Europe Travel Guide
Denmark - best May-Sept; worst Jan, Feb; see Copenhagen Tourism
France Travel Guide - best April- Sept; worst Jan, Feb; France Beaches Picture/Guides: France | Aix-en Provence | Annecy | Antibes | Arles | Avignon | Biarritz | Cannes | Carcassonne | Corsica | Eze | Grasse | Loire Valley | Menton | Monaco | Mont St-Michel | Nice | Nimes | Paris | St Jean de Luz | St Paul-de-Vence | St Tropez
Malta Travel Guide - best May to July.
Romania Travel Guide* - best May-Sept; worst winter except for skiing.
Spain Travel Guide - best April-June, Sept, Oct. Worst Aug, Dec- Feb; Guides: Barcelona | Canary Islands Guide | Madrid | Majorca/Balearics Guide | Seville | Spain Beaches Picture/Guides: Spain | Arcos | Barcelona | Cadiz | Cordoba | Granada | Madrid | Malaga | Ronda | Seville
UK Travel Guide - best Apr-Sept; worst Nov-Feb; see also England Guide | Scotland Guide | Edinburgh City Tourism | London City Tourism | England Pictures | London | Edinburgh | Brighton | Canterbury | British Beaches
*These countries are partly in Europe!
Take care when booking accommodation online in Europe. Online deals are easy to find these days and hotel booking sites usually efficient and good value. BUT! there are fake apartment booking sites out there that will collect your hard-earned wonga and disappear with it while you arrive at your perfectly located city-centre flat only to find other people legally in residence. These fake sites are well set up, copy/pasting logos and room photos from genuine sites and can be totally convincing.
How to avoid booking a fake?
• call the agency or apartment owner. Fakes often have phone numbers but they go to voice mail, so call and check status with a live person.
• check the agency/flat is registered with a local tourist office.
• pay by credit card to ensure you're covered in the event of a rip-off.
Information on driving to France from the UK, hints and links on ferries, tolls, speeding controls, insurance.
All drivers must have a full licence, registration documents for their vehicle and a certificate of motor insurance. Cars coming from right-hand drive UK must have beam converters for headlights.
The drink-drive law is generally tighter across Europe than it is in the UK. In most countries the limit is 50mg per 100ml of blood compared with British 80mg, but in Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic the limit is zero, and in Norway the limit is a minute mouthful at 10mg.
Some key driving laws in the most commonly travelled European countries
Drivers must now have at least one unused breathalyser (it's wise to carry a spare in case you have to use one) displaying the French NF certification mark in the car. To bring them into line with other Continental countries such as Germany and Italy, France has now banned speed-camera warning devices, as well as installing 400 more fixed cameras and taking down the signs alerting drivers to them.
It's not just dedicated speed-camera detectors that are banned, either. If your satnav alerts you to speed cameras, you must disable that function.
Motorway speed limit: 130kph (110kph in the wet).
Drink-drive limit: 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
Other kit: warning triangle, reflective jackets, breathalyser.
The Spanish might have a reputation for being laid back, but that doesn't apply to driving in their country. Indicating on motorways both before and after overtaking moves is enforced and there are on-the-spot fines if you don't do it.
Motorway speed limit: 120kph.
Drink-drive limit: 50mg/100ml.
Other kit: two warning triangles, replacement light bulbs, reflective jackets, spare spectacles if you need glasses for driving.
Be careful when driving in town centres, particularly when they are ancient, because it is easy to stray into a Zona Traffico Limitato (ZTL). Traffic in these is either fully prohibited or limited to residents with permits and the AA says it is the most common law British tourists unwittingly break. And although it might be hard to believe, given the Italians' reputation for being horn happy, sounding off is actually banned in built-up areas.
Motorway speed limit: 130kph (110kph in the wet and for dual carriageways).
Drink-drive limit: 50mg/100ml.
Other kit: warning triangle, replacement light bulbs, reflective jackets.
Mention the German Autobahn and most people think of motorways with no speed limit. Actually, only about a fifth of the Autobahn network is limit-free. The rest has speed limits that are strictly enforced by the police. In the unlikely event that you want to wash your car while on holiday in Germany, don't do it on a public road. It's against the law.
Motorway speed limit: No motorway speed limit unless shown, where it's usually 130kph.
Drink-drive limit: 50mg/100ml.
Other kit: warning triangle.
Source: Telegraph Newspaper
Best value European Cities
1. Berlin, Germany, for its low cost meals, free art everywhere and 'crazy but affordable hotels and a creative, buzzing nightlife'.
2. Krakow, Poland, for its western Europe sophistication but eastern Europe prices.
3. Belfast, Northern Ireland, for amazing value and quality of bars, restaurants and shops.
4. Riga, Latvia, 'the cheapest city break in Europe'.
5. Cadiz, Spain, terrific beaches, lovely old city surrounded by sea, lively nightlife but non-tourist prices.
6. Istanbul, Turkey, excellent exotic sights, superb shopping, fine food and cheap, cheap, cheap.
Best value European Countries
1. Spain is amazing value but only if you avoid the common tourist targets such as Barcelona, Madrid, Seville...
2. Portugal, like Spain, offers beaches and wonderful ancient sights but stay away from the classic tourist traps in the Algarve to find incredible value for money.
