Advertisements

Shopping in Reykjavik

Reykjavik does not have a wealth of shops to explore but the ones that the city does have  seem interesting and unique.

  • 12 Tonar—both a record shop and an independent record label that has a café and sells music by popular Icelandic artists such as Bjork, Agent Fresco, FM Belfast, and Dikta; Skolavoraustigur 15
  • Anna Maria Design—a workshop and store that sells a variety of jewelry for men and women made from materials that include silver, gold, and Icelandic stones; Skolavoraustigur 3
  • Gallery Fold—an art gallery that has a large selection of prints, drawings, paintings, and sculptures by modern Icelandic artists and older Icelandic art; Rauaararstigur 12-14
  • Handprjonassambandid—the Handknitting Association of Iceland’s outlet selling hand-knit items of various kinds; Skolavoraustigur 19
  • Islandia—a store that sells woolen items, gifts, and souvenirs; Kringlan Mall
  • JS Watch Co—the official watch of the Icelandic Coast Guard and a celebrity favorite and a watchmaker that sells nicely crafted timepieces; Laugavegur 62
  • Kormakur and Skjoldur—a men’s store that sells men’s clothing and hair accessories with brands such as Bertie and Wooster’s of London which sells threads, cuff links, and designer clothing; Harris Tweed; and Ben Sherman; Laugavegur 59
  • Kringlan Mall—a mall with a variety of decent clothing stores, a movie theater, and souvenir shops; Kringlun 4-12
  • Kronkron—owned by an Icelandic couple who are known for their designer footwear in all sorts of colors and silk clothing; Laugavegur 63b
  • Lucky Records—a record store that has the largest collection of vintage and contemporary vinyl in Iceland and also has performances by underground and new alternative bands; Rauaararstigur 10
  • Smaralind—one of Iceland’s two major shopping malls located in Kopavogur, a neighboring community, that has the British-based Debenhams and Iceland’s hypermarket chain store, Hagkaup; Hagasmara 1
Advertisements

Sights in Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland and is a city with interesting attractions, museums, historic buildings, and landmarks such as Mt. Esja. My cousin and her husband went to Iceland and loved it and I think I could see  myself liking it as well.

  • Alpingishus (Parliament House)—one of the country’s oldest stone buildings built from 1880-1881 and home to the oldest representative parliament in the world with its first session in AD 930 with a visitor’s gallery to view parliamentary proceedings; Austurovollur Square
  • Aurora Reykjavik—a local attraction with technological simulations of the intensity and color spectrum of the auroras, a high-definition movie of the northern lights in action, and a practice booth with detailed instructions on how to successfully photograph the northern lights; Grandagaur 2
  • Fjolskyldugardurinn Family Park (Family Park)—located next to Laugardalur Park, this amusement park has rides and games such as Crazy Bikes, a driving school with miniature traffic lights, and a scale model of a Viking ship; Fjolskyldugardurinn
  • Grasagardur Botanic Garden—a botanic garden in Laugardalur Park with a large collection of native and exotic plants; Laugardalur
  • Guido Van Helten Mural—the works of Australian-born artist, Guido Van Helten, can be seen throughout Iceland but his most noteworthy are those painted on the walls of an old theater building in the Grandi Harbor area of the city featuring characters from a 1961 production of Sartre’s play No Exit; Seljavegur 2
  • Hallgrimskirkja (Hallgrimur’s Church)—a church built over the course of forty years and completed in 1986 that was named after the 17th century hymn writer, Hallgrimur Petursson, and has a concrete façade that reminds viewers of organ pipes and basalt formations seen throughout Iceland and in front has a statue of Leifur Eiriksson (Leif Erikson) who discovered Iceland; at top of Skolavoraustigur
  • Kjarvalsstadir—a modern building that has a large permanent collection dedicated to the life and works of Johannes Sveinsson Kjarval, a well-regarded Icelandic landscape painter, and rotating temporary exhibitions with works by local and international artists; Flokagata
  • Listasafn—the Reykjavik Art Museum—a former warehouse of the Port of Reykjavik that is now the city’s art museum with six galleries on two floors with a permanent collection with a large number of pieces donated by modern Icelandic artist Erro and regular temporary exhibitions; Tryggvagata 17
  • Esja—one of the most recognizable landmarks in Reykjavik with a network of winding trails and a great view from the top of the mountain
  • Reykjavik Maritime Museum—housed in an old fish factory, this museum has an exhibition on Icelandic fisheries, trading vessels, and a Coastal Guard vessel to explore; Grandargarai 8
  • Whales of Iceland—an exhibition opened in spring 2015 that features 23 different species of whales in a great pod of life-size models including blue whales, fin whales, humpbacks, and belugas and provides information on supporting whale tourism instead of whale hunting; Fiskisloa 23-25
  • Arbaejarsafn—an outdoor municipal museum that includes 19th and 20th century houses furnished with old-fashioned furnishings and displayed inside are authentic household utensils and tools for cottage industries and farming; Artunsblettur, Kistuhyl 4
  • Asmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum—a gallery, studio, and garden that has the original sculptures of Asmundur Sveinsson that depict working people, myths, and folktale episodes; Sigtun 105
  • Pjodminjasafn (National Museum)—a museum with Viking artifacts, silverwork, wood carvings, whalebone carvings, maritime objects, historic textiles, jewelry, and crafts; Suaurgata 41

Sights in Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is the capital city of Hungary and like many European cities is steeped in history with a Communist and royal past. It has interesting sights to explore and unique attractions.

