Hope you’re all doing well! Over the years, I’ve visited a lot of places in Europe so have put together this guide to give you a better feel of what each European city has to offer.
Visiting Europe often feels like opening a very large box of chocolate. There are so many possibilities that it’s hard to know where to start. Most of the time, there’s a small flyer or a booklet that comes with the box to let you know about each chocolate. But even with it, it’s impossible to tell whether or not you’ll end up liking your selection. After all, not two praline chocolates take the same, and you might be expecting a particular type of flavour that this specific chocolatier doesn’t provide. At the end of the day, the only way to know whether or not you’re going to like a chocolate is to try it. There is no way around it. Ultimately, when it comes to a chocolate box, the risks are low. It’s highly unlikely that you can’t find any chocolate you like in the box.
But now, think back to visiting Europe. You need to pick the right destination for you. Imagine spending a week in a place you hate? That’s what can happen if you accidentally select a destination that doesn’t quite match your interests or your personality. Here, it’s not a matter of stumbling across the bad chocolate in the box; it’s about picking the best box for you. If you’ve stuck to holiday resorts or known locations until now, here’s a little guide to know what to expect when you explore Europe. This list of the top 10 destinations arranged by personality can help you to feel more confident about the places you discover.
The knowledgeable and sophisticated gal: Paris
There is something about the Parisian chic that appeals to many people. Fashion in Paris is very similar to its sense of culture: it’s everywhere, and at the same time, it isn’t intrusive. With around 130 museums in Paris, it’s easy to understand why the city has such a positive reputation when it comes to culture. Indeed, the French capital is a place for art lovers, from painting to exquisite architecture, there is a lot to see and admire. Some museums, such as Le Louvres, enjoy a popularity of their own so that it can be tricky for visitors to gain access without wasting too long in the queues. Nevertheless, there are some ways around the line – click here to find out more about it! If you love nothing more than the idea of strolling in town, stopping from time to time to take a picture of a beautiful building or to visit an art gallery, you’ll love the Carte Paris Musées, a membership card that lets you access most museums in town.
The trendy and luxury lover: Rome
Rome is a paradise for fashion lovers. If you love everything that looks good, from arts to clothes, you’ll be amazed by the variety of attractions in town. In fact, for an extra dose of beauty, aim to visit the town on the first Sunday of the month, where most museums are open to the public free of charge, including the Galleria Borghese and the Colosseum. Close your eyes and let the atmosphere of a glorious past envelop you. Do make sure to have a picture taken by the Trevi fountain, the famous fountain immortalised in the Dolce Vita film. This is, by far, Instagram-worthy material, especially for fashion and travel enthusiasts!
The coffeehouse afficionada: Vienna
The cafe culture pre-dates the apparition of coffee shop chains such as Starbucks or Costa. In fact, as surprising as it might sound, the coffeehouse phenomenon doesn’t come from Italy but from Austria. Indeed, for several centuries, coffee and soft drink lovers have enjoyed the indulging treats from Viennese cafés. Whether you are a coffee lover or you prefer hot chocolate, you will find an abundance of independent choices scattered around famous streets and corners in town. The first coffeehouse in Vienna was opened during the late 17th century, making this habit of a warm drink and a slice of cake almost 350-year-old in the Austrian capital. That’s probably why nobody can do it as well as the Viennese!
The international history lover who’s looking to the future: Berlin
Berlin, the capital city of Germany, has a rich history. In fact, less than 30 years ago, Berlin was still divided by a wall built during the Cold War. At the end of the Second World War, Berlin was divided into four zones that rapidly evolved into a West and an East Berlins. As a result of the division, the Brandenburg Gate remains one of the most famous landmarks in town. But Berlin is not a town that is stuck in the past! It’s a dynamic and modern city with a vibrant nightlife – try the Friedrichstadt Palast for a taste of variety theatre. You’ll find that most people in Berlin speak at least two languages, German and English, and it’s not uncommon to come across Irish and American citizens who have fallen in love with the international diversity of the town.
The quirky and fun girl who never sleeps: London
Since the 1960s, London has attracted creative artists and free spirits who embrace their quirkiness with humour and a sense of tolerance that you can’t find anywhere else. London has cultivated its reputation as the capital of quirkiness, and it’s fair to say that you’ll find plenty of unusual attractions and things to do in town to keep yourself busy. You can even rent a night next to the lion’s enclosure at the London Zoo. For a feel of the hippie community, head to Eel Pie Island, where the Stones and the Who once held concerts before the hotel burned down.
The one who loves an eerie atmosphere: Prague
You might have heard of Paris’ catacombs, but do you know about Prague’s underground town? Throughout the history of Prague Oldtown, the streets were gradually buried under construction leftovers and to prevent flooding. So the former level of Prague’s streets was a lot lower. The eerie atmosphere of the forgotten Medieval underground is haunting. You can even get to the secret alchemist laboratory and discover the Dungeon’s torture weaponry. If you want to linger in the many time pockets you can find in town, head to the surface to visit the Old Jewish cemetery, where you can find the town of the rabbi who’s said to have made the first Golem.
The environmentalist who protects nature: Oslo
Despite being the largest urban area in Norway, Oslo is a city that has maintained a strong connection to nature. In fact, it doesn’t take more than a few minutes from the city centre to get to a forest, a fjord, a mountain or even a river. Most green sites are accessible via public transports, and many inhabitants only need to take the tram to go skiing in winter. Oslo also offers an island hopping tour in summer: Using public transport again, visitors can reach the many small islands around the harbour. There are plenty of clean fjord and sea beaches to fall in love with!
The tech traveller: Helsinki
There’s a reason why Finland is a favourite destination for tech and IT enthusiasts: Aside from a computer technology university, the city hosts plenty of tech-inspired events and shops. For all those who love fantasy games, the Finnish chain Fantasiapelit offers the largest possible collection of manga, comics, trading cards, action figures, books and other merchandises in the capital city. Additionally, if you’re into cosplay, you’ll be delighted with the dream-worthy locations in Finland, from a fortress in ruins to vast forests in North Karelia – outside of Helsinki. Besides, if you’re into computers and IT games, let’s not forget that Finland was the birthplace of Angry Birds and Linux, which you can find in the Museum of Games.
The one who wants to experience the real Medieval feeling: Tallinn
The discovered underground of Prague can give you an insight into what the Medieval times would have been like. However, if you want to enjoy the real thing, you need to plan a trip to Tallinn, the Estonian capital that is also a UNESCO site. With architectural structure dating back to the 13th century in the old town, Tallinn has been incredibly well preserved. The Town Hall – Raekoda – that dominates the Town Hall Square was finished in 1404. It’s by far the oldest surviving town hall in the Baltic and Scandinavia area.
The book lover: Dublin
If you’re an avid reader and can’t go anywhere without visiting a bookshop, you need to plan your holiday to Dublin, the UNESCO city of literature. Indeed, the town has been associated with no less than four Nobel prize winners, including George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett. You’ll enjoy the Writers Museum which details the literary traditions since the 1970s and holds a first edition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Have a Guinness in Davy Byrne’s, James Joyce’s favourite pub in town, of you’re fighting a creative block. Who knows? You might be touched by an inspiring muse!
Book lover, history enthusiast, goth at heart or sophisticated gal, there is in Europe the perfect spot for you. All it takes to get to know Europe a little better is to look deep inside yourself!
See you in my next post!