THE Culture WEEKEND
OUR FAVOURITE EUROPEAN CITIES ARE NOW EVEN MORE ACCESSIBLE
Culture vultures are flocking to Poland, and the capital, Warsaw, now holds even more appeal, because March saw the opening of the five-star Raffles Europejski. Raffles’ newest property opened in the cobbled historic district, next to the Presidential Palace. Nearby attractions include the Historical Museum of Warsaw and the Adam Mickiewicz Museum of Literature, a tribute to Poland’s greatest writer.
For an additional culture fix, head over the border to the German city of Hamburg, officially known as the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (try saying that with a mouthful of bratwurst). Its name reflects its historical importance to the Hanseatic League, founded in the 14th century by north German towns and merchant communities abroad to protect their trading interests. Learn more about Germany’s biggest port with a visit to the Museum of Hamburg History, before getting a different perspective on its transformation with a visit to HafenCity, a trendy new harbour side area that is home to the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg concert hall, one of the largest and most acoustically advanced music venues in the world.
And then there’s Turin, which became even more accessible in November when British Airways launched its twice-weekly flights from Heathrow. The city is most famous for the Turin Shroud, although the relic rarely goes on show. Must-sees include the Santuario della Consolata – a gold-covered explosion of baroque extravagance – and the Mole Antonelliana. When the latter was originally built as a synagogue in the 1880s, it was the world’s tallest building, and it’s still one of the tallest brick structures in Europe. Today, it houses a museum of cinema. The best bit? If energy levels dip, it’s now even easier to refuel. Until the end of 2018 you’ll be able to pick up a limited edition Torino Coffee Card. Created to celebrate the city’s longstanding relationship with coffee, it entitles the owner to five coffees at a number of Turin’s historical cafés.