Sixt Europe Travel Guide – Florence
Today’s Europe month instalment is our second Italian entry and capital of the Italian region of Tuscan. Florence was the center of medieval European trade and was formally one of the wealthiest cities in the world. Rich with history, Florence is widely considered to be birthplace of renaissance. And with its beautiful churches and Piazzas, it’s easy to see why such a picturesque city could inspire some of the greatest thinkers of all time.
Italians are consistently referred to as being romantic people, a church in Florence that represents this is Beatrice’s Church. It is at this church where Dante met his forbidden lover, Beatrice. The actually name of the church is Santa Margherita die Cerchi, however, is commonly referred to as Beatrice’s due to this tale. Tradition has seen that Jilted, distraught and betrayed lovers often leave message on Beatrice’s grave as it is now seen as a symbol for lovers who can’t stay together.
Read all about: Europe Travel Month – Day 12: Florence
Sixt Europe Travel Guide – Madrid
Europe month now takes us to Madrid, the capital of Spain and third largest city in the European after London and Berlin.
Gran Via – for the metropolitan hub in Madrid, look no further than Gran Via, literally translated as the great way and has been coined the Spanish Broadway. The street that never sleeps showcases the best early 20th century architecture in the city and has a busting nightlife.
El Rastro Market – if you’d prefer a more rustic and down to earth approach to your shopping then El Rastro is for you. This open air flea market is held every Sunday and is the most popular in Madrid. The market sells everything from clothes to antiques, and accessories to furniture; both new and used. However, with high concentration of people, comes opportunistic pickpockets, so, avoid carrying valuable objects in easy to reach areas.
Read all about: Europe Travel Month – Day 11: Madrid
Sixt Europe Travel Guide – Istanbul
Today the focus of our European attention will be Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey and gateway to the Middle East. Istanbul has a fruitful history and is one of the most historically significant cities in the world, being the former capital of four empires; the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Latin Empire, and most recently the Ottoman Empire.
Of the most spectacular attractions to see while in Istanbul, the breathtakingly stunning Mosques must rank highly. There are 2691 active mosques in Istanbul. Religious or not, the majesty of these buildings is not to be ignored. Aya Sofya is perhaps the most extravagant mosque in the city, which was, ironically, originally built as an Orthodox patriarchal basilica church in the year 537 and was used as thus until the Ottoman conquest in 1453. It is now secularized and the peace is used as a museum. The dome roof, and intricate mosaic are the main differentiating features and has served as inspiration for the other grandeur mosques in Istanbul. One of those being, the Blue Mosque, this mosques initial motivation was to surpass the nearby Aya Sofya. Which one of these magnificent buildings you prefer is down entirely to personal preference, however people generally come to the conclusion that overwhelming interior of Aya Sofya is matched with the blue mosques extraordinary exterior.
Read all about: Europe Travel Month – Day 10: Istanbul
Sixt Europe Travel Guide – London
This short article cannot start to articulate the breadth of things to do while you’re in London, however I will do my best. The capital of the UK may be one of the most expensive cities in the world, however I think you’ll find that the vast majority of the attraction are free of charge; and if not, a quick google search will present you will several discounts and offers on the more expensive options.
Here is a quick fire list of the best free attractions in London, Buckingham Palace, Covent Garden, Oxford Road, Marble Arch, Richmond Park, Hyde Park, Victoria Park, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Notting hill Gate, Portobello Market, Columbia Road Flower Market and Camdem Market. Most of the aforementioned destinations are areas within London, all of which are attraction in themselves and places you are bound to recognize from their many depictions in popular culture.
Read all about: Europe Travel Month – Day 9: London
Sixt Europe Travel Guide – Prague
Over a week into Europe month and we’ve reached the Czech Republic and its dreamy capital city Prague! This historical city homes 1.3 million people and is the 14th largest city in Europe. As recently as 2014, it was ranked as one of the best cities to visit in the world by TripAdvisor.
The main attraction of this fantastic city include the Prague Castle, which is the official home and office of the president of the Czech Republic. To further consolidate its status as a historic city, Prague Castle has officially been lifted, by the Guinness Book of Records as the largest ancient castle in the world. It is also the most visited site in Prague. The castle has had 4 major renovations however has still amazed to maintain its illustrious command of the city.