  • Aquincum—a complex that consists of the reconstructed remains of a Roman settlement that can be dated back to the first century AD with excavations uncovering artifacts such as a gymnasium and central heating system along with ruins of two baths and a shrine once run by the cult of Mithras; a museum on the site has notable archaeological discoveries such as ceramics, a red marble sarcophagus showing a triton and flying Eros on one side and Telesphorus, the angel of death, on the other, Roman board games, interactive videogames, and a reconstructed Roman musical organ in the basement level; District III, Szentendrei ut 135
  • Budapesti Allat-Es-Novenykert (Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden)—a renovated zoo and botanical garden that began renovations in the late 1990s and is still undergoing renovations but the upgrades add to its appeal; the zoo has a monkey house, elephant pavilion decorated with Zsolnay majolica and glazed ceramic animals, and other animals; District XIV, Varosliget, Allatkerti korut 6-12
  • Citadella—a fortress atop a hill that has great views of Budapest and has a graphic exhibition with relics of Budapest’s 2,000-year-old history and a WWII bunker exhibition; District XI, Citadella setany
  • Gozsdu Udvar (Gozsdu Courtyard)—a series of connected courtyards filled with restaurants, cafes, and bars that has painters selling their works on Tuesday and Thursday and on weekends is home to a bustling marketplace with jewelry, textiles, and other unique items for sale; District VII, Kiraly utca 13
  • Gyermekvasut (Children’s Railway)—a 7-mile-long railway operated mainly by children runs from Szechnyi-hegy to Huvosvolgy with great views along the route; District XII, Szilagyi Erzsebet fasor and Pasareti ut
  • Hadtorteneti Muzeum (Museum of Military History)—a museum situated in the former barracks on the northwestern corner of Kapisztran ter that has cannonballs lodged in its walls and exhibits that include collections of uniforms and military regalia that trace Hungary’s history from the Magyar conquest in the 9th century through Ottoman rule to the mid-20th century; District I, Toth Arpad setany 40
  • Halaszbastya (Fishermen’s Bastion)—a neo-Romanesque porch that looks out over the Danube and Pest rivers and is a cluster of white stone towers, arches, and columns above a bronze statue of St. Stephen, Hungary’s first king, and has merchants selling souvenirs and crafts and musicians; District I, East of Szentharomsag ter
  • Holocaust Emlekkozpont (Holocaust Memorial Center)—Hungary’s first major center for Holocaust research with a stone façade and two tall massive iron doors as an entrance into a courtyard where the names of Hungarian Jewish and Roma (Gypsy) victims are listed and inside a cellar has family and individual stories told through photos, films, original documents, personal objects, and touch-screen computers; District IX, Pava utca 39
  • Hosok Tere (Heroes’ Square)—Budapest’s version of the Brandenburg Gate that is a semi-circular twin colonnade with statues of Hungary’s kings and leaders between its pillars and in the center is a 118-foot stone column crowned by a statue of the archangel Gabriel bearing the ancient emblems of Hungary; District VI, Hosok tere
  • Janosjegy (Janos Hill)—the highest point in Budapest at 1,729 feet that provides the best view of the city; District XII, Zugligeti ut 97
  • Kiralyi Palota (Royal Palace)—a site with a long history that was a palace in the 13th century for the kings of Hungary and was reconstructed in Renaissance style under King Matthias’s supervision during the 15th century before being demolished when Buda was recaptured from Turks in 1686; it was rebuilt under the direction of Habsburg empress Maria Theresa in the 1700s before being damaged during an attack by revolutionaries in 1849 and completed in 1905; District I, Szent Gyorgy ter 2
  • Magyar Nemzeti Galeria (Hungarian National Gallery)—the national gallery that is in the center block of the Royal Palace and showcases Hungarian fine art from medieval ecclesiastical paintings and statues through Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque art to 19th and 20th century works; District I, Kiralyi Palota (entrance in Wing C), Disz ter 17
  • Magyar Nemzeti Muzeum (Hungarian National Museum)—a museum that describes the everyday experiences of Hungarians from the past to the present with a 20th century exhibit featuring an early cinema with films from the period, an old schoolroom, a 1960s apartment interior, and historical posters and masterpieces of cabinetmaking and woodcarving; District IX, Muzeum korut 14-16
  • Memento Park—a park with statues and memorials to former Communist leaders and souvenirs for sale as well as a tiny speaker system that plays songs from the Hungarian and Russian workers’ movements; District XXII, Balatoni ut, corner of Szabadkai utca
  • Miniversum—an attraction with miniature dioramas of Budapest and Hungary’s major sights and landmarks with moving trains and pedestrians and interactive screens that provide historical context on highlights; District VI, Andrassy ut 12
  • Matyas-Templom (Matthias Church)—known as the Matthias Church since the 15th century, this church’s ornate white steeple is the highest point on Castle Hill and has been renovated once into a mosque and rebuilt in 1686 with a fine Gothic stone carving of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Trinity Chapel which is home to an enameled casket containing a miniature copy of the Gospel to be worn on the chest of the 12th century king Bela III and his wife Anne of Chatillon; District I, Szentharomsag ter 2
  • Nagy Zsinagoga (Great Synagogue)—Europe’s largest synagogue that seats 3,000 and was built between 1844 and 1859 in a Byzantine-Moorish style but was desecrated by German and Hungarian Nazis and donations facilitated its reconstruction; it reopened in 1996 and is used for regular services during much of the year but not generally used in midwinter due to the heating space and also includes a courtyard behind the synagogue that has a metal weeping willow honoring victims of the Holocaust; District VII, Dohany utca 2-8
  • Neprajzi Muzeum (Museum of Ethnography)—formerly the home of the Supreme Court, this 1890s neoclassical building is now home to a permanent exhibition entitled “The Folk Culture of the Hungarian People” which explains aspects of peasant life from the end of the 18th century until WWI and features artifacts such as embroideries, pottery, carvings, farming tools, furniture, and traditional costumes; District V, Kossuth ter 12
  • Szechenyi Furdo (Szenchenyi Baths)—the largest medicinal bathing complex in Europe located within a neo-Baroque building in the middle of City Park with several indoor thermal pools, two outdoor pools, medical and underwater massage treatments, carbonated bath treatments, and mud wraps; District XIV, Varosliget, Allatkerti korut 9-11

