Top 5 Museums of Brussels

1. Magritte Museum / Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

The Magritte Museum is a separate museum in a complex which houses 4 other museums. The Magritte Museum is by far the most interesting of the four but depending on your interests it may be worth it to buy a combination ticket for all four since it’s not that much more expensive than a single ticket.

The Magritte Museum is solely dedicated to the Belgian surrealist artist Rene Magritte. The museum displays his works in chronological order with letters and notes as background information. Magritte’s most iconic works are sadly missing from the collection, but nonetheless there are great works on display and the museum provides a good overall picture of his work. This museum outshines all other museums in Brussels in both the quality of the collection and the clear and helpful information provided

2. Bozar

Bozar is not so much a museum but more of a cultural centre. It has several concert halls, a cinema and large exhibition spaces. The exhibitions on display here are usually the best in Brussels but there is a big difference in the quality of the exhibitions. Some are must see exhibitions others certainly not. Bozar has no collection of its own so, pay a visit to their website to see what’s on and if it’s something that interests you.

3. Royal Museum of Armed Forces and Military History

The Royal Museum of Armed Forces and Millitary History

The Royal Museum of Armed Forces and Millitary History is not for everybody. First you should have an interest in the subject matter. And second, this museum is as much a museum of 19th century museums as it is a military museum. It’s one of the most old fashioned and decrepit museums we have ever visited. The curators have missed out on the maxim of ‘less is more’ and have stuffed each cabinet to the brim with weapons and uniforms.

With these sidenotes given, the collection is extensive and especially the world war one section is broad as is the collection of planes all displayed in a huge exhibition hall. As an added bonus, visitors to the museum get to visit the top of the huge arch which is connected to the museum. The arch provides a nice view over Brussels and the surrounding park.

4. House of European History

The house of European Hisotry is a completely free museum for everyone and tells the history of the European continent and the European Union. The museum is in stark contrast with the Royal Museum of Armed Forces and Millitary History as it is a modern museum with state of the art guidance throughout the place. It’s not so much a museum of objects as it is a museum of the European narrative told by the objects on display. The museum changes exhibitions every half year or so, the exhibitions are on a theme connected to Europe and its history. As this is a free museum, everybody should give it a try.

5. Horta Museum

The Horta Museum is housed in the private house and studio of the Belgian Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta. Horta designed several houses and buildings in Brussels, the four remaining ones are designated as UNESCO World heritage sites, the museum is one of these four. It is also the only one which is always open to the public to visit. Much of the interior and furniture is still in the original state.

Other museums

Brussels has a lot of other museums, some small others big like the Natural history museum, but none stand out in any way. So, if you didn’t find enough to see or if the museums covered are not what you’re looking for, here are a couple of other decent museums in Brussels.

The Museum of the City of Brussels is housed in the Broodhuys on the Grand Place. It’s a beautiful medieval building and it tells the story of the city of Brussels.

Museum of the City of Brussels

The Museum of Natural Sciences of Belgium has a large collection of Iguanodon skeletons, most of which are in the faulty 19th century position. But beside that, it has a decent variety of different dinosaur skeletons and is especially fun with young children.

The Art & History Museum also in the Cinquantenaire park, is a huge museum with archeological finds and cultural objects from all over the world. It’s a depressing museum as it lacks good signages and lighting. The huge halls are usually devoid of other people adding to the strange atmosphere in the museum. It has good exhibitions though from time to time.

Also read our list of the best museums in Amsterdam.


Spending one week in Northwest France

Why should you go to Northwest France, while most people take the autoroute du Soleil to the sunnier southern parts of France?

Well there are many reasons, I will list just a few. In Northern France you can find the most beautiful Gothic cathedrals in the world. You can enjoy the Atlantic beaches, the nice little harbour towns and go back in history and follow in the footsteps of all the French kings, Jeanne d’Arc, and explore the sparkling wines in the Champagne region. The Great War left innumerable scars to its landscape, villages and cities. And the beaches of Normandy were the starting point for the liberation of Western Europe during the Second World War. North-western France doesn’t fit the stereotypical image people have of France. There are no lavender fields, mountains or Roman Amphitheatres. But this part of France has a lot of other things to offer. To help you explore this part of France and we’ve listed our favourite spots in this itinerary for one week in Northwest France.

North Western France is comprised of three administrative regions: Normandy, Ile-de-France and Hauts-de-France which merges the former regions of Picardy and Pas-de-Calais.

Day one

We start our trip through North-western France in Reims, but the ideal starting point depends on your point of origin. From Paris it takes just an hour to reach Reims by train or 1.5 hour by car. Start in Lille if you come from Belgium, the Netherlands or the United Kingdom.

Reims cathedral
Stained glass windows by Marc Chagall in Reims cathedral


The main draw of Reims is its impressive 13th century Gothic Cathedral. This was the place were, from 1027 almost all French kings were coronated. The most famous coronation was probably the coronation of Charles VII in 1429 which was made possible by the actions of Joan of Arc. The cathedral was shelled by the Germans in World War I but has been restored since. One apse contains beautiful stained-glass windows by Marc Chagall.

Abbey of Saint-Remi

The abbey of Saint-Remi was founded in the sixth century, although most of what you can see today stems from the 11th century. Besides the abbey there was an abbey church, which was also replaced in the 11th century by the Basilica of Saint-Remi. Saint Remi baptised Clovis in the earlier church. This was a monumental historic event as it secured the safeguarded the continuation of the Christian faith in France and Western Europe. The remains of Saint Remi and of Carloman, the brother of Charlemagne, are kept in the abbey.

Palace of Tau

The Palace of Tau was the bishop’s palace and the place where the French kings would stay before their coronations. The palace grew out of a Gallo-Roman villa that was converted into a Carolingian palace. The oldest still remaining part is the chapel from 1207. Nowadays the palace houses a museum with tapestries, objects from the cathedral treasury and other objects associated with the coronation of the French kings.


It’s an hour by car or train to get from Reims to Laon. Laon has been of strategic importance for over 2,000 years. Before the Romans built a fort here, the local tribe used its location to protect against the Belgea. During the First World War it was captured by the Germans and held until the last summer of the war.     

Laon cathedral
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Laon

The most prominent building of the city which can be seen from afar is the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Laon. This early Gothic cathedral is special because of its uniformity of style and it has escaped both World Wars unscathed. You can find other medieval buildings in the old town centre which makes for a nice city walk.


Compiegne is mostly known as the site of the armistice between France and Germany at the end of World War I and the reverse armistice between Germany and France after the defeat of France by Hitler in 1940. A copy of the railroad carriage can be seen at the original site of the armistices in the nearby forest of Compiegne. The original carriage was destroyed by Allied bombing after it was taken to Berlin by the Germans.

The Château de Compiègne was one of the three royal residences outside of Paris, the other being Versailles and Fontainebleau. Now it houses three museums, one of the palace itself, one on the second French Empire and an automobile museum.

Compiegne is an hour drive by car from Laon.

Day 2

Beauvais cathedral

The beautiful gothic cathedral with the highest choir of a cathedral in the world. Work on the cathedral started in the beginning of the 13th century and the cathedral was left unfinished when work halted in 1600.



This ancient French city was founded by Gaulish tribes and became a major Roman city afterwards. When the Normans invaded France, they made Rouen their capital. During the hundred years war Rouen was in the hands of the English for some 30 years. During this time Joan of Arc was brought to this city to be put on trial and subsequently burnt at the stake at the central market square.

The city centre of Rouen still has a lot of medieval half-timbered houses. Making it a delight to walk the streets and back-alleys. On your way you’ll come across the Gros Horloge an astronomical clock which is decades older than the other famous one in Prague.

The main sight is Rouen cathedral, the Gothic cathedral is built on the site of an earlier Roman church and replaced a later Romanesque cathedral in the 12th century. The cathedral was severely damaged by British and American bombing during the second world war.

Rouen Cathedral

The cathedral was famously painted by Claude Monet in several of his paintings.

Just behind the cathedral lies another beautiful Gothic building, the church of St. Ouen. The church is even bigger than the cathedral and houses an organ by the famous French organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll.

Another church built in the flamboyant Gothic style is the church of Saint-Maclou. It lies on a small square surrounded by beautiful half-timbered houses.

Museums in Rouen

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen

The biggest museum of Rouen is the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen. It has a big collection of paintings from the 15th to the 21st century. Highlights are works by Velazquez, Monet and Modigliani.

If you’re interested in the story of Joan of Arc, a visit to the Historial Jeanne d’Arc is a must. It is an interactive journey which tells the story of Joan with modern means.

And a visit to Rouen is not complete without a visit to its marketplace where Joan was burned. There is a modern church in the middle of the square and a little statue at the site of the stake.

