Sights in Athens, Greece

Athens was a pivotal city in the birth of civilization and is filled with archaeological sites, museums, and landmarks such as the Acropolis and Hadrian’s Arch. If you’re a history buff like I am, Athens seems like it would be a perfect place to visit.

  • Acropolis—a landmark monument that pays homage to ancient Greek history with newly restored temples, the Parthenon, and the Propylaea that has played various roles over the years including as a Florentine palace, an Islamic mosque, a Turkish harem, and a landing site for British paratroopers during WWII; Dionyssiou Areopagitou
  • Acropolis Museum—a modernly designed museum that features glass walkways, high ceilings, and panoramic views of the Acropolis with exhibits about the artifacts around the Acropolis, statues from the Archaic period, and many marble decorations; Dionyssiou Areopagitou 15
  • Ancient Agora—the ancient side of the commercial center of Athens that was once filled with statues and expensive stores with long colonnades and arches under which Socrates and Zeno convened and home to the Museum of Agora Excavations, a two-story museum, that contains well-known sculptures of historic and mythological figures, as well as more about the history of the agora
  • Benaki Museum—Greece’s oldest museum that was recently expanded with a very modern new addition that adds to the architectural appeal of the main complex which is a large neoclassical mansion and traces the history of Greece from prehistoric times to the present with artifacts such as a 5,000-year-old hammered bowl, Lord Byron’s pistols, and costumed mannequins among several others; Koumbari 1
  • Benaki Museum of Islamic Art—home to a large and significant Islamic art collection, this museum has 8,000 pieces of art from a wide variety of geographic regions including ceramics, gold, metalwork, weaponry, and textiles; Dipilou 12
  • Byzantine and Christian Museum—a museum that displays Byzantine and Christian icons, mosaics, tapestries, and sculptural fragments from Byzantine times (4th-15th century AD) to the present; Vasilissis Sofias 22
  • Greek Folk Art Museum—a four building museum that has folk art from the 1650s to the present with embroideries, stone and wood carvings, costumes, and shadow player figures among others; Kidathineon 17
  • Hadrian’s Arch—an Athenian landmark that is one of the most significant surviving Roman monuments built in AD 131 with Corinthian details that was designed to honor Hadrian, a Hellenic emperor; Vasilissis Amalias at Dionyssiou Areopagitou
  • Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum—a museum featuring the vast creations of world-renowned artist and jeweler, Ilias Lalaounis, with fifty collections that include pieces inspired by diverse subjects such as Greek wildflowers and the Treasure of Priam of Troy; Kallisperi 12
  • Lycabettus—Athens’s highest hill that offers one ride every half hour on what is known as the teleferique (funicular) to the summit where Ayios Georgios chapel and bell tower is located along with coin-operated telescopes that allow you to view Aegina Island; there is also a small shrine to Ayios Isidoros, an 1859 site where students prayed for Greeks fighting against Austrians, French, and Sardinians that King Otho supported
  • Museum of Cycladic Art—a museum home to 350 Cycladic artifacts that date back to the Bronze Age, Cypriot art, art from other eras dating from the Bronze Age to the 6th century AD, and an exhibition on scenes from the past along with a skylit café in a courtyard, an art shop, and children’s activities; Neofitou Douka 4
  • Museum of Greek Popular Musical Instruments—a museum dedicated to the history of Greek music with three floors of instruments and headphones so you can listen to their diverse sounds; Diogenous 1-3
  • National Archaeological Museum—Greece’s most significant museum that displays major ancient Greek sculptures and paintings and has been recently renovated so that works previously left unseen are now publicly viewable and displays have English translations; the most noteworthy pieces are the Mycenaean Antiquities found in 1876 during an excavation of Mycenaean royal tombs; 28 Oktovriou 44
  • National Garden—a beautiful garden built in 1860 that has 500 species of trees and plants, a café and open-air theater, track area, playgrounds, a duck pond, and small zoo
  • National Historical Museum—a museum that traces Greek history from the mid-16th century through WWII with paintings, costumes, and artifacts that include arms to flags and ships’ figureheads; Stadiou 13
  • New Municipal Gallery of Athens—one of Athens’s oldest classical buildings housed in a former silk factory designed in 1833 by a Danish architect that has almost 3,000 art works from 19th and 20th century Greek artists; Leonidou and Myllerou
  • Numismatic Museum Iliou Melathron—a coin museum in the former home of Heinrich Schliemann who excavated Troy and Mycenae in the 19th century with artifacts such as colored marbles, wall paintings, over 600,000 coins from the archaeologist’s personal collection to 4th century BC coins used as measures against forgers; Panepistimiou 12
  • Roman Agora—Athens’s commercial center from the 1st century BC to the 4th century AD that now includes the Gate of Athena Archegetis completed around 2 AD, the late 15th century Fethiye Mosque, and the world-renowned Tower of the Winds that has kept time since the 1st century BC and has eight sides that face the direction of the eight winds that the compass was divided into; Pelopidas and Aiolou
  • Technopolis—a 19th century gasworks complex transformed into an arts complex that is home to the Industrial Gas Museum, exhibition spaces, and a large courtyard with a coffee shop; Pireos 100
  • Temple of Olympian Zeus—a sprawling temple completed in AD 132 by Hadrian that has a large gold-and-ivory statue of Zeus; Vasilissis Olgas 1



Shopping in Berlin

Berlin has a decent number of clothing stores, bookstores, and the largest European department store (Kaufhaus des Westens). The stores seem pretty interesting and could lead to hours of browsing and shopping.

