categories News

Ukraine War Map

Ukraine War Map

Map of the Ukraine War

Above is a map of the contested regions within Ukraine as of August 2014. This is the second in a series of maps about the war in the Ukraine. The first being about the downing of flight MH13 and where it happened. While we hope that all issues are worked and that the fighting stops, if it doesn’t we will continue to publish updated maps of where the war has spread to. If indeed it does spread.

The Ukraine is subdivided into 24 Oblasts (provinces), most of which have not seen any fighting or unrest. The Oblasts that have seen unrest are as follows :

  • The mauve province is the Crimea, which has already been annexed by Russia and is considered Russian territory, although this situation has not been recognized by most of the nations of the UN.
  • The green provinces have seen pro-Russian protests but relatively little or no fighting. These provinces are Odessa, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhia.
  • The blue province is Kharkiv and this is a special region that has been occupied by the Regional State Administration or RSA. Effectively this equates to governor of Texas taking complete control of the state and not being beholden in anyway to Washington. This is a matter that still needs to be resolved.
  • The red provinces  of Donetsk and Luhansk are the ones that have seen the most intensive fighting. Thousands of people have been killed in these regions and there looks like no end to the hostilities, at least not in the near future. Donetsk is also the province that the ill-fated flight MH17 flying over when it was shot down by surface to air missiles.

 

 

Posted on Categories News

Political Map of the Ukraine War and MH17 Crash Site

Political map of Ukrainian War and MH17 crash site

We have been inundated with requests to show how the Ukraine is split when it comes to Russian speakers and Ukrainian speakers.

So we have put together a political map of  the Ukraine showing the make up of Russian speaking population in the Eastern end of the country.

We have also shown where the flight MH17 was shot down. Most of the area currently in dispute, lies within the region of Donetsk. MH17 was shot down North East of the city of Torez that lies within this region.

The Crimea to the south has already been effectively annexed by Russia although this has not been recognized by any nations.

When looking at this map it begs the question. Why was flight MH17 even flying through that region? There has been intense fighting in the area and many other airlines have been avoiding the flight paths that pass through this war zone.

You will note that the Crimea and Donetsk are the two regions that have the highest Russian speaking population in the Ukraine and are effectively the only areas in dispute to date.

Posted on Categories News

European Gas Pipeline Map and the Ukraine

European gas Pipeline Map and the Ukraine

 

There has been a spotlight shone on the Ukraine this week with the downing of flight MH17 by Ukrainian separatist rebels. However that war has been raging for quite a while now and the European Union has been very reluctant to get involved.

Why?

One theory is the reliance of the European community on Russian natural gas supplies as an energy supply. The Russian gas supply is particularly important in winter, as European household heating requirements increase.

The above map of gas pipelines  produced by Agence France-Presse shows the routes into Europe pass through the Ukraine. This adds a level of complexity to the diplomatic dance over the war in Ukraine. There used to be two parties that could interfere with European gas supply from Russia. The first party being the Russian government and associated government and corporate bodies (Gasprom), as happened back in 2009 . The second being the Ukrainian government. Although this possibility was considered almost negligible until recently as the Ukraine gathers a good commission by on-selling Russian gas.

Now we have a third player. The Russian backed separatist rebels in the east of Ukraine . These rebels seem to be backed by Russia and in fact it is considered highly likely that these rebels used a Russian built self propelled missile battery to down the ill fated flight MH17.

 

Why would the rebels want to interrupt the gas supply?

Currently there are two schools of thought on why the rebels would want to interrupt the European gas supply.

  1. By interrupting the winter gas supply the rebels could force the European community to put pressure on the Pro-west Ukrainian government to be less unyielding at the negotiating table.
  2. The other possibility is to force Russia to help more actively in the fight against the Ukrainian government. Currently it is widely believed that Russia is secretly helping the Ukrainian rebels. The added economic pressure on Russia  that slowing the gas supply would impose, might make Russia take steps to try and end the war earlier. Either by influencing the Ukrainian government or helping the rebels win the war.

In either case we can see that the winter of 2014-2015 is shaping up to be a tense one for European nations.

 

An amazing map of Europe showing aircraft getting out of Ukraine airspace

Ukraine airspace after Malaysian airliner was shot down

After the reported shooting down of Malaysian airliner (Flight MH17), it seems all air traffic was directed to leave or avoid Ukraine airspace. Above is an amazing image tweeted by NewsWeek. Sadly it would appear that all 295 people on board died as a result of this horrific  incident. Initial reports are that pro-Russian groups are the cause of this incident and are now hampering efforts by Ukrainian investigators to retrieve the black box flight recorded.

We will be updating this story as more information comes to light.

 

Some pictures of the crash zone are coming to light.

 

mh17-crash-pic

mh17 ukraine crash pic

Map of the Baltic Region

Baltic region and sea

The Baltic Region is Centered on the Baltic Sea

The Baltic Sea straddles the whole northern part of Europe. This narrow sea was where the early Vikings learned the fine art of sailing, amongst other things. In some places it is referred to as the Viking sea.

The countries that Surround it are as follows :

  • Norway    (Purple)
  • Sweden    (Green)
  • Finland     (Yellow)
  • Russia       (Red)
  • Estonia     (Brown)
  • Latvia       (Dark Blue)
  • Lithuania (Olive)
  • Poland      (Light Blue)
  • Germany  (
  • Denmark   (Red Brown)

While the above countries may border the Baltic Sea, other countries that are considered part of the Baltic region are :

  • Belarus (Pink)
  • to a lesser extent The Netherlands

You will note that Russia borders the Baltic Sea in two distinct and separate places.  There is a red region between Lithuania and Poland that is a part of Russia yet it is not physically connected to the main part of the Russian Federation.

 

The Baltic Sea flows into the North Sea which is adjacent to the UK.

 

Is Belarus Russia’s next target?

Proximity of Belarus to Russia

Will Russia invade Belarus next?

Now that Russia has effectively annexed The Crimea away from the Ukraine, we can start thinking about what country will be next. Vladimir Putin has stated on a number of occasions that he will take care of Russians no matter where they are found. Belarus has one of the largest Russian populations outside of Russia. Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko is a hard line ruler of this small nation and has already expressed that what happened in the Ukraine will not be happening in Belarus.

Aleksandr harbors Russian sympathies, so things could go either way. Russia may move to bring Belarus under it’s wing, under the pretext of defending Belarus from outside/Western European influence or it could leaves things be. As Russia may feel that Regime in Belarus is strong enough to hold it’s own against outside influence.

Either way it will be a very tense time in Belarus over the next few weeks and months.

