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Sights in Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest is an old city and the capital of Romania. It is home to some beautiful churches, interesting museums, and two palaces.

  • Arcul de Triumf (Arch of Triumph)—a landmark built in 1922 to commemorate the 1877 War for Independence and honor those who died in World War One that also provides great views of the city; Bulevardul Maresal Constantin Prezan
  • Biserica Cretulescu (Cretulescu Church)—a church dating back to the 1720s with a red brick exterior and nice interior frescoes and an iconostasis that depicts religious scenes; Calea Victoriei 45
  • Biserica Curtea Veche (Old Court Church)—Bucharest’s oldest church that was completed in the mid-16th century in a Wallachian style with horizontal bands of brick and plaster moldings and frescoes near the altar; Str. Franceza 33
  • Muzeul National Al Satului Dimitrie Gusti (National Village Museum)—an open-air museum that shows the many architectural styles of traditional Romanian houses, workshops, and churches with some of them featuring regional furnishings; Soseaua Pavel Dimitrievici Kiseleff 28-30
  • Muzeul National De Arta (National Art Museum)—a former royal palace that has Romania’s most significant art collection with 15 rooms of paintings and sculptures by European artists and a large collection of Romanian art from medieval times to the present including works by Brancusi and works from the Brueghel school; Calea Victoriei 49-53
  • Muzeul National De Istorie (Natural History Museum)—a museum with a large collection of objects dating from the Neolithic period to the 1920s with a treasury section containing golden objects from Roman times to the present; Calea Victoriei 12
  • Muzeul De Istorie Naturala Grigore Antipa (Natural History Museum)—a museum with exhibits on Romanian wildlife and dioramas of different ethnic cultures; Soseaua Pavel Dimitrievici Kiseleff 1
  • Muzeul de Istorie Al Comunitatilor Evreiesti Din Romania (Museum of the History of the Jewish Community in Romania)—a museum located within a synagogue that dates back to 1850 that describes the history of Romania’s Jewish population which at 750,000 was the second largest in Europe before World War II and now numbers over 10,000; Str. Mamulari 3
  • Muzeul Taranului Roman (Romanian Peasant Museum)—a museum with over 90,000 items from traditional costumes and textiles to ceramics and icons and a basement exhibition on Communist-era statues and posters; Soseaua Pavel Dimitrievici Kiseleff 3
  • Palatul Cotroceni (Cotroceni Palace)—a palace built in the late 19th century that has a mix of French, Romanian, Art Nouveau, and other styles of architecture that was rebuilt after a major 1977 earthquake and is the home of the Romanian president that features sumptuous furniture, art, and personal possessions; 1 Geniului bld
  • Palatul Parlamentului (Palace of Parliament)—one of the largest buildings in the world that houses the Romanian parliament with 24-karat gold on the ceilings to a large hand-woven carpet on the floor; Strada Izvor 2-4
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Sights in Madrid, Spain

Madrid is the capital of Spain and has an impressive history and scenic parks, museums, and churches that are certainly worth exploring.

  • Basilica de San Francisco El Grande—a basilica built by Carlos III on the site of a Franciscan convent founded by St. Francis of Assisi in 1217 with a large dome that is the largest in Spain, seven main doors made from American walnut, three chapels joining the circular church with one containing a famed Goya painting, and 16th century Gothic choir stalls; Pl. de San Francisco
  • Caixaforum—an arts complex designed by two Swiss architects that appears to float on the public plaza and has a vertical garden designed by a French botanist; inside are huge exhibition halls that display ancient and contemporary art; Paseo del Prado 36
  • Campo del Moro (Moors’ Field)—a park with shade trees, winding paths, and lawn that lead up to the Palacio Real and inside the gardens is the Museo de Carruajes (Carriage Museum) that has royal carriages and equestrian gear from the 16th to 20th centuries; Paseo Virgen del Puerto
  • Casa Museo Lope de Vega—the former home of famed Spanish playwright Fray Lope Felix de la Vega who wrote 1,800 plays and attained great success in his lifetime that now is a museum with whale-oil lamps, candles, bed-warming pans, poetry readings, and workshops; Calle Cervantes 11
  • Catedral de la Almudena—this cathedral adjacent to the Royal Palace had its first stone laid in 1883 by King Alfonso XII and its structure consecrated by Pope John Paul II in 1993 and in a classical and Gothic style with a wooden statue of Madrid’s female patron saint, the Virgin of Almudena, who was discovered after the conquest of Madrid by Christians in 1085; Calle Bailen 10
  • Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Queen Sofia Art Center)—Spain’s national museum of contemporary art that has works by all of the major Spanish painters and sculptors such as Picasso, Miro, Goya, and Dali displayed in a manner that puts these works into their historical context with the highlight piece on the second floor, Picasso’s Guernica, that depicts the Nazi bombing of the ancient Basque town of Gernika in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War, and the fourth floor dedicated to art created post-World War II; Calle de Santa Isabel 52
  • Centro de Conde Duque—an imposing building that was used as a military academy and astronomical observatory in the 19th century that after a fire in 1869 was renovated and converted into a cultural and arts center with a modern art museum and temporary art exhibitions; Calle Conde Duque 9 and 11
  • Museo Arqueologico Nacional (Museum of Archaeology)—a large neoclassical building that is a museum with three floors with Spanish relics, artifacts, and treasures such as La Dama de Elche, a bust of a wealthy 5th century BC Iberian woman whose headwear is a precursor to traditional Spanish dress, Visigothic votive crowns discovered in 1859 that date back to the 7th century, and the ivory crucifix of Ferdinand and Sancha; Calle de Serrano 13
  • Museo Lazaro Galdiano—the former mansion of writer and editor Jose Lazaro Galdiano that has décor and paintings by Bosch, El Greco, Murillo, and Goya among others; Calle de Serrano 122
  • Museo Municipal de Arte Contemporaneo—a museum inside the Centro de Conde Duque that was founded in 2001 and has 200 modern art pieces by local artists; Centro de Conde Duque, Calle Conde Duque 9 and 11
  • Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza—this museum opened in 1992 that is located within the 18th century Villahermosa Palace and has a collection of almost 1,000 paintings that depict the history of Western art from 13th century Italian Gothic to 20th century American pop art with highlights such as Hans Holbein’s Portrait of Henry VIII, an impressionist halls, and German expressionist works; Paseo del Prado 8
  • Museo de Historia de Madrid—a museum founded in 1929 in a former 17th century hospice that has paintings, drawings, pictures, ceramics, furniture, and other objects that illustrate Madrid’s history with exhibits divided into four major historic periods: Empire, Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution, and Modern Times; Calle Fuencarral 78
  • Museo del Prado (Prado Museum)—one of the world’s most renowned art museums that was renovated in 2007 with an addition of a large new wing and building centered around the remains of the Cloister of the San Jeronimo el Real which features works by Zurbaran and Antonio de Pereda; highlights of the permanent collection are works by three renowned Spanish masters: Goya, Velasquez, and El Greco and pieces by Flemish, Dutch, German, French, and Italian artists; Paseo del Prado
  • Museo del Traje (Costume Museum)—a museum that depicts the evolution of Spanish dress from royal burial garments to the introduction of French fashion by Felipe V and 20th century couture by Balenciaga and Pertegaz; Av. Juan de Herrera 2
  • Palacio Real—this palace built on the land where Muslims built their defensive fortress in the 9th century was commissioned in the early 18th century by Felipe V with classical French design and inside are 2,800 rooms including King Carlos III’s private apartments; a grand throne room with the royal seats of King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia; a banquet hall that seats 140 for state dinners; a music museum with the world’s largest collection of stringed instruments; a painting gallery with works by Spanish, Flemish, and Italian artists; the royal armory with historic suits of armor; and the royal pharmacy with vials and flasks used to mix the king’s medicines; Calle Bailen
  • Parque del Buen Retiro (The Retreat)—Madrid’s largest park with formal gardens, fountains, lakes, exhibition halls, children’s play areas, outdoor cafes, and a puppet theater; Puerta de Alcala
  • Plaza de Oriente—the plaza in front of the Palacio Real that is surrounded by stone statues of Spanish monarchs including one that is the first bronze equestrian cast with a rearing horse
  • Plaza de la Cibeles—a majestic plaza with a well-known fountain, Fuente de la Cibeles (Fountain of Cybele), that depicts the nature goddess driving a chariot drawn by lions
  • Plaza de la Paja—this plaza was the most important square in medieval Madrid with the focal point being the Capilla del Obispo (Bishop’s Chapel) built between 1520 and 1530 that was the site where peasants gave their tithes (1/10 of their crop)
  • Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (St. Ferdinand Royal Academy of Fine Arts)—a museum that displays 500 years of Spanish paintings from Jose Ribera and Bartolome Esteban Murillo to Joaquin Sorolla and Ignacio Zuloaga with a gallery that displays paintings up to the 18th century including some Goya paintings; Calle de Alcala 13
  • Real Jardin Botanico (Botanical Garden)—a garden with plants, flowers, and cacti from around the world; Pl. de Murillo 2
  • Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial (Royal Monastery of St. Lawrence of Escorial)—a granite monastery commissioned by Felipe II built from 1563 to 1584 with treasures from the Spanish empire; a pantheon with the tombs of every king but three since Carlos I and royal children; a colorful library with ceiling paintings by a follower of Michelangelo and 50,000 rare manuscripts, codices, and ancient texts; San Lorenzo de El Escorial
  • Zoo-Aquarium—a comprehensive zoological park with a large variety of animals including an albino tiger, dolphins, and wild birds; Casa de Campo

Sights in Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is the beautiful capital of Portugal that has a history of great exploration, seafaring, and culture. It is a great place to explore with several museums, Europe’s largest indoor aquarium, and art galleries.

