Places to visit in Europe Map of Europe





Rome

TripAdvisor's "Rome, Italy"
Wikitravel's "Rome"
Med Cruise Guide's "121 Things To Do In Rome: The Ultimate Guide"
Elyssa Bernard's "How to See the Pope in Rome"

Our experience 5/2016:

+/-
Arriving at the airport, there is a train-ticket kiosk right at baggage claim; buy tickets there while waiting for your luggage. We used the FR1 train. When validating tickets near the train, put ticket in with the arrow reversed (pointing toward you) ! Train has no real space for luggage, which is strange.

We stayed in an apartment in Trastevere, about 2 blocks from the train station, and 2 blocks from stop for Tram 8 into center. The only bad surprise: there is a €3/person/day "tourist overnight" tax in the major tourist cities of Italy, so we had to pay that.

We found eating in Rome to be pretty expensive. A simple bread-2sodas-1pizza-1spaghetti meal usually was €35 or so. We found the lasagna and spaghetti and pesto dishes to be disappointing, and the pizza pretty good.

We bought the 7-day Metro/bus/train pass, which was very convenient (just carry it with you, never have to use it except when entering Metro). Validate it before the first trip you take. €24 apiece, and we took about 20 trips in 6 days, so it was cheaper than buying single-trip tickets. The pass doesn't cover the train to/from the airport.

We went to St Peter's twice, once to see the basilica, the other time to see the Pope in an "Angelus" (AKA "Regina Coeli" ?). Both were nice, but there wasn't much to the "Angelus", just the Pope talking. Capitoline museum had lots of art, good view of the Forum, but left me a bit cold. Palazzo Doria Pamphilj also stuffed with art, stunning building, wonderful. Couldn't get tickets for the Borghese Gallery; have to buy them well in advance.

Best sites were the churches: free, and full of art and decoration. Every time you see a church somewhere, try to go in. And some of them have free concerts.

Clothing: prices at street-vendors seemed to be about the same as prices inside stores. Many clothing shops close around 8 or 9 ?

If an ATM says "we're going to do a Mastercard transaction", don't do it. Both ATMs I did use didn't say anything about a fee, and no fees were imposed.


My 2016 trip diary
My 2019 trip diary




Edinburgh Scotland

Wikitravel's "Edinburgh"
Wikipedia's "Edinburgh"
TripAdvisor's "Edinburgh"




Hungary

Budapest:
TripAdvisor's "Budapest, Hungary"
Wikitravel's "Budapest"



From airport:

ATM in the baggage-claim hall to get cash. Also grab maps from stands.

When we were there 1/2016, global exchange rates were about 289 HUF / USD and 315 HUF / Euro.

No passport check, since we were flying from Spain. Outside baggage check, turn right to buy ticket for 200E bus and Metro to city (about HUF 600).

Ways of getting into the city:
  • Bus 200E from the airport to metro M3 (blue line) Kobanya-Kispest (30+ minutes), then Metro blue (25+ minutes to Deak ter station in city centre). Bus stops running at 10:45 PM or so. Validate your Metro ticket in the little machines outside the escalators, before getting onto the Metro.

  • Airport Minibusz (shuttle bus, goes day and night, all night), which has a desk in Terminal 2B, just as you step out to the airport hall after arrival.

  • Taxi (Zona or Fo ?).

Budapest train to Kosice Slovakia [I know someone in school there]: from Keleti station. From airport, 200E bus to Blue M3 Metro, transfer at Kalvin ter station, take Green M4 Metro to Keleti palyaudvar station (end of line).

Metro:

Can buy tickets at machines or counter. Validate in little yellow machines before taking escalator down to platforms.

Single-trip ticket: HUF 350.
Add a transfer to a bus: another HUF 170 or so.
Single-day unlimited pass: HUF 1650 (so pays off if you're doing about 5 trips or more).

You can not buy passes at the airport, only single-ride tickets. You will need to go to a Metro station to buy a pass.

Hotel / hostel:

We stayed in Marco Polo Top Hotel:
E87 for 4 nights TripAdvisor's "Marco Polo Top Hotel"

We were there in January, when probably most hotels and hostels are 3/4-empty. I expect they are very crowded in the summer "high season".

The staff is wonderful, friendly, extremely helpful.

The Wi-Fi is only in Reception and Bar, not in the rooms. Breakfast not included in room rate, but is generous and reasonably priced.

Too-small bedspreads.


Things to see and do:

  • Andrassy St and City Park:

    • Vajdahunyad Castle in City Park.
      Wikipedia's "Vajdahunyad Castle"
      Open 10-5 every day of week.
      Spectacular building, exhibits not so great.

    • Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asian Arts
      Andrassy ut 103, at Bajza Utca metro stop.
      Small.

    • Book Cafe (Lotz Terem) on Andrassy Avenue is in a spectacular room.
      Enter building, go through modern bookstore, take the escalator up to the top.
      Andrassy ut 39 between Nagymezo and Jokai ter; halfway between Opera and Okotogon metro stops.

