Salzburg is a small city on the Austria/Germany border, about midway between Vienna and Munich. While you could probably spend a couple of days there, we were able to see a lot and get a good feel for the city on a day trip by train from Munich (2 hours by train, about 6 hours in the city, then 2 hours back to Munich). The city of Salzburg is best known as the birthplace of Mozart and also as the location of "The Sound of Music". The Salzach River runs through the middle of Salzburg, separating the old historic city from the newer commercial/industrial city.
Hotel Steigenberger Herrenhof
Great, larger hotel in an older restored building. Less than 10 minutes walking distance to Stephansdomplatz and only steps away from the U3 metro line (Herrengasse stop). The famous Café Central is only two blocks away.
Located on Backerstrasse, 6 (District 1). Traditional Viennese restaurant with traditional dishes and some of the best schnitzel we had on the whole trip, ice cold beer and a great selection of wines.
Located on Braunerstrasse, 2 (District 1). Smaller, family run restaurant featuring traditional Hungarian dishes -- goulash, stuffed cabbage, gnocchi, paprika chicken, etc.
Located at Reimergasse, 10 (District 1). Traditional Austrian pub environment with great food and great beer. Very casual environment.
Pranksaal (Nat'l Library)
The Great State Hall (Pranksaal) in the National Library is worth the extra price of admission. Ornate architecture, marble floors, statues, ceiling-to-floor shelves and special exhibits under glass throughout the main hall.
Peterskirche, Michaelskirche, Augustinekirche, Karlskirche, Votivkirche, Minoritenkirche
The Wachau Valley
Not technically in Vienna, but an easy day trip. The Wachau Valley is the wine country, located about 85-90 miles northwest of Vienna. The Danube River flows through the center of the valley. We signed up for a tour with a local company called The Grazing Grape. It was a 20 mile bike ride with about 15 other people along the Danube River, stopping at several vineyards and the town of Durenstein along the way.
Stephansdomkirche is the main cathedrale in Vienna, located on Stephansplatz in the geographic center of the city. The area is easily accessible on foot from any hotel in District 1 and also with the U-1 and U-3 U-Bahn (metro) lines.
The Hofburg Complex
Expansive complex within the Ring (District 1) which includes many churches, museums, theaters, parks, gardens and administrative buildings. Burggarten, Volks Garten, Kunsthistorisches (Fine Arts Museum), Naturhistorisches (Natural History Museum), the Burg Theater, the Vienna Boys Choir, Neue Hofburg Museum, etc.
Museum Quartiers Wien
Directly adjacent to the Hofburg Complex, concentrated area featuring most of the major museums in Vienna: Kunsthistorisches (Fine Arts), Naturhistorisches (Natural History) the MOK (Applied Arts), the Leopold Museum, the Museum of Modern Art.
Located in Old Town, less than 5 minutes from Old Town Square. Nice hotel, large rooms, quite public areas on the second and third floors. Restaurant on first floor. Metro lines don't run through the old part of the city; it's quite a walk from the train station so you should take a taxi.
Good Indian food. Located about 5 minutes walk from Old Town Square -- Týn 642/6, Staré Mesto (Old Town).
Great, small restaurant with terrific local Czech dishes and wine. Located at Karolíny Svelté 21/320 in Old Town, just south of the Charles Bridge along the river.
Prague Castle is located across the Charles Bridge from Old Town and can be seen from anywhere in the city. Construction began in 870 AD. Since that time, the castle has served as the seat of government for the Kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman Emperors, presidents of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. The most important structure within the castle is St. Vitus Cathedral, commissioned by King Wenceslaus I in 925 AD. Also contained within the castle is the Basilica of St. George, the royal Apartments and several art museums.
The Jewish Quarter
Formerly the Jewish ghetto of Prague, the are includes the Spanish Synagogue, the Maisel Synagogue and the Pinkas Synagogue. The Pinkas Synagogue functions as a memorial to the more than 700,000 Czech Jews who were killed during the holocaust. The name, birth date, death date and home town for all 700,000 victims are handwritten on the walls of the synagogue. Also located in the Jewish Quarter is the Old Jewish Cemetary where, between the 15th and 18th centuries, more than 100,000 were buried layer upon layer, more than 12 deep.
Our Lady Before Tyn
The Church of Our Lady before Týn dominates Old Town Square. Construction on the church began in the late 14th century.
