Europe has a lot to offer travellers, whether you’re going on a month long inter-rail tour or for a weekend away. Every city has something unique to experience, from culture to landscapes, so we’ve shortlisted the five best to visit this summer. Before you travel make sure you are protected against any health costs by filling out your EHIC Application Form.
Amsterdam offers a mix of historical culture (a visit to the famous Anne Frank house is essential) and diverse nightlife. There are over 300 festivals every year and most of these take place in the summer. There is sure to be something happening every weekend, from dance music to food and beer festivals. Although it might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a trip to Amsterdam, there are beaches just half an hour outside of the city by train. Alternatively, you can spend the day exploring along the canals by bike, which is the most popular mode of transport in the city.
Night view of The Széchenyi Chain Bridge from Buda Castle in Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is great for travellers on a budget, with food, drink and accommodation being inexpensive. The picturesque city is a great place to soak up the sun, with plenty of parks to explore and its famous thermal baths to relax in. A river cruise on the Danube is the perfect way to spend a day seeing all the sights, including the Royal Palace and Buda Castle.
A collage of Venice: at the top left is the Piazza San Marco, followed by a view of the city, then the Grand Canal, and (smaller) the interior of La Fenice and, finally, the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore.
The canals of Venice have long been a favourite of travellers in Europe. Although the summer months may be the busiest, it is the best time to explore the waterways by gondola or water taxi. You’re never far from a secluded spot or a hidden pathway in the historic city. A highlight in the summer is stopping to enjoy some gelato in the scenic Saint Mark’s Square.
Courtyard of the Museum of Louvre, and its pyramid.
The city of culture may be an all-year-round attraction but the summer months are the best time to explore. Not only can you experience the clearest view from the top of the Eiffel Tower, you can also enjoy the park beneath it. Although it is worth arriving early in the morning to avoid long queues and make the most of your day! A cruise on the river Seine will take you through the heart of the city with its distinct architecture. Alfresco dining in Paris is unmissable, so plan to visit between July-August.
Bikini-Haus, Berlin. In the background: Gedaechtniskirche, Upper West and Zoofenster
Berlin comes alive in the summer, people can be found eating and drinking in bars and restaurants outside all day. The historical sites such as Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall are a great way to spend a sunny day. Afterwards, you can unwind in one of the many beautiful parks around the city. Day trips are easily accessible from the city if you’re looking to get the most out of your visit, Potsdam is just half an hour away and is home to Schloss Sanssouci the largest World Heritage Site in Germany.
A UN report on climate change released today in Berlin says the world must rapidly move away from carbon-intensive fuels.
There must be a “massive shift” to renewable energy, says the 33-page study.
It has been finalized after a week of negotiations between scientists and government officials.
Natural gas is seen as a key bridge to move energy production away from oil and coal.
But there have been battles between participants over who will pay for this energy transition.
The report is the work of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was set up to provide a clear scientific view on climate change and its impacts.
The Summary for Policymakers on mitigation paints a picture of a world with carbon emissions rising rapidly.
“The high speed mitigation train needs to leave the station very soon, and all of global society will have to get on board,” the IPCC’s chair Rajendra Pachauri told journalists in Berlin at the launch of the report.
Dr. Youba Sokono, a co-chair of the IPCC’s working group 3, which drew up the report, said science has spoken.
He added that policy makers were “the navigators, they have to make decisions, scientists are the map makers”.
About half of all the carbon that humans have pumped into the atmosphere since 1750 has been emitted in the last 40 years.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was set up to provide a clear scientific view on climate change and its impacts (photo Reuters)
Rates have been rising fast since 2000, despite the global economic crash.
The report points to an increased use of coal in the decade from the turn of the millennium, “reversing the longstanding trend of decarbonization of the world’s energy supply”.
Driven by a global increase in population and economic activity, global surface temperature increases will be between 3.7C and 4.8C in 2100 if no new action is taken.
This is way above the 2 degree level, regarded as the point beyond which dangerous impacts of climate change will be felt.
However, the scientists involved in the report say this situation can be turned around.
To be sure of staying below 2 degrees, the amount of carbon in the air needs to be around 450 parts per million (ppm) by 2100. To get there, emissions in 2050 need to be 40-70% lower than they were in 2010.
The IPCC says that renewables are a critical part of that pathway.
Since the last report in 2007, the scientists say that renewable energy has come on in leaps and bounds.
In 2012, renewables accounted for just over half of the new electricity generation added around the world.
The scientists stress that renewables are becoming economically competitive with fossil fuels and also offer a range of other benefits, including clean air and energy security.
“It certainly is the end for carbon intensive fuels that’s for sure,” said Jennifer Morgan from the World Resources Institute, who was a review editor on one of the chapters of the IPCC report.
“There needs to be a massive shift away from fossil fuels and investment needs to shift to going 100% clean as fast as possible.”
One of the surprising endorsements in the report is natural gas.
“Emissions from energy supply can be reduced significantly by replacing current world average coal-fired power plants with modern, highly efficient natural gas combined-cycle power plants,” says the summary.
The report describes natural gas as a “bridge” technology with deployment increasing before peaking and falling below current levels by 2050.
However, many of the scenarios examined by the panel would still involve an “overshoot” of the target range.
To cope with this the world may need to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Combining carbon capture and storage with bioenergy is seen as one potential solution, but the report is lukewarm on these ideas, saying the “methods are uncertain” and are “associated with risks”.
Timing is everything, say the scientists.
“Delaying mitigation efforts beyond those in place today through 2030 is estimated to substantially increase the difficulty of the transition to low longer-term emissions,” says the summary.
The report points out that there needs to be huge shifts in investment if the worst impacts of rising temperatures are to be avoided. Investment in renewables and other low carbon sources needs to at least treble by the middle of the century, while money flowing into fossil fuels has to diminish.
But differences have emerged over who should make the cuts in emissions and who should pay for the switch to low carbon energy sources. Developed and developing countries have clashed here in Berlin, echoing divisions found in the UN negotiations.
For the world premiere of her new album – ARTPOP – in Berlin, Lady Gaga has so far donned a furry chicken/moldy cheese mask, bared her unicorn-tattooed thigh, dressed like a sexy Salvador Dali (moustache included), and gone barefoot in a fluffy ghost-like sheath earlier Friday morning.
Two helicopters have crashed near Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, leaving at least two people dead and several others injured.
The helicopters hit each other in mid-air during a police exercise.
German Bild newspaper said one of the pilots was killed and four people were injured, two of them seriously.
Footage showed the two aircraft on their side in the snow.
Some 400 federal police officers were conducting a football violence training exercise when the crash happened.
An eyewitness told the NTV channel: “Three helicopters were in the air. It was a real snowstorm. Suddenly we heard a bang and someone shouted <<everybody down>>. Then there was blood everywhere. Nearby, there was a huge pool of blood.”
Two helicopters have crashed near Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, leaving at least two people dead and several others injured
Pictures showed police and emergency services crawling over the wreck of one of the aircraft, apparently attending to someone inside.
Others cared for a casualty on a stretcher.
A police officer was seen walking from the scene with blood pouring down his face.