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Closer Magazine Winter 2013-14

EUROPEAN CITY STAYS A trip to Amsterdam is not complete without a canal cruise, made all the more enchanting and romantic at night when many of the houses and bridges are illuminated. www.fredolsencruises.com 43 the famous statue of the Little Mermaid; and explore pretty Nyhavn, with its buzzing quayside restaurants and bars. An overnight stay gives you ample time to take in the wonderful galleries and architecture, including the Danish National Gallery, the Rundetårn (the Round Tower) and the Opera House, to name just a few. One of the most famous attractions is Tivoli Gardens. Opened in 1843, it is home to the world’s second oldest amusement park, which also encompasses tranquil lakes, fountains and gardens with beautiful flowers. The city is partially built on islands and criss-crossed by many waterways. Fred. Olsen’s Jazz on the Canal tour gives you the chance to enjoy the best sights by water. Glide along the picturesque canals to the tunes of classic jazz as the sun sets over the roofs and spires of the city. In the twilight over the harbour the Scandinavian Rhythm Boys will fill the air with romantic ballads and love songs in evergreen, jazz and swing. Oslo Surrounded by the scenic Oslofjord, Norway’s capital has a spectacular setting, with beautiful sea views and extensive woodland. Although it is quite widespread, Oslo is easy to explore on foot and most of its main attractions are within easy reach of one another – the hardest thing perhaps is to choose between the many points of interest. Nevertheless, an extended stay means you can experience more of this wonderful city. Oslo boasts an abundance of museums and galleries and added time in the city allows you to view these at leisure, without the need to dash from one to the next at a rate of knots. The National Gallery is home to Edvard Munch’s The Scream, while the Viking Ship Museum showcases three ships recovered from royal burial mounds in the Oslofjord, as well as artefacts from the Viking era. Also worth seeing is the medieval Akershus Fortress, the unusual Vigeland Sculpture Park and the residence of Norway’s king, the Royal Palace. Make the most of an evening in Oslo with a stroll along the promenade on the city’s waterfront: a great place to watch the sunset. Or take a walk to the contemporary Opera House where you may be able to catch a performance. Otherwise, head to the rooftop of the Opera House which offers great views over the city and the Oslofjord – a spectacular sight to witness, especially on a clear night. Antwerp Cosmopolitan with medieval relics at its heart, Antwerp is world-renowned for its diamond district, but also favoured for art, fashion and a laid-back atmosphere. There’s some impressive architecture too, from the gothic Cathedral of our Lady, with its 123 metre-high steeple that can be seen wherever you are in the city; to the striking, modern design of Antwerp’s Law Courts, with distinctive spikes that jut out of a paraboloid roof. The city is home to the famous baroque artist Peter Paul Rubens. Displays of his work can be found throughout the city; the Royal Museum of Fine Arts houses some of his finest pieces. As well as 20 other museums, beautiful parks and attractive gardens, you’ll also find an abundance of delightful cafés and boutiques. As you wander along the picturesque cobbled streets it’s hard not to be tempted by one of the delicious chocolate shops or by a refreshing Belgian beer in one of the many pubs. In the evening, watch the city come to life from the panoramic observation floor of the MAS Museum, before taking a leisurely stroll through the historic centre. And if all this isn’t enough, your extended stay allows ample time to visit the nearby capital of Brussels – just an hour’s journey on the train. Tallinn The Estonian capital, Tallinn, is one of Europe’s finest walled cities. Its cobbled streets, picturesque churches, towers and charming UNESCO-listed Old Town create a beautiful fairytale setting. Most visitors to this Hanseatic city head for the Upper Town to see the impressive Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the pink, baroque Toompea Castle. The


Closer Magazine Winter 2013-14
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