European Holidays

The Europe Travel Specialists

european accommodation guide

Europe is one of the world's smallest continents. But it is also enormously varied. Geographically, it has dramatic mountains, sandy beaches and fjords. And there are so many cultures packed into Europe, and dozens of languages. Although English is spoken in every major city, you'll definitely need your phrasebook. Much of world history was shaped here, at least up until the mid 20th century. You can visit any number of historic sights; you'll find prehistoric forts, Greek temples, Roman palaces, Viking longboats, medieval castles, Renaissance art, Victorian spas and battlefields from last century's terrible conflicts.

What to do in Europe

It's not really a question of what to do, but what you can bear to leave out! You could easily spend all your time travelling between iconic cities, like London, Barcelona, Paris, Vienna, Rome and Athens. But it's also worthwhile getting out of the major urban centres – not only to see some local traditions, but to enjoy the slower way of life and also to stretch your budget that bit further. Wherever you go, you'll enjoy fine local cuisines and beverages – you may also be interested in catching a game of football, the continent's favourite sport.

Europe Travel Guide

There's no obvious route that will take you though Europe's highlights. Your best bet is to read up, decide what you want to see, and work it all out on a map. The classic way to journey through Europe is by rail. In Western Europe, high speed trains will whisk you from capital to capital, while in the East, the trains make up for speed with cosiness, and the chance to chat to fellow travellers in old fashioned compartments. If you need to cover ground quickly, no-frills flying is wildly popular, and most local airports will have at least one budget route.

Southern European states like Spain, Portugal, Greece, France and Italy tend to have the best-developed tourist infrastructure and have an enormous amount to see and do. Some of the key developments in Western civilization, like the development of literature, drama, politics and mainstream art, stem from this region. And the food and weather are great too.

Northern Europe isn't as sunny as the south, but more than makes up for it in terms of history, art, music and culture. There are numerous small countries in Northern Europe, which makes it ideal for both city breaks and multi-base holidays. Try travelling around the Benelux countries, Scandinavia and the UK to get some idea of how much cultural variety there is between European nations.

Eastern Europe is generally meant as a catch-all term for the European countries that fell under the communist system at the end of WW2, but even before 1989 there was far more variety between them than many appreciated.

The Central European states of Germany, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia and Poland each have pretty gingerbread-style villages and amazing castles, while history buffs will enjoy the challenge of unravelling the region's complicated history.

The Balkan states are generally a bit more chaotic than their northern neighbours but have a fast-developing tourist industry. If you're interested in dipping into this region, then try booking a beach holiday to Croatia or Bulgaria.

Holidaying in Europe

Europe is one of the most culturally vibrant destinations on earth, and is stuffed with a wide variety of nationalities and languages, historic cities and areas of outstanding natural beauty. There are also some of the world's best clubs and pubs, fantastic restaurants and amazing local cuisines and wines, and some superb beaches and ski resorts. It's usually possible to combine most of these elements into a single holiday – Europe packs a lot of variety into a relatively small space!
Holiday Types

RomanceItaly, France, Prague, Budapest, Amsterdam.

Family HolidaysPortugal, Sweden, Cyprus, Denmark, Spain.

Adventure – Horse riding in Ireland, tank driving/paintballing in Latvia, trekking in the Crimea, sailing in the Greek islands.

AffordableTurkey, Bulgaria, Poland, Malta.

Sightseeing and CulturalGermany, Belgium, England, Moscow & St Petersberg.

LuxuryScotland, Austria, Croatia, Gran Canaria, Norway.

Europe Holiday Planner

Multi-country trips – There are many different nationalities and cultures in Europe, and it's eminently possible to visit two or three countries in a fortnight. Try not to pack too much in though, as otherwise you'll spend more time inside a train or car than actually out enjoying the sights. There are numerous popular itineraries, including those covering Scandinavia, the Danube, classical-era Europe and many more. The best way to see a lot in a short space of time is to join a cruise – there are various routes in the Med, the Adriatic, the Rhine, the Danube and around Russia.

Specialist holidays – Europe in general is an extremely well developed and well-established destination. There are numerous companies that operate specialist trips. These can cover a sport, like sailing, skiing golf or walking. There are also tours for those interested in art, learning to cook a particular cuisine, painting, writing, wildlife, learning a language, and tours specialising in various periods of history. The variety is endless, but these generally include accommodation and specialist instruction.

City breaks – All across Europe there are many fantastic cities – these tend to be popular for short breaks of three to four nights, although many would take far longer to explore properly. London, Paris, Berlin, Budapest, Vienna, Krakow, Rome, Istanbul… each of these cities has a rich history and plenty of museums, but are also great places to enjoy food, culture and art. If you have time, then try combining a longer city break with day excursions or a stay in a smaller town or village, to get a proper feel for the country you're visiting.

Beach holidays – The main destination in the south of Europe is the Mediterranean Sea. Tourists from all over the continent flock to beaches in Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, Greece and Croatia. Some resorts specialise in young clubbers, families, senior travellers, gay travellers, and luxury holidaymakers or are aimed at those on a budget. Whatever sort of seaside holiday you want, you'll find it on the Middle Sea. This is also an excellent region to check out Greek and Roman ruins. The Black Sea coasts of Bulgaria, Turkey and Romania are generally quieter and better value than the Med, but there are fewer facilities in this area. There are also traditional seaside holiday resorts along the Baltic Sea and the UK, although you'll be lucky to have the weather for swimming!