As everyone knows, vacationing in Europe can be overwhelming and exhausting, but utterly amazing. With so many countries situated closely together, you can move between different cultures, landscapes, and languages with ease. Given just how much there is to explore, it’s good to decide in advance what kind of vacation you are looking for. Do you love relaxing on the beach for days on end, enjoying fine food and wine in the sun, or do you prefer hiking and adventure in a rugged, mountainous environment? Pick a pastime and start planning!
The Alpine Experience
No matter the season, the Swiss Alps are undoubtedly one of the most impressive natural features of the continent. The tallest and most extensive mountain range in Europe, they are just as impressive in winter as in summer. This means that no matter the time of year you visit, there are innumerable things to do. In winter, the abundant snowfall makes for perfect skiing and snowboarding. Chamonix, Grindelwald and St. Moritz are just a few of the most popular resorts, all boasting a range of accommodation options and, of course, spectacular pistes.
Come summer, the Alps are a dream for hikers and nature lovers. Lush grasses and freshwater lakes make for the perfect combination of trekking and swimming. Moreover, after a long day outside you can enjoy one of the many spa towns that lie at the feet of some of the Alpine range’s most beautiful sections. Get yourself to a dedicated wellness hotel with saunas, solariums, and pools to guarantee complete relaxation.
Cultural City Hopping
Are you the type who creates a minute-by-minute itinerary of all the museums, galleries and shows you want to see while abroad? If this sounds familiar then there’s no doubt that you need to prioritize Europe’s cultural capital cities on your agenda. Paris is one of the most-visited cities in Europe, and for good reason. With its exceptional reputation for food and world-class art housed at incredible sites such as the Louvre and Pompidou Center, it is an absolute feast for all culture-vultures. For tips on traveling in France, be sure to check this previous article to ensure a smooth landing.
No cultural tour of Europe would be complete without a trip to Rome. From the Colosseum to the Pantheon, the city is home to numerous ancient structures still standing today that offer an incredible insight into life almost 2,000 years ago. Should your thirst for entertainment ever run dry, Rome’s famed piazze will let you have endless opportunities for coffee, ice creams and food. From Rome, you are free to make use of the excellent train connections that stretch across the country and visit some of the other stunning cities Italy has to give. Florence and Naples are a little over an hour away each, while Milan and Venice take just three and four hours, respectively.
Sun, Sea and Sand
Southern Europe is blessed with incredible beaches and numerous opportunities for sunbathing throughout the year. Go island hopping in Greece, partying in Ibiza, surfing in Lisbon or simply enjoy the sophisticated and luxurious atmosphere of the Cote d’Azur. For those traveling with children, the Algarve and Spain’s Costa Brava are particularly recommendable, with hotels providing a number of tailored services and activities to allow you to be sure your kids stay suitably entertained.
If you are left famished after a day spent swimming in crystal clear waters and enjoying the fine golden sands at the beach, fear not. Southern Europe is famous for its small cobbled side streets bursting with life: artisan workshops sit next to cafes, while people hang their laundry above your head from their apartment balconies, and buskers play away on street corners. Head to one of the innumerable small restaurants tucked away in these bustling alleys to enjoy delicious tapas, olives, and the freshest fish you can find.