Europe Travel Guide – How to Travel Like a Pro
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Europe – A Traveller’s Paradise
Going on a Euro trip is every traveler’s dream. With the world’s most visited tourist attractions and enriched cultural heritage, the continent of Europe is full of wonders. According to the World tourism organization, European travel amounts to 50% of the world’s tourist arrivals, being the most visited region globally.
Backpackers worldwide truly cherish Europe for spending their holidays, traveling around the lush green pastures, and admiring historical landmarks. With over 37 sites from UNESCO’s World Heritage List, France is the top tourist destination globally.
Despite COVID hitting Europe hard, it has replenished its tourism industry gradually. It is still one of the top destinations tourists prefer to visit, probably for many reasons, including these interesting facts about Europe.
Interesting Facts About Europe
Europe isn’t only a traveler’s paradise. It is home to fascinating fun facts too. For instance, you can’t escape the dread of mosquito bites anywhere in the world. But Iceland? The city has no sign of mosquitos! Due to the cold weather and not-so-shallow ponds, mosquitos cannot inhabit the place!
Furthermore, one wouldn’t miss visiting the Eifel Tower, the gigantic Colosseum or Disney Land while thinking about traveling to Europe. However, the most visited attraction in the whole of Europe is the Louvre!
With a record 10.2 million visitors in 2018, the Louvre houses an extraordinary collection of art. It is so extensive that even if you spent 1 minute admiring an art piece, it would take you around 18 days straight to view the whole collection completely!
Similarly, the British Museum in London is one of the most famous Museums in the world, receiving around 6 million tourists every year. The collection displayed in the Museum is said to be only 1% of the total collection it has, as it can display more than 800,000 objects at a time.
Europe Travel Ban
Europe was affected immensely because of the COVID-19, leading to the most significant economic collapse in Europe’s travel and tourism sector. A record 51.4 percent decline (amounting to €987 BN) has been recorded according to the recent annual Economic Trends Report, conducted by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
The Council traces this profound and damaging decrease back to the Europe travel restrictions imposed to control the outspread of the new strains of the Coronavirus. The Economic Trends report marks a 48.4% cut in the domestic spending in Europe, mainly resulting because of intra-regional Europe travel. The international spending in Europe reflects an even more significant decline, a whopping 63.8 percent.
However, despite the numbers shared by WTTC, Europe remains the top region for international visitor spending.
Before You Go for Europe Travel
There’s no denying the charm of traveling to Europe from the UK or anywhere else in the world, but there are particular prerequisites that you should take into consideration, such as:
- Essential Visa & Permits for Europe Travel
This section covers:
Visa & Residence Permit for Long Stay in Europe
You may sometimes need to comply with long-stay visa requirements if you intend to visit an EU (European Union) country for more than 90 days. Moreover, some countries also require you to apply for a residence permit.
Most countries would ask for the following documents for applying for a long-stay visa:
- Passport (or a valid travel document)
- Documents clarifying the purpose of the intended stay (e.g., school, work contract, leisure etc.)
- Documents providing proof of financial resources
- Sickness insurance / Travel insurance Europe
- Police record
- Medical certificate
It’s better to check out the complete list of documents with the website of the relevant authority of the country you want to visit.
When you get your resident permit or long-stay visa from one of the EU countries falling under the Schengen area, you are permitted to travel within this area freely “for up to 90 days during a 180-day period”.
NOTE: Schengen area doesn’t include the UK, Ireland, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Croatia.
Short Term Travel to Europe from UK
The UK became a part of the European Union in 1973 (referred to as the European Economic Area back then). Since then, travel to Europe from the UK didn’t require any strict documentation, giving Britons the freedom of movement in Europe.
With the Brexit transition period ending now, traveling to Europe after Brexit will not remain the same. However, British travelers can still visit Europe without a visa, but only for short trips. This condition will only be fulfilled if the EU nationals get visa-free access to travel from Europe to the UK.
In short, while UK citizens don’t need to apply for a Schengen visa (unlike many other nationalities) for now, they will need to get ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) visa waiver from 2022.
Short Term Travel to Europe from the U.S.A
Currently, U.S citizens who wish to travel to Europe don’t need a Europe visa waiver for trips not exceeding 90 days. They will need one by the end of 2022.
For further information on the topic, you may visit Americans Traveling to Europe – EU Visa and Entry Requirements for US Citizens.
If you want to know if you’re from a country that needs a Schengen visa for Europe travel, you may visit Who Needs and Who Doesn’t Need a Schengen Visa to Travel to Europe?
Health Concerns Surrounding COVID-19
The European Commission plays a vital role in allowing people to meet family & friends traveling for work & leisure, ensuring free movement of goods and services across Europe. However, the commission had to implement certain Europe travel restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus to protect all Europeans’ health and well-being.