  • Andreas Murkudis—a former newspaper office space that was remade into a fashion retailer selling designer clothing for men, women, and children with designers including Kostas Murkudis, Dries van Noten, and Christian Haas, along with accessories and home products; Potsdamer Str. 81e
  • Baerck—a store that has wheeled displays of European and German men’s and women’s clothing by designers such as Stine Goya, Henrik Vibskov, and Hope along with handbags, scarves, lamps, mirrors, and handmade furniture; Mulackstr. 12
  • Bucherbogen—a beloved bookstore with a large selection of books including special editions and out-of-print stock with extensive international books; Stadtbahnbogen 593
  • Chelsea Farmer’s Club—a stylish menswear retailer selling tuxedoes, hunting jackets, a store line of British-style smoking jackets, and other well-designed clothes and fashion accessories; Schluterstr. 50
  • Das Neue Schwarz (The New Black)—a secondhand clothing store with designers including Vivienne Westwood, Helmut Lang, and Yves Saint Laurent; Mulackstr. 38
  • DepartmentStore Quartier 206—Berlin’s most luxurious department store with women’s and men’s designer clothing by the likes of Prada, Givenchy, and Tom Ford as well as cosmetics, perfumes, home accessories, art, and books; Friedrichtsr. 71
  • Do You Read Me—a bookstore with a large selection of magazines and literature with many English titles with subjects including fashion, photography, architecture, interior design, and culture; Auguststr. 28
  • Frau Tonis Parfum—a perfumery where you can create personal scents from vials filled with scents such as acacia, linden tree blossoms, cedarwood, or pink peppercorns that are produced locally; Zimmerstr. 13
  • Galeries Lafayette—a four-level French department store with expensive clothing and luxuries as well as a food department that provides French cuisine and a great produce market; Friedrichstr. 76-78
  • Gestalten Pavilion Store and Café—a bookstore that sells coffee-table books with a wide range of subjects such as craft beer and typography; Bikini Berlin, Budapester Str. 38-50, 2nd floor garden
  • Hallesches Haus—a quirky general store, café, and outdoor cinema that sells terrariums, gardening tools, blankets, housewares, and witty gifts; Tempelhofer Ufer 1
  • Kaufhaus des Westens (Kadewe)—the largest European department store that has seven floors of food and deli counters, a wide variety of goods, champagne bars, beer bars, an atrium café, and a sneaker hall for men as well as services such as gift basket arrangements, travel guides, and an international box office; Tauentzienstr. 21-24
  • Lala Berlin—a trendy boutique run by a former Iranian MTV editor that sells fabric scarves, sweaters, and accessories that utilize a Palestinian keffiyeh pattern; Alte Schonhauser Str. 3
  • Shakespeare and Sons—a bookstore with a nice collection of new and used English books and a small café that has an assortment of freshly cooked bagels; Raumerstr. 36
  • SOTO—a menswear boutique that sells classic and trendy menswear including a store brand called Le Berlinois as well as brands such as Band of Outsiders, Norse Projects, and Our Legacy and self-care products and accessories; Torstr. 72
  • Super Store—a small shop that sells odds and ends from all over the world including Turkey, Italy, and Switzerland and locally made items including linens, housewares, pantry items, and jewelry; Dieffenbachstr. 12
  • The Store X Soho House—a beautiful interior that delivers designer fashion by the Row and Alexander Wang among others as well as cosmetics and jewelry; amenities inside the store include a beauty parlor, laptop workstations, and an organic café; Torstr. 1
  • Voo—a boutique located in a former locksmith’s workshop that sells men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, accessories, and outerwear as well as offering a coffee shop; Oranienstr. 24
  • Wheadon’s Beauty Shop—a beauty store that sells scented candles, lotions, body products, and cosmetic products and has a basement level men’s spa and barbershop as well as a women’s beauty salon; Steinstrasse 17


Sights in Berlin, Germany

Berlin is the capital of Germany and is very industrial in nature but does have some landmarks such as the Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate) and a large complex of museums, galleries, and a performance hall known as Kulturforum. A visit there could yield some surprises and it has a history worth exploring.