Day three

We follow the river Seine westwards towards the sea. As the river winds slowly through the Parc Naturel Regional de Brotonne we come upon two old abbeys. The Abbaye St-Martin de Boscherville and the romantic ruins of the abbaye de Jumieges which was founded in 654.


The harbour of Honfleur by night.

Where the Seine flows into the Channel lies the quiet little harbour town of Honfleur.

This charming town hasn’t changed in centuries. It’s a good place to get some calvados, the local apple brandy. Stay here or in one of the other seaside towns in the direction of Caen.


Caen started as a Gallic settlement, but it was during the Norman times that the city really took off. William the Conqueror made it his capital of his duchy, built an enormous castle and churches and abbeys.

Much of medieval Caen was destroyed by the Allies during the liberation of France.

But nowadays the abbeys have been beautifully rebuilt.

Caen castle
Castle of Caen

The best one is the abbaye-aux-Hommes, William started this building in 1066. The abbey is one of the most important Romanesque buildings in Normandy.

Memorial of Caen

If you’re interested in World War II museums or D-day, this museum is a must.

On a hill in the centre of town lies the castle of William the conqueror. He built it before his invasion of England. It served as the powerbase of the Norman Dukes until it was captured by the French King in 1204.

Day four


Bayeux cathedral

In Bayeux are two magnificent souvenirs of William the Conqueror. The greatest is the majestic and unique tapestry of Bayeux, this exquisite tapestry tells the tale of the Norman conquest of England. All the important moments of this history are embroided on this 70-meter-long tapestry.

The other souvenir is the Cathedral Notre Dame, which originally displayed the tapestry. The tapestry and the cathedral were both commissioned by Odo of Bayeux the half-brother of William.

Normandy beaches

Bayeux is close to the Normandy beaches. There are many museums nearby the several beaches, together with memorials and cemeteries.

We went to Omaha beach and the American cemetery there. Here you’ll find a very informative memorial centre free of charge with a good overview of the different events of the invasion.

Utah beach
Utah beach

Nearby lies the Overlord museum, this paid museum has a big collection of vehicles used in the invasion.

Day five

Le Havre

On the other side of the Seine lies a city with a completely different look than the idyllic harbour towns like Honfleur. Le Havre was almost completely destroyed by American bombing during the invasion in 1944. The architect Auguste Perret lead the rebuilding of the city which was recognized as UNESCO World Heritage in 2004. Auguste Perret was a teacher of Le Corbusier, and his style has a lot of similarities, the brutalistic use of concrete.

The most impressive building by Perret is the St. Joseph’s Church near the seaside. The church built in the shape of a lighthouse is an impressive piece of modernist architecture.

Another interesting building is the House of Culture, nicknamed the Volcano.

Le Volcan by Oscar Niemeyer


After so much cultural sights it’s time for a change and some naturel wonders. Therefor we go to Etretat and its chalk cliffs and the famous natural arches. So, go for a walk along the cliffside.

Day six


We end our day in Amiens, with its famous Gothic cathedral. This cathedral is the biggest cathedral of France, building started in 1220 and the cathedral was finished in relatively short time, only some 50 years, where most other cathedrals took centuries to finish. The beauty of this cathedral lies in its intricate sculptures.


Near Amiens lay many of the sad battlefields of the First World War. The infamous battle of the Somme was fought here, and hundreds of thousands of soldiers are still remembered as unknown soldiers. The scars of this horrific conflict are still visible in both the graveyards and the landscape. We visit the Thiepval Memorial, this huge memorial building commemorates the more than 70,000 missing Commonwealth service men lost during the battle of the Somme.

Thiepval memorial


To the north of Thiepval lies the Arras, which grew rich from the wool trade in the Middle ages. It changed hands several times until 1640 when it was ceded to the French crown for good. The city was severely damaged during the first world war but much of its historic centre has been rebuild. The city has two buildings listed as two different UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The belfry of the town is part of the as part of the Belfries of Belgium and France group. The Vauban citadel is part of the Fortifications of Vauban group. The city also has two large squares, La Grand’ Place and La Place des Héros.

Day seven


Louvre Lens

Lens was a mining town during from the 19t century until the 1980’s when the last mines closed. The surrounding area is still scattered with surreal pyramid like hills from this time. As a way to revitalize this part of France, an annex of the Louvre was opened here. This Louvre Lens is a very interesting museum. It has two parts, a big hall with the free collection and another hall for paid exhibitions. The beauty of the main collection is the fact that all the items are situated in one hall in chronological order.


Lille or Rijsel the Dutch name was originally part of the county of Flanders. It exchanged hands several times until it finally ended up in French hands at the end of the 19th Century. The shared heritage of this city is still visible in its buildings which have a more northern façade than buildings in most other France cities.

Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille

The Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille is one of the oldest museums of France. The large museum has a nice collection of paintings from the Middle Ages upon modern times. The collection includes works by Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Delacroix and Claudel.

Citadelle de Lille

The citadel was built by the military engineer Vauban, who built many similar fortresses along France its border at the order of Louis XIV. Many of his creations can be seen in the unique section of the Palais des Beaux-Arts which houses the models of various border towns.

Art Deco

Lille is a great place to admire some art deco style buildings. Some prime examples are the former fish restaurant ‘a la Huîtrière’ in the Rue des Chats Bossus, the old newspaper building ‘La voix du Nord’ at the place Charles du Gaulle and the bakery ‘ Maison Méert’ in the Rue Esquermoise. Maison Méert is also a great place to eat some waffles.


If you’re really into art nouveau, then make the trip to the neighbouring town of Roubaix. There the art nouveau swimming pool has been converted into a museum and it’s a delight to marvel at the architecture and the art in this building.

Also read our article about Bourges cathedral for more Gothic art!

How to spend a day in historic Trier

Trier is the oldest city in Germany, founded somewhere around 400 BCE. It became a prominent Roman border town when the Romans conquered the town and established a roman colony here. It’s heighday came after the Imperial reforms of Diocletian when the city became a residence of the Western Roman emperor. The town housed as much as 100,000 people by then, almost as much as today.

It’s the Roman remains that attract most visitors to Trier. It is by far the best Northern European town to view Roman remains. So most of our listed highlights are connected to the Romans in one way or another.

Porta Nigra
Porta Nigra

Porta Nigra

The most famous and iconic of all the Roman remains in Trier is the Porta Nigra. This large Roman gate was part of the huge wall around the city and one of the four main entry gates of the city. It was probably built after the Frankish incursion of 275 and likely by Constantine in the early 4th century as the building was left unfinished as were his baths.

A Greek monk lived in the ruins of the Porta Nigra in the 11th century. After his death the gate was transformed into a church in his honor. It was Napoleon who ordered this church to be torn down when he conquered the city and to restore the gate back to its original Roman state.

Dom St. Peter zu Trier

Trier Cathedral is the oldest church of Germany and probably built upon the site of an earlier Roman church. The cathedral was probably started by Constantine, but much of his building was destroyed by the Franks in the 5th century, it was rebuild several times since then but its Roman and Romanesque origins are still visible as are large parts of the original Roman brick walls.

Konstantinbasilika (Aula Palatina)


The Konstantinbasilika or Aula Palatina was commisioned by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great around 310 CE. The original building was sadly destroyed by an Allied air raid during the second World War. But it has since been rebuild and is one of the best places to give you an idea of what a late Roman basilica would have looked like. Pay special attention to the windows in the apse, they give the optical illusion that the apse is much bigger than it really is. This sophisticated effect is created by lowering the line of the apse windows and making them smaller than the ones in the nave. It’s a good example of the fact that during this period the quality of the architecture of the Roman provinces would surpass that of Rome itself.

Rheinisches Landesmuseum

The Rheinisches Landesmuseum is an archeology museum displaying many of the stunning Roman finds from the city. They have huge mosaics, statues, tombs and much more. But the complete collection spans a wider timeframe. So, there are also artifacts from the prehistory until the late middle ages on display.

Roman Amphitheater


The Roman amphitheater in Trier was erected during the 2nd century. It could house some 20,000 spectators for gladiator shows and other events. Although the seating is mostly covered by grass now, you can still get a good idea of the whole place. The Arena floor has been rebuild and you can enter the remains of the underground where the gladiators and animals would have been kept.


The Kaiserthermen or the Imperial baths were also commissioned by Constantine in the 4th century. The baths were only later finished as Constantine had to leave to the East where he would found his new capital Constaninople. Valentinian would finish them but on a smaller scale than originally intended. The design is fairly similar to the earlier St Barabara Baths which can be found 1 km to the east.

Roman Bridge
Roman Bridge

Roman bridge

Just beyond the St Barbara Baths lies the ancient Roman bridge over the river Moselle. This is the oldest standing bridge of Germany. The remaining Roman parts are the pillars of the bridge, these are still the original ones from the second century. The upper part has been restored several times.