3. Romania offers spectacular landscapes, an an old-Europe feel, including old world prices but also old world wobbly infrastructure. It's an adventure!
4. Latvia and Estonia both offer very cheap lifestyles, small cities with big architectural attractions and plenty of greenery around.
5. Czech Republic is tourist-heavy as usual but still amazingly good value, especially outside Prague.
1 Sofia, Bulgaria, US$20.75 per day.
2 Krakow, Poland.
3 Bucharest, Romania.
4 Budapest, Hungary.
5 Istanbul, Turkey.
6 Warsaw, Poland.
7 St Petersburg, Russia.
8 Prague, Czech Republic.
9 Zagreb, Croatia.
10 Moscow, Russia, US$46.79 per day.
11 Tallinn, Estonia.
12 Bruges, Belgium.
13 Lisbon, Portugal.
14 Berlin, Germany.
15 London, England.
16 Dubrovnik, Croatia.
17 Athens, Greece.
18 Madrid, Spain.
19 Florence, Italy.
20 Edinburgh, Scotland US$65.69 per day (but not during the Festival!).
Surprises in the list are due to the availability of cheap hotels, hostels and apartments.
The 10 best cities in Europe according to bugbog (massive disagreement expected here!)
Paris (France); Venice, Florence and Rome (Italy); Barcelona and Seville (Spain); Amsterdam (Netherlands); Prague (Czech Republic); London (England); Istanbul (Turkey); Vienna (Austria) Oops! That's eleven, but can't be helped. City Pictures and guides above. Travelling by Train?
1 Warsaw, Poland: Best time to travel Friday am, Monday eve; Worst Monday am, Friday eve.
2 Marseille, France: Best time to travel Wednesday am, Monday eve; Worst Tuesday am, Friday eve.
3 Rome, Italy: Best time to travel Friday am, Monday eve; Worst Monday am, Thursday eve.
4 Brussels, Belgium: Best time to travel Friday am, Monday eve; Worst Thursday am, Friday eve.
5 Paris, France: Best time to travel Friday am, Monday eve; Worst Thursday am, Fri eve.
6 Dublin, Ireland: Best time to travel Friday am, Monday eve; Worst Monday am, Thursday eve.
7 Bradford-Leeds, England: Best time to travel Friday am, Monday eve; Worst Monday am, Thursday eve.
8 London, England: Best time to travel Friday am, Monday eve; Worst Tuesday am, Thursday eve.
Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain.
11 other countries in the European Union do not use the euro: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Sweden, United Kingdom (also known as UK, including 'Great' Britain, uses the sterling pound).
San Michele in Foro, Lucca, Italy.
This crammed and chaotic part of the world has a stunning variety of architectural
styles, both public buildings and private. From Paris' Eiffel Tower to
the cramped but characterful canal side housing of Amsterdam, from Barcelona's
melting Sagrada Familia to Venice's decaying palazzos, and from London's
Houses of Parliament to Vienna's backstreets, the area has the greatest
And don't forget some amazing post-modern architecture too, ranging from Bilbao's wacky Guggenheim museum to Berlin's crystal Reichstag.
Madrid, Plaza Mayor, Spain
Walkabout: most Euro city centres are compact, reasonably well preserved and have developed car-free or car-limited pedestrian areas that make getting around the city centres a pleasure. And then there's Venice...
History: 2,000 years of brutal, fascinating history lurks behind the civilized facades of most Euro cities. World changing civilizations like ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, Napoleonic France, Victorian England, Turkey's Ottoman Empire, Spain's conquistadors and Germany's Third Reich rose and fell in Europe - and the scars are still visible.
London, British Museum, England
Culture: The cultural heritage on show in every Euro city is staggering. Among the world beating museums and galleries are St Petersburg's Hermitage, Paris' Louvre, London's British Museum, Madrid's Prado, Istanbul's Topkapi palace, and Rome's Vatican. In most cases the building housing these treasures are treasures themselves.
Cuisine: European cuisine has also given the world some everlasting icons. Taste the original pizza in Italy, caviar in Russia, roast beef in England, coffee in Vienna, croissants in France, sausage in Germany. Then go and have a Mcdonald's if you must...
Style: Style and fashion are a dynamic part of everyday life in much of the Euro zone too. From London's punk/grunge/whatever to Paris' haut couture to Italian leather to Scandinavian minimalism, the creative process is constantly being pushed to the limit. Shopping in the right places in Euro cities will yield styles ranging from wild and wacky avant garde to perfect classical, though prices often require deep pockets.
Venice Carnival, Italy
Festivals: Europe's cities also offer a rich crop of strange and wonderful festivals, like the Bull Running in Pamplona (Spain), the masked Carnival in Venice (Italy), Scotland's huge and crazy Edinburgh Festival, Salzburg's prestigious music festival in Austria and, and...
Escape: And when you're tired of the cities, there's plenty of interest in the countryside: castles and palaces and ancient ruins and mountains and lakes and sports of every description to refresh you before you go back to the cities.
Ireland, Moher cliffs walk, County Clare