Travel Briefs

Visitors can tour the Corum watch factory in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Neuchâtel, Switzerland. With audio guides in four languages, including English, the group of up to eight, led by a French-speaking guide, passes an exhibit on the art of watchmaking before entering the factory floor to see watches being made by hand. 

The 2-hour tour starts at 9:30 a.m. each Tuesday. CHF20 (near $20). Must book in advance through Tourisme Neuchâtelois (Hôtel des Postes, Neuchâtel; phone +41 32 889 68...


Shuri Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the city of Naha on the island of Okinawa, Japan, burned down on Oct. 31. The castle, which was the largest wooden structure on Okinawa, was a reconstruction of the original 500-year-old castle that was destroyed by US troops during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II.

Shuri Castle was the seat of the Ryukyu Kingdom, comprising the Ryukyu Islands, until the islands were annexed by the Japanese Empire in 1879. The islands rim the East...


As of Oct. 25 in the Gion neighborhood of Kyoto, Japan, photography is banned in privately owned alleys near Hanamikoji street. Gion is known for its traditional Japanese houses and streets and is home to many geishas. The ban was voted on by residents in response to a number of reports of bad behavior by tourists, including walking into private residences and touching geishas.

Anyone caught taking a photograph in a restricted area could be fined up to ¥10,000 (near $92).


An evisa for Malawi was introduced on Nov. 1. To apply for it, visit A recent photograph, a scan of the bio page of your passport and a letter from your accommodation or host are required. It typically takes three business days for a visa to be approved, and validity begins the day of issue.

For a US citizen, a 90-day, single-entry visa costs $75. For multiple entries, a 6-month visa costs $150 and a 12-month visa costs $250.

From Nov. 3, 2019, to March 1, 2020, every state-operated museum in Italy is offering free entry on the first Sunday of the month. A complete list of participating museums, organized alphabetically by region, can be found at (in Italian only).

Paintings, sculpture, tapestries, engravings, furniture, documents and books — the art collection of the Liria Palace (Calle Princesa 20, Madrid; phone +34 912302200, in Madrid, Spain, opened to the public for the first time on Nov. 1.

The art is the private collection of the dukes of Berwick & Alba and was gathered over 500 years, though the palace itself dates back only to 1785. It is the only palace in Madrid that remains a private residence.


Guernsey, one of Britain’s Channel Islands, was occupied by Nazi Germany from June 1940 to May 1945. Those years are commemorated by artifacts and dioramas at the Occupation Museum (Les Houards, Forest, GY8 0BG, Guernsey; phone +44 01481 238205,

At the museum, you can see what life was like under German occupation as well as examples of artillery, a 4-wheel enigma encryption machine and even a horse gas mask.

The museum is open daily, 10...


Visitors in Rome can book the 3-hour “Rome Catacombs Tour with Capuchin Crypts” with The Roman Guy (in the US, 888/290-5595,

The Domitilla Catacombs, relics of some of the earliest Christian traditions in Rome, contain skeletal remains of up to 150,000 people in tunnels built as early as the 2nd century AD, while the five Capuchin Crypts are elaborately decorated with the bones of about 3,700 friars. Tour members also walk part of the ancient Appian Way...