Map of European Undersea High Speed Cables

Europe's Underwater Optical Cable map

If you are a map buff like we are at Map of Europe dot com, then you should geta buzz out of Telegeography.com‘s latest research. They have put together some great maps of all of the planet’s high speed underwater telephony and data cables. We are showing you Europe’s here but they have many more and even have put together a great interactive website that shows the planet and how it is connected. We recommend you have a look at submarinecablemap.com

Ukraine, Crimea and Russia how close are they?

Distances between Ukraine, Crimea and Russia

With the possible conflict between Russia and The Ukraine over the Crimean peninsula. Map of Europe has decided to put up a large map of the region. so that you can get some sense of how close these nations are to each other.

If you feel there are some other maps that would be beneficial in explaining how these countries relate. Please do not hesitate to contact us. We are only to happy to help.

Topographical Map Of Europe

Topographical Map of Europe

A simple topographical Europe Map

Here we present a simple topographical map of Europe. The darker reds and browns are the higher and mountainous regions. The lighter brown and pink regions are the hilly regions and foothills of the mountains. The light green regions are the plains areas and the dark green areas are the sea level or close to sea level areas.

As you can see as you head East, Europe tends to get flatter and lower. The only exception to this are the Ural mountains, which blip up a little as we head into Russia proper. The highest regions are the Alps and the Pyrenese mountains. Although there are some regions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Bulgaria that are quite mountainous also.

Brussels

Brussels the capital of BelgiumIt is only fair that you take some time off after a busy season at work to re-energize and relax. This could be in the form of a much needed vacation where you get to spend your holidays away from home. This is could be at a tourist destination within your country or even away from your home country that would involve some travel. There are quite a number of cities around the globe that are known for their rich cultural and historical heritage hence are leading tourist destinations. One of these destinations is Brussels which is also the capital of Belgium. Generally Belgium is categorized among the leading tourist destinations in Europe that promises an out of this world experience as you get to explore the various attractions and engage in different relaxing and rewarding activities. Belgium boasts of dynamic cities like Antwerp as well as medieval architecture. Among the interesting places that tourists like to visit while in Belgium is the Royal Museum of Fine Arts that is endowed with a huge collection of painting dating back to the 14th century. Also notable is the famous Waterloo that saw the defeat of Napoleon by the then Duke of Wellington. This is one of the reasons that tourists come to explore Belgium.

Brussels offers diverse architecture that spans from the medieval age, with the main attraction being the Grand place, a UNESCO world heritage site and the Royal palace. Also notable is the Manneken Pis that is a bronze sculpture cum fountain of a urinating youth. Other notable attractions that prompt tourists to tour Belgium are the Flander battlefields and the Ypres War Memorials. This is mainly because of the link between the Ypres town and the First World War as it holds silent of those who died in the First World War. Besides, those who travel to Brussels get to experience the over three thousand castles. Three hundred of these castles are open to the public. However, it is the Gravensteen castle that is also referred to as Castle of the Counts which is most popular. Another place that you must not fail to visit is Town of Spa that offers relaxing fine waters and the Bruges commonly known as Venice of North because of the bridges and canals. For lovers of chocolate, Brussels offers the best of chocolate with an estimated over two thousand chocolate shops and a production of over 172,000 tons of the same. Children who travel to Brussels as part of their holidays need not to worry about getting bored as there are a number of carnivals and festivals every year. These include the Zinneke parade and the Ommegang festival among others. The other Belgium cities also hold the same for example the Carnival de Blinche that is held in Blinche and the Stavelot that is held in Mid-Lent Carnival.

Brussels is also a great shopping destination for those people who love shopping. The Flea market is famous for not only crockery but also vintage clothes, household items and furniture. Antique lovers can also be sure to find some of the best antiques in Europe in places like Place du Grand Sablon. If you are keen on fashion items you can also be sure to find shoes, accessories and clothes that are fashionable from a range of shops like the Brooklyn Antwerp or even the High and Mighty. Another great shop for shoppers is the Mier. In fact, people who like to go shopping often make Brussels and Belgium in general their tourist destination.

A tour of Brussels will be incomplete without an experience of the Belgium cuisine. In fact, Belgians believe that their food is prepared using French Finesse and served with the German generosity. The Belgian cuisine is famous for not only known for frites and mussels but also endive and waffles. Of important mention is the fact that the seafood and fish are as important as beer that is as popular as the Belgium brewing tradition. Also included in the Belgian cuisine are game birds, meat and potatoes. One of the famous types is the chicory or the Belgian endive. Street foods are also common for instance French fries that are usually served on paper cones alongside mayonnaise and curry sauce. It is believed that besides other attractions, the Belgian cuisine is among the reasons tourists flock into Belgium. There are numerous other places and attractions that cause tourists to travel to Brussels and the large Belgium. Because of the vast nature of the tourist attractions in Brussels, it is wise to research about the attractions and make up your mind on the places that you intend to visit before hand. This is not only good planning purposes but also helpful in managing the finances that you have set a side for your trip.

Posted on Categories Travel

Rail Map Europe

A rail Europe map

Rail Europe tickets are a great alternative to flying. Imagine taking in the breath taking views of the European Alps, the Med, the Adriatic, the Greek Isles and much more. Travelling by train in today’s day age will allow you to have a proper holiday. It will allow you relax and reflect while you speed towards your destination in complete comfort and style. No worries about luggage size. Take all the gear for the whole family on that ski trip and not worry about excess baggage fees. No bookings are essential; you can purchase your ticket at any time. Turn up at the train station and start your holiday. No more worrying about flight schedules. If you miss one train! Catch the next!

The best way to buy a rail Europe ticket is get a Eurail Global Pass some people refer to them incorrectly as Eurorail Passes but it basically means the same thing. These can be bought as 10 day to 3 month passes. 3 month passes being the best value but of course are the most expensive as well. Have a look at the rail Europe map in the centre of the page and see if it the countries and cities you are interested in visiting for your vacation are included. They should be as most Western European countries are covered by these railway passes.

The rail systems that are covered by most train passes include.

  • Eurostar – is a high-speed passenger rail service connecting London with Paris and Brussels. All its trains traverse the Channel Tunnel between Britain and France, owned and operated separately by Euro-tunnel.
  • German rail (Deutsche bahn) – is the German national railway company. 3 different railway companies were merged to form this company. 1) Deutsche Reichsbahn of East Germany, 2) VdeR . it had railway assets in West Berlin, 3) Deutsche Bundesbahn of West Germany.
  • British Rail (British Railways) . Is an amalgamation of the .big four. 1) Great Western Railway, 2) London, Midland and Scottish Railway, 3) London and North Eastern Railway, 4) Southern Railway.
  • Swiss Federal Railways . Is the official railway of Switzerland.

