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  • Hungary Travel | Places to visit in Hungary | Rough Guides
    Dalmatian coast Rough Guides Snapshot Croatia View Guide Rough Guides Snapshot Europe on A Budget Austria View Guide Brighton Rough Guides Snapshot Kent Sussex and Surrey View Guide Rough Guides Snapshot Ireland Belfast View Guide The Rough Guide to Italy View Guide The Rough Guide to Scotland View Guide The Rough Guide to Sardinia View Guide Stockholm Rough Guides Snapshot Sweden View Guide Bordered by countries as diverse as Austria Serbia and Ukraine Hungary is a crossroads at the centre of the continent what was once known as Mitteleuropa and it fuses old Europe and new in its mix of Hapsburg grandeur and Communist era grittiness There is a Central European solidity to its food buildings and culture but the more exotic and undeniably romantic founding myth of the nomadic warrior Magyars from the Central Asian steppe is also key to Hungarians fiery national pride Budapest the capital is a city of imposing scale and wide Danube vistas split by the river into historic Buda and buzzy Pest and offering both the old imperial era boulevards Art Nouveau coffeehouses bubbling Turkish baths and the new quirky warehouse bars and summer riverboat clubs A few hours travel beyond Budapest is enough to access Hungary s other key charms from Serb influenced Szentendre a short way north along the Danube bend to the lush wine growing Badacsony region on the shores of Lake Balaton to the southwest Balaton the nation s playground also plays host to crowded summer party resorts such as Siófok or gentler Keszthely Hungary s three most culture rich towns beyond Budapest are scattered across the country but not to be missed Sopron close by the border with Austria Pécs on the far southern tip ringed by alpine hills and Eger just northeast of Budapest a mellow historic city

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/europe/hungary/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Ireland Travel | Places to visit in Ireland | Rough Guides
    the horse grazing plain of the Curragh just a few kilometres away and in Connemara on the west coast you can walk from beach to mountain to fen from seaweed strewn inlet to lily covered lough in a matter of hours Coupled with the unhurried nature of rural living this scenic array encourages leisurely investigation especially on foot or by bicycle With the richest store of mythological traditions in northern Europe Ireland adds further interest to the landscape through the sacred associations of so many of its physical features few counties do not shelter a pile of stones called Diarmuid and Gráinne s Bed where the star crossed lovers are said to have slept together on their flight from the great warrior Fionn Mac Cumhaill But there s much more than the resonance of place names to this treasure chest of myths which still has a life of its own in the tradition of storytelling The great body of Irish literature though much of it concerns the dysfunction of real life is often spiked with wild fantastical imaginings from Swift Sterne and Wilde through to Joyce Flann O Brien and Seamus Heaney And unlikely stories and surreal comedy are integral elements of the craic the talking therapy of Ireland s pubs Meanwhile in the rich culture of traditional music the two forms that are most likely to enrapture an audience whether singing along or in silent appreciation are ballads and sean nós old style Irish language singing which recount tales of love history and humour Many of Ireland s mythical deities were reinvented by the Church after the tenth century as historical personages which can make interpretation of the country s abundance of historic sites more difficult especially its enigmatic but awe inspiring prehistoric tombs stone circles and hill forts There are few remnants of the Church itself from the so called Dark Ages when the monasteries of Ireland clung on as great centres of learning but their elaborate craftsmanship is evident in surviving illuminated manuscripts Stone began to be used for religious buildings only in the ninth century and the country is strewn with fine churches distinctive round towers and high crosses from later periods Doughty castles and tower houses are reminders of the unrest and oppression that followed the twelfth century Anglo Norman invasion while numerous stately homes from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries attest to the power of the Protestant Ascendancy alongside Neoclassical institutions in the cities and Dublin s extensive Georgian areas There is little vernacular architecture of note however thanks to centuries of subjugation as the laboratory for British colonialism The poverty experienced by ordinary Irish people under foreign rule was not immediately righted by Independence in 1921 and for most of the twentieth century the economy continued to stagnate The century s final decade however saw a remarkable upswing in Ireland s fortunes The North though still blighted by sectarianism and gangsterism received massive British and European investment and achieved far greater stability after