    • Hungarian State Opera House
      You can book tickets for shows in advance on the website, but make sure you pick this location and not the Erkel Theatre, which is a totally different place.



  • Pest Center:

    • Parliament building: guided tours only.

    • St. Stephen's Basilica.
      Open MTWRF 9-5, Sat 9-1, Sun 1-5. Cheap admission (HUF 200), and you can go in for free if you really want to.
      Wonderful place.

    • Gresham Palace / Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest.
      Very beautiful inside.
      Near waterfront, between Chain bridge and St. Stephen's Basilica; Szechenyi Istvan ter 5-6.

    • Vaci utca is the main pedestrian street for tourists.
      Parallel to river about 2 blocks inland, from Rakoczi Ut up towards Chain bridge.



  • Castle Hill:

    • Bus 16 from Deak Square to Castle Hill.

    • Fisherman's Bastion, wonderful views, free.

    • Matthias Church.
      Next to Fisherman's Bastion.
      Open MTWRF 9-5, Sat 9-1, Sun 1-5.

    • Royal Palace.
      Hungarian National Gallery is in east/main wing, Budapest History Museum in in south wing, and the National Library is in west/southwest side.
      The National Gallery is great, full of terrific art, takes a couple of hours, don't miss it !



  • Citadella: great views.
    Statue of lady (Liberty Statue) holding up palm leaf in her hands.
    Szent Gellert ter Metro stop on Green line.
    Also Cave Church near the base of the hill.

  • Boat trip on River Danube.
    Quite nice, especially in winter when not crowded.
    Some boats don't run in the winter.

  • Bela Bartok National Concert Hall at Palace of Arts.

  • Hungarian National Museum.
    At Kalvin ter Metro stop on Blue and Green lines.
    First 1/3 of exhibits not so good, last 2/3 (19th and 20th century) are terrific.
    Don't miss !

  • Museum of Transport and aviation museum: closed for renovation when we were there.

  • Danube Symphony Orchestra at the Danube Palace 1051 Zrinyi Street 5.

  • CitySightseeing Hop On - Hop Off bus: minimum ticket is a 2-day ticket for HUF 6000.


Medical:

FirstMed is an English-speaking medical clinic near the Szell Kalman ter (M2) metro station. A 800 sqm facility on the 5th floor of the Hattyu Haz building includes 10 exam rooms, a laboratory, x-ray and mammography. They take international medical insurance and do direct billing with major insurers. Expect U.S. style service and care but also similar prices.

Though less expensive, especially if you are a European citizen with the European Health Insurance Card, public care can be a long wait and there is no guarantee that you will find an English-speaking medical professional.


Language:

Plenty of English spoken, written on signs, announced in the Metro trains.


My 2016 trip diary




Leipzig





Magdeburg





Prague

Fairly cool weather except June-August.

Czech Republic is EU member but uses its own currency, Czech koruna (CZK), about 26 CZK per Euro.

Wikitravel's "Prague"
Wikipedia's "Prague"
TripAdvisor's "Prague, Czech Republic"

My 2019 trip diary








Vienna

Wikitravel's "Vienna"
Wikipedia's "Vienna"
TripAdvisor's "Vienna, Austria"

My 2017 trip diary




Graz

Wikitravel's "Graz"
Wikipedia's "Graz"
TripAdvisor's "Graz, Austria"




Bratislava, Slovakia

Wikitravel's "Bratislava"
Wikipedia's "Bratislava"
TripAdvisor's "Bratislava, Slovakia"




Bucharest




Wikitravel's "Bucharest"
Wikipedia's "Bucharest"
TripAdvisor's "Things to Do in Bucharest"

My 2016 trip diary
My 2019 trip diary




Bulgaria



I've heard Varna is a nice beach city.

Currency is the leva (BGN), 4/2022 about 2 leva per euro.



Sofia:
  • Google map
  • Metro map

  • Museums etc:

  • Churches etc:
    • St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
    • Church of St. George. (behind the Sheraton Hotel)
    • Hagia Sophia Church
    • Catholic cathedral St. Joseph
    • St. Nicholas Orthodox Church
    • Sveti Sedmochislenitsi Church. (in the small park between Graf Ignatiev and Tsar Shishman streets)
    • Sofia Synagogue

  • Monuments etc:
    • Knyaz Battenberg's Palace

  • Music and theater:

  • To do:
    • Borisova Gradina (Boris Garden)
    • Yuzhen Park (South Park)
    • City Garden
    • Lion's Bridge
    • Central Sofia Market Hall
    • Paradise Mall. metro station Vitosha
    • Tsar Shishman Road
    • Football: Vasil Levski National Stadium; Wikipedia

  • Outside:
    • Rila Monastery. 90-minute drive from Sofia.
    • City of Plovdiv. 60-minute drive from Sofia; 2.5 hours by express train; bus maybe 2 hours. From someone on reddit 4/2022: "Do not take the train. They are a joke and god awful. A 5 euro bus is only 1.5 hours and wayyy better, cleaner, more comfortable, with AC, and it stops right in the city."

