Places with photo galleries in Europe
Durham is a small but elegant university town dominated by England's finest Norman cathedral. You might have the feeling that you have seen this grand 11th century cathedral before, for it was used in the Harry Potter movies as the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry - a fact they are strangely shy about. Both the gorgeous cathedral and the next-door Durham Castle are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are the centre for the cobblestone old Durham town. It would have been picture-perfect, if it wasn't for the collection of drab concrete extensions of the university. For the best views of the cathedral and its massive towers, take a stroll through the woods on the other side of River Wear.
Edinburgh is soaked in history. It has been the royal seat for both English and Scottish kings throughout history. For protection, medieval Edinburgh had a city wall built, meaning that when the town grew bigger, it could only expand one way, up, creating the world's first skyscrapers, some 12 storeys high. The centre of attention in the Old Town is of course Edinburgh Castle, perched on an extinct volcano. From here the exquisite Royal Mile (the main street) runs down the ridge flanked by the impressive 'skyscrapers' and ending at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen's Scottish residence. Narrow lanes and winding streets twist down the sides leading to squares or hidden courtyards. Pubs are everywhere, many named after historical criminals. In general, Edinburgh's history is filled with murders, executions and killings - it seems every place has a bloody history. But Edinburgh is far from being dead. Tourists and locals fill the pubs, nightlife is pumping (Edinburgh is a popular university town) and the city hosts a never-ending range of festivals. Edinburgh is certainly everyone's favourite.
Elegant Oxford is one of the finest university towns in the world. The old part of town is dominated by the many exquisite colleges. No matter where you look towers, spires and graceful buildings come into sight. Every place has a long history and are not afraid of subtly boast of all the famous people, who have attended just their college. Though the whole area is fairly small, there are many narrow lanes, inner courtyards and hidden corners to get lost in. For those long philosophical walks head down to the River Thames, one of the deer parks or near the rugby fields, where the medieval skyline of Oxford can be taken in from the distant. The wonderful part, which is also the downside, is that Oxford is a functional university town. Students live and study here, so while some college, or at least parts of, are open to the public, many are off limits or charge a fee.