On September 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:Stockholm is a veritable playground for children, young and old. Here are our Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks for the five best things to do with kids in the Swedish capital:
1. Step into the future. Stockholm’s Tekniska Museet (Museum of Technology) is perfect for kids as almost every exhibit is designed to be touched and interacted with, allowing children to experiment with all kinds of scientific and technical equipment. It’s also home to a spectacular 4-D cinema.
2. Head to the fairground. If your kids are thrill seekers, take them to Gröna Lund on Djurgården Island — a large fairground founded in 1883 but now home to six modern rollercoasters, as well as other thrilling rides, games and activities.
3. Wander around Skansen. Kids love animals, dressing up and having space to run around, so there’s nowhere better than Skansen. With a full replica of a 19th century Swedish town and a full zoo, they won’t be bored.
4. Have a picnic in a park. Stockholm is one of the greenest cities in the world, so set down a picnic blanket on the grass and soak it in. The central Kungsträdgården is perfect, with plenty of summer events, and if you’re there in the winter you can simply sit in one of the cafes and watch people skating on the ice rink instead.
5. Take to the water. There are dozens of sightseeing boat trips leaving from Stockholm’s shores, so why not skip the clichéd open-top tourist bus and take to the water instead.
On September 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:As Scandinavia’s most versatile city, there’s plenty to see and do in Stockholm. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ top picks for the five best things to see and do in the city:
1. Discover the palaces. Stockholm Palace is the official residence of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, although they now spend most of their time in the nearby Drottningholm Palace. As a tourist you’ll want to take time to explore both of these spectacular palaces, and learn more about the Swedish monarchy.
2. Explore Skansen. One of the most diverse open-air museums in the world, Skansen includes a full replica of an average 19th century Swedish town (where actors in traditional dress work as shoemakers, glass-blowers and bakers) and a zoo that’s home to native animals like otters, reindeer and wolves.
3. Head out to the archipelago. Stretching more than 50 miles east from the city, Stockholm’s stunning archipelago is comprised of more than 20,000 islands, islets and rocks — so hop on a summertime ferry to explore just a small portion of it.
4. See Riddarholmen Church. One of the oldest buildings in Stockholm, the beautiful 13th century Riddarholmen Church is where Swedish monarchs and significant figures have been buried for the last 350 years.
5. Go for a swim. Stockholm is surrounded by water, and there are several beaches in the inner city, so there’s no excuse for not slipping on your swimwear and enjoying a dip. Forbes Travel Guide editor’s favorite spot is Lake Mälaren.
On September 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:If you’ve seen it all in Salzburg and are ready for a change of scenery, there’s plenty more to see just outside the city. These are our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ five favorite day trips:
1. Salt mines. The nearby salt mines at Bad Dürrnberg have been used to extract white gold since Celtic times, so it offers a fascinating look back at subterranean history. It also has some thrills and spills, with rides on the mining trolley, speedy slides between levels and an archaeological kids’ playground.
2. Oberndorf. It may only be a small city, but Oberndorf has a spot in history as the place where the popular Christmas hymn “Silent Night” was composed and first performed. You can visit the Museum and Chapel of Silent Night to learn the full story.
3. The Eagle’s Nest. Once the mountaintop chalet of Adolf Hitler, today the Eagle’s Nest is a restaurant with an outdoor beer garden that also doubles as a great jumping-off point for hikers.
4. Salzburger Freilichtmuseum. Lying in the shadow of dramatic Untersberg mountain, this is an open-air folk museum that’s home to 60 farmhouses, barns, cabins and mills that are populated with traditional rural costumes, arts and crafts, working tools and even vehicles.
5. The Great Outdoors. Salzburg is surrounded on every side by natural beauty, so make the most of it by perhaps hiking up to the lofty mountain of Untersberg or dropping down to the lakeside town of Salzkammergut.
On September 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:From music to Mozartkugeln, here are our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ five favorite things to bring home from Salzburg:
1. Mozart’s music. It’s impossible to spend any time in Salzburg without gaining a greater appreciation for the work of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, so something bearing his name always makes a good souvenir. Look past the tacky teddy bears and sickly chocolate liqueurs and instead take home some sheet music.
2. Traditional costume. You may find little practical use for them back home, but Salzburg’s traditional costumes are unique items that will always remind you of your visit. Pop into local stores to pick up a flowing dirndl dress or smart walkjanker top.
3. Huetschenreuter Bell. This traditional porcelain bell has been made for centuries, and every year there is a brand new design for Salzburgerland — that means you won’t just get a lovely souvenir, but also an everlasting reminder of exactly when you were last in Salzburg.
