Ideas for a European Vacation 

Ideas for a European Vacation #1: The year before our first child was born; we traveled to Munich, Germany. It was a fantastic trip, and we enjoyed every moment! Our first stop was a visit to the historic town square, including watching the famous glockenspiel (town clock tower with animated figures). One thing that was well worth the time and money was the official tour we made of the town hall (the building that houses the glockenspiel).

It included tours of the centuries-old catacombs beneath the buildings—very interesting! Another day we toured Neuschwanstein castle. It was built in the 1800s by a semi-crazy king (Ludwig II), and it is said to be the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle. The tour was, again, pricey but worth it.

Our final major destination during our short time in Munich was Dachau, one of the German concentration camps used for Jews and others during World War II.

Dachau was a moving place—not necessarily fun but certainly worthwhile. All in all, we had a spectacular time in Munich and would highly recommend it for your vacation ideas! - Kelli from Texas

Ideas for a European Vacation #2: Last year our family went on a summer trip to Europe. It was a cruise up the Rhine River, from Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam. We arranged for two cabins; one for my husband and me, and an adjacent cabin for our teenage kids. The four of us set off for Zurich on an airplane in July.

We landed in Zurich and toured the local science museum before boarding the Maria-Theresa train to Salzburg. Our kids love the Sound of Music and we started the trip seeing the Swiss countryside en route, arriving in the city of one of our favorite movies.

We toured the next day and then took a train to Basel where we were to join the cruise. The surprise for us was that a classmate of ours from college works for our college alumni office. He was guiding a tour of alumni from our college on the very same cruise. It ended up being a pep rally along with a very educational adventure.

We toured a new city every day and cruised the Rhine in the evening. The chef on board kept us all well-fed and the alumni, mostly over 60-years old were very kind to our kids.

And luckily, our kids were very well-behaved. We ended the trip with a day in Amsterdam before boarding a bullet-train the next day to exit via Paris.

Our younger child loved the trains more than anything we did, while our older child grew to appreciate the age of Europe versus the relatively young history of the US and really grew to appreciate the culture and architecture. - Jenny from Columbus

Ideas for a European Vacation #3: I went on a great trip to London and stayed at the Hyde Park Court Hotel, which is convenient to public transportation, which I really appreciated. Being from New York, I thought that London was quite similar to my city. There's diversity in everything, including in the many restaurants that you can find there.

The atmosphere is sophisticated and it's easy to get around. I tried to visit as many sites as I could in the little time I was there. Of course, I went to Buckingham Palace. And although I didn't get to go inside, it was fun to see. It's impressive. I went on the London Eye, which is like a giant, enclosed Ferris wheel.

It is the absolute best way to see all of London from all points of view, as you can easily move around inside the compartment. I went into a few shops but bought mostly souvenirs. Otherwise, I would have spent more time trying on clothes than seeing London!

Also, I used their subway system and it was such a nice change. And I never got lost! Possibly, the best part about visiting London was just walking around. It was great to experience a different country and see all the differences (and similarities) to this country. It was a really satisfying vacation idea. - Grace from New York City

Barcelona Mausoleum Angel Sculpture
Ideas for a European Vacation #4: My favorite vacation ever was a trip to Spain I took in High School. It was an amazing experience that I was able to have, and everyone who is able should go visit Spain. The culture that they have there is so different from that in the United States.

The whole religious tie in with society was something that amazed me, and will always leave a mark in my life. Outside of that there is so much to do. From shopping, to wine tasting, to taking tours of all of the historic buildings in Spain; there is something for everyone.

My favorite city was Barcelona, because there was so much to do and the entertainment there was A+. Whether you want to go shopping on Las Ramblas or go see the influence many artists had on the architecture in the city, there is so much to do. If you have to go to one place in the world I would recommend Spain! It's for sure one of the best European vacations. - Greg from Idaho

Ideas for a European Vacation #5: After Graduating High School a few years ago I took a trip with a few friends over to Ireland. We spent two weeks in the north staying in a city called New Castle. It is a small quiet town that has wonderful shopping and authentic Irish pubs. We then went to the northern coast and Port Rush to see Dunluce Castle.

From there we walked to Bushmills to tour the distillery which was both entertaining and educational. After the tour we took a bus up to Giant's Causeway. A tour guide at the causeway told the folk story while we took turns sitting in the wishing chair. We then traveled to Dublin, Ireland. Dublin has a very beautiful and dynamic landscape.

We walked through the ancient streets admiring old churches both inside and out. Dublin also has a modern side as well. We visited several pubs in the area enjoying authentic food and spirits. Anyone considering vacation ideas in Ireland will experience both the scenic countryside and beautiful cities. - Kagan from Dallas, Tx

Ideas for a European Vacation #6: Here’s my list of Europe attractions for anyone looking for European vacation ideas. For those looking for the right mixture of cost, culture and exotic, Europe has to be the best choice. With 27 countries available with no visa requirements, and a land area the same size as the lower 48, there’s so much to choose from. Here are my top 5 vacation ideas for Europe based on places that I have been. These can be visited one by one or as part of a longer trip:
  • Rome, Italy. The city oozes cool, and it is an amazing mixture of millennia-old buildings and modern architecture. Be sure to check out the Coliseum and the Roman Forum for a bit of history, St Peter’s Square for a bit of jaw dropping wonder, and the Spanish Steps for true Italian culture.
  • London, England. One of the busiest cities in Europe, it’s got a young and trendy vibe throughout. It has a long and rich history, which is celebrated at Shakespeare’s Globe (go and see a play if you can!) and the Tower of London. It also has some of the best art outside of Italy, with the Tate Galleries providing a range from modern to classical.
  • Athens, Greece. The first thing that strikes you is that nearly all the buildings are painted white, and when you get up high (like at the Acropolis) the city shines up at you. It has sometimes been called the birthplace of civilization, and you can imagine yourself 2000 years ago wondering the streets and plazas. Greek food is some of the best in Europe, and be sure to get your hands on locally produced olives and feta cheese for a taste sensation.
  • Berlin, Germany. American tourists are always well received in Germany, and Berlin has a treasure trove of museums and artifacts relating to World War II. There are still parts of the Berlin Wall standing, and there are a few concentration camps nearby that have opened as museums. It is also one of the best cities for nightlife, and the quantity and quality of the cafes, bars and restaurants will keep even the hardiest partier occupied.
  • Paris, France. No trip to Europe would be complete without seeing (and going up, for those with a head for heights) the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral and Sacre Coeur. The French take their food and drink very seriously, and it’s easy to find street markets even in the middle of downtown. It is also one of the fashion capitals of Europe, so be sure to at least window shop down the Champs Elysees. - Ben from NH

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