November 20, 2017

The 6 EST’s of Europe

What is the largest, longest or biggest in Europe?  Come on a journey with us to find out the best-EST and most-EST that Europe has to offer.

Largest Castle – Prague Castle

In fact, Prague Castle is the largest castle in the world and not just Europe.  Dating back to 870, the castle is home to the Bohemian crown jewels, the National Gallery, Toy Museum, Czech history museum and a gallery displaying the history of the castle.  Over the years, the castle has been remodeled and, therefore, you will find representations of every architectural style including Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral and Romanesque Basilica of St. George.  No visit to Prague is complete without taking a tour of the castle or spending time in one of its many museums.

Prague Castle Czech Republic

Prague Castle by Adam Zivner

Tallest Mountain – Mount Elbrus

At 18,510 feet this inactive volcano stands above the rest in this part of the Urals.  Located near the Georgian border, Mt Elbrus’ permanent ice cap feeds 22 glaciers which in turn feed into the Baksan, Kuban and Malka rivers.  Legend has it, this is the place where Zeus had Prometheus chained to a rock!  This mountaineering area will be hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Mt Elbrus and the Caucasus Mountains

Mt Elbrus by Jialiang Gao

Largest City – Moscow, Russia

The capital of Russia was first mentioned in 1147 and is the most northern city to have a population of over 10 million people.  Sitting along the banks of the Moskva River, Moscow has seen the history of Russia play out before its very eyes.  To say that Russia’s history has been stormy is an understatement but Moscow has been the capital through the Grand Duchy of Moscow, Tsardom of Russia, Soviet Union and today’s Russia.  With the fall of the Iron Curtain Moscow has become quite a tourist destination and no one does not recognize the famous architectural style, the Onion Dome.  Sites to be seen include 2 UNESCO World Heritage sites, Red Square and the Kremlin, a zoo, museums, art galleries, 96 parks, 18 gardens and the world famous ballet.  One of Moscow’s newest claim to fame is it has the most billionaires (79) than anywhere else beating out NYC!

Red Square Moscow Russia

Red Square Moscow by Christophe Meneboeuf

Northernest City – Hammerfest & Honningsvag, Norway

Seems there is a little disagreement on what constitutes a city which is why there are 2 claimants to the most northern city in Europe.  Norwegian law says that to be a city there needs to be a population of at least 5,000 people.  Hammerfest is south of Honningsvag but Hammerfest is the only one that meets the city population requirements.  Both cities are important fishing and hunting areas with histories dating to prehistoric time.  Strange as it may seem for the most northern city, but the ocean off Honningsvag is ice free!  Hammerfest has a huge migration of reindeer during the summer.

Hammerfest Norway

Hammerfest Norway by Clemensfranz

Honningsvåg Norway

Honningsvåg Norway by Luca Boldrini

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Longest River – Volga

Ending in the Caspian Sea, this 2,194 mile long river skirts its way through Central Russia after its humble beginning in the Valdai Hills about 200 miles south east of St. Petersburg.  Even though the Volga freezes for most of its length for 3 months of the year, it has played a very important role in the movement of people from Asia to Europe during decades past.  The Volga estuary, the largest in Europe, is the center of the caviar industry and home to many species of animals including pelicans, flamingos, lotuses and beaver.  The river has also endured many wars, much strife by its people, pollution and the destruction of towns to make way for dams.  As with other great rivers of the world, if only they could talk the stories we would hear!

Volga River Russia

Volga River by Evgeny Pavlov

Oldest Amusement Park – Tivoli Gardens

Tivoli Gardens is in the center of Copenhagen, Denmark and was opened on August 15, 1843.  At this time it was actually outside the city limits but as the city grew the park became one of its central points and is right next to Copenhagen’s central station.  Legend says that Walt Disney decided to build Disneyland after visiting Tivoli.  The park is best known for its wooden roller coast, which was built in 1914, but today has many other modern roller coasters containing loop-to-loops and zero-G’s.  Inside this beautiful park there are performing art theaters, including one dedicated to Pantomime, concert areas, parades and gardens.  The park is spectacular at night where it sparkles under the many lights.

Tivoli Gardens Copenhagen Denmark

Tivoli Gardens by Tbmurray

 

These are few of the -ests of Europe.  I’m sure there are many more.

What other -ests or do you know?

Yes Virginia, there are Waterfalls in Europe!

Back in May I wrote a post titled Rhine Falls – Europe’s Biggest and the most common reaction was that readers didn’t seem to know Europe had waterfalls like these!  At the time, the only other waterfall I could name was Trummelbach so I decided to look into it and see what waterfall experiences there are in Europe.

I’m happy to say, there are quite a lot of waterfalls in Europe.  Most don’t come any near the Rhine Falls or other falls you are familiar with but they all are quite beautiful and in areas that are well worth a visit.  So here are 7 European waterfalls you might want to take a look at.

Dettifoss waterfall Iceland

Dettifoss Waterfall Iceland

Dettifoss waterfall is in Northeast Iceland and is the most powerful in all of Europe.  The falls are part of the Vatnajökull National Park and on the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river (I know, thats easy for me to say!).  Dropping into the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon, which is a smaller version of the Grand Canyon, this falls look as magnificent as they are powerful!

Reichenbach Falls Switzerland

Reichenbach Falls by Audriusa

Near Meiringen in central Switzerland are the Reichenbach Falls.  Sitting on the Aar River the falls can be reached by the Reichenbachfall-Bahn funicular.  At the top you will be treated to magnificent views that include the tiered falls as they make their way down 250 meters.  If you are a Sherlock Holmes fan, you will know this is the place where Sherlock dies in “The Adventures of the Final Problem.”

Trummelbach Falls Switzerland

Trummelbach Falls by by Doogsta, on Flickr

Trummelbach Falls are Europe’s largest subterranean waterfalls.  Located near Lauterbrunnen Switzerland, the water falls down from the glaciers of the mighty Eiger, Jungfrau and Monch.  These falls are accessible by underground elevator, tunnels and paths.  It is said that the water makes the “mountain shudder and makes a thundering noise.”

Langfoss Waterfall Norway

Langfoss Waterfall by Frokor

Langfoss waterfall is located in Norway and enjoys a year-round flow as the water comes from the lakes and snow pack up above.  These beautiful falls cascade down into the Åkrafjorden.  Unlike the normal waterfalls, the water just seems to rush over the rocks never loosing contact with them.

Plitvice Waterfalls Croatia

Plitvice Waterfalls by paradise on flikr

Plitvice waterfalls are located in the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia and are one of the main draws to the country.  This series of amazing waterfalls connects 16 lakes in the park.  There are many falls in the park and at times it seems that water is everywhere and seeping out of every piece of rock or dirt.

 

Krimml Waterfall Austria

Krimml Waterfall by Emha

Krimml waterfalls in the Salzburgerland part of Austria actually cascades down in 3 different levels.  The longest falls in Europe are best viewed by the paths leading up to different viewing points.  Coming from glacial water, Krimml falls tumbles into the Salzach River and makes its way to the Black sea via the Danube.  These falls are very popular all year round.

High Force Waterfall England

High Force Waterfall England

Yes there are even water falls in England!  Proof is the High Force falls on the River Tees in County Durham.  The entire rives falls over the cliff forming two separate falls.  England’s biggest falls are very beautiful.

 

Do you enjoy waterfalls?  Tell me which one would you most like to visit?