Europe is a dream destination for many and with good reason. From the sun-kissed Mediterranean beaches to the museums of Paris and the cool alpine splendour of Switzerland, there’s something for everyone. But, there are lots of things you should do to ensure a more relaxed European visit. Whether it’s your first time or your tenth, here are some Europe travel tips you NEED to know.

Also Read: Essential Morocco Travel Tips To Know Before You Go

1. Avoid travelling to places during the peak season

Peak seasons in Europe are a top choice for a reason – they often have the best weather and all the exciting events. But, they also come with large crowds, long queues, and hiked prices. So, as most of the famous attractions are open around the year, the best way to get the most out of any European destination and save a bit of money is to travel during the off-season.

2.  The benefits of Train travel vs. Bus travel

It is usually most efficient to travel between countries in Europe by train. It costs less and is often quicker (and more scenic!) than air travel. (Just remember to validate your ticket before you hop on the train to avoid fines). But, if you’ve got a little bit more time, opt for buses, which are a lot cheaper and often stop at more places.

Erstfeld, Switzerland.
Erstfeld, Switzerland. Alstom ETR 610 tilting high-speed train on the Gotthard railway.
3. Do all hotel bookings early, and directly with the hotel

Remember to book your hotel or hostel well in advance to get the days you want at the best price. Additionally, consider paying for them directly through the hostel’s website (rather than through aggregator sites) to avoid any booking or commission fees.

4. Also, book your tickets in advance

There are hundreds of fascinating monuments, museums, churches, palaces, and more that you’ll likely want to see when you’re in Europe. And, to avoid having to stand in long queues to purchase your tickets, book them online so that you’ll just have to queue once to enter and have a smooth and hassle-free visit.

5. Learn a bit of the local language

While you’re likely to find some English speakers in most places in Europe, it’s still a good idea to learn how to say a few things in the local language. Some basic phrases, such as “hello,” “goodbye,” “thank you,” and, of course, “do you speak English” can go a long way, especially in smaller towns. 

6. Pack light!

It sounds like pretty standard advice, but packing light is actually one of our top Europe travel tips; it can be a lifesaver when you visit. From navigating train stations to dragging your bags along while walking on cobblestone streets, and carrying them up the stairs at your hotel (many European hotels don’t have elevators) it’ll just make everything so much easier. You definitely don’t need as many clothes as you think you do, and you can easily do laundry wherever you are. As a bonus, you can save money on extra baggage fees. 

7. Avoid taking cabs, use public transportation instead

Most major European cities have excellent public transportation systems, which you can use even from the airport (which is why it’s best that you pack light!). Cab fares are consequently quite high, and won’t give you the same feel of the area.

8. Bring comfortable shoes so you can walk 

Walking is one of the best ways to explore a city, whether it’s through a historic area or while exploring a large museum. So, come prepared with a pair of comfortable walking shoes, and save the heels for another time. Trust us, after a long day of walking around, your feet will thank you!

9. You’ll find lots of free walking tours

A lot of cities in Europe have free walking tours (they’re usually tip-based) with local guides that take you around to the top spots and tell you a bit about each place. It’s an excellent way to learn all about a city meet people and strike up conversations. If you don’t want to join a group, you can also look up guides online so that you can do it yourself. 

Tourists with a guide in front of the Coliseum, Rome
10. Instead of getting an international phone plan, get a local SIM card

When you’re abroad, you are going to want to use your Google Maps and all kinds of other apps that use the internet. While it’s easy to get international roaming for your phone before leaving home, it’s usually not as cost-effective as getting a local SIM card for the duration of your trip. You can buy them at kiosks and stores and recharge them online; a €10 prepaid plan will give you enough data for a month. 

11. Some of the best meals can be found in local bakeries

Local bakeries usually have some delicious local food that you can take away and eat. Try the pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) in Paris, the sesame bread in Greece, and the focaccia in Italy, all for just €1 or so. 

12. In non-English speaking countries, try to avoid restaurants displaying English menus

In countries that are especially popular with tourists (but where English isn’t the main language), you might find restaurants (especially near major attractions) with boards set up outside where the menu is written in English. Be wary, because these are overpriced places set up just for tourists. Head away from touristy areas to find more local places. 

Terraces of restaurants on Place du Tertre at the Butte Montmartre
13. Don’t skip the smaller towns and offbeat places

Sure, the top cities are famous for a reason, but you can find equally stunning sights at some of the smaller cities. Things here are sure to be less touristy, and also usually a fair bit cheaper. You can also explore different parts of Europe, such as eastern countries Poland, Bulgaria, and Albania which aren’t as busy as places like Italy, France, and Spain. 

14. Plan, but don’t over plan

Before you start your trip it’s good if you have an idea of what you want to see and do, as well as where you want to go, but don’t plan every day down to the minute. This can end up limiting your experiences and won’t leave you any time to try out new recommendations, meet up with people, and other last-minute changes. 

15. Don’t try to see it all!

The last of our Europe travel tips is probably the most important. It’s always exciting to visit a new place, and Europe has so many fascinating destinations, we don’t blame you for wanting to see it all. But, unless you’re planning to stay in Europe for a year or more, it’s not possible to see it all in one trip. Europe is a big place, and each country has so much to see, even one city could keep you busy for years! Try to stick to 2-3 major destinations in one visit (depending on the length of your trip) so that you can do them justice. 

So, are there any Europe travel tips that we’ve missed? If so, be sure to share them in the comments below.


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