European Vacation Ideas

European Vacation Ideas #1:

By Nicole from Washington - From the peeks of the Dolomite mountains in the north to the heel of Italy’s “boot” in Puglia in the south, Italy has it all and something for almost everyone.

Honeymooners can’t resist Venice, with its romantic canals, icons like Harry’s Bar and dramatic architecture. Almost everyone appreciates Rome and Florence for open air history lessons, stops at cafes that were the inspiration for Starbucks and gelato, Italy’s ice cream.

Sports enthusiasts can hike the Dolomites in summer, from a base in comfortable Bolzano, which has its own airport for a direct flight from Rome.

Students can stay at one of the best hostels in Italy and those who seek a bit of luxury will enjoy the elegant atmosphere, quiet garden and pool and luxurious champagne breakfast buffet at the Hotel Laurin.

If you love a gastronomic change of pace from pasta, here you can try food with a real German twist, as this region was once part of Austria. Most people still speak German, as well as excellent English.

Winter ski resorts dot Italy’s north, from west to east, and include glamorous Cortina d’Ampezzo. Beach lovers have no storage of choices, from the glitzy north near France to beaches of Puglia and Sicily in the South.

Wherever you go up and down the peninsula, history is never far, with Greek temples and Roman ruins and Renaissance buildings in rich supply.

You can find romantic boutiques like Palazzo della Rosa Prati in little Parma (in Emilia-Romagna), a good stop for great food–Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano Reggiano –fine art and opera at Verdi’s Teatro Regio, grand old hotels like the Gritti in Venice and tucked away B&Bs or an agriturismo, for chance to see how Italy grows and makes the high quality food products known around the world.

There is something for almost everyone in this appealing country–great food, great art, great music, beautiful scenery, high mountains, and blue seas. It’s a place that keeps drawing me back, because picking just one spot is almost impossible. Go once for the famous highlights, and you’ll probably be hooked and go back for some of these more out of the way places.

European Vacation Ideas #2:

For a real taste of Scotland culture, go to Edinburgh. A walk down the Royal Mile is a trip back in time to the medieval period. Explore on your own or join one of the official guided walking tours. Here you will find one of the most famous historical spots in the country, Edinburgh Castle. Over the years the castle has served as a military fortress as well as the home of Scottish royalty.

Edinburgh Scotland
Photo Credit:

Edinburgh celebrates their history and culture with a number of wonderful festivals throughout the year. There’s the Imaginate Children’s Festival, Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Storytelling Festival and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.

Plus at least half a dozen more. Plan your vacation around one of these fun festive events. Spend some time exploring the village communities around the city like Grassmarket, West End or Stockbridge.

European Vacation Ideas #3:

By Kelly from NYC - My favorite place to vacation is undoubtedly the Dutch island of Texel. It’s one of five islands just off the Dutch coast known as the ‘Waddeneilanden’, or ‘Wading Islands’, so-called because they are in a very shallow sea that is literally only knee-deep!

The only way to get to Texel is by ferry from the Dutch mainland, leaving from the harbor city of Den Helder. The ferry takes around 20 minutes, then you land on Texel, hire a bike from the ferry terminal (everyone rides bikes there) and away you go!

There is so much to do on Texel. You can relax on the beach if you like, or if you’re feeling energetic you can ride your bike around the many paths that crisscross the island. There is a wildlife park with seals and other native animals, tennis courts, farms to visit, and of course plenty of cafes and restaurants. Plus there are nightspots for those who want a bit more excitement! There’s something for everyone, which is why it’s my favorite vacation spot.

European Vacation Ideas #4:

By Dominik from St. Louis - France is my favorite for European vacation ideas. The historic, cultural and geographic variety that the country offers is absolutely astonishing. Though many people immediately think of Paris when considering a French stop on a European vacation.

Although a wonderful (and must-see) city let's not forget that the country offers far more in terms of places to go and things to do. In winter there is skiing in the French Alps - a less expensive alternative to Switzerland. I should add that the quality of skiing to be found here is just as good.

Check out the Haute-Savoie region and see for yourself. For the summer-lovers there is the French Riviera - one of the most popular (but also expensive) resort areas in the world. And for the surfers there is the Atlantic coast around Biarritz in Basque country. Not to forget, of course, are the French cuisine and French wines. Some travel to this country for these two things alone.

European Vacation Ideas #5:

By Lisa from Idaho - My dream vacation came about when I was a sophomore in college. I'd always been an avid Jane Austen fan, and I'm pretty much an Anglophile--anything and everything British fascinates me. One of my friends that I met in college shared these interests, so we finally decided to just go to London, England over a holiday break.

Fortunately for us, we found an affordable flight via Air Canada, and we stayed at the Marriott in Grovesnor Square--right by downtown London! It was incredible. Not only had I never been out of the USA before, but I also had never been in such a large city before.

We went to some shows in the West End, visited Buckingham Palace, and went to Herrod's department store, among other touristy attractions. One of the most thrilling things for me was visiting Westminster Abbey. The amount of history contained in that building overwhelmed me (I tend to be kind of a history buff, too.)

Since then, I've been back to London several times, and I'm always amazed by how many things there are to do there. You could spend a lifetime there and never see everything. All in all, London is definitely my favorite vacation spot.

European Vacation Ideas #6:

Thinking of heading to Moscow, Russia for a vacation trip? Check out the Tretyakov Gallery This museum has been around since the 1850’s and has amassed an astounding number of exhibits (130,000 give or take a few). This is a national treasury of Russian art. Two traditional tourist spots, but are still don’t-miss places, are Moscow Red Square and The Kremlin. The Moscow River runs through the city and a great way to see the city is a river cruise. These are widely available and well worth your time.

By Kenneth, NY - The best vacation I ever had was when we spent 10 days in Europe starting in London. We spent our first 3 days just getting used to the city and seeing the sites such as the Eye of London, Big Ben and Harrods. We then traveled to Normandy France via overnight ferry which was just so much fun. The reason for the Normandy trip was because I am an avid WW2 history buff and I just had to see the beaches.

On our first day in France we spent half a day touring Normandy using the Battle Bus Tours. We had our own private guide that drove us to all of the sites including Omaha beach and the cemetery you may remember from Saving Private Ryan.

The guide showed us all of the German Bunkers that are still there and the bomb craters and it was just amazing! The next leg of our trip was supposed to be a train ride to Paris but it turned into a rental car drive to Paris because the rail workers were on strike. It took a few hours to drive to Paris so we saw the French country but driving through Paris was an experience I will never forget!

We spent 3 days in Paris where we walked through the city, visited the Louge along with tons of other museums and sites. And of course we could not miss the Eiffel Tower which we visited at night and will never, ever forget. Finally we traveled back to London via jet which only took about an hour. We spent our final days visiting as many of London's sites as we could.

To visit as many sites as we could in the short time we had left, we utilized the famous Black Taxis and they were a big help. You could not turn around without running into a black cab so it was very easy. London is a great city for Europe tourist attractions and this was the best 10 days I have ever spent. Europe is so historic and everything just seems so close. If you really want to see the world I would start with London and Paris and make a detour to Normandy. You will not be disappointed.

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