Europe is one of the most popular travel destinations and busiest places for tourists, particularly during the summer. Home to some of the most beautiful and exciting cities in the world there are so many things to discover, places to see and foods to try so taking time to plan your travelling adventure through Europe is essential to ensure you immerse yourself in its diversity of cultures and history and make the most out of your European excursion.
Not only will travelling light save you from arm ache and a sore back, but it will also save you from the cost of checked luggage, as well as the fear of the airline losing your bag. If you are planning on doing a fair bit of shopping on your travels, then pack a spare thin, lightweight bag so you can check it in on your return if you have to.
Have a varied itinerary
One of the best things about Europe is its diversity, particularly when it comes to its cities. Whether it be the hustle and bustle of London or the charm of Venice, each city is vastly different, both culturally and historically so be sure to visit as many as you can. Even if you are staying in the same country, it is surprising how different each city is. Be sure to include a variety of different cities as this will give you the opportunity to discover Europe’s wealth of diversity.
Whilst it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning your trip to Europe, it is important that you remember to check if your passport has expired. If it is still intact, the other thing you will need to check is how long your passport is valid for once you have arrived. Some European countries require a three-month timeframe while others require up to six months. If your passport shorts fall of these requirements, it is likely that you will not be allowed to enter the country. Finally, and most importantly, remember to pack your passport and keep it safe throughout your trip.
Don’t be alarmed upon your hotel or hostel arrival if they ask to take your passport for the duration of your stay. It is a European Union requirement for hotels to collect your name, nationality and ID number for their law-enforcement databanks.
Check Visa Requirements
It is important you take responsibility for knowing the visa requirements for anywhere to which you are travelling to. If you are unsure or unable to find the information you need then it is always a good idea to contact an immigration solicitors or visa team as they will provide you with all the information you’ll need. Most of the time you won’t find yourself needing a visa to make a short trip however it is still important to check.
Although it’s not expected you become fluent in all of your destinations, it is a good idea to learn the basics to avoid any awkward language barriers. Downloading a translator on your phone will get you out of any sticky situations.
European Food Guide:
There are many reasons to visit Europe, not least of which is the opportunity to sample culinary delights in their homeland. In recent years, travelling has become more and more about a food experience. Travellers now plan their trip with their bellies in mind and local cuisines have become one of the main tourist attractions. Europe is home to some of the best restaurants in the world, as well as an abundance cheap mouth-watering snacks and delicious street foods.
In European markets, most food is priced by the Kilo. At produce stands and outdoor markets, it is considered rude to touch the goods prior to purchasing. Tell the vendor (or point to) what you want. If prices aren’t visible, be wary as travellers can be ripped off by market merchants in tourist centres. Buy from places that clearly display the prices.
Avoid eating at the big chains that you will find in the cities and resist the urge to stick to what you’re familiar with. Trying the local cuisines is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture as well as discovering foods you may have never tried. Europe is home to some of the best chefs in the world thanks to its fresh quality and local produce. For those adventurous foodies that desire a travelling experience of high-end European cuisines, visit one of the many Michelin star restaurants your destination has to offer for a true fine-dining experience.
Street food in Europe is about so much more than just saving money. It’s a form of cultural expression and gaining a true taste of the country.
Germany is renowned for it’s Currywurst street food dish. It is the combination of white sausage (also known as schnitzel) served with a sauce made up of curry and ketchup and fries.
If in Belgium, don’t leave without trying the crunchy but soft waffles which are served hot with melted chocolate or cream, topped with fresh strawberries.
Suppli is regarded as one of Rome’s best street foods and makes a nice change from a slice of pizza or cone of gelato (although both equally delicious). With a heart of stringy mozzarella, Suppli is a deep-fried ball of rice with a fresh tomato sauce. Visit Supplizio for a menu of traditional Italian delicacies and the best Suppli in Rome.
Spain’s unique tapas culture of bar hopping combined with delicious miniature dishes has become one of the most popular forms of dining, adopted by countries all around the world. Barcelona has some of the best and most authentic tapas in the world. Visit Cal Pep for the best tortilla in the city and a traditional tapas experience where you are not offered a menu upon arrival, instead your server will choose with you.
Eating on a budget
For those travelling on a tight budget, picnics are a great idea to enjoy cheap local produce as well as enjoying the fresh European air and culture. Head to your local grocery store and invest in some bread, cheese and maybe a bottle of wine. Find a great spot and take in the amazing sights of European architecture. Dangle your feet over the Amsterdam canals and watch people cycle by whilst tucking into your cheese baguette.
Travelling by train is one of the most popular ways to travel around the city as well as being one of the cheapest and most enjoyable (if its not too busy and you can see out of the window).
In Western Europe, you can travel to nearly every single destination by train due to its wide spread of rail-lines. In central Europe, trains are still very accessible and reliable. Investing in a rail pass is a great way to travel to multiple locations in one trip without having to spend lots of money.
This is the second most popular mode of transport although can be quite timely. If you are sticking to a tight budget then the bus is the best option. In Eastern Europe where train becomes a little more difficult, the bus is your solution.