They have taken several well-coordinated initiatives in this regard, such as:
- Re-open EU
- EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate
- Mobile Contact Tracing Apps
You can get further updates for all these on Safe Travel Between European Countries, the European Commission’s online platform set up for this purpose.
The European Union COVID Traffic Light System
Another significant step the European Commission takes to ensure the health and safety of travellers and the European Union is initiating a traffic-light system designed to classify EU countries according to the COVID infection rates.
Since the infection rate and the measures to tackle them differ for every country, it is better to check out individual countries while visiting them.
Visit The European Union COVID Traffic Light System for further details. And, if you’re a European wishing to visit the UK during the COVID pandemic, you better consult the Best UK Travel Guide 2021, featuring a similar UK travel corridor. It also contains countries labeled under Red, Amber, and Green zones based on the coronavirus aftermath in each of them.
Finances & Budgeting for the Trip
Planning for any trip can be a daunting task, especially when it’s your first euro trip. It’s better to start with finalizing a destination(s) that you would prefer to visit. Then do some research about a list of attractions that you’d like to see the most through the trip. After that, you need to finalize the details on accommodation and daily meals.
All this can become even more challenging if you’re traveling to Europe on a budget. You need to consider even finer details in such a case. Resorting to a trip cost calculator can be quite helpful under such circumstances. The more information you can figure out before traveling to Europe on a budget, the better you’ll be able to enjoy the trip.
One thing is for sure. You don’t want to give trouble to your family & friends back home while you’re gone vacationing. Though tons of apps like Whatsapp, Skype, Google Meet etc., allow you to contact your loved ones, almost all mainstream communication apps require both the caller and the receiver to have a viable internet connection.
The problem is that while traveling around, a reliable internet connection becomes one of the scarcest commodities. So, is there a way around it? Yes, there is, i.e., the Talk Home App. Available for Android and iOS, you can call more than 250 destinations worldwide on mobile networks and landlines. Since it relies on local lines to connect, the receiver doesn’t need an internet connection or the app installed on their mobile phone. To learn more about the best international calling option for you, please check out our detailed blog post here.
Planning Your Trip
If you’re interested in the cheapest way to travel Europe, you better plan ahead. It will help you get the best deals on airfare, accommodation, transportation and food. In the end, you’ll be able to have more fun for less money.
Where to Stay
The overall cost of your trip relies significantly on where you stay while travelling. It can vary greatly depending on the places you visit and your general spending habits. Europe has a lot to offer when it comes to choosing your preferred location for staying. From luxury hotels to hostels and shared accommodations, you can select according to your budget.
Hostels can be the best choice for backpackers wishing to explore Europe, available anywhere between $15 – $20 a night. There is also the option of boutique hostels in this category, offering you a much better experience at a higher cost. These compete with hotels and Airbnb.
If you want a noticeably better experience than hostels, you have the option to choose from mid-range hotels that can cost you somewhere around $150 per night. It might look too expensive to some, but the fact is that $150 a night is quite good of a deal under current circumstances. Remember, it’s an estimate. You may be able to find a better deal if lady luck is on your side.
In most cases, it doesn’t matter what area or city of Europe you’re visiting. You’ll still be able to find luxury hotels. If your pockets are deep enough to bear anything between $200 – $300 a night, you’ll get a great experience. However, this can contribute significantly to increase the overall cost of your Euro trip.
Though Airbnb costs have gone up unbelievably high in the past few years, it remains one of the best alternatives to hotels. More so if you’re travelling with your family and looking for private apartments in good condition. At about $100 a night, you’ll be able to find private accommodation good enough for your whole family if you want to go with the Airbnb option.
Routes to Follow & Booking Your Tickets
Moving from place to place is another area of your travel that can affect your budget seriously. Again, this also depends on the sites you want to travel to and how. A one-way ticket will cost you under 2 EUR (about $2.5 US) around most European cities if you choose to travel via local subways, trams, or buses. However, there can be a significant fluctuation in rates of intercity transportation. Let’s have a breakdown of some most common transportation options:
The chances are that you’ll be surprised to see how competitive low-budget airline fares can be. You’ll often be able to find deals with fares as low as 5 EUR (about 6 USD) for a round-trip. Companies like EasyJet, Wizz, Ryanair, Vueling and Transavia continue to offer unbelievably cheap flights across Europe.
To catch the best deals, you need to book at least a month in advance. And, don’t forget to ensure that the airport you choose to fly to isn’t too far out of your way. Or, you may end up paying more for getting back from the secondary airport, which will ruin your plans of travelling cheap.
Many consider trains the best means to travel across Europe, though not always cost-effective or efficient. You can buy tickets online for most European rail companies, which is helpful in some of the most popular or faster trains. For instance, Germany’s Deutsche Bahn and France’s TGV. The prices for intercity trains vary widely, depending upon the country and whether you choose a slow train or a high-speed train.
EuRail Pass can be another great option to consider, allowing travellers to explore Europe in a convenient & affordable manner. It offers a fixed number of stops through a specific time. These passes can be country-specific, regional or continent-wide.