  • Transport:
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    • "If you want to use the public transportation from/to the airport or anywhere in Sofia, be aware that the luggage is charged with a single ride ticket after exceeding a specific size! The size is 60x40x40 cm, all luggage exceeding it must be charged with additional ticket! The fine for missing, invalid or lost ticket is 20 Leva - 10 Euros!"

  • "Generally at night, you should avoid the area around the Bus and Train Station, Maria Luiza Blvd, the Parks (around the Palace of Culture and Borisova)." and "It is also wise to avoid crossing certain underpasses during the night - especially be very careful with the underpasses near the Central Train Station, near the Opalchenska Subway station, all underpasses along Bulgaria Blvd. At best don't use them at all ..."

Wikitravel's "Sofia"
Wikipedia's "Sofia"
TripAdvisor's "Sofia"

Wikitravel's "Bulgaria"
Wikipedia's "Bulgaria"
TripAdvisor's "Bulgaria"




Croatia



Zagreb:
  • Google map
  • Tram map

  • Museums etc:
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  • Churches etc:
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  • Monuments etc:
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  • Music and theater:
    • xxx
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  • To do:
    • xxx
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  • Outside:
    • xxx
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  • Transport:
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Wikitravel's "Zagreb"
Wikipedia's "Zagreb"
TripAdvisor's "Zagreb"

Wikitravel's "Croatia"
Wikipedia's "Croatia"
TripAdvisor's "Croatia"




Istanbul



Wikitravel's "Istanbul"
Wikipedia's "Istanbul"
TripAdvisor's "Istanbul"
howtoistanbul.com (mostly from 2016, I think)
Lonely Planet's "Istanbul"
Kate's Travel Tips' "Everything you need to know about visiting Istanbul"
reddit's /r/istanbul

My 2021 trip diary




Athens

Wikitravel's "Athens"
Wikipedia's "Athens"
TripAdvisor's "Athens, Greece"

My 2017 trip diary




Milan

Wikitravel's "Milan"
Wikipedia's "Milan"
TripAdvisor's "Milan"




Palermo

Palermo football banner Wikitravel's "Palermo"
Wikivoyage's "Palermo"
Wikipedia's "Palermo"
TripAdvisor's "Palermo, Italy"
The Crazy Tourist's "15 Best Things to Do in Palermo (Italy)"

My 2018 trip diary




Malta

Mainly about the capital city, Valletta, on the main island (Malta Island): Wikitravel's "Malta"
Wikitravel's "Valletta" (capital)
Wikitravel's "Mdina"
Wikivoyage's "Malta"
Wikipedia's "Malta"
TripAdvisor's "Things to Do in Malta"
Visit Malta

My 2019 trip diary

So, Malta at Christmas was nice, we had fun. Highlights were the cathedral, MUZA, an "adoration" event in St Publius church, and trip to Mdina. But too many churches were closed, and it was a bit cold and windy. Not one of our better vacations.





Toulouse

Wikitravel's "Toulouse"
Wikipedia's "Toulouse"
TripAdvisor's "Toulouse, France"
Toulouse Tourism
Lisa Alexander's "11 Top Tourist Attractions in Toulouse & Easy Day Trips"

My 2018 trip diary




Paris



[Wanted to go in end of June, but lodging prices are insane.]

Wikitravel's "Paris"
Wikipedia's "Paris"
TripAdvisor's "Paris"




Portugal

Portugal map Eurail's "Portugal by Train"
Algarve Bus.Info's "Travel by plane, bus or train between the Algarve and Spain"


Funny map of Spain and Portugal





Africa

Kate's Travel Tips' "How to get from Spain to Morocco & 3 beautiful cities you need to see!"

Talked to someone who had been to Morocco in 2018, and he said it was bad, vendors grabbing you to keep you from walking away, flies all over the food.





General



Awesome web site: Travel with Dick and Jane

Kate's Travel Tips' "How to save money on flights when you travel in Europe"


Wikipedia's "Supranational European Bodies"





Lima, Peru



[Definitely not in Europe, I know.]

Peru map


Wikitravel's "Lima"
Travellerspoint's "Lima"
Time's "Lima: 10 Things to Do"
A Chinese Nomad's "Backpacking Guide to Peru"
SmarterTravel's "Tips on Lima Warnings or Dangers - Stay Safe!"
GoBackpacking's "Lima Travel Guide"
Touropia's "10 Top Tourist Attractions in Lima"
Tony Dunnell's "Top 10 Things to Do in Lima, Peru"
Lonely Planet's "Lima"
Wikipedia's "Lima"
TripAdvisor's "Lima"
PeruMira's "46 Museos de Lima Metropolitana - Peru"

My 2017 trip diary
My 2021-22 trip diary

I didn't like Lima. The traffic is ferocious. The interesting bits are in separate places, so you have to travel a lot from one to the other. The weather (October) was grey, dusty, polluted; January weather was better. The beaches seemed poor (except for one in the NW, maybe called Magdalena) and I'm told the sea is polluted.