How does it compare to a driving holiday? Well Driving can be fun but it can also be stressful. So depending on what kind of holiday you are looking for, will depend on what mode of transport you choose. Most train stations are at the heart of a European metropolis centre. So shopping, cafes, the art galleries and museums are usually not far away and usually within walking distance. The rising cost of fuel is starting to make an impact in both the airline industry and the driving holiday set. With a train the economies of scale mean that fuel has a smaller impact on price. A Europe rail pass is also so versatile. Extending holidays is no drama and adding locations to your holiday is as easy as turning up on a new train platform.

Travelling Europe by train is a great cheap alternative to flying. You will have more chances to meet like minded travellers and to take in the natural and urban beauty of Europe. Buying rail tickets in Europe is easy. You can get them over the internet or go to almost any railway station. So if you are thinking about travelling Europe by train make sure you do your research, you will be happy you did.  Oh and one more thing make sure you search online for a Rail Europe coupon code. It will make travelling the railways of Europe that much cheaper.

We have now added an updated rail Europe 2019 map.

Map of Central Europe

A map of Central Europe

There is no common standard of what actually constitutes Central Europe, in fact many of the countries that are defined under this title also form part of Eastern & Western Europe. For the purposes of this article I am going to define the following countries as forming Central Europe, which is the current definition held by the United Nations:

  1. Austria
  2. Czech Republic
  3. Germany
  4. Hungary
  5. Liechenstein
  6. Poland
  7. Slovakia
  8. Slovenia
  9. Switzerland

There are plenty of sights to see within Central Europe and I am going to take you through a number of them right now. Although of course whilst wandering around you will discover many other wonderful sightseeing opportunities.

  1. Almost everything located within Berlin, Germany is a sight in itself. A particular favourite amongst tourists is climbing the Reichstag Dome.
  2. Of course, no trip to Germany is complete without experiencing wonderful German Beer. The best way to do this is to go to the Beer Hall located in Munich. The Olympic Park is also located incredibly close by and is worth a visit.
  3. Also in Germany you can take the chance to visit ‘The Eagles Nest’ which was a location where Hitler helped to direct the German War.
  4. For the more adventurous amongst people there are plenty of natural sights to see when you hike through the mountains of Switzerland or drive through the rolling countryside gazing at many of the beautiful lakes around the area.
  5. Poland was almost destroyed during World War 2, particularly Warsaw. Take a look around the modern architectural wonders in the city which almost has been completely rebuilt but still in a more medieval style.
  6. There are plenty of concentration camps located within Poland. One of the most popular of course is Auschwitz. The reality of war really hits home when you visit one of these concentration camps.
  7. A particular favourite of those travelling to Central Europe to sightsee is travelling up ‘Castle Hill’ for fantastic views over Budapest, capital of Hungary.
  8. The ‘Rhine River’ travels through most of the countries in Central Europe and a cruise along this will take you to some of the best vineyards in the world. Perfect for wine lovers.

There really is so much to do for sightseeing in Central Europe. Whether you are looking to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Europe by hiking through mountains or driving through the countryside, or whether you want to experience the rich history which is evident in almost every major town located within Central Europe.

In my opinion if you are going to go sightseeing in Central Europe you should do it properly, for that reason take a chance to visit all nearby countries such as France, Spain and Belgium. Only then will you be able to get the full European experience. Plenty of cheap flights will take you to any of these destinations, after that it is simply a matter of hiring a car and hitting the open road.

Venice is unforgettable

Amazing Venice in ItalyVenice is truly a beautiful and romantic city. Anyone who intends to visit this Italian city will enjoy the city’s beauty of nature especially the natural water canals. People are not only attracted to this ancient city because it was built on a lagoon but also because of its famous landmarks, beautiful old-fashion streets and rich culture. Remember, even in Shakespeare’s time this city was a famous trading city so popular in fact that the play writer could come up with the play The Merchant of Venice without even setting his feet on this ancient trading city or even having been to Italy.

Venice is a preferred city for any tourists especially newly wed. The reason why it is known to be a romantic city is simply because it is mostly visited by couples who want to have a romantic experience. It is common to find more tourists as compare to the local population of the city. It is also common to find tourists in a group of two enjoying every bit of the romantic experience Venice has to offer.

Tourist trade is the only source of income for the local people known as Venetians. When you visit Venice, you may think its buildings were built just to attract tourist. It is beautified by its narrow canals mounted by old and attractive bridges and buildings. Make sure get a good map of Venice when going to this lovely city.

Venice was built in the 5th Century and it later grew to a maritime empire. It comprises of 121 small islands connected by an incredible 435 bridges. The city stands on a lagoon making it the most popular experience for tourists. City streets clogged with polluting road traffic is a phenomenon that is never found in this city. The best way of moving around this city is by water using water buses. However, there are raised sidewalks which can be used to move from a certain point to another without getting your feet wet.

If you are planning to visit Venice, it is important to get yourself familiar with the map of the city’s vaporetto ways first.  They are usually found in most of the city’s guidebooks and also easily downloadable from the internet. It is a good idea to book a hotel of your choice before booking your flight to Venice so as to avoid missing out due to the large number of tourists the city receives throughout the year.

On the day of visit, the first decision you will have to take upon arrival at the city’s Marco Polo Airport is how to get to your reserved hotel. There is a walkway at the airport that leads to an area where you can see the city for the first time. To get to your hotel there are buses and taxis that can take you to your hotel by road, but by far the best way to travel is by water boats or vaporetti. These vaporetti will take you to your stop in an hour’s time. When you use these Alilaguna company vaporetti you will get to enjoy the magnificent old fashioned building and bridges of this ancient city. You can also use the water taxi if you want to save money since it can accommodate more people and thus the fare is cheaper compared to vaporetti.

You can take the red vaporetti route which goes around the attractive ancient island of Murano and on to Lido’s beaches then towards St. Mark’s Square which is a tourist hotspot. St. Mark’s Square is known as Piazza San Marko by the local population. It has the Campanile bell tower which is the tallest building in Venice. The top of the Campanile can be accessed via a lift; from there you can see the whole of the red roofed city. You can also find the Doge’s palace at the St. Mark’s Square. This palace is symbol of Venice judicial and political history and as far back as the 9th Century it was the city’s dukes’ seat of power. You can visit the private chambers, halls of state and even torture chambers.

Map of Venice
Map of Venice (Venezia)

St. Mark’s Square is connected to the Grand Canal by a group of shopping streets. Here you will get Murano glass made jewellery and Venetian traditional balls and ornaments. As you walk through these streets, you will get to another Venice’s famous landmark, the Rialto Bridge.

Venice is also blessed with magnificent art galleries. One fine gallery is the Galleria dell’Accademia. It is located on the quiet island of Dorsoduro. It has a rich Venice’s art.

The centre of Venice is easily accessible even on foot. You can walk around in less than an hour. However, the maze created by small canals is amazing; you can walk around and stop each time to take a photo due to the picturesque bridges and buildings around. You can enter a cafe and have an ice cream while watching water boats ferry tourists with the backdrop of picturesque view of buildings.

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Memorable holiday by visiting Munich

Munich in GermanyIf one wants to make their holidays as memorable as they possibly can be, then it might be a good idea to consider the city of Munich in Germany as one of their destination.  This city boasts of being the third largest city in Germany with the average population of about one million three hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants. The city has a motto, which translates to Munich likes you. From the city motto, one gets a feel of what this city has to offer to the tourist.

The rich history of the city is something that is helping to attract people who want to explore Munich. The history of the city states that it was initially founded by monks thus the name that it has got is a derivative if the word that means by the monks place. This is just a sample of the rich history that this city has to offer to the travelling visitor. The modern city of Munich is now a financial hub spot that has got a thriving economy and a booming tourist industry. The infrastructure of this city is one of the best in the world and this means that the tourist will be able to enjoy the services of plush hotels and other amenities that this city has to offer. Holiday that is spent in Munich is guaranteed to be fun and relaxing and this is one of the reasons that this city has seen a rise in the number of tourist.

The city is modern and is a leader when it comes to the international field of technology innovation and financial growth. Some reviewers of cites have ranked it as the world most livable city. What this means is that the city is the crème of civilization and the quality of services and the quality of life in the city is among the highest in the world. Many people would love to simply go and live in this great city and the tourists who visit this city will feel that they need to revisit since the experience that they will have will be so good.

The history of the city and its establishment is rich and the tourist will be amazed at the important events that this city has hosted. There are various important landmarks that one can go and visit to get a sense of the rich diversity that this city has to offer. This city has been the host for great events that happened in the past and was at one time the spotlight of artistic and historical events in the past civilization. The history of this city is also tied to the history of the international community. Munich was an important player in the two world wars that ravaged the globe. It was greatly affected by the two wars just as Berlin was affected by the two world wars. The city’s ability to rebuild and emerge as one of the best cities in the world is something to marvel at. It is the reason that many people will visit Germany and Munich in particular. The tourist can see and understand how this city was affected, and how the inhabitants had to start rebuilding the city after the world wars.

The city was and still is the center of many political happenings and events that have changed the landscape ofGermanypolitics over the past centuries. It is an important element in the political happenings of Germany and has a say in the way Germany’s politics and other social economical issues are viewed and shaped.

Although the city was heavily damaged by the allied bombings during the war, it has been able to rebuild itself into an important city in the republicof Germany. This is due to the fact that the city has been able to attract investors and industries that have helped in the reconstruction process. The city now has a well-defined infrastructure that not only caters for the residents but can also support the huge number of tourists who come in every year. Most of the residents that now live in Munich enjoy a very high standard of living. This standard of living can be experienced by the visitor when they visit this great city.

The economy of Munich is driven by industrial and information technology developments. The crime rate that this city experiences is very low so the tourist is now able to enjoy romantic walks in the evening without having to worry about being mugged. No tourist will visit a city that has the highest crime rate in the world. Most people will shy away from such cities due to obvious risk factor that the visit to the city entails. Security is one of the most important issues that the tourist looks at when they are deciding the destination for their holiday. It is the reason that some cities will experience a high rate tourist while others will experiences a reduced number of tourists. Munich is a safe and secure city that one can tour and have a good time.

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Amsterdam

Amsterdam the northern European Cosmopolitan metropolis

Amsterdam in HollandAmsterdam is known not just the capital of Netherlands but also the largest city. This city is endowed with about a hundred kilometres of canals, one thousand five hundred bridges and ninety islands that earned it the name Venice of the North. Amsterdam which is in the North Holland province is thus an excellent tourist and holidays destination especially for those people who would like to experience ancient history. In fact, it is among the most popular destinations for tourists in the larger Europe as it receives a huge number of visitors, estimated at 4.6 million, drawn from different parts of the world every year. There are numerous attractions that Amsterdam has to offer ranging from the historic canals to museums and the coffee shops. Also notable is the Amsterdam Stock Exchange which is the world’s oldest.

Some interesting information that visitors who tour Amsterdam appreciate is that the canals did not just happen but they were consciously planned for in the course of planning for the city at a time when the rate of immigration was too high. The planning mainly based on the canals concentric four half circles whose ends emerged at IJ bay. Three of these canals were mainly directed towards residential development. Ultimately though the canals were dedicated to ensuring defence, transport as well as water management. The canals offer scenic views into the beauty of Amsterdam thereby encouraging visitors to explore the city. The canals have since been included in the UNESCO world heritage list.

The other attractions that visitors and tourists get to experience while in Amsterdam include the numerous museums that are home to years of history. In fact, a visit to the museums is considered to be one of the best ways of reliving the history of Netherlands. One of the important museums that tourists must not fail to explore is Rijksmuseum that having been created towards the end of the 19th century. This museum which is also Netherland’s national museum is mainly dedicated crafts, arts as well as history. This is evident in the large collection of Dutch Golden Age paintings as well as the considerable Asian art collection. Originally founded in The Hague in 1800 with the aim of exhibiting Dutch Stadtholders collection, the museum was later to move to Amsterdam under the orders of king Louis Bonaparte. Visitors who travel to Amsterdam may also tour the other museums that include the Stedelijk museum whose specialty is modern art, Van Gogh museum that holds a lot of Vincent Van Gogh’s works and Rembrandt house museum among numerous others museums.

Besides museums, Amsterdam also offers a perfect environment for holidays as it houses De Wallen, an area that is set aside of prostitution that is legalized in its red light district. In fact, the red light district has become popular among tourists and has a well knit alleys and roads network that are rented out. Other attractions in Amsterdam include parks that are very common among people who not only want to experience Amsterdam but also want to enjoy a great family moment at picnics. The parks offer a serene environment that is characterized by water fountains, open fresh air as well as the sun. Additionally, depending on the time of the year that you will travel to Amsterdam, you may engage in festivals like the Qeens’ or Koninginnedag day that have music concerts organized, opera, children’s games among other activities.