  • Aqueduto Das Aguas Livres—formerly the water source for the city, this aqueduct stretches for more than 11 miles with 35 arches that cross the Alcantara river valley beyond the Amoreiras shopping complex and the largest arch is said to be the highest pointed arch in the world; Praca des Amoreiras 10
  • Arco da Rua Augusta—a triumphal arch that provides a view of the buildings built after a terrible earthquake with elevator access and two flights of stairs to the top where visitors can ring a bell and admire the panoramic views over Praca do Comercio and the River Tejo in one direction and look at the streets below along Rua Augusta; Rua Augusta 2
  • Basilica da Estrela—a white basilica located at the top of one of Lisbon’s seven hills with scenic views from its dome that was built at the end of the 18th century under the rule of Queen Maria I and has black and white marble walls and floors and an elaborate nativity scene; Praca da Estrela
  • Casa dos Bicos—an Italianate former residence built in 1523 for Bras de Albuquerque, the son of Afonso, the viceroy of India and conqueror of Goa and Malacca, with a façade studded with pointed white diamond-shaped stones and the top two floors dedicated to Jose Saramago, the only Portuguese-language winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature; Rua dos Bacalhoeiros
  • Casa-Museu Medeiros e Almeida—a museum located within a 19th century mansion where the collector that gave his name to the museum once lived and amassed a collection of furniture, porcelain, clocks, paintings, gold, and jewelry; Rua Rosa Araujo 41
  • Castelo de Sao Jorge (St. George’s Castle)—a castle built by the Moors and previously fortified by Romans and Visigoths with a statue at the main entrance of Dom Alfonso Henriques whose forces invaded the castle and drove the Moors out of Lisbon and ramparts that provide scenic views of the layout of the city, a snack bar, a museum with archaeological finds, and a formal restaurant; Rua de Santa Cruz do Castelo
  • Elevador de Santa Justa—the Santa Justa Elevator was built in 1902 by Raul Mesnier who studied under Eiffel (architect of the Eiffel Tower) and provides views of the Baixa district and beyond; Rua do Ouro
  • Fundacao Arpad Szenes-Vieira da Silva—a former royal silk factory that has artwork from the museum’s collection and exhibitions featuring pieces by Picasso, Chagall, and other artists; Praca das Amoreiras 58
  • Igreja E Museu de Sao Roque—a church completed in 1574 that was one of the world’s earliest Jesuit buildings with a plain austere exterior and an interior with gold and marble, eight side chapels that have statues and art dating back to the early 17th century, and a chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist that was designed and built in Rome and reassembled in Lisbon in 1747 with rare stones and mosaics resembling oil paintings; Largo Trinidade Coelho
  • Jardim Botanico—a botanical garden laid out in 1874 with 10 acres of paths, benches, and 15,000 species of subtropical plants; Rua da Escola Politecnica 58
  • Jardim Botanico da Ajuda—Portugal’s oldest botanical garden that was laid out in 1768 by an Italian botanist with ornate fountains, four acres of greenhouses filled with a variety of plant species, and a tropical garden with plants from the Azores, Madeira, and other former Portuguese colonies; Calcada da Ajuda
  • Jardim Zoologico—a major attraction with more than 3,000 animals from over 330 species including a Tigers’ Valley, gorilla house, petting zoo, and animal shows as well as cafes and picnic areas; Praca Marechal Humberto Delgado
  • Lisboa Story Centre—an interactive museum that has multimedia exhibits illustrating the history of Lisbon with a central focus on Portuguese maritime discoveries and a theater with a reenactment of the 1755 earthquake that ravaged the city; Praco do Comercio 78-81
  • Lisbon Cathedral (Se De Lisboa)—the main cathedral in Lisbon that was founded in 1150 to memorialize the defeat of the Moors on the site of the former Moorish mosque with a rose window, 13th century cloister, and a sacristy with treasures such as the relics of St. Vincent the Martyr who is the official patron saint of Lisbon; Largo da Se
  • Monserrate Park and Palace—an estate west of Sintra that was laid out by Scottish gardeners in the mid-19th-century at the request of Sir Francis Cook with the central building being a Moorish three-domed palace that was home to Gothic novelist William Beckford and other feature include gardens with streams, waterfalls, and Etruscan tombs; Estrada da Monserrate
  • Mosteiro dos Jeronimos—a UNESCO World Heritage site that is an example of the Manueline architectural style named after King Dom Manuel I with elaborately sculpted details with a maritime theme and a large spacious interior with six nave columns and a latticework ceiling, the building is the resting place of Vasco da Gama and the Portuguese national poet Luis de Camoes; Praca do Imperio
  • Museu Berardo—a museum located within the Belem Cultural Center that has a significant private collection of modern art by artists such as Picasso, Warhol, and Portuguese artist Paula Rego, visiting exhibitions, a restaurant, several cafes, and rooftop gardens with a large terrace that has jets of water spray from the ground; Praca do Imperio
  • Museu Calouste Gulbenkian—the museum of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation set within gardens filled with walkways, flowers, and ducks that is home to the collection of Armenian oil magnate Calouste Gulbenkian which features Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Islamic, and Asian art and European acquisitions as well as a modern collection of 9,000 pieces from the 20th and 21st centuries including sculptures, paintings, and photographs; Av. De Berna 45
  • Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga—a large art museum housed within a 17th century palace once owned by the courts of Alvor that has a nicely displayed collection of Portuguese art from the 15th-19th centuries, Flemish art pieces that were influential to Portuguese artists, and other European artists; Rua das Janelas Verdes
  • Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporanea—a museum on the site of a monastery that focuses on Portuguese art from 1850 to the present covering movements such as Romanticism, Naturalism, and Modernism; Rua Serpa Pinto 4
  • Museu Nacional do Azulejo—a stately museum dedicated to Portuguese tilework that is housed within the 16th century Madre de Deus convent and cloister with displays of glazed tiles, pictorial panels, and large tile pieces; Rua da Madre de Deus 4
  • Museu Nacional Dos Coches (National Coach Museum)—a museum with a great collection of gilded horse-drawn carriages with the oldest on display made for Philip II of Spain in the late 1500s and three carriages created in Rome for King John V in 1716; Av. Da India 136
  • Museu da Farmacia—a museum in an old palace that covers over 5,000 year of pharmaceutical history from prehistory to fictitious potions with ancient objects related to pharmaceutical science and art and pharmacies shipped intact from other parts of Portugal and a 19th century Chinese pharmacy from Macau; Rua Marechal Saldanha 1
  • Museu da Marioneta—a museum with displays of puppets from Portugal and other countries with frequent puppet shows; Convento das Bernardas, Rua da Esperanca 146
  • Museu de Marinha—one of the city’s oldest museums founded in 1853 that illustrates the significance of seafaring to the country through maps and maritime codes, navigational equipment, full-size and model ships, uniforms, and weapons; Praca do Imperio
  • Museu do Oriente—a museum located in a former fish store that opened in 2008 that illustrates the story of the Portuguese presence in Asia and an overview of Asian cultures through maps and charts from Portuguese maritime exploration and painted screens from China and Japan; Av. Brasilia, Doca de Alcantara
  • Museu do Teatro Romano—a small museum that occupies a space that once was a Roman amphitheater and features artifacts such as columns; Rua de Sao Mamede
  • Museu-Escola de Artes Decorativas—this museum located within the 17th century Azurara Palace has objects dating from the 15th to the 19th centuries such as hand-embroidered Portuguese carpets based on Arabic designs, silverwork, ceramics, paintings, and jewelry; Largo das Portas do Sol 2
  • Oceanario de Lisboa—Europe’s largest indoor aquarium that features a large saltwater tank featuring a variety of fish including several types of sharks, habitats resembling the North Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans with puffins, penguins, sea otters, and tropical birds; Esplanada D. Carlos I (Doca dos Olivais)
  • Padrao dos Descobrimentos—a large monument built in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator that was built on the site that was a departure point for many voyages of discovery including Vasco da Gama for India and the Spanish Armada for England in 1588; Av. Brasilia
  • Palacio Nacional de Sintra (Sintra Palace)—one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks known for its conical twin white chimneys that dates back to the late 14th century and is the only surviving palace in Portugal from the Middle Ages designed in a Moorish, Gothic, and Manueline style; the chapel has Moorish-inspired azulejos from the 15th and 16th centuries and the ceiling has the coats of arms of 72 noble families; Largo Rainha D. Amelia
  • Palacio da Ajuda—a royal residence since converted into a museum that had its last royal resident, Queen Maria, die there in 1911 with fixtures preserved in their original state and overviews of how Portuguese monarchs lived, 18th and 19th century paintings, furniture, and tapestries; Largo da Ajuda
  • Palacio da Pena—a castle that is a mixture of pastel turrets and domes that was originally a monastery but was converted into a castle by Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg who had the castle designed by a German architect in a variety of styles from Arabian to Victorian; the castle is surrounded by a park filled with trees and flowers from throughout the former Portuguese empire, hidden temples, grottoes, and a swan lake and inside the castle is Victorian and Edwardian furniture, ornaments, and paintings; Estrada da Pena
  • Panteao de Santa Engracia—a former church that serves as Portugal’s National Pantheon with the tombs of former Portuguese presidents and monuments to famous explorers and writers; Campo de Santa Clara
  • Parque Eduardo VII—Lisbon’s version of Central Park that was named in honor of Edward VII of England after his visit in 1902 that has lakes, waterfalls, statues, and vibrant plants and on the west side features a 1930s greenhouse garden with habitats arranged around a nice pool
  • Pavilhao do Conhecimento—the Knowledge Pavilion or Living Science Centre that has permanent and temporary interactive exhibits related to math, science, and technology, a café, a media library, a gift shop, and a bookstore; Alamada dos Oceanos
  • Quinta da Regaleira—a privately owned mansion in Lisbon that was built in the early 20th century for a Brazilian mining magnate and has gardens with statues, water features, grottoes, lookout towers, and an underground tower; Rua Barbosa do Bocage 5
  • Torre de Belem—a UNESCO World Heritage site with openwork balconies and domed turrets that was built between 1514 and 1520 on an island in the middle of the Rio Tagus to defend the entrance to the port and was dedicated to St. Vincent, the patron saint of Lisbon, and inside are cannons, dungeons, and a tower-top birds-eye view across the Tagus and the city; Av. Brasilia

