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Things To Do In Europe
It wouldn’t matter if you never saw anything else in the world. But never say no to a trip to Europe. The heart of the world, this continent is as diverse in its landscape as it is in its culture and history. From the Nordic and Danes to Vikings, the Brits to the Saxons, the Romans, Italians, Slavics and Greeks; Europe is made of different kinds of people. So what do you do when in Europe? Well, aside from admiring the palaces and castles and rivers and streets, there are thousands of things to do in Europe. All one needs is an eye-opener. So here’s one, a brief guide to what to do when in Europe.
Northern Europe (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland)
Northern Europe is highlighted by its Northern Lights, midnight suns and lapland with igloos, sled rides and Santa Claus meets. The region is one big fairytale in itself when it comes to the things you can do there.
When in Sweden, you will be spoilt for choice - to go for hikes and treks or to shop through its fashionable boutiques. There is the renowned H&M - its home brand, where you get tons of discounts too. Otherwise the best things to do in Sweden start with seeing the Norther Lights in winter, gong around the cities to tour churches and open air museums, as well as admiring the palaces.
The best things to do in Norway include cruises down the unique fjords or grooves in mountains here, hikes and walks up glaciers that look like mirrors, taking sled rides that are drawn by huskies or reindeer; and of course, going camping in the cold wilderness to see the brilliant Northern Lights.
Denmark is not only home to the fierce Viking warriors of the yore but also to Hans Christian Andersen, the man who gave the world some of its most cherished fairytales. So when in Denmark, do visit his museum, enjoy a day at Lego land in Billund, stroll through Trivoli Gardens and chill at the beaches in Skagen. There are also quite a few royal palaces and cathedrals to interest those architecturally inclined.
Finland is best known for its Santa Claus village first, and its Northern Lights later. You should visit Finland to see how the original home of Santa is, enjoy stays inside glass igloos, go for cruises to sight midnight sun (in summers) and enjoy sled rides under the Northern Lights during winter. Other activities here are fishing, swimming, lakeside picnics and the best - Saunas.
Well, Game of Thrones fans, Iceland should be on your list to see the world, and of course, the locations of GOT. This place has some amazing volcanoes, geothermal springs as well as tall glaciers to hike up on. There are modern museums and music bands that put up local concerts. Your time in Iceland will be worth every second.
Western Europe (Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Netherlands, Belgium)
Western Europe is full of castles and solemn moors, cute hamlets and countryside that is flanked by tulips or sunflowers. From the English villages to the canals of Netherlands, Belgium food to French wines, this part of Europe is ready to offer you a great many delights.
The Irish do two things very well - drink beers and make superstitions for every day of the week and every hour of the day. When in Ireland, indulge in the former with Guinness Beer and enjoy a meal with the locals at a cafe for the latter. You will also love the Game of Thrones tours, Shannon river rides, a drive around the Ring of Kerry and cultural walks in the streets of Dublin.
What to do in this land of highlands and kilts and red-headed warriors? Well, for starters, you could visit the Loch Ness to sight its monster, enjoy your time touring castles and locations where Outlander was shot, go to the cafe where Harry Potter was written and walk around the culturally rich Edinburgh.
When in England, spend most time in London, visiting some of its top places like the Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, London Dungeon and London Eye. Take a picture under Big Ben, ride the red bus and black cabs. Take a road trip up to York, enjoy a weekend at Bath and traverse the cobbled streets of English villages.
Visit Paris for the stunning Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum and Notre Dame, take a cruise down River Seine; go down to the French Riviera for its lovely pebbled beaches and luxurious resorts, indulge in wine making and harvesting of grapes. The French Alps are great for winter ski resorts while the island of Corsica is breathtaking, with an adoring culture.
When in Netherlands, you should go cycling around the towns, enjoy boat rides in the canals of Amsterdam, hop around the countryside to see windmills and if you happen to be there during spring and summer seasons, then a walk through the Tulip Gardens. There are also many art galleries and museums along with palaces to keep you entertained in this country.
Central Europe (Germany, Switzerland, Austria)
The central zone of Europe is mainly highlighted by three countries, with Germany leading the charge. The region has a distinct Slavic background and you will also find a lot of Bohemian culture to go with it. From Alps to forests, hikes to picnics, there is much to do here.
