From surfing in Porto to Ljubljana’s fairytale architecture: readers’ favourite European city breaks
12.02.2024 - 12:07
A museum store – but not as you know it... The minute you spot the enormous mirrored ark that is Rotterdam’s Depot, you know you’re in for something extraordinary. Open to the public, its Escher-like staircases are designed to encourage visitors to get lost; to discover objects from below, from above, to look at the backs of pictures. Tours (you get to wear a white coat for this bit) give visitors insight into the storage of objects and the complex process of a museum loan. And when you are full of wonder, you can fill up on delicious teas and food at the rooftop restaurant, enjoying city views from the roof garden. Tickets are €20.
Our December trip to wintry Helsinki was pretty amazing – my mind was blown by a parkrun in a snowy forest, heated pavements in the city centre, Portaloos with radiators at the Christmas market, but then we came across what is possibly the best library ever! There’s the usual books and magazines and computer usage, but at Oodi Central Library you can also rent meeting space, photographic studios, recording studios, gaming space and kitchens/dining rooms, have lunch, use large format printers/cutters, sewing machines, musical instruments, do your ironing and (my favourite) rent power tools! How cool is that?
Guardian Travel readers' tips
Every week we ask our readers for recommendations from their travels. A selection of tips will be featured online and may appear in print. To enter the latest competition visit the readers' tips homepage
For me it has to be the bronze dwarves of Wrocław. With more than 600 now in the city (they started to emerge in 2005, when there were only a few dozen), they can be found doing all sorts of mischievous activities on shop fronts, street corners and in public gardens. They make a fantastic spotting activity for a walking tour, and you can even get guides and maps to help you tick them off. Look for the cheeky ice-cream eater and the valiant firefighting team.
In Porto, wild and elegant collide. Hop on the city metro and whiz past Unesco-listed cobbled streets, cafes brimming with flaky, custard-filled pastries and dark, aromatic port cellars. You will quickly find yourself in the suburb of Matosinhos – home to some of Europe’s best urban surf. Grab a board and wetsuit from a local surf school and paddle head-first into the wild Atlantic spray. Total beginners can book lessons from just €25. The soft, sandy-bottomed beaches are great for learning and draw far fewer crowds than hotspots, such as Ericeira and Peniche farther south.
On an Interrailing trip with my boyfriend, we made our third stop at Ljubljana. We had relatively low expectations, but we were blown away by the food, culture and friendliness of