Posts in Europe
Tranquil Tuscany

Some travelers want to spend hours on the beach. Others may find their solace on trails in the mountains. Or, perhaps the constant buzz of city life as you whiz from one place to the next. There is a famous quote, “vacation to find yourself.” If you need me, I’ll be in Tuscany.

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Stockholm, Sweden
  • Put the Vasa Museum at the top of your list. The Vasa is warship built in 1628 that sank in the Stockholm harbor on her maiden voyage. After 333 years under the sea, Vasa was salvaged and is now on display. This museum boasts that it is the most visited museum in Scandinavia and it’s for a good reason.

  • Call me biased as this is a blog for travel photography, but The Museum of Photography or Fotografiska is fantastic! You can walk from Gamla Stan (the old city) to the museum in about 20 minutes, and there are signs all along the walk to guide you. In addition to incredible photography exhibits, there is also an award-winning restaurant on the top floor with beautiful views of Stockholm. *The restaurant was closed during our visit but we found the cafe on the top floor to be delicious, and offered the same stunning views.

  • You’ll need to rest your tired feet at some point and why not enjoy a craft cocktail at the same time? Pharmarium is in the heart of the old city and offers imaginative drinks and delectable treats. The menu changes seasonally, but if Croquette & Onion is on the list during your visit, do your taste buds a favor and order them! A reservation is highly encouraged as we saw many people turned away at the door.

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Copenhagen, Denmark

This was our second visit to Copenhagen so we will call this the “ 2018 winter edition” of the Top Three.

  • If you are a foodie looking for a transcendent gastronomic experience, book a table at Geranium. This is the only three-star Michelin restaurant in Denmark, and it does not disappoint. The experience will tantalize your taste buds but also lighten your wallet. Be prepared to pay around $1,000 if you do the wine pairing and full tasting menu.

  • For the ultimate Christmas experience, look no further than Tivoli Gardens. This amusement park opened in 1843 and is the second oldest in the world. In November, Tivoli is transformed into a winter wonderland with Christmas decorations and lights cover every square inch of the park as well as seasonally themed shops and restaurants. The best time to arrive is around 3:30 p.m. (dusk). You can purchase advanced tickets online to beat the crowds. The ticket only includes entry — you will have to buy alternative tickets inside the park to go on the rides.

  • If you are a lover of Christmas beer, make a stop at Taphouse. There are 61 beers on tap with a constantly rotating menu. Since we happened to be in the city during Christmas, there were 19 different types of Christmas beer! They serve sample sizes so that you can taste test your heart out.

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Prague, Czech Republic
  • On your way to Prague Castle take a hidden shortcut through the Furstenberg Garden. This beautiful garden with a zigzag stairway path that provides sweeping views of the city with restrooms and a coffee shop before you reach a sea of tourists who took the crowded way up. There is a small entrance fee of $2.50 (50 KC) that you must pay in cash.

  • Enjoy Czech culinary delights at Mlynec, nestled in the shadow of the Charles Bridge. We loved this place so much that we went back later in the evening to sit at the bar for drinks. If you plan to do the tasting menu set aside 3-3.5 hours. Reservations are strongly encouraged.

  • We are book nerds and had the most incredible experience touring the Klementinum, regarded as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. The tour also includes a visit to the Astronomical tower with 360 views of Prague.

*We stayed at the Carlo IV (part of the Marriott family) located near the heart of the Old City and within walking distance of all the major sights in Prague. Would highly recommend if you want a five-star experience.

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Venice, Italy
  • Take a gondola ride. Some hotels can book them for you in advance, but you will see waiting areas all over the Grand Canal. They will only take cash so stop off at an ATM first (the ride will be about 80-100 euro). You can BYOB on the ride so don’t forget the champagne.

  • Dinner at Bistrot de Venise is a MUST. They have a fantastic tasting menu with historic or modern Venetian options or a la cart. If you want to impress book the “romantic special” which includes starter Prosecco, tasting menu, and a red rose for your date.

  • Escape the tourist filled streets and get lost in Italian Renaissance art at the Gallerie Dell’Accademia.

*Travel Tip - Do not take the private water taxi’s as they are very expensive (around 60-80 euro). Venice has a water bus that stops at all the major sights for 7.5 euro.

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Dublin, Ireland
  • The Guinness Storehouse is on the top of every "Dublin" travel list and I agree. However, pay extra for the Connoisseur Experience. You will be taken to a private tasting area that resembles an early 1900's study and be treated to a unique tasting experience of Guinness not only as you know it but how it is served in other parts of the world.

  • Rent a car and drive the Ring of Kerry. Stops along the way should include Muckross Abbey and Ross Castle. We stayed at Gleann Fia Country House in Killarney and were treated to traditional Irish meals and wonderful hospitality.

  • Don't travel to Dublin over Christmas. While we had an amazing trip, most of major sights were closed for the holiday until the New Year.

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Rome, Italy
  • One of the best things about Italy, besides the history and amazing architecture is the food and wine. Right outside of our hotel was Alex Cafe Gestione Ci.Bi. Sas. It looks like a little glass house and offers amazing pasta, wine, and service.

  • I realize Vatican City is independent city-state from Rome, but this is a sight you do not want to miss when you are in the area. St. Peter's Basilica opens at 7:00 a.m. and if you arrive at 6:00 a.m. you will beat the lines and the tour buses. This will also give you time to take pictures of the famed St. Peter's Square before it is packed with people. 

  • If you need a break during sightseeing grab a slice of pizza and glass of vino at Piazza Navona. This open space was built in 1st century AD and is home to breathtaking sculptures and architecture with prime people watching as artists paint, dance,  and play music.

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Budapest, Hungary
  • Go over to the Buda side to Castle Hill. This is a non-negotiable if you are in Budapest. Fisherman's Bastion offers beautiful views of the Pest side of the city and the stunning Hungarian Parliament Building. It also connects all of the castles on the hilltop and is a scenic and enjoyable walking tour of Buda. 

  • When you are walking back to the Pest side stop at Platan Grill and order the goulash. This little spot is easy to miss so keep your eyes peeled. 

  • Once you make your way over to the Pest side of the city find a Ruin bar. (Most of them are located in the old Jewish Quarter.) What began as an underground club experience is now one of the top attractions when in Budapest. There are no neon lights outside these clubs so don't be afraid to ask around. The original ruin bar is Szimpla Kert and one of the most popular! 

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Santorini, Greece
  • HEAVEN ON EARTH. If you are visiting Greece you do not want to skip this jewel hidden in the Agean.

  • Visit Santo Winery. Greek wines are unique and bold. This winery is nestled in a quiet part of Santorini, but built above the sweeping cliffs with two levels of patio space looking directly over the ocean and barren volcanoes that dot the Cyclades.

  • If you want to see the picturesque white houses with blue domes, you will need to stop at Oia and Fira. We went to Oia first and ended at Fira. There is a cable car that will take you from Fira located on top of the cliffs to the Old Port by the sea. This is a fun ride and will give you great views of the island.

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