When in Germany, tour Berlin for its truly inspiring art scene - murals, graffitis and the great Berlin Wall. Go for the Oktoberfest where beer flows like water and everybody comes out in their best traditional garb. You shall also enjoy visiting the Black Forest region to trek. For history buffs, Germany also offers many Nazi and World War II tours through prisons, Concentration camps, graveyards and Nazi army camps.
The best thing to do in Switzerland, aside from stowing your money into Swiss bank accounts of course, is to gorge on chocolates. To burn off those calories, go trekking to the Alps and Jura Mountains, boat in Lake Geneva, walk around Interlaken, visit Bernese Highlands and tour around Ticino and Valais. Movie buffs, there is also a special ‘The Godfather’ tour you can take in this country.
Austria is a beautiful country, that is probably one of the most understated fact about it. So when you visit it, make sure to keep aside long days to just admire its palaces, cathedrals, even the most mundane houses and streets that are ancient and made in baroque work. Visit the country during Christmas season and you are in for a treat in the night markets of Vienna. There is great skiing opportunity here as well. There are also fairytale towns like Feldkirch and Zell am See.
Southern Europe (Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Andorra)
The exotic, cheery part of Europe, a far cry from the cold harsh landscapes of the Nordic region, Southern Europe boasts of some beautiful cities by the sea. From Andorra to Croatia, there is just too much steeped culture and scenery to miss this part when on a holiday.
The Spanish like to dance and the Spanish like to eat good food. So when in Spain, make sure you indulge in a little of both. Take to the rooftop cafes and eateries for some mouth-watering patata bravas, Spanish omelette and other Tapas, enjoy Bull fights and Bull races, participate in the La Tomatina festival, visit Barcelona for its Football Mecca and explore the UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Alhambra. Madrid is great for a cultural walk and the beaches of Ibiza for long retreats.
From walks in the old district of Lisbon to perfect Instagram photos in the backdrop of white washed red-roofed buildings by the sea, from Algarve's beaches to the lovely museum city of Evora, Portugal is truly a delight. There are also many gothic cathedrals and palaces to roam around too.
The Italians love to drink their homemade wines and eat their handmade pizzas. That’s what you should do too. Visit Bologna to eat some amazing fresh pasta, Naples for the humble farmer’s pie - pizza, and Rome for gelato. Explore the Vatican City, check out the beauty and art of Florence that is immortalised on the canvas of time by people like Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci, see the Tower of Pisa and go to Venice for gondola rides.
Greece is a beautiful country by the Mediterranean Sea, a cultural paradise that shows you monuments, temples, ruins as well as islands that live an idyllic village life. You would find great solace in the islands of Mykonos, Santorini and Crete, while Athens - the capital of Greece is suffused with some very old temples and stadiums. Learn about Greek Gods, philosophers and kings; eat fresh food topped with olive oils and light cheeses, click Instagram-worthy photos and just revel in the peace.
When in Croatia, do not miss the coveted Game of Thrones tour that takes your through the locations of filming, go exploring while hiking up the Balkan mountains, take cable car rides, hop around islands that boast of crystal clear emerald waters and tour the museums that tell of Croatia’s past.
Eastern Europe (Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Ukraine)
The Eastern part of Europe has not been flashed on popular media as a tourism paradise, however, it is a hidden easter egg in the basket that is Europe. With destinations like Hungary, Ukraine, Poland, Russia etc, you are sure to find unparalleled natural beauty and cultures stepped in history.
A landlocked country that is as stunning as it is cold in winters, Hungary offers you a lot many delights. You get to enjoy thermal baths and dips in those springs, walks through narrow ancient streets of Budapest and its foot bridges, cruises down rivers and waterfalls in national parks. Hungary is a mix of cultural and nature tourism.
The Czech Republic is another landlocked country fed by many a rivers, streams and lakes. It is a lovely place to choose for treks in forested mountains, walks through temperate pastures and exploration of history through cities. Visit the historic buildings of Prague, gothic cathedrals and theatres, as well as take a trip to Cesky Krumlov - a town that is made up of fairytale castles, cottages and towers.
The Russian landscape is stunning, what with all the lakes and barren fields, meadows and mountains; all peppered with mosques, cathedrals, palaces and minarets. Some amazing things to do in Russia include visiting Moscow for its iconic Red Square, Saint Basil's Cathedral and Bunker-42. Visit the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and marvel at the Winter Palace, followed be a historic tour of the city.