Wandering along the Charles Bridge is one of the favorite past times of the visitors to Prague, however be warned it gets extremely busy with buskers and tourist grid locking the beautiful bridge, and as a result pickpocketing is also rife. Just off the Charles Bridge is Old Town Square, a walk through this square is a great way to absorb all the different varieties of architecture Prague has to offer, all in one place.
Sixt Europe Travel Guide – Amsterdam
Today’s instalment of Europe month is regularly characterized as the city of sin, with a very liberal take on drugs and the sex trade. Amsterdam, the capital of The Netherlands, is an extremely exciting city to experience!
Amsterdam has over 100 km of canals, built during the Dutch Golden age when Amsterdam port was one of the most important trading docks in the world. This was in the 17th century and although the canals are not used for the same financial and economic gain, it has shaped the city of Amsterdam that we see today. Which can largely be considered a liberal hub of activity, with the center of that being De Wallen, Amsterdam infamous Red light District where prostitution is legal and rife. Disregarding any personal feelings towards the highly regulated area, where sex workers can entice onlookers from their windows, it is a truly fascinating street to walk through. However, be warned, taking photos is strictly prohibited and may result in your camera being thrown in the canal. Another attribute of Amsterdam liberalness is the legalization of marijuana in designated ‘coffee shops’, therefore if you are that way inclined, Amsterdam is the place to do it.
Sixt Europe Travel Guide – Lisbon
Day 6, six brings us to the historical city of Lisbon, the oldest city in Western Europe! And as a result, there are a number of heritage sights and the capital city of Portugal is also rich with a variety of architecture including Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, Baroque, Modern and Postmodern style buildings.
Lisbon is one of the few travel destinations where the mode of transport is an attraction in itself, Tram 28 takes you through the various districts of Lisbon with churches and castles dotted around this scenic route, all the while on this beautiful vintage tram. One of the most interesting things about Lisbon is the contrast, with it being a capital city it has the contemporary metropolitan aspects, such as the Vasco da Gama Tower, a gleaming white, futuristic building which is the tallest one in the city, however just neighboring is the district of Alfama, the oldest in Lisbon. The Rooftops of Alfama are really something to behold, this part of city is relatively unchanged since the 6th century.
Read all about: Europe Travel Month – Day 6: Lisbon
Sixt Europe Travel Guide – Budapest
Day five of Europe month takes us to Budapest, the capital city of Hungary. This formally divided city is a little slice of heaven being named Forbes 7th most idyllic place to live and the 9th most beautiful city in the world by UCityGuides.
To appreciate a great deal of the sites that Budapest has to offer, visit the Castle District, its allure consists of Historic monuments, museums and fine cafes and restaurants. Among the most popular attractions in the Castle Hill district are the Royal Palace and the Matthias church. And once on the hill, there are some breath taking panoramic views of the city!
Read all about: Europe Travel Month – Day 5: Budapest
Sixt Europe Travel Guide – Berlin
Day 4 of Europe month will have Sixt evaluate the best things to do in Berlin. Germanys capital city has a divided past which gives the city a really interesting outlook; as even though the wall dividing east from west came down over 20 years ago, you can still see the disparities, although in a far more amicable way.
Berlin is a very uncharacteristically cheap capital city, and even so, a great deal of the cities attractions are free of charge. Here is a list of the best free attractions in Berlin, The Eastside Gallery is the last remains of the Berlin wall and despite its initial purpose has come to represent unity and freedom within Berlin, and free expression via street art represents this perfectly. Brandenburg Gate is another unifying symbol in Berlin, originally constructed as a city gate, now it is one of the best known landmarks in Germany. Just around the corner is The Holocaust Memorial, designed by architect Peter Eisenman with the intention of making you feel uneasy and represents an ordered system that lost touch in humanity. There is also a free exhibition directly beneath the sculpture, telling personal accounts of Jewish families during the Holocaust.
The Zuiderzee Museum – experience the life back in the last century
The Zuiderzee Museum was founded in 1948. The decision was made to develop an open air Museum at the end of the nineteen sixties. The Museum Park was completed in 1983, after years of preparation. This provides an image of how people used to live and work around the Zuiderzee between 1880 and 1930, the period which preceded the completion of the IJsselmeer Dam in 1932.
