Europe

Europe

Europe Travel Guide

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From the elegant streets of Paris to ancient ruins in Pompeii to the beaches of Crete, this continent has a lot to offer travellers. Europe has something to offer everyone, whether that’s a foodie adventure, a budget backpacking trip or a city break, there is a lot to see and do. Therefore it can be difficult to know where to start with planning your adventure. So I have created this guide to help you out. You can also find my posts on different countries in Europe further down this page.

Arguably, Europe is the easiest continent to travel around, with lots of countries close together and great transport options. I’m from the UK and have had many European adventures. I’m also on a mission to travel to every European country.

Gran Canaria, Spain

Regions of Europe

It can be difficult to define the different regions of Europe, I have tried my best to describe them below. Hope this is helpful.

Eastern Europe

Best for budget travel and visiting old towns.

Eastern Europe is known for its old towns, castles, palaces, historical sites and relics of communism. This region of Europe refers to countries which were behind the “iron curtain” and connected to the Soviet Union. Although communism is a thing of the past now in these countries, with most now having democracy, reminders of it still remain. Wages in this region are still low, which although bad for the local population, makes it very budget-friendly for travellers.

Countries: Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine.

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The Baltic

Best for castles and fairytale magic.

The Baltic is a region of Eastern Europe containing three countries which border the Baltic Sea. The region is know for its; castles, museums, quaint towns, architecture and palaces. All three countries may be small but they pack a lot in, there all have different languages and traditions. This region is great to visit all year round and is budget-friendly.

Countries: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Scandinavia

Best for outdoor adventures and hiking.

This region is best known for being an area of outstanding natural beauty, and the chance to see the incredible northern lights. It is the most expensive region of Europe to travel in, however there are alway ways to be savvy and make the trip as budget friendly as possible.

Countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden

Southern Europe

Best for coastal views and ancient ruins.

You’ll realise you are in Southern Europe when you are near to the Mediterranean Sea. This region is know for its; beautiful coastlines, art galleries, cuisine, museums, islands and medieval towns. Southern Europe is also famed for its ancient ruins which include; Pompeii, Parthenon, Ephesus and the Colosseum.

Countries: Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Kosovo, Malta, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey and Vatican City.

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Western Europe

Best for art, history and landmarks.

Arguably the most popular region of Europe with tourists, attracting millions of visited each year. With major cities such as; Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and London. This region is known for its art, historical sites, cuisine, castles and scenery. It is also famed for its architecture, with many famous landmarks such as; the Eiffel Tower, the Shard & Brandenburg Gate.

Countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Switzerland and United Kingdom.

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The Caucasus

Best for mountain views and cultural diversity.

The Caucasus is a region of Europe located between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. The Caucasus Mountains are found here, which are the natural barrier of Europe and Asia. This region is best known for; religious sites, citadels, fortresses and pretty mountain villages.

Countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia

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Tips for Travelling Europe

Best Time To Travel

The peak time for tourism in Europe is the summer, during which prices increase and places become very crowded. But, the weather will be at its best. The best time to visit is the ‘shoulder season’, which is March, April, May, September and October. During this time, prices are lower but the weather remains warm and there are lower number of tourists. November to February is Winter and this time is much colder, but there are Christmas markets throughout Europe which are not to be missed. I also have previously traveled to Italy in January, and was lucky to have great weather, much cheaper prices on accommodation and few tourists. This is also the best time of year to see the Northern Lights in Scandinavia, although daylight hours are much shorter.

Best Ways to Travel Around

Train Travel

Train travel throughout Europe is notoriously good. The exception of which being the UK, ours is terrible, its expensive and never runs on time. Tickets and passes for train travel can vary widely from country to country. It is also advised to book in advance online if you are travelling a popular route. Interrail passes are a great way to travel through multiple countries via the train network.

Bus Travel

Buses are the cheapest way of travelling around Europe. Journeys can take a lot longer than train journeys do, and are not as comfortable. Also, we haven’t caught on to the whole sleeper buses with beds like Asia have, which is disappointing. It unfortunately makes night buses in Europe uncomfortable. There are a few companies you can use to book bus travel, such as Flixbus, Busabout and Megabus (for UK travel).

Budget Airlines

Budget flights are great in Europe. I have previously booked a flight from London to Romania for £3.99!! Companies such as Ryanair, EasyJet and Wizz often have amazing flight deals, which can save you so much money! Just ensure you check your baggage allowances, as most do not include checked baggage. And some only allow you to bring one small bag onto the plane. Therefore, you’ll have to pay an extra fee to bring a hand-luggage suitcase. Commonly this doesn’t cost a lot, around £10, but is something to be aware of when planning your trip. If you don’t pay in advance, they’ll charge you and enhanced fee at the gate! Also, be aware that some budget airlines fly to a secondary airport in the city, which can sometimes be far away from the place you are travelling too.

Must See Things in Europe

Major cities: London, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Berlin, Budapest, Barcelona, Athens, Brussels, Dublin, Edinburgh, & Vienna.

Major Attractions: Eiffel Tower, Colosseum, Acropolis of Athens, Sagrada Familia, Lake Bled, Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Alps, Auschwitz, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace & the Sistine Chapel.

Here Are Some Top Bucket List Picks

1Chasing waterfalls in the Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia.

2Visiting the Christmas Markets in Germany.

3Exploring the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.

4Listening to live music in Temple Bar, Dublin.

Milestii Mici

5Visiting the World’s Largest Winery in Moldova.

6Discovering the Roman Baths in Bath, United Kingdom.

Europe Travel Resources

Skyscanner– This is the ultimate tool for searching for flights. This search engine also searches budget airlines allowing you to find the cheapest available flights.

