You’re probably pretty excited if you’re finally making plans to make that long-awaited trip to Europe. The food, the culture, the history – it’s going to be a pretty amazing trip, whatever you end up doing. But instead of just visiting the continent, why not make sure that you’re getting the absolute most from your trip? By incorporating a few useful tips into your itinerary, you’ll be able to go beyond the usual Europe experience and really make the trip your own. Here’s how you do it.
The Must-Do Cities
OK, first thing’s first: there are a few places that everyone must visit on their first trip to Europe. You’ll be able to put your own twist on the trip later on but to begin with, let’s make sure that you’re seeing the European heavyweights. There are arguably five countries that should be on your first trip: the UK, France, Spain, Germany, and Italy. There are of course other gems found in Europe, but these are the biggest. Make sure you have London, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Munich, Berlin, and, oh gosh, four or five different Italian cities on your schedule.
So you’ve visited the big-hitters, what now? It’s time to visit the places that don’t quite have the same global reputation as, say, London, but which are just as good – or, at the very least, provide a greater insight into the country you’re visiting. In Spain, you’ll be just as well-served by visiting Seville as you would be Madrid if you’re trying to understand Spanish life. In the UK, you might get a better understanding of the state of the nation if you were to visit Bristol, Liverpool, and Manchester than London, too. Don’t be afraid to deviate slightly from the most popular places – that’s often where the good things live.
Get Under The Skin
You’ll be fine in the UK, but it’s just a fact of life that you won’t be able to get a full understanding of the country you’re visiting unless you can speak the language, even to a basic level. With that in mind, why not combine your travels with picking up a new skill? If you learn Italian in Italy, you’ll then be able to use your new skill as you travel around the country. And once you’ve picked up Italian, you’ll also be able to travel a little better through Spain, too – the two languages are very similar.
Get Into the Outdoors
Europe may be a bastion of culture, but it’s also pretty darn beautiful too. So don’t spend all your time swanning around museums and drinking coffee in the city square; get out of the urban zone and into nature. The mountains of Italy and Switzerland, the beaches of Spain and Portugal, and the magnificence of Scandinavia are all easily accessible and will show you a different side of the continent.
And finally, don’t forget to pack some comfortable shoes and to get involved! As with most other places, the best way to get the most out of a trip is to throw yourself into everything with enthusiasm.