The only building without Roman links on our list is the Liebfrauenkirche. Although the church is built on top of an earlier Roman double church and some of the Roman foundations are used for the huge Gothic pillars of this building. This early 13th century church is one of the earliest Gothic churches in Germany.

Pavia, a beautiful day trip away from Milan

The city of Pavia lies beside the Ticino river and in the shadow of Milan, which is just a half-hour away. It was an important place under the Roman Empire. When the Longobards invaded Italy they made Pavia their capital. Unfortunately, not much remains from this time as the Hungarians burned Pavia down in 924. It remained the capital of the Italian Kingdom until the 12th century. Nowadays it’s a peaceful city with its most famous sight situated outside the city, the Certosa di Pavia. Below, you can find the most impressive historic sights listed. Just follow our itinerary to get most out of your visit to Pavia!

Certosa di Pavia

The Certosa di Pavia is an extravagant late 14th-century monastery. The building was commissioned by the powerful Visconti family from Milan. The highlight is the church with beautiful tombs. The rest of the monastery can only be visited by guided tour. Check out the website for opening times, it’s closed on Mondays and for midday mass every day.

Piazza della Vittoria

Start your walk through the town at the Piazza della Vittoria. This cobblestoned square has a lot of bars and restaurants to get a drink and a bite to eat. On the southern end of the square stands the Broletto, the medieval town hall from the 11th century.

Piazza della Vittoria

Duomo di Pavia

South of the Broletto can you find the Duomo di Pavia, the cathedral of Pavia. Construction started at the end of the 15th century and the cathedral supplanted two earlier churches located there. Construction was not finished until the 1930’s and has a history of collapses. First, the dome collapsed in 1885 just after it was finished. Second, next door Civic Tower collapsed and killed four people in 1989. The remains of the tower can still be seen today.

Dome of Duomo di Pavia

San Teodoro

If you head southwest towards the river you walk along the romanesque San Teodoro church. This small red-bricked building has some nice frescos inside.

Porta Calcinara

As you reach the river you’ll see one of the remaining city gates, the Porta Calcinara. This 12th-century gate is one of the few reminders of the medieval city walls.

Ponte Coperto

Go down to the banks of the river for a nice view of the medieval covered bridge, the Ponte Coperto. This bridge is a 20th-century reconstruction of the medieval bridge as the bridge was heavily damaged by Allied bombardments during the second world war. The medieval bridge was built in 1354 to replace the earlier Roman bridge which was also situated at this crossing point.

Ponte Coperto

Basilica di San Michele Maggiore

Head back northeast into the city, the view the beautiful and important 11th-century Basilica di San Michele Maggiore. It’s a fine example of a Lombard style church and it is historically important too. It was here that the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa (Redbeard) was crowned King of Italy in 1155, and so were many other Italian kings.

Medieval Towers

Continue northwards towards Piazza Leonardo Da Vinci. Here you’ll find a couple of interesting buildings. Most photogenic are the three medieval towers standing in the corner of the square. They give you some idea why Pavia was once called the city of hundred towers, as the city used to be covered with towers like this. The towers are some 40-50 meters high and date from the 12th century.

Another interesting site is the remains of the Chiesa di Sant’Eusebio. All that remains is the 7th-century crypt but this is an early example of Lombard Christian architecture.

On the northern end of the square lies the University of Pavia, one of the older universities in the world as it was founded in 1361.

Castell Visconteo

Castell Visconteo

The castle lies in the northern part of town and houses the city museums of Pavia (Musei Civici). The castle dates from the end of the 14th century and served as a palace for the dukes of the Visconti and later the Sforza families.

How to spend two days in fashionable Milan

How to spend two days in Milan? There is much more to see and do in Milan than fashion shopping. Milan is an ancient city with beautiful churches, squares, museums and private houses. If you’re here for a weekend trip, we’ll have the best itinerary for you, filled with the finest art, ancient culture and impressive history. But you can always pick and choose if you have less time or add some other stuff you would like to visit such as the San Siro football stadium.

Day 1 in Milan

Castello Sforzo

Cortile delle Armi (Ducal Court)

On the northwestern edge of the city center lies the Castello Sforzo from the 15th century. It was built by the Duke of Milan Fransesco Sforza on the site of the destroyed castle of the city’s previous rulers, the Visconti family. The castle is decorated wih several frescos by Leonardo da Vinci. The castle houses 9 different civic museums ranging from prehistoric archeology to wooden sculptures and from paintings to tapestries.

San Maurizo al Monastero

Walk from the castle into the old part of Milan and after a couple of minute you’ll reach the Chiesa di San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore. This beautifully painted church used to be attached to the next door benedict monastery. The church is a 16th century baroque little gem.

Museo Archeologico

Maximian Roman wall

The cities archaeology museum is housed in the former monastery which was built on top of and reused many building materials of the nearby Roman ruins. So it’s an excellent place to explain the different time periods and how they interlink. The main focus is on the Etruscan and Roman period, the museum has some nice finds on display. You can also visit an old polygonal tower which belonged to the Maximian Roman walls.

Leonardo da Vinci

The highlight of many people’s visit to Milan is Leonardo’s huge fresco painting of the Last Supper. If you also want to see it make sure to reserve tickets in advance. Tickets are sold out weeks in advance so plan carefully. If you manage to get tickets, be sure to be on time for your timeslot of 15 minutes and enjoy. It’s a beautiful work of art and you can admire it in relative quietness with just 30 other people at the time.

Last Supper by da Vinci

Santa Maria delle Grazie

The last supper is located in the refectory of the Santa Maria delle Grazie but you’ll need separate tickets for both. The church served as a burial site for the Sforza family. The church was heavily damaged by Allied bombing in World War II, but the wall with Da Vinci’s fresco was protected by sandbags and survived without any major damage.

Basilica Sant Ambrosio

To the southeast lies the Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio, one of the oldest churches in Milan. Built by St. Ambrose in 379, although almost everything you see today dates from the 12th century. The basilica is surrounded by a monastery which dates from the 8th century. The monastery housed two different orders, that division is still visible today by the two different towers, one from the 9th century and the other from the 12th century. This church was another victim of the allied bombing raid of 1943 and has been heavily restored. The crypt houses the tomb of the Holy Roman Emperor Louis II.

Duomo di Milano

The most famous church of Milan is its duomo or cathedral. It is the largest church in Italy and took six centuries to complete. Work started in 1386 and was not completed until 1965. This results in a very eclectic style of the building, originally a French-style gothic building, but now a mix of that with all the later styles and whims of the rulers and builders during the ages. The roof of the cathedral provides marvelous views over the city but it can be busy, so it’s not ideal for those with fear of heights.


Pinacotea Ambrosiana

Housed in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, the pinacotea has a good collection of renaissance art with some masterpieces by Da Vinci, Caravaggio and Rafael. The library houses several manuscripts by Da Vinci.

Santa Maria presso San Satiro

Santa Maria presso San Satiro is a nice little church built at the end of the 15th century. The main draw is the false apse at the backend of the church. Due to a limited amount of space, the apse is painted by Bramante with a perspective illusion choir. One of the first examples of trompe l’oeil in the history of art.

Basillica di Lorenzo Maggio

The Basillica di Lorenzo Maggio is one of the oldest churches in Milan and its origin dates back to Roman times. The building of the basilica started somewhere at the end of the 4th century. In 1071 the basilica was ravaged by fire which destroyed most of the original interior decorations and made new restorations necessary. In 1573 the dome of the basilica collapsed, which was subsequentially rebuild. It’s a great example of a Roman basilica church although heavily reconstructed throughout the ages. It still houses an original 4th century mosaic of Christ the Lawgiver.

Basillica di Lorenzo Maggio by night

Day 2 in Milan

Pinacoteca di Brera

Start your day early with a visit to the Pinacoteca di Brera which is housed in the Palazzo Brera. The pinacoteca is the best gallery to view Italian paintings in Milan. In its collection are works by the likes of Raphael, Belinni, Tintoretto, Caravagio and Titian.

Pinacoteca di Brera

Villa Reale / Galleria d’Arte Moderna

The Villa Reale houses the Galleria d’Arte Moderna. This relatively small museum has a collection of 18th until 20th century works. Principal works in the collection include works by artists like Van Gogh, Picasso and Gauguin.

Also visit the opposite Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea if you like contemporary art.

Villa Necchi

Villa Necchi is a beautiful villa from the 1930’s. Some of the rooms are still decorated with furniture from this era. The villa and its surrounding garden form a quiet repose from the busy city. The villa is part of the 4 Case Museo di Milano network and you can buy one entrance ticket for all four houses. Depending on the amount you want to visit this can be a good deal, but beware that Case Boschi de Stefano is free to enter anyway.

