Four European Cities to Visit This Spring
Visiting Europe in spring and early summer is an excellent way to discover the secrets of all these cities that are always offering a hectic street life and great sightseeing. While most locals are waking up from the winter blues, the cities bloom with activities to invite wanderers to conquer the parks and streets again. Southern Europe is the best place to get lost, because the weather is welcoming and Mediterranean, but there are also some gems in the north worth visiting during this special time of the year.
These are some recommendations for your spring and early summer adventures:
Lisbon is a wonderful place to wander, even if it is full of hills and steps. You can explore the old neighbourhoods of Lisbon, like the trendy Barrio Alto, enjoying their fado nights with a glass of vino de Porto. The city has become an inspiration for many artists, and new centres of art and culture are emerging everywhere. Don’t forget to visit the Casa dos Bicos, now hosting the Foundation José Saramago, where you can discover the passion about writing of this Nobel Prize Winner.
The historical centre of Lisbon includes the São Jorge Castle, where you can admire the view of the city from above; while observing gallant peacocks walking (and singing/screeching) around. If you love history and architecture, a day trip to Belém is a good option, where you can see the Monument to the Discoveries and the famous Tower of Belém. In the local restaurants, you can go for the traditional bacalao, or wonder around the markets in search of the secrets of Portuguese cuisine.
In the National Museum of Scotland, the Millennium Clock ticks every hour with a collection of witches, skeletons and monsters. It reminds you of the impassible march of time… Like many things in the Old Town in Edinburgh, the medieval atmosphere can be felt everywhere, from the amazing architecture to the natural paradises of Calton Hill and Arthur’s Seat.
Edinburgh is also a great place for street food and drinks. You can try the local dish haggis, but if you’re afraid, local pork sandwiches are great in the trendy and cheap eatery, Oink! For vegetarians, plenty of restaurants and cafes offer delicious smoothies and salads. But besides the great food available in Scotland, history is of course the main dish: visit the Edinburgh Castle to see the crown of the former Kings of Scotland and to get lost inside the halls filled with armory and Scottish art.
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Besides from being the house of the famous (and spectacularly handsome) David, Florence is a trendy city with a lot of art displayed in public spaces like the Piazza della Signoria or in museums like the Galleria degli Uffizi and the Bargello National Museum. The city and the river Arno, offer the typical dream of Tuscany, where food, easy-goingness and culture will conquer your heart. And while most Italian cities are famous for their food, the culinary scene in Florence is one to rival some of the world’s best foodie cities.
The Ponte Vecchio is one of the famous spots of this city, which its small shops selling fancy jewellery. The view from Piazzale Michelangelo is incomparable, and you will admire the splendour of the Duomo and the picturesque Florence skyline. If you decide to stay more than one day, a day trip to Pisa will give you a chance to mark the Leaning Tower off your bucket list; and you can return in the night to enjoy one of the classic Verdi operas at the modern and beautiful opera house.
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While a lot of Warsaw is associated with World War II and the ghettos; the real Warsaw today offers amazing opportunities for springtime travellers. Located inside the ancient city walls, the historical core of Warsaw is colourful and full of sculptures, from the fictional Warsaw mermaid – the protector of fishermen – to the squares dedicated to Copernicus.
For the lovers of Polish food, this is a great city to enjoy local craft beer and a diversity of pierogi, both for meat-eaters and vegetarians. The Modern Art Museum and the Palace of Science and Culture, located near the main train station, offer exhibitions focusing on Polish artists and designers, and are a centre for cinema and entertainment. Public parks are also great to visit during your time in Warsaw, including the Saxon Garden (Ogrod Sáski) and the botanic garden (Ogród Botaniczny) with its celebrated statue of the composer Chopin.