Europe: what do you think?
Readers give the lowdown on their favourite places in Europe.
I absolutely loved Malaga while I was there – the Spanish food, including amazing tapas and seafood, the beach and beautiful views. Everyday there was something to see – big parades such as Semana Santa, where local folks dress up, sing and dance on streets, the Picasso museum or a real bull-fighting ring
I have a lot of emotional ties to Poland as the culture and traditions frame most of my upbringing. I have travelled to many places around the country but I always long to go back to Krakow. It is so picturesque and historical. Nowadays it is buzzing with tourists and younger people so it has something for everybody.
Barcelona is a technicolour paradise. Walking down Las Ramblas is like stumbling across a stage. Human statues, clowns and dancers blurred past my vision whilst the cries from locals selling exotic birds invaded my ears. The combination of a beautiful beach, winding old town streets and an abundance of greenery made Barcelona different from anywhere else I’d been.
Budapest, Hungary is a really mixed city and it was only after going on the free walking communism tour that I appreciated the reasons for this and the beauty of the place. The baths are like an enormous play pool for adults. Whether playing chess with the old men on the side of the pool or experiencing the 90 degree sauna and ice baths, it was one of the best days of the trip.
Split, Croatia is in the old palace ruins which are an unusual and really charismatic setting. At the local market there are old women selling sauerkraut from buckets and in the next street is a Tiffany’s for the all the super yacht owners visiting from around the islands.
The best place I visited has to be Santander, Spain. It was beautiful. In some ways it reminded me of Ireland because it was so green, and even within the city I loved looking at the golden beaches and seeing green mountains in the background
Make sure you stay for the fiestas in August. Spaniards really know how to have a good time, whether in a big city or a small village. I went to Bilbao over the summer and they were so much fun. There were thousands of people partying in the streets in outdoor bars, with free concerts and DJs.
I loved Barcelona because it has everything you could want from a city; great museums, things to do and see, good food and nightlife. Yet, just a short train ride away, or even within the city centre, you have gorgeous sandy beaches and little seaside towns.
Italy is one of my favourite countries because I love all the European culture, especially the architecture. Rome is amazing everywhere you look – streets, buildings, monuments such as the Coliseum and Trevi Fountain. It is a bit expensive for the average traveller but you don’t need to spend money to just walk around and appreciate the atmosphere.
Slovenia is often overlooked because of its tiny size and hard to pronounce capital. But it is, without a doubt, the cutest and most pleasant European country I’ve been to. Ljubljana is a sweet pastel wonderland but the highlight was Bled. I loved the drama of the vast lake, the teensy island church and the towering castle on a cliff. There are some great nearby hikes through the Julian Alps as well.
Stephanie Yoder, Washington DC, www.twenty-somethingtravel.com
I spent a few days in Eindhoven for Queen’s Day, a national holiday in the Netherlands. The city was full of merry people dressed from head to toe in orange. The streets were busy and the music was loud; a proper party environment. Around each corner was something new such as live bands in the streets, Irish pubs and clubs full of dance or techno music. There was something for everyone to enjoy during this massive celebration.