Case Boschi de Stefano

Case Boschi de Stefano is a historical residence once inhabited by the couple Antonio Boschi and Marieda Di Stefano. They were huge art collectors and their collection includes more than 2,000 works of art. Over 300 of those works are on display in this house that is packed with paintings. No wall is free of art, maybe not the best way to display this many works of art but it’s a great collection of mainly 20th century Italian art which you wouldn’t see elsewhere. And since the museum is free, there is no reason to skip this gem.

Basilica San Nazaro in Brolo

Basilica San Nazaro in Brolo is another church founded by St. Ambrose. This church was built at the end of the 4th century but not much remains of the original building. The old façade is obstructed by the Trivulzio Mausoleum from 1512.

Navigile Grande

The Navigile Grande is the biggest of the canals dug in Milan. Its origin dates back to the time of Frederick Barbarossa and was one of the biggest engineering projects during the Middle Ages in Italy. Nowadays it’s a good place to go for a walk, have a drink and have dinner.

Day trips from Milan

There are a lot of beautiful places around Milan. We can recommend going to Turin to be closer to the mountains, get some royal history, a superb Egyptian museum and several other great museums.

Another good day trip is to Pavia, this city lies just a half hour south of Milan and is very compact and has kept much of its medieval atmosphere. Don’t forget to stop at Certosa de Pavia, this monastery is beautiful..

15 tips for traveling in Iceland

15 tips when traveling Iceland

Iceland is one of our favourite countries for traveling, its spectacular scenery will stay with you for the rest of your life. Are you planning to go to Iceland? Read our tips for getting the most out of your trip

1. Rent a car

Iceland is a perfect country for a road trip, as it gives you the freedom to explore the country at your own pace. Some people bring their own car, which is already possible from €435, but there are many rental companies next to Reykjavik airport. When you plan to leave the ring road – Iceland’s main road that brings you around the whole island – it might be wise to hire a four-wheel-drive, as the road might be unpaved. We managed to make it in an Open Corsa as well. However, take a look at the weather forecasts, as it can be too windy or cold for such a car.

Stay 6 days, or at least 4

Despite what many other travel blogs say, it is possible to do the Iceland round trip in four days. And yes, this includes time for sightseeing, hiking, whale watching and puffin spotting. You can find our itinerary in this article. However, it would be ideal to have a little extra time for some more exploring off the beaten track. We would say it is ideal to stay in Iceland for six days. Of course, the longer the better, as it is an amazing country, but in six days you can get a really good impression of this amazing country and its spectacular nature.   

Read the information signs

We always read the information signs along the roads, trails or sites we pass. But in Iceland we really recommend you to do so as well, as it gives a very nice insight in Iceland culture, which includes an incredibly amount of trolls, elves and other magical creatures. Icelanders take fairy tales very seriously. With these (hi)stories in mind, the rock formations can get a totally new dimension, and you inspect all small caves just a bit more extensive.

Don’t bring your umbrella

Don’t bring your umbrella, but wear a wind jacket instead, as it’s not comfortable to keep your umbrella up with the strong winds that pass the island regularly. Sometimes it just feels the wind is blowing from all directions.

Tank at every gas station

There can be a large distance between gas stations in Iceland, so top your tack frequently. We also ran out of gas, when the ring road was blocked due to an accident, and we had to do a detour of 70KM. It were the longest 70 KM of our lives. When you arrive at a gas station, take a closer look at them, as gas stations in Iceland are a strange breed. They can very well be a peculiar combination of retail, grocery, tourist information and community center.

Don’t step on the moss

Moss on a rock

Nature is fragile, especially in the harsh climate of Iceland. Don’t leave the path, stick on the trail, and don’t step on the moss. The moss is easily damaged, and potentially irreparably. Footprints – and tire marks – can take a very long time to heal.

Go in June (or in September)

June is a perfect month for traveling to Iceland, as the melting ice makes the waterfalls impressive. The flowers are blooming, the birds are breeding, and the weather is comfortable. Furthermore, the midnight sun will give you an energy boost, so you will enjoy the island even more! The only downside is that you will not experience the Northern Lights. If these are high on your list, we recommend you to go in September, when the weather is still nice, but the nights are dark enough to see the magical phenomenon.

Bring your bottle

Iceland’s tap water is not only completely safe to drink, it is probably the tastiest water you have ever had. So don’t burden the environment (and your wallet) by buying bottled water, just bring bottles from home and fill them with Iceland’s tap water.

Money-saving tips when going to Iceland

Iceland is worth every penny, as it is such a beautiful country. However, it is one of the most expensive countries in the world. But it does not need to be an expensive holiday if you follow our tips.

Nature is free

The number one reason why Iceland does not need to be extensive is because of its spectacular nature, which will keep you occupied during your whole stay. Hiking through the mountains, watching waterfalls, ice lakes, and glaciers, and looking for puffins is simply free.

Drink water from the tap

Drink water from the tap, it is completely safe and very clean. In fact, it is probably the tastiest water you can get. So don’t burden the environment (and your wallet) by buying bottled water, just bring bottles from home and fill them with Iceland’s tap water.

Buy food at the supermarket (just don’t count on ‘Bonus’

Buy your breakfast and lunch at the supermarket. This will easily save you some money. There are supermarkets in almost every town. ‘Bonus’ is said to be the cheapest supermarket, however it has quite restricted opening hours and it is mostly located close to Reykjavik, which is why we did not manage to shop at Bonus. However, also at other supermarkets, we could shop some bread, hummus, fruits, snacks and Skyr, more than enough to keep us filled for the day, under €10 per day per person. It might be wise to pack a knife and a plate, to conveniently prepare the food.

Book your stay wisely

Hotels in Iceland are not cheap, but you can find nice hotels for €80 per night (two persons). You just have to be a bit creative. Our cheapest stay was a capsule hotel in Akureyri. Our best was a tiny house in Egilsstadir. If you cannot find an affordable stay right away, it can also be worthwile to wait a little longer, as prices may drop closer to the date. Use different booking sites to find the best deal. We always go for Airbnb and, and also use google to find local

How to have a great day in Turin

The northern Italian city of Turin is beautifully located on the flanks of the Italian Alps. It’s just a short train ride away from Milan so it’s ideal for a day trip from that city. But there is plenty to do and Turin can also serve as a base to explore this region of Italy.

History of Turin

The history of Turin begins in Roman times, when the Romans founded the colony Augusta Taurinorum. Turin bears the name of the people who are said to have lived in the area. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Turin changed hands several times until it came into the hands of the counts of Savoy in the 11th Century. It became the capital of the duchy of Savoy in the 16th century and the capital of the Kingdom of Sardinia in the early 19th century. After the unification of Italy in 1861, it became the first capital of Italy. During this time the area was also heavily industrialised. This made Turin a target of heavy Allied bombing during the Second World War.

Top sights in Turin

Egyptian Museum

Besides the character and all the beautiful buildings in this city, the biggest draw is the Egyptian Museum. It’s the second biggest Egyptian museum in the world, only beaten by the one in Cairo. So, if you have the slightest interest in ancient Egypt, history or art, go visit this museum. The collection is outstanding and covers all aspects of life and culture in Ancient Egypt.

Piazza Castello

Nearby is the Piazza Castello, the cultural heart of the city. Here you’ll find to palaces which now mainly serve as museums. The Palazzo Madama built on the site of the ancient Roman city gates. Two of the Roman towers still form part of the back of this palace. It houses the Museum of Ancient Art, which is a confusing name since the collection dates from the 15th-18th century.

Palazzo Reale

The main sight of the square is the Palazzo Reale. This former Royal Palace of the house of Savoy now houses a multitude of different museums. There is the main building of the Palazzo Reale itself, where you can marvel at the beautiful rooms and furniture of the palace. Then you have the southern wing with the Armoury which houses a large collection of medieval weapons. The northern wing houses the Galleria Sabauda with beautiful paintings and sculptures and the Museo di antichità with its collection of local Roman finds including a spectacular bronze mask. Attached to the palace is the chapel of the holy shroud, which houses the famous Shroud of Turin. The chapel has recently reopened after a 21-year restoration after a fire. But don’t expect to see the real shroud, it’s only on display once every few decades. But if you want to know more, you can visit the Museum of the shroud where you can also see a replica.

Teatro Romano

Behind the Palazzo, you can also visit some of the Roman remains in the city. Another piece of the city wall and the gate Porte Palatini and the Roman theatre are the most visible things.

Catadrale di San Giovani Battista

Attached to the chapel for the shroud is the Turin cathedral Catadrale di San Giovani Battista. On the site had stood 3 Lombard churches next to each other, all of them were destroyed to make a place for this cathedral at the end of the 15th century.