  • Aquadom and Sea Life Berlin—a commercial aquarium with indoor tanks that feature native marine life with waterfront urban scenes, starfish petting tanks, overhead tanks, and a submarine room with a glass elevator that takes visitors through a fish tank to the exit; Spandauer Str. 3
  • Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral)—a large cathedral originally built in 1905 that is the largest 20th century Protestant church in Germany with a wide stairwell that leads up to the dome, historic photos and models, and sarcophagi of Prussian royals; Am Lustgarten 1
  • Berliner Fernsehtrum (TV Tower)—a 1,207-feet-high tower that is higher than western Berlin’s broadcasting tower and the Eiffel Tower with an observation level where you can see for 25 miles and a rotating restaurant; Panoramastr. 1a
  • Berlinische Galerie—a Berlin-centric museum with modern art, photography, architectural models and plans, and artists’ archives; Alte Jakobstr. 124-128
  • Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate)—a top landmark in Berlin that is a gateway to Berlin since the dismantling of the Berlin Wall where the Unification Day and New Year’s Eve parties are held—only one gate remains out of the 14 built between 1788 and 1791 by Carl Langhans and faces an historic square, Pariser Platz that houses bank headquarters, the French embassy, and the federal parliament offices; Pariser Platz
  • Britzer Garten—named after its surrounding neighborhood (Britz), this is a large park where seasonal floral exhibitions are held and home to small brooks, streams, and other waterways; Buckower Damm 146
  • Brunnenplatz—a sprawling castle with turrets and gables inspired by a real castle that is the district courthouse and a local park with mosaics, decorative flower beds, and a central fountain
  • Contemporary Fine Arts—a modern art museum housed in a very modern building that highlights Berlin-based artists and other major artists; Am Kupfergraben 10
  • DDR Museum—a museum that highlights life in socialist East Germany with a recreation of an East German kitchen, a simulated ride in a Trabi (the only car average East Germans were allowed to own), and a walk inside an interrogation cell; Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 1
  • Denkmal Fur Die Ermordeten Juden Europas (Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe) —a memorial for the Jews killed during the reign of the Nazis during the Holocaust designed by an American architect with more than 2700 concrete slabs and an underground information center about the Holocaust; Cora-Berliner Str. 1
  • Deutsches Historiches Museum (German History Museum)—a combination of a theater that shows German and international films and a museum that provides an overview of German history since the early Middle Ages; Unter den Linden 2
  • Deutsches Technikmuseum (German Museum of Technology)—a museum with several floors of machinery including two airplane rooms, train sheds, and an historical brewery; Trebbiner Str. 9
  • Ehemalige Judische Madchenschule—a brick building that once was a Jewish girls’ school and a military hospital during WWII that is now after some neglect a multiplex with art galleries, restaurants, a bar, and a Jewish deli that serves Jewish delicacies; Auguststr. 11-13
  • Galeria Plan B—an art gallery that showcases unique Eastern European art; Potsdamerstr. 77-87, Building G, 2nd courtyard
  • Gedenkstatte Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall Memorial Site)—memorials as well as a museum and research center on the Berlin Wall along with the Reconciliation Chapel; Bernauer Str. 111
  • Gemaldegalerie (Picture Gallery)—one of Germany’s top art galleries with a large collection of European paintings from the 13th to 18th centuries with seven rooms dedicated to paintings by German artists, a special collection showcasing Italian artists, and the world’s second largest Rembrandt collection; Kulturforum, Matthaikirchpl
  • Hamburger Banhof-Museum fur Gegenwart (Museum of Contemporary Art)—a remodeled train station that has post-1960 modern Western art with a permanent collection including installations by German artists Joseph Beuys and Anselm Kiefer as well as paintings by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, and others along with the largest and most valuable collection of contemporary art in the world; Invalidenstr 50-51
  • Heilandskirche Sacrow—a lakeside church with a bell tower and colonnade that was closed from 1961 to 1989 by the East German government due to the fact that it was perceived as a possible hiding place for those trying to flee; Fahrstr, Potsdam
  • Kulturforum—a collection of museums, galleries, and the Philharmonic Hall that includes the Gemaldegalerie (Picture Gallery), the Kunstbibliotek (Art Library), the Kupferstichkabinett (Print Cabinet), the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts), the Philharmonie, the Muskinstrumenten Museum (Musical Instruments Museum), and the Staatsbibliotek (National Library)
  • Mauermuseum—Museum Haus AM Checkpoint Charlie—a museum that depicts the history of the Berlin Wall and those who tried to escape through, under, and over it with human rights exhibits and paintings included as well; Friedrichstr. 43-45
  • Museuminsel (Museum Island)—located on the site of Berlin’s two original settlements, this complex of five state museums is a UNESCO World Heritage site with the Alte Nationalgalerie, the Altes Museum (Old Museum), the Bode-Museum, the Pergamonmuseum, and the Neues Museum (New Museum)
  • Spy Museum—a newer museum opened in September 2015 that has interactive exhibits from Biblical times to the present that provide overviews of military interrogation techniques and the secret services as well as fictional spies; Leipziger Pl. 9

Shopping in Paris

Paris is the fashion capital of the world so there is certainly a wealth of designer clothing stores to explore and spend some money at. Along with familiar names are those who are just starting to make a name for themselves.