 

Shopping in Athens

Athens has interesting shops to browse at and many family-owned businesses which add a cultural appeal to the city. It is definitely a city filled with stores worth checking out.

  • Andronikos Sagiannos—a family-owned jewelry shop and gallery with modern and unique jewelry inspired by everyday objects; Makriyianni 3
  • Benaki Museum Gift Shop—the museum shop of the Benaki Museum that sells copies of Greek icons, jewelry, folk art, embroideries, ceramics, stationery, art books, reliefs, and sculpture pieces; Koumbari 1
  • Center of Hellenic Tradition—a store that sells handicrafts including ceramics, weavings, sheep bells, wood carvings, prints, and paintings; Mitropoleos 59 and Pandrossou 36
  • Diplous Pelekys—a store run by weavers that have a long family history that sells handwoven pieces, folk art, ceramics, and jewelry; Bolani Arcade, Voulis 7and Kolokotroni 3
  • Ellniko Spiti—run by an art restorer, this store sells picture frames, wooden boats, chairs, and decorative objects; Kekropos 14
  • Fanourakis—a jewelry shop selling gold pieces designed by Athenian jewelry designers under the direction of Lina Fanouraki; Patriarchou Ioakeim 23
  • Fine Wine—a traditional wine shop that sells a large selection of Greek wines and liqueurs; Lyskiratous 3
  • Forget Me Not—a cultural store that sells modern Greek designs such as beach towels with good luck charms, scarves, and sunglasses; Adrianou 100
  • Fresh Line—a beauty shop with shampoo cakes, body oils, face masks, and organic Greek-designed soaps; Ermou 30
  • Kombologadiko—a bead emporium that sells a huge variety of beads to design komboloi (worry beads); Amerikis 9
  • Koukoutsi—a t-shirt store that sells clothes that honor the Greek economic crisis; Skoufa 81
  • Lalaounis—a world-renowned jeweler that has experimental jewelry designs in gold and silver such as decorative pieces inspired by ancient Greek housewares; Panepistimiou 6 at Voukourestiou
  • Martinos—an antique shop selling items such as dowry chests, swords, fabrics, and Venetian glass; Pandrossou 50
  • Museum of Cycladic Art Shop—the museum’s store that sells modern versions of older jewelry designs as well as replicas and ceramics; Neofitou Douka 4
  • Occhi Concept Store—a gallery-style store that sells art, clothing, jewelry, and accessories by modern Greek designers; Ipitou 5 and Voulis 40
  • Old Market—an antique shop with old coins from around the world, stamps, engravings, toys and radios, musical instruments, and medals; Normanou 7
  • Parthenis—a family-owned boutique that sells stylish bohemian-style clothing with fibers such as wool, silk, and cotton along with an eyewear collection and wedding collection; Dimokritou 20 and Tsakalof
  • Pentheroudakis—a jeweler with gold, diamond, and gem designs as well as customizable silver worry beads; Voukourestiou 19
  • Pylarinos—an antique shop with stamps, coins, and 19th century engravings; Panepistimiou 18
  • Taste of Greece—a Greek grocery store with delicacies from the country including mastiha liqueur and truffle-flavored extra virgin olive oil; Adrianou 67
  • The Olive Tree Store—a specialty shop with items made from olive wood like salad bowls and tongs, wall clocks, jewelry, and backgammon sets; Adrianou 67
  • Thiamis—run by an iconographer, this store sells gold-leaf hand-painted icons in wood and stone as well as handmade model ships and custom items; Asklipiou 71
  • Xanthopoulos—a jeweler with pearl, diamond, and ruby pieces; Voukourestiou 4
  • Zoumboulakis Art-Design-Antiques—an art shop inside a private art gallery with silk-screens by famous Greek painters; Kriezotou 6

Sights in Athens, Greece

Athens was a pivotal city in the birth of civilization and is filled with archaeological sites, museums, and landmarks such as the Acropolis and Hadrian’s Arch. If you’re a history buff like I am, Athens seems like it would be a perfect place to visit.