FlixBus– Flixbus operates in 20 countries, providing cheap bus and coach travel throughout Europe. This site allows you to easily plan your route and book it online. The buses are great and include free WiFi and have plug sockets.

Getbybus– Getbybus is a great tool to search and find the routes you want to take. This website provides information on bus routes and how to book them.

Megabus– Megabus provides the cheapest coach travel around the UK. It is easy to book through their website and they often have great offers. With prices starting from £1!

Interrail– Interrail is great to use to plan your adventure throughout Europe by train. They offer a range of passes, that save you money and are easy to use to book train journeys with.

Booking.com– My number 1 go to when booking accomodation. They regularly provide the cheapest prices and a range of benefits such as paying when you check-in (no deposit) and free cancellation. There are even more benefits if you are a Booking Genius, such as; money off, free welcome drinks, late check-out and early check-in.

Hostelword– The best place to search and book hostels. You can see ratings from other travellers and they have handy lists of their facilities. They have a huge amount of hostel listings on their site, across 178 countries.

Workaway– Workaway is great for cultural exchange and volunteering opportunities. It costs €36 per year to sign up, and allows you to contact hosts advertising for help on the site. There is no limit on how many workdays you do per year. Most of the time you are provided with free bed and board in exchange for doing some work for them. Some hosts may even offer payment. Check out my experience of a workaday in Moldova.

Viator– Viator is a great site to find day tips and tickets for things to do in the city your are visiting. It’s easy to book trips through and find reviews from other travellers.

GetyourGuide– Another great resource for booking day trips and experiences through. Most tours offer free cancellation (with 24-hours notice) and 24/7 customer service.

Tips for Solo Female Travellers

Staying safe as a solo female traveller is of the utmost importance. Overall, Europe is a very safe continent to travel around. You can check out crime rates and stats for every country here.

General safety precautions should be taken wherever you are travelling to. These include not walking home alone late at night. Also, don’t drink too much alcohol, you are at your most vulnerable when drunk and anything can happen. Even if you’ve made friends you never know what will happen and can only rely on yourself to ensure you get home safely.

Be cautious and keep an eye on your possessions at all times. Don’t carry too much cash on you, and if possible try to keep money on different parts of you body. For example you could have some cash in a hidden money belt. This avoids having all your cash in your wallet and flashing all your money every time you open it. Carry multiple debit/credit cards if possible, if anything happens you then have back up cards to use. Again don’t keep these all in the same place so that if your wallet is lost or stolen you still have cards to use. You could also use a theft-proof bag to keep your belongings safe and avoid having valuables on show.

Solo Travelling Moldova

Trust your instincts. Always trust your gut, if something doesn’t seem right or you don’t feel comfortable with a situation remove yourself from it. An example of this is when I was in Malta, I didn’t feel comfortable in the hostel I was staying in. I trusted my gut and moved hostels and this allowed me to sleep peacefully and enjoy my trip.

Stay in hostels, this will allow you to meet fellow travellers with ease. There are also usually kitchen facilities, so you can cook your own food and avoid eating in restaurants alone if this makes you feel uncomfortable. You can book female only dorm rooms as well if this makes you more comfortable. Use the lockers available at hostels to store your valuables in, to keep them safe.

Use Uber where possible instead of cabs, as this allows you to track the route the driver is taking and has many extra safety features. It also avoids you being ripped off on the price, as the fare is stipulated before you ride.

Tips for Budget Travellers

One of the best things I can recommend to make you trip budget friendly is booking in advance. Booking transport and accommodation at the last minute can make things pricier and limit your options.

Accommodation

Couchsurfing is a great resource for travellers, allowing you to stay at a host’s home for free. This is good to delve deeper into the culture of a country, finding out how locals live, and they’ll have the best travel tips for you. Workaway is another great way to save money whilst travelling, allowing you to benefit from free food and accommodation in exchange for some work. Usually you’ll also have enough time for yourself, which will allow you to see the place you are staying. Hostels can be found throughout Europe and are a great way of saving money. Prices vary widely country to country but are usually the cheapest accommodation available, and a great way to meet people.

Things to Do

Free city tours run in most cities throughout Europe, these are one of my favourite things to do when travelling. You’ll see the best things to do, get a feel for the city and get invaluable knowledge from a local. Tipping your guide is encouraged! When choosing attractions to visit, try and choose cheap or free ones. And if you are a student, carry your student card with you to save on entry costs. Research attractions before you travel, to decide which ones you definitely want to do. Ensure it’s worth your while and you’re not wasting your funds on something you won’t enjoy.

The Vatican

Food and Drink

Cooking your own food is also a way to save money whilst travelling. Staying in hostels with kitchen facilities and buying food from the supermarket to cook, is a great way of saving money. If you want to eat out, I’d recommend looking around for deals. Many restaurants have lunchtime deals, making this the best time to eat out cheap. You could also picnic in parks to save money. Buy food and drinks from a supermarket and relax in a park to enjoy your meal.

Limit the amount of alcohol you buy in bars and restaurants. This is often the number one cause of breaking your budget. You go out and drink and before you know it you’ve spent way more than you meant to. Drink in hostel bars where possible, or buy alcohol from supermarkets. Also, make local choices when buying alcohol. Imported beers and branded spirits can be costly.

Getting Around

Find out if the place you are visiting offers a pass which includes public transport and discount on tickets to attractions. These are often called ‘welcome cards’. You can ask the staff at your hostel if the city offers this, and this can be a great way to save money.

Also, walking as much as possible is a great way of saving money. Use public transport only when essential. Walking is free and allows you to see the city at your own leisure. And stumble upon things you otherwise may of missed.

A Final Note

I hope you have enjoyed this Europe travel guide and it helps you with planning your trip. I’d love to hear all about your European adventures, drop a comment below!

Happy Travels,

Amy xo

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