Modern day Europe is crossed by ancient medieval pilgrimage and trade routes, travelled by walkers and ramblers on a slow adventure, discovering castles, vineyards and olive trees, delicious food and local wines. One of the most famous routes in Europe is the Via Francigena – or the route from France how it was called in medieval Italy. Crossing Europe from Canterbury (England) to Rome (Italy), it reaches Santa Maria di Leuca on the very tip of the Italian heel. The route takes you from Northern Europe to the harbors of the Mediterranean Sea along 3200km, which are manageable in 4 months on foot. Browse the gallery to discover, region by region, some of the most beautiful places along the Via Francigena. Join Via Francigena photo contest!
Some of Europe’s oldest and most iconic places are in its humblest buildings. Monasteries and abbeys are sprinkled throughout the countries and make for a somber and unforgettable experience. From ancient abbeys in Italy to majestic monasteries in Austria, browse this gallery for a better look at them all.
Abbey of St. Gall, Switzerland
Klosterneuburg Monastery, Austria
Klosterneuburg Monastery located in the northeastern region of Austria has been the area’s religious center since it was founded in 1114. The outside of the monastery is recognized by its castle towers while the inside is full of intricate designs and features a copper altar known as Verdun Altar.
Abbey of San Fruttuoso di Capodimonte, Camogli, Italy
Pannonhalma abbey, Western Transdanubia, Hungary
Pannonhalma Archabbey resides in the countryside of Hungary and dates back to around 1000 AD. Over the years, Pannonhalma Archabbey has grown to be an expansive religious center and is the second-largest territorial abbey in the world.
Orval Abbey, Wallonia, Belgium
Located in Belgium’s Luxembourg’s tranquil rural scenery, the walls of Orval Abbey have been around for hundreds of years. Today, parts of the abbey act as a unique home for a local Belgian brewery.
Abbey of St. Mary of Vezzolano, Italy
Vezzolano Abbey is one of Europe’s oldest religious sites and is a spiritual wonder in northern Italy. It’s no longer the religious center of the area, but it remains a popular tourist destination. It’s a small, quaint abbey that has been remarkably preserved through the years.
The Alcobaça Monastery, Portugal
The Alcobaça Monastery in Portugal is a true architectural spectacle. Every inch of the monastery’s interior is covered with intricate art details and extravagant touches. During the Middle Ages, AlcobaçaMonastery was perhaps the most important place in Portugal.
Sumela Monastery, Turkey
The Sumela Monastery of Turkey rests astonishingly on the edge of a steep cliff. At 3,900 ft. in elevation, the monastery offers some of the best views in Turkey. And inside, the entire property feels like it has become a part of the mountainside.
Monastery Ostrog, Montenegro
Much like the monastery in Turkey, the Ostrog Monastery is carved into the side of a cliff. Views from the monastery stretch for miles across the Bjelopavlići plain. Even getting to the Ostrog Monastery is an adventure in itself, along the winding countryside roads.
Admont Monastery, Austria
Admont Monastery rests along the calm waters of the Enns River in Austria and is famous for its Baroque architecture. Inside, the Admont Abbey library is one of the best features, thanks to the artistic murals and stunning details.
Voroneț Monastery, Suceava, Romania
Nicknamed the Sistine Chapel of the East, Romania’s prized monastery is more formally known as Voronet Monastery. Every inch of the building’s façade is covered with a beautiful and religious mural that is full of stories. Today, the monastery is one of Romania’s most popular tourist destinations.
Meteora Monastery, Greece
Greece has long been a haven for religious centers. One of the most important monasteries in all of Greece is The Metéora in Thessaly. Its name fittingly translates to “in the heavens above.” The building sits atop a mound of rock and provides unparalleled views of Thessaly.
Mont Saint-Michel, France
Part fortified castle and part religious commune, Le Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy is one of Europe’s most unique abbeys. It rests on its own island off the shores of Normandy and is still an active religious site in France.
Glastonbury Abbey, United Kingdom
Due to years of natural damage, much of the Glastonbury Abbey in England is in ruins today. But that doesn’t keep thousands of visitors from flocking to the religious grounds every year. Along with being a fascinating site, the abbey is often associated with the ancient tales of King Arthur.
Romance is everywhere in Europe. But along the coast and in the small harbor towns, romance is inevitable. From seaside villages in Italy to beaches in Latvia, browse some of the most romantic coastal spots in Europe. Then, treat your sweetheart to the ultimate getaway.
Just a ten-minute walk from the city centre is one of Debrecen’s most popular locations, with numerous activities on offer under the 100-year-old trees for young and old alike.
Arriving in one of our historic thermal towns, maybe by train, to immerse yourself in the spa culture of Europe is the perfect way to start your “thermal travels” habit. Whether you seek relaxation and wellness or some world-class cultural or sporting events, you will not be disappointed!
Oliebollen, literally translated as grease balls, are deep fried dough balls, studded with raisins and currants and sweetened with a generous dusting of powdered sugar. It is traditional to serve oliebollen with coffee during Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Holland. Oliebollen are good cold too, with a hot cup of coffee and some extra powdered sugar. With this recipe, one can make about six oliebollen.
Tartu becomes the European Capital of Culture!
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Amy’s guide to 2 unexplored countries with stunning history.
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