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Western Europe Snapshot

What to Expect:   Great art, fine food, world-class shopping, and an almost absurd concentration of must-see sights.

When to Go:   Summer for warmest temperatures, fall and spring for smaller crowds, winter for lowest prices.

What to Do:   Visit the great museums of the world in Paris, London, and Rome. Shop the Champs Elysees, fill up on frites in Brussels, or catch a glimpse of antiquity at the Coliseum in Rome.

Local Color:   When in Rome, do as the Romans do--slow it down and refuel with an espresso or a glass of vino at a café.

Don't Miss:   Local markets are a great place to get a taste of how Europeans go about their daily lives. You can pick up fresh ingredients for a picnic lunch, as well.

Don't Forget:   Many European stores and even museums close for a long lunch break between about noon and 2pm.

Northern Europe Snapshot

What to Expect:   Beautiful, pedestrian-friendly Scandinavian capitals, unspoiled Baltic ports, scenic fjords, and long summer days near the Arctic Circle.

When to Go:   Summer for warm, sunny days, fall or spring for fewer people in port.

What to Do:   Walk in the footsteps of Nobel Prize winners at Stockholm's City Hall, visit Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen (the world's first amusement park), take in the beauty of Norway's fjords, and haggle for handicrafts in Estonia.

Local Color:   Scandinavians are among the most enthusiastic coffee drinkers in the world, so you're sure to meet plenty of locals at any café.

Don't Miss:   Stockholm's Vasa Ship museum, where a beautiful and mysterious 400-year-old wooden warship is on display.

Don't Forget:   An eyeshade may come in handy during short summer nights, when it never gets fully dark.