4. Mozartkugeln. In English this means “Mozart balls,” which are delicious marzipan-and-chocolate confections that are just waiting to be packaged up and taken home.
5. Swarovski diamonds. The famed jewelry company originated just a little ways west of the city, so one of its gems makes for a sparkling local souvenir.
On September 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:When it comes to main meals Salzburg offers much the same as any Austrian town: schnitzel and spätzle. When it comes to sweet treats, however, this city has a culinary heritage all of its own. Here are five food experiences our Forbes Travel Guide editors feel you must have while in Salzburg:
1. Salzburger Nockerl. This is the city’s favorite dessert and is kind of like a sweet soufflé, but with the texture of dumplings. Ingredients include egg yolk, egg whites, flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, milk and raisins.
2. Bierkuchen. Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of the German language may be surprised at the name, but bierkuchen (beer cake) delivers exactly what it promises — soft yet firm cake made with cherries, raisins and a healthy dose of pale ale.
3. Mozartkugeln. Yet another Salzburg item named after the famous composer, Mozartkugeln (Mozart balls) are actually extremely tasty — the perfect combination of chocolate and marzipan. You can buy the Mirabell brand in every grocery store, but we recommend trying the original version at Café Fürst.
4. Kaiserschmarrn. Although eaten throughout Austria, this dessert of torn pieces of caramelized pancake sprinkled with icing sugar and smothered in hot plum compote is especially popular in Salzburg.
5. Coffee. From the Melange to the Einspänner, the Grosser Brauner to the Verlängerter, caffeine-addicts are spoilt for choice in Salzburg.
On September 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:It may seem like a quiet city by day, but Salzburg really comes alive at night. Old Town is filled with small, historic pubs, including several popular microbreweries, while livelier, more modern bars are situated on both banks of the river, on Rudolfskai and Giselakai. The big nightclubs, meanwhile, tend to be on the outskirts of the city, usually within shopping malls.
Our Forbes Travel Guide editors feel the best way to spend an evening in this city of music, however, is to catch a live concert. There are classical performances taking place throughout the year in a variety of venues — the most famous (and most exclusive) is probably the Marble Hall at Mirabell Palace. If classical music isn’t your thing, you can try the Shamrock Irish Pub for live Irish fiddlers; Rockhouse for late-night rock and metal bands; or Szene for everything from electro DJs to jazz jam sessions.
On September 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:It may be a small city, but Salzburg is blessed with an abundance of interesting tourist tidbits — and you can only see so many in one day. However, if you focus your efforts around Old Town, you should be able to get a relatively good feel for the city.
Our Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend starting your day by crisscrossing the Salzach River and strolling through Old Town’s charming lanes, narrow alleyways and sheltered piazzas, picking up a quick breakfast at a traditional bakery along the way. Spend the rest of the morning with a little more purpose by taking in a major Old Town sight or two, such as the Salzburger Cathedral, Mozart’s birthplace or Mirabell Palace.
In the afternoon, head up to Hohensalzburg, the enormous medieval castle looming over the center, and spend two or three hours taking your audio tour around the fascinating exhibition. Afterwards hike up to the Kapuzinerberg hill, where you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the city.
In the evening head back to Old Town for a traditional meal at Gasthof Wilder Mann, then spend the rest of the night drinking home-brewed beers with the locals at Augustiner Bräustuberl.
On September 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:Salzburg has some wonderful shopping opportunities, from fabulous fashions to fresh farmers’ food. Check out these picks from our Forbes Travel Guide editors to ensure you get the best goods in town:
1. Fashion. Although Salzburg is hardly known as one of Europe’s great fashion capitals, there are a surprising number of top international brands, chic designer boutiques, leather accessory shops and high-end jewelers throughout the Old City. For a true insight into local style, women should try a traditional dirndl (the historical costume of Alpine peasants made up of a bodice, blouse, full skirt and apron), while men can opt for lederhosen (short leather breeches).
2. Souvenirs. Whether it’s novelty mugs, sweet liqueurs, tacky pencils or Christmas tree decorations, almost every Salzburg souvenir evokes the spirit of Mozart, but if you really want to celebrate the local maestro, how about a piece of his sheet music or an antique musical instrument? Aside from these, the best Salzburg souvenirs are probably the most temporary ones: You can find a wealth of edible delights in any of the city’s many bakeries, patisseries and confectioners.
3. Markets. Salzburg has great markets for all seasons, with the likes of Grünmarkt and Schrannenmarkt selling farmers’ products, traditional clothes, arts and crafts, flowers and souvenirs throughout the year. It’s during the festive winter holiday season, however, that the city really switches into market mode, with the huge Christkindlmarkt and various other smaller markets offering gingerbread sweets, wooden toys, mulled wine and everything else needed to get into the holiday spirit.