  • Acne Studios—famous for their shaping jeans, this Swedish label features asymmetric styles and oversized clothing; 124 Galerie de Valois 1er
  • Alice Cadolle—a lingerie store that has existed since 1889 with fancy bras, corsets, and pajamas; 4 rue Cambon, 1er
  • Avril Gau—a former designer for Chanel now with her own boutique that features stylish shoes and handbags; 17 rue de Quatre Vents, 6e
  • Azzedine Alaia—an expensive designer label with dresses and other fine clothing; 7 rue de Moussy
  • &Other Stories—H&M’s upscale off-label brand that sells stylish and well-made clothes for women as well as shoes, accessories, lingerie, and cosmetics; 277 rue St-Honore, 8e
  • APC—a well-known designer jeans label that also sells cardigans, pea coats, and ankle boots; 38 rue Madame, 6e
  • AB33—a women’s clothing store with luxury designer clothes, silk lingerie, jewelry, and accessories; 33 rue Charlot, 3e
  • Agnes B—a stylish clothing store for men, women, and children that sells leather jackets, black jersey separates, and wide-striped T-shirts for women; two-tone shirts for children; and gray velour and corduroy suits for men; 3 and 6 rue du Jour, 1er
  • Artazart—a famous design book store that carries books on topics such as photography, tattoo art, architecture, and fashion; 83 quai de Valmy
  • Au Printemps—an institution in Paris, this department store actually consists of three major stores—Printemps Maison (home goods on four floors), Printemps Homme (six levels of men’s clothing), and Printemps Mode (couture and teen clothing); 64 bd. Haussmann
  • BHV—a large department store with a large basement hardware store that sells items ranging from doorknobs to cement mixers, fashionable clothing for the family, and a lingerie department on the second floor; 52-64 rue de Rivoli
  • Bonpoint—a legendary children’s clothing store that is known for its price and great quality that has even outfitted young royals; 64 av. Raymond Poincare, 16e
  • Bonton—a children’s clothing, toy, and furniture store; 5 bd. Des Filles du Calvaire, 3e
  • Buly 1803—a new perfume and cosmetics store that opened in 2014 that sells skincare products; 6 rue Bonaparte, 6e
  • Centre Commercial—an ethically and ecologically sourced clothing store with men’s and women’s designer label clothing, shoes, clothing for children, candles, and leather goods; 2 rue de Marseille, 10e
  • COS—short for Collection of Style, this is H&M’s offshoot for sophisticated fashionistas with minimalist design and quality fabrics; 4 rue des Rosiers, 4e
  • Chanel—a legendary fashion house with high-end clothing for fashionistas including tailored suits, soigne dresses, and quilted bags; 51 av. Montaigne, 8e
  • Chloe—the flagship boutique for this designer sells stylish women’s clothing with careful attention for customers; 253 rue St-Honore, 1e
  • Celine—a designer women’s clothing store with sophisticated tailoring in the flowing pants, long jackets, and swing skirts as well as handbags and shoes; 53 av. Montaigne, 83
  • Diptyque—this flagship for the famed brand sells candles, perfume, and body fragrances in a variety of scents such as myrrh, fig tree, and quince; 34 bd. St-Germain, 6e
  • Galerie Vivienne—an arcade (shopping complex) with boutiques, a tea room, and wine shop; 4 rue des Petits-Champs, 2e
  • Jamin Puech—a handbag designer’s store with uniquely embellished and designed handbags and clutches; 43 rue Madame, 6e
  • Le Bon Marche—founded in 1852, this is the most stylish department store in Paris with home goods, makeup, perfume, accessories, fashionable clothing from new and established designers, groceries, and shoes; 24 rue de Sevres, 7e
  • Les Salons du Palais-Royal Serge Lutens—this fragrance boutique sells perfumes created by Shiseido’s creative director that can also be etched and personalized as gifts; Jardins du Palais-Royal, 142 Galerie de Valois, 1er
  • Louis Vuitton—a classic designer of leather goods and modern fashionable clothing; 101 av. Des Champs-Elysees, 8e
  • Merci—a designer label clothing, furniture, antiques, jewelry, and housewares store that was created by the founders of Bonpoint with 5% of the proceeds from sales going to economically disadvantaged children in Madagascar; 111 bd. Beaumarchais, 3e
  • Pain D’Epices—a miniatures store with croissants, wine decanters, musical instruments, DIY dollhouses, teddy bear kits, and classic toys; 29 Passage Jouffroy, 9e
  • Petit Bateau—a timeless French clothing store with signature close-fitting T-shirts, cotton-silk, and cotton-cashmere clothing; 116 av. Des Champs-Elysees, 8e
  • Renaud Pellegrino—an upscale leather handbag, shoes, and luggage store; 149 Rue St-Honore, 1er
  • Sabbia Rosa—a renowned lingerie boutique selling silks and other undergarments; 71-73 rue des Sts. -Peres, 6e
  • Village Joueclub—an expansive toy store part of a French chain that is two stories filled with famous toy brands like Hello Kitty and Barbie as well as traditional European toy brands like Vilac and Moulin Roty; 5 bd. Des Italiens, 2e

Sights in Paris

Ah, Paris, what a truly great city this is! Paris is one of those places that many think about visiting and the great attractions such as the Louvre and Eiffel Tower only add to its appeal. Below is just a sampling of places to check out when you’re there.