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/europe/ireland/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Places to Visit in Italy | Where to go in Italy | Rough Guides
    tourism began and to be honest the country really does have it all one of the most diverse and beautiful landscapes in Europe the world s greatest hoard of art treasures many on display in fittingly spectacular cities and buildings a climate that is on the whole benign and most important of all for many a delicious and authentic national cuisine The country is not perfect its historic cities have often been marred by development and beyond the showpiece sights the infrastructure is visibly straining but for its places to visit many of the old clichés still ring true once you ve visited you may never want to travel anywhere else Italy might be the world s most celebrated tourist destination but it only became a unified state in 1861 and as a result Italians often feel more loyalty to their region than to the nation as a whole something manifest in its different cuisines dialects landscapes and often varying standards of living However if there is a single national Italian characteristic it s to embrace life to the full in the hundreds of local festivals taking place across the country on any given day to celebrate a saint or the local harvest in the importance placed on good food in the obsession with clothes and image and in the daily ritual of the collective evening stroll or passeggiata a sociable affair celebrated by young and old alike in every town and village across the country There is also the country s enormous cultural legacy Tuscany alone has more classified historical monuments than any country in the world there are considerable remnants of the Roman Empire all over the country notably in Rome itself and every region retains its own relics of an artistic tradition generally acknowledged to be among

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/europe/italy/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Latvia Travel | Places to visit in Latvia | Rough Guides
    beaches and a unique firewater Show Related Guides Hide Related Guides Alentejo Rough Guides Snapshot Portugal View Guide The Rough Guide to Budapest View Guide The East Midlands Rough Guides Snapshot England View Guide Rough Guides Snapshot Germany Hamburg and Schleswig Holstein View Guide The Pyrenees Rough Guides Snapshot France View Guide Pocket Rough Guide Berlin View Guide Rough Guides Snapshot Germany North Rhine Westphalia View Guide The Rough Guide to Barcelona View Guide Dubrovnik and around Rough Guides Snapshot Croatia View Guide Rough Guides Snapshot Greece The Dodecanese View Guide Since becoming a member of the European Union in 2004 Latvia has enjoyed a bumpy ride of boom and slump although the decision to adopt the Euro in January 2014 seems to point to a measure of stability in future The Soviet occupation left the country with a large Russian minority population and it remains a place divided by language and culture Rīga in particular is a strikingly bilingual city although all road signs and public notices are in Latvian And although it s the boisterous capital to which most visitors are attracted to experience the true spirit of Latvia you ll need to head into the spectacularly unspoiled

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/europe/latvia/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Lithuania Travel | Places to visit in Lithuania | Rough Guides
    Insurance Hostels View map Lithuania Mystical forests and lakes fine castles and a hundred ways with a potato Show Related Guides Hide Related Guides The Rough Guide to Portugal View Guide Rough Guides Snapshot Belgium Brussels View Guide Rough Guides Snapshot Europe on a Budget Czech Republic View Guide The Italian Riviera Rough Guides Snapshot Italy View Guide The Rough Guide to Belgium Luxembourg View Guide The Rough Guide to Ireland View Guide Zuid Holland and Utrecht Rough Guides Snapshot Netherlands View Guide Rough Guides Snapshot Ireland Belfast View Guide The Rough Guide to Great Britain View Guide Rough Guides Snapshot Europe on A Budget Switzerland View Guide Lithuania is a vibrant and quirky country which has undergone rapid modernization since becoming independent from the Soviet Union in 1990 You ll find a lively nightlife both in Vilnius and on the coast ample grounds for outdoor pursuits in the as yet unspoiled national parks and a number of good beaches as well as a stark contrast between city life and rural poverty Fiercely proud of their country Lithuanians are more exuberant and welcoming than their Baltic neighbours and you are likely to encounter their hospitality everywhere Read More Where to

