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Luxembourg City

Luxembourg, the “Gibraltar of the North,” is the capital of Luxembourg, a community with a city status. Officially, the city is known as the capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and sits at the junction of the Alzette and Pétrusse rivers.

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Zagreb, home to 1.2 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area, is the capital of Croatia and sits on the slopes of the Medvednica mountains. The city, despite having a lackluster reputation in tourism in the past years, enjoys a favorable location on the Pannonian Basin, putting it right smack in the center connecting the traffic from Central Europe and the Adriatic Sea.

The city is not hard to love. Cobblestone streets and medieval architecture are reminiscent of Venice and other medieval European cities. More than a million tourists were charmed by the old-world feel of the city and its mix of modern luxuries set in the carefully laid back atmosphere of its quiet, lush, and green parks and classic and historical architecture. Walk through the upper town’s cobble stoned streets lit by medieval street lamps and visit the Church of St. Marks. Do as the locals do, and watch the world go by in Zagreb’s numerous cafes or spend lazy afternoons savoring the cuisine in the many restaurants of the lower town.

Getting around the city is made easy by the city’s efficient and modern transport system composed of buses, trams, and trains. Tram lines are not accessible in the weekends and holidays, however. Buses cover routes all over the city, along with neighboring towns, and they use the same ticketing system as the tram lines. To immerse oneself in the town’s history even while on the commute, one can try the old funicular railway, considered one of the steepest in the world and serves as a link between the upper and lower towns. Taxis are also available but they are notoriously expensive.

A passport is needed for a trip to Croatia and any of its cities. No visa is needed for US nationals on tourist trips planned to last no longer than 90 days within a six-month period.


A city with just over 100 thousand inhabitants, Reykjavik, which means “Smokey Bay” sits on the southwest coast of Iceland and holds the distinction for being the world’s most northernmost capital. Reykjavik is the country’s center for culture, commerce, and government. It is also the country’s top tourist destination.

Reykjavik is a vibrant happening little metro set against the backdrop of nature. Indeed, natural wonders such as lush and vibrant valleys and powerful waterfalls are only a few minutes away from the modern structures and young vibrancy of the city. The city is clean and unpolluted, making walks along its clean and airy parks, past art galleries and high-end restaurants and boutiques a favorite activity of the locals and travelers. The downtown area can be traversed in a span of an hour and a half. But for a unique experience, weave in and out of the city’s side streets, arriving at Laugavegur and going past Bankastraeti, and finally ending at Shoreditch of Reykjavík, to discover the beauty of the city’s houses distinguished by their cheerful colors and corrugated tin roofs.

What makes the city different from other tourist cities is that travelers can immerse themselves in the everyday lives of its people while enjoying the tourist comforts that it offers. Walking is the primary mode of getting around. Traveling by car can be made even more enjoyable if one takes it to the outskirts of the city, where one can get a spectacular view of the city at the Perlan. Buses are clean and convenient although a tad expensive. Going by bicycle is another enjoyable way of getting around, as bicycle lanes crisscross the city and its parks. The best time to visit the city is from June to August.

US tourists do not need a visa for entering Reykjavik for business or for personal travel. This applies for stays that will last for no longer than 90 days. A valid passport, proof of return or onward travel, and proof of sufficient funds for stay are all that are needed.


Oslo is the capital of Norway and is nestled right between the Oslo Fjord and the Oslomarka, noted for its rolling green hills and mountainous regions. It also happens to be Norway’s largest city and is home to more than 500 thousand people as of 2008, 25% of which are immigrants from various countries such as Pakistan, Sweden, and Sri Lanka.

A visit to Norway’s busiest thoroughfare, Karl Johan’s Gate, is one sure way to get a full glimpse of Oslo. Many of the city’s historical structures such as the Royal Palace, the Parliament Building, and as well as various theaters and universities are situated here. Glimpse the endless days of the midnight sun in Olso after a full day of seeing the sights. The city has no shortage of recreation activities and sights with its parks, museums, restaurants, and trendy shopping places. Swimming in the summer and skiing in the winter are popular activities of locals and visitors alike. In the winter, the city transforms into a winter wonderland basking under the glow of the northern lights.

Getting around Oslo is easy because of the efficient public transportation. Buses, trains, and trams are the most common ways of going around the city, and they can be accessed using hourly, daily, or weekly tickets. Car and bike rentals are also available. Petty crimes exist in most big cities, Oslo included, although a daytime stroll through most of the city streets poses no threats to safety. If you want to avoid crowds while visiting Oslo, avoid the peak tourist season which starts from June and ends in August.

