Europe is the most visited continent in the world – and with good reason too. From stunning natural beauty that will take your breath away to deep-rooted culture and traditions that stand strong till date, and from vibrant culinary experiences that delight your taste buds in the best kind of way to fun festivals that promise something for everyone – you will find that no matter which countries you visit, Europe tourism truly offers it all. You’ve seen it in movies, you’ve read about it in books and you’ve dreamt of it deeply. Now, it’s time to stop dreaming and start planning!
Located in the Northern Hemisphere, Europe is the union of several peninsulas and islands. The largest peninsulas, Mainland Europe and Scandinavia to the north, are divided by the Baltic Sea, while the Iberian peninsula, Italy and the Balkans can be found down south. The Black and Aegean Seas clearly separate the Balkans from Asia, while the Adriatic Sea separates the Balkans from Italy, and the Mediterranean Sea separates the Balkans from Iberia, and Europe from Africa.
The sheer size of Europe means that topography and terrain tends to change from region to region as well. To the north, you are likely to find rocky terrain, glaciers and the iconic Scandinavian fjords, which are formed when a glacier recedes. Central Europe is less rugged and more wooded than its northern counterpart. Its most notable highlands include the Ardennes in Belgium, the Vosges in France and the Black Forest in Germany.
However, some of the most popular Europe tourism places can be found in the Balkan and Italian peninsulas. Collectively known as the Alpine Mountain Range, this area includes the Pyrenees, the Alps, the Apennines, the Balkans and the Carpathians, as well as the infamous volcano, Mount Vesuvius. If you’re looking for a winter adventure, including some skiing, snowboarding and après-ski fun, look no further than the European Alps – a must-do in Europe tourism.
Just like its terrain, Europe’s weather varies dramatically across seasons and regions. As Europe sits entirely in the Northern hemisphere, Spring falls from March to May, Summer from June to August, Autumn from September to November and Winter from December to February. However, rest assured that ‘summer’ can mean very different things for temperature and climate, depending on how far north or south you find yourself.
As a rule of thumb, countries like Spain, Portugal and Italy, that lie near the Mediterranean, tend to be warmer than their Scandinavian counterparts that lie in the north, meaning that their summers will be significantly drier and hotter and their winters will be much milder. This makes Mediterranean countries a first-choice for many when it comes Europe tourism, but rest assured that Northern Europe holds its own charm, too. In fact, a key highlight during summertime in Scandinavia is the endless daylight, often marked by the celebration of Midsummer festivals across the region.
European culture is strongly marked by an appreciation for the arts. Music, literature, philosophy, film, architecture and fine art are not only an important part of the continent’s history, but its present. Therefore, a key aspect of Europe tourism is immersing yourself in this wonderful world – visiting the Louvre in Paris, experience open-air opera in Rome, enjoying a flamenco festival in Spain or participating in one of the many film festivals that take place throughout the year in Europe.
However, don’t forget that Europe is one of the most multicultural parts of the world! This makes the continent a melting pot for interesting ideas and experiences. Today, you can feast on both authentic and updated versions of traditional European cuisine, enjoy music that is a pleasant fusion of old and new sounds, and even, enjoy a taste of the East by visiting one of the many Chinatowns that dot the continent.
Europe tourism has been booming for decades, with the immense popularity of destinations like Paris, Rome, Venice and London. But in recent years, there has been a rising interest in lesser-explored countries in Europe, like Croatia, Montenegro, Malta, Iceland and more. The beauty of travelling to and within Europe is that you can always find and create an exciting itinerary, no matter what your preferences and budget may be.
Today, it’s very easy to get around Europe as well, with the well-connected Eurail which links 28 countries together, intercity buses that are safe and easy on the pocket, and cheap flight tickets from low-cost providers like Easy Jet, Ryan Air and the likes. If you’re travelling with a large group of family or friends, it is often convenient – and really fun – to rent a car and make it a road trip to remember.
Most European cities have good taxi availability and ride-sharing applications like Uber are often available as well. Local taxis tend to run by the meter and are usually quite safe and comfortable to take during the day and night; however, you often don’t need them, because most places are very well connected by the local train and bus systems. These become even cheaper when you opt for a daily or weekly travel pass.
If you’re craving some retail therapy, Europe is the ideal place to shop – not only for popular high-street brands, but also, for unique, unusual trinkets that you will find in the flea markets and stalls that are frequent in most countries. Avoid tourist-traps and purchasing souvenirs from neighbourhoods that are popular with tourists, as prices will almost certainly be inflated. Instead, venture down the off-beaten track, and explore local shopping destinations wherever you go – you will not only find better prices, but better products as well.
Now, that you have got the low-down on the world’s most loved travel destination – it’s time to start planning a “EuroTrip” of your own. At SOTC, we offer a wide range of Europe tour packages that allow you to visit Europe in your own way and your own time. Head over to your nearest SOTC branch or give us a call to make your European travel dreams a reality!
English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Italian, Swedish, Portugese
Here are some travel tips to keep in mind during your Europe tour -