To coincide with the release of the new Western Europe travel guide, the experts at Lonely Planet have provided us with Western Europe’s Top 5 experiences!
Eiffel Tower, Paris
Initially designed as a temporary exhibit for the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair), the elegant, webbed-metal, art nouveau design of Paris’ Eiffel Tower has become the defining fixture of the French capital’s skyline. Its 1st floor incorporates two glitzy glass pavilions housing interactive history exhibits; outside them, peer down through glass flooring to the ground below. Visit at dusk for the best day and night views of the glittering City of Light, and toast making it to the top at the sparkling Champagne Bar.
Live Music, London
Music lovers will hear London calling – from the city’s famed theatres, concert halls, nightclubs, pubs and even tube stations, where on any given night countless performers take to the stage. Find your own iconic London experience, whether it’s the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, an East End sing-along around a pub piano, a classic musical in the West End, a superstar-DJ set at one of the city’s hottest clubs, or an up-and-coming guitar band at a local boozer.
There’s something especially atmospheric about Venice on a sunny winter’s day. With far fewer tourists around and the light sharp and clear, it’s the perfect time to lap up the magical atmosphere of the romantic waterways. Wander Dorsoduro’s shadowy back lanes while imagining secret assignations and whispered conspiracies at every turn. Then linger in one of Venice’s top galleries, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection which houses works by many of the giants of 20th-century art in her palatial canalside former home, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni.
Imagine what you could do with unlimited riches and Austria’s top architects at your disposal and you have the Vienna of the Habsburgs. The monumentally graceful Hofburg whisks you back to the age of empires as you marvel at the treasury’s imperial crowns, the equine ballet of the Spanish Riding School and the chandelier lit apartments fit for an empress. The palace is rivalled in grandeur only by the 1441-room Schloss Schönbrunn, a Unesco World Heritage Site, and the baroque Schloss Belvedere, both set in exquisite landscaped gardens.
Rome’s famous ‘seven hills’ (there are actually nine) offer superb vantage points. The Palatino is a gorgeous green expanse of evocative ruins, towering pines and unforgettable views over the Roman Forum containing the remains of temples, basilicas and public spaces. This was the social, political and commercial hub of the Roman empire, where Romulus supposedly founded the city and where emperors lived in unimaginable luxury. Adjacent is the gladiatorial Colosseum. As you walk the cobbled paths you can almost sense the ghosts in the air.
Content supplied by Lonely Planet