On September 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:With its medieval houses and classical music, Salzburg may seem like a strictly grown-up city on the surface, but scratch a little deeper and you’ll find a number of activities kids will love. Here are five that our Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend:
1. Catch a puppet show. Salzburg’s Toy Museum holds Austria’s largest collection of European toys, as well as a number of hands-on exhibits. The highlight for most visitors, however, is the Kasperltheater (puppet show), which has been held here every Tuesday and Wednesday for the past 25 years.
2. Take a trip to the zoo. A visit to Salzburg Zoo is guaranteed to keep the kids happy. Open 365 days a year and located about 15 minutes outside of town, the zoo has more than 800 animals, including some in a petting zoo.
3. Attend a festival. Salzburg is a festival city, with something going on almost every week of the year. The biggest one is the Salzburg Festival, a vast celebration of classical music, opera and theater that has taken place for five weeks from July to August every year for almost a century.
4. See Both “Salz” and “Burg.” Salzburg means “salt castle,” so once you have explored Hohensalzburg Castle in the Old Town you should head to the nearby salt mines at Bad Dürrnberg. The trip is perfect for kids 4 years old — they’ll love the mine trolley ride and running around in a Celtic playground.
5. Explore Mozart’s birthplace. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was playing piano and violin almost from birth and composing music from the age of 5, so inspire your little ones by taking a trip to his childhood home.
On September 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:Salzburg may only be Austria’s fourth-largest city, but there are still plenty of things to see and do here, including these five recommended activities from our Forbes Travel Guide editors:
1. Climb up to Hohensalzburg Castle. One of the largest castles in Europe, Hohensalzburg Castle is one of the top highlights of Old Town. It’s a spectacular medieval fortress with even more spectacular views of the city landscape.
2. Explore Mirabell Gardens. The Baroque-style Mirabell Palace is one of Salzburg’s main sights, but it’s the geometrically arranged gardens that will really catch your eye. Look out for the famous horse fountain — that’s where Maria and the children danced as they sang “Do-Re-Mi” in The Sound of Music.
3. Visit Mozart’s birthplace. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, and memorials to the famous composer can be found throughout the city. Be sure to visit his former home in the city center.
4. Catch a classical concert. If you’d rather listen to Mozart’s legacy, you can hear his work being performed in one of the city’s many music venues — or come for the annual Salzburg Festival, which is held every summer for five weeks.
5. Head to the Alps. If not the music, then the hills are certainly alive with chirping birds, icy fresh air and spectacular panoramas — and they’re just a quick trip away from Salzburg’s city center.
On September 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:Frankfurt is an expensive city, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are five great things to do in the German city without spending a dime:
1. Nizza-Gardens. A Mediterranean oasis in the heart of the city, these relaxing gardens have been around since 1866 and are home to palm trees, lemon and orange trees and lots of other plants you rarely associate with Northern Europe.
2. Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Built in the 19th century, this is the busiest trading floor in Germany – and you can go watch the action any day of the week. But be warned: you’ll need to reserve at least 24 hours in advance.
3. Waldspielpark Goetheturm. This enormous forest park boasts a 130-foot-high wooden tower with spectacular views of the city’s skyline, as well as the best kids’ adventure playground in the whole city.
4. Fasanerie Wiesbaden. Once a royal hunting reserve, this 25-acre plot of land is now a great (and free!) wildlife reserve with 50 species of wild animals, from wolves to bears, as well as beautiful meadows, lakes and redwood forests. There’s also a petting zoo, a water playground and a great play area for kids.
5. Freibad Stadion. A free open-air swimming park on the outskirts of the city, Freibad Stadion not only has four adult swimming pools and spa facilities but also a wealth of kids’ attractions, from shallow pools to spring boards, waterfalls to water slides.
On September 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:Frankfurt is a place where you’ll easily find artisans creating art, toys and glass in the traditional, handcrafted way. Make room in your luggage for a few of these finds. Here is our list of the best things to bring home from Frankfurt.
1. Viertel wine glass. Frankfurt’s favorite drink is Ebbelwoi (apple wine), and it’s usually served in a pottery jar, then drunk from sturdy glasses with a characteristic checkered pattern and wooden cover. Called a viertel (quarter liter), it’s perfect for use at home with water, juice, lemonade or anything else.
2. Food and Drink. Any visitor to Frankfurt soon realizes that the city has a unique culinary landscape — so why not take some of it home with you? Head to stores like Kaufhaus Hessen on Berger Strasse to pick up some traditional sausages, jellies, honeys, chocolates and, of course, the famous ebbelwoi.