Sights in Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw is the capital city of Poland and is a very old and historic city that has several palaces, parks, museums, galleries, and Jewish monuments to the Warsaw rising and ghetto that are worth exploring and visiting.

  • Royal Castle—a large brick castle that served as a royal residence and housed Russian tsars before becoming the residence of the president in 1918 after Poland regained independence and includes period furniture and artwork, the Great Apartment and Great Assembly Hall with a large ceiling painting entitled The Disentanglement of Chaos, the National Hall with six large canvas paintings that depict important scenes from Polish history, and the Throne Room with sumptuous décor and 23 paintings by Bernardo Bellotto; Plac Zamkowy 4
  • Archikatedra Sw. Jana (Cathedral of St. John)—a cathedral built at the turn of the 14th century where coronations of Polish kings took place until the 18th century and where crypts containing the tombs of the last two princes of Mazovia, archbishops of Warsaw, and Polish luminaries such as 19th century novelist Henryk Sienkiewicz; Swietojanska 8
  • Biblioteka Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego (Warsaw University Library)—a library completed in 1999 with cafes and shops on the ground floor, a roof with views of the city and the library’s interior, and a beautiful rooftop garden with brooks, paths, lawns, and benches; Dobra 56/66
  • Centrum Nauki Kopernik (Copernicus Science Center)—a science museum with interactive displays that explore various scientific disciplines such as biology, optics, and astrophysics, labs, shows, and a planetarium; Wybrzeze Kosciuszkowskie 20
  • Centrum Sztuki Wspolczesnej Zamek Ujazdowski (Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle)—a castle dating back to the 18th century and reconstructed in the 1980s that hosts temporary exhibitions by Polish and international artists and has the most comprehensive permanent collection of Polish contemporary art in the country as well as an outdoor cinema, cafeteria, bookshop, and restaurant; ul. Jazdow 2
  • Galeria Zacheta (Zacheta Gallery)—an art gallery that has special exhibitions of modern and contemporary art in its high-ceilinged bright halls; pl. Malachowskiego 3
  • Jewish Cemetery—a cemetery that is gradually being restored after surviving World War II that features the headstones of the creator of Esperanto, the co-founder of Warsaw Polytechnic, and the minister of the treasury during the 1864 uprising against Russian rule; Okopowa 49-51
  • Jewish Historical Institute—an institute that provides genealogical information on archival resources and the history of towns and villages where Polish Jews lived and has a museum that has a permanent collection of mementos and artifacts; Tlomackie 3/5
  • Muzeum Chopina (Ostrogski Palace)—the Chopin museum which occupies the 17th century Palac Ostrogskich that features an interactive modern display of mementos such as the last piano played by Chopin and piano recitals and lessons for children; Okolnik 1
  • Muzeum Ethnograficzne (Ethnographic Museum)—a museum with a collection of Polish folk art, crafts, and costumes from throughout Poland and ethnographic collections from around the world; Kredytowa 1
  • Muzeum Narodowe (National Museum of Warsaw)—a museum with a large collection of contemporary Polish and European paintings, Gothic icons, and antiques; al. Jerozolimskie 3
  • Muzeum Wojska Polskiego (Polish Army Museum)—a museum with exhibits of weapons, armor, and uniforms that illustrate Polish military history for the past ten centuries; al. Jerozolimskie 3
  • Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews—an innovatively designed museum that has a permanent exhibition featuring evidence from people of different eras who tell their stories, permanent and temporary exhibitions, a play-education area for children, a café, bookshop, information center, and auditorium; Mordechaja Anielewicza 6
  • Palac Czapskich (Czapski Palace)—a palace dating back to the 17th century that is now the home of the Academy of Fine Arts and was formerly the birthplace of Zygmunt Krasinski, a Polish romantic poet, and residence of Chopin in the palace mews; Krakowskie Przedmiescie 5
  • Palac Kultury I Nauki (Palace of Culture and Science)—Warsaw’s main landmark that has been a national monument since 2007 with a panoramic view of the city from the 30th floor, a swimming pool, the Museum of Science and Technology with a vintage display, and several species of animals including cats, peregrine falcons, and beehives; pl. Defilad 1
  • Palac Wilanow (Wilanow Palace)—a palace built between 1681 and 1696 by King Jan III Sobieski with a Baroque gateway and fake moat and bought at the end of the 18th century by Stanislaw Kostka Potocki who had an impressive art collection there, laid out the gardens, and opened a public museum in 1805; inside the palace there is still a lot of the original furniture and a display of 16th to 18th century Polish portraits on the first floor and outside the palace is a scenic park with pagodas, summer houses, bridges, a lake, a formal Italian garden, and a gallery of contemporary Polish art; Stanislaw Kostki-Potockiego 10/16
  • Palac Lazienkowski (Lazienki Palace)—a grand palace that is the highlight of the Park Lazienkowski with 18th century furniture and part of the art collection of King Slainslaw August Poniatowski; Agrykola 1
  • Pomnik Bohaterow Getta (Monument to the Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto)—a monument dedicated to the Jewish resistance from the Warsaw ghetto, a ghetto that was razed by Nazi flamethrowers, that now marks the location of the house where the command bunker was situated; al. Zamenhofa
  • Umschlagplatz—a plaza where the rail line was that transported tens of thousands of the Warsaw ghetto’s residents to the death camp of Treblinka, 60 miles northeast of Warsaw, with a memorial gateway built in 1988 on the 45th anniversary of the Jewish resistance; Stawki at al.
  • Warsaw Rising Museum—a great museum that depicts the 1944 Rising through interactive displays such as a life-size plane, cobblestone streets, reconstructed sewers, objects, photographs, video footage, and audio recordings; Grzybowska 79

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sights in Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and has a large variety of museums, churches, synagogues, and art galleries to walk through and explore.

