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If you were to pen a list of the world’s best and most-frequented tourist destinations, Europe would probably be at the top of it. Home to the Eiffel Tower, Trevi Fountain, Lobkowicz Palace, Blue Mosque, Catedral de Mallorca, Durdle Door Beach, and the natural swimming pools of Porto Moniz, it is a humungous and diverse paradise for travellers. In fact, the continent saw an astounding 670 million international tourist arrivals last year, an 8% plus increase from 2016. And given how much easier it is now to plan a stay abroad through online processes, the numbers make sense—Europe offers countless experiences that no other location can boast. Where else will you find the Széchenyi Medicinal Bath and the Vatican Museum complex?
But while nearly everyone fantasies about touring the dreamy continent, a trip to Europe takes efficient planning, and a significant amount of effort. So, here are some interesting pointers to consider before you get packing-
Although you could visit Europe anytime, it’s better to avoid the peak season (mid-June through August), which sometimes brings intense heat and suffocating crowds. However, this season is perfect if you plan to visit a country like Scandinavia, which is hard to make a trip to otherwise. Instead of opting for the peak season, choose either the shoulder season (April to mid-June and September through October) or the off-season (November through March): the first guarantees pleasant weather and smaller crowds, and the second offers lower rates and a more deserted but also more beauteous experience of the continent.
Visas, Permits, Insurance
The visa you’ll need to tour Europe is the Schengen visa, and it comes with another crucial requirement. To apply for this visa, you’ll require an authorised travel insurance of a minimum coverage of €30,000 within the Schengen Area. To avail a comprehensive policy, head to our trusty travel insurance section. Note that if you plan to stay in a European country for longer than 90 days, you may need a long-stay visa and even a residence permit.
If you’re planning a tour of Europe, it’s very likely that you’ll be visiting quite a few countries. So you need to ensure you’re fit to make that tour. Ensure you’ve taken care of the necessary vaccinations and immunisations. Apart from this, health won’t be a huge concern for you in any EU country because their medical facilities are hardly lacking. However, if you’re in an emergency situation anywhere on the continent, call 112.
To stay connected across the many European countries that you may visit, get a global internet plan, and ensure you communicate only over Wi-Fi. Phone charges can be daunting in these areas.
A trip to Europe needs efficient budgeting. As a start, book your flight tickets as soon as you can. Last-minute bookings will cost you. You’ll also need foreign currencies; for this, the best solution is the Weizmann Forex’s Multi-Currency Card. The sleek tool lets you load 16 currencies onto it!
If a budget stay is what you have in mind for your Europe trip, budget hotels will help. To learn as much as you need about these hotels, head to this article. Again, book early to avoid soaring fares. Also, if a really worthwhile tour or a customised holiday package is what you’re seeking, whether for a group, family, or individual, visit our site right away.
Most European countries pack higher-than-normal bus and cab fares. However, opting for train travel is often a nifty decision, especially when going from one EU country to another. Not only is it easier, but it’s also more affordable most of the time. And for the third time, book in advance if the best rates are what you’re aiming for.
What to See?
Apart from the beauties already mentioned in our introduction, here’s a quick list of what to see across Europe:
- The Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic
- Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain
- Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland
- Grand Canal, Venice, Italy
- Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
- The Parthenon, The Acropolis of Athens
- Prague Castle, Prague, Czech Republic
What to Do?
Although there’s an endless list of what-to-dos in Europe, here’s a quick roundup of the very best:
- Ride a train across the Landwasser Viaduct Bridge, Filisur, Switzerland
- Skate on the frozen Keizersgracht (Emperor’s Canal), Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Swim in the Blue Lagoon, Reykjanes Peninsula, SW Iceland
- Take a gondola down the Grand Canal, Venice, Italy
- Stand on the edge of Europe at Sagres, Portugal
- Gaze at the globe’s best art at The Louvre, Paris, France
- View the Northern Lights from Ireland
Where to Eat? Where to Shop?
Everyone who tours Europe does so not just for its landscapes and interesting locals but also for its cuisine types and shopping centres. Here’s a sneak peek into some of the best eateries and shopping spots in the continent:
- El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
- Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark
- L’Ambroisie, Place des Vosges, Paris, France
- Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy
- Via Montenapoleone, Milan, Italy
- Champs-Élysées, Paris, France
- Brick Lane & Shoreditch, London, England
- Old Town, Riga, Latvia
Thrifty Travel Tips
- Ensure you book online whenever you can.
- If you’re a student, use your ISIC for multiple discounts across travel, stay, and food.
- Pick a free city tour!
- Don’t forget to collect your VAT refunds!
- Eat at home-run restaurants for more affordable rates.