3. Wooden handicrafts. Walk around Frankfurt and you’ll see hundreds of shops selling handmade wooden handicrafts — from decorative nutcrackers to folksy figurines to elaborate cuckoo clocks — but for the very best examples of these things you should head to Handwerkskunst am Römer on Braubachstrasse.
4. Ceramic pottery. Take a trip to Töpferei Maurer on Wallstrasse for home-made ceramic pottery that will always remind you of Frankfurt. Those beautiful blue Ebbelwoi serving jars you see around the city? They’re called ‘bembels’, and they mostly come from here.
5. Goethe souvenirs. From original works and translated texts to memorial stamps and miniature statues, why not take a piece of Frankfurt’s most famous son home with you?
On September 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:Forget the frankfurter. When in Frankfurt, you’ll want to explore the burgeoning international food scene found here. These are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ choices for the best Frankfurt food experiences.
1. Handkäse mit Musik. Although somewhat of an acquired taste, handkäse is a Frankfurt staple: a kind of curdled milk cheese, hand-rolled into a cylindrical shape and prone to giving off a pungent aroma.
2. Grüne Sosse. Although not a meal in itself, this ‘green sauce’ – made from eggs, salt, oil, vinegar and various aromatic herbs including parsley, chives, cress and dill – can be found on a variety of dishes sold throughout the city. We recommend it poured over a plate of grilled fish with boiled potatoes.
3. Sausages. Everybody in the world knows about the frankfurter hot dog, but in the 21st century the city’s most popular sausages are actually the grilled rindswurst (a sausage made with 100% pure beef) and the fried currywurst (slices of pork sausage seasoned with warm curry ketchup).
4. Frankfurter Kranz. The most traditional dessert the city has to offer, this ‘Frankfurt Crown’ is a firm sponge cake in two or three layers, filled with lashings of butter cream icing and strawberry jam, then topped with even more butter cream icing and toasted almond flakes. Delicious, decadent and deadly.
5. Beer and Cider. Frankfurt has two good local brews – Binding and Henninger – but the city’s liquid refreshment of choice is undoubtedly Ebbelwoi, an apple wine that tastes similar to cider. You’ll find taverns across town selling the drink either straight up or mixed with sparkling water (sauergespritzt).
On September 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:The story of nightlife in Frankfurt is a tale of two cities: you have the alternative student parties of Bockenheim versus the bustling business bars of Nordend. If you’re after something in between, the best option is the suburb Alt-Sachsenhausen, home to a number of ‘Ebbelwoi’ (‘apple wine/cider’) taverns, including Dauth-Schneider, Struwwelpeter and Lorsbacher Thal.
Once you have started the evening with a few drinks, you can move on to one of the city’s many late-night options. Along with the renowned youth-oriented nightclubs like Cocoon Club (mostly electronica), King Kamehameha (mostly house music) and Odeon Club (good for theme nights), there are fantastic live music venues like Jazzkeller (jazz music), Clubkeller (indie music) and Nachtleben (rock, punk and metal). There is also the popular-with-everyone gay club PULSE. Or for something altogether more genteel, seek out of one of the city’s many late-night coffee joints, including the Spanish-influenced Cafe & Bar Celona on Holzgraben – open until 2 a.m.
On September 5, 2012Joseph Reaney answered the question:If you only have a single day in Frankfurt, you should focus on those sights north of the river. Start out by walking north along the iconic Eiserner Steg (Iron Bridge) en route to the Altstadt. Walk past the Customs Tower and Wertheim House and into the Historisches Museum, where you can spend an hour or two learning about the history of Frankfurt and the surrounding area. From here, head into the main Römerberg square to see sights such as the Ostzeile (a row of six picturesque half-timbered houses), the Alte Nikolaikirche (a pretty, 13th century Gothic church) and the impressive Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen (the Fountain of Justice). Then, stop for a swift lunch in one of the excellent, if expensive, cafés and restaurants lining each edge of the square.
After lunch, turn just off the square to look around the impressive St. Bartholemew’s Cathedral – best known as simply ‘The Cathedral’ and one of Germany’s most significant Houses of God – then head north to take a look around Goethe House. The somewhat unassuming birthplace of the country's most renowned author and poet. If you still have energy, you can then head to the Jüdisches Museum on Untermainkai, which documents 850 years of Jewish history in Frankfurt.
In the evening, reward your efforts with a meal in the traditional Frankfurt eatery Max on One, followed by an unforgettable evening of tasty cocktails, wonderful live music and sensational city views in the popular 22nd Lounge & Bar. If you’d like to see a small slice of life south of the river, head to one of the quaint cider taverns in the old suburb of Sachsenhausen.