  • Abba The Museum—a museum dedicated to Swedish pop sensations ABBA that has exhibits that highlight the band’s history from its beginnings to its breakup and enduring legacy with unique outfits worn during performances and original memorabilia along with interactive stations to sing, dance like an ABBA avatar, or perform on stage; Djurgardsv. 68
  • Fotografiska—a contemporary photography gallery in a 1906 red brick art nouveau building along the Sodermalm waterfront with fine art photography by artists such as Annie Leibovitz and Anton Corbijn; Stadgardshammen 22
  • Grona Lund Tivoli—an amusement park with intense rides, gardens, arcades, and restaurants with the Power Tower, one of Europe’s tallest free-fall amusement park rides; Lilla Allmanna Grand 9
  • Historiska Museet (The Swedish History Museum)—a historical museum with Viking treasures and a gold room as well as other exhibitions that provide an overview of Sweden’s history; Narvav 13-17
  • Junibacken—a storybook park with a storybook house that resembles the house that Pippi Longstocking, the beloved children’s book character created by Astrid Lingren; Galarvarsv 8
  • Kungliga Slottet—a castle built on the ruins of Tre Kronor castle which burned down in 1697 with highlights including the Versailles-inspired Karl XVI Gallery and Queen Kristina’s silver throne in the Hall of State and 608 other rooms making it the world’s largest royal castle still used for its original purpose; Slottsbacken
  • Vasamuseet—the custom-designed home of the warship Vasa that sank soon after embarking on its maiden voyage in 1628 with most of the passengers aboard and was raised in 1961, reassembled, and restored with an entrance level that has a model of the ship and a theater showing a film that covers topics not seen in the exhibitions and four other levels of exhibits with salvaged artifacts, information about life on the ship, naval warfare, sculptures, and temporary exhibitions; Galarvarsvagen 14
  • Skansen—the world’s first open-air museum founded in 1891 by Arthur Hazelius to show how Swedes once lived with 150 traditional homes and exhibits including a glass-blowers’ cottage; the Nordic Zoo with elk, reindeer, brown bears, wolves, and native wildlife; staff in period costumes; a functional bakery; a bank and post office; a machine shop; botanical gardens; and Hazelius’s mansion with restaurants, cafes, and hot-dog stands throughout the park; Djugardsvagen
  • Moderna Museet—a modern art museum with a permanent collection that has paintings, sculptures, photography, video art, and installations by artists such as Picasso, Dali, Warhol, and Damien Hirst, Scandinavian and Russian artists, temporary exhibits, viewing rooms, children’s workshops, and hands-on events; Exercisplan 4
  • Millesgarden—the former home and studio of sculptor Carl Milles that includes a modern art gallery with rotating exhibitions of contemporary art, an outdoor sculpture garden, a museum shop, and a café; Herserudsvagen 32
  • Spritmuseum—the Museum of Spirits that is dedicated to the country’s relationship with alcohol and covers the history, manufacturing, and consumption of alcoholic beverages in addition to traditions, drinking songs, and food combinations; Djugardsvagen 38
  • Thielska Galleriet—an art gallery with a collection of works by late-19th-century and early 20th century Scandinavian artists such as Carl Larsson, Anders Zorn, Ernst Josephson, and Bruno Lilijefors; Sjotullsbacken 8
  • Nordiska Museet—Sweden’s largest cultural history museum and one of its largest indoor spaces situated within a Renaissance-style castle with a collection featuring Sami objects, clothing, table settings, and the world’s largest collection of paintings by August Strindberg; Djugardsvagen 6-16
  • Medeltidsmuseet—a family-friendly museum built upon foundations from 1530 that provides visitors with the opportunity to explore reconstructions of typical homes, markets, and workshops from medieval Stockholm with hands-on and multimedia exhibits such as a 1520s-era ship, a display about Gallows Hill, and a gated tunnel; Stromparteren
  • Royal Armoury—this armory in the cellar vaults of Sweden’s palace has memorabilia from royal childhoods, coronations, weddings, and murders as well as coronation coaches and temporary exhibitions; Slottsbacken 3
  • Riddarholmskyran—a beautiful church built by Franciscan monks in the late 13th century that has served as the royal necropolis since the burial of Magnus Ladulas in 1290 and is home to the armor of the Seraphim knightly order with wall plates displaying the coats of arms of the knights; Riddarholmen
  • Nobelmuseet—a museum that provides an overview of the history of the Nobel Prizes and their recipients through displays, films, video interviews, and café chairs signed by the visiting prize recipients; Stortorget
  • Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde—a palace that belonged to Prins Eugen, a painter and prince, that includes a gallery of pieces by Eugen himself, Nordic paintings and sculptures by artists such as Anders Zorn and Carl Larsson, and temporary exhibitions with the palace surrounded by gardens and a 1780s windmill; Prins Eugens vag 6
  • Medelhavsmuseet—an elegant museum with Egyptian, Greek, Cypriot, Roman, and Etruscan artifacts and a gold room with a 4th century BC olive wreath made of gold as well as mummies and a café; Fredsgatan 2
  • Skogskyrkogarden (Woodland Cemetery)—a scenic graveyard designed by famed designers Gunnar Asplund and Sigrid Lewerentz that is on the UNESCO World Heritage list and known for its functionalist buildings with Greta Garbo’s grave located within; Sockenvagen
  • Ekoparken (Royal National City Park)—the world’s first national urban park established in 1995 that stretches throughout Stockholm and into the suburbs of Solna and Lidingo and features rare plant and animal species with some that live nowhere else in Sweden
  • Kulturhuset—an arts center with galleries, workshops, a cinema, three restaurants, and libraries with international periodicals, newspapers, books, and graphic novels in a variety of languages as well as the City Theatre and Stockholm’s main visitor center; Sergels Torg
  • Hallwylska Museet—a palace completed in 1898 that was once home to an obsessive collector, Wilhelmina von Hallwyl, who amassed a collection of kitchen utensils, Chinese pottery, 17th century paintings, silverware, and sculptures; Hamngatan 4
  • Ethnografiska Museet—a museum with displays on aspects of non-European cultures including temporary exhibitions and live performances with past exhibitions focusing on Afghan culture, gender norms in different cultures, and voodoo; Djugardsbrunnsvagen 34
  • Bonniers Konsthall—an art gallery with international contemporary art, a reading room, a café, art seminars, and artist conversation sessions; Torsgatan 19
  • Aquaria Vattenmuseum—this aquarium is dedicated to ecology and marine environmental issues and has seahorses, sharks, piranhas, and clownfish; Falkenbergsgatan 2
  • Nationalmuseum—Sweden’s largest art museum which is home to the country’s collection of painting, sculpture, drawings, decorative arts, and graphics from the Middle Ages to the present; Sodra Blasieholmshamnen
  • Tantolunden—one of Stockholm’s most extensive parks with an outdoor gym, play area, and walking paths; Zinkens Vag
  • Tekniska Museet—a technology-oriented museum with interactive science and technology exhibits, a room with kinetic experiments and stations to test balance, flexibility, and strength, a mining exhibit, a model railroad, inventions by women, and a climate-change game; Museivagen 7
  • Armemuseum—a museum dedicated to the drama of warfare with three floors of exhibitions featuring art, weaponry, and life-size reconstructions of horsemen, barracks, and starving civilians; Riddargatan 13
  • Wetterling Gallery—a gallery space with contemporary and multimedia art exhibitions; Kungstradgarden 3
  • Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet—a natural history museum founded in 1739 with interactive activities such as crawling through a human ear, sitting through forest fires, and mosquito chambers as well as displays of fossils, rocks, stuffed wildlife, marine life, and polar plants; Frescativagen 40
  • Sparvagsmuseet—a transport museum with 40 vehicles including antique horse-drawn carriages, vintage trams and busses, and a tunnelbana carriage; Tegelviksgatan 22
  • Storkyrkan—Stockholm’s oldest building which was consecrated in 1306 and its cathedral with a Baroque exterior and a Gothic-Baroque interior with royal-box pews designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger and a sculpture by German sculptor Berndt Notke entitled George and the Dragon; Trangsund 1
  • Dansmuseet—the Rolf de Mare Dance Museum that features traditional dance masks from Africa, India, and Tibet; stylish costumes from the Russian ballet; Chinese and Japanese theatre puppets; and a renowned collection of early 20th century Ballets Russes costumes; Drottninggatan 17
  • ArkDes—a museum next to Moderna Museet situated within a converted navy drill hall that focuses on architecture and design with a permanent exhibition that spans 1000 years of Swedish architecture and has an archive of 2.5 million documents, photographs, plans, drawings, and models; Exercisplan 4
  • Ostasiatiska Museet—a museum dedicated to Asian decorative arts with one of the world’s best collections of Chinese stoneware and porcelain from the Song, Ming, and Qing dynasties and the largest and oldest Asian library in Scandinavia; Tyghusplan
  • Strindbergsmuseet—the preserved apartment of writer and painter August Strindberg who lived in the residence for the last four years of his life with his closet, study, library with 3000 volumes, dining room, and temporary exhibits; Drottninggatan 85
  • Ulriksdals Slott—the 17th century palace home to King Gustaf VI Adolf and his family until 1973 and now has royal apartments including a drawing room, stables with Queen Kristina’s 17th century coronation carriage, and the orangery with Swedish sculptures and Mediterranean plants; Slottsallen
  • Kaknastornet—a 155-meter-tall building that houses the radio and TV broadcasting stations for the country and has a gift shop, visitor center, observation deck, restaurant, and café with views of the city and archipelago; Morka Kroken 28-30
  • Bergianska Tradgarden—a botanical garden that borders the university on one side and Brunnsviken lake on the other with rare Swedish plants, a café in the Orangeriet, and a greenhouse named after the water lily; Gustafsborgsvagen 4
  • Riddarhuset—a 17th century building situated between the Royal Palace and government buildings on the island of Riddarholm that acts as a shrine to the once powerful Swedish nobility; Riddarhustorget 10
  • Rosendals Slott—a palace that was once home to Karl XIV Johan in the 1820s and has luxurious furniture and an outdoor organic café set within gardens and greenhouses; Rosendalsvagen 49
  • Fjarilshuset—Haga Ocean—a butterfly house within a tropical environment with flying birds and butterflies, fish, and a large shark aquarium as well as temporary exhibits; Hagaparken
  • Cosmonova—a planetarium, IMAX, and 3D theater with themes such as mummies, dinosaurs, and prehistoric sea monsters; Frescativagen 40
  • Leksaksmuseet—a toy museum with all sorts of toys on display including model trains, airplanes, toy soldiers, toy robots, Barbie dolls, and stuffed animals; Tegelviksgatan 22
  • Postmuseum—a postal museum that covers almost 400 years of Swedish postal history with old mail carriages, postcards, and a children’s post office; Lilla Nygatan 6
  • Swedish Museum of Performing Arts—a dramatic arts museum with an expansive collection of set designs, costumes, and musical instruments; Sibyllegatan 2
  • Kungliga Myntkabinettet—the national museum of economy with treasures such as Viking silver, the world’s oldest coin (from 625 BC), the world’s largest coin (a copper plate weighing 19.7 kilograms), and the first banknote (issued in 1661); Slottsbacken 6
  • Sjohistoriska Museet—a museum with over 1500 mini boats, exhibits that delve into Swedish shipbuilding and life on deck, and children’s activities; Djugardsbrunnsvagen 24
  • Tobaks and Tandsticksmuseum—a museum that explores the history and culture of smoking and the manufacturing of Swedish matches
  • Skansen Akvariet—an aquarium with piranhas, lemurs, and pygmy marmosets (the smallest monkeys in the world)
  • Konstakademien—the Royal Academy of Fine Arts which is an art gallery with several annual exhibitions; Fredsgatan 2