Bus travel in Europe generally lacks in many different ways than train travel, though certain lines offer great amenities like Wi-Fi and extra spacious seats. They also take much longer than trains in most cases. However, they are still dependable, especially when you consider their low cost. While different countries have their national bus service, some lines will take you across long distances internationally. Some of the most popular names include Megabus (UK), Busabout, Flixbus, and Eurolines.
Ridesharing becomes a great option if you have a flexible schedule. It offers you a cheap alternative to travel between cities (or even countries), sharing rides with locals. It is perfectly safe to travel like this, as the drivers are verified individuals. BlaBlaCar is one of the most well-known names in ridesharing services.
On a side note, one of the best things about living in current times is the apps. They have turned into your genies, ready to save you some trouble by sorting things out for you. And the best part is that there is an app for almost everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a fantastic collection of top travel apps that can help you consolidate planning for your trips, especially for something as varied and diverse as a Euro trip.
Things to Do & Best Places to Travel in Europe
So, here comes the best part, the best places to travel in Europe and the best things to do to make the most out of your Euro trip. The fact of the matter is that there are almost infinite places to visit and countless things to enjoy running across Europe. Here’s a list of top sites and activities to get you started.
Beautiful Houses to Canals and Coffee Shops – Amsterdam is a Must-Go
Known worldwide for its beautiful homes, canals, coffee shops, and Red-Light District, there is much more you can get out of your visit to this famed European city. Friendly locals with a vibrant art & music scene add to its charm. Don’t miss out on Jordaan and Oost if you want to get a taste of Amsterdam’s fantastic outdoor cafes.
Unique Architecture, Sandy Beaches & Lively Nightlife – Barcelona’s Got it All
If you think NYC is the only city that never sleeps, Barcelona will surprise you. It runs nonstop, 24/7 – 365. It is also home to one of the most famous football teams revered not only by the Barcelonians but football fans worldwide. In addition to a host of festivities throughout the year, it also offers a vibrant nightlife offering everything from quality food to parties till dawn. And if you love sand, sunbathing, and beach volleyball, there’s plenty too.
Berlin – There’s More than Meets the Eye
Most of you probably already know Berlin because of the Berlin Wall. But is that all about it? Definitely not. There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Berlin. It will surely surprise you with its cultural flair. There are hundreds of museums, art galleries and events, especially the Berlin Opera and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. It also boasts of Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site bustling with art & culture.
London – One of the Best Tourist Spots in the Whole World
No exaggeration at all when you say so! According to a report, 37.9 million people visited the UK in 2018 alone, and London attracts eight times more visitors than the second most visited city in the UK. Let’s just give you a glimpse of what makes London such a top tourist attraction. Buckingham Palace, world-class museums (most of them for free!), The London Eye, Lush Parks and Gardens, bustling nightlife, a cultural melting pot, and so much more.
Immerse in the Novel Scandinavian Experience
Suppose you’re interested in Vikings, hiking, cycling, canoeing & kayaking, or intrigued by historic buildings and churches, or even fond of modern art & architecture. In that case, Scandinavia should be on your bucket list. This region of Europe offers a high quality of life, beautiful & friendly locals, clean and historic cities. However, all this doesn’t come cheap – though you can resort to different ways of cutting as much cost as possible. Some most famous Scandinavian cities include Stockholm, Copenhagen, Lapland in Finland, Gotland, and Norway’s Fjords.
Let the History & Culture of Prague Overwhelm You
Prague combines three great things for you in one place; unique history, beautiful city, and cheap dining. In fact, it is among the cheap places to travel in Europe. Whether it’s delicious food, cheap beer or roadside snacks, people from all over the world flock to Prague to get the best of what they’re looking for. It’s one of the most beautiful & picturesque cities in Europe and the whole world, for sure.
French Riviera – One of the Best Places to Dine & Wine in Europe
If you want to catch some great sun, get along with the rich & famous, or enjoy sailing in gigantic yachts, don’t miss the French Riviera experience. When it comes to French Riviera, Nice is one great place to visit, with Monaco just a stretch away.
Interlaken – Let’s Free Your Spirit
Hosted by the picturesque mountains of Switzerland, Interlaken welcomes you to unwind and free your spirit with some marvelous hikes, outdoor sports, and some of the best hot chocolate in the world. A place like this gives you a break from the hustle and bustle of museums and art galleries of the city hubs.
Rome – Engulf in European History
Coliseum, Trevi Fountain, and Pantheon are just a few landmarks of the history and architecture that Rome has on offer. Roman Empire ruled over the European continent for centuries and most of the world at one point in history or the other. However, history is not the only thing found abundantly in Rome right now. You also get to enjoy some fantastic food and nightlife here nowadays.
Explore Iceland – Let the Nature Take You Over
If you want to fall in love with nature, you may never find any place richer and better than Iceland. Nature at its best,