One of the wonderful elements of travelling Europe is the ease of navigating between countries. Be it Spain, France, Italy, or Croatia, overland adventure is part of the fun with hassle free border crossings and plenty of bus or train networks to choose from. In little more than a hop-skip-and-a-jump you can be sampling fresh baguettes, deciding on your next gelato flavour and diving the Mediterranean.
Europe’s lure is Worldwide though, and with the quick shift of cultures and customs a few quick tips can enhance even the best experience. We’ve got your top tips for a European adventure right here.
Europe Travel Tip #1: Plan Visits for Early Morning
The Louvre in Paris, the Sistine Chapel of Italy, the Grada Familia in Spain are incredible features of Europe and must do activities. Remember though, thousands of travellers each year have the same idea. When you’re planning to visit a famous monument be sure to time your visit as early in the day as possible so you can ensure entry and contend with less crowds. Some monuments (ie: The Sistine Chapel) even have a midday cut off time so be sure to check before you join excessive queues.
Europe Travel Tip #2: Where to Photograph the Eiffel Tower
The best place to photograph the Eiffel tower is not directly underneath the tower itself, So if you’re planning on a memorable photograph to take home, you’ll have to head to our top tip photographing spot. Standing directly at the tower will certainly be a rewarding experience but the sheer size of the Eiffer Tower will mean you’ll most likely only get part of it in a single frame. Instead, head to Place du Trocadéro which is located beside the River Seine. This is where you’ll receive an unobstructed views of The Eiffel Tower in all her glory. If time permits, catch a glimpse during night fall when the Eiffel tower is lit, for truly romantic view.
Europe Travel Tip #3: Run with The Bulls on Day 1
The Running of the Bulls attracts thousands of visitors to Pamplona, Spain, each July and is where chaos meets adrenalin. If you are planning to run with the bulls, then aim to do so on day 1 of the 8 day festival. An extra bull is added each day increasing injury odds each day. Run on day 1 and observe during the rest of the festivities.
Europe Travel Tip #4: 17 countries in Europe do not use the Euro
Although most European countries use the Euro as their national currency, there are 17 who use their own. If you are travelling to the following countries, remember to take some of their national currency with you: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Moldova, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine.
Europe Travel Tip #5: Greet Locals in Their National Language
While English is predominantly spoken throughout Europe it’s lovely for local’s to hear travellers attempt to communicate in the mother tongue of the country they are visiting. When buying gelato in Italy, baguettes in France, or Paella in Spain, why not say thank you in the language of the country you are in?
Europe Travel Tip #6: Research the Off Season
Some countries travelled to during the off season will offer glimpses of uncrowded hot spots and slightly cooler temperatures, but for others this isn’t the case. Resort countries like the Italian island, Sardinia for example, close down during the off season which can make it difficult to find transport or accommodation for un-prepared visitors. The best way to approached the off season is to book accommodation and transport in advance. Be sure to research if the attractions you’re keen to see are open.
Europe Travel Tip #7: Travel With Carry-Friendly Baggage
One of the wonderful parts of travelling Europe is that you can truly explore between countries by train, bus or even car. Choosing to travel using these methods means there will likely be times where you need to wander through incredibly large stations or carriageways with your luggage in tow. Spoiler alert: carting an inconvenient suitcase can really kill the joy of these moments.
Europe Travel Tip #8: Look Up
When wandering through train stations in Europe take a moment to glance up and admire the architecture. Some of these stations are masterpieces (Haydarpasa in Istanbul, Antwerp Central Station in Germany for example) with spectacularly ornate ceilings and beautifully crafted finishings.
Europe Travel Tip #9: Stay off the Grass in Barcelona
Unlike other countries, the Spanish can be a little precious about their grass. In the popular tourist hub Le Ramblas in Barcelona, grass lines the footpaths between restaurants and beside the beach, but don’t mistake this for an invitation to sit and admire the scenery; you’ll last but a few seconds before officials ask you to move.
Europe Travel Tip #10: Water is Not Free
Irrespective of ordering bottled water or tap, in many restaurants the water and bread that is placed courteously on your table before ordering is not free. What can appear like a gracious display of hospitality will most likely be added to your bill at the end of your meal. Best to check first if you prefer not to be surprised.
Words by @alexchasingdreams