  • Arc de Triomphe—a 164-foot triumphal arch commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte to celebrate his military success with great sculptures by Francois Rude including La Marsellaise and a magnificent view from the top; Pl. Charles de Gaulle
  • Basilique du Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart Basilica)—situated above Montmartre, this basilica was commissioned in 1873 and finally completed in 1919 with a great view from the top of the 271-foot dome and inside there is a mosaic situated above the choir entitled Christ in Majesty; Place du Parvis du Sacre Coeur
  • Eiffel Tower—the iconic tower built for the 1889 World Exhibition by Gustave Eiffel that is 1,063-feet tall and a place that is awe-inspiring and romantic for millions of tourists that provides for beautiful views from the top (you can get up there with the elevator); Quai Branly
  • Fondation Louis Vuitton—Paris’s new modern art museum and cultural center designed by Frank Gehry and commissioned by Bernard Arnault (chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton) featuring his private art collection that has pieces by artists such as Pierre Huyghe, Gerhard Richter, Ellsworth Kelly, Taryn Simon, and Sarah Morris; 8 Av. Du Mahatma Gandhi
  • Hotel des Invalides—a Baroque complex that houses the remains of Napoleon Bonaparte under the large golden dome with a portion serving as a veterans’ residence and hospital as well as featuring the army museum with military artifacts from antique armor to weapons; Pl. des Invalides
  • Jardin des Plantes—once known as the King’s Garden, this series of gardens as well as a variety of museums all situated in 19th century buildings; the museums include the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution, Galerie de Paleontologie, and the Galerie de Mineralogie; also included in this large space are greenhouses with one of the world’s largest collections of tropical and desert plants and the Menagerie, a small zoo
  • Jardin des Tuileries—a landmark French garden that serves as an excellent place to walk and see nearby icons such as the Louvre, Place de la Concorde, and the Eiffel Tower as well as the Musee de l’Orangerie which once was the royal greenhouse and now houses the largest display of Monet’s Water Lilies series; children’s entertainment includes a carousel, trampolines, and an amusement park in the summer
  • Les Arts Decoratifs—this museum shares a wing of the Louvre but has a different entrance and admission fee and features three museums showcasing a collection of decorative arts, design and fashion, and graphic arts such as altar pieces from the Middle Ages and furniture from the Italian Renaissance to the present; 107 rue de Rivoli
  • Musee Carnavalet—a museum that traces centuries’ worth of history of Paris with artifacts such as prehistoric canoes and furniture from Marcel Proust’s bedroom; 16 rue des Francs-Bourgeois
  • Musee Cernuschi—originally the home of a wealthy banker from Milan, this museum features France’s second-most important collection of Asian art with bronze pieces, Neolithic pottery, mingqi tomb figures, and terracotta figures from various dynasties; 7 av. Velasquez
  • Musee d’Orsay—this museum opened in 1986 is home to a world-renowned collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings on three floors with works by Monet, Degas, Pissarro, Renoir, and Sisley; 1 rue de la Legion d’Honneur
  • Musee Guimet—a museum that has the western world’s largest collection of Asian art including a great collection of Khmer sculpture outside Cambodia, statues and masks from Nepal, funeral art from Tibet, jewelry and fabrics from India, and a 20,000+ showcase of Chinese artifacts; 6 pl. d’lena
  • Musee Marmottan Monet—a museum that has the largest Monet collection with more than 100 pieces donated by his son, Michel, and is located within a 19th century mansion that once acted as the hunting lodge of the Duke de Valmy; 2 rue Louis-Boilly
  • Musee Picasso Paris—a very popular museum that has an immense collection of Picasso’s works that covers almost 54,000 square feet in two buildings including paintings, sculptures, drawings, documents, and archival materials; 5 rue de Thorigny
  • Notre-Dame—a Gothic cathedral that serves as a French landmark with a beautiful interior and exterior and also allows visitors to climb up to the towers by 387 stone steps where the bell that Quasimodo rang in Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris is located; Pl. du Parvis
  • Palais Galliera, Musee de la Mode—Paris’s museum of fashion situated within a mansion that was the residence of Marie Brignole-Sale, Duchess of Galliera in the 19th century, and recently renovated with temporary exhibits that focus on costumes and clothing design; 10 av. Pierre-1er-de-Serbie
  • Palais-Royal—a romantic Parisian garden that provides for scenic afternoons sitting in the sun, browsing arcades that feature boutiques including a Stella McCartney boutique, and dining at one of the city’s oldest restaurants; Pl. du Palais-Royal
  • Sainte-Chapelle—a Gothic cathedral that was built by Louis IX and has the oldest stained-glass windows in Paris while inside are relics acquired from the emperor of Constantinople including Jesus’s crown of thorns, pieces of the cross, and supposedly drops of Jesus’s blood; 4 bd. Du Palais
  • The Louvre—the world’s most famous art museum and its largest with 675,000 square feet of art from around the globe including I.M Pei’s Pyramide; Egyptian antiquities; Venus de Milo; the Mona Lisa; and a large collection of Islamic artwork in its 30,000 square foot Arts of Islam exhibition space opened in 2012; Palais du Louvre

Shopping in Helsinki

Helsinki is home to some decent shopping centers, clothing stores, and a variety of other types of stores. It has a small selection of shopping venues but it seems to be a city that has some good shopping choices.