Old Town Square
Old Town Square is the center of the historic district. The unusually large public square includes numerous restaurants, outdoor cafes, hotels, churches (the gothic Tyn Church, the baroque St. Nicholas Church), Old Town Hall, various statues and other historical buildings.
The Astronomical Clock
The Astronomical Clock was first installed in 1410 on the south wall of Old Town Hall. The clock contains four main features: first, an astronomical dial detailing the position of the sun and the moon; second, a calendar dial representing the months of the year; third, the face of the clock with hours and minutes; and fourth, an hourly show of figures representing the Apostles that rotate in and out of the clock.
The Charles Bridge
Construction on the Charles Bridge (over the Vltava River) began in 1357, connecting Prague Castle with Old Town. The bridge itself is more than 1500 feet long and 30 feet wide and limited to pedestrians. The bridge also features more than 50 statues of various saints and patron saints which were placed between 1683 and 1714.
Hotel de Fleurie
Smaller, boutique hotel located less than a block off of the boulevard in Saint Germain des Prés. Less than 2 blocks from the metro and easy walking distance to many of the major sights.
The Eiffel Tower
Named after George Eiffel, the principal designer and engineer. The Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 World's Fair and was originally intended only as a temporary exhibit with a 20 year permit (to be disassembled in 1909). The tower is 1063 feet tall and the views of Paris from the top are breath-taking.
The Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe was built in 1806 and commemorates those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic Wars. It is located at the western end of the Champs-Élysées.
The Champs-Élysées is a 2 mile avenue that stretches from Place de la Concord on the eastern end to PLace Charles de Gaulle on the western end. The Champs-Élysées is lined with restaurants, cafes, high-end retail, cinemas, specialty luxury stores, etc.
Notre Dame de Paris is the second largest cathedral in the Western hemisphere, behind St. Peter's in Rome. Construction began in 1160. The gargoyles and flying buttresses are unique elements of the cathedral's architecture.
Sainte-Chapelle was commissioned by King Louie IX of France in 1239. The upper chapel contains some of the most amazing stained glass windows you will ever see.
The Eglise de Saint Eustache is located in Las Halles. Construction began in 1532.
The Louvre was established in 1793 and is one of the most famous art museums in the entire world. There are over 35,000 exhibits on display in nearly 650,000 feet of exhibition space (roughly the equivalent of 13 football fields). Since it is impossible to see everything, you should decide what areas you want to see and start from there: Near Eastern antiquities, Egyptian antiquities, Greek/Roman/Etruscan antiquities, Islamic Art, Sculpture, Decorative Arts, Paintings, Prints and Drawings.
The Musée D'Orsay
The Musée D'Orsay is located on the left bank of the Seine, housed in the former Gare D'Orsay building (train station). The museum holds mostly 19th century and early 20th century French art. Best known for its expansive collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings from Monet, Manet, Renoir, Cezanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Degas, etc.
The Palace at Versailles
Versailles is located about 25 miles southwest of Paris and is easily accessible via train through the metro. The court of Versailles was the center of political power in France from the time of Louis XIV in 1682 until the French Revolution. The palace itself includes more than 800 rooms and more than 700,000 square feet. Also be sure to check out the Gardens of Versailles.
The Mandala Hotel
Hotel located in Potsdamer Platz directly opposite The Sony Center. Modern, contemporary hotel. We had a nice suite room on the 6th floor with a small balcony; convenient to transportation and all main sites. U2 metro line is 50 yards away at Postdamer Platz; M41 bus line provides direct route if arriving from Haupfbahnhof.
The iconic symbol of Berlin, located on Unter der Linten near Tiergarten. Built in 1788, including Johann Gottfried Shadow's famous Quadriga sculpture on top.
Site of the famous 1933 book burning of more than 25,000 books by authors thought to be enemies of the Third Reich. Located along Unter der Linten, immediate area also includes Humboldt University (1753), St-Hedwig's-Kathedrale (1747) and Neue Wache which was converted to the Memorial to the Victims of Fascism and Militarism in 1960.
General area including Franzosischer Dom (French Cathedral, 1701), Deutscher Dom (German Cathedral, 1708) and Konzerthaus (Concert Hall, 1818).
