Weird wonders, together with a prowl round Amsterdam’s cat museum, a really deep Transylvanian theme park and ‘Stalin’s World’ in Lithuania, have made readers embrace the quirky
Mineral marvel … the theme park in Salina Turda salt mine within the Durgău-Valea Sărată area, Romania.
Winning tip: Theme park in a Transylvanian salt mine, Romania
For a surreal expertise, look no additional than the Salina Turda salt mine. The 120-metre-deep mine was constructed within the 17th century and briefly used through the second world battle as a bomb shelter. Then, later, it was a cheese storage facility. More lately it has been transformed right into a magical underground theme park, with a ferris wheel, mini-golf, bowling alley and desk tennis. It additionally has an underground lake with rowing boats that you should use to discover the mine.
• Adult £5.75, little one £2.90; ferris rides £1, row boats £2.90, salinaturda.eu
Stuttgart Pig Museum, Germany
Trotter this manner … piggy banks on show on the Stuttgart Pig Museum. Photograph: Alamy
Claiming to be the most important pig museum within the world (it might be there may be little competitors), the Schweine Museum has 50,000 objects – over three flooring and 25 rooms – that element each side of the pig: from looking, farming and butchery to the function of the pig in human tradition. There is even a room devoted to the pig in relation to human sexuality! If all this pigginess offers you an urge for food, its restaurant awaits … the place pork and ham dominate the menu, clearly.
• Adult €5.90, little one (7-14) €three, little one (Four-6) €1.50, beneath 4s free, schweinemuseum.de
Trick fountains at Hellbrunn Palace, Salzburg, Austria
Showers forecast … guests amid fountains at Hellbrunn Palace, Salzburg. Photograph: Getty Images
I first visited these trick fountains as a toddler and loved them a lot I returned years later with my girlfriend. The Mannerist fountains, throughout the picturesque grounds of Schloss Hellbrunn, have been the brainchild of the eccentric Markus Sittikus, Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, who loved taking part in sensible jokes on his company. Highlights embrace a banqueting desk rigged with water jets for unsuspecting company, a grotto that traps company with a maze of water sprays and a water-operated musical theatre. You stroll in trepidation, awaiting the subsequent shot of water, and sometimes to the good amusement of everybody else. Dry off with a stroll across the lovely gardens. An excellent attraction for a heat summer time’s day.
• Adult €12.50, little one (Four-18) €5.50, household €26.50 (2 adults, 1 little one, €2.50 for every further little one); worth consists of guided tour by trick fountains, hellbrunn.at
Ace caff with a backyard connected, Sintra, Portugal
Monserrte Palace, Sintra. Photograph: SeanPavonePhoto/Getty Images
As if Sintra weren’t eccentric sufficient, William Beckford’s gardens at Monserrate can solely be described, like the reason for his exile, as flagrant. Waterfalls, streams beneath gothic arches, a “ruined” chapel and an enormous assortment of vegetation – as soon as curated by a gardener from Kew – are all there with what was as soon as the one garden in Iberia. The palace impressed by Brighton Pavilion stands at one finish of a path and the cafe on the different. Everything you eat or drink there may be splendid, as advisable to us by a bunch of trainees from, sure, Kew, whom we overheard working in a very luxuriant mattress. The palace has seen higher days however chamber live shows within the unique music room are elevating funds for its restoration.
Mountain views whereas on a rest room … in Andorra
Stream of consciousness … bathroom with a sloping view at Grandvalira ski resort, Andorra. Photograph: callens17
In the principality of Andorra, on the Grandvalira ski resort, I found an eccentric attraction … the bathroom on one in every of its, ahem, runs. From the surface it has reflective partitions, however as soon as contained in the partitions seem clear so that you have a improbable view of the encircling mountains. You do have to maintain reminding your self that when you can see the passing skiers they’ll’t see you. It’s a bit unnerving at first.
Jet engines within the backyard, Burgundy, France
Plane loopy … plane at Savigny-lès-Beaune
Not many chateaux have round 90 jet fighters of their backyard, however the crumbling chateau within the village of Savigny-lès-Beaune does, together with helicopters, a hovercraft, a whole lot of motorbikes of varied ages, a shedful of viticulture tractors, a show of ageing hearth engines, hundreds of fashions of all types of automobiles and an attic stuffed with (actual!) Abarth racing automobiles. It additionally produces and sells wine. It was a bizarre however fascinating expertise.
• Adult €11, little one (10-16) €5, beneath 9 free, chateau-savigny.com
Žižkov tv tower, Prague
Voted the second-ugliest constructing within the world, the Žižkov tower makes for an fascinating diversion from the historic structure of the centre. It’s an odd sight, that includes crawling infants ascending to the highest. Inside, nonetheless, there may be an observatory and a quite swish cocktail bar (and restaurant), serving pleasant concoctions in take a look at tubes. At the highest you’ll be able to sit in half-sphere glass seats dangling from the ceiling – a cushty spot for enjoyable with improbable views of the town.
• Observatory admission grownup £eight.80, little one (three and over) £5.60, household (2 adults, as much as three youngsters) £22, towerpark.cz
Musée du Champignon, Loire Valley, France
On a household holiday, we stumbled throughout a mushroom museum at Cave des Roches, east of Tours, which concerned an interesting and weird cave tour by the world of French ’shrooms. On the location of a former quarry, there are actually seven underground ranges to discover. I used to be not a funghi fan earlier than visiting however the scrumptious shiitakes transformed me. The Saumur area, extra usually, can be attractive and excellent for a household tenting holiday.
• Adult €9, little one (6-18) €7, musee-du-champignon.com
Purrfectly ridiculous cat museum, Amsterdam
Paws for thought at …Katten Kabinet, Amsterdam. Photograph: Alamy
Amsterdam’s Katten Kabinet is dedicated to “an exploration of the cat’s role in art and culture through the centuries”. Fascinating although that was, for me one of the best bit was the part on JP Morgan, a ginger feline owned by the museum’s eccentric founder, Bob Meijer, and the inspiration for the museum. This cat impressed enormous devotion from Meijer and his equally loopy cronies. For instance, to have a good time Morgan’s 15th birthday, they produced US greenback payments with George Washington’s face changed by the cat’s and the phrases In God We Trust changed by We Trust No Dog. That gem alone was well worth the entrance price.
• Adult €7, under-12s free, kattenkabinet.nl
Grūtas sculpture park, Druskininkai, Lithuania
Park revolutionary … bust of Lenin at Grūtas sculpture park, Druskininkai. Photograph: Danita Delimont/Getty Images
In a wonderful forest setting in southern Lithuaniai is a sculpture park not like any I’ve ever visited. Here are gathered Soviet-era statues of such notables as Marx, Lenin and Engels. They have been rescued from abandonment by the park’s millionaire proprietor after the autumn of communism. So far, so eerily spectacular. The jury is out on whether or not the “mock-gulag” extras of watchtowers and barbed wire are instructional or cheesy and the park has earned the nickname of Stalin’s World. Its museum depicts communism’s darkish aspect and there are some placing and acquainted propaganda posters within the artwork gallery.
• Adult €7.50, 6-16s €Four, beneath 6s free, grutoparkas.lt