  • Acropolis—a landmark monument that pays homage to ancient Greek history with newly restored temples, the Parthenon, and the Propylaea that has played various roles over the years including as a Florentine palace, an Islamic mosque, a Turkish harem, and a landing site for British paratroopers during WWII; Dionyssiou Areopagitou
  • Acropolis Museum—a modernly designed museum that features glass walkways, high ceilings, and panoramic views of the Acropolis with exhibits about the artifacts around the Acropolis, statues from the Archaic period, and many marble decorations; Dionyssiou Areopagitou 15
  • Ancient Agora—the ancient side of the commercial center of Athens that was once filled with statues and expensive stores with long colonnades and arches under which Socrates and Zeno convened and home to the Museum of Agora Excavations, a two-story museum, that contains well-known sculptures of historic and mythological figures, as well as more about the history of the agora
  • Benaki Museum—Greece’s oldest museum that was recently expanded with a very modern new addition that adds to the architectural appeal of the main complex which is a large neoclassical mansion and traces the history of Greece from prehistoric times to the present with artifacts such as a 5,000-year-old hammered bowl, Lord Byron’s pistols, and costumed mannequins among several others; Koumbari 1
  • Benaki Museum of Islamic Art—home to a large and significant Islamic art collection, this museum has 8,000 pieces of art from a wide variety of geographic regions including ceramics, gold, metalwork, weaponry, and textiles; Dipilou 12
  • Byzantine and Christian Museum—a museum that displays Byzantine and Christian icons, mosaics, tapestries, and sculptural fragments from Byzantine times (4th-15th century AD) to the present; Vasilissis Sofias 22
  • Greek Folk Art Museum—a four building museum that has folk art from the 1650s to the present with embroideries, stone and wood carvings, costumes, and shadow player figures among others; Kidathineon 17
  • Hadrian’s Arch—an Athenian landmark that is one of the most significant surviving Roman monuments built in AD 131 with Corinthian details that was designed to honor Hadrian, a Hellenic emperor; Vasilissis Amalias at Dionyssiou Areopagitou
  • Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum—a museum featuring the vast creations of world-renowned artist and jeweler, Ilias Lalaounis, with fifty collections that include pieces inspired by diverse subjects such as Greek wildflowers and the Treasure of Priam of Troy; Kallisperi 12
  • Lycabettus—Athens’s highest hill that offers one ride every half hour on what is known as the teleferique (funicular) to the summit where Ayios Georgios chapel and bell tower is located along with coin-operated telescopes that allow you to view Aegina Island; there is also a small shrine to Ayios Isidoros, an 1859 site where students prayed for Greeks fighting against Austrians, French, and Sardinians that King Otho supported
  • Museum of Cycladic Art—a museum home to 350 Cycladic artifacts that date back to the Bronze Age, Cypriot art, art from other eras dating from the Bronze Age to the 6th century AD, and an exhibition on scenes from the past along with a skylit café in a courtyard, an art shop, and children’s activities; Neofitou Douka 4
  • Museum of Greek Popular Musical Instruments—a museum dedicated to the history of Greek music with three floors of instruments and headphones so you can listen to their diverse sounds; Diogenous 1-3
  • National Archaeological Museum—Greece’s most significant museum that displays major ancient Greek sculptures and paintings and has been recently renovated so that works previously left unseen are now publicly viewable and displays have English translations; the most noteworthy pieces are the Mycenaean Antiquities found in 1876 during an excavation of Mycenaean royal tombs; 28 Oktovriou 44
  • National Garden—a beautiful garden built in 1860 that has 500 species of trees and plants, a café and open-air theater, track area, playgrounds, a duck pond, and small zoo
  • National Historical Museum—a museum that traces Greek history from the mid-16th century through WWII with paintings, costumes, and artifacts that include arms to flags and ships’ figureheads; Stadiou 13
  • New Municipal Gallery of Athens—one of Athens’s oldest classical buildings housed in a former silk factory designed in 1833 by a Danish architect that has almost 3,000 art works from 19th and 20th century Greek artists; Leonidou and Myllerou
  • Numismatic Museum Iliou Melathron—a coin museum in the former home of Heinrich Schliemann who excavated Troy and Mycenae in the 19th century with artifacts such as colored marbles, wall paintings, over 600,000 coins from the archaeologist’s personal collection to 4th century BC coins used as measures against forgers; Panepistimiou 12
  • Roman Agora—Athens’s commercial center from the 1st century BC to the 4th century AD that now includes the Gate of Athena Archegetis completed around 2 AD, the late 15th century Fethiye Mosque, and the world-renowned Tower of the Winds that has kept time since the 1st century BC and has eight sides that face the direction of the eight winds that the compass was divided into; Pelopidas and Aiolou
  • Technopolis—a 19th century gasworks complex transformed into an arts complex that is home to the Industrial Gas Museum, exhibition spaces, and a large courtyard with a coffee shop; Pireos 100
  • Temple of Olympian Zeus—a sprawling temple completed in AD 132 by Hadrian that has a large gold-and-ivory statue of Zeus; Vasilissis Olgas 1

 

Shopping in Berlin

Berlin has a decent number of clothing stores, bookstores, and the largest European department store (Kaufhaus des Westens). The stores seem pretty interesting and could lead to hours of browsing and shopping.

