Wild Westfjords: Iceland at the Edge of the Arctic Circle

Church in Breidavik , Westfijords

Isolated, obscure, rugged and wind-shorn: These are qualities that easily define the Westfjords in Iceland. But this lonely peninsula also harbors an unfathomable yet pristine beauty borne of severe weather, intense natural forces, and an unforgiving geography. This is the oldest and wildest part of Iceland, forged over 16 million years ago of molten lava. Though the Westfjords jut out into the ... Read Full Article

A Winter Daytrip to the Village of Brisighella, Italy

The Castle- La Rocca in Brisighella, Italy

Deep in the countryside of Emilia-Romagna, a provence in northern Italy, sits the medieval village of Brisighella. To say that it is tucked away would be a lie: the village center sits at the base of three rocky crags, each topped by a structure: a church, a castle, a clock tower. They guard the village, their silhouettes visible from around the Lamone River valley. But Brisighella feels like a ... Read Full Article

Carpe Diem: Seize the Day and Travel Now!

Travel now, the world is your oyster

You would not be reading Europe Up Close if “travel a lot” were not one of your life’s great pleasures. I’d like to suggest that you abandon procrastination before you use up your allotted travel days. Murphy’s Law can strike at any moment and the chance to travel might be gone. Older people inevitably start collecting minor disabilities and issues: heart, hip, knee, back, fill-in-the-blank. ... Read Full Article

The Ghost of Van Gogh: A Tour through Arles and Saint-Remy

Reproduction of The Yellow House

I rested my hands against the windowsill of van Gogh’s bedroom in the Maison de Santé Saint-Paul, an asylum in Saint-Rémy, and peered out at the painter’s Provence: rolling wheat fields bordered by olive trees, a purple-tinged mountain silhouette sweeping the horizon, a golden sun illuminating it all. I was mesmerized by this view, all the more knowing that Vincent van Gogh stood in this very ... Read Full Article

Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

Fanad Peninsula on the wild atlantic way

I stepped off our coach bus unsure of what to expect out of our first stop in County Donegal along the Wild Atlantic Way, a coastal route of about 2,500 kilometers stretching from southern County Cork to the northwestern corner of Ireland. The weather was noticeably cooler than the hot September afternoons I had been experiencing back in Cleveland. Here, the winds were strong and the air as fresh ... Read Full Article

Finding Paradise: Spain’s Cies Islands

View of Rodas Beach and Faro Island

The Cies Islands are a hidden treasure; a 45-minute boat ride from the bustling city of Vigo in the northwestern province of Galicia, Spain, the islands have pristine beaches and rugged cliffs, a network of quiet hiking trails and a stunning coastline. I couldn’t quite believe what I had stumbled upon: my legs stretched out in front of me and my heels dug into the white, velvety soft sand. Ahead ... Read Full Article

A Hike on Hadrian’s Wall Path

The Hadrian Wall trail

Hadrian’s Wall is one of northern Europe’s greatest remnants of the Roman Empire. It was effectively the northernmost border of the entire empire, which in its heyday extended into three continents. Construction of the wall was initiated by Emperor Hadrian in 122 AD—the wall was more or less complete no more than six years later, a feat so impressive that it could only be done by the Romans. I ... Read Full Article

UNESCO Sites: Top Things to See in Belgium

Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp

Belgium is home to eleven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but if you take into consideration all individual sites, there are no less than 60. That can be explained as follows: Two of Belgium’s official UNESCO World Heritage Sites are actually made up of several separate sites—there are 17 Flemish béguinages, which are regarded as just one world heritage site, while 33 belfries dot the country, which ... Read Full Article

Best Restaurants for Late-night Dining in London

Balans, one of the best restaurants in Soho

New York might be the city that never sleeps, but London follows pretty close behind. At least that’s true when it comes to its late night dining options. Now you can enjoy a meal at some of the best restaurants in London... 24 hours a day! This wasn't always the case, of course. Historically, if you were hungry after a night out, you'd have to rely on private member's casinos, kebab vans or hotel ... Read Full Article

Toledo, Spain – The Top 7 Unforgettable Attractions

Toledo, Spain as seen at dusk

Once an unassuming centrally located city, Toledo, Spain has now become one of the country’s main attractions—and rightly so. It is filled to the brim with historic buildings, a collection of religious structures and interesting museums. In the town center, a maze of narrow streets makes getting around both a challenge and a wonderful experience. While strolling around, visitors will stumble upon ... Read Full Article