Castello di Rivoli

A bit outside of the town lies the Castello di Rivoli. Another former residence of the royal family of Savoy. Nowadays it’s the oldest contemporary art museum in Italy. From the castle grounds, you’ll have some great views of the surrounding village and Turin in the background.

Museo d’arte Orientale (MAO)

Another great museum with art from another part of the world is the Museo d’arte Orientale. This Asian art museum has a diverse collection of art from the whole continent, spanning several millennia.

Parc Guell

What to do in the beautiful city of Barcelona

Barcelona is a great Mediterranean city with its own identity, which is quite different from the rest of Spain. It’s a major tourist destination. The European youth goes to the nearby Costa Brava for their summer holidays and spring breaks. For everybody else, it’s a destination to enjoy great food, sunny weather, Gaudi and much more. So, join their ranks and visit this city. The best time to go is in the Spring and Autumn. Then the crowds are a bit thinner and the weather is nice but not too hot the walk around all day.

There is a lot to do in Barcelona, so stay for a minimum of 2 days to get a good impression of the city. In 3 days you should be able to see most of it. Stay a bit longer if you want to enjoy the beaches, have a day trip to nearby Tarragona or visit the Dali museum in Figueres.

Day 1 Montjuïc, museums and views

We like to walk to counterbalance the extra eating and drinking we usually do on a holiday. But alternatively, Barcelona has an excellent public transport system to get you to all the major sites.

Placa Espanya Former bull ring

Start the day on Place Espanya, here you’ll find the former bullfighting arena. This is a good example of the difference between Catalunya and Spain, as opposed to in the rest of Spain, bullfighting is banned in Catalunya. So, the former bull ring is turned into a shopping mall which offers some good vistas of the city from the upper deck for free.

Access to Montjuïc

National Art Museum of Catalonia
National Art Museum of Catalonia

Make your way towards the hill of Montjuïc. Here you’ll find great museums, nice parks, a castle and great viewpoints of the city and the harbour.

Caixa Forum Barcelona

Check out the website of the Caixa Forum Barcelona, this art centre hosts a variety of art exhibition, theatre and much more. It’s not so expensive and there are major exhibitions from time to time.

National Art Museum of Catalonia

As you climb the steps weaving through the traders and the tourists, you’ll get increasingly better views of the city. Once you’re at the top of the stairs you are in front of the National Art Museum of Catalonia. Although I can understand that this museum is not to everyone’s taste, I can’t recommend it enough. The museum houses an outstanding collection of Medieval Art. Inside the museum you’ll find rebuilt churches with original Romanesque frescos, a lot of crucifixes, iconography and reliquary art. The building itself is also beautiful, especially the large hall.

Fundacio Joan Miro

Fundacio Joan Miro
Fundacio Joan Miro

A little further up the hill lies the Fundacio Joan Miro. This modern art museum was started by the artist himself and has a big collection of his works. The museum is housed in a nice modern building with beautiful views of the city. The naïve style of Joan Miro may not be for everyone, but the broad range of paintings owned by the museum gives a good insight into the artistic development of Miro. This, in turn, gives the viewer a better understanding of the art and may even convert some of you.

Montjuïc Castle

Further up the hill lies the Montjuïc Castle. This castle was built in the 17th century to control the city as Catalunya had fallen under Spanish rule. The fortress was used to bombed the city on several occasion and was the place of executions during the Spanish civil war. Now it’s a good place to relax and walk around and it has great views of both the city and the nearby harbour.

Funicular de Montjuïc

You can walk down or use the Funicular de Montjuïc.

Eglasia de Sant Pau del Camp

Near the end of the Funicular, you’ll find the Sant Pau del Camp church. This is the oldest church of Barcelona, the current church replaced an earlier church which Muslim troops destroyed in 985.

Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona

If you have some energy left, go to the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona. It’s open until 19.30 so it can entertain you while you have to wait for the Spanish dinner time to arrive.


Vegan Tapas

Eat something at the Carrer dels Tallers or the nearby Rambla.

Day 2 Gaudi

The theme of this day is Gaudi. Although there is much more to Barcelona than Gaudi, he is an important reason for the popularity of the city. So today we will visit the best sites. The enormous popularity of Gaudi has led to a highly inflated entrance price to most of the buildings associated with him. Therefore it’s best to pick some sites and view the rest from outside unless you’re a mega fan.

Palau Güell

Palau Güell is one of the first works of Gaudi in Barcelona. It was commissioned by the same Güell family who would later ask Gaudi to design the famous Park Güell. The house was finished in 1890 at was the home of the Güell family until they moved to the Park Güell. Highlights are the huge central hall with its staircase and the rooftop with its eccentric chimneys. This is also the cheapest house designed by Gaudi in Barcelona to visit.

Illa de la Discòrdia

This city block on Passeig de Gràcia has a nice concentration of modernist buildings, the Casa Batlló and the Casa Amatller are both here.

Casa Batlló
Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló

After his work on the Park Güell, Josep Batlló hired Gaudi to remodel his home. Gaudi did this in a spectacular way. The front of the house looks like it belongs in a fairytale. There are almost no straight lines in sight. Much of the interior has just recently been restored back to the original state. The best rooms in the house are on the noble floor with its beautiful windows onto the Passeig de Gràcia. There are several different tickets available, including ones where you can visit the house with fewer visitors at a premium price.

Casa Amatller

Although not designed by Gaudi, this modernist building designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch lies next to Gaudi’s Casa Batllo and is part of the so-called Illa de la Discòrdia (Block of discord) of several modernist buildings. This city block provides a good opportunity to compare the different modernist architects.

Fundació Antoni Tàpies

Around the corner lies the Fundació Antoni Tàpies. This museum is dedicated to the work of Antoni Tàpies, a modern Spanish painter. The museum usually has works by Antoni Tàpies on display, together with exhibitions of works by other contemporary artists.

La Pedrera / Casa Mila

A bit further to the north, along the Passeig de Gràcia lies the Casa Milà or La Pedrera as it is also known. This is the last private residence designed by Gaudi, who finished his work here in 1912. It was not received well when it was finished, hence its nickname la Pedrera, the stone quarry. Soon after it was built the Mila family, dissatisfied with much of Gaudi’s work sold the furniture and redid the walls. The building deteriorated after their death and only in the 1980s were efforts made to restore the building back to its original state. This is another Gaudi building with premium access tickets.

Casa Mila
Casa Mila

Sagrada Familia

The most famous of all Gaudi buildings is the Sagrada Familia. This neo-gothic church is still not finished and is already being restored. This is another of Gaudi’s buildings which divides opinions. I’m personally on the side of George Orwell who called it “one of the most hideous buildings in the world”. But I understand the attraction it holds to people.

That said, the entrance price is ridiculously high for a church and I would advise people to just walk around the building. This gives a perfect impression of what the building looks like and saves you money for dinner later.

Parc Güell

It’s only fitting to end the day back at another Güell assignment. This time Güell asked Gaudi to design a whole housing development. It was a complete failure and only two houses were built, one of which Gaudi bought himself as it was not getting sold.

Parc Güell
Parc Güell

The park has two parts, a part which you can enjoy for free. Here you can walk around in the shade, enjoy the little quirks designed by Gaudi and enjoy the views over the city from one of the many vistas the park offers. The other part comprises of Gaudi’s house and the pavilion, this area is only accessible with a ticket. Ticket prices are a bit more reasonable here, so if you haven’t had enough of Gaudi give it a try and enjoy some more of his creations up close.

Day 3 Ancient Barcelona

After all this modernist architecture you would think Barcelona is foremost a modern city, but it also has a very old historic heart. The Barri Gothic, or the gothic district, is the old city centre with medieval alleyways and buildings dating all the way back to Roman times.

Cathedral of Santa Eulalia
Cathedral of Santa Eulalia

Cathedral of Santa Eulalia

In the heart of this district lies the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia. This cathedral was consecrated in 1339, but the façade was not finished until the 19th century. In the next-door historical museum, you can see the foundations of the earlier Visigoth church.

MUHB Plaça del Rei

To see some of the Roman and Visigoth remains, visit the Museu d’Historia de Barcelona (MUHB) at Plaça del Rei. Here you’ll find the remains of the Roman town, it’s shops and industries and the finds associated with those activities. Additionally, there are also Visigoth remains of a church and a cloister. It’s a great museum to get an idea of the early origins of the city. The museum also includes the Chapel of Santa Àgata from 1302.

Musee Frederic Mares

If you like ancient and medieval sculptures, visit the Musee Frederic Mares. It has a good collection of sculptures up to the 14th century. Frederic Mares was a collector of many things, which becomes obvious if you see his collector’s cabinets. This is an enormous random collection of antiques and curiosities spread out over 17 halls.

