Europe may constitute a vast proportion of the most easily accessible holiday destinations for those in the UK who are looking to take a holiday abroad, but that doesn’t mean that you should go in unprepared. While the locality, and similarities in culture, make many of the aspects of travelling around Europe easier when compared to more distant destinations, there are plenty of ideas and options that are worth weighing up prior to departing, to truly get the most from your holiday.
We’ve gathered the best tips here, along with links to some of the most informative websites on the net. If you’re thinking of travelling in or around Europe, this is the place to start!
Whether you’re looking for a chilled out holiday on a sunny, sandy seafront; or a high-octane winter sports thrill-ride, Europe is able to cater to a wide range of interests and tastes. From exploring some of the most famous historical buildings in the world, to checking out some exotic sea life under crystal clear waters, there really is something for everyone when it comes to European holiday destinations.
To make the choices easier, we’ve located some excellent guides to the best European travel destinations, catering for a variety of different interests and tastes:
The Mediterranean has many bordering nations that are perfect for a relaxing seaside holiday; featuring excellent cuisine, laidback cultures, and a fantastic climate. The best beach holiday destination in Europe is certainly up for debate, and many websites provide comprehensive listings of their picks.
Cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen have a particular reputation for having a chilled out atmosphere, so heading to them may be an ideal alternative to the more traditional option of a beach holiday! While many have the impression of Europe being a chaotic and bustling continent, there are plenty of relaxing locations that prove this wrong!
- Extreme Sports:
There are a great many destination in Europe that are perfect for fans of extreme sports, or those looking to try them out. The Alpine regions especially are extremely popular for those looking to enjoy Winter sports, while coastal regions of Atlantic European nations are also great for surfing and other water sports.
There are many more exotic options available in regards to extreme sports around Europe such as exploring canyons in Turkey; with an open mind, you’ll be amazed what you can get up to!
Of course, many of the cities and regions in Europe are of famous historical and cultural significance; from the Parthenon in Greece, to the city of Venice in Italy. There are plenty of resources available to provide information on the best sightseeing locations and tours; allowing you to maximise your intake of history and architecture while in Europe.
When it comes to actually travelling around during your European holiday, there are a number of exciting options available, each offering differing degrees of flexibility and affordability.
- Driving in Europe:
The Channel Tunnel makes it extremely easy to get across to mainland Europe in your own vehicle, though car rental is still always an option. While the Eurotunnel does terminate in Calais, France; there are still a great many destinations and other nations within easy reach while driving around Europe in your own vehicle.
- Travelling under your own steam:
You may not want to be using your own vehicle for holiday transportation, or you may not own one full stop, but there are plenty of other ways to get around, including catching the train..
When it comes to train travel, one of the best ways to see large stretches of Europe for a reasonable price is through the usage of Interrail; allowing you to visit a wide array of countries and destinations with one ticket!
Of course, there’s always the option to fly to the destination of your choice; as you would expect from the multitude of nations contained in Europe, there’s a great range of airports to choose from!
Language and culture
As you would expect from a continent comprised of so many nations, there is an extensive range of cultures to explore throughout Europe, as well as a great variety of spoken languages. Tips in regards to these will therefore be necessarily general, but always worth keeping in mind!
- While it’s always a good idea to get a grounding in the language(s) of the nations that you intend to visit, it’s always worth bearing in mind that many of the locals with have a far better grounding in English than you are likely to have in their specific dialect. In other words, you can get away with little to no grasp of the local language, especially in predominantly tourism focussed areas. However, there are plenty of resources online that can help you to get a handle on the different languages that you’ll encounter, to make your journey smoother and the locals that you meet along the way far less frustrated!
- In a very similar manner to language, customs in Europe can vary to a greater or lesser degree between different nations, though generally not to the degree that you could easily upset or offend someone. Common sense is your best friend here, as is a keen sense of observation. When in doubt, there are a number of guides to etiquette best practice in certain nations, cities and regions on the internet that will get you through; from user generated advice, to more informative official guides.
As with any international holiday destination, you can expect to find the usual gamut of holiday accommodation options; from luxurious rental villas, to cheap and cheerful hostels. If you want to have a relaxed holiday, it may be best to splash out on luxurious, all inclusive accommodation, but if there’s a lot you want to see and do, go the opposite direction and find somewhere simple yet comfortable to hold you and your possessions, for minimal cost!
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
One of the most frequently asked questions we get asked when it comes to European travel, is whether having a European Health Insurance Card is a good idea, and precisely what services it entitles a holder to.
In short, yes, a EHIC is worth having but you will need to apply for one before you travel. It is important to note that, while a EHIC provides access to a wide range of medical treatment at lower or non-existent cost, it is not the same as having comprehensive insurance cover.
Insurance cover leaves you safe in the knowledge that, should the worst happen, you have financial or legal recourse to put things right, while an EHIC simply provides a holder access to any healthcare covered by the statutory health care system of the country being visited. In other words, an EHIC only entitles you to the healthcare available to a citizen of your destination country, nothing more.
To ensure a you are fully protected for travel around Europe; take a look at the specific European travel insurance policies that we offer.