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Sunday, May 6, 2012

3 European Cities You Have to Visit

Basilica di San Marco, VeniceBasilica di San Marco, Venice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)3 European Cities You Have to Visit
By Barbara Macdonald
There are 3 European cities you have to visit if you love cities built on canals. Each city offers an opportunity to explore and experience it from the pleasure of a boat trip on the canal. These 3 cities are located on a network of canals.
Venice was founded in 421 AD, as a place where people could seek refuge from barbarian invasions. Venice was built on several islands of a lagoon, then linked by bridges. It grew to become an important city. In 828 the reputation of Venice was elevated by the acquisition of the relics of St.Mark the Evangelist, which were placed in San Marco Basilica. Venice is famous for the Murano Glass works. It has a long history of mystery, intrigue and romance. It has been exciting visitors for centuries. Authors and movie makers have set their works in Venice. Henry James said of Venice, "A visit to Venice becomes a perpetual love affair."
On your first visit to Venice you must see the famous sites. Begin at San Marco Square. Take a water taxi, a vaporetto, from the train station to the square. Sit at one of the outdoor tables and begin to enjoy your Venice experience. You can see St. Mark's Basilica, the Doges's Palace, the Campanile bell tower while you sip your tea or coffee or glass of wine. When you are ready stroll to the Tourist Information Office to plan your visit, be sure to include a romantic gondola ride.

The history of Brugge begins in the first century BC, when Julius Caesar built fortifications by to protect the coastal area against pirates. The Golden age of Brugge was from the 12th to the 15th century. The economy was based on shipping. When the main channel silted up Brugge fall behind. It became what some called a dead city, the medieval architecture has remained intact.
Brugge, old city center was named a UNSCO World Heritage site in 2000. Begin your visit in the old city square.Brugges' most famous landmark is its 13th-century bell tower. Inside is carillon a made up of 48 bells. The city employs a full-time carillonneur, who gives free concerts on a regular basis. Visit the Church of Our Lady and see The Madonna and child sculpture created by Michelangelo. After you visit the City Hall, the Groeninge Museum and other cultural site it is time for a change of pace. Depending on your tastes you can go on The Halve Maan Brewery Tour or visit the famous chocolate shops. Then take a relaxing ride on a Canal tour.
Amsterdam began as a fishing village on the Amstel River. It became a city with the building of the Dam in 1250, giving it the name Amsterdam. It became one of the most important ports in the world. The 17 century was the Golden age of Amsterdam. Today the canals are filled with tour boats, pleasure craft and houseboats.
Amsterdam is a tourist friendly city, it is known for its open-minded atmosphere. Most people speak English. It is an easy city to navigate, you can walk most places. Begin your visit at the Train Station at the Tourist Information Office. You can find everything you will need, maps, tickets and transportation advice. Amsterdam is a city of museums, at the top of the list of must see are Anne Frank House, Rijks Museum, Van Gogh Museum. If you are in Amsterdam in the spring be sure to take a Keukenhof Garden Tour.
Depending on your interests you may like to take an evening walking tour of the Red Light district or visit the Heineken, Hash, Sex or Torture museums. You can also visit the Amsterdam Zoo, The Diamond Museum and the Houseboat Museum. Amsterdam is a city of museums. You can rent a bike. And last but be sure to take a canal boat ride. is good place to get information about Amsterdam.
Venice is the most famous canal city. Brugge and Amsterdam have each been referred to as the "Venice of the north." These 3 European cities offer a delightful canal adventure, as well as a unique distinctive culture and experience.
Barbara Macdonald
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