Destination, Europe

The Top Guide to European Travel for New Adventurers

Waterfalls in Iceland

Are you about to embark on your first trip to Europe? There’s so much to see and do that European travel is a life-long endeavor. Even Europeans spend their entire lives trying to explore their continent without ever seeing it all. So how you do plan an almost impossible trip? Here’s how to make sure you make your first trip to Europe one to remember.

Take a look at some great tips and an overall guide to European travel for those who have never been to Europe. The top places and tips for your next trip.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Start by Picking Your Must-Visit Place

What European city or country calls to you most? Is there a museum you must see? An experience you have to have? Maybe you have ancestry in a particular place. The best way to plan your first trip is around your top European destination city. It will narrow down your choices tremendously and help you plan a more cohesive trip.

For example, if your family emigrated from Scotland, you can plan a trip to Edinburgh, and also visit London and Dublin, which are very easy to get to from the Scottish capital.

Travel By Comfort Level

Island Mainau, Germany

Are you fluent in English only? Pick cities and destinations that cater to tourists to limit the number of miscommunications you experience and the general stress of travel. The UK is an obvious choice – as is the Republic of Ireland. Other places where you’ll find it easy to get around on English alone include:

  • Amsterdam
  • Berlin
  • Reykjavik
  • Stockholm
  • Copenhagen

You’ll find that these places are easy to navigate and all are either very international cities where you’ll either find native English speakers or the locals are happy to chat with you in your native tongue.

Consider Traveling by Train

Orford Express, Quebec

So many people think of European travel as a grand tour. They go to London, Paris, and Rome and then they call it good. You miss a tremendous amount by flying between major cities. So, if you aren’t desperate to see the big sites – and the big sites only – consider visiting mid-size cities or small towns by train.

For example, if you want to visit Amsterdam, why not take a day trip to Leiden, Utrecht, The Hague, Maastricht, or Rotterdam? It’s easy to spend weeks in a single country, even a tiny one like the Netherlands.

You’ll save money and get a better taste of all each country – and even regions of each country – have to offer.

Plan Fun Off-Beat Activities

The Nutcracker - Festival Ballet Theater

Visiting the best-known tourist sites is fun, but sometimes, doing something that local people don’t avoid like the plague offers even better memories. Consider going to a concert, booking an escape room, or getting tickets to a play, ballet, or gallery opening. Any of these can transform your experience of a city and even make you feel like a local, at least for a few hours.

Don’t Over-Complicate European Travel

Marseille, France

European travel is meant to be an adventure, so don’t over-complicate it by trying to see the whole continent on your very first trip. Instead, start with your must-see destinations, and then consider staying a while to get to know the city’s spirit.

Hyde Park London England

Are you looking for more first-time travel advice? Make sure you check out our Bucket List and Destination archives for more great travel tips.

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