Symbolic of the divided German state after WWII. From 1960 to 1990, this was the only crossing for foreigners between East Berlin and West Berlin. There is also a terrific museum (Haus Am Checkpoint Charlie) located on Friedrichstrasse, directly across the street from the historic guard house.
Topographies of Terror
Name given to the area containing the headquarters of the Schutzstaffel/SS (Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse, 9), the Third Reich (Wilhemstrasse, 102) and the Gestapo (Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse, 8). Today, the site includes an outdoor memorial and exhibits, an incredible indoor museum documenting the Nazis rise to power and the Holocaust, and a sizable portion of the Berlin Wall.
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Located on Ebertstrasse between the Brandenburg Gates and Potsdamer Platz. Eerie outdoor, above-ground memorial garden; extensive museum for the Holocaust located underground beneath the memorial garden. Highly recommended.
The Judisches Museum
Located at Lindenstrasse, 14. Very impressive museum.
Built in 1884 to house German Parliament.
Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedachtnis-Kirche. Built in the late 19th century, it was all but completely destroyed in the war. Rather than rebuild the cathedral, they left what remained (the clock tower) and built a new, modern cathedral, designed by Egon Eiermann, on the same site.
The TV Tower, visible from anywhere in Berlin. Built in 1969, the 1200 foot tower provides 360-degree views of the entire city from the top.
Anna Hotel Geisel
Wonderful boutique hotel located in the the central historic area of Munich. Just a 15 minute walk away from Marienplatz, easy walking distance from Haupfbahnhof and just steps away from the U2, U4, U5 metro lines. We had one of the panorama rooms on the 6th floor, complete with a private wrap-around balcony and terrific views of the Munich skyline.
Located at Rosenstrasse, 9 and not too far from Marienplatz. Inside or outside seating options, depending on the heat and the weather. Great traditional German food and great pig's knuckles (they taste better then they sound).
Haxnbauer Im Skolastikahaus
Located at Sparkassenstrasse, 5 not too far from Marienplatz. Really great traditional German food and outstanding pig's knuckles (they taste better then they sound).
La Valle Trattoria
Italian food in the heart of Bavaria? Well, it's probably good by German standards but we thought it was just okay. Consider it if you're looking for a break from spetzel, cabbage, potatoes and pork. Located at Sparkassenstrasse, 3 just a five minute walk from Marienplatz.
Nuernburger Am Bratwurst Gloeckl
Good traditional German food. Seating inside or outside depending on the weather and the heat. Located on Frauenplatz 9, tucked away on one of the crowded passageways leading away from Marienplatz.
Of course, no trip to Munich would be complete without a stop at world-famous Hofbrauhaus. It's big, it's crowded, it's noisy, but you've got to stop in for at least one frosty cold beer. One very big frosty cold beer.
Great museum of science and technology.
Munich version of Central Park, complete with several outdoor beer gardens. The plan for the 1235 acre public park in the center of Munich was laid out in 1789.
The center of the historic district of Munich, featuring the Neo-Gothic Neues Rathaus (Town Hall). The facade features a large number of statues depicting dukes, kings, saints, gargoyles, etc. Also a convenient place to enjoy a late afternoon or early evening beer at one of the dozen or so cafes and restaurants that line the perimeter. Great people-watching.
Large, outdoor market and farmer's market has been in operation for more than 200 years. Complete with an outdoor beer garden.
Originally constructed in the 13th century, the church was partially destroyed in WWII and later rebuilt. The church features two distinct dome-topped towers which can be seen from almost anywhere in Munich.
This enormous church is much bigger than it looks from the outside. Construction began in 1585. The crypt in the basement includes many members of the Wittelsbach Dynasty, include King Ludwig II.
Construction began in 1709. The church was partially destroyed in WWII and later rebuilt. Rupert Mayer, the parish priest during WWII, was the leader of the Resistance movement against Hilter and Nazism. He is buried in the crypt.
Site of the 1972 Summer Olympics. A trip to the top of the 950 foot Olympiaturm provides 360-degree views of all of Munich.
We are not big fans of Athens but there are some basic historical things that you can see in a day's time. Honestly, we wouldn't recommend spending more than a day there, just enough time to see the Acropolis and the Parthenon, Syntagma Square, the National Archeological Museum, the Ancient Agora, etc. Athens is a very large, sprawling, mostly dirty city with some really really bad smog. Nice, new airport though, compliments of the 2004 Summer Olympics :)
Older hotel in the Plaka, basically in the middle of everything. The Plaka is an area of the city located beneath the Parthenon -- many blocks of markets, bars, restaurants, shopping, cafes, etc.
