Europe is home to a fascinating array of museums, devoted to every subject imaginable. From Vikings in the north, broken relationships in Croatia to vampires in Brasov. Here is the lowdown on Europes original and unusual museums.
With a past as storied as Europe’s, it’s impossible not to take in some history while on your trip. Find out more about UNESCO World Heritage Site in the European territory.
Where you can still hear Hamlet’s words, Denmark
‘Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting that would not let me sleep’. Inside the walls of Kronborg castle, you can still hear the echoes of Prince Hamlet’s words. The Shakespearean tragedy tells the story of a Danish Prince seeking revenge for his father’s murder. Built between 1574 and 1585, Kronborg Castle is one of northern Europe’s finest Renaissance castles. The castle was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2000.
The jewel of Brussels, Belgium
Victor Hugo described it as ‘the most beautiful square in the world’. The Renaissance buildings and mixture of architectural styles made the square his place of choice for inspiration. Also admired by writers such as Baudelaire and Karl Marx, the Grand Place’s origins date back to the 12th century, when it became the city’s lower market, known as ‘Niedermerckt’. The Grand Place was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.
The oldest salt mine in the world, Austria
Imposing mountains and beautiful narrow valleys can hide the story of the salt mining sector in Europe. Hallstatt-Dachstein Salzkammergut, in Austria’s Eastern Alps, is now known for its breathtaking views, but it is also the place where the world’s first salt mine would appear. Going to Hallstatt means going back 7 000 years in history, as it is believed the mine dates back to Neolithic times (considered the last period of the Stone Age).
The invulnerable fortress - Suomenlinna, Finland
The fortress of Suomenlinna is one of Finland’s most popular sights. The fortress was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991 and its grounds are now inhabited by more than 850 people. According to UNESCO, Suomenlinna is ‘a unique historical monument and one of the largest maritime fortresses in the world’.
The beauty of the Loire Valley, France
This is a land of writers, wine, castles, small picturesque towns and a river that reflects perfectly the life in the region. In the Loire Valley, central France, visitors will find a fortress dating back to medieval times and hundreds of castles built under the influence of Renaissance features. Due to its heritage and beauty, the Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
A blossoming Old Town of Regensburg, Germany
Regensburg is a 2000-year-old Roman Town, located at the northern end of the Danube River, known for its many Romanesque and Gothic buildings. Nowadays, a walk through the winding lanes of the old quarter takes visitors to the most important architectural monuments, including the cathedral, the town hall, and the various courtyards, churches and palaces. It was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 2006.
A temple for Christian beliefs , Hungary
In order to spread Christian ideas and European culture in the province of Pannonia, in western Hungary a ‘temple’ was built on the holy mountain of the Roman province of Pannonia in 996. For over 1 000 years, it has been in continuous use and, nowadays, it is inhabited by about 40 monks. Its 19th century library is one of the ‘must-see’ attractions with around 350 000 volumes. The Abbey was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
From stark warehouses to cosy cafés and art galleries, Latvia
Corn and flex have given way to contemporary art. In Riga, old red-brick warehouses – known as ‘Spīķeri’ – used to play an important role in the city’s trade. But nowadays they have mostly been revamped and turned into centres for top quality contemporary art, music, cinema and theatre. Explore the historical centre of Riga and see why the ‘Spīķeri’ quarter was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 2008.
Finding art underground at Wieliczka salt mine, Poland
One might assume that a salt mine would only be used to extract a valuable raw material. But the ‘Wieliczka’ salt mine, in southern Poland, was also a place where miners found inspiration to create art out of salt. Chapels with altars and figures made of the mine’s atypical construction material were built throughout its history. It was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1978.
The wonderful Škocjan caves, Slovenia
Following the course of Reka River will take you to some of the most celebrated caves in the world: the Škocjan Caves, in Slovenia. These are considered one of the greatest natural phenomena, alongside the wonders of the Grand Canyon or the caves found on Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. The site is located in the Kraski Landscape Park and the Škocjan Caves was listed as a UNESCO Natural and Cultural World Heritage Site in 1986.
When it’s made in Europe, it’s usually something special. From world-renowned beers to luxury automobiles, Europe has a knack for handcrafting greatness. Get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the factories and museums you can tour while in Europe.
In 2021, eleven amazing spa towns in seven European countries were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a ‘transnational serial’ World Heritage Site, called the “Great Spa Towns of Europe”. These towns, in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom represent a unique cultural achievement and urban form which was at its height from the late 18th century to the 1930s.
Admire the works of da Vinci, Rembrandt and Klimt firsthand at some of the finest classical art museums in the world.
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The Dutch love cookies, cakes, pastries, anything savory with cheese, or sweet with chocolate. And they adore whipped cream. It is therefore not surprising that this sweet pastry is one of the country’s favorites. It’s like a chocolate éclair, but bigger, fluffier, with better chocolate and much more cream. These Bossche goodies have made the city of Hertogenbosch famous and are the number one pastries to serve with fork and knife and a handful of napkins.
There’s no wrong time to enjoy a sweet treat in Slovenia and Croatia.
Follow the footsteps of its female pioneers.
Produced from the roe of the vendace that are fished in the Gulf of Bothnia, the Swedish dish Kalix Löjrom requires a high level of expertise in its preparation. It has a mild taste of smooth fish oil and salt. The size of the roe varies from 0.8 mm to 1.3 mm.