As French travelers, we love exploring our beautiful continent and today we will give you all the best travel tips for Europe! You will find here everything you need to know before planning your trip! Europe is such a beautiful place to explore, the landscapes are really diverse, you can find beautiful beaches, lakes, mountains, countryside or charming old cities and small typical villages. Also, the cultures of every country are really strong and different from each other.
Europe is amazing to explore if you’re looking for unique and charming places to see but also the friendly and welcoming side of European people. It’s a vibe! In Europe, we really appreciate spending time with friends in the terraces and we are always up for tapas and apéros! I hope you like rosé and bread! 😉
Anyway, Europe never disappoints you will always be surprised in a good way! We have visited many countries in Europe and always had an amazing experience. If you are dying to visit Europe and you’re looking for all the best tips and tricks to organize your trip, read on!
When is the best time to visit Europe?
Firstly, the best time to visit Europe is during spring and summer for most countries. If you’re looking for good weather and warm temperatures you should come between May and September. Particularly to visit France, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Greece or Slovenia, Netherland, and Germany. However, be careful the summer between July and August can be really crowded due to the scholar holidays! You should consider coming in June or in September!
If you’re looking for a particular destination and place, you need to check out the best time to visit it. For example some places have a seasonality, the lavande fields in the south of France are only blooming between June and August. The tulips fields in Lisse near Amsterdam are only in April.
On the other side, if you’re looking for a winter destination to ski as the Alps, or to see the northern lights as Island, Finland, or Norway the best time is between December and March.
What VISA for your trip?
First of all, if you are not a European citizen, you can have a tourist and professional VISA for 90 days. It is called “Schengen VISA” and it costs 80€ per person. It will allow you to travel in Europe for 3 months. But not for studying and working in Europe, it’s only for traveling. You can cross the borders without problems.
What countries to visit?
Europe is a vast continent and counts 27 seven countries: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Chypre, Croatia, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungry, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Lettonia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherland, Poland, Portugal, RT, Roumania, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Sweden. You need to know that each of them is really different from each other and that every one of them has its own culture and language and very different landscapes. Here is how to pick one of several countries for your trip, according to your attempts!
For summer vacation
If you are looking for summer vacations, near the beach, but also to visit typical cities and villages, you should consider visiting the following countries. Italy, Spain (including the Baleares), France, Malta, Portugal, Greece, and Croatia. These countries and islands have both beautiful beaches made of clear water and sand but also typical and charming old cities and villages. We highly recommend you visiting Italy, Spain, France, and Greece that are our favorites! You can find our travel tips for Italy.
Moreover, if you’re looking for old cities and architecture the best for you is to visit big cities and small villages in Europe like in France, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Portugal, Denmark or Netherland.
On another note, if you’re looking for nature and wild places, consider visiting Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Alps, the Dolomites. You will be able to see beautiful lakes and mountains.
For winter vacation
However, if you love snow and winter activities, you should visit the Alps, (France, Switzerland, Italy). But also Sweden, Norway or Finland and Iceland. Especially if you’re dying to see the northern lights and epic landscapes!
How to get around in Europe?
Also, you need to know that it is really easy to get around in Europe and to visit several countries during your trip. You can either rent a car, take the train, or the common transportation. It is really developed in Europe and the roads are really nice. The best way of transportation for you depends on what places you are thinking to visit!
Rent a car
The best travel tips for Europe we can give you is to rent a car. If you are planning to visit several countries or several places in the same country, the best way is to take a flight to a big city like Paris, Rome or Florence and then rent a car. You will have huge freedom and autonomy in the organization of your trip. This is what we have done last summer during our road trip to Tuscany. Renting a car in Europe is a bit harder and longer than in the US and also more expensive. But it’s cheaper than taking several flights. You will just need a valid driving license, your ID card and to pay the rent. You can find better rates online.
We are driving at the right (expect for U-K and Ireland). Be careful of the speed limitations especially in France. It’s very expensive to be flashed by a radar (185€ fine). Also, it’s easy to go from a country to another by car there are no real borders. You’ll just see a sign “Benvenuti in Italy”!
Take the train
Then, if you don’t like to drive, or if you don’t have a driving license, you can take the train, it’s amazing to travel inside Europe. You can read our experience with Interrail. We have been from the South of France to Cinque Terre to the Amalfi coast and we had an amazing experience. Also, you can easily visit big cities in Europe with the train. However, to visit the countryside, you will need a car because some of the places don’t have train stations.
Also, in big European cities, common transportations are amazing. You will have subways, tramways, and buses. You can also take a uber it’s cheaper than a taxi (expect when prices are majorated because of the high demand!).
Do European people speak English?
Yes definitely! Almost everyone between 18 and 30 years old is speaking English! In Europe, we are learning English very young at school as a second language. If you are looking for something, ask people in the street, they will be happy to help you and work their English! 😉
Anyway, people in the tourism industry, restaurant and hotel staff are always speaking English and will be happy to help!
What about the money and currencies?
Everywhere in Europe, we are using only one money that is the Euro! It is very practical because you can travel and use the same money everywhere. You need to know that 1 euro is 1.09 USD. It depends on the days but in a general way when you convert USD to Euros, you will have less money.
Also, you should avoid changing money in airports it’s more expensive. And you need to know that it’s easy to find banks everywhere to take cash. If you are paying by card, be careful of the fees. Try to ask for an international bank card to avoid international fees. Be careful of the pickpockets in big cities like Paris or Rome. Don’t take too much cash on you and be really careful with your bag.
Concerning the restaurants, you can easily find restaurants for all the budgets everywhere in Europe and even take away something and eat it outside!
What accomodation to chose?
Also, some great travel tips for Europe that we can give you are to book an apartment or a room with Airbnb. It is very developed in Europe and you will be able to live like a local and feel the European soul. In Paris, you can rent a Haussmannian apartment with a balcony. In Italy or in Spain, you can rent a typical apartment with a view on the Sea. It’s the best way to have an authentic experience and have contact with the locals.
However, if you are more into hotels, you can find easily hotels for every budget online. Anyway, make sure to book in advance, especially during summer because these are very popular destinations!
How to feel European culture?
If you want to feel the European culture and the friendly and warm side of European people, you should try to live like a local! The best travel tips for Europe we can give you is to go to small and typical restaurants. Lost yourself in the little streets, and try the local dishes! If you find yourself in Tuscany, try pasta, in Bordeaux, try red wine! Wake up early to see the places without the crowds. And hang out in the evening to have a drink and eat tapas for the sunset! You can also talk to locals and make friends! We are always happy to make new friends in Europe!
Also, go shopping for groceries and try to cook a typical meal! You should try to live like a local! In France we love bread, you can find bakeries everywhere. Try baguette and French pastries! You can also go to the market in the morning and shop for fresh products. In the Cinque Terre in Italy, we loved eating bruschetta and drink a Spritz for sunset with a crazy view on the coast!
The best travel tips for Europe: It’s time to plan your trip!
To conclude, Europe is an amazing destination to visit. Especially if you like beautiful and typical cities, wild and open places and also gorgeous beaches. You can find many different kinds of landscapes in Europe, according to what you are looking for!
And voilà my travel FAM! I really hope these travel tips for Europe will be helpful for you! And that it will help you to organize your perfect trip to Europe! It’s time to plan your trip! Let us know in the comments where you are planning to go! 😉
Don’t forget to follow our next adventures in the south of France on Instagram @chiarabarrasso