Sights in Oslo, Norway

Oslo has a rich maritime and cultural history and is particularly known for its Viking heritage. It has interesting museums and cultural attractions to explore with a sampling of these sights below.

  • Ekebergparken—a public park that looks out over the city and Oslofjord with artwork from the collection of art collector and developer Christian Ringnes with pieces by artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Marina Abramovic, Jenny Holzer, and Tony Oursler; Kongsveien 23
  • Astrup Fearnley Museet—a private contemporary art museum designed by Renzo Piano with a glass sail-like roof and a collection including works by Jeff Koons, Tom Sachs, Cindy Sherman, Sigmar Polke, Anselm Kiefer, and Damien Hirst with the most famous piece being Koons’ Michael Jackson and Bubbles; Strandpromenaden 2
  • Ibsen Museet—a house-museum with Henrik Ibsen’s former apartment that was his final residence featuring his study in the condition he left it and the bedroom where he said his last words; Henrik Ibsens Gate 26
  • Nasjonalgalleriet—an art gallery with the country’s largest collection of traditional and modern art with works by Edvard Munch including The Scream, European art by artists such as Gauguin and El Greco, and 19th century Norwegian artists such as JC Dahl and Christian Krohg; Universitetsgata 13
  • Vigelandsanlegget—an outdoor showcase of work by Norway’s beloved sculptor, Gustav Vigeland, with 212 granite and bronze pieces depicting lovers, elderly couples, crying babies, and beggars; Nobels Gate 32
  • Akerhus Festning—a fortress on the eastern side of the harbor built in 1299 to protect Oslo from outside threats and over the years it has been enlarged, modified, and tightened up its defenses and now includes a medieval castle, a fortress, and other buildings including active military installations
  • Rod Bianco—a gallery featuring boundary-pushing artwork from Norwegian and international contemporary artists; Waldemar Thranes Gate 84c
  • Vikingshipshuset—a museum with nicely restored Viking ships discovered in Oslofjord in the late 19th century with three ships displayed with few artifacts remaining; Huk Aveny 35
  • Polarship Fram Museum—a museum dedicated to an iconic ship from polar exploration, the 39-meter Fram, where visitors can explore the decks, bunk rooms, and exhibits with artifacts, maps, and pictures; Bygdoynesveien 36
  • Munchmuseet—a museum dedicated to Edvard Munch with the largest collection of his work in the world including 28,000 items such as 1,100 paintings and 4,500 watercolors; Toyengata 53
  • Henie-Onstad Art Centre—a private art museum that has works by Joan Miro and Pablo Picasso; impressionist, abstract, expressionist, and contemporary Norwegian pieces; and the largest collection of Kurt Schwitters’ work made while he lived in Norway during World War II; Hovikodden
  • Norsk Folkemuseum—Norway’s largest outdoor museum with over 140 buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries gathered from around the country, rebuilt, and organized according to regional origin; farm animals; horse and cart rides; an Old Town section with a reproduction of an early 20th century Norwegian town with a village shop and old gas station; and an exhibition hall with comprehensive displays on Norwegian folk art, historic toys, national costumes, domestic and farming tools and appliances, and visiting exhibits and information on the life and culture of the Sami; Museumsveien 10
  • Royal Palace—the Norwegian royal family’s residence built for the French king Karl Johan that was not continuously occupied until King Haakon VII and Queen Maud assumed rule in 1905 and has been modernized by the current king, King Harald V; Slottsparken 1
  • Historisk Museum—three museums altogether that includes the National Antiquities Collection which has displays of Viking-era coins, jewelry, and ornaments; the only complete Viking helmet; the 9th century Hoen treasure which is the largest find in Scandinavia; and a section on medieval religious art; an Arctic exhibit; a collection of ancient Norwegian coins; and the Ethnographic Museum with rotating exhibits on Asia, Africa, and the Americas; Frederiks gate 2
  • Vigeland Museum—a museum which was built by Oslo in the 1920s as a home and studio for Gustav Vigeland in exchange for the donation of much of his work and contains statuary and monuments to public figures as well as plaster molds, woodblock prints, and sketches; Nobelsgata 32
  • Nobels Fredssenter (Nobel Peace Center)—this museum is dedicated to winners of the Nobel Peace Prize and has digital displays providing information on the lives and accomplishments of the winners, changing exhibitions on aspects of the prize and its winners, a theater that shows films on the history of the prize and its winners, and a gift shop; Radhusplassen 1
  • Oslo Cathedral—a cathedral dating back to 1697 with elaborate stained-glass windows by Emanuel Vigeland and a painted ceiling completed between 1936 and 1950 as well as a large altarpiece that is a 1748 model of The Last Supper and the Crucifixion; Stortovet 1
  • Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park—a sculpture park designed by Renzo Piano that features international contemporary art by artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Ugo Rondinone, Franz West, and Ellsworth Kelly; Tjuvholmen
  • Norwegian Resistance Museum—a museum that is adjacent to a memorial for resistance fighters executed during World War II and focuses on German occupation in Norway with artifacts including underground newspapers, maps, photographs, and a wired set of dentures to receive radio broadcasts
  • Natural History Museum—a museum with a zoological collection that is filled with stuffed native wildlife, the geological-paleontological collection, and greenhouses; Sars gate 1
  • Botanical Garden—the oldest botanical garden in Norway with a scenic arboretum, a scent garden, a mountain landscape, and specimens from the Oslo fjords including four nearly extinct specimens as well as woven sculptures by Tom Hare; Sars gate 1
  • Radhus—a twin-towered town hall that is home to the city’s political administration and filled with tributes to Norwegian cultural and working life; Fridtjof Nansens plass
  • Kon-Tiki Museum—a museum dedicated to the raft Kon-Tiki which Thor Heyerdahl used to sail from Peru to Polynesia in 1947 and the totora-reed Ra-II built for a 1970 Atlantic crossing by Heyerdahl; Bygdoynesveien 36
  • Norwegian Maritime Museum—a museum that depicts Norway’s relationship with the sea including its fishing and whaling industries, the seismic fleet which searches for oil and gas, shipbuilding, wreck salvaging, and pleasure craft; Bygdoynnesveien 37
  • 1857—an artist-run space in a former timber yard that is known for its collaborative curated efforts between Norwegian artists and those from Europe and beyond; Toyenbekken 12
  • Queen Sonja Art Stable—a public gallery space that was once a storage space for 50 years and was reopened as a gallery by Queen Sonja on her 80th birthday and hosts yearly exhibitions and a photograph collection collected by Queen Maud
  • Oslo City Museum—a museum situated within the 18th century Frogner Manor that adds perspective to traditional Norwegian life in the 18th century and has exhibitions about Oslo’s urban history; Frognerveien 67
  • Nasjonalbiblioteket—a modern library that has historic documents from Norway’s cultural history from 13th century manuscripts to magazines, films, and Norwegian musical scores; Henrik Ibsens Gate 110

Sights in Riga, Latvia

Riga is an historic city with a sad history of occupation by Sweden, the Soviet Union, and Nazi forces during World War II but has many parks, memorials, monuments, and museums worth checking out to see how the city’s past has shaped its present appearance.

