Copenhagen to Geneva: Exquisite Architecture and Epicurean Delights
|A Labyrinth of Temptations: Amsterdam's maze of canals and streets (Photodisc)|
From the cycle-friendly flatlands of Denmark to the canals of Amsterdam to Belgium's rolling countryside to the City of Lights to Geneva, this route takes you through the lion's share of Western Europe. Whether you aim to hit Paris' best museums, down as many pints as you can muster of Belgian's world-class beer, or simply laze around the shores of Lake Geneva, this framework will put it all within reachprovided you don't run out of gasoline.
Day 1: Copenhagen to Amsterdam (480 Miles)
Instead of zooming straight out of town, hop on one of Copenhagen's free bicycles to explore the city. In a great, civic-minded exchange scheme called Bycyklen or "City Bikes" (+126.96.36.19933; www.bycyklen.dk), the city makes over 1,000 bicycles available from May 1 to December 15. Plus, the city is totally flat. No hills! Visit the carnival-like atmosphere and flower gardens of Tivoli (Tivoli A/S Vesterbrogade 3; www.tivoligardens.com) and take a boat tour on Copenhagen's winding canals with DFDS Canal Tours (www.canaltours.com) to see the city's eclectic mix of architecture. Then it's off to Amsterdam via Odense to the west and Hamburg, Germany, to the south.
Day 2-3: Amsterdam
With a total absence of hills and an abundance of canals and bicycles, Amsterdam has a similar feel to Copenhagen. But Amsterdam is denser and more urban, with an international citizenry, notably Indonesians as a result of the Netherlands' 18th-century colonization of the Indonesian archipelago, and a profusion of international restaurants. Amsterdam is known for its ubiquitous "coffee shops," serving legal marijuana and hashish, but the city's world-class museums will open your mind just as well, especially the Rijksmueum (Jan Luijkenstraat 1; +31.20.674.7000; www.rijksmuseum.nl) and the Van Gogh Museum (Paulus Potterstraat 7; +31.20.570.5200; www.vangoghmuseum.nl). Bed down at the hip and minimalist Hotel Arena ('s-Gravesandestraat 51; +31.20.850.2400; www.hotelarena.nl).
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication