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Visiting Europe's top cities

Experienced travellers will tell you that the weeks you spend planning your coming holiday trip could sometimes be even more exciting (and rewarding!) than the trip itself. My aim here is to give the practical information that tourists on a very short stay need to know. You can easily find all the historical details you need from guidebooks or Wikipedia but if you are on an European tour and have only one or two days to spend in each of the cities then you will need to know which are the most important landmarks to visit as you cannot possibly visit them all. The must-see, must-do activities are highlighted here. Hopefully you will find these pages useful in this respect.
Also the principal cities of interest in Europe are really very close to each other. You certainly do not want to look silly when you return home and be told "Oh, you should have gone to (such-and-such a city) from there even if it is just for a night!" simply because you did not have the necessary information on how close it is and how easy it is to hop over. That would be a real shame indeed. I am sure these pages will be of great help to you in planning your European tour.

Taormina resort in Sicily
SICILY, Taormina resort

The Szechenyi thermal baths in Budapest, Hungary
BUDAPEST, Szechenyi baths

Sunset in Venice from St. Mark’s Square
VENICE, St Mark's Square

Puerta del Sol, Madrid
MADRID, Puerta del Sol

Thus if you are in Paris in summer you could take the night train for the French Riviera (sleeping on the night train is not travel time wasted, you will agree). Unless you are a jet-setter - in which case just replace the train by the plane.
But if the glamorous cities like Cannes, Nice and Monaco is not your cup of tea how about the more historical city of Rome? Or the romantic city of Venise? Both are also just a night train's journey from Paris. And in one sweep you would have covered both France and Italy!

I could go on and on. Taking the night train from Paris to Barcelona or Madrid, for that matter. So that's France and Spain for you without too much effort. And what about Athens and Prague? They're not too far away neither once you are in Paris (which I assume every tourist to Europe will make a point of stopping!) With low-cost flights charging 30 euros or less (that is, if you book a few months in advance), flying from one major city in Europe to another nowadays is not much more expensive than travelling by train. And besides, it only takes 2-3 hours of flying time from Paris to most of the top European cities mentioned here. So if you have come from far to Europe, you might as well make the most of it and not just confine yourself to one or two cities, right?

Las Arenas, Barcelona was open in March 2011

Tower Bridge, London
LONDON, Tower Bridge

Railway terminal, Rome
ROME, railway terminal

And as planning your holidays in advance is such an exciting game, I'll continue. Once in Madrid, and after having seen all of it (or the must-see places anyway), how about a train ride of just half an hour to the historic town of Toledo or if you are in Rome, how about continuing (without too much cost or time) on to Naples, Pompeii and the Capri islands?
But I'll be discussing all these travel possibilities in much more detail when I touch on each of the top European cities separately here. Talking about "killing two birds with one stone" (and why not three?)

Amsterdam, the red-light district
AMSTERDAM, canal at doorstep

Centre Pompidou, Paris
PARIS, Pompidou Centre

The Broken Chair, Geneva
GENEVA, The Broken Chair

There are also tips here on finding your way around in each city - especially upon your arrival at the railway station or airport. For travellers on a low budget there are suggestions on how to get by with the minimum amount of spending. Remember that if you are prepared to hunt around for tips and read visitors' accounts in travel forums you will often be able to find really cheap places to stay or travel around cheaply or eat in economic restaurants even in expensive cities like London, Paris or Venice.

Christiana in Copenhagen
COPENHAGEN, Christiania

Oslo, Norway
OSLO, Fjord Cruise

The French Riviera
CANNES, La Croisette

Visiting Andalucia in Spain
CORDOBA, S. Iglesia Cathedral

The Parthenon in Acropolis, Athens
ATHENS, Parthenon

PRAGUE, Old Town Square
PRAGUE, Old Town Square

DUBLIN, Temple Bar

LISBON, Rooster as emblem

MILAN, gateway to Expo 2015

BERLIN, Dome of Reichstag bldg.

RIGA, House of Blackheads

KRAKOW, Wawel Royal Castle

BRUGES, Venice of the North

BRUSSELS, the Whirling Ear

OSTEND, the floral clock

Day trips that can be made from the above European cities (click for details):
Naples | Capri Island | Pompeii | Brighton | La Rochelle | Ile de Ré | Toledo | Volendam | Malmo | Nice | Monaco | Malaga | Sevilla | Granada | Rouen | Kent