The Festa Major de Gràcia is Barcelona's biggest, most colourful and most popular neighbourhood, street festival. Every year, the Gràcia neighbourhood is transformed with fantastical scenes made out of recycled materials and bright papier-mâché . The decorations and all the events are organised by local residents with their aim being to bring together the community and invite others from all over the world to experience their outlandish creations. The festival is also replete with activities and events for all the family so throughout the week-long festival there is always something to do.
Prague is one of the captivating cities in Europe. It feels like walking through a baroque dream. While you can spend an entire weekend here just wandering the streets, there are a few things to avoid to ensure your trip is as stress and chaos free as possible.
Munich is a popular destination that many travellers fly into due to airports many connections and the regularly discounted flights which are often on offer to Munich. Many travellers just us it as a transfer point, but the city itself has so much to offer. If you do find yourself flying through Munich or using it as a jumping off point to your European adventure, take at least 24 hours to explore this magnificent city.
Vincent Willem van Gogh, better known to the world as just Van Gogh, is one of the most prolific (if not THE most) artists of all time. A tall order but for anyone who has ever had the chance to view his work, especially in person, can tell you; his painting are more than painting, they are expressions. Emotionally compelling images of pain and suffering mixed with astonishing beauty.
If there one thing I like to do more than anything else it's to explore locals marketplaces. Whether it's a rural farmer's market no bigger than a few tables of tomatoes or a giant European market hall, there is something so exciting about being surrounded by a myriad of colours, aromas and flavours local to that city.
The Great Market Hall or "Nagyvásárcsarnok" is the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest. Despite the dozens and dozens of tourists with their cameras out, this place is a favourite with locals and the best place to come to get fresh produce, Hungarian specialities, a quick meal or a sweet treat.
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue's Sunday market is one of the largest and most impressive outdoor flea markets in Provence. Walking along the picturesque Sorgue River, you can buy everything from food to antiques, vintage clothing, fine art, fresh cut flowers and even some of the best handmade goods the country has to offer.
St. Peter's Abbey and Cemetery is the oldest monastery in the German-speaking world and truly a place where time seems to stand still. Although the abbey itself is stunning, the most notable part of the church is its cemetery.
The Zwinger is one of those historic buildings that is so seamlessly incorporated into the fabric of the city. Yes, it is also a very popular tourist destination, but the people who live and work here, don't treat it with kid gloves. As if it's something precious and should only be viewed from a distance. They luncheon here, bring their children to play and dash through the archways on their morning run.
Prague has some of the most beautiful libraries in the world, and although most of them are off-limits to the public, there are tours during certain times of the day which allow bibliophiles to soak up all the history and literary treasures that lie inside these old buildings.
The first place I wanted to visit in Dresden was the fabled "Green Vault". The Green Vault or *Grünes Gewölbe* is Europe's largest collection of precious, historical treasures. It was the first public museum in all of Europe featuring a collection of crown jewels, royal bowls carved out of crystal, agate and ivory, golden figurines with multicoloured gems inlaid within and the ‘Dresden Green’ - the largest green diamond in the world. When walking up to the Green Vault, I suppose you expect to see a big green building but in fact, the gallery got its name a different way. During it's original construction, the columns and bases which held up the vaulted ceiling were all painted green - giving the entire place an Emerald city like vibe.
The Dresden Frauenkirche or Church of Our Lady in one of the grandest buildings in all of Europe, but it is its destruction, and reconstruction is to me, what makes this church stand out. The interior and overall design aren't in my top ten but the story behind, literally, every stone, is one I will never forget.
Along the side of the Georgentor, is one of the unique and valuable sites in Dresden. You'll walk by its dozens of times while visiting Dresden and I think it's worth more than a quick glance and few photos. This is the Procession of Princes of Fürstenzug.
The Schloßplatz, or Palace Square, is the main square in the old town district of Dresden. It is named the Palace Square since the former royal residence resides right on the edge of the plaza. A balcony down from the residence looks out over the area below so that the Royals could take a peek at the people of their city going about their lives. The Schloßplatz also houses the Catholic Church, the court houses of Saxony, the Georgentor, and Augustus Bridge the over the River Elbe. Like most other parts of the old city, the Palace Square the 15th-century designs of the square was destroyed in the WWII bombings. The building has been laboriously restored to their original historic design.
One of the best places to grab a bite to eat, enjoy people watching while being surrounded by one of the most beautiful views in Dresden, is at the Dresden Neumarkt. The Neumarkt is the cultural centre of the Dresden historical district. This area was mostly entirely destroyed in WWII during the same bombing runs that destroyed the Dresden Frauenkirche. After the war, during the communist era, the surrounding buildings were rebuilt in the socialist, realist style. This was not a favourite of the German people and after reunification these buildings were demolished and the reconstruction of the Neumarket to restore it to its original architectural style got underway.
Brühl's Terrace, or Brühlsche Terrasse, also known as the "Balcony of Europe". The area where the Terrace now stands is where the ancient old city ramparts were built in 1738. Once the Fort was no longer needed to protect the city from invaders, it was converted, by the King's orders, into an outdoor garden and space for the citizens of the city.
I had seen these boat tours advertised when we were walking around the city yesterday and thought that might be an excellent way to see the city from a different perspective as well as see a little more of the countryside outside of Dresden.
The Porcelain Gallery is easy to find. It is right underneath the glockenspiel that rings in the Zwinger every hour. The bells on the outside are also made from the same famous porcelain that is on display inside the gallery.
The Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon or Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments contians within it a myriad of historic clock and various different scientific instruments. But the incredible part about this museum is that these items not only serve a functional purpose but also are some incredbily beautifully artistic creations to feast your eyes on.
You can't visit Prague without sampling their beer. It's honestly such a HUGE part of their culture and cuisine. Every bar has their unique home brew as well as hundreds of other local varieties.