  • Andreas Murkudis—a former newspaper office space that was remade into a fashion retailer selling designer clothing for men, women, and children with designers including Kostas Murkudis, Dries van Noten, and Christian Haas, along with accessories and home products; Potsdamer Str. 81e
  • Baerck—a store that has wheeled displays of European and German men’s and women’s clothing by designers such as Stine Goya, Henrik Vibskov, and Hope along with handbags, scarves, lamps, mirrors, and handmade furniture; Mulackstr. 12
  • Bucherbogen—a beloved bookstore with a large selection of books including special editions and out-of-print stock with extensive international books; Stadtbahnbogen 593
  • Chelsea Farmer’s Club—a stylish menswear retailer selling tuxedoes, hunting jackets, a store line of British-style smoking jackets, and other well-designed clothes and fashion accessories; Schluterstr. 50
  • Das Neue Schwarz (The New Black)—a secondhand clothing store with designers including Vivienne Westwood, Helmut Lang, and Yves Saint Laurent; Mulackstr. 38
  • DepartmentStore Quartier 206—Berlin’s most luxurious department store with women’s and men’s designer clothing by the likes of Prada, Givenchy, and Tom Ford as well as cosmetics, perfumes, home accessories, art, and books; Friedrichtsr. 71
  • Do You Read Me—a bookstore with a large selection of magazines and literature with many English titles with subjects including fashion, photography, architecture, interior design, and culture; Auguststr. 28
  • Frau Tonis Parfum—a perfumery where you can create personal scents from vials filled with scents such as acacia, linden tree blossoms, cedarwood, or pink peppercorns that are produced locally; Zimmerstr. 13
  • Galeries Lafayette—a four-level French department store with expensive clothing and luxuries as well as a food department that provides French cuisine and a great produce market; Friedrichstr. 76-78
  • Gestalten Pavilion Store and Café—a bookstore that sells coffee-table books with a wide range of subjects such as craft beer and typography; Bikini Berlin, Budapester Str. 38-50, 2nd floor garden
  • Hallesches Haus—a quirky general store, café, and outdoor cinema that sells terrariums, gardening tools, blankets, housewares, and witty gifts; Tempelhofer Ufer 1
  • Kaufhaus des Westens (Kadewe)—the largest European department store that has seven floors of food and deli counters, a wide variety of goods, champagne bars, beer bars, an atrium café, and a sneaker hall for men as well as services such as gift basket arrangements, travel guides, and an international box office; Tauentzienstr. 21-24
  • Lala Berlin—a trendy boutique run by a former Iranian MTV editor that sells fabric scarves, sweaters, and accessories that utilize a Palestinian keffiyeh pattern; Alte Schonhauser Str. 3
  • Shakespeare and Sons—a bookstore with a nice collection of new and used English books and a small café that has an assortment of freshly cooked bagels; Raumerstr. 36
  • SOTO—a menswear boutique that sells classic and trendy menswear including a store brand called Le Berlinois as well as brands such as Band of Outsiders, Norse Projects, and Our Legacy and self-care products and accessories; Torstr. 72
  • Super Store—a small shop that sells odds and ends from all over the world including Turkey, Italy, and Switzerland and locally made items including linens, housewares, pantry items, and jewelry; Dieffenbachstr. 12
  • The Store X Soho House—a beautiful interior that delivers designer fashion by the Row and Alexander Wang among others as well as cosmetics and jewelry; amenities inside the store include a beauty parlor, laptop workstations, and an organic café; Torstr. 1
  • Voo—a boutique located in a former locksmith’s workshop that sells men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, accessories, and outerwear as well as offering a coffee shop; Oranienstr. 24
  • Wheadon’s Beauty Shop—a beauty store that sells scented candles, lotions, body products, and cosmetic products and has a basement level men’s spa and barbershop as well as a women’s beauty salon; Steinstrasse 17

 

Sights in Berlin, Germany

Berlin is the capital of Germany and is very industrial in nature but does have some landmarks such as the Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate) and a large complex of museums, galleries, and a performance hall known as Kulturforum. A visit there could yield some surprises and it has a history worth exploring.