Loved this hotel. Located about 15 minute walk from the main town in the Tago district. Quiet location away from town and the noise at night. Hotel sits up on the hillside overlooking the ocean and the town with great panoramic views. Nice pool, nice sun deck.
Located at 27 Kalogera Street; the town is such a maze, it's basically impossible to provide directions. Great outdoor seating. Greek, Mediterranean dishes.
Located on Tria Pigadia Square; the town is such a maze, it's basically impossible to provide directions. Greek, Mediterranean dishes.
La Maison de Catherine
Located on Ayios Gerasimos. Small, air conditioned (!) combination of French and Greek.
Located right on the water on the open sea side of town (as opposed to the harbor). Great outdoor seating and fantastic sunset views during dinner. Traditional Greek and Mediterranean dishes.
This is the main town on the island. Tradition white-washed Greek architecture. There are no automobiles in the town itself; it is an endless maze of narrow streets and inter-connected walkways. Not easy to navigate but not big enough to truly get lost in, either. In the early morning, the docks are crowded with fishing boats that have come in from a night on the sea. Fresh fish, octopus, squids everywhere :)
Super Paradise Beach
There are no sandy beaches on the Mykonos Town side of the island. Super Paradise Beach is located on the south side of the island and requiresa bus ride to get there. The bus is easy from the main town. You'll be dropped off at Paradise Beach (tends to be more crowded, lots of kids). To get to Super Paradise Beach, you take a small boat from Paradise or walk the 20-30 minutes across the peninsula to the sheltered and more remote Super Paradise (the trail begins directly to the left of Paradise Beach). Gorgeous beach and worth the effort. Food, drinks available.
Santorini is one of the most well-known of the Greek Isles. It is essentially a crescent shaped island that resulted from the collapse of one side of a volcano more than 100,000 years ago. The resort towns of Firastephanie, Thira and Oia are all built about 1000 feet above the ocean on the edge of the caldera, providing extraordinary views from nearly everywhere. The towns are all pedestrian-only with narrow winding streets and traditional white-washed buildings with blue domes.
Truly outstanding boutique hotel with 8 rooms. Breakfast served each morning on the patio with unobstructed views over the caldera and the sea. Beautiful pool. On the main walking path between Firastephanie and Thira.
Traditional Greek dishes in a very casual, cafe environment in the town of Thira.
Lotza in Oia
Traditional Greek food in the town of Oia.
Firestephanie. Traditional Greek and Mediterranean dishes; more of a sit-down restaurant than the usual cafes and taverns you find in Santorini.
This is the volcano that is out in the middle of the caldera. You take a boat from the sea port and then are free to hike around the island and up to the summit.
Sunset at Oia
One of the most popular things to do is watch the sunset from the town of Oia, located at the very western tip of Santorini. Oia is easily accessible by either bus or taxi (15-20 minutes) from Thira and Firastephanie.
Hiking Trail from Thira
There is a hiking trail that leads from Thira, along the edge of the caldera, all the way to Oia. The trail is completely flat but there is no shade of any kind and stops for food and water are few and far between. It is easy to follow and impossible to get lost, but it is a lot further than it looks. Even if you don't make it the whole way, there are awesome views nearly every step of the way, however far you ultimately go.
Donkey Ride to Sea Port
From the town of Firastephanie down to the seaport, you can either take the cable car or ride on a donkey. Word to the wise: no matter how much fun the donkeys look, no matter how "local" it seems, do yourself a favor and take the cable car. The only thing worse than riding up or down on one of the donkeys is deciding to walk down the narrow trail to the bottom. I honestly don't think anyone has bothered to clean the donkey sh*t off that trail anytime in the last 15-20 years.
Hotel H10 Racó del Pi
Great smaller boutique hotel just a few short blocks from the Metro (Green Line: Liceau stop). The hotel is located in a pedestrian walk-area without traffic and is directly adjacent to the Old Gothic Quarter (old historic city) and Las Ramblas.
Ateneu (Plaza de an Miguel)
Informal restaurant located on Placa de un Miguel in the Old Gothic Quarter of the city. Traditional Spanish dishes.