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/europe/lithuania/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Places to Visit in Montenegro | Visit Montenegro | Rough Guides
    Hostels View map Montenegro Wild mountains Adriatic beaches and enticing resorts Show Related Guides Hide Related Guides Make the Most of Your Time in Britain View Guide Rough Guides Snapshot Europe on A Budget Switzerland View Guide Istria Rough Guides Snapshot Croatia View Guide Rough Guides Snapshot Scotland Glasgow View Guide Pocket Rough Guide Venice View Guide The Rough Guide to Greece View Guide Rough Guides Snapshot Germany Munich and central Bavaria View Guide The Rough Guide to Germany View Guide Corsica Rough Guides Snapshot France View Guide The Rough Guide to Vintage London View Guide The tiny new state of Crna Gora is better known under its Italian name Montenegro The English translation Black Mountain might sound a little dull but Montenegro is a land exploding with colour Carpeted with flowers for much of the year the country s muscular peaks are dappled with the dark greens of pine beech and birch from which turquoise streams rush down to a tantalizingly azure blue sea Fringing it the coastline is dotted from border to border with beaches of yellow and volcanic grey and huddles of picturesque orange roofed houses a postcard come to life Read More Where to go When

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/europe/montenegro/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Places to Visit in The Netherlands | Netherlands Travel | Rough Guides
    nations on earth with a huge range of places to visit packed into a relatively small area A remarkable country no more than the size of the US state of Maryland it s a largely man made affair around half of which lies at or below sea level Its fertile pancake flat landscape is gridded with drainage ditches and canals beneath huge open skies while the country s towns and villages are often pristine and unchanged places of gabled townhouses pretty canals and church spires Despite the country s diminutive dimensions each town is often a profoundly separate place with its own distinct identity indeed there s perhaps nowhere else in the world where you can hear so many different accents even dialects in such a small area In spring and summer the bulbfields provide bold splashes of colour and in the west and north the long coastline is marked by mile upon mile of protective dune backing onto wide stretches of perfect sandy beach A major colonial power the Dutch mercantile fleet once challenged the English for world naval supremacy and throughout its seventeenth century Golden Age the standard of living was second to none There have been a few economic ups and downs since then but today the Netherlands is one of the most developed countries in the world with the highest population density in Europe It s an international well integrated place too most people speak English at least in the heavily populated west of the country and most of the country is easy to reach on a public transport system of trains and buses whose efficiency may make British and American visitors weep with envy Successive Dutch governments have steered towards political consensus indeed this has been the drift since the Reformation when the competing pillars

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/europe/netherlands/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Norway Travel | Places to visit in Norway | Rough Guides
    map for all many visitors know Yet it s out of the cities and off the major roadways that you ll experience Norway at its most magical vast stretches of serene postcard perfect landscapes where it is at times possible to travel for hours without seeing a single soul There is nothing tame and precious little tamed in this wilderness where everything is on a grand scale from the deep blue black fjords and rearing snowy peaks to jagged forested hills and seemingly limitless expanse of Arctic tundra Norway stretches north in a long slender band from the Skagerrak the choppy channel that separates the country from Denmark its coastline battered and buffeted by the Atlantic as it juts up towards the Arctic Sea Behind this rough and rocky coast are spectacular mountain ranges harsh upland plateaux plunging river valleys rippling glaciers deep forests and mighty fjords of unsurmounted beauty an exhilarating landscape begging to be explored by car boat or bike on skis or even husky drawn sled Perhaps inevitably the fjords are the apple of the tourist industry s eye with the infrastructure to prove it though when well heeled English and German gentlemen travellers arrived here in the late nineteenth century on the hunt for the Scandinavian exotic Norwegians were so poor that you could hire a gillie or two for next to nothing It is this stark contrast between a severely impoverished past and an astoundingly wealthy present that for locals at least remains a salient characteristic of life up here Since the country happened upon vast oil and gas reserves under the Norwegian Sea in the 1960s Norway has managed to assemble one of the most civilized educated and tolerant societies in the world one that its population maintains a deep loyalty for and pride

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/europe/norway/ (2016-02-16)
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