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Handmade lace in Belgium can be pricey, but it’s a characteristic, packable souvenir.

Shopping in Europe can be fun, but don't let it overwhelm your trip. I've seen half the members of a guided tour of the British Houses of Parliament skip out on the tour to survey an enticing array of plastic "bobby" hats, Big Ben briefs and Union Jack panties instead. Focus on local experiences, and don't let your trip become a glorified shopping spree.

-- As a fanatic about packing light, I used to wait until the end of my trip to...

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Raphael’s School of Athens celebrates mankind’s intellectual achievements and connection to the great minds of classical Greece.

Among the many things I love about Italy is how the Renaissance can be spliced into your travels. Imagine: In Florence you can sleep in a converted 16th-century monastery that's just a block from Michelangelo's David, around the corner from Brunelleschi's famous cathedral dome, and down the street from the tombs of the great Medici art patrons -- and that's just for starters.

Before the Renaissance, Europeans spent about 1,000 years in a cultural slumber....

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The 16th-century marble fountain, on Evora’s main square, was once an important water source. Now it’s a popular hangout for young and old.

From Romans to Moors to Portuguese kings, the proud little town of Evora -- set amid the cork groves of Portugal's Alentejo region -- has a big history. Just 90 minutes east of Lisbon, Evora has impressive sights -- Roman ruins, a 12th-century cathedral, and a macabre chapel of bones -- coupled with a laid-back local scene and a hearty cuisine that makes me think of Tuscany.

From the second century B.C. to the fourth century A.D., Evora was a Roman town important for its...

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Try some traditional cuisine in one of Lyon’s bouchons — simple, cozy bistros filled with character.

Straddling the mighty Rhone and Saone rivers between Burgundy and Provence, Lyon has been among France's leading cities since Roman times. With cobbled alleys, pastel Renaissance mansions, Paris-like shopping streets, evocative museums and renowned cuisine, it's relaxed, welcoming and surprisingly untouristy. Just two hours from Paris by train, Lyon makes an easy one- or two-night stopover.

Regarded by many as France's foodie...

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Toes of the 46-meter-long reclining Buddha at Wat Pho temple in Bangkok, Thailand. The figure was built with bricks, shaped with plaster, then gilded.

Dear Globetrotter:

Welcome to the 517th issue of your monthly foreign-travel magazine. This is our 43rd Anniversary issue! Thank you, all, for subscribing, telling others about the magazine, patronizing our advertisers, submitting articles and trip reports to print or just letting us know what you'd like to see. It all builds into the final product: International Travel News.

If you're reading ITN for the first time, having received a free sample copy, we hope...

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Azerbaijan was the first Muslim country to extend suffrage to women, in 1918.

Borneo is the world's only island divided between three countries: Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia.

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There are basically two types of overseas emergency-medical-evacuation policies. First is the type of coverage supplied by Divers Alert Network, or DAN (Durham, NC; 800/446-2671, www.diversalertnetwork.org).

DAN is primarily designed for scuba divers, but anyone can join. Their basic coverage is called "DAN Membership," and for a year's protection the cost is $35 for an individual or $55 for a family (including spouse or domestic partner and children under 24 in school and...

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