In order to ensure that your experience in Amsterdam is worth remembering, you will need to be aware of the best time of the year to travel. For instance in order to have the best of the canals, you will need to be in Amsterdam in the months between April and October during maritime climate. However, the high season runs from April all the way to December while October and November and also January to March are low seasons for tourists. Accommodation is not a matter of concern as there are numerous hotels of different calibres which you can check in. there are also hostels as well as camping sites. Amsterdam is also a great city for shopping as it is dotted with numerous department stores as well as specialty shops. The Cornelis and Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat are streets that are usually busy with shoppers. Amsterdam is also home to fashion brands such as G-star, Blue Blood, Gsus as well as Iris van Herpen among others. In fact, it also houses a garment centre at the World Fashion Centre with most of the buildings that were previously used as brothels within the red light district being turned into ateliers for upcoming fashion designers. In conclusion, a trip to Amsterdam for holidays or even as a tourist promises a lot of fun and insight into the history of the city.

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Paris

Paris – the romantic jewel of Europe

Paris the capital of FranceA visit to France will be incomplete without alluring the captivating beauty of Paris, also regarded as the city of light. This city offers an amazing experience of the French culture as well as the rich history of France. Paris which is known as to be the most romantic city in the world boasts of a combination of both the old charm of the world with contemporary culture making it an enchanting and intriguing destination for vacations. While in this city visitors get to explore the more than two hundred museums and galleries, hidden treasures, famous attractions, romantic restaurants and chic café all of which offer something for everyone.

Paris is not just the capital of France but also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world having been ranked third after New York City and Orlando. The city is estimated to receive close to 42 million visitors. It is also ranked first with regards to international tourist arrivals with the number estimated at 17 million visitors. The city as well as its region is known for a number of historical monuments that are key tourist attractions with four of these having been listed among the UNESCO world heritage sites. This is enough evidence that Paris is a great city to tour not just as a tourist but also for holidays for an experience that is unforgettable.  Some of the popular attractions in Paris include Basilique du Sacre Coeur, the Lourve, Notre Dame de Paris, the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triompe and Champs-Elysees and Musee d’Orsay.

The other famous attraction in Paris is the Notre Dame de Paris that means Our Lady of Paris. The cathedral is synonymous with French Gothic architecture that is, stained glass windows that are beautiful as well as dramatic spires and towers. Moreover, it has regained ill repute for being home to Disney’s Hunchback. What captivates visitors most is the intricate art, a magnificent panoramic view of Paris as well stone gargoyles. The Notre Dame Cathedral is said to have been completed over a period of close to two hundred years.

Another attraction  that you cannot miss to see include the Louver, that guarantees you travel through ages as you get to explore antiquities and art work that dates back to centuries ago by walking into one of the few museums in the world that is not only the largest and oldest but also fascinating. This museum which was at one time a royal palace is a historical landmark that houses a number of not just amazing but also acclaimed proof of brilliance in art like Mona Lisa by Da Vinci, Dying slave by Michelangelo as well as Venus de Milo, a famed Greek sculpture. The Louvre also presents an opportunity to tour Mesopotamia in ancient Egypt and the middle ages and also experience the awakening of Italian Renaissance expressed through art. Other attractions worth exploring at the Louvre include the Ottoman period as well as various styles that are representative of the French Revolution. The Louvre presents an opportunity to listen to history speak strength, perseverance and love as seen through ages.

The other place in Paris that is worth visiting is the Champs-Elysees and Arc de Triomphe. This is especially ideal for people who consider relaxed holidays as they can stroll through these undoubtedly beautiful and glamorous avenues. Movie lovers may also consider enjoying popping in at the cinema or the specialty shops and end up at the café for rich delicacies. Visitors are usually advised to take time in order to make the most of what Champs-Elysees offers before ending the tour with Arc de Triomphe an architectural piece crowning crossroads totaling twelve avenues that was initiated by renowned Napoleon Bonaparte being a tribute to not only military prowess but also achievements. This monument has the names of the commanding generals of Napoleon besides housing Tomb of Unknown Soldier that is a 1920 addition. While atop this Arc, visitors are treated to breathtaking sights as well as the opportunity to discover other attractions that are also popular.

Also worth mentioning is the Sacre-Coeur, a grandiose basilica from the 19th century that is magnificently located at the highest point of the city of Paris. This basilica which is located within the Montmartre district adopted the Roman-Byzantyne technique and is regarded as the centre of art. Your holidays in Paris will be incomplete without travel to the magnificent Eiffel tower that is in fact France’s global icon. The Eiffel tower also the tallest structure in Paris standing at just over one thousand meters and is visited most offering millions of visitors that opportunity to go up each year. Even then, in order to make your visit to Paris exciting, you need to find out more about Paris prior to your visit. The internet is a great resource and you can be sure to find all the information you need in order to prepare adequately for your trip.

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Vienna

ViennaThere are a number of tourist destinations around the world some of which can only be explored by people who have a made it a habit to tour different countries for holidays. One of the amazing tourist destinations is Vienna, the capital city of Austria. This is mainly because of the numerous attractions and places that offer an amazing experience to visitors of all ages and descent. The first irresistible place in Vienna is the Café central that is an esteemed coffee house. Café central is in fact famous among authors and other intellectuals like Theodor Herzl, Peter Altenberg, Hugo Von Hofmannsthal, Egon Friedell, Adolf Loos, Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky who would hold meetings here and discuss subjects such as philosophy, politics and economics among others. The café’s long history, famous patrons and the beautiful atmosphere have made Café Central a place that every tourist must consider visiting and is thus recommended by the stakeholders in the tourism industry. This is despite the fact that the original Café Central was located in a different section of the building known as Palais Ferstel that was closed at the end of the Second World War.  The café thus has a number of informative signs bearing the images of the celebrities of the old even though they did not sit at any of the tables in reality. Even then, the café has embraced impressive architecture and the drinks and food served hear is mouth watering. You can also get to experience Viennesse Coffee that guarantees you fresh authentic coffee.

The second place that most tourists explore while in Vienna is the Viennese cuisine. The traditional wine tavern also known as Heurige makes the experience worth while. Even then, it is Grinzing which is a combination of Heurige within the vineyards that overlook Vienna that are the main Viennese attraction. In fact, the experience is more rewarding compared to what you get after jostling among Japanese tourists. There are quite a number of Heurige within Austria’s Wine Quarter, Hagenbrunn and even Stammersdorf as well as the town of Perchtoldsdorf. All these locations are within reach by tourists. Another treat for the visitors who travel to Vienna are the Lipizzaner horse shows, an initiative of the Spanish riding school that was instituted in 1572. The school is considered to be one of the most prestigious as well as oldest the world over. Also notable is the Baroque architecture that is strategically nestledin the Hofburg palace that attracts visitors. This is in addition to the Lipizzan horses. However, you will not view these artistry and the horses for free as a fee of about one hundred and seventy three Euros is charged for each performance. Should you be interested in an up close and personal experience with the horses you will need to pay and additional twelve Euros while those desiring to explore the stables for a guided tour will need a combo ticket.

