In about 2 months (not 1 month-stupid WordPress widgit) I will be heading to Europe to do my annual international vacation. We will be going to Amsterdam, Cologne, Brussels, Ghent, and possibly some other small cities. So when I saw the article below I was glad to see I was going to one of the cities on their list.
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The Netherlands takes pride in its tulips, and for good reason: these flowers are big business. This spring, explore the countryside on bicycle to see vast fields carpeted with vibrant tulips in a dazzling array of colors. , located in nearby Lisse, is famed for rows upon rows of flowers that stretch as far as the eye can see. Take a day trip there when the gardens are open, from mid-March to mid-May, by direct bus (No. 858) from Schiphol Airport.
Insider Tip: In the city, opt for ‘s equally fabulous and historical floating on the Singel canal—the only one in the world, open daily—to view floating barges that burst in fragrant swathes of red, pink, orange, and yellow petals.
In spring, Europe’s westernmost capital is bathed in warm climes, with picture-perfect hues that pervade twisting cobblestone alleyways. A spring trip to is a fairy-tale fling in a global city that’s undergoing something of a renaissance. Outside the city, neighboring castle-clad towns Sintra and Cascais both make for easy day trips.
Insider Tip: The hip, bohemian neighborhood of is filled with creatives. Explore the quarter’s abundance of artistic murals, three-table bars where elderly men smoking pipes flank traditional bars, and Capoeira schools and cafés that boast an eclectic edge.
The hip capital ranks as a popular budget-friendly destination. The city offers medicinal thermal baths, edgy “ruin pubs,” and a gritty, post-Communist exuberance. For exploring, the lower Pest side of the Danube River boasts opera, theaters, and the city’s historic Jewish quarter, while Buda on the upper side features the castle district’s posh residences.
Insider Tip: Spanning three floors, offers everything from local meats to baked sweets. Spring kicks off a roster of world-themed food days, including Chilean and Moroccan eats. The Easter market is one of the busiest times of year; expect throngs of hungry crowds counting their forints.
Deeply etched in European history, is synonymous with classical music, elegance, and historic architecture. Get lost in the quaint side streets on a spring morning and make sure to visit the city’s medieval center, which offers the widest collection of art nouveau buildings in the world. Here, the concentration of remarkably intact medieval architecture dates back to the 12th century, which contributed to Riga’s World Heritage status. The European Union also recently recognized the city as the European Capital of Culture for 2014.
Insider Tip: Foodies should head to for locally sourced Latvian tidbits ranging from pig snout and sauerkraut to hemp butter. End your day with a drink and a rooftop view from the ‘s 26th-floor Skyline Bar. The spot fills up fast, so get there early to enjoy spectacular panoramic vistas.
Spring kick-starts a year of Danish design and architecture exhibitions. Start at the iconic , which first opened in 1755. The hotel is newly refurbished, overlooks famous square, and sits near the Nyhavn Canal, the Royal Danish Theatre, and shopping street Stroget. Spend another afternoon at , Northern Europe’s largest aquarium.
Insider Tip: For unforgettable organic fare, go to super-hip , the Meat District neighborhood, and try restaurant, which is housed within a 1920s Bosch warehouse, or the neighboring .