With its romantic Parisian caffs, German beer festivals, chic Italian shopping, historical English landmarks and Spanish blue flag beaches, Europe offers something for everyone. Every country is different, but there are a few tips that can help you make the most of your trip.
When travelling in Europe you will be able to take advantage of a diverse range of accommodation options. Europe is generally very busy during the summer months between May and August, which can make it more difficult to secure your first choice of accommodation.
If you are travelling during peak periods it is sensible to book in advance if at all possible. It’s unlikely that you wouldn’t be able to find somewhere to stay on short notice, but you may not be able to secure a room in the hotel of your choice. Additionally, if you are visiting a town during a festival such as Munich’s Oktoberfest, you may really struggle to find any accommodation at all within the central locale.
During the summer months you can take advantage of the many campsites and there’s also a good range of hostels for those who don’t mind sharing facilities. Hotels in the area offer everything from basic rooms with a shared bathroom to 5-star bedrooms with en suite facilities. There is also the option to hire an apartment or villa, which can provide good value for larger groups.
Most European cities operate a modern public transport infrastructure with trains, buses and subways offering a cost-effective way to explore the local attractions. There’s almost always the option to buy a multi-stop ticket, which will allow you to make as many stops as you like in any one day.
Some cities such as Berlin, Paris and Madrid have a high-speed train service connecting to other cities in the country. These services can be useful if time is limited, but they do cost 40-50% more than standard trains.
From Alpine skiing and swimming with whales in the winter to a Spain walking holiday and relaxing on a Greek beach in summer, Europe offers no shortage of things to do and see. Activities vary widely from country to country, but utilising local tourist information services will ensure you experience the best that each place has to offer.
Many of the cultural attractions such as museums and castles in Europe can be visited free of charge. Those that do charge typically cost less than ten Euros and many will have a free admission day each week or month.
Guided walking holidays in Europe have become very popular, not least because many offer the opportunity to meet other travellers with similar interests. These organised trips allow you to experience the unique wildlife of the country and you can even cross borders into neighbouring countries.
Eating at local restaurants or from street vendors will give you a taste of authentic cuisine on a budget, at least when compared to many of the well-known chain restaurants. There are also lots of small shops selling sandwiches for people on the go.
Pre-booking your accommodation and travel as early as possible will save you money and time, not least because you won’t have to search for a hotel on your arrival or head to the station early to try to book a ticket to your next destination.
Many cities offer tourist cards, which can give you free or discounted entry to the area’s top attractions, tours and restaurants. Local tourist offices can issue these cards, but it is also possible to purchase them online in most areas.
Shannen writes for a range of travel and leisure websites and blogs. She loves all forms of flying and owns her own light aircraft but until she experienced a flight with Virgin Balloons she had not realized how special hot air ballooning could be.