The other place that every tourist needs to consider visiting in Vienna is the famous Sacher hotel. This hotel is known for a world famous dessert that comprises dual sheets of chocolate cake that is separated by another sheet of apricot jam at the centre and is covered in a chocolate glaze that is dark. It is thus Hotel Sacher that has the right to the Sachertorte hence it is abit costly. Even then, there are a few other hotels that sell Sachertorte that is equally mouth watering. Vienna is also known for its numerous souvenir shops besides the sights and sounds. One of the best ways of remembering your holidays experience in Vienna is by purchasing a keepsake that would depend on your experiences. The good news is that there are numerous souvenir shops that offer a wide range of items that accommodate everyone. It is important to ensure that the souvenir items that you select are not cheaply made Chinese products but real Austrian antiques. You could also these memorabilia outside Vienna.

Ultimately, it is true that if you travel to Vienna for holidays and are not the disciplined type when it comes to finances, chances are that you will spend a lot of money on items you will later realize that you do not need. It is therefore advisable that you prepare for your visit to Vienna adequately by preparing a detailed itinerary of your trip. You may also need to find out about the various interesting places in Vienna to enable you to budget adequately. Most importantly, ensure that you take not of any activities that will require you to pay a designated fee so that you do not limit yourself on the activities that you can engage in as well as the places you can visit. You could also look at working with a tour company that will ensure you make the most out of your trip.

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Helsinki

Helsinki FinlandHelsinki is Finland’s largest and capital city with a population of at least 500,000 people. It is considered Finland’s cultural center. The Helsinki-Vantaa Airport connects a number of destinations in Asia and Europe and this makes it an ideal place for holidays for people residing in these continents. However, this does not mean that the airport locks out people from other regions or continents that want to tour or explore Helsinki.

The city derives its name from the Swedish name Helsingfors, a combination of two words (Helsinge – the surrounding parish) and (fors – the rapids). There are still many theories surrounding the origin of this name and they could go on and on. Nevertheless, what is important is the fact that this is a vital city and it has been in the records as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991. Helsinki is praised for its richness in the number of islands, peninsulas and bays and could provide an excellent experience for any holidaymaker or visitor. When you explore Helsinki, you will admire a scenic display of patches of forest. Some visitors claim that the Helsinki Central Park is just irresistible; they can not leave the city without taking much of their time in the park. One tourist wished the park would be transported to her neighbourhood back at home.

When you travel to Helsinki, you could consider making a tour to its rich islands such as:

  • Lauttasaari island
  • Korkeasaari island
  • Santahamina island
  • Seurasaari island
  • Pihlajasaari island


These islands are favourite spots during summer. Helsinki and its islands receive a considerable number of visitors during summer as a result of the prevailing humid continental climate. It is also reported that the city experiences long days in summer and this means that you can have all enjoy all the sun rays and warm climate as you please.
Apart from the islands, the city itself is a beauty to behold. Some of the most fascinating buildings and sites include:

  • The Aleksanterinkatu
  • The Helsinki Cathedral
  • The parliament of Finland
  • Kaisaniemenlahti
  • Café Regatta near Sibelius Park
  • The Senate Square
  • The Government Palace
  • The Stora Enso, the headquarters of the paper company
  • Finlandia Hall, the concert venue
  • The Tennis Palace
  • Olympic Stadium
  • The Swimming Stadium
  • Glass Palace
  • The Rowing Stadium
  • The Helsinki-Malmi Airport
  • The Exhibition Hall

All these sites and buildings are demonstrations of the architectural ingenuity and innovativeness that can not be found anywhere else except in Helsinki, Finland. In fact the Helsinki-Malmi Airport and Olympic Stadium have been recognized as important national cultural-historical environments by the National Board of Antiquities.

Helsinki is endowed with museums which are home to a wide range historical collection some of which date as far back as the prehistoric times. They include:

  • The National Museum of Finland
  • The Helsinki City Museum
  • The UNIVERSITY MUSEUM, University of Helsinki
  • The Natural History Museum, University of Helsinki
  • The Kiasma Art Museum for classical modern art
  • The Sinebrychoff Art Museum for classical European art
  • The Ateneum Art Museum for classical Finnish art

In case you are not a fan of museums and galleries, you can take a tour of Helsinki’s theatres and the most popular theatres are: the Helsinki City Theatre, the Finnish National Theatre and the Finland Swedish Svenska Teatern. They will offer you the best experience that you have ever had in your life. While it is good to spend most of your time outdoors, it is also vital to give yourself a break so that you can be witness to what happens in Helsinki’s theatres and musical venues. Some visitors arrive there with the assumption that theatres and musical venues across the globe offer presentations and renditions that are not any different from what they have in their respective countries. You know what they say, “He who has eaten his mother’s food all his life might think that his mother is the best cook in the whole wide world.” If you give it a chance, you will be shocked at how different theatres are in Helsinki.

Whenever you choose to explore Helsinki and its attractions, do not just focus on the recreational, buildings and other attractions. Remember that people are usually the best attractions that you can ever have. Interact with the locals in Helsinki and discover the ideas that they have. The best time you can interact and mingle with the locals is in August when they are having their Helsinki Festival. This event is held with the aim of celebrating the city’s culture and body of arts.

Finally, the city’s well developed transport network makes mobility of visitors to their respective destinations of choice faster and easy. Helsinki is a city of choice and a city visitors and locals.

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Lisbon

LisbonIf it has never crossed your mind to explore Lisbon, Portugal’s largest and capital city, it is high time you scheduled a tour of Lisbon in your diary. It is estimated that this city has a population of 3 million and has been rated as the 9th most populous urban area in the European Union. It is strategically placed among the cities in Europe along the Atlantic coast and this has made it an excellent centre for tourism, arts, entertainment and international trade. As a result of its improved transport system, it has become the 7th most visited city in southern Europe. This has been made possible due to its well developed motorway network, the Lisbon Portela Airport as well as its high speed rail which connects major cities in Portugal.  There are plans to connect its high speed rail to Spain so that the city can be accessed easily and conveniently.

If you would like to travel to Rome, Istanbul, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, or Athens, you can do so without any problem. Being the wealthiest city, it has become home to many headquarters of multinationals in Portugal and it is also the 9th city in the world which attracts international conferences.  Did you know that Lisbon is older than cities such as Paris, Rome and London? Despite the fact that Lisbon has never been declared officially as the capital city of Portugal, it still remains a force to reckon with not only in Portugal and Europe but also across the globe. People throughout the world would love to experience the climate, art, entertainment and culture of Lisbon. Even people who have aspirations of venturing into the business world need to consider making numerous tours of this city so that they can see immense opportunities that are hidden along the Atlantic coast.