Temple of Augustus

South of the cathedral stand four remaining Corinthian columns of the temple of Augustus. This shrine to the imperial cult has been incorporated into the surrounding buildings and can be visited for free.

Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar

A bit further towards the sea lies the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar. This gothic church was built in the 14th century. Much of its interior decoration has been lost due to extensive fires during the Spanish Civil war.        

Picasso Museum

Pablo Picasso moved to Barcelona with his family when he was thirteen. Here he followed some classes at the art academy before he moved to Madrid and later Paris. This museum has an excellent collection of his earliest work and gives a great impression of his development as an artist. Sadly, the collection lacks good pieces from his later work, but the insight into his early development still makes it a must-see for Picasso fans.


What to do in the Danish capital of Copenhagen

Spending 2 days in Copenhagen

As the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen is the most popular tourist destination in the country. Many people come to see the little mermaid, but this Scandinavian capital has much more to offer. Denmark is one of the more expensive European countries to visit, so adjust your budget accordingly. Luckily there are some good deals to get. One thing we would advise all visitors who will be visiting at least a couple of sites, is to buy the Copenhagen Card. It offers free entry to almost all sites in Copenhagen, its surrounding area and free public transport including local trains.

Day one

We did most of our exploration on foot, but Copenhagen has an excellent public transport network to help you out if you’re getting tired. There is a lot to see, so get up as early as possible for you. The first six sites are always open, so ideally you would do this all before ten o’clock when the SMK opens.



Besides the little mermaid, Copenhagen’s Nyhavn is its most recognizable spot. Start your day here, just to get it over with, but also since the early morning light and the lack of huge crowds will enhance your experience.


Just up the road towards the little mermaid is Amalienborg, the residence of the Danish Kings and Queens. Amalienborg isn’t just one palace but four built around a central square. The current buildings were built in the Roccoco style in the 18th century.

Marble Church

If you turn your back to the water, you have a nice vista towards Frederik’s Church or the Marble Church. This rococo building has the largest dome in Scandinavia and was inspired by St Peters Church in Rome.


Further north lies Kastallet, a 17th-century fortress built to protect the city and the harbour. The fortress is in excellent condition since it is still partly used as a military base. But a large part can be visited and, moreover, it forms a nice park for quiet walks.

Little Mermaid

Little Mermaid

So, as you make your way around the outer ramparts, you’ll see the most disappointing tourist attraction in the world, The Little Mermaid. Go here if you’re a completist and want to see it with your own eyes, or go here for the fun of it, the crowds swarming the little statue, doing strange poses and making their Instagram posts.


As you complete your walk around Kastallet, you enter the Nyboder district with its historic row houses. Originally built to house the families of the navy personnel.

Nyboder Houses

Statens Museum for Kunst (SMK)

The SMK, or National Gallery, has a good collection of European art from 1300 onwards. The best parts of the collection are the Danish and Nordic art from 1750 until 1900 not often seen outside of the Nordic countries.

Rosenborg Castle

Just across the road lies the Rosenborg Castle, surrounded by the lush Kongens Have, the royal gardens. These gardens are always busy with people escaping the bustling city and enjoying the green surroundings.

The castle itself is built in Dutch Renaissance style, by the same architects who also worked on the famous Kronborg Castle. The castle was mostly used as a summer house for the royal family but has been used as their residence also. The castle is in great condition and besides the contemporary interior, you can also see the Danish crown jewels here.

Rosenborg Castle and Kongens Have

David Collection

Just outside the park lies a wonderful relatively small private museum which has free admission. The David Collection houses three separate collections, the most beautiful and largest is its Islamic Art collection. The European art collection is nothing special, and the Danish modern art collection is small but interesting.

Round Tower

As you walk into the modern city centre you’ll find the Round Tower. This 17th-century tower can easily be climbed to the top for some nice views over the city. There are some expositions in the tower and the tower also has an observatory to watch the night sky.


Don’t forget to pass the beautiful 17th century Borse or commodity exchange. It’s a private building but it’s worth to look at the outside.

The National Museum

If you’re into history don’t forget to stop at the National history museum. They have some beautiful prehistoric treasures and bog bodies and a good section on the Vikings.   


For dinner, try one of the street food places, the latest hip one is Reffen.

Day two

We opted to leave the city to see a bit of the countryside, the famous castle of Hamlet at Kronborg, and the outstanding Louisiana Modern Art Museum. We finished our day back in Copenhagen. There is enough to do to stay in the city but with limited time, this way you’ll optimize your time in Denmark. If you or your children are into Vikings, you can go to Roskilde instead. There, you’ll find a beautiful medieval church and an excellent Viking museum complete with original Viking Longboats.


Kronborg castle

Kronborg Castle

Since the Copenhagen card includes transport and sites outside the city, we choose to optimize our stay by visiting the castle at Kronborg. This UNESCO world heritage site lies at the entryway to the Oresund and controls its access. There have been earlier castles on this site, but the present-day one is in the same Dutch Renaissance style as Rosenborg castle. The castle in pretty good shape, sadly much of its interior has been lost to the Swedes who captured this castle in one of the many wars between the Kingdoms. Read our UNESCO World heritage site review of Kronborg Castle for more info.


Louisiana Modern Art Museum

On your way back to Copenhagen you’ll pass the Louisiana Modern Art Museum. Get off at Humlebæk station and from there it’s a 10-minute walk to the museum. This museum is beautifully located in a sculpture park overlooking the sea. The sculpture garden has works by greats like Calder and Serra. The collection of the museum itself includes works of Giacometti, Asger Jorn and Yayoi Kusama.

Louisiana Modern Art Museum


Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

When you’re back in Copenhagen, make your way to the Glyptotek. This fabulous museum has one of the best collections of ancient sculptures in the world. But also, a big collection of 19th-century French sculptures and impressionist paintings.


End your stay in Copenhagen with a visit to the second oldest amusement park in the world. Tivoli is right in the centre of Copenhagen and next to the Glyptotek. Even if you don’t like attraction parks, it’s worth to just go for a walk through the grounds in the evening as everything is lighted and the atmosphere is magical.

Charles Bridge

2 Days in Prague

Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, as such it also attracts hordes of tourists. Don’t let all these people dissuade you, it’s still worth to go to this city. But if you want to minimize your irritation, adjust your schedule and get to the sites early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Also try to explore some of the less visited places this city has to offer.

Day one

The itinerary of the first day can easily be done by foot, if you have difficulty climbing and or walking for longer periods, take the cable cart to the top of Petřín hill or the bus to the castle.

Charles Bridge

Together with the Golden Gate bridge, one of the most photographed bridges in the world, and with reason. This medieval bridge was built by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV.  The bridge was decorated with 30 statues in the 18th century, all the statues you see today are replicas.

Petřín Strahov Monastery

Strahov monastery
Petřín Strahov Monastery

As you walk up the Petřín Orchards, you can either go to the Petřín View Tower, a 60-meter high copy of the Eifel Tower. It was built for the world fair in 1891. Otherwise, you can directly go to the Strahov Monastery. This 12th-century monastery was rebuilt many times and its current face is a baroque one. It houses a picture gallery with 14-19th century paintings, a library with old books and the monastery itself.

National Gallery

The National Gallery has many buildings throughout the city. Just outside the castle complex are two palaces which have been completely renovated to act as museums. The Schwarzenberg Palace and the Sternberg Palace, both are beautiful buildings. Visit the Schwarzenberg Palace if you’re into Baroque art as the museum is focused on art from this period. The museum is currently closed and will open again later in 2019. The Sternberg Palace has a more eclectic collection covering the whole spectrum of European art from antiquity to the 18th century. The collection has some outstanding works of art so if you only want to visit one of the palaces, go here.

Prague Castle

From the monastery it’s a short walk to the castle. This is another tourist magnet, expect it to be busy.

Outside you’ll find the president palace with the presidential guard. You can watch the changing of the guards here every hour from 7.00 in the morning. The big one is at noon, with fanfare and all.

Continue inside and decide whether you want to see the interior of any of the buildings and decide which ticket suits your wishes best. I would suggest the cheapest option, circuit B, as this gives you all the highlights without the unnecessary extra exhibitions. The highlights of the castle complex are the St Vitus Cathedral and the old royal palace. If included in your ticket don’t forget to visit the St. George’s Basilica. This old church dates back to the 10th century and has a beautiful Romanesque interior. The other thing every tourist seems to do, is visiting the Golden Lane. It’s a nice medieval looking street, where you can find the house where Franz Kafka used to live. But it’s usually overcrowded so you won’t have the opportunity to imagine what it would have looked like in the past.

St Vitus Cathedral

St. Vitus Cathedral
St. Vitus Cathedral

As with most Cathedrals, the St Vitus Cathedral was built on top of the earlier 10th-century church. Although construction of this Gothic Cathedral started in 1344 again by Charles IV, it was not consecrated until 1929. The biggest part of this cathedral is therefore not Gothic but Neo-Gothic which luckily complements each other well.