  • Riga Motormuseum—a recently renovated museum with the largest and most diverse vintage motor vehicle collection in the Baltic region with over 100 automobiles and motorcycles as well as interactive exhibits, virtual reality simulations, a children’s play area, a museum café, and a gift shop; Sergeja Eizenshteina Iela 8
  • Vermanes Garden—a scenic garden with colorful flowers that have different colors and textures; Terbatas Iela 2D
  • Mezaparks—a spacious large park with a zoo, restaurants, forested areas, bike paths, and a lake; Mezaparks
  • Zanis Lipke Memorial—a museum dedicated to Zanis Lipke, a Latvian who with his family helped save the lives of 50 Jewish individuals during the Holocaust and smuggled them to safety via an underground railway; Mazais Balasta Dambis 8
  • Latvian National Museum of Art—the largest depository of professional art in Latvia with five floors of works by Latvian artists and beautiful architectural design inside and outside; 1 Janis Rozentals Square
  • Nativity of Christ Cathedral—a beautiful cathedral with a golden dome and many treasures inside such as gold cupolas and Russian Orthodox iconography; Brivibas bulvaris 23
  • Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum—an outdoor museum that shows how Latvians in the countryside lived; Brivibas gatve 440
  • Musee Art Nouveau—an apartment with ten rooms furnished in the Art Nouveau style with descriptions written in several languages; Alberta iela 12
  • Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum—a museum that highlights the story of the Holocaust in Latvia and has a house that was in a Jewish ghetto; Maskavas iela 14a
  • Riga Cathedral—originally built in 1270 as a bishop’s cathedral, this cathedral features a large organ built around 1884 that has 6,768 pipes, one of the largest in the world; Herdera laukums 6
  • National Library of Latvia—a repository of national and world literature with the majority of the 4 million items in the collection consisting of Latvian and foreign publications about Latvia and Latvians; 3 Mukusalas Street
  • Museum of the Occupation of Latvia—an educational institution established in 1993 to display artifacts, documents, and educational exhibits about the 51 years that Latvia was occupied by the USSR and Nazi Germany; Raina bulvaris 7
  • Pareizticico katedrale—a restored Russian Orthodox church with glistening gold domes and an interior with icons and ornate décor
  • Art Museum Riga Bourse—an art museum with a small permanent collection consisting of an Oriental section, Ancient Egyptian exhibition, and other treasures from around the world as well as temporary exhibitions; Dome Square 6
  • Freedom Monument—a statue completed in 1935 to commemorate Latvian independence that depicts the image of Liberty holding three stars in her hands to symbolize unity; 1 Brivivas iela
  • Museum of Riga’s History and Navigation—a museum that takes visitors through 1000 years of Riga’s history with a variety of artifacts some prehistoric; Palasta iela 4
  • Riga Zoo—a small zoo with a polar bear, tropical house, giraffe house, a reptile room, and insect room; Meza prospekts 1
  • Latvian War Museum—a large museum with each floor focusing on a different war or theme with temporary exhibitions as well; Smilshu iela 20
  • Cat House—a popular attraction that depicts the story of a Latvian homeowner who was denied membership in the Great Guild and then built two cat sculptures on his roof with their backsides facing the Guild and their tails straight up in the air; Meistaru iela 19
  • Railway History Museum—a museum that illustrates the history of train operating systems, telephones, telegraphs, and the work at a railway line and models such as a German steam engine, snow plows, and a prison coach; 2/4 Uzvaras Boulevard
  • Swedish Gate—the only surviving city gate of Riga which was built into the city wall in 1698 during Swedish rule; Torna iela 11
  • World of Hat Museum—the only museum dedicated to hats in the world containing exhibits from around the world including hats, bonnets, and headbands; Vilandes iela 7
  • Jewish Museum—a museum dedicated to the history of Latvia’s Jewish community from the first Jews in Latvia in the 16th century to the events of the Holocaust; Skolas iela 6
  • Rumbula Forest Memorial—this forest was the site where thousands of Jews were forced to march to and were then shot and dumped in mass graves and is now a memorial with a large menorah surrounded by rough stones; Maskavas iela
  • ZINOO Riga—a children’s museum with over 100 interactive science exhibits and games; Dzirnavu iela 67
  • Modes Muzejs—a fashion museum with interactive hands-on exhibits for children and adults that displays clothing styles throughout the years; Grecinieku iela 24
  • Sun Museum—the only European museum dedicated to the sun which explores how different cultures depict the sun; Valnu iela 30
  • Botanisches Garten des Universitaets—a beautiful botanic garden with tropical houses, greenhouses, trees, and flowers; Kandavas iela 2
  • Great Choral Synagogue Memorial—a moving memorial that shows the ruins of a synagogue burned to the ground with hundreds of Jewish worshippers inside during the Holocaust; Gogola iela 25
  • Melngalvju Nams—the Gothic Blackheads House built in 1344 as a hotel for wayfaring merchants who wore black hats that was leveled by the Soviets in 1948 and renovated and reopened in 2000 for Riga’s 800th anniversary with a Dutch Renaissance façade; Ratslaukums 7
  • Okupacijas Muzejs—the Latvian Occupation museum which depicts the devastation of Latvia by Nazi and Soviet forces during World War II and the Latvian struggle for independence in September 1991 with a monument to the Latvian sharpshooters who protected Lenin during the 1917 revolution outside; Strelnieku laukums 1

Shopping in Rome

Rome is not one of the most affordable cities to shop in but could be fun just to browse at designer ateliers and fashion houses and see if anything strikes your fancy. Here is just a sampling of the many stores you can check out during your trip to Rome:

