There is perhaps no continent on Earth that boasts such a long and varied history, a majestic cultural heritage and such a richly textured amalgamation of cultures, religions and ethnic groups all rolled up into one neat, easy to traverse landmass.
A trip through Europe can let you discover some of the most fascinating sites of classical history, from the ruins of ancient Greece and Rome to the remnants of prehistory such as England’s Stonehenge or Newgrange in Ireland, and the fascinating – if sombre – legacy from the more recent history of two world wars is evident almost everywhere. A trip to the heart of the Catholic church in Vatican city will open up the wonders of Renaissance art and culture for you, and Gothic and Medieval architecture in any one of the hundreds of cathedrals in Britain, Germany, France and Spain is an attraction in itself.
If history and culture aren’t enough to persuade you, Europe even boasts some of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the world, London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, the list is very long and illustrious, and shows off some of the best shopping, dining and nightlife anywhere.
In short, Europe has something for everyone, and whilst a trip here may not be very friendly on your wallet, it will certainly enrich you in ways money cannot buy.
Know Before You Go.
The northernmost tip of Europe, consisting of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden among others is a cold and unforgiving land, home to the vikings and endless winter landscapes, but in this freezing region also lies famous thermal pools, stunning fjords and icebergs skirting the arctic circle and of course one of mother natures most dazzling light shows, the Northern Lights,
In contrast to its Northern counterpart, Southern Europe sits on the Mediterannean Sea and includes some of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, Spain, Greece, Italy, Malta, and many more besides. Known for its sunny beaches, Mediterranean cuisine, amazing nightlife and cultural and historical highlights including Vatican City, The Acropolis of Greece, the Alhambra and so many more, Southern Europe is often where Europeans go to holiday!
Eastern Europe mostly consists of the former Soviet states including Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine and more. Although the region is no longer the budget travel hotspot of Europe (although there are still a few off the beaten track destinations that can claim that), the historical and cultural differences between the countries here and in Western Europe make it a fascinating region to travel.
When most of the world thinks of Europe this is the region they are thinking of. The major European power players include Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria and of course – even though it is no longer part of political Europe it still is geographically – the United Kingdom. Of course this means that Western Europe is also the city break capital of the continent, boasting city break favourites such as London, Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam.
When To Go.
When to go depends a lot on which country you are visiting. Europe stretches from the warm, balmy Mediterranean sea to the frozen glaciers of Iceland and contains a wide variety of terrains, ecosystems and weather systems, and it is usually raining somewhere. In much of Europe, peak times are during the traditional summer holidays in July and August and Christmas in December, with another peak time at Easter. It is more expensive to travel during this time and it can get very busy in the touristy resorts and areas. The shoulder seasons of March to May or September and October are good times to travel, as the weather can still be good (although this is by no means certain) and you can get some bargains on flights and sometimes accommodation too.
In general Europe is an expensive place to travel, especially in ‘classical’ Western Europe which boasts some of the most expensive countries and cities in the world, the United Kingdom and Iceland being right up near the top of the list. There are still however relative bargains to be had, especially in Eastern Europe. Whilst not as cheap as they used to be, countries such as the Balkans, Slovakia Poland, Belarus or Moldova amongst others can be relatively good value for money. On average you will be looking at travelling on at least £40 – 60 GBP a day, not including travel costs or activities. On the plus side, ATMs are widely available and credit cards are widely accepted, and the infrastructure is on the whole pretty decent, so you will have little practical trouble getting around.