Old Royal Palace

There was a royal palace on this hill since the end of the 9th century. But the earliest remains are that of the 12th-century Romanesque palace, which can be seen in the underground. The present-day castle is a Gothic part started by emperor Charles IV and a late Gothic and Renaissance part from the end of the 15th century. The main attraction is the Vladislav Hall, this huge vaulted hall has been the scene of many important events in the country’s history. Don’t forget to go outside to the gallery for some great views of the Ramparts and Prague.

Best Viewpoints of the city

If you are looking for great viewpoints there are a couple with different perspectives.

St Vitus Cathedral great south tower

You need to buy a separate ticket for the tower of the cathedral. From there you’ll have marvellous views over the castle grounds towards Charles Bridge, the Moldau river and the old town.

Old Royal Palace balcony of Vladislav Hall

If you have bought a ticket for one of the castle circuits, then the Old Royal Palace and this viewpoint are included. From the balcony accessible from the Vladislav Hall in the palace you can view the ramparts of the castle, the Charles bridge and the old town. The view is nice but a bit inferior to the one from the cathedral tower.

Petřín orchard

View of Prague castle from Petřín hill
View of Prague castle from Petřín hill

For free views of the castle, the bridge and the old town, climb Petřín hill via the orchard. Besides this being a nice and relaxing walk away from the crowds it offers some of the best views of the city, and all for free. If you don’t feel like climbing, you can take the cable car to the top.

Petřín tower

Petřín Tower provides slightly wider views than available for free from the hill. The view of the castle and old city won’t improve that much, but it does offer grander vistas of the surroundings of Prague and its suburbs. You’ll have to pay to go to the top.


You can get another free view with a different perspective from Letna. Letna park lies opposite the old town and provides magnificent views of the old town and the river. Depending on where you go you can also view the castle and the Charles bridge.

Old Town Hall Tower

This paid viewpoint is a great one for close-up views of the old town, since it stands right in the middle of the old town square.

Day two

The sites of the second day are a spread out more than on the first day. It’s still doable to walk but if you’re tired or want to speed things along, take a ride in a tram or metro. Prague has some beautiful metro stations and the trams are a nice way to explore the city while sitting.

Jewish Cemetery

Jewish Cemetery
Jewish Cemetery

Start your day with the Jewish Cemetery, since it is one of the busier places and cemeteries are better experienced without too many people around. Take your time to wander around, read up on the history of the Jewish community in Prague and its downfall during the Second World War.

Old New Synagogue

As you exit the cemetery make your way to the nearby Old-New synagogue, this is one the oldest still active synagogue in Europe. It’s a beautiful little Gothic building dating from 1270. It’s also the site of the mythical Golem of Prague.

Spanish Synagogue

Just a block away lies the most beautiful synagogue of Prague, the Spanish Synagogue. It’s the newest synagogue in the area built to replace the oldest synagogue of Prague in 1868. It’s built in a Moorish revival style with domes, gold and geometric patterns.

Spanish Synagogue
Interior of Spanish Synagogue

Convent st Agnes

Just a couple of minutes from the Jewish quarter lies the medieval 13th-century Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia. The convent now is part of the National Gallery of Prague and houses its excellent medieval art collection. The collection focuses on art from Bohemia and Central Europe and has altarpieces and sculptures. The convent garden is freely accessible.

Old Town square

You can’t visit Prague without a visit to the Old town square. The square is lined with beautiful baroque buildings. Here you’ll also find the gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn and the Old Town hall with its famous Astronomical clock. So, join the crowds in anticipation of the clock striking the hour.

Astronomical clock

Let me start off by saying the Astronomical clock in Prague is a marvellous piece of engineering which is fun to watch. But don’t take all its claims to serious. It’s not the oldest in the world, just one earlier example is the Gros Horloge in Rouen, France which predates the Prague one by some 30 years. And be aware that much of what you see today is a restoration of the original. The statues are a 1948 reconstruction after the original statues were destroyed by fire in 1945, the same goes for much of the machinery. Don’t let this lessen your enjoyment of this great piece of art and engineering, but it doesn’t hurt to be informed.

Kinsky Palace

While you’re on the square you can enjoy some more art if you want in the Kinský Palace. This is also a dependence of the National Gallery of Prague and is used as an exhibition space. So, check their website to see what is on. The palace itself dates from the second part of the 18th century, built on top of an earlier Romanesque and gothic structure which can still be seen in the basement.

Powder Tower

The Powder Tower is one of the original 13 city gates of the city of Prague. You can visit it for some views of the surrounding area. It was built at the end of the 15th century but suffered great damage at the Battle of Prague in 1757 so much of what you see today is a later reconstruction.

Mucha Museum

One of the Czech Republic’s most famous artists is Alphonse Mucha. Mucha is best known for his Art Nouveau advertisement posters. If you want to see his works of art, you can either visit the Mucha museum dedicated to the artist and his work or go to the National Gallery which has some of his major works like the Slav Epic. If you want to see his best work, go to the National Gallery, if you want to get an overview of his work visit the Mucha museum, or visit both for a complete picture.

Trade fair palace

If you’re not tired yet and love modern art, go visit the Trade Fair Palace dependence of the National Gallery. Here you will find an excellent collection of Czech art from the 1920s onwards.


Iceland Round Trip in only 4 days

Don’t let the others dissuade you, it is possible to encircle the whole of Iceland in only four days. We present you four days filled with endless sightseeing, a wealth of nature and even some whales and puffins. You will see the whole ring road of Iceland, all its highlights, and we promise you’ll be back in Reykjavik within four days. We advise you to go in June though, as you can continue travelling under the midnight sun. Are you ready for a spectacular trip?


Day one

Rent a car in Reykjavik and leave the capital city straight away. Reykjavik is a nice city, filled with nice bars and shops, but the nature outside this city is what it’s all about. We’ll start by exploring the Golden Circle, Thingvellir, Gullfoss and Geysir, three key attractions close to Reykjavik.



Drive straight to the UNESCO world heritage listed Thingvellir National park, only 50 kilometres from Reykjavik. It’s a 6 km broad and 40 km long rift. The rift marks the boundary between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. If you walk the rift, starting from the visitor’s centre, you can see the world’s first parliament, the Althing, on your right. Sessions were established in 930 CE and held there until 1798. There are several hiking trails or you can go scuba diving, and see the rift from above.



Continue the drive to Gullfoss: one of the most impressive compact waterfalls in the world. It is an enormous double cascade, with a total height of 32 meters. The haze of the falling water creates beautiful rainbows when it’s sunny. Therefore, it’s called Gullfoss: golden waterfall.



Next stop is Geysir. The English word ‘geyser’ derives from this geyser. Geysir is not very active at the moment, due to human interferences. But Strokkur, about 50 metres next to Geysir, is. Strokkur erupts every 6-10 minutes, with a height of about 15-20 metres.

Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss and Dyrhólaey natural reserve

When you’ve finished the Golden Circle, you can drive back to the ring way, heading to Vík, the final destination of today. Along the way, you will see more spectacular waterfalls. The first one is Seljalandsfoss. A 65 Meter high waterfall. You can even walk behind the falling water. Seljalandsfoss is the only waterfall that is lighted during the night. 15 Km further away lies Skógafoss, another waterfall where the water falls over what once was the coastline of Iceland. You can walk a small lane, 1 KM to the east, to reach the smaller Kvernufoss waterfall. Finish the day in Vík. Just before you’ll enter the small fishing village lies the last sight of the day: Dyrhólaey natural reserve. It’s home to one of the largest seabird colonies of Iceland, during summer you should definitely see some puffins. And you can see a massive arch that the sea has eroded.
Stay the night in Vík

Day 2

Reynisfjara Beach

Basalt cliffs at Reyniisfjara beach

Start your day at Reyniisfjara Beach. It is a famous black sand beach, with some impressive symmetrical basalt columns that look like a staircase, a cave, and some basalt cliffs that rise from the sea. A great place to see the sunrise. Just watch out for the unpredictable waves which can suddenly engulf the beach.

Eldhraum, Skaftafell and the Glacier Lagoon

Glacier Lagoon

Heading East, you will cross Eldhraum moss-covered lava fields and Skaftafell. At the border of Skaftafell lies the Glacier Lagoon. It is a lake filled with floating ice chunks, some say this is Iceland’s Crown Jewel. It’s difficult to stop watching all the different shapes of the icebergs, one even bigger than the other. In the end, they all have to pass the small river, to enter the sea. Don’t forget to visit the nearby Diamond Beach, where the ice lies on the black sand, glistening in the sun. Nearby the Glacier Lagoon lies a glacier tongue, which is also a recommended spot to visit. Both the Glacier Lagoon and the glacier tongue will look different each and every time you go.