  • Aarikka—a store that sells wooden jewelry, silver products, and gifts; Pohjoisesplanadi 27
  • Anna Heino—a store that sells nicely designed women’s necklaces, earrings, rings, and bracelets; Uudenmaank 34
  • Design Forum Finland—sells items from local stores and designer pieces as well as hosting exhibitions featuring specific artists and a café; Erottajank 7
  • Forum—Helsinki’s largest shopping complex with 120 stores; Mannerheim 14-20
  • Galleria Esplanad—a high-end shopping mall with 50 stores including Finnish and international designers; Pohjoisesplanadi 33
  • Helsinki 10—a popular local clothing store that sells stylish clothing, shoes, and accessories; Eerikink 3
  • Iittala Concept Store—sells crisp glass and tableware designs; Pohjoisesplanadi 25
  • Ivanahelsinki—an internationally recognized women’s clothing store that sells sweaters and dresses in solid colors and patterns; Uudenmaank 15
  • Itakeskus—a large shopping complex with over 180 stores and restaurants; Itakatu 1-7
  • Kalevala Koru—a jewelry store that bases its designs on motifs dating back to the Iron Age; Unionink 25
  • Kamppi Center—a six-floor shopping complex with themed floors as well as the main bus station for Helsinki and a metro station; Urho Kekkosenkat 1
  • Kauppatori—Helsinki’s market square with a variety of stalls and eateries; south harbor at the end of Esplanade Park
  • Kiseleff Bazaar Hall—a shopping gallery; Aleksanterinkatu 22-28
  • Kluuvi—a recently renovated mall with a wide variety of stores including international and local brands as well as several restaurants and coffee shops; Aleksanterink 9
  • Marimekko—a high-end clothing store for men, women, and children in bright colors with good fabrics; Pohjoiesplanadi 2
  • Norsu—an exhibition space and a high-end store with modern crafts including jewelry and glassware; Kaisaniemenk 9
  • Old Market Hall—a market with flowers, vegetables, meat, and fish for sale; Etelaranta
  • Pentik—a company recognized for its classic ceramic dishes and housewares and also a retailer of gift items and cards; Mannnerheimintie 5
  • Saunamarket Finland Oy—a Finnish sauna supply store with wooden buckets, bath brushes, and birch-scented soap; Aleksanterink 28
  • Secco—a gift store that turns found materials into unique products such as purses made from tire rubber, messenger bags from old seat belts, and bowls from vinyl records; Frederikink 33
  • Stockmann—Helsinki’s most famous department store; Aleksanterink 52B

Sights in Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki is the capital of Finland and is home to historic sites and museums as well as one of the world’s most northern zoos. It is even home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It seems like an interesting place to see and explore.

  • Ateneumin Taidemuseo (Ateneum Art Museum of the Finnish National Gallery)—one of three museums in Finland’s National Gallery is home to major European works but its specialty is traditional and contemporary Finnish art; Kaivok 2
  • Designmuseo (Design Museum)—a collection of Finnish designs including furniture, jewelry, ceramics, and more; Korkeavuorenk 23
  • Ehrensvard Museo—a museum named in memory of Augustin Ehrensvard, a military architect who orchestrated the fortification of the islands of Suomenlinna from 1748-1772, with exhibits such as a model ship collection and officers’ quarters from the 18th century; Suomenlinna B 40
  • Helsingin Taidehall (Helsinki Art Gallery)—home to contemporary Finnish art including paintings, sculptures, architecture, and industrial art and design; Nervanderink 3
  • Korkeasaari Elaintarha (Helsinki Zoo)—one of the world’s most northern zoos with snow leopards and reindeer among other animals with outdoor play equipment for children; Korkea Island
  • Mannerheim Museo (Mannerheim Museum)—a museum located in the former family home of Finland’s president that features his letters and personal belongings, European furniture, Asian art, and military medals and weapons; Kalliolinnantie 14
  • Nyktaiteenmuseo (Kiasma) (Museum of Contemporary Art)—a boldly designed art museum featuring Finnish and foreign art from the 1960s to the present; Mannerheiminaukio 2
  • Seurasaaren Ulkomeseo—an outdoor museum featuring old farmhouses, barns, log buildings, a church boat, and a gabled church
  • Sinebrychoffin Taidemuseo (Sinebrychoff Museum of Foreign Art)—an 1840 neo-Renaissance mansion owned by the wealthy Sinebrychoff family includes Dutch and Swedish 17th and 18th century portraits, landscapes, miniatures, and porcelain along with period decorative furniture; Bulevardi 40
  • Suomen Kansallismuseo (National Museum of Finland)—a uniquely designed museum that features archaeological, cultural, and ethnological artifacts from Finland’s past; Mannerheimintie 34
  • Suomenlinna (Finland’s Castle)—a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is a collection of museums, parks, and gardens with its heart being a fortress and three islands; Suomenlinna C 74
  • Suomenlinna Museo (Suomenlinna Museum)—located in the same building as the visitor center of Suomenlinna, this museum has exhibits about the fortress, its fleet, and early life on the islands of Finland; Suomenlinna C 74
  • Tahtitorninvuori (Observatory Tower Hill)—named after the observatory within, this park features sculptures, winding walkways, and a view of the South Harbor
  • Tuomiokirkko (Lutheran Cathedral of Finland)—this church designed by famed architect Carl Ludvig Engel has steep steps and green domes and a blue-gray interior with white moldings and statues of German reformers Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon as well as Finnish bishop Mikael Agricola; Unioninkatu 29
  • Urho Kekkonen Museum Tamminiemi—the grand former home of the now deceased Finnish president Urho Kekkonen who lived here from 1956 to 1986 and the interior is filled with gifts given to Finland’s longest serving president including a gift from the US—a cupboard of National Geographic maps of the world; Seurasaarentie 15

Shopping in London

I’m guessing that shopping in London must be a pastime in itself with the variety of stores and renowned institutions such as Harrods and Fortnum and Mason. I think the following list should further prove my point that shopping should be on your checklist if you think about visiting London