Can Culleretes (Carrer Quitana, 5)
More formal restaurant located on Carrer Quitana in the Old Gothic Quarter of the city. Traditional Spanish dishes.
The architectural design work of Gaudi is everywhere in Barcelona. Casa Milá, La Pedrera, Guell Parc, and of course La Sagrada Familia.
La Sagrada Familia
Gaudi's crowning achievement in Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia has to be seen to be believed. Work on the church began in 1882 and continues today. Gaudi lived on site and worked daily on the church for the last 16 years of his life and is buried in the crypt.
La Catedral Barri Gotic, otherwise known as the Barcelona Cathedral, was built in 1298. The cathedral is located in the center of the Old Gothic Quarter, easily walkable from anywhere in the central city. Of note is a plaque commemorating the baptism of 6 Caribbean Indians that Columbus brought back from America in 1493.
The historic avenue of Las Ramblas runs for several miles through the center of the city (it is a wide, tree-lined green belt through the center of the city). Cafes, restaurants, shops, street performers, artists, markets, news stands, etc. But heed the warning of many locals: Don't eat on Las Ramblas!
Mercat de la Boqueria
Huge open-air farmer's market.
The Hill of Montjuïc includes many museums, art galleries, Fira Barcelona, Pavillion de Mies Van Der Rohe, and the Palau Nacional Museu D'Art de Catalunya. In the evening, the fountains that line the main boulevard are brightly colored and the movement of the water is accompanied by lively orchestral music piped in on many large speakers. Montjuic is also the gateway to the Olympic grounds, site of the 1992 Summer Olympics.
Monestir de Montserrat
The monastery is located about an hour train ride outside of Barcelona (it is easy to connect with the train through the Barcelona Metro). Located on top of a mountain at about 4100 feet, construction on the monastery began in the 9th century. Benedictine monks live and worship at the monastery today.
Palau Musica Catalunya
The grand opera house in Barcelona is known as Palau de la Musica Catalunya. Construction on the palace was completed in 1908 and includes a grand stained-glass dome that allows ample natural light into the main auditorium.
Museu D'Art de Catalunya
The national art gallery, otherwise known as Palau Nacional Museu D'Art de Catalunya. The gallery was originally built for the 1929 International Exposition, held in Barcelona.
Quo Puerto del Sol
Great boutique hotel located in a busy commercial area but easy walking distance from lots of stuff and only one block from Metro (#2 Red Line: Sevilla stop).
Café de Levanta
Easy, quick, good. Calle de la Victoria, 4
Guru (Echegaray, 21)
Calle Echegaray, 21. Pretty decent Indian food in the heart of Madrid.
El Cafe de La Suiza
Plaza Santa Ana, 2. Easy, quick, good.
Museo del Jamón
I suppose this is Madrid's version of a local restaurant chain. We ate at the one in Plaza Mayor, outside in the plaza with cold beer and great people watching.
Museo del Prado
World class art museum with a collection built around the greatest assembly of Spanish painters (especially Velazquez and Goya) from the 12th to the 19th century. The building was constructed in 1785 and opened as a museum in 1819.
The Reina Sofia
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía features modern art from the 20th century. Along with works of Joan Miro and Salvador Dali, the museum's show piece is Picasso's famous Civil War protest "Guernica".
La Catedra de la Almudena
Located adjacent to the Palacio Real in Old Madrid, along Calle Mayor. The cathedral was begun in 1879 but construction was delayed for many years due to the Spanish Civil War.
San Francisco el Grande
La Catedra de San Francisco el Grande is a beautiful cathedral located in Old Madrid.
Colegiata de San Isidro
The church was built in the mid 17th century and served as Madrid's main cathedral until La Almudena was completed.
Located in the heart of Old Madrid, Plaza Mayor was constructed in 1621 and has been serving as a gathering point for assemblies, rallies, receptions for visiting kings and queens, etc. ever since. Great place to stop and have lunch or a cold drink at one of the many cafes and restaurants that line the perimeter.
The immense Royal Palace is located in Old Madrid along Calle Mayor. Original construction was in the 14th century but a fire in 1734 resulted in new construction and considerable expansion. The Palace was used by the royal family until the abdication of Alfonso XIII in 1931. Juan Carlos I, the current king, lives in the Zarzuela Palace outside Madrid.
Parque del Buen Retiro
Madrid's version of Central Park.