Litlanesfoss and Hengifoss


Enjoy the drive along the cliffs of Iceland’s East coast when you’re heading north. When you pass Vatternes, you can make a stop-over to visit Petra’s stone collection, if you like stones. Otherwise, continue the drive inland, towards Litlanesfoss and Hengifoss. It’s a 2-hour walk from the parking lot to Hengifoss. You will pass Litlanesfoss halfway. They are magnificent waterfalls, surrounded by colourful and geometric rocks. Hengifoss is one of Iceland’s highest waterfalls, with 118 meter.
After this nice hike, drive back north, towards Egilsstadir to sleep. We can really recommend the cute, wooden tiny houses at Vinland Camping Pot.

Day 3

Drive towards Mývatn. The ring way does not follow the coastline, for a change, but takes you inland. You will pass abandoned farms and desolate land. But don’t forget to look out for waterfalls along the road, there are many.


Another day another waterfall? Detifoss is reputed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe. So take your raincoat with you. The waterfall is over 100 metres wide, and have a drop of over 44 metres, causing heavy mist. Per second an average of 193 m³ water falls down.

Krafla Caldera


Take your mosquito hat with you, when visiting the Krafla Caldera. Not only mosquitoes, but also the smell announces this piece of living earth from afar. It’s a collapsed, but still active volcanic area. The highlights are Leirbotn (the geothermal power station), Víti Maar (a volcanic crater with a green lake) and Leirhnjúkur (steaming sulphuric terrain and multi-coloured lava field).

Mývatn Nature Baths


After seeing the hot water from the outside, it’s time to take a bath. Just on the other side of the mountains lies Mývatn Nature Baths. This bath offers a completely natural experience while enjoying the rocky sceneries surrounding the baths. It has several baths, showers, saunas and a restaurant. What else do you need for your body and mind?

Hverfjall Crater

Near the eastern shore of Late Myvatn lies Hverfjall, a 396-meter high tephra explosion crater. You can walk up the slopes and around the crater’s rim and enjoy the view of the surrounding landscape. The crater has a diameter of 1 KM.



Dimmunorgir lies just next to Hverffjall. It’s a park of unusually shaped lava fields because the lava pooled over a small lake. The water started to boil and formed lava pillars up to several meters in diameter.
Then it’s about time to head north to Iceland’s second largest city Akureyri. Here we’ll have some dinner and a good night of sleep.

Day 4

Whales on backboard!

Humpback whale

Akureyri is one of the world’s best places to watch whales. So rise and shine early, and make your way to the harbour or the towns a bit north to get on a boat and do some whale watching. Nature is always unpredictable, but during summer, and when it’s not too windy, it’s the best time to spot some giant whales, and also some dolphins.

Driving along the Westfhords

The Icelandic Wesfjords are spectacular. In the most remote location of Iceland, you’ll find gorgeous fjords. It’s also the perfect place to photograph some sheep or horses that live along the road. So enjoy the ride back West.

Hraunfossar and Barnafoss


Do stop over at the waterfalls. Although you might think you’ve seen most waterfalls, Hraunfossar and Barnafoss are stunning in their own way. Hraunfossar trickles down directly from underneath a lava field.



Enjoy a nice dinner in Iceland’s capital Reykjavík. It’s filled with hipster restaurants, cafés, galleries and shops. Make use of the happy hour (just before dinner time), to enjoy an affordable beer and say cheers to making it back to Reykjavík!


To do this itinerary, the only thing you need to prepare, next to booking your flight, is to rent a car, book a visit to Myvatn Nature Baths on your third day, book whale watching in Akureyri on your third day, and book hotels in Vík, Egilsstadir, Akureyri and Reykjavik.

mirror room

Cultural baptism: Russia, how to prepare your visit.

To really get to know Russia, you need to interact with the people there. In the end, there is no real substitute for human interaction. But there are a lot of things you can do to make those meetings go smoother, like learning Russian, develop a common frame of reference and study Russian culture and history. Besides enhancing your stay there, it’s also a lot of fun. As Gustave Flaubert said; “Pleasure is found first in anticipation, later in memory.”

How to prepare for travelling to Russia? We gathered a unique list of books, movies, and music that grant you an insight into Russian culture and that will enrich your travels.

The links used are Amazon affiliate links. By buying through the links we may receive a commission for the sale. This has no effect on the price for you.


Alexander Nevsky (Aleksandr Nevskiy 1938)

The movie Alexander Nevsky portraits the failed Teutonic invasion in the 1241 and the successful resistance organised by Alexander Nevsky. This movie by legendary Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein portrays the early medieval times of Kievan Rus.

Brother (Brat 1997)

This gangster movie portrays the wild west 90’s after the fall of the Soviet Union. It’s a low budget movie which quickly gained cult status in Russia. It was followed by the sequel Brother 2. If you like 90s action movies, this is for you.

Leviathan (Leviafan 2014)

Leviathan is a tragic movie dealing with corruption and love in present-day Russia. The film is set in the Murmansk region in the Artic circle. It’s a great film which will leave you utterly depressed.

Our Own (Svoi 2004)

Svoi is a movie set during the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. It deals with the moral dilemmas of war and the different allegiances of people. This was even harder in the occupied parts of the Soviet Union where brutal life under Stalinist rule was replaced by brutal fascism.

Russian Ark (Russkiy kovcheg 2002)

Are you going to the Hermitage museum or are you not able too? Anyway, watch this movie to marvel at all the wonders of the Winter Palace. The movie is filmed in one take and goes through the cities 300-year history.


War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace is the Magnus Opus of Tolstoy and a colossal book. It tells the story of the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) from the perspective of the Russian nobility. This novel is grand in its writing and scope. It is especially interesting for those planning to visit St. Petersburg and its many palaces as a big part of the book takes place here.

Apricot Jam and Other Stories – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Apricot Jam and Other Stories is a bundle of stories by Nobel Prize winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The stories cover the tumultuous 20th century in Russia. From the Revolution to the Civil War and from the Great Patriotic War (Second World War) to the fall of the Soviet Union. It focuses on the people who are crushed and swept aside by the tides of history. The stories are tragic but also full of dark humour. This book is great to get an overview of the misfortune many people in Russia had to deal with during the previous century and gives some insight into the national psyche it developed.

The Road: Short Fiction and Essays – Vasily Grossman

The Road is another bundle of stories mainly covering the first half of the 20th century, this time written by Vasily Grossman. Vasily Grossman was a war correspondent and wrote first hand reports of many pivotal battles fought by the Soviet Union in the Great Patriotic War. The stories in this book cover the war, it includes the famous ‘The Hell of Treblinka’ a first-hand report of the liberation of the Nazi Death camp. But it also includes fictional stories about live under Communist rule and the hard choices and decisions forced upon its people. A great companion piece to Solzhenitsyn book to help you understand the harsh reality of life in the Soviet Union.

Day of the Oprichnik – Vladimir Sorokin

Day of the Oprichnik is a book that tells a fictional story about Russia in the near future. This dark parody seems to be a satire of present day Russia and the rule by Putin. Read this book because it’s a great work of fiction and also because it will give you an insight into present day Russian politics and its dark machinations.

Memoirs of Catherine the Great – Catherine the Great

Although the Memoirs of Catherine the Great only deal with the time before she became empress, it’s still a very interesting primary source to read. It gives a rare first-hand insight into live at the 18th century imperial Russian court. Read this if you want to know more about the woman who built the beautiful palace outside St. Petersburg and who started the gigantic art collection which formed the basis for the Hermitage Museum.


Leningrad (Rock)

Leningrad makes popular rock music with strong language which celebrates but at the same time parodies contemporary Russian life. Especially their video clips are nice to watch as they play with Russian stereotypes.

Pharaoh (Rap)

Pharaoh is a young an upcoming Moscow rapper. As many rappers, he is mainly concerned with rapping about money and success but with a more nihilistic twists to his songs and videos.

Igor Stravinsky (Classical)

This Russian composer gained fame with his ballets for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Our favourite is The Rite of Spring. Good music to get into Russian Ballet.

Monetochka (Pop)

Monetochka or Liza Gyrdymova, is Russia’s new pop star. The music sounds like what you would expect from 21st century pop music.

Dmitri Shostakovich (Classical)

Shostakovich was one of the most favoured composers of the Soviet regime. Although his relationship with the regime had its highs and lows. He composed ‘Suite on Finnish Themes’ to be played by the victorious Red Army marching through Helsinki. The Winter War was not successful, and it wouldn’t be played until 2001. He dedicated his seventh symphony to Leningrad, the city which would endure the longest siege during the Second World War.