Americans do not need a visa for a visit of three months or less. In special cases, multiple entry visas may be given within a span of 6-12 months. Extensions on visas may be granted in the event of unforeseen circumstances. Proof of enough money to cover travel and accommodation costs may be required at the border.


Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is the economic capital of Scandinavia. From its humble origins as a small fishing town on the coast of the Baltic Sea, it has now grown into a bustling metropolis, the most populous city in Finland, and is the country’s cultural, economic, and communications hub. Lovingly referred to as “the daughter of the Baltic,” Helsinki is famous for its coastlines which are dotted by ports and secluded coves.

Ferries glide into Helsinki’s ports every day, and watching one as it softly makes its way to the harbor is something that no visitor to the city should ever miss. The city is also the perfect place to marvel at neoclassical architecture, as exemplified by buildings around the Senate Square. The city’s countless waterways are perfect for romantic or leisurely strolls and are an all-time favorite of locals and visitors alike. Travel back in time and discover the city’s past by visiting various museums or marvel at the interesting mix of modern and traditional structures that sit comfortably beside each other. English is widely spoken so there should be no trouble communicating with the locals.

Getting around Helsinki can be done by bus or by walking, which can be a good idea since the city is relatively small. Going around by car is discouraged because of the difficulty in finding a good parking space. Safety is of no concern in Helsinki, which has been named the second safest city in the world. Pickpockets and thieves can be encountered in crowded areas but visitors can be kept safe if they carry wallet or purses in their front pockets and refrain from staying in dark or dimly lit areas.

Americans require a valid passport for entry to Helsinki but they are not required to present a visa for stays that last up to 90 days. No vaccinations are required for entry into Finland.


Beograd (Београд), the capital of Serbia sits on the Balkan Peninsula, at the junction of the Sava and the Danube Rivers. The city is home to 1.6 million people and is the major hub for trade, communications, science and technology and tourism in Serbia. The city, popularly known as Belgrade, is known to locals as Beograd, its historical name. Belgrade is the largest city in Serbia after Novi Sad.

Beograd Serbia enjoys its location in the middle of the other Serbian towns and cities, making it easily accessible from any point in Serbia. Beograd locals, no stranger to the woes of the Balkan wars, are a hardy group whose hospitality is unsurpassed anywhere in the Balkan Peninsula. The people of Belgrade are slowly transforming their city into a center for entertainment and commerce, a place where locals and visitors can soak up the Mediterranean sun while lounging in seaside cafes during the day and revel in the vibrant nightlife after sundown, with parties spilling from the city’s trendy bars to the boats moored on the river, and where music floats until the sun breaks from the Bohemian enclave.

Public transportation leaves much to be desired in Beograd, although tourists can also hire rentals for a more personalized experience of the city. Those who are new to Serbia may also feel safer traveling by taxi or bus. It is better to be careful when going to public places which are notorious for pickpockets and thieves like the Republic Square and train stations. The best time to make your visit is between late spring and early autumn. Winter visits are also good, since winters in Belgrade can be cold but not harsh.

American citizens do not require a Visa to enter Belgrade. A valid passport is all that is needed for a stay in Belgrade for no longer than 90 days. Tourists are required by law to register with the Serbian police within 24 hours after entering the Serbian border.


Stockholm, one of the most populous cities in Sweden, is also one of the most beautiful destinations in the region. Built on fourteen islands, Stockholm is home to the Swedish Parliament and the official residence of the Swiss royal family. It is also home to 21% of the total Swiss population, with 1.3 million in the urban area and 2 million in the metropolitan area.

Sweden is known for its beauty, made even more resplendent by the reflection of the water that surrounds the entire city. Its capital, particularly, is famous for its waters that crisscross the city, and the narrow cobble stoned streets of Gamla Stan, where love stories form and for some, end. Stockholm is rich in history, its 750-year heritage evident in the medieval structures that lie side-by-side with modern high-rises and architectural marvels. The city is also famous for its six-day food festivals, where tourists and locals alike gorge on traditional Swedish cuisine. Restaurants that range from the trendy and exclusive to the budget-friendly and more laid back also thrive in the city.

Getting around Stockholm is easy. One can walk, which is the best way to savor the city’s atmosphere and meet its people. A stroll through the Djurgården is one activity that no visitor should never miss. One can also take the bus, the subway, or the trams. Rentals are also available, as are parking spaces. Taxi fares in Stockholm are quite expensive, so if you can avoid getting into one, by all means do so. The city is relatively safe, although places where crowds congregate are favorite hunting grounds of pickpockets.