  • Aquadom and Sea Life Berlin—a commercial aquarium with indoor tanks that feature native marine life with waterfront urban scenes, starfish petting tanks, overhead tanks, and a submarine room with a glass elevator that takes visitors through a fish tank to the exit; Spandauer Str. 3
  • Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral)—a large cathedral originally built in 1905 that is the largest 20th century Protestant church in Germany with a wide stairwell that leads up to the dome, historic photos and models, and sarcophagi of Prussian royals; Am Lustgarten 1
  • Berliner Fernsehtrum (TV Tower)—a 1,207-feet-high tower that is higher than western Berlin’s broadcasting tower and the Eiffel Tower with an observation level where you can see for 25 miles and a rotating restaurant; Panoramastr. 1a
  • Berlinische Galerie—a Berlin-centric museum with modern art, photography, architectural models and plans, and artists’ archives; Alte Jakobstr. 124-128
  • Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate)—a top landmark in Berlin that is a gateway to Berlin since the dismantling of the Berlin Wall where the Unification Day and New Year’s Eve parties are held—only one gate remains out of the 14 built between 1788 and 1791 by Carl Langhans and faces an historic square, Pariser Platz that houses bank headquarters, the French embassy, and the federal parliament offices; Pariser Platz
  • Britzer Garten—named after its surrounding neighborhood (Britz), this is a large park where seasonal floral exhibitions are held and home to small brooks, streams, and other waterways; Buckower Damm 146
  • Brunnenplatz—a sprawling castle with turrets and gables inspired by a real castle that is the district courthouse and a local park with mosaics, decorative flower beds, and a central fountain
  • Contemporary Fine Arts—a modern art museum housed in a very modern building that highlights Berlin-based artists and other major artists; Am Kupfergraben 10
  • DDR Museum—a museum that highlights life in socialist East Germany with a recreation of an East German kitchen, a simulated ride in a Trabi (the only car average East Germans were allowed to own), and a walk inside an interrogation cell; Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 1
  • Denkmal Fur Die Ermordeten Juden Europas (Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe) —a memorial for the Jews killed during the reign of the Nazis during the Holocaust designed by an American architect with more than 2700 concrete slabs and an underground information center about the Holocaust; Cora-Berliner Str. 1
  • Deutsches Historiches Museum (German History Museum)—a combination of a theater that shows German and international films and a museum that provides an overview of German history since the early Middle Ages; Unter den Linden 2
  • Deutsches Technikmuseum (German Museum of Technology)—a museum with several floors of machinery including two airplane rooms, train sheds, and an historical brewery; Trebbiner Str. 9
  • Ehemalige Judische Madchenschule—a brick building that once was a Jewish girls’ school and a military hospital during WWII that is now after some neglect a multiplex with art galleries, restaurants, a bar, and a Jewish deli that serves Jewish delicacies; Auguststr. 11-13
  • Galeria Plan B—an art gallery that showcases unique Eastern European art; Potsdamerstr. 77-87, Building G, 2nd courtyard
  • Gedenkstatte Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall Memorial Site)—memorials as well as a museum and research center on the Berlin Wall along with the Reconciliation Chapel; Bernauer Str. 111
  • Gemaldegalerie (Picture Gallery)—one of Germany’s top art galleries with a large collection of European paintings from the 13th to 18th centuries with seven rooms dedicated to paintings by German artists, a special collection showcasing Italian artists, and the world’s second largest Rembrandt collection; Kulturforum, Matthaikirchpl
  • Hamburger Banhof-Museum fur Gegenwart (Museum of Contemporary Art)—a remodeled train station that has post-1960 modern Western art with a permanent collection including installations by German artists Joseph Beuys and Anselm Kiefer as well as paintings by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, and others along with the largest and most valuable collection of contemporary art in the world; Invalidenstr 50-51
  • Heilandskirche Sacrow—a lakeside church with a bell tower and colonnade that was closed from 1961 to 1989 by the East German government due to the fact that it was perceived as a possible hiding place for those trying to flee; Fahrstr, Potsdam
  • Kulturforum—a collection of museums, galleries, and the Philharmonic Hall that includes the Gemaldegalerie (Picture Gallery), the Kunstbibliotek (Art Library), the Kupferstichkabinett (Print Cabinet), the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts), the Philharmonie, the Muskinstrumenten Museum (Musical Instruments Museum), and the Staatsbibliotek (National Library)
  • Mauermuseum—Museum Haus AM Checkpoint Charlie—a museum that depicts the history of the Berlin Wall and those who tried to escape through, under, and over it with human rights exhibits and paintings included as well; Friedrichstr. 43-45
  • Museuminsel (Museum Island)—located on the site of Berlin’s two original settlements, this complex of five state museums is a UNESCO World Heritage site with the Alte Nationalgalerie, the Altes Museum (Old Museum), the Bode-Museum, the Pergamonmuseum, and the Neues Museum (New Museum)
  • Spy Museum—a newer museum opened in September 2015 that has interactive exhibits from Biblical times to the present that provide overviews of military interrogation techniques and the secret services as well as fictional spies; Leipziger Pl. 9

Shopping in Paris

Paris is the fashion capital of the world so there is certainly a wealth of designer clothing stores to explore and spend some money at. Along with familiar names are those who are just starting to make a name for themselves.

