Whether you are looking for new flavors, new styles, or great finds, these charming cities in Europe offer more than what meets the eye:
When you visit Antwerp, you will immediately notice the perky garbs of its locals who mingle at the public square. World-class in style, Antwerp offers many unique destinations like the Museum Aan de Stroom. The museum’s façade looks like a stack of giant crates piled on top of each other. There are many wonderful art galleries just around the corner waiting to be discovered. There are also antique stores offering vintage outfits for those who want to have their photos taken as though they stepped back in time or those who simply want to take one home.
For visiting art lovers, head to Zuid (which mean “south”). Zuid is home to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts that showcases a wide collection of Baroque-style paintings. Works of Peter Paula Rubens can be found here, one of which is the “Adoration of the Magi”. Kloosterstraat is a square in Zuid that is lined with antique shops. A visit to Het Steen or “old fort” in English will take you back to Middle Ages where kinds and Vikings fought. It’s like a fantasy castle for adults.
Food also plays a great part in Antwerp’s tourism. Grab a table at Fiskebar, a famous seafood restaurant that offers the best seafood dishes in the city.
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Did you know that Ozzy Osbourne is from Birmingham? We bet you didn’t know that the famous author J.R.R. Tolkien also hailed from here. Thing is, many people don’t know that Birmingham is home to many Michelin stared restaurants. In fact, if you compare it to any other city in London, Birmingham really is a foodie wonderland. Birmingham is famous for its food. Custard Factory is located here and even the famous Cadbury World is just a stone’s throw away from the city center. Apart from these two, Birmingham is famous for the Balti Style of preparing Kashmiri curry dishes. Developed in the 1970s right in Birmingham, the Balti Style of cooking makes use of small artisanal batches when cooking Kashmiri curry.
One area called Balti Triangle is a tribute to this cooking style and is home to many restaurants like the Al Frash on Ladypool Road, where the Balti style curries are really popular. Cooking show fans would recognize that Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, Jamie’s Italian, is also found here.
When you visit Birmingham, opt to stay at the Bloc Hotel near the Jewellery District. The must visit places include the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, which is home to the pre-Raphaelite workds of art. The museum also house the work of Edward Burne Jones, a 19-century Birmingham native that is famous for this artworks.
If you’re a big fan of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, make a trip to Sarehole Mill. This place is said to be the inspiration of J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous work. Don’t miss visiting the Bull Ring Open Market that sells local fruits and produce at amazing bargain prices. Rag Market is also a must-visit for those who love fine fabric and vintage garbs. And of course, we don’t want to leave Birmingham without tasting its famous picked chile peppers and mince pie.
Split’s total population is just 250,000. It is rather small but it is fast becoming to be a famous Mediterranean getaway destination because of its famous Roman ruins.
The city of Split has successfully preserved its ruins. Visitng Split, you immediately feel as though you have travel through time and found yourself in the glory years of the Roman empire. Split is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to many Roman ruins and wonderful beaches. The ruins of medieval fortresses and churches date back to the 13th century. There are also Renaissances and Gothic ruins that stood the test of time. True enough, Split is a City of Historic Finds.
When visiting Split for the first time, stay at Hotel Globo located in Lovretska Ulica, which is near the city’s historical district. The best local grilled meat and fish are served at Buffet Fife in Trumbiceva Obala.
Apart from the ruins, Bacvice Beach is also a popular destination. The beach is crescent-shaped and the sand is so white and fine, best of Mediterranean beaches in Europe. When the sun goes down, head to the popular “crawls” and bars in Split where the night scene is pretty amazing as well. For another day, do visit the Metrovic Gallery and see for yourself the most famous sculpture in Croatia: The Ivan Mestrovic.
Possibly the next popular wine destination, Porto is fast becoming famous for wine lovers in Europe. Then again, when you talk about Porto, you just can’t not compare it to nearby Lisbon. Porto is home to the beautiful Douro River, buzzing art scene, and interesting marketplace.
The wine producers near the Douro River is finally getting the attention of other big players. There are many wine tours and wine tastings your can participate in when visiting Porto, Portugal. The classic Sandeman and Vinologia wineries are pretty popular. And because Porto loves its wines so much, all over the city you will find unique cork and wine designs.
If Porto is serious with their wine, they are also serious with their food. Head to Aviz and taste the local francesinha—the famous meat and cheese sandwich that is pretty awesome to boot.
When in Porto, do stay at Hotel Miradouro in Rua Alegria. Places to visit include the Casa da Musica, a famous concert hall designed by no other than Rem Koolhass. Casa da Musica is home to 3 local symphony orchestras. In 2005, it was inaugurated by Lou Reed. Another interesting site to visit is the Ribeira district with its low key but uber charming cafes and bars. The medieval streets offers quite an ambiance and are ideal for shopping and strolling. Visit Mercado do Bolhao in the morning for some of the best and freshest produce you can buy in Porto. If you are looking for souvenirs to take home, don’t forget to get one of those wine and / or cork designed trinkets.