Boasting gorgeous cathedrals, historic ruins, and welcoming culture, a trip to Europe is a true bucket-list vacation. Here are just a handful of the top spots to put on your Europe itinerary as well as a few tips to keep in mind as you plan your adventure.
The City of Love is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. Amazing art collections, iconic churches, and romantic alleyways dot the landscape of this beautiful city. You could spend hours at the Louvre and barely scratch the surface of its wonders. Simply strolling through Paris’ charming streets munching on a French baguette with the Eiffel Tower in the distance will make you feel as if you are in a storybook.
London is an easy jumping-off point for your European trip. Because it is an English-speaking country, it is less stressful to assimilate and get your bearings as you begin your trip and recover from jet lag. Start your trip with a visit to the British Museum before moving on to discover the beauty and mystery of Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, The London Tower, and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
As the holy grail for Catholics, there are few places on earth that are more sacred than Rome. In addition to visiting Vatican City and its iconic St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, you will want to make stops at the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps.
While in Rome, be sure to make a side trip to take in the architecture and charm of Florence. Deep in the heart of Tuscany, this quintessential Italian city boasts world-class museums featuring works such as Michelangelo’s David statue. Florence is known for being the birthplace of gelato, necessitating that you leave plenty of room for this delightful treat.
Prague, Czech Republic:
This capital city is what fairytales are made of. Begin your tour in Old Town Square to set the tone for what lies ahead in your magical journey. The Gothic architecture is highlighted by the Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, and the Royal Palace. Prague is also considerably more affordable than many of its European counterparts, making it a worthwhile stop on your tour of the continent.
While it may take more effort to reach this historic city, it is worth your time. History buffs will appreciate the chance to get up close and personal with sites such as the Acropolis and the Parthenon. Spend your days exploring the charming neighborhood of Plake, noshing on mouth-watering Greek favorites, and soaking up the warmth of the Mediterranean sun.
Take in the beauty of Bavaria from this capital city. Spend time discovering the entertainment options at the Marienplatz, stroll through the delightful English Garden, and tour some of the world’s most magnificent churches in Munich. For a completely authentic German experience, you will love immersing yourself in the fun vibe of a classic Biergarten. Pair your pint of brew with juicy sausage and a pretzel roll and you will feel like a local.
Finding an Affordable Flight:
The single largest expense of your European trip is likely to be the plane tickets. You can minimize your cost by choosing your date carefully. Traveling during the off-season such as early fall or after the holidays will yield the best savings. You will also save money if you choose the right departure and arrival cities. For example, instead of choosing to start your journey in London, you can check to see if you can score a better rate by flying into Dublin instead. Be sure to also consider alternative airports. Many travelers find more affordable fares by flying into London’s smaller Gatwick Airport than the busier London Heathrow. The day of the week that you travel may also deliver significant savings. The middle of the week is generally a better time to travel if you are looking for the biggest cost differences. Lastly, be sure to be mindful of extra fees for baggage and the privilege of choosing your own seat.
Preparing for Your Flight:
One of the biggest roadblocks to a European tour is the thought of a long flight. However, with a little planning and creativity, you can make this long-haul flight as comfortable as possible. Dressing in comfortable clothes with layers will ensure that you will enjoy your time on the plane. Since you will likely be traveling overnight, be sure to bring along items that will support your rest. Things to consider bringing include a travel pillow, an eye mask, and earplugs. You will also have a better experience if you bring along your own snacks and make an effort to stay hydrated throughout the duration of the flight. If you are traveling with children, be sure to pack items that will keep them entertained.
Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst:
While you do not want to be preoccupied with all that can go wrong on your next flight, you also want to be prepared for a variety of situations. Flight delays lost luggage, and medical emergencies are just a few of the mishaps that you should plan for in anticipation of your trip to Europe. You will sleep better at night if you know that you have a plan to deal with any type of emergency that may come up during your travels. Before you take off, be sure to familiarize yourself with the policies regarding travel compensation throughout the European Union (EU). Knowing how to protect your rights as a traveler may come in invaluable if you experience disruptions in your travel due to the airlines.
A trip to Europe is a once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunity. Make the most out of this adventure by preparing yourself for what lies ahead so that you can fill your quest for wanderlust and create lasting memories.