Cave cities, castles and spa towns: 5 reasons to visit western Georgia

The spectacular scenery of the high peaks of the Caucasus stretches across Georgia, which perches on the far eastern edge of Europe, bordering Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia. It’s finally starting to attract visitors in greater numbers, thanks to cheap flights from Europe and Russia, but it’s still relatively unknown (many people thought I was visiting…

Don’t let the crowds put you off Amalfi

The Amalfi coast is gorgeous and a drive/bus ride along its full length an excellent way to spend a day. But man, is it crowded. We visited back in April, just after Easter and the tourist season was already in full swing. Amalfi is blessed with a balmy climate from March right through to the…

10 best views of Sorrento, Vesuvius and the Amalfi Coast

  Italy is one of my favourite places and yet, until last week, I’d only been there twice. So another visit, this time to Sorrento on the Bay of Naples, was long overdue. Somehow being surrounded by orange and lemon groves, walking around in sandals in April, surrounded by the bluest of seas really gave…

La Palma, the Canary Island with a unique link to Venezuela

It’s a small place, La Palma. Not only on a map; I was sure I’d heard this tale of growing up in Venezuela and moving back home to La Palma to avoid military service before. Maybe this guy was a relative of the driver from the previous night. La Palma, one of the smallest and…

Cologne Christmas markets – the essential guide

When it comes to Christmas markets, Germany is one of the best (if not the best) places in the world to sample the delights of gluhwein, warming winter food and wooden chalets packed full of gift ideas, from wooden toys to glass baubles. Last weekend I was lucky enough to visit the Christmas markets in Cologne…

What will Brexit mean for ERASMUS students and why it matters

So, 52% of UK voters have chosen to leave the EU, a decision which has far-reaching consequences in many areas of daily life. One thing that’s unclear is how university students who chose to study abroad in Europe for a year as part of their degree, under the ERASMUS scheme, will fare. Will they still…

What to do in Lisbon? 5 different places to see

Lisbon has mixed reviews, it’s fair to say. The city seems to divide opinion but I found much to like during a visit back in January. It didn’t hurt that the sun shone all the time; sometimes the weather can be quite overcast but we were lucky. It’s easy to get around on Lisbon’s buses,…

Kulminator, Antwerp’s quirkiest beer cafe

Photo credit – Flickr Creative Commons Looking for somewhere different to drink during your Antwerp city trip? Look no further than Kulminator, a small bar tucked away down a side street in Antwerp that resembles nothing more than someone’s front room. Piled with papers and knicknacks, you get the feeling not much has changed in…

Hidden Holland: the nativity scenes of Liempde

This post may not seem very seasonal, but I was looking back through some old posts and realised I once planned a series on hidden corners of Holland. With a Dutch husband I visit a couple of times a year, but perhaps because it seems so familiar, I rarely write about it. The small village…

Magnum: Contact Sheets at Foam photography museum in Amsterdam

Photo credit – Marco Derksen – Creative Commons It’s been a while since I visited Amsterdam. Despite many visits to the Netherlands over the years, most of those are family-based so I don’t get chance. Plus there seems to be some North-South rivalry going on; ‘above the rivers’ is different to the south, or so…

Culture on a shoestring: a night at the opera in Budapest

Tosca is a drama queen – that was my first impression. Creating problems where there were none, imagining illicit affairs. What would happen if she had a real issue to deal with? Everyone has their comfort zone and maybe places they think aren’t for them. An opera house was the last place I thought I’d…

An unexpected love for Budapest (and 5 tips to make your visit shine)

I’m a contrary type. Tell me I’ll love something and I’ll think, really? Love for a place is so personal, one person’s favourite leaves another cold. I was curious about Budapest, but I didn’t expect to love it. It’s in a land-locked country, the buildings I searched Google images for looked solid but uninspiring, a…