  • Acne Studios—famous for their shaping jeans, this Swedish label features asymmetric styles and oversized clothing; 124 Galerie de Valois 1er
  • Alice Cadolle—a lingerie store that has existed since 1889 with fancy bras, corsets, and pajamas; 4 rue Cambon, 1er
  • Avril Gau—a former designer for Chanel now with her own boutique that features stylish shoes and handbags; 17 rue de Quatre Vents, 6e
  • Azzedine Alaia—an expensive designer label with dresses and other fine clothing; 7 rue de Moussy
  • &Other Stories—H&M’s upscale off-label brand that sells stylish and well-made clothes for women as well as shoes, accessories, lingerie, and cosmetics; 277 rue St-Honore, 8e
  • APC—a well-known designer jeans label that also sells cardigans, pea coats, and ankle boots; 38 rue Madame, 6e
  • AB33—a women’s clothing store with luxury designer clothes, silk lingerie, jewelry, and accessories; 33 rue Charlot, 3e
  • Agnes B—a stylish clothing store for men, women, and children that sells leather jackets, black jersey separates, and wide-striped T-shirts for women; two-tone shirts for children; and gray velour and corduroy suits for men; 3 and 6 rue du Jour, 1er
  • Artazart—a famous design book store that carries books on topics such as photography, tattoo art, architecture, and fashion; 83 quai de Valmy
  • Au Printemps—an institution in Paris, this department store actually consists of three major stores—Printemps Maison (home goods on four floors), Printemps Homme (six levels of men’s clothing), and Printemps Mode (couture and teen clothing); 64 bd. Haussmann
  • BHV—a large department store with a large basement hardware store that sells items ranging from doorknobs to cement mixers, fashionable clothing for the family, and a lingerie department on the second floor; 52-64 rue de Rivoli
  • Bonpoint—a legendary children’s clothing store that is known for its price and great quality that has even outfitted young royals; 64 av. Raymond Poincare, 16e
  • Bonton—a children’s clothing, toy, and furniture store; 5 bd. Des Filles du Calvaire, 3e
  • Buly 1803—a new perfume and cosmetics store that opened in 2014 that sells skincare products; 6 rue Bonaparte, 6e
  • Centre Commercial—an ethically and ecologically sourced clothing store with men’s and women’s designer label clothing, shoes, clothing for children, candles, and leather goods; 2 rue de Marseille, 10e
  • COS—short for Collection of Style, this is H&M’s offshoot for sophisticated fashionistas with minimalist design and quality fabrics; 4 rue des Rosiers, 4e
  • Chanel—a legendary fashion house with high-end clothing for fashionistas including tailored suits, soigne dresses, and quilted bags; 51 av. Montaigne, 8e
  • Chloe—the flagship boutique for this designer sells stylish women’s clothing with careful attention for customers; 253 rue St-Honore, 1e
  • Celine—a designer women’s clothing store with sophisticated tailoring in the flowing pants, long jackets, and swing skirts as well as handbags and shoes; 53 av. Montaigne, 83
  • Diptyque—this flagship for the famed brand sells candles, perfume, and body fragrances in a variety of scents such as myrrh, fig tree, and quince; 34 bd. St-Germain, 6e
  • Galerie Vivienne—an arcade (shopping complex) with boutiques, a tea room, and wine shop; 4 rue des Petits-Champs, 2e
  • Jamin Puech—a handbag designer’s store with uniquely embellished and designed handbags and clutches; 43 rue Madame, 6e
  • Le Bon Marche—founded in 1852, this is the most stylish department store in Paris with home goods, makeup, perfume, accessories, fashionable clothing from new and established designers, groceries, and shoes; 24 rue de Sevres, 7e
  • Les Salons du Palais-Royal Serge Lutens—this fragrance boutique sells perfumes created by Shiseido’s creative director that can also be etched and personalized as gifts; Jardins du Palais-Royal, 142 Galerie de Valois, 1er
  • Louis Vuitton—a classic designer of leather goods and modern fashionable clothing; 101 av. Des Champs-Elysees, 8e
  • Merci—a designer label clothing, furniture, antiques, jewelry, and housewares store that was created by the founders of Bonpoint with 5% of the proceeds from sales going to economically disadvantaged children in Madagascar; 111 bd. Beaumarchais, 3e
  • Pain D’Epices—a miniatures store with croissants, wine decanters, musical instruments, DIY dollhouses, teddy bear kits, and classic toys; 29 Passage Jouffroy, 9e
  • Petit Bateau—a timeless French clothing store with signature close-fitting T-shirts, cotton-silk, and cotton-cashmere clothing; 116 av. Des Champs-Elysees, 8e
  • Renaud Pellegrino—an upscale leather handbag, shoes, and luggage store; 149 Rue St-Honore, 1er
  • Sabbia Rosa—a renowned lingerie boutique selling silks and other undergarments; 71-73 rue des Sts. -Peres, 6e
  • Village Joueclub—an expansive toy store part of a French chain that is two stories filled with famous toy brands like Hello Kitty and Barbie as well as traditional European toy brands like Vilac and Moulin Roty; 5 bd. Des Italiens, 2e

Sights in Paris

Ah, Paris, what a truly great city this is! Paris is one of those places that many think about visiting and the great attractions such as the Louvre and Eiffel Tower only add to its appeal. Below is just a sampling of places to check out when you’re there.