It is a good place for your holidays too because of the various sites such as Jeronimos Monastery, Belem Towers. Most visitors come mainly to experience Lisbon’s Mediterranean climate whose summers take about 6 months. It is also known for its warm to hot summers as well as mild winters. Since rains are common in winters, summers are usually dry. If you would like to explore a city in Europe that would guarantee you sunshine hours that range between 4.6 hours and 11.6 hours per day in December and July respectively, then Lisbon is the place to be. Does it deserve mention that Lisbon has the warmest winters among all the metropolises in Europe? You can not help spending part of your time at the beautiful Parque Florestal de Monsanto (English:  Monsanto Forest Park) which takes 10% of Lisbon’s municipality.

As you tour the city’s urban area, you will not hesitate to marvel at its wide range of architecture such as Baroque, Romanesque, Gothic as well as Manueline. You will also not consider it a waste of time and resources spending your holidays in Lisbon because of its remarkable Museums such as

It is almost impossible to exhaust every treasure that Lisbon keeps in its wings. On the southern bank of Tagus River in Amada is a monument to Cristo Rei (Christ the King) whcih was constructed after World War II. It was a sign of thanksgiving since Portugal had been able to survive the ravages of World War II. When your holidays coincide with June 13, you will be able to share in Lisbon’s holiday on which Santo Antonio (saint Antony of Lisbon) is honored for spending the better part of his life preaching to the poor.

Some people particularly want to explore the following places:

  • Fountain in Don IV square, the second largest park in Lisbon
  • Alcantara, a district that is composed of palaces and farms and other old buildings. The youth love the district due to its numerous pubs and discotheques.
  • Alfama, a district that comprises old houses, restaurants and bars.

Lisbon’s panoramic view from the top of Sanctuary Christ the King is breathtaking. You may also consider standing atop Vasco da Gama Tower and viewing the Vasco da Gama Bridge. It is a beauty to behold!

You need to make a date with Lisbon so that you can explore, experience and tour every corner of this city. You will discover how much you have missed.

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Split

Split in CroatiaSplit – Croatia’s southern Capital

Many people have tried their level best explain why Croatia’s second largest city is called Split. This city is located on the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea. It has gained prominence and popularity due to its strategic location. It is a popular tourist destination links that the Apennine peninsula and Adriatic Islands. Most people are beginning to slot into their budgets plans to tour and spend their holidays in Split. They would like to see and experience for themselves what split, one of the oldest cities in the region can offer to a curious mind.

Research indicates that this ancient city derived its name from a type of shrub called spiny broom. However, when it came under the Romans, they called it Spalatum which later evolved into Split. People who claim that the word split was derived from the Latin word ‘palatium’ (palace) are not accurate in their assertion. Although the Diocletian Palace is a central architectural feature, it had nothing to do with the city’s naming. Some of these controversies are igniting people’s curiosity to want to explore every nook of Split in order to ascertain the truth.

They do not want to merely sit back and wait for people to come up with their own versions of stories and fabrications. Perhaps you have only seen the Diocletian’s Palace in photos but you have never seen it at close quarters. If you choose to make a tour at Split, you will no doubt be able to touch, feel and experience the culture and many other older buildings in this ancient city. It is reported that historic sites at Split entered the UNESCO World Heritage Sites way back in 1979. Since then it has remained one of Croatia’s main centres of culture. When you travel across the city, you will not fail to catch a glimpse of the Cathedral of Saint Dominus as well as the statue of bishop Gregory of Nin.

Split is also known for its amazing galleries and museums such as:

  • The Archaeological Museum
  • The Solin Museum
  • The Narona Collections
  • The Issa Collections
  • The Split Archaeological Museum

You will particularly love the Split Archaeological Museum, the oldest museum in Croatia. It is estimated that this museum has over 100,000 artefacts which date from the prehistoric era, Greek era, early Christian era. Below is a list of the most popular artefacts at:

a). The Split Archaeological Museum

  • Ancient clay lamps
  • Bone and metal articles
  • Gems collections
  • Collections of stone inscriptions from Salona
  • Ceramic objects
  • Roman glass
  • Collection of Ancient coins
  • Collection of Medieval coins
  • Collection of submarine collection
  • A well equipped archive library

b). The Split City of Croatian Archaeological Monuments

  • Weapons
  • Domestic items
  • Jewellery
  • Stone artefacts of the old Croatian church
  • Clay figurines
  • Early mediaeval wicker
  • Old Croatian Latin epigraphic

c). The Croatia Maritime Museum

  • collection of ship models
  • collection of navigation equipment
  • collection of weapons
  • collection of uniforms and equipment
  • collection of marine equipment and supplies
  • Collection of medals.
  • Naval and maritime history
  • The history of the Slavs

These museums’ eclectic collection of artefacts mirrors the rich culture as well as artistic expressions of Croats. It will be prudent to start saving right now so that you can explore these museums and galleries.  When you leave Split, your life will never be the same again. It does not matter whether you are a student, scholar, journalist or a mere tourist. Doors and arms of Split and its people are wide open to people of all walks of life. You are guaranteed an experience of a lifetime which will remain in your mental diary for a long time. Did you know that the Split City Museum houses the Emanuel Vidovic Gallery? This special gallery was initiated in honour of a special painter of Split in the 20th century.

As you finalize your holidays, you could also take time see Split’s galleries such as

  • The Gallery of Fine Arts which displays various sculptures and paintings of famous Croatian artists.
  • The Ivan Mestrovic Gallery which displays different drawings, architecture, design, sculpture and furniture.

Split has a history and reputation for music and it has one the most influential musicians and their music.

Finally, summers are usually busy with cultural activities during the Split Musical Festival. These festivals are usually followed closely by the Split Summer Theatre Festivals which brings together different people within Split to showcase their talent. Some of these annual festivals have produced amazing talents (such as Josip Hatze, Zdenko Runjik, Daleka Obala, Jelena Rozga and many more) for the country and the world. Split is evidently not a slouch in sports because of the conspicuous presence of the Poljud Stadium and Spaladium Arena. Some more information on Split at Wikipedia.

Posted on Categories Travel

Ankara

Ankara – a Treasure Trove of Ancient Architecture

Ankara in TurkeyA bit more humble in population and geographical stature than the luxurious city of Istanbul, Ankara is Turkey’s capital and second largest city. The city of Ankara is advantageously positioned in the centre of Turkey’s notable transportation grid and functions as marketing central for neighbouring agricultural regions. Not only is it considered a key point for active commerce supporting such items as wine, flour, leather goods and carpets, it is additionally home to the world famous Angora cat, Angora goats (mohair) and Angora rabbits (prized wool). This map of Turkey shows the region and city clearly.

The ancient city of Ankara is rich with archaeological sites given its 5000 years of history. The oldest part of the city, the citadel, dates back before the times of the Romans. Anyone sightseeing in Ankara will discover a great deal of ancient architecture and traditional Turkish accommodations along with some of the finest restaurants in the world.

Ankara is an old city with a variety of interesting archaeological sites to explore. A hill that looks over the city is topped by ancient castle ruins, which only embellishes the panoramic vista. Even though there are only a few significant ruins that have survived around the old citadel, there are several well-preserved ancient remains in other areas throughout the city.

Other archaeological sites to tour:

Temple of Augustus and Rome – Also referred to as the Monumentum Ancyranum, was built sometime between the 25 BC – 20 BC period after the establishment of the Roman province of Galatia and the Roman Empire’s overthrow of Central Anatolia.

Column of Julian – Currently in the Ulus district, the Column of Julian (or Julianus) was constructed to celebrate and pay homage to the Great Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate’s trip to Ancyra (modern day Ankara) in 362.

Roman Bath – The Roman bath was created while Emperor Caracalla reigned to honor the God of Medicine, known as Asclepius, in 3rd century AD. The bath consists of a hot room (Caldarium), warm room (Tepidarium), and a cold room (Frigidarium), which was entered after the Caldarium and Tepidarium to open the pores of the skin. It is a traditional Roman bath with all the classic elements and is located in the Ulus quarter. Only the first floors and basement exist today.

Ankara’s predominant and most awe-inspiring place to worship is the glorious, exquisite, and extremely provocative Kocatepe Mosque. Viewing pictures of Kocatepe Mosque simply do not compare to standing in front of the incredibly wondrous structure in person and looking upon its grace and beauty for the first time. Essentially, there are no words to accurately describe it.

Several more mosques that are notable and worth visiting in and around Ankara for tourists to visit as archaeological attractions:

Ahi Elvan Mosque – This particular mosque was intricately carved from walnut and built by the ahi leader Ahi Elvan Mehmet Bey in the year 1382.

The Alaadin Mosque – Erected by Muhiddin Mesut in 1178 inside Ankara Castle, it was renamed the Alaeddin Mosque while it was restored during the Alaeddin Keykubat years. Additionally, revealed inside the mosque’s garden, are interesting architectural relics and calligraphies from the Byzantine and Roman periods.

Yeni Mosque – the well-renowned architect Sinan constructed this opulent mosque, sometime during the 16th century. The prayer niche and pulpit are fashioned of luxurious white marble, and the mosque itself is made of Ankara stone, both examples of very skilled artistry.

Haci Bayram Mosque – The mosque is found in the Ulus area of Ankara adjacent to the Augustus temple. The mosque, as it is seen today, reveals traits of the late 17th and 18th century mosques and was built by an unknown architect in the early 15th century.

Check this wiki page for more info.

Other attractions and sights of Ankara

Ankara is proud to host the Turkish State Opera and Ballet, which offers Ankara three key venues including the Leyla Gencer Sahnesi, the Ankara Opera House and Operet Sahnesi – all of which provide a steady stream of original and creative performances. Ankara additionally features five professional classical orchestras, four concert halls, and an array of annual festivals comprised of theatre, music and cinema.

Folk traditions are also exhibited and observed regularly in restaurants, bars, small theatres and student venues. This part of Ankara is readily exposed while meandering along the energetic and pulsating streets after dark, and is exactly where one should venture to get a real taste of the city.

Ankara’s lively restaurants are additionally teeming with Turkish culinary pleasures including a distinct fondness for fresh and tasty fish dishes. Along with sampling succulent seafood cuisine, experience classical Turkish music along the way.

Coupled with Ankara’s rich culinary delights, lies the world of shopping that is diverse as the dining, including a first-rate selection of street-style shops, modern malls, local markets and bazaars. For a more earthy atmosphere and affordability, head for the markets where haggling and negotiating for better prices is the norm. The most interesting shopping begins at the Castle area where a centuries-old trading center is situated sprinkled with exquisite local stores that offer authentic Turkish rugs, antiques and leather goods as well. A good map of Ankara is a must when travelling through this wonderful city

Posted on Categories Travel

SouthWest Airlines

Southwest Airlines a cheap and affordable carrier

southwest airlinesSouthwest Airlines is the largest airline in the United States based on the amount of passengers that it carries per year. This budget airline has been going strong since 1967, at present it offers over 3,300 flights a day to over 97 different destinations. In 2012 it purchased AirTran Airways, full integration between the two companies will take a number of years, but it has really increased the amount of destinations that you are able to travel to on Southwest Airlines.

Southwest Airlines first flight was on June 18th 1971, it offered transport on its original three aircraft between various destinations in Texas including Houston, San Antonio and Dallas. During this time the company adopted a policy of employing only sexier stewardesses on their flights. They were each dressed in hot pants, which was of course very unique in the airline industry.

Southwest Airlines made a loss in the financial year of 1971 to 1972, this resulted in the sale of one of their aircraft. This meant that planes needed to be on the ground for much shorter time periods in order to continue their normal scheduled services. This is where the phrase ’10 minute turn’ came into action, which of course means a quick turn around after the aircraft has landed.

Southwest Airlines was one of the first airlines to establish an internet presence, their website was launched in March 1995, originally you could only view flight schedules, but now you can purchase tickets from Southwest through the website, in fact over 70% of bookings now come through the website so it is a major source of revenue for Southwest Airlines.

Over the years Southwest have acquired a number of different providers including Muse Air, Morris Air and ATA Airlines. This has helped expand their portfolio if the amount of destinations that they are able to fly too. Further destinations were added after replacement of the wright amendment.

There are a lot of destinations that Southwest Airlines fly to, they do not offer transport hubs as such and generally fly from destination to destination, which of course allowed them to fly to other destinations. Major destinations serviced include Orlando, Kansas City and Las Vegas. Since the acquisition of AirTran there are a select number of flights being offered to Mexico and the Caribbean.

There is a frequent flier programme as well as in flight wi-fi on most flights. This means that Southwest Airlines is the perfect solution for business users. The cabins are also fairly comfortable which makes transport between destinations a breeze. It is no wonder that Southwest Airlines are the first choice of many people out there.

If you are looking for cheap Southwest Airlines tickets there are plenty of websites out there on the internet that will be able to you. Remember, just because you are flying budget does mean that you need to sacrifice comfort on your flight, Southwest Airlines does not sacrifice comfort.

Posted on Categories Travel