Madeline Scharf

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Off the beaten track in Rome

From the Colosseum to the Sistine Chapel, Rome's headline acts need no introduction. But away from these historic crowd-pleasers, there are a host of lesser-known sights and neighbourhoods waiting to be discovered. Here's a selection of our favourites.<p>Chiesa di Santa Prassede<p>The interior of the …

Top 20 free things to do in Paris

City of love, fashion capital, literary paradise… Paris has many different guises. And while museum entry can be steep and fine dining comes at a premium, the French capital can also be a cheap date.<p>Whether you go weak at the knees for soaring church spires or want to rub elbows at an authentic …

Europe’s best summer festivals for 2014

Europe has all the best tunes over the coming months, whether you want to shake your skirts, bang your head or dance until dawn. Experience sensory overload at these European festivals - sun, sounds and jaw-dropping locations guaranteed.<p>Sónar Festival, Barcelona, Spain<p>Sónar is Barcelona’s massive …

Affordable Greece

Think Greece and conjure up images of white-washed villages cascading down hillsides, azure seas sparkling in bright sunshine and powder-soft white sand beaches. A visit to this special country is a lifelong dream for many, as it delivers an astounding array of breathtaking landscapes, ancient …

Zürich: more than finance and fondue

Ask the average person to name the party capital of Europe and Zürich probably would not top the list. What's in Zürich? Erm…bankers, fondue, chocolate, chalet-style cuckoo clocks. Think that covers it? Think again.<p>Switzerland’s largest city may not have the glamour of Paris, the hedonistic party …

Ljubljana: a small but beautiful capital

Ljubljana, Slovenia's biggest city (say lyoob- <i>lya</i>-nah – the j’s are mostly silent), also happens to be one of Europe's greenest and most liveable capitals. It’s conveniently set up for visitors too – most of the city’s top attractions are clustered in a compact pedestrianised area around a bend in …

European Travel

20 free things to do in Amsterdam

It's easy to spend a fortune in the Netherlands' stylish capital, but the city has plenty of gratis goodies up for grabs.<p>Check out our pick of the freebies on offer.<p><b>1. Canal Ring</b><p>More canals flow in Amsterdam than in Venice, and get this: the 400-year-old waterways are a UNESCO World Heritage site. …

DIY Travel Crafts: Before, During and After Your Trip

Fall is here, and the cooler weather and changing leaves always put me in an especially crafty mood. I find myself wanting to break out the sewing …

Ten hidden gems of Europe

There’s no place like Paris, Barcelona or Rome - but Europe has untouched corners that match the big hitters on beauty and charm, and with far fewer tourists. Take the road less travelled with these ten hidden gems of Europe.<p>1. Burg Satzvey, Germany<p>Whisper it: this fairytale castle is a short ride …

European Travel

First time Ireland: unmissable Emerald Isle experiences

Ireland’s reputation precedes itself, so first-time visitors might think they know what to expect – rolling green fields, chatty locals and a pint for each hand – but there’s so much more to Ireland than its stereotypical charms. Skip the bus tours stopping at leprechaun-filled souvenir shops and …

5 essential tips for budget travel in Germany

Welcome to Germany! Once you’ve gotten all of the inappropriate questions about World War II, David Hasselhoff, and Rammstein out of your system, …

18 free things to do in Barcelona

Barcelona has enough to keep the most voracious of culture vultures and self-indulgent of gourmands happy for weeks, but all those entry fees and tapas bills can mount up. Fortunately, help is at hand with a variety of ways to make your holiday budget stretch a little further.<p>In addition to the …

The stuff of travel writers' nightmares

Travel nightmares touch us all to some degree. Despite a natural tendency to feel like we've been selected for special punishment as the nightmare unfolds, it's just part and parcel of the uncertainty that we implicitly agree to when we plan a trip.<p>When a travel writer suffers in the line of duty, …

Europe’s top 10 scenic rail journeys

Give thanks to the engineers who built railways across Europe's most difficult terrain, their hard work has translated into some of the world's most picturesque journeys – in Scandinavia along icy rivers to fjords, in Germany, Switzerland and Italy through carved valleys in the Alps, along the …