When it comes to tourist attractions, there are plenty of major European museums on offer. With so many to choose from, the selection can be overwhelming. But if you want to beat the crowds and go down a path less travelled, quite literally, consider going to a smaller one. With plenty of quirky themed museums to choose from, here’s a list of some of the strangest that are well worth stopping off at.
Coming off the Olympics (post Olympic depression anyone?), you may recall a top-hat clad Kenneth Branagh reciting a verse from Shakespeare’s The Tempest as a nod to Britain’s innovation. In case your Isambard Kingdom Brunel knowledge has fallen by the wayside -or you thought he looked like a ‘British Abe Lincoln’ – Brunel was an English mechanical and civil engineer responsible for a number of tunnels, bridges, steamships as well as the Great Western Railway. London’s Brunel Museum located in Rotherhithe pays tribute to the central figure in British history.
Berlin’s Currywurst Museum gives you a chance to try the currywurst after you’ve no doubt worked up an appetite for one. Open for lunch or a mid-museum snack incase you just can’t wait, you can even try them in a ‘cup’ at the Museum’s snack lounge. An interesting take on the “to-go” trend affecting busy Berliners, the museum’s speciality is sure to be a tasty snack unlike anything you’ll experience in any other museum in the guide book.
Be sure to go to The Spontaneous Art Museum in Brussels, featuring a range of tongue and cheek modern art. The museum’s goal is to encourage discussion and a laugh or two, two things that don’t normally go hand in hand in a museum. The works make for an interesting and entertaining display, and at 1-2 entry, perhaps even a nice anecdote to all those famous museums you’ve already covered.
Not only will going to one of these museums give you a different activity to do, but you’ll learn something new about the culture too that perhaps touches on more than just face value and might be a bit different from what you originally anticipated.
One of the world’s most exhilarating cities, Barcelona is one to be sure to put on the bucket list. The Catalan capital of Spain, there are plenty of places to unwind while keeping on trend with the cities edgiest and most established venues. Here’s a list of some of the coolest districts to hang around in from day to night so you can make the most of your time there — without having to slum it like a tourist, of course. Stick to these pockets of the city, and you’ll be blending in with the locals in no time.
El Raval is one of the trendiest neighbourhoods or ‘barris’ to party in. Formally known as the city’s seedy, sex district, it’s now been transformed into a stylish, arty and diverse area. It’s also home to many of Barcelona’s expats, adding to its eclectic cultural offerings from restaurants and bars to markets and boutiques.
Where to go at night: Betty Ford bar is where the whose who of the city often hang out, which isn’t surprising given the irony of its name, borrowed from the famous rehab clinic in California. From a chic interior and fabulous cocktails, it’s easy to see why Barcelona’s edgiest flock to this drinking den. Music-lovers should go to Manchester for live music and an arty vibe. Borrowing its name from Britain’s music centre, it has a very retro vibe, which is evident throughout the decor and playlists.
La Ribera or El Born as it’s now called is one of the city’s richest parts of town and is also where the Picasso museum is based. Closest to the sea front, it has its own affluent, yet maritime, charm with cocktail bars and lounges, galleries and boutiques dotted around the area. The main strip, Passeig del Born, is one of the poshest streets in town.
Where to party: El Born is ideal for a relaxed and sophisticated night out. El Xampanyet (Carrer Montcada, 22) is an authentic Catalan bar selling local cava in traditional shallow glasses at an affordable price. Try some tapas alongside your aperitif; this is definitely the place to head to for a real taste of Catalonia.
Catherine McCulloch is a writer who loves to go on trips to Barcelona. If you’re looking for great deals on places to stay in Barcelona,, check out the Hotels4U website.
While many Brits don’t fit the stereotype while in Spain, there are many who unfortunately stick out like a sore thumb while on holiday rather than embracing the Spanish culture. Whether its Benidorm you’re in or Costa Blanca, we’ve rounded up some top tips to help you steer clear of falling into the stereotype.
We have a bad reputation on holiday for hitting the alcohol hard, and loving the lager as much as we do our tea. Avoid this clich by sticking to the sangria, wine and spirits. Or at the very least pour your beer into a glass. Taking it slow and steady never hurt anyone. Spain doesn’t have the same licensing hours as Blighty, so there’s no rush to put as much away as possible before closing time.
However, other than food, us Brits love to binge when it comes to booze. If you have to drink during the day, perhaps stick to sangria or a local cocktail which is a little more continental than a pint of lager. Remember to pace yourself too and think of the day as a marathon rather than a sprint. There’s nothing worse than passing out before dinner time on your holiday.
Of course you wouldn’t dream of being rowdy yourself, but after one too many sangrias even the most reserved British tourist can find themselves swept away with the ‘living it large’ attitude of some visitors. A cheap hotel and too much sun (plus alcohol) can do funny things to your volume control and sense of decorum. We’re not suggesting you display the stiff upper lip that we Brits are also famous for, but good manners have got to be better than the jail-sentence style antics that some UK holiday makers get up to!
Although there are plenty of bars to go out in along the beaches, it’s also important to remember that there’s more to do than down the drinks on your holidays. Consider going on a day trip to the likes of Alicante of Javea which have lots of natural and historic attractions to visit between both of them. It’ll also allow you to expand upon your knowledge of Spanish culture.
The concept of the long weekend has been favoured for getting away to Europe for quite some time. With cities bursting with culture, art and delicious food all over continental Europe, and short flight times for the UK, it has never been more popular to take a Friday off work and get away for 48 hours or more. Whether you’re staying at Prague or Rome hotels, you’ll find that religious city breaks are a popular way to discover the religious heritage of some of our European counterparts.
You’ll be amazed at how much you can fit in over the course of just one long weekend. With so many European cities compact and walk-able in size, you can often see the city and many of its delights in just a few days, provided you’re armed with a great travel guide, and if you’ve got the help of a great concierge at your hotels, you’ll surely spot things that you might have missed otherwise.
Rome is one of the most-loved destinations for a religious-themed getaway, given that it appeals to both believers of religion, and those interested more generally in the wider spectrum of history and culture alike. Throughout the city, you’ll come across churches at every corner (there are over 900 churches across the city), each of which tells its own unique story about Rome’s Catholic past.
Most famously, the tourist trail will take you to the Vatican City, otherwise known as the smallest country in the world, as well as the home to St Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, with its world-famous ceiling frescoes so carefully painted by the great artist Michelangelo more than 500 years ago.
Rome hotels will normally be more than happy to suggest itineraries for those visiting the city on short two-day sight-seeing tours, as well as trusted local tour companies and guides that can be well worth booking with: they’ll often save you time, as booking onto a group tour will help you skip the sometimes hours-long queues that form at the particularly popular attractions, revealing secrets and hidden facts that you might’ve missed otherwise.