Europe is full of unusual facts and surprises, no matter which city you visit. We thought we’d pull together some of the most weird and wonderful truths about some of the continent’s greatest and most mysterious cities. Find out the true inventor of French fries, or discover where the world’s only knighted penguin lives. We have found cool, quirky facts that might shock you in Paris, Bruges, Edinburgh, Barcelona, Berlin, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Prague. Take a look and you may find you learn some real hidden secrets...
1. TO SEE EVERY PIECE OF ARTWORK IN THE LOUVRE (SPENDING JUST 30 SECONDS AT EACH), YOU’D BE THERE FOR 35 DAYS STRAIGHT
The Louvre is the most popular museum in the world with around 9 million people visiting each year, but I wonder how many people have actually seen it ALL if it takes this long…
2. BELGIANS INVENTED FRIES, NOT AMERICANS
French fries, or ‘frites’, and mayonnaise is a local favourite and an iconic food staple in Bruges and the rest of Belgium. Head to one of the two green carts in the Markt square for your fix (or there’s even a Frietmuseum!)
3. THE WORLD’S ONE AND ONLY KNIGHTED PENGUIN LIVES AT EDINBURGH ZOO
And his name is Sir Nils Olav. The King penguin’s role includes inspecting the Norwegian Guard on their visits to the Scottish capital and since his knighthood in 2008, he’s since been promoted in the ranks to Brigadier. Only in Edinburgh!
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4. YOU CAN TAKE A TOUR OF AMSTERDAM’S RED LIGHT DISTRICT WITH RETIRED SEX WORKERS
Where else in the world would offer a tour with retired Red Light District workers? The 70-something year old twins in charge of this quirky activity definitely have some stories to tell…
5. SAGRADA FAMILIA WILL TAKE LONGER TO BUILD THAN THE EGYPTIAN PYRAMIDS
When La Sagrada Familia is completed, it will have taken longer to build than the Egyptian Pyramids. Pretty crazy to hear that construction is still not complete, it’s taken over a century. It’s expected to be completed between 2026–2028.
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6. 70 MILLION CURRYWURST ARE EATEN IN BERLIN EACH YEAR
Don’t get us wrong, we loooove currywurst as much as your average Berliner, but 70 million a year?! That’s a lot of curried sausage.
7. THE NARROWEST STREET IN PRAGUE IS JUST 35CM WIDE
The narrowest street in Prague is barely 50 cm wide (super tiny), yet because it's so narrow it has its own traffic light. The traffic light prevents pedestrians from meeting in the middle and then wondering how to walk past each other.
8. GREEN SPACE TAKES UP 40% OF GREATER LONDON
This includes 3,000 parks which total 35,000 acres!
9. KISSING ON TRAIN PLATFORMS IS BANNED IN FRANCE
They say it’s to avoid congestion…
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