Continental Europe is littered with richly cultural and historical hotspots, making it one of the mot popular travel destinations for international holiday-makers. The diversity of people, places, foods, and opportunities has encouraged millions of travellers to adventure through mainland Europe for years – the only problems are where to begin, and where to actually visit, to truly get the most out of your vacation period.
This article will explore some of the most popular European locations, and perhaps some of those that are less-well known, to give you a truly comprehensive and exciting travel guide for your trip to Europe this summer.
Bisected by the river Danube, separating the hilly Buda region from the flatter and more urban Pest district, Budapest is usually central to the plans of any European holiday-maker. As well as offering some of the most scenic opportunities of any major European city, Budapest boasts some of the continent’s most exciting architectural samples.
The city’s Great Synagogue, the world’s largest Jewish house of worship outside of New York City, and the Basilica of St. Stephen, the most sacred and revered Catholic church in all of Hungary, are only two examples located just a couple-of-minutes’ walk away from one another within the city centre.
Along with a number of great museums that tell the compelling history of Budapest’s medieval period, the city is also home to the ‘House of Houdini’, a more modern exhibit offering a ‘cabinet of curiosities’, which features the personal items and belongings of Hungarian-born magician and escape-artist, Harry Houdini.
With the plentiful opportunities the city offers, Budapest is the perfect place to start your European adventure.
Renowned for its cheap nightlife and scenic views, Prague is the next stop on our continental European tour. The city, similarly to Budapest, is bisected by a winding river, the Vltava, offering incredible views of the water-side cityscape by boat.
The Czech capital is popular with food tourists, who flock to the region to sample the city’s famous cuisine – so if you are interested in immersing yourself within national culture and food, Prague is definitely somewhere you may want to look at.
One of the lesser known attractions Prague has to offer is the Mozart Concert and Dinner Experience, allowing its participants to relax into the Boccaccio Ballroom and savour a three-course Czech and Austrian dinner, all while listening to the popular arias and duets featured in some of Mozart’s most famous operas, including ‘The Magic Flute’ and ‘Don Giovanni’.
The experience allows you to really engage with European culture, transporting you back to the pomp of such world-renowned classical artists and composers as Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi and, of course, Mozart himself, and inviting you into the world of 18th century aristocracy for a short time.
We should also mention that, with the journey from Budapest to Prague usually taking around 7 hours by train, a shorter stop in the Austrian capital of Vienna may help to divide the trip conveniently into two shorter stages. The city ranked top of Mercer’s ‘Quality of Living City Ranking’ list, making it an equally intoxicating and safe stop on your European adventure.
Continuing our northward trajectory, our next destination is renowned for its incredible nightlife, unique cuisine, and friendly people. Berlin boasts an eclectic collection of museums and attractions, installed within, and surrounded by, inspiring architectural pieces and beautiful buildings.
The Tiergarten offers a welcome and relaxing intermission from the city’s bountiful urban areas, providing scenic views and charming walks at any time of the year.
Perhaps Berlin’s most important monument, and one which we would very much recommend exploring, is The Holocaust Memorial right at the heart of the city. The ‘Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe’, as it is officially known, serves as a pertinent reminder of the role of the Nazi regime in the persecution and extermination of the Jews during the Second World War. It is an interactive and accessible monument that truly and explicitly accents the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime, and is one which we would very much encourage our audience to engage with, because of its social and historical significance.
Notably less urban that our previous selections, Amsterdam offers a different kind of city break to the usual densely-packed, skyscraper-crammed metropolitan getaway. You will notice that there are very few cars around the streets of Amsterdam. This is because the city is aiming to phase out entirely the use of cars fuelled by petrol or diesel by 2030, making cycling the primary method of transportation around the city’s area.
The absence of most motor vehicles in large parts of the city makes Amsterdam a far more relaxing experience, and makes the great number of roadside bars and restaurants far more accessible, and far less interfered by noise and distraction of an otherwise busy street.
The rivers and canals that snake through large parts of the city offer a unique drinking and dining experience, with a number of companies providing packages and deals that allow groups to dine and relax, all while taking in the remarkable scenery and culture Amsterdam has to offer by boat.
The Van Gogh Museum provides a one-of-a-kind insight into one of the world’s most renowned artists and painters, boasting a large collection of some of Van Gogh’s most critically acclaimed pieces. This, along with the other fantastic exhibitions found around the city, offer a critically cultural flavour to a city otherwise dominated by fantastic bars, restaurants, and canal opportunities.
Marking the final destination on our continental European adventure is a city world famous for its cuisine, sightseeing opportunities, and cultural experiences. Popularly referred to as the ‘City of Love’, Paris is the perfect conclusion for our European tour, and is a location that everyone should endeavour to visit at some point in their life.
The city marks the cultural epicentre for European art and food, and is not afraid to show you why. The exhibitions at the Palace of Versailles and the Louvre respectively, provide the perfect portion of history and culture, with the former particularly offering a remarkable insight into pre-revolutionary French royalty and society.
The city’s spacing perfectly invites its tourists to continue their exploration of the various sites it is able to boast, with the next experience or opportunity never very far from the last.
And of course, the centrepiece of the Parisian leg of our tour, the Eiffel Tower is a sight that any European traveller should squeeze into their itinerary. The monument flashes in a spectacular display of light and colour hourly, a sight which becomes all the more magnificent when seen at night – truly, a spectacle worthy of concluding ant European adventure.
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