  • A. Gold—sells traditional and retro food products including gift baskets, picnic hampers, take-out sandwiches, salads, homemade cakes, and daily specials; 42 Brushfield Street
  • Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop—a London landmark that sells retro toys including antique model theaters, puppets, marionettes, teddy bears, tops, jack-in-the-boxes, and other types of toys; 44 The Market Building
  • Berry Brothers and Rudd—a wine emporium that has been family-run since 1698 that stores more than 4,000 vintage bottles and casks of wine as well as a whiskey room; 3 St. James’s Street
  • Books for Cooks—an intriguing store where lunch dishes are served daily from a test kitchen from recipes in the 8,000 cookbooks on the shelves; 4 Blenheim Crescent
  • Columbia Road Flower Market—a popular London flower market that has more than 50 stalls selling flowers, shrubs, bulbs, and trees (it is only open on Sundays); Columbia Road
  • Fenwick—a large department store selling affordable clothing in an upscale neighborhood with accessories, cosmetics, perfumes, and clothes by niche and popular designers and a men’s department in the basement; 163 New Bond Street
  • Fortnum and Mason—an upscale department store selling foods such as teas, preserves, condiments, and wine as well as housewares, men’s and women’s accessories and toiletries, candles, jewelry, and clothing and toys for kids; 181 Piccadilly
  • Foyles—a landmark London bookstore is housed in a 1930s art deco building with more than 200,000 books on its four miles of bookshelves known particularly for textbooks and foreign language titles; 107 Charing Cross Road
  • Hamleys—the oldest toy store in the world that has six floors of the latest toys such as dolls, soft toys, video games, and tech products as well as train sets, drum kits, and magic tricks; 188-196 Regent Street
  • Harrods—a London institution of a department store that has more than 300 departments and 30 eateries set on a 4.5-acre site with foods, perfumes, jewelry, Europe’s biggest shoe department, designer clothing, and designer kids’ clothing; 87-135 Brompton Road
  • Hostem—a men’s and women’s clothing store that sells casual and edgy fashions and shoes; 41-43 Redchurch Street
  • Liberty—a department store established in the 19th century that sells home products, leather bags, beauty products, perfumes, footwear, and high-quality men’s and women’s clothing as well as a florist, hair salon, traditional men’s barber, beauty treatment rooms, and a spa; Regent Street
  • Peckham Rye—a family-run men’s accessories and clothing store; 11 Newburgh Street
  • Persephone Books—a bookstore selling fiction and nonfiction works by female authors as well as reprints of 20th century works from mainly female authors; 59 Lamb’s Conduit Street
  • Peter Jones—a London institution since 1937 that sells bed and bath linens, ceramics, glassware, beauty products, kitchenware, appliances, tech products, a florist, clothing, shoes, and accessories; Sloane Square
  • Selfridges—the second largest store in the UK after Harrods that sells both affordable and expensive designer clothing, jewelry, audio equipment, and has the world’s largest shoe department, a rooftop restaurant, tea, and an art-house movie theater; 400 Oxford Street

Sights in London

London has been a city that has enticed me since I was younger and remains a place I am definitely interested in visiting someday. Many of the attractions in London are world renowned and there is a wealth of history to learn about during a trip there.