  • A. Testoni—named after the brand’s founder and original designer, this shoe store sells his artistic and comfortable footwear for men and women as well as color-coordinated messenger bags; Via del Babuino 152
  • Ai Monasteri—a shop selling traditional items made by Italian friars and monks including liqueurs, herbal decoctions, toiletries, colognes for children, and jams; Corso del Rinascimento 72a
  • Al Sogno—a high-quality toy store with an emphasis on artistic and multisensory toys such as puppets, dolls, masks, stuffed animals, and illustrated books; Piazza Navona 53
  • Almost Corner Bookshop—a tiny bookshop with a great selection of books from best sellers to translated Italian classics; Via del Moro 45
  • Anglo-American Book Co.—an inviting English-language bookstore with over 45,000 books that has a varied selection including textbooks, fiction, and nonfiction; Via della Vite 102
  • Anteprima—a clothing store with African and Roma inspired clothing such as day and evening dresses and separates; Via delle Quattro Fontane 38-40
  • Antica Caciara Trasteverina—a deli with ham, salami, Sicilian anchovies, burrata cheese, and local wines; Via San Francesco a Ripa 140 a/b
  • Antica Erboristeria Romana—the oldest apothecary in Rome dating back to 1752 with teas and herbal infusions as well as essential oils, bud derivatives, and powdered extracts; Via Torre Argentina 15
  • Arsenale—run by designer Patrizia Pieroni, this high-end clothing store sells stylish overcoats, bustiers, and flowy dresses; Via del Pellegrino 172
  • Art Prive—a small jewelry shop run by designer Tiziana Salzano makes chunky multistrand torsade necklaces; Via Leonina 8
  • Bartolucci—a toy store with handmade items made from pine by a family that has been designing its products for over 60 years which include items such as cuckoo clocks, bookends, bedside lamps, wall hangings, and a child-size wooden vintage car; Via del Pastini 98
  • Berte—one of the oldest toy stores in Rome that carries a large selection of dolls, stuffed animals, Legos, and other collectibles; Piazza Navona 108
  • Borsalino Boutique—a haberdasher with distinguished fedoras that have been worn by movie stars such as Humphrey Bogart and Gary Cooper; Piazza del Popolo 20
  • Braccialini—this family-run handbag shop sells uniquely shaped bags such as little gold taxis, Santa Fe stagecoaches, appliqued leather beach bags, and themed creature bags; Via Mario De’Fiori 73
  • Brighenti—a sumptuous Italian clothing store with a marble floor and huge crystal chandelier suspended overhead and items such as silk nightgowns, pajamas, and vintage-inspired swimsuits; Via Frattina 7/8
  • Brioni—founded in 1945, this internationally renowned menswear designer is known for its custom-made suits worn by clients such as Clark Gable and Barack Obama; Via del Babuino 38/40
  • Buccone—a wine shop located in the former coach house of a Marquis that has 10 layers of shelves packed with wines and rare vintage wines as well as sweets, biscuits, and packaged candy; Via di Ripetta 19/20
  • Bulgari—a world-renowned jeweler that designs jewelry that is colorful, playful, and well-crafted; Via dei Condotti 10
  • Cartoleria Pantheon Dal 1910—a stationery shop with fine handmade paper, stock paper, artisanal sheets of handcrafted Amalfi paper, and hand-bound leather journals; Via della Rotonda 15
  • Castelli Profumerie—an Italian perfume shop with labels such as Acqua di Parma, Bois 1920, Bond No.9, and Comme de Garcons and a knowledgeable staff who really knows the store’s products; Via Frattina 18 and 54
  • Castroni—an international food shop with delicacies from around the world such as Twinings teas and exotic Spanish spices as well as a large variety of coffees, teas, and candies; Via Cola di Rienzo 196
  • Ceramiche Musa—a ceramic accent and tile store with tiles made in Vietri, a region known for its high-quality clays and traditional ceramics; Via di Campo Marzio 39
  • Cesari—a bridal clothing and home store with fabrics such as velvets, silks, cottons, damasks, and taffeta and a personalized line of bedspreads, tablecloths, lingerie, and embroidered linens; Via del Babuino 193
  • Coin—a department store with upscale designs including accessories, handbags, cosmetics, and clothes for men, women, and children as well as cookware items; Via Cola di Rienzo 173
  • Davide Cenci—a major Italian fashion designer known for impeccably tailored and custom-designed clothing that sells men’s and women’s clothing for a variety of occasions with items such as sailing sportswear and trench coats; Via Campo Marzio 1-7
  • Delfina Delettrez—a Roman designer who creates edgy accessories that are inspired by the human body that blend skulls, wild animals, and botanical elements in her jewelry; Via del Governo Vecchio 67
  • Eddy Monetti—an upscale men’s store that sells jackets, sweaters, slacks, and ties made of wool, cotton, and cashmere; Via Borgognona 36
  • Elena Miro—a high-end women’s plus clothing store that sells sophisticated clothing for women sizes 12 and up; Via Frattina 11-12
  • Enoteca Al Parlamento Achilli—located close to Montecitorio, the Italian Parliament building, this wine shop, restaurant, and food shop is popular with journalists and political figures; Via dei Prefetti 15
  • Ermenegildo Zegna—an internationally recognized men’s clothing designer of well-made suits; Via dei Condotti 58
  • Ex Libris—one of the oldest rare bookstores in Rome that is known for its selection of scholarly and collectible books from the 16th to 21st centuries including editions on art and architecture, music and theater, literature and humanities, maps, and prints; Via dell’Umilta 77/a
  • Fendi—an Italian fashion powerhouse since 1925 now owned by the Louis Vuitton group and once run by Karl Lagerfeld that is known for its collections mixing textures and fabrics; Largo Carlo Goldoni 419-421
  • Fratelli Rossetti—a shoe store known for its classically styled men’s and women’s leather shoes, loafers, and pumps; Via Borgognona 5/a
  • Frette—a bedding store that has been a major supplier of linens and towels for homes and hotels since 1860; Piazza di Spagna 11
  • Furla—a high-quality handbag store known for its affordable prices; Piazza di Spagna 22
  • Galassia—a women’s designer clothing store with stylish clothing by designers such as Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood, Issey Miyake, and Yamamoto; Via Frattina 20
  • Galleria Alberto Sordi—a beautiful covered shopping arcade opened in 1922 with sophisticated shops and cafes; Via del Corso 79
  • Giorgio Armani—a world renowned designer known for his silhouettes and deeply cut dresses and stylish menswear; Via dei Condotti 77-79
  • Gucci—one of the most glamorous labels in the world known for its classic styles and trendy clothing regularly worn by celebrities; Via dei Condotti 8
  • Hydra 2—a popular store for Italian teens and college students known for its statement pieces; Via Urbana 139
  • Ibiz-Artigianato In Cuoio—a father-daughter team that creates stylish leather handbags, belts, and sandals; Via dei Chiavari 39
  • Il Forum Termini—a shopping center located inside Rome’s largest train station, Stazione Termini, that has over 100 shops including Benetton, Nike, Mango, L’Occitane, Sephora, and bookstores with decent selections of English language classics and best sellers; Stazione Termini
  • Il Papiro—a paper shop that sells writing materials and hand-decorated papers made using a 17th century marbleized technique; Via del Pantheon 50
  • Il Sellaio Serafini Pelletteria—a family business known for its handmade leather bags, shoes, and belts; Via Caio Mario 14
  • Krizia—run by designer Mariuccia Mandelli, this clothing store has been run by many stylists over the years and is now back to its original style of clothing; Piazza di Spagna 87
  • L’ Anatra All’Arancia—a stylish clothing store that sells designer clothing by Marina Spadafora, Antik Batik, See by Chloe, and the store’s owner (Donatella Baroni) as well as perfumes and jewelry; Via Tiburtina 105
  • La Bottega del Cioccolata—a chocolatier that makes chocolate candies and treats; Via Leonina 82
  • La Citta del Sole—a toy store with fair-trade and eco-friendly toys along with classic and vintage toys arranged by age group such as puzzles, gadgets, books, and child-friendly toys; Via della Scrofa 65
  • La Feltrinelli—a major Italian bookstore with three floors of books including some in English, music, postcards, holiday items, and small gifts; Piazza Colonna 31/35
  • La Perla—a lingerie store with beautiful lingerie and underwear that is stylish and romantic; Via Bocce di Leone 28
  • La Rinascente—Italy’s most well-known department store that sells cosmetics, designer sportswear, handbags, and accessories; Galleria Alberto Sordi, Piazza Colonna
  • Laura Biagotti—a prominent Italian designer of cashmere pullovers, cardigans, and dresses as well as men’s and women’s perfumes; Via Mario de’Fiori 26
  • Le Gallinelle—a small boutique that sells classy retro-inspired clothing; Via Panisperna 61
  • Le IV Stagioni—a ceramics store with traditional Italian pottery, glazed pots, vases, and ceramic flower wall ornaments; Via dell’Umilta 30/b
  • Le Tartarughe—designer Susanna Liso’s clothing store that sells haute couture and ready to wear lines that mix fabrics such as raw silks or cashmeres and fine merino wool together; Via Pie di Marmo 17
  • Libreria IBS—a bookstore/café that is known for its discounted secondhand books and also sells a small selection of English paperbacks and DVDs; Via Nazionale 254-255
  • Libreria del Viaggiatore—a small bookstore that sells guidebooks, maps, travel journals, and poetry from around the world in English, French, and Italian; Via del Pellegrino 165
  • MMM-Massimo Maria Melis—a jeweler who is known for incorporating ancient Roman and Etruscan designs into his jewelry and frequently using antique coins in his bracelets and necklaces; Via dell’Orso 57
  • Mado—a top vintage designer of eccentric and unique dresses, gowns, and other clothing pieces; Via del Governo Vecchio 89/a
  • Marisa Padovan—a destination for custom lingerie and bathing suits; Via delle Carrozze 81-82
  • Mikiway—an eclectic clothing, jewelry, and accessories store with designs by up-and-coming Italian fashion designers; Via del Boschetto 40b
  • Mimmo Siviglia—a tailor known for his custom-made dress shirts and attentive customer service; Via Urbana 14a
  • Missoni—a family-run internationally recognized label that has bohemian knit designs with patterns such as zigzags, waves, and stripes, elegant evening attire, and swimsuits; Piazza di Spagna 78
  • Moriondo E Gariglio—a family business recognized for its chocolate delicacies made from family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation; Via Pie di Marmo 21
  • Murano Piu—a shop famous for its handblown Venetian glass pieces including Murano jewelry, tableware, vases, and chandeliers; Corso Rinascimento 53/55
  • Patrizia Pepe—a clothing store that sells trendy fashions such as jeans, jackets with oversize lapels, and high heels; Via Frattina 44
  • Pifebo—a popular vintage clothing store with a great selection of clothing from the 70s, 80s, and 90s; Via dei Serpenti 141
  • Pinco Pallino—a children’s clothing store with nice clothing for boys and girls as well as a cute line for babies and toddlers; Via Vittoria 35
  • Pineider—an exclusive stationery store opened in 1774 that uses fine Florentine leather for its wallets, briefcases, and desk accessories; Via di Fontanella Borghese 22
  • Prada—a clothing, handbags, lingerie, and accessories label renowned for its blend of European luxury with modern finesse; Via dei Condotti 88/90 (men’s) and 92/95 (women’s)
  • Pure Sermoneta—a designer clothing store for children ages newborn to 12 with labels such as Fendi, Diesel, Dior, Juicy Couture, Nolita, and Miss Blumarine; Via Frattina 111
  • Quattrocolo—an historic shop opened in 1938 that showcases micro-mosaic jewelry crafted in the style perfected by artisans at the Vatican mosaic studio as well as 18th and 19th century cameo and engraved stones; Via della Scrofa 48
  • Rachele—a small children’s clothing store run by a Swedish designer who makes only two of each item for toddlers up to age 12; Vicolo del Bollo 6-7
  • Renard—a leather boutique that creates its leather blazers, trench coats, and skirts from leathers tanned with natural extracts; Via dei Due Macelli 53
  • Replay—a casual-chic clothing store for young adults with jeans and T-shirts with American sports teams emblazoned on them; Via della Rotonda 24
  • SBU—a menswear fashion label popular with celebrities and members of the A-list that sells jeans, casual apparel, shoes, and sportswear; Via di San Pantaleo 68-69
  • Saddlers Union—a pricey Italian handbag store known for their leather handbags made on-site supervised by one of the shop’s original artisans; Via Margutta 11
  • Salvatore Ferragamo—a major fashion label internationally recognized for its footwear that also sells handbags, leather goods, men’s and women’s clothing, scarves, and ties; Via dei Condotti 65 (men’s) and 73/74 (women’s)
  • Save the Queen—a beautiful clothing store with exotic and creative clothing for women with frills, cutouts, and textures; Via del Babuino 49
  • Savelle Arte E Tradizione—a family business that sells religious gifts and trinkets and specializes in rosaries, crosses, religious artwork, statues, and papal memorabilia; Via Paolo VI 27
  • Schostal—a clothing store that sells fine-quality shirts, underwear, and handkerchiefs made of wool and cashmere; Via Fontanella Borghese 29
  • Society—the flagship store for Limonta, one of the most famous and historic Italian textile brands that uses rare and desirable fabrics to give their designs a vintage appearance; Piazza di Pasquino 4
  • Spazio IF—run by designers Irene and Carlo Ferrara, this clothing store works with unique designers and artists with an emphasis on Sicilian designs such as hand-cut handbags, swimsuits, designer textiles, jewelry, and sportswear; Via dei Coronari 44a
  • Superga—a shoe store known for its classic sneakers in a variety of colors and a popular model worn by celebrities such as Katie Holmes and Kelly Brook; Via delle Vite 86
  • Taro—a clothing store that sells handmade knitwear made from rare yarns and bold colors such as tunics, sleeveless jackets, shawls, and pants; Via di Ripetta 144
  • Tebro—a classic Roman department store that specializes in household linens and sleepwear; Via dei Prefetti 48
  • Tod’s—a global shoe powerhouse known for its simple and classic designs; Via Fontanella di Borghese 56a-57
  • Trimani Vinai a Roma Dal 1821—a wine and spirits store with one of Rome’s largest selections of Italian wines as well as champagne, spumante, grappa, and liqueurs; Via Goito 20
  • Valentino—an Italian fashion powerhouse known for its shoes, gowns, and accessories; Via dei Condotti 15
  • Versace—the flagship store of the international label with Byzantine-inspired mosaic floors and futuristic interiors as well as its clothing, apparel, jewelry, watches, fragrances, cosmetics, and home furnishings; Piazza di Spagna 12
  • Vestiti Usati Cinzia—a vintage clothing store with fun 60s and 70s apparel, sunglasses, shoes, and accessories; Via del Governo Vecchio 45

