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How to find the best beers in Europe

A roundup of the latest travel news from around the world

Beers of the world

If you want quench your thirst with a local beer, ask for a bière de garde when in France or a cana de cerveza del este region in Spain. The advice comes from the online "Beer Lover's Guide to European Destinations" compiled by According to the site, Europe is home to more than 2,300 breweries and has nine of the world's top 10 beer-consuming countries. The guide features beers of Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain and Britain. Find it at

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River cruise faceoff

Two river cruise lines are squaring off to see which can produce the biggest and grandest suites. Avalon Waterways, which this month launched the Avalon Panorama - featuring suites with floor-to-ceiling windows - plans to add two sister ships, the Visionary and the Vista, next year. Meanwhile, Viking River Cruises will launch four new vessels, dubbed Viking Longships, for the 2012 season. Viking says the ships will offer the most full-size rooms and full-size verandas on European rivers along with suites featuring separate sleeping and living rooms.

Deal in Ireland

Bad economic news for Ireland means good news for tourists. In a bid to woo more visitors, the government will slash the sales tax on tourism-related services beginning July 1 and continuing until December, 2013. The VAT rate charged by hotels, transportation companies, restaurants and theatres will drop to 9 per cent, down from the current 13.5 per cent. The hope is that revenue from an increased number of foreign visitors will make up for the loss in tax revenue.

Sources: Avalon Waterways, Viking River Cruises,,

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