Five beautiful theatres in Europe
Thanks to its rich architectural and cultural history, Europe is blessed with a seemingly unending supply of beautiful buildings to visit. The good news is that some of the most stunning places are theatres as a hefty amount of time, money and effort will have gone into them, as a show of how important the arts are to the cities concerned.
So it’s always a good idea to earmark some time to see the major theatres when exploring a new place, especially if that means catching a show in a world-class venue.
To highlight some of the best, here are the Flexicover team's favourite five.
Shakespeare’s Globe, London
If all the world’s a stage, then Shakespeare’s Globe is at the top of our bucket list. Oozing with historical, cultural and aesthetic significance, the Southwark venue has been faithfully recreated from Shakespeare’s home theatre, which closed in 1642. Given that he wrote world-famous plays like Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Macbeth to be acted out here, it’s only right that they continue to be shown at the Globe today. As well as productions of our favourite plays from The Bard, the Globe is also home to an exhibition, tour, restaurant, bar and training centre.
Palais Garnier, Paris
When it comes to opulent splendour, it doesn’t get much better than Le Palais Garnier in bonne Paris. It looks a marvel from the outside, but that’s nothing compared to the grand interior. Completed in 1875, it uses gilded embellishments, luxurious upholstery and extravagant Beaux-Arts designs to make it one of the most famous opera houses in the world. Don’t forget to look up – the eight-ton bronze and crystal chandelier is a stunning centrepiece, especially as it’s surrounded by Chagall’s famous painted ceiling. C’est magnifique!
Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, Valencia
In a very different way, the contemporary-looking Palau de les Arts Reina is just as magnificent. Its beauty is in the eye of the beholder: depending on the angle, it could look like a cracked egg, a spacecraft, a feather plume, a warrior’s helmet or a ship, provoking as much thought on its exterior as the operas, ballets, plays and concerts shown within. It’s the genius work of the renowned (and locally born) architect Santiago Calatrava, who unveiled the arts centre in 2005. It’s certainly worth a visit, especially as it’s located within Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences.
Margravial Opera House, Bayreuth
Near Richard Wagner’s hometown of Leipzig lies an opera house that no doubt influenced his passion – even UNESCO declared it “a masterpiece of Baroque theatre architecture”. Built between 1745 and 1750, its ornate work, from intricate ceilings to painted canvas sides has been faithfully maintained so that it’s as awe-inspiring now as it was back then. Its latest renovation means it’s currently closed, but expect it to look and sound better than ever when it re-opens on 17 April 2018. Both Ryanair and BA fly direct to Nuremberg, and Bayreuth is an easy one-hour train ride away.
Perched on the edge of Hamburg’s harbour is one of the newest and most stunning theatres in Europe. Designed by Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, it opened at the start of 2017 after six years of delays. The modern-looking glass structure, created to reflect the sails of the ships that pass its port, houses two stunning concert halls. The larger of the two, The Great Hall, has 2,150 seats set out in a 'vineyard architecture' style, giving excellent views of the concerts that take place inside. But as the hall is still attracting those curious to see its state-of-the-art offerings, you’ll need to snap up tickets well in advance.
So wherever your travel plans take you it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.