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Europe Travel Guide

Explore Europe with this helpful Europe Travel Guide and fall in love with its diverse landscapes, rich history, delicious food, hiking trails, Northern Lights, sandy beaches, colorful little towns, and more!

12
EUROPEAN COUNTRIES VISITED
24
EUROPEAN UNESCO SITES
5

EUROPEAN NATIONAL PARKS

12
EUROPEAN COUNTRIES VISITED
24
EUROPEAN UNESCO SITES
5
EUROPEAN NATIONAL PARKS

Europe Travel Guide

There are numerous reasons why you should travel to Europe. With 49 countries, a rich history, and compact geography, Europe is a unique travel destination that offers diverse landscapes, good food, and amazing architecture. The continent has a lot to offer, from cultural cities to beaches, wildlife, and to stunning hikes.

A great thing about Europe is that it has open borders (apart from the UK and Ireland). Because Europe is a relatively small continent, it is very easy to travel around. The public transport is excellent and you can take cheap flights with European budget airlines. Because traveling in Europe is so easy, you can visit several countries on your road trip.

The most popular countries in Europe include Spain, Italy, France, and Greece, but also Iceland and for example, Norway to spot the Northern Lights. Europe offers something unique for every taste! No matter where you go, history is around you; from the old historical Colosseum in Rome to ancient Greece and castles in Germany. Europe is also a hikers paradise with mountain ranges like the Alps and Dolomites. For beach lovers, there are plenty of sandy beaches or visit the bustling cities of Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Paris. Europe has it all; you can even spot bears in Finland.

With 49 countries and 477 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it can be hard to choose your (next) European travel destination. Scroll down for some inspiration and learn more about the best time to visit Europe and things to know before you plan your trip.

Featured Europe Destinations

   Visit Italy
   Visit Greece
   Visit Portugal

Popular countries to visit in Europe by region

Northern Europe

Northern Europe includes the United Kingdom (UK), Ireland, and the ‘Nordic countries’ that consist of Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, and Norway. It’s a popular travel destination for the ones who love outdoor winter activities like snowboarding, hiking, and skiing. Or what about unique activities like Husky Sledding, an ice fishing safari, or a snowmobile tour on a glacier? Another reason to add Northern Europe to your bucket list is the chance of seeing the Northern Lights or to spot wildlife, like bears, in Finland. The northernmost place of Europe is the Cape Nordkinn in Norway.

Eastern Europe

The most visited place in Eastern Europe is the city of Budapest in Hungary, located along the Danube River. It is one of the most photogenic cities in Europe. Other popular travel destinations in Eastern Europe are Croatia, Russia, the city of Prague in the Czech Republic, and Warsaw in Poland. Eastern Europe is popular with budget travelers because this region can be significantly cheaper than other parts of Europe, especially when it comes to accommodation, food, and transport. 

Travel to Europe: visit Tuscany for dark sky photography

Southern Europe

Southern Europe offers outstanding history, beautiful beaches, and good food. Popular countries are Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece. The amazing cities of Barcelona, Rome, Santorini, Venice, and Florence are must-visits. Southern Europe is also known as Mediterranean Europe, because it’s situated close to the Mediterranean Sea and has, for that same reason, a Mediterranean climate. The southernmost place of Europe is Punta de Tarifa, located in Spain.

Travel to Western Europe: visit Oeschinen Lake in Switzerland

Western Europe

Because of the strong infrastructure, it’s easy to travel in and between different countries in Western Europe. Travel through the beautiful mountain scenery of Switzerland and Austria or visit the amazing museums and canals in Amsterdam, the hotspot for modern art. France is also a must-visit! It's the largest country in Western Europe. Visit Paris to visit the Louvre Museum and the Eifel Tower, or check out the wine regions to taste good wines accompanied by French cheese in the culinary capital Paris. Western Europe is a vibrant region that offers outstanding architecture, history, art, good food, coastlines, and more.

Best time to visit Europe

Depending on your interests, you can travel to Europe all-year-round. The climate in Europe is influenced by the surrounding seas, the Alpes, and the Arctic. Therefore, the climate varies from subtropical to polar climate and the weather depends on the region you choose to visit. Southern Europe has a Mediterranean climate with warm and dry summers. Even in winter, it can be spring-like. If you're more a fan of snow, Europe's winter months are perfect to visit Northern Europe or countries Austria and Switzerland. Check the climate and weather of the country you plan to visit to make sure it’s a good period to travel. 

In general, the best time to visit Europe is in the summertime, from July to August and the months before and after the high season, such as April, May, June, or September. These months are the best time to visit Europe if you're in search of good weather and (cultural) events. Temperatures will be around 25 to 30 degrees. Keep in mind that July and August are the months of school holidays, which means it's also a more expensive and crowded period to travel to Europe.

Things to know before you travel to Europe

Most European countries are safe to visit

Yes, it is safe to travel to Europe but always use your common sense; don’t provoke people, be aware of pickpockets (especially in bigger cities), protect your valuable belongings and pay attention when withdrawing money from an ATM. Also, don’t take anything from strangers (for free); no drinks, no drugs, no free taxi, nothing.

Currency in Europe

The most commonly used currency in Europe is the Euro (€). Since 2002, it is used by the majority of the European Union's member countries as a single currency. The countries of Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Sweden, and the United Kingdom still use their own local currency. The Euro is not generally accepted in these countries. However, some shops, hotels, and restaurants do accept payment in Euros.