  • Arc de Triomphe—a 164-foot triumphal arch commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte to celebrate his military success with great sculptures by Francois Rude including La Marsellaise and a magnificent view from the top; Pl. Charles de Gaulle
  • Basilique du Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart Basilica)—situated above Montmartre, this basilica was commissioned in 1873 and finally completed in 1919 with a great view from the top of the 271-foot dome and inside there is a mosaic situated above the choir entitled Christ in Majesty; Place du Parvis du Sacre Coeur
  • Eiffel Tower—the iconic tower built for the 1889 World Exhibition by Gustave Eiffel that is 1,063-feet tall and a place that is awe-inspiring and romantic for millions of tourists that provides for beautiful views from the top (you can get up there with the elevator); Quai Branly
  • Fondation Louis Vuitton—Paris’s new modern art museum and cultural center designed by Frank Gehry and commissioned by Bernard Arnault (chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton) featuring his private art collection that has pieces by artists such as Pierre Huyghe, Gerhard Richter, Ellsworth Kelly, Taryn Simon, and Sarah Morris; 8 Av. Du Mahatma Gandhi
  • Hotel des Invalides—a Baroque complex that houses the remains of Napoleon Bonaparte under the large golden dome with a portion serving as a veterans’ residence and hospital as well as featuring the army museum with military artifacts from antique armor to weapons; Pl. des Invalides
  • Jardin des Plantes—once known as the King’s Garden, this series of gardens as well as a variety of museums all situated in 19th century buildings; the museums include the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution, Galerie de Paleontologie, and the Galerie de Mineralogie; also included in this large space are greenhouses with one of the world’s largest collections of tropical and desert plants and the Menagerie, a small zoo
  • Jardin des Tuileries—a landmark French garden that serves as an excellent place to walk and see nearby icons such as the Louvre, Place de la Concorde, and the Eiffel Tower as well as the Musee de l’Orangerie which once was the royal greenhouse and now houses the largest display of Monet’s Water Lilies series; children’s entertainment includes a carousel, trampolines, and an amusement park in the summer
  • Les Arts Decoratifs—this museum shares a wing of the Louvre but has a different entrance and admission fee and features three museums showcasing a collection of decorative arts, design and fashion, and graphic arts such as altar pieces from the Middle Ages and furniture from the Italian Renaissance to the present; 107 rue de Rivoli
  • Musee Carnavalet—a museum that traces centuries’ worth of history of Paris with artifacts such as prehistoric canoes and furniture from Marcel Proust’s bedroom; 16 rue des Francs-Bourgeois
  • Musee Cernuschi—originally the home of a wealthy banker from Milan, this museum features France’s second-most important collection of Asian art with bronze pieces, Neolithic pottery, mingqi tomb figures, and terracotta figures from various dynasties; 7 av. Velasquez
  • Musee d’Orsay—this museum opened in 1986 is home to a world-renowned collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings on three floors with works by Monet, Degas, Pissarro, Renoir, and Sisley; 1 rue de la Legion d’Honneur
  • Musee Guimet—a museum that has the western world’s largest collection of Asian art including a great collection of Khmer sculpture outside Cambodia, statues and masks from Nepal, funeral art from Tibet, jewelry and fabrics from India, and a 20,000+ showcase of Chinese artifacts; 6 pl. d’lena
  • Musee Marmottan Monet—a museum that has the largest Monet collection with more than 100 pieces donated by his son, Michel, and is located within a 19th century mansion that once acted as the hunting lodge of the Duke de Valmy; 2 rue Louis-Boilly
  • Musee Picasso Paris—a very popular museum that has an immense collection of Picasso’s works that covers almost 54,000 square feet in two buildings including paintings, sculptures, drawings, documents, and archival materials; 5 rue de Thorigny
  • Notre-Dame—a Gothic cathedral that serves as a French landmark with a beautiful interior and exterior and also allows visitors to climb up to the towers by 387 stone steps where the bell that Quasimodo rang in Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris is located; Pl. du Parvis
  • Palais Galliera, Musee de la Mode—Paris’s museum of fashion situated within a mansion that was the residence of Marie Brignole-Sale, Duchess of Galliera in the 19th century, and recently renovated with temporary exhibits that focus on costumes and clothing design; 10 av. Pierre-1er-de-Serbie
  • Palais-Royal—a romantic Parisian garden that provides for scenic afternoons sitting in the sun, browsing arcades that feature boutiques including a Stella McCartney boutique, and dining at one of the city’s oldest restaurants; Pl. du Palais-Royal
  • Sainte-Chapelle—a Gothic cathedral that was built by Louis IX and has the oldest stained-glass windows in Paris while inside are relics acquired from the emperor of Constantinople including Jesus’s crown of thorns, pieces of the cross, and supposedly drops of Jesus’s blood; 4 bd. Du Palais
  • The Louvre—the world’s most famous art museum and its largest with 675,000 square feet of art from around the globe including I.M Pei’s Pyramide; Egyptian antiquities; Venus de Milo; the Mona Lisa; and a large collection of Islamic artwork in its 30,000 square foot Arts of Islam exhibition space opened in 2012; Palais du Louvre

Shopping in Helsinki

Helsinki is home to some decent shopping centers, clothing stores, and a variety of other types of stores. It has a small selection of shopping venues but it seems to be a city that has some good shopping choices.

  • Aarikka—a store that sells wooden jewelry, silver products, and gifts; Pohjoisesplanadi 27
  • Anna Heino—a store that sells nicely designed women’s necklaces, earrings, rings, and bracelets; Uudenmaank 34
  • Design Forum Finland—sells items from local stores and designer pieces as well as hosting exhibitions featuring specific artists and a café; Erottajank 7
  • Forum—Helsinki’s largest shopping complex with 120 stores; Mannerheim 14-20
  • Galleria Esplanad—a high-end shopping mall with 50 stores including Finnish and international designers; Pohjoisesplanadi 33
  • Helsinki 10—a popular local clothing store that sells stylish clothing, shoes, and accessories; Eerikink 3
  • Iittala Concept Store—sells crisp glass and tableware designs; Pohjoisesplanadi 25
  • Ivanahelsinki—an internationally recognized women’s clothing store that sells sweaters and dresses in solid colors and patterns; Uudenmaank 15
  • Itakeskus—a large shopping complex with over 180 stores and restaurants; Itakatu 1-7
  • Kalevala Koru—a jewelry store that bases its designs on motifs dating back to the Iron Age; Unionink 25
  • Kamppi Center—a six-floor shopping complex with themed floors as well as the main bus station for Helsinki and a metro station; Urho Kekkosenkat 1
  • Kauppatori—Helsinki’s market square with a variety of stalls and eateries; south harbor at the end of Esplanade Park
  • Kiseleff Bazaar Hall—a shopping gallery; Aleksanterinkatu 22-28
  • Kluuvi—a recently renovated mall with a wide variety of stores including international and local brands as well as several restaurants and coffee shops; Aleksanterink 9
  • Marimekko—a high-end clothing store for men, women, and children in bright colors with good fabrics; Pohjoiesplanadi 2
  • Norsu—an exhibition space and a high-end store with modern crafts including jewelry and glassware; Kaisaniemenk 9
  • Old Market Hall—a market with flowers, vegetables, meat, and fish for sale; Etelaranta
  • Pentik—a company recognized for its classic ceramic dishes and housewares and also a retailer of gift items and cards; Mannnerheimintie 5
  • Saunamarket Finland Oy—a Finnish sauna supply store with wooden buckets, bath brushes, and birch-scented soap; Aleksanterink 28
  • Secco—a gift store that turns found materials into unique products such as purses made from tire rubber, messenger bags from old seat belts, and bowls from vinyl records; Frederikink 33
  • Stockmann—Helsinki’s most famous department store; Aleksanterink 52B

Previous Older Entries