Switzerland’s capital city of Bern is known for its historic downtown and arcades of shops. While it’s not the most bustling town (think more strolling), I could spend an entire day wandering around looking for all 11 medieval fountains, scoping out the clock tower on the hour, and walking along the Aare River.
A top priority for us was making sure to see Edinburgh Castle, one of the most popular sites in the city (and for good reason). Particularly if you’re traveling peak season, I recommend going early to beat the crowd and make sure you have plenty of time to explore. The castle opens at 9:30am; we went around 9:15 and there was already a large crowd, though the line went quickly. Tickets cost about 16 pounds apiece, which includes an optional guided tour, viewing of the royal Scottish jewels (lower your expectations if you’ve seen the jewels in London), and seeing a cannon dating back to 1861 fire at 1:00 to inform ships of the local time.
One thing I’ve quickly learned about international travel is that the side-trips outside of the city are often my favorite. While staying in London, my friend Alicia and I went on a few day trips: Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and the Roman Baths, and Dover Castle. Since we didn’t find Windsor Castle particularly impressive compared to the others we’d been to in the area, this post focuses on the latter destinations.