My favourite places in Europe

Europe Travel Blog

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Just some brief points on travel in Europe and my favourite places here. I have written a separate blog specifically for Ireland, my home country, link at bottom of this blog.

For more travel tips, many of which apply in Europe as much as anywhere else, see here:

For rail travel, is an invaluable resource and you can find train times for most places in Europe on

Flying within Europe, I certainly would not just look at low cost carriers such as Ryanair, Wizzair, Easyjet, Germanwings etc. Many low cost carriers charge for hold luggage and Wizzair even charges for cabin luggage I believe. They all have strict restrictions on luggage size and weight. So what might appear to be a cheap ticket can become much dearer. I would look at fares on all airlines and check and compare baggage and other add-on costs carefully.

There are other ways to travel around Europe  eg  bus (eg Eurolines), ferry, car-sharing eg Blablacar, hitch-hiking etc.

On costs, in general the further south and further east you go, prices tend to go down. Parts of Europe can be as cheap as parts of SE Asia or Latin America, though really cheap accommodation does not really exist as it can in those places.  EG Portugal is quite cheap, Sweden is very dear.

Big cities, particularly capitals, tend to be dearer, often much more so, than smaller cities or country towns.

Eat where the locals go and drink what the locals drink eg wine in Italy, beer in Belgium, both in Germany.

You can buy local food and drinks etc in local markets which most European cities have and you will get great food this way at a reasonable price in most places.

If you are not from Europe, make yourself aware of visa requirements if you untend to stay more than a few weeks - in particular be aware of the Schengen Area:

On places to go etc, it all depends on your tastes, budget, tolerance to cold etc etc. I definitely recommend Ireland of course but would not visit in winter. Apart from Ireland, which is a must, highlights of Europe for me would include

- Paris, most of France in fact, especially the South; obvious spot such as Nice, Bordeaux, Biarritz, Lyons, Cote d'Azur but also Carcassonne (amazing), Pyrenees, Chamonix in the Alps, Strasbourg and Colmar in Alsace.
- Dolomite Alps, Cinque Terre and Amalfi Coast in Italy; Rome, Florence and Venice too of course.
- Krakow and Zakopane in Poland, also Gdansk;
- St.Petersburg and Moscow in Russia;
- Prague (must see).
- Athens is a must see. You do not need more than 2 days there though. It has some great places to see and visit but in general is far from being a nice city.
- Istanbul and a lot of Turkey. Of the places I have visited: Cappadocia (must), Bodrum, Ephesus, Pamukkale,  Safranbolu, Antalya.
- The Pyrenees. Madrid, Seville and Granada in Spain. Many other places such as Toledo, Segovia, Salamanca, Cadiz.
- Lakes Bled and Bohinj in Slovenia.
- Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges, Brussels and Louvain in Belgium. Namur and Dinant worth a visit. Other places in Ardennes too such as Durbuy and Bouillon. These can be difficult to get to without a car.
- Maastricht and Utrecht in the Netherlands. Delft, Leiden, Haarlem, Alkmaar also. Rotterdam also worth a visit. All of these, except Maastricht are very near Amsterdam (30-60 minutes by train). I'm not a big fan of Amsterdam but it's a must see.
- London, York, Chester,  Bath, Oxford, Cambridge and Lake District in England, Snowdonia in Wales.- Scotland -Edinburgh and Highlands; in Britain, I would skip Birmingham definitely, Manchester probably and unless you a are a Beatles fan, Liverpool. I am a huge fan of London but there's a lot more to England than it.
- I have not been to Norwegian fjords around Bergen or to Iceland but these are highlights too.
- Smaller cities in Germany such as Nuremberg, Heidelberg, Luebeck, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Freiburg etc, etc.Scenic areas such as the Rhine Valley, the Alps and the Black Forest. I'm not a big fan of Berlin. Or Frankfurt. I have not spent much time in Munich and when in Bavaria, much prefer to visit the wonderful scenery than any city.
- Lauterbrunnen with Jungfrau in Switzerland

My tips specifically for Ireland are here:


spocklogic says:
I think I gathered your meaning of cheap vs. dear, with dearer meaning more expensive. In the USA, an expression like "it will cost you dear" has gone out of the lexicon mostly. To say something is 'dearer', at least to a young person in the USA would be to say it is better or more pleasant, and would interpret it as such. I suppose Perhaps I know about use of 'dear' in the context you mean as my Irish heritage from family long ago when I was very young used that term a lot.
Posted on: May 02, 2015
Travel2014 says:
Always so helpful, Francis, w/ what you share! I really appreciate your insights and the time you take to share them! :)
Posted on: Apr 14, 2014
missandrea81 says:
;) I always thought it was which it isn't.. and I still type it in every time I want to get a train ticket. *shakes head*
Posted on: Mar 14, 2014
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