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 Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark which is said to be one of the world’s happiest countries. It has great museums, castles, an observatory, a zoo, a world-renowned theme park, and other interesting attractions.

  • Christiansborg Slot—a compound that was used as the royal residence from 1441 until a fire in 1795 and is now where the queen receives guests as well as the home of the parliament and the prime minister’s office; Slotsholmen
  • Amalienborg—four identical rococo buildings that have been home to Danish royalty since 1784 and is the queen’s winter residence and is also where some of the Royal Collection is housed; Christian VIII Palace, Amalienborg Place, Frederiksstaden
  • Botanical Garden (Botanisk Have)—a 25-acre garden with trees, flowers, ponds, sculptures, and a 19th century Palm House of tropical and subtropical plants along with an observatory and a geology museum; Oster Farimagsgade 2B
  • Frihedsmuseet (Resistance Museum)—a museum with moving displays that commemorate the Danish resistance movement during WWII that saved 7,000 Jews from the Nazis; Churchillparken
  • Kongelige Bibliotek (Royal Library)—a grand building with more than 2 million books including stories of Viking journeys to America and Greenland and original manuscripts by Hans Christian Andersen and Isak Dinesen as well as the new Black Diamond addition which has temporary history exhibits featuring books, manuscripts, and artifacts from the library and the National Museum of Photography which contains temporary exhibitions; Soren Kierkegaards Place I
  • Museum of Decorative Art (Kunstindustrimuseet)—a beautiful building which is home to European and Asian crafts as well as ceramics, silverware, tapestries, and special exhibits focusing on contemporary design; Bredgade 68
  • Nationalmuseet (National Museum)—one of the best national museums in Europe set within an 18th century royal residence that includes permanent exhibits focusing on Danish cultural history from prehistoric to modern times with a significant collection of Stone age tools; Egyptian, Greek, and Roman antiquities; and an exhibit on Viking times; Fredericksholms Kanal 12
  • NY Carlsberg Glyptotek—an important museum in Copenhagen with antiquities and Impressionist masterpieces set amidst an indoor garden along with Egyptian and Greek pieces and Europe’s finest collection of Roman portraits; Dantes Place 7
  • Rosenborg Slot—a castle that has ballrooms, hall, and reception chambers and thousands of objects to admire including beer glasses, gilded clocks, golden swords, family portraits, and more; Oster Voldgade 4A
  • Tivoli—Copenhagen’s best-known attraction that attracts four million people from mid-April to mid-September with rides, a pantomime theater, open-air stage, 38 restaurants, and frequent concerts; Vesterbrogade 3
  • Arbejdermuseet (Workers’ Museum)—a museum that depicts the lives of the working class from 1870 to the present with life-size re-creations of city streets, apartments, and rotating exhibits on Danish and international social issues and includes a 19th century style café and beer hall and a 1950s style coffee shop; Romersgade 22
  • Dansk Arkitektur Center (Danish Architecture Center)—an architectural center that is located within a wharf-side warehouse built in 1880 that has rotating exhibitions that cover trends and trendsetters in architecture and architectural design; Strandgade 27B, Christianshavn
  • Dansk Jodisk Museum (Danish Jewish Museum)—located within a wing of the Royal Library, this museum has objects that are of interest to both Jewish and non-Jewish visitors such as paintings, prints, jewelry, scrapbooks, and films as well as extensively covering the Danish resistance movement during WWII that helped bring nearly all of Denmark’s 7,000 Jews safely to Sweden; Proviantpassegen 6, Centrum
  • Kastellet—an active military fortification within Churchill Park that has walking paths, grazing sheep, and greenery; Kastellet 68, Osterbro
  • Kobenhavns Bymuseum (Copenhagen City Museum)—an 18th century building that has a collection depicting Copenhagen’s history with a well-kept model of 16th century Copenhagen in front of the building; Vesterbrogade 59, Vesterbro
  • Nikolaj Kirke—the former Nicholas Church named after the patron saint of seafarers that was originally built in the 13th century and was destroyed in a fire in 1795 with the current structure finished in 1914; it is now a contemporary art gallery; Nikolaj Place 10, Centrum
  • Rundetarn (Round Tower)—a tower that provides a panoramic view of the winding streets and crooked roofs of Copenhagen and was built as an observatory in 1642 by Christian IV and is still maintained for that purpose; the site also includes an art gallery with rotating exhibits, an observatory, and a telescope; Kobmagergade 52A, Centrum
  • Statens Museum for Kunst—an art museum with paintings by Rubens, Rembrandt, Titian, El Greco, and Fragonard, antique and 20th century Danish art, and a modern art collection with works by Henri Matisse, Edvard Munch, Henri Laurens, and Georges Braque as well as a children’s museum with shows for different age groups; Solvgade 48-50, Frederiksstaden
  • Tojhusmuseet (Royal Danish Arsenal Museum)—a Renaissance structure built by King Christian IV that has displays of uniforms, weapons, and armor in a 600-foot-long arched hall; Tojhusg 3, Centrum

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