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General Travel

Literature can be a great way to get a sense of the atmosphere of a place before you travel, or remind yourself of the good times once you return home. Here is an entirely subjective list of novels that, for me, best capture the character of the countries of Western Europe.

travel books

The Sun Also Rises is thought by some critics to be Ernest Hemingway’s greatest work, even though it was his first novel. The book is set in the aftermath of World War I and is narrated by a journalist living in Paris, although the central characters later travel to Pamplona in Spain. read full article



With Valentine’s Day coming up, here is a rundown of the romantic destinations that lovers of all ages may want to consider for the special day.

romantice destinations

Paris is a city so closely associated with romance that it risks becoming a parody of itself. Unscrupulous hoteliers and restaurateurs in the city do their best to help this by raising prices through the roof for a week either side of the 14th February. However, Paris has the reputation it does because it is a very romantic city. Visitors are likely to have a break they will remember for the rest of their lives while the disadvantages will very quickly fade from memory. read full article



Berlin is one huge historical site. This city has seen it all, and the grand events which took place here have left powerful marks. Reminders of the second world war are everywhere, such as the still visible holes in the walls – results of machine gun fire – or the empty lots scattering the city centre, where houses were once bombed away in the Allied air raids in search of snipers.

Berlin Historical SitesPhoto: Getty Images

An ever-present piece of history is naturally the Berlin Wall. It pops up every here and there, but perhaps the most visited location to have a look at this once so dreaded piece of concrete is the East Side Gallery, which runs along the bank of the river Spree between areas



For centuries Russia has respected and nurtured talents in fields often ignored in the West, especially in the area of ‘high culture’. One of the few good things about the Soviet Union was the way that it opened such aristocratic leisure pursuits as opera and ballet to mass audiences and this is why today, Russia is such a leading critical success in the field.


The first stop for any ‘culture vulture’ should be the Bolshoi Theatre. Visitors can go in and admire the sumptuous architecture at any time but seeing a production here is a must. read full article



Latvia is a very popular tourist destination, especially for those individuals who are looking for a great winter skiing holiday or vacation experience. The ski season in Latvia starts in December and concludes in April.

Latvia: ski resort

Currently, there are 19 different ski resorts in Latvia, all of which offer great cross-country skiing opportunities. Because the counrty lacks in speed slopes the opportunities for downhill skiing are few. However, there is sufficient terrain to accommodate anyone that loves to ski, whether a beginner or an advanced skier. Moreover, most ski resorts in Latvia offer nice accommodations and ski tutelage. read full article



Riga, the capital of Latvia, has been experiencing something of a Renaissance lately with many of the older buildings throughout the city being renovated and/or restored. Lately, Riga is viewed as one of the most attractive cities in Europe. Shopping in Riga offers the international traveler a number of excellent venues to enjoy such as the central markets and the little stands scattered around the central part of the city.

Riga: Shopping Mall

However, if you want to explore shopping malls in Riga, the following ones are highly recommended: read full article



The Banks of the Seine in Paris were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) List in 1991 for its excellent urban riverside architecture, including wide boulevards and spacious squares, designed by Haussmann, which inspired town planners of 19th and 20th centuries across the world.

Sights in paris

Even noted painters visited the river Seine looking for inspiration. The WHS covers Île Saint-Louis and Île de la Cité, natural islands in the river, and a number of architectural masterpieces erected along the river. The area stretches between Notre Dame and Saint-Chapelle in the east and the Eiffel Tower in the west. read full article



The small Swiss capital Zurich is home to a surprising variety of bars and clubs: there are said to be more clubs here per resident than in any other city in Europe. Zurich’s relaxed licensing laws allow many clubs to stay open until the early hours of the morning, and the wide range of clubs and bars in the city centre guarantee that you can listen to live music almost every day of the week. There are several jazz clubs in the city, and bars and clubs offer gigs by local and international bands.

live music



Berlin has been hosting the Six Day Race since 1909, but it was not held between 1935 and 1948. The American cyclists- Floyd McFarland and Jimmy Moran- won the first race.

Berlin cycling race

Photo by tandemracer

The six-day race will start on January 27, 2011 to select 100th winner among the best cyclists from around the world. read full article



While Colorado gets all the attention with regards to skiing in the Rocky Mountains, Utah is finally emerging as a serious competitor with its powdery slopes offering ‘the greatest snow on earth’ and cheaper resorts.

Utah's Alta ski resort

Photo by limaoscarjuliet

While Utah may lack some of the glamour and infrastructure of its neighbours, it more than makes up for this with challenging ski slopes and unspoilt character. read full article



Getting from the airport terminals of Gatwick Airport to central London may seem like a daunting task, especially for first-time travelers. But it is a lot easier than you think. There are a few different options for transportation – Gatwick Express (the quickest way), private hire transfer, easyBus, First Capital Connect trains, National Express Coach, Southern trains, or taxi.

london airport transfer



If you’ve had enough of skiing and want to try something a bit different, Switzerland has it all: ice diving, heliskiing, snowkiting and Europe’s longest sledge. And have you tried airboarding yet?

Snowkiting SwitzerlandPhoto by Ottawas

Europe’s longest sledge



There are a lot of reasons that international travelers visit Vienna. Vienna is not only Austria’s capital, it is the country’s largest city. The city is known for being Austria’s cultural, economic, and political center but for the international traveler it’s the architecture, art, cross-cultures, and history that hold the allure for the tourist. And let’s not forget the cuisine.

Decemberists in Vienna



Italy’s southern region of Campania is rich in both history and beauty and one of the most breathtaking drives is La Costiera Amalfitana, The Amalfi Drive. I am sad to see this series come to an end because the inspiration of this scenic road is endless.

Cetara Panorama



There are two undeniable things about the Bahamas. The first is that the island chain represents possibly the global pinnacle of luxurious holiday making in beautiful surroundings.

Bahamas sunny beachPhoto by Vagabond Shutterbug

The second is that this comes at a price, often a fantastically high price that makes the islands the preserve of the rich and glamorous. read full article