Tipping in Europe

The tipping etiquettes in Europe may vary per country, but you usually tip if you’re satisfied with the service. In some countries (f/e Italy), the service charge is most likely included in your bill. Of course, you're free to add a little extra. Whenever there’s no service charge on the bill, a good rule of thumb is 5 to 10 percent of the total amount.

Sustainable Tourism in Europe

As we all know, traveling is not very eco-friendly, but luckily there are plenty of ways to keep your environmental impact to a minimum while traveling. Consider public transport, stick to marked hiking paths, eat local, and book eco-friendly hotels. Europe offers a lot of green travel destinations because of the strict environment & climate policy of the European Union, which aims to be climate neutral in 2050. Germany is one of the most relevant nature and ecotourism countries in Europe, and the quality of air in Sweden is one of the best in the world. Other well-known environmental-friendly countries are the Netherlands, Iceland, and Norway. With the action plan ‘The European Green Deal’ they aim to make the EU’s economic sustainable. If you really want to make an impact, consider taking part in a beach clean-up or other conservation projects.

Vaccinations for your Europe travels

European countries are well developed. There is no risk of yellow fever and malaria is not present in Europe. Routine vaccinations like MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) are recommended in Europe. For country-specific information always plan a consult with a medical travel clinic in advance. 

Check Visa requirements before traveling to Europe

Citizens from certain non-EU countries need a visa when traveling to one of the 26 countries in the European Schengen Area. These Schengen countries have a border-free visa agreement, which means there are only border controls when crossing external borders, between Schengen and non-Schengen countries. This Schengen visa is a short-term visa that allows people to travel to the entire Schengen area (for tourism or business purposes), for 90 days within 180 days. It’s not always necessary to apply for a visa on the forehand and it depends on the country you come from. Some countries, for example, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan, have signed a visa waiver agreement with the European Union. These countries don't need to apply for a Schengen Visa, but make sure you have a valid passport to enter. Ensure your passport gets stamped at arrival and departure. If it’s not stamped, it may be hard to prove how long you’ve been in Europe. Visitors who need to apply for a Visa on forehand (like inhabitants of Africa, Russia, India, and China), need to take into account that the processing time for a Schengen Visa will be 10-15 working days.

Things to do in Europ to cross off your Europe bucket list

Colorful Cinque Terre in Italy

The world-famous five fishing villages of Cinque Terre are one of the most iconic highlights of Italy, located on the Western coast of Italy at the Italian Riviera (Liguria region). These romantic villages include Monterossa al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Every single village is picturesque because of the narrow streets and multi-colored houses! Cinque Terre is a protected area and became Italy's first national park in 1999. Apart from the beautiful sights, you can enjoy hikes on the walking trails connecting the villages, taste great seafood, enjoy the small but stunning beaches or just admire the great atmosphere. The Cinque Terre National Park is also great for photography lovers!

Travel to Europe: Visit the Greek Islands and its beautiful beaches

The Islands of Greece

Greece is well-known for being the birthplace of democracy, the cradle of Western civilization and it’s remarkable and historical architecture. All islands of the Greek archipelago have beautiful archaeological sites, monuments, and museums that tell the story of Greece’s centuries-old and important history. 

In combination with a pleasant climate, overwhelming hospitality, safe waters, and delicious food, Greece is a highly recommended travel destination. The Greek archipelago includes 6000 islands and islets, a truly unique phenomenon for the European continent. All Greek islands offer pristine beaches with crystal-clear waters. Crete, Euboea, Lesbos, and Rhodes are the largest islands, while Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, Kos, and Corfu are the most popular. 

Travel to Europe: visit Tuscany for dark sky photography

Milky Way Photography in Tuscany, Italy

There are countless reasons why Tuscany is a must-visit; sensational landscapes, unspoiled nature, lovely local products, history, vineyards, olive groves, arts, and so much more! Whether you explore bigger cities like Pisa and Florence (home to the Renaissance art and architecture) or stroll through the smaller medieval villages like San Gimignano and Pienza, you will fall in love! The best Tuscany photography locations can be found in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Val D’orcia, located in the Southern part of Tuscany. There are plenty of opportunities to photograph the rolling hills and famous cypress trees. Tuscany is a unique area in Italy and worth visiting to experience La Dolce Vita! 

Travel to Europe: visit Portugal

Cultural City of Lisbon

The lively, colorful and cultural city of Lisbon is the capital of Portugal, the oldest county in Europe. Popular main attractions in Lisbon are the UNESCO world heritage sites Jeronimos Monastery and Bélem Tower, the St. George’s Castle, and the 25th April Bridge (Europe's longest suspension bridge). Whether you explore the city by foot, bike, or hop on one of the traditional trams, you will fall in love with the atmosphere, narrow streets and spectacular views (Miradouros) of the city. And if you’re into traditional music, make sure to experience the melancholy of Fado, Portugal’s traditional folk music.

Travel to Europe with help of the Europe Travel Guide and Photography by Our Planet in my Lens

City trip to Paris, the city of love

Paris attracts travelers from all over the world because of its world-famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame, and the Louvre museum. Apart from that, this charming city is famous for its rich French culture, art, history, wine regions, and delicious French cuisine. Paris is also a shopper’s paradise; from designer outlets to flea markets and big department stores to cozy boutiques. If you’ve never been to Paris, it’s time to explore the romantic vibe in the City of Love!

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