Sixt Europe Travel Guide – Rome
It’s day three of Sixt’s Europe month, and today’s instalment will be concerning Rome, Italy. Rome is one of Europe’s oldest cities, due to the legacy left by the Roman Empire and is Italy’s most visited tourist destination. Here are Sixt’s top picks of what do while in this historical city.
Rome is historically a city of indulgence and there are still impressive relics of their opulent past littered around the city, with the main showcase being The Roman Forums. Built in 7 BC, you may have to use your imagination slightly to fully appreciate the majesty of the former government buildings. On the grander side of the cities ruins is the Colosseum; Rome’s great gladiatorial arena. In its original state, seating 50,000 blood thirsty Romans watching spectacular displays of human strength, now, 2000 years on is Rome’s biggest tourist attraction, luring almost 5 million visitors a year. With other ruins and relics that include Palatine Hill and Ostia Antica, it is truly astonishing how much of an impact the Roman Empire left.
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Seattle’s secret travel guide – enjoy Seattle like the locals
Seattle has a lot to offer to its visitors, however, if you are looking to travel around Seattle to the great places where mostly the locals know about, the ‘hidden gems of Seattle’ then this secret Seattle travel guide is right for you. With these travel tips in Seattle from Sixt, you will get to experience Seattle the same way the locals do!
Get to Seattle and observer the many view of and from the Space Needle. This is a structure everyone must see when visiting Seattle. Taking a tour of Seattle’s curiously interesting past is what the Underground Tour is all about. It is a Bill Speidel glimpse of things, places and personalities that helped shape the city the world now knows as Seattle is filled with interesting things to see. When searching for the unique, take the Duck Tour. It is a ‘laid back, hello there, how are you’ kind of expedition. It is fun. The captain is hilarious and it is a great way to meet other people and relax.
Seattle has things one certainly would not see everyday. For example, the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks built back in 1906 or the Ballard Locks as they are locally called. This spectacular sight of water management is an all day activity. Moving boats from Puget Sound to the lake is an operation managed by the army Corps of Engineers. It is interesting to watch how smartly the fish ladder lets salmon move through the locks. However, check out the Golden Gardens Park and you will love the view.
Sixt Europe Travel Guide – Paris
The second instalment in our Europe month is Paris. The capital city of France is one of the most popular tourist destination in the world, being the main recipient of the USA’s romanticization of Europe. And rightly so. Due to this long distance love affair, I’m sure you’re well aware of many of sites in Paris; however, we at Sixt rent a car are going to do our best to enlighten you.
Paris has history and culture oozing from its cobbled streets, it is therefore hard to turn a boulevard corner without seeing something significant or picture worthy. One of the places that can be easily stumbled across is Shakespeare and Company bookshop. This English language bookshop, whose past patrons include the likes of Ernest Hemmingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald from the “Lost Generation” and more contemporary Allen Ginsberg and Henry Miller, is overflowing with character in the many nooks and crannies of this small shop. In an age of Amazon and discount retailers, it is refreshing to see a place that nourishes the book market, and its young talent as the store doubles up as a place for struggling writers to stay in exchange for their services i.e., stacking shelves.
On the other end of the spectrum we have Georges. If you are feeling particularly indulgent, Georges is a luxury rooftop bar and restaurant where they charge 70 € for a bottle of champagne. However, has an unparalleled atmosphere.
Read all about: Europe Travel Month – Day 2: Paris
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Sixt Europe Travel Guide – Barcelona
We at Sixt have decided to launch Europe month, in which we will post a new blog post about a city in Europe every day in the month of June. Today’s instalment is, Barcelona.
Barcelona is one of the biggest and most exciting cities in Europe. It is different to other Spanish cities due to its Catalan culture, however still maintains the traditional Spanish passion. The architecture of Barcelona is one of highlights of the city, one can spend the day aimlessly walking around the decorated streets and deem it a day not wasted. And clearly when speaking of architecture, in Barcelona, one can’t help but think of modernist Antoni Gaudi; with the most familiar being the meticulously detailed, gothic cathedral the Sagrada Famila, The magical Park Guell and the ‘stone lung’, La Pedrera. However, his lesser known, and some argue more impressive work, lies a short drive with your Sixt rent a car; the Church of Cononia Guell. Unfinished though it may be, It has been noted by experts that this hidden gem is one of the more faithful to the spirit of his architecture.