Americans need a valid passport to enter Sweden, although no visa is necessary for stays up to three months in any given six-month period. Visitors are required to show a visible means of support along with documentation and tickets for return or further travel.


Vienna, the city of music, is the capital of Austria and lies along the banks of the Danube. Home to 1.7 million people, Vienna is the country’s center for communications, trade and politics. The city is also known for its rich history in music, as exemplified by its many concert halls and the world-famous composers born in the city, as well as for the Vienna Philharmonic, one of the most world-renowned orchestras in the world.

Austria’s unique culture is only one of the many things that one will not forget about the country. Austria is the land of rolling hills and music, great food and exciting recreation. Marvel at the smorgasbord of Baroque architecture and art noveau, or get a rush of adrenaline as you ski down the slopes of the Alps, and end with the day with a cup of coffee at one of the city’s many cafes that line on the Ringstrasse.

Austrians love their cars and it is not hard to find a car rental agency anywhere. Highways are well-kept but this is offset by the lack of good parking space. Other ways to go around Vienna include the rail network, which is comfortable and fast as well as buses and trams. Cycling is one more leisurely way of exploring the city. Designated cycling lanes crisscross the city. Locals especially love to cycle along the banks of the Danube. The best time to visit the city is from September to October, during the grape harvesting seasons. It is advisable to visit in the weekdays if you want to avoid large crowds.

Visa-free travel to Austria lasts for no more than 3 months for Americans and other nationalities. You can request for an Austrian visa prior to traveling to the country in the Austrian embassy, or apply in Austria before the 90-day duration has expired.


Moscow is the capital and largest city of Russia, as well as the largest city in all of Europe. It ranks among the largest urban areas in the world and is home to around 12 million people. The city is Russia’s economic, cultural, educational and communications center, easily accessible from all parts of the country due to its location in the Central Federal district on the banks of the Moska River.

Moscow’s pre-Soviet era art and architecture stands with modern monuments, testaments to the success of Moscow’s rapid shift towards modernism. Despite the push towards Western ideas and trends, Moscow still likes to look back and appreciate its past, personified in the renovation of old historical structures such as the Bell Tower and the ever-dominant Red Square and the opening of cultural establishments such as the Moscow International Performing Arts Center. The people of Moscow are laid back and friendly, the main reason for the city’s bohemian flavor further enriched by the locals’ love for art, as seen in the many art galleries sprinkled all over the city.

Getting around Moscow can be done by car or by train. A ride on the Moscow Metro is already an attraction unto itself. Other options include trams, trolley, buses and route taxis. Tourists may also fall victims to bad cops who are on the look-out for tourists to bribe. The best way to handle this is to call your embassy. Pretending that you are doing so is usually enough to make your dirty cop back off.

Russian tourist visas are issued to tourists looking to visit Moscow for a duration of 14-30 days. The total validity for a trip to Moscow or any part of Russia cannot extend longer than 30 days. Americans can obtain their tourist visas from the travel agency which can also provide them with other supporting documents such as tourist acceptance confirmation and the tourist voucher, both containing the signature of the hosting travel agency.


Warsaw is the capital of Poland, the country’s center of commerce, entertainment, and finance. The city quickly made a name for itself as one of the fastest-growing economic and cultural centers in Europe with the emergence of the free markets and democracy, directly followed by Krakow. Home to more than 1.6 million people according to the latest measurement, Warsaw sits on the banks of the Vistula River, right between the Baltic Sea and the Carpathian mountains.

Warsaw is a beautiful and refreshing mix of palaces and park lands, and no visit is complete without seeing the structures that define both the modern and historical Warsaw such as the Palace of Culture and Science and the Royal Castle. A trip to Warsaw wouldn’t be complete without a stroll through the cobble stoned streets of the Old town for a unique medieval experience. Indeed, Warsaw has perfected the non-contrived but cosmopolitan look that most cities fail to achieve with its eclectic mix of traditional and international restaurants, bars, and shops. Such an eclectic combination of local and international establishments is set in a city with a skyline defined by high-rises of modern and contemporary architecture.

The city is accessible through public transport options such as buses, trolleys, and trains. Taxis are also a good choice, especially if your Polish is good enough to use for directions. However, be careful with the meter because Polish taxi drivers do not have the best reputation when it comes to the fair charging of passengers. Rentals are also available although Polish road signs can be hard to understand and parking spaces are hard to find, especially in the Old Town. The best time to visit the city is from June to September, when the days are warm but are not very humid.

Only a valid passport is required of American tourists who want to visit Warsaw for three months or less. Confirmation of travel itinerary and proof of accommodations may be required at the border.