Europe will always be one of the most popular tourist and holiday destinations in the world, but far too many visitors simply don’t take advantage of all the region has to offer. Coming from the states, Traveler always surprised when we travel across Europe, just how close everything really is. So while its lovely to fall in love with Paris for a weekend or get swept off your feet in Budapest, here are our best tips for making the most of your next trip to Europe.
Get out of the city!
So many visitors simply fly in and out of the same city without ever getting outside the city boundaries, where there is so much left to explore! The city center will always offer a visitor most of the top attractions, tourist restaurants and photo opportunities, but rarely does a city center offer the culture and feel of a country like you find when you escape the tourist traps and long lines. So no matter how you travel, by bus, bike or foot, get out of the city limits!
Traveling is already exhausting enough as it is, so who wants to walk around all day when you arrive to your destination, right? Wrong! Walking and getting lost in a new city, especially when you travel across Europe is simply one of the best ways to get to know a city, find a secret hole in the wall, run in to friendly locals and discover a completely different side to a city you probably never dreamed of finding. So strap on your big boy shoes, forget the popular areas and wander off into the unknown, we promise you’ll love what you find.
We found some of our favorite areas in Europe simply by getting lost on foot, be it an amazing pub in Tallinn, Estonia or a neighborhood in Holland we never would have seen otherwise.
Rent a Car
While Europe is very centrally located and much is close together, you’ll still need more than a pair of legs to get around. Flights are a quick and (sometimes) cheap way to get around, however you’ll miss so much of the experience that if you have the time, take a bit longer and consider renting a car. While a bit more time consuming than other modes of transportation, there is really no better or exciting feeling than jumping in a car and driving off into the sunset on a road trip to the unknown. Make sure if you drive in Europe that you have a valid international driver’s license and that you are carrying Breakdown Cover from The AA as the last thing you want to be is stranded in the middle of nowhere. Traveling is all about the adventure, so don’t shy away from a more exciting way to explore a new place, the benefits always outweigh the negatives.
Jump on the Train
Easily the most popular way to travel across Europe, especially among young travelers, the train system in the region is easily the world’s finest, no matter where you are traveling to. While the German, Swiss and Finnish systems are known for their absolute efficiency and on time departures, in general the train will be the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to travel around the area.
The always popular Eurail pass offers travelers nearly endless combinations of routes, passes, tickets to truly match any travel itinerary whether you are hoping to travel in just Italy or through all the 27 countries the pass services.