  • Apsley House—a historic landmark that was formerly the home of the Duke of Wellington in the 1770s that has remained within his family until the 7th Duke of Wellington gave the house to his country; the home has weapons and military weapons as well as a great art collection with works by artists such as Brueghel, Van Dyck, and Rubens; 149 Piccadilly, Hyde Park Corner
  • British Museum—one of the signature museums in the world with countless marvels on display including the Rosetta Stone; Elgin Marbles; pieces of the Mausoleum of Halikarnassos; Mildenhall Treasure; and Sutton Hoo treasure with helmets and jewelry; also included are Egyptian mummies, an exhibit on living and dying, and other artifacts to admire; Great Russell Street
  • Buckingham Palace—the Queen’s main home open to the public only in August and September with a tour that includes 19 state rooms with gilt moldings and artistic masterpieces, a throne room with the 1953 coronation throne, the state dining room, and the sword in the ballroom used to bequeath knighthoods and other honors; Buckingham Palace Road
  • Chiswick House—a beautiful mansion finished in 1729 by the 3rd Earl of Burlington with gorgeous rooms including the Blue Velvet room with elegant décor and an intricately painted ceiling set amidst sprawling grounds with classical temples, statues, obelisks, a café, and a children’s play area; Burlington Lane
  • Dulwich Picture Gallery—the world’s first specifically designated art museum opened in 1811 with a permanent exhibition including works by Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Poussin, and Gainsborough along with major temporary exhibitions annually; Gallery Road
  • Eltham Palace—a former favorite home of Henry VIII that has been renovated twice, once during the 15th and 16th centuries and once during the 1930s that is a combination of medieval grandeur and art deco with a map room and walk-in wardrobe with 1930s dresses; Court Road
  • Geffrye Museum of the Home—a museum dedicated to the lives of London’s middle class that has 11 rooms that show home interiors from the Elizabethan period to the present day with a series of gardens outside that shows how the town garden evolved over the years and 20th century galleries, a café by the gardens, and a shop; 136 Kingsland Road
  • Houses of Parliament—referred to as the Palace of Westminster, this is where members of Parliament (MPs) debate one another and pose questions to the Prime Minister; St. Stephen’s Entrance, St. Margaret Street
  • Hyde Park—the renowned 350-acre park that originally was used as Henry VIII’s hunting grounds now used by the Household Cavalry who reside in the Hyde Park barracks that is great for walking, biking, or relaxing by the Serpentine, its body of water near its southern border
  • Kew Gardens—also known as the Royal Botanic Gardens, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to more than 30,000 species of plants from around the world with temples, a conservatory that houses 10 climate zones, and a treetop walkway; Kew Road at Lichfield Road
  • London Eye—built in the late 1990s to celebrate the new millennium, this giant Ferris wheel was the largest cantilevered observation wheel at the time of its construction and is one of London’s tallest structures and allows riders to see 25 miles of scenery; Jubilee Gardens
  • Museum of London—a museum that houses more than 7,000 objects ranging from Oliver Cromwell’s death mask to an original door from Newgate Prison with great gems and galleries that depict the history of London from ancient times to the present; London Wall
  • National Gallery—one of the world’s signature art museums with more than 2,300 masterpieces on display including works by Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Turner, Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, and others with special exhibitions every year; Trafalgar Square
  • National Portrait Gallery—founded in 1885, this gallery consists of more than 150 years of British photographs and 160,000 portraits of famous and infamous British citizens arranged chronologically from Tudor times to modern Britain with temporary exhibitions on the first three floors and the Portrait Restaurant on the top floor that provides a great view of London below; St. Martin’s Place
  • Natural History Museum—one of the world’s most famous museums of natural history and earth sciences with more than 70 million specimens and exhibits including a Dinosaur Gallery, Earth Galleries, Volcanoes and Earthquake Gallery, and more to admire and learn about; Cromwell Road
  • Science Museum—an illuminating science museum with educational exhibits where children can do hands-on science experiments and explore six floors that delve into physics, astronomy, aeronautics, the Internet, and robotics; Exhibition Road
  • Paul’s Cathedral—the architectural masterpiece of a cathedral built over a 35-year span in the late 16th century with a Whispering Gallery where you can whisper something to one wall and hear it clearly from 107 feet away and the Stone and Golden Galleries which offer great views of London; St. Paul’s Churchyard
  • Strawberry Hill—a hodge-podge of architecture with a medieval exterior and Gothic cathedral-like interior that was recently restored in 2011 after being abandoned for years with gardens restored to their original 18th century design; 268 Waldegrave Road
  • Tower of London—the classic former prison with 20 towers that has private secrets of royalty etched into its walls home to beheadings, murders, the Armouries (a collection of arms and armor), and the Crown Jewels in the Waterloo Barracks; Tower Hill
  • Victoria and Albert Museum—a museum dedicated to practical arts with many collections arranged by category including textiles, sculpture, jewelry, and fashion as well as galleries such as the British Galleries devoted to art and design from 1500 to 1900, the Asian Galleries home to a great collection of samurai armor, and Medieval and Renaissance Galleries; Cromwell Road
  • V&A Museum of Childhood—home to one of the world’s largest toy collections with dollhouses, board games, puzzles, teddy bears, train sets, and others in this outpost of the Victoria and Albert Museum; Cambridge Heath Road
  • Wallace Collection—an art museum with a great collection of old master paintings with works by artists such as Rubens, Rembrandt, and Van Dyck as well as collections of furniture, porcelain, and pottery; Hertford House, Manchester Square
  • Westminster Abbey—the iconic abbey that is a London landmark that has been the site of 38 coronations and 16 royal weddings with chapels, tombs, shrines, poets’ tombs, and memorials; Broad Sanctuary
  • ZSL London Zoo—a zoo with a focus on education, wildlife conservation, and breeding of endangered species with diverse animals from tigers to millipedes and a children’s zoo with mongooses, llamas, sheep, and goats; Outer Circle

Shopping in Copenhagen

Copenhagen is a small shopping destination with Scandinavia’s largest mall and largest department store. There are a number of department stores, renowned designer stores, and popular chains.

  • Bang and Olufsen—a renowned designer of high-tech headphones and devices; Ostergade 18
  • Bruuns Bazaar—a clothing store with original designs and high-end designers such as Gucci; Kronprinsensg 8
  • Field’s—the largest mall in Scandinavia with more than 140 stores and a whole floor dedicated to food, entertainment, and play; next to Orestad Metro Station
  • Galleri K—a designer clothing store with popular Danish designers; Centrum
  • Georg Jensen—one of the most recognized international silver jewelers; Amagertorv 4
  • Hay House—a popular designer of modern Danish furniture; Ostergade 61, 2nd floor
  • House of Amber—a store selling amber jewelry and other objects; Kongens Nytorv 2
  • Illum—a department store that has a rooftop café and basement grocery store; Ostergade 52
  • Illums Bolighus—a contemporary design store with art glass, porcelain, silverware, carpets, and fun toys for adults; Amagertov 19
  • Dansk Mobelkunst—a furniture store with vintage furniture and artwork by Arne Jacobson, Kaare Klint, and Finn Juhl; Aldersrogade 6C, Norrebro
  • Fisketorvet Shopping Center—a popular mall with 100 shops including chains such as Mango and H&M, shoe stores, and jewelry, watch, and stereo retailers and a large number of fast-food choices; Havneholmen 5, Centrum
  • Magasin—Scandinavia’s largest department store with a high-quality basement marketplace; Kongens Nytorv 13
  • Munthe Plus Simonsen—a clothing brand with playful and expensive Danish designs; Gronnegade 10, Centrum
  • Royal Copenhagen—the flagship store for the designer of its well-known porcelain ware and settings with a museum on the second floor where painters can be seen in action; Amargertov 6, Centrum

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