Europe Tours and Travel Guide
Europe Attractions & Landmarks Guide
While it’s the second smallest in size, Europe packs the most punch per square mile of any of the seven continents. With 50 countries occupying a space smaller than Antarctica, its cultural and geographic diversity is remarkable. Travelers are presented with almost limitless options with things to see and do.
Will it be a tour of one or more of the classics, the British Isles, France, Spain, or Italy? Do Germany and the Rhine River beckon? Or does the sheer physical beauty of the Alps in Switzerland and Austria? How about the hot new emerging destinations of Central and Eastern Europe – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia? Will Greece – with its classical heritage and wealth of sun-kissed islands – draw you in? Or will Turkey lure you to its ancient shores?
And then there’s Scandinavia, where Norwegian fjords and Swedish canal boats compete with Danish castles and Finnish saunas for your attentions. Russian Europe includes the splendid Baltic city of St. Petersburg, while Estonia’s walled Tallinn is a mostly undiscovered Baltic gem. And don’t forget the nations of Eastern Europe that are now attracting adventurous visitors: Montenegro, Romania, Poland, Bulgaria -- even once-closed Albania.
Variety of Themes
You can focus a European tour around cities – Paris, Rome, Venice, Florence, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Krakow, Munich, Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, Athens or Istanbul – just to name a few. Or you can choose tours that concentrate more on small towns, villages, and the countryside.
Or, of course, there are tours that include both. The same is true for tours that center on a cultural theme – art, history, archaeology, music, food and wine, etc. – or a more active focus: walking, cycling, sailing. Because distances are generally short in Europe, it's easy to try it all, and do it within the boundaries of multiple countries.
Virtually every tour of Europe is active in the sense that the older (and typically most interesting) parts of European cities are compact and made for walking, and even if you are just strolling from museum to cathedral to outdoor café, it all adds up. Even culinary and wine-tasting tours can work off the pounds if combined with walking or cycling.
But there are plenty of options for more traditionally active vacations as well. Walking trips that cover an average of ten miles a day or so and often spend nights in local inns are popular in France, Italy, Ireland, England, and many other European countries; best of all, your main luggage goes by van while you carry just a daypack.
Cycling tours are popular throughout Europe, whether it’s in mostly flat Holland or conquering more rugged terrain on a Greek Island. River cruise boats along the Danube and other rivers often bring bicycles for passengers to ride along the river banks or explore small villages (electric bikes that provide a boost going up hills are a frequent and welcome perk).
One thing you don’t want on your European tour is the stress of worrying about whether you’ve overlooked some “don’t miss” activities or attractions. With Stride’s help, you can be sure to find tour providers that know all the highways and byways throughout Europe, so you won’t miss a thing.
Western Europe is a destination that attracts travelers of all types! From meandering through ancient and quaint architectural cities, to perusing some of the world’s most famous visual arts, to indulging in some of the finest and most creative cuisines, it is a destination that never disappoints. Western Europe is a place to have a visceral experience of history, culture, culinary experiences, architecture and the natural environment. Travel experiences there are sure to engage your intellect, creativity and sense of adventure.
Here are some cities that highlight what awaits for your trip to Western Europe. These cities in particular offer a meaningful travel experience through time.
Paris is often called a romantic city because it is known for its iconic Eiffel tower, the Seine River that runs through Paris and the artistic mecca called the Louvre.
Barcelona is lively and colorful, with a vibrant nightlife. It is a place whose exceptional architecture such as Salvador Dali’s Park Güell and Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia.
Berlin draws travelers interested in experiencing history about WWII first hand through exceptional sites and museums. It is also a city with intriguing Bohemian spaces of artists and musicians.
Rome is a city that takes you on a journey to the past through ancient ruins like the Colosseum, making a wish at the Trevi Fountain and breathtaking paintings like Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel.
London is theatrical with ties to Shakespeare and world-class theater, while also offering sights such as the “Big Ben” Clock Tower, Abbey Road from the Beatles and Buckingham Palace.
Additionally, let’s not forget that all of these cities are known for world-class local cuisine!
If you are seeking an active experience of Western Europe, there are many to choose from. From trekking the Camino de Santiago through Northern Spain, to taking a river cruise on the Douro River in Portugal, to cycling through the countryside of France, there are many ways to tour through Western Europe.
Western Europe is the type of destination that can be tailored to numerous travel interests and passions. As a major travel destination, it is a place where the infrastructure for travel is unparalleled. There are tours, trips, guides and locals all awaiting to support you having an unforgettable and personalized trip.
Journeying into Eastern Europe is one where history, medieval architecture, sweeping landscapes and intrigue intersect. Although a place where the Cold War affected outside perception of Eastern Europe, it is now considered a travel hotspot. It has a lot to offer including resilient and lively cultures, fine arts, engaging festivals and historical lessons.
In particular, many travelers take a trip to Eastern Europe to dive into history and culture. For example, some travelers interested in WWII travel to sites such as Auschwitz or the Warsaw Ghetto as an opportunity to learn from darker periods of human history. Eastern Europe interweaves history into modern life and one can learn from various periods of important revolutions, ancient civilizations and political experiences throughout the region.
There are important cities that many travelers enjoy visiting in Eastern Europe. Budapest, along the Danube River, is home to relaxing thermal spas and baths and additionally hosts lively cultural events. Prague showcases intricate architecture through walking across the Charles Bridge or viewing the Prague Castle. It additionally boasts itself as having exquisite pubs and fine tasting beer. Transylvania is a region made popular by Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula. Besides folklore, it also is a beautiful and mysterious landscape with Medieval castles.
Eastern Europe is a place where adventurous travelers can revel in unique landscapes, while learning important historical lessons. There are many types of trips that people take throughout the region including cosmopolitan and foodie tours. A trip to Eastern Europe, regardless of your style of travel, will certainly enrich your senses and intellect.
A river cruise is a wonderful way to enjoy a scenic tour of Europe’s riverways, culture, architecture and food- all from the comfort and adventure of a guided trip. It is additionally a great way to share your experience with other like-minded travelers.
These are the top river cruise destinations in Europe:
The Danube - An iconic and magical blue river, the Danube is the second longest river in Europe. As such, it offers many different river cruise itineraries and lengths. Some trip options are: beginning in Budapest or Prague and cruising through Germany, Slovakia and Austria or beginning in Germany and traveling through many of the Balkan States to end in Romania.
The Rhine River - A river cruise along the Rhine offers up close and personal views of primarily Germany’s nature, architecture, culture and cuisine. This river flows through Amsterdam and Switzerland as well if you’re looking for an extended and multi-country river cruise.
The Seine - A quintessential experience in France, the Seine is beautiful and gives you the experience of being European. It runs through Paris! You will drift by historical landmarks. Most cruises are focused on history and visit such sights as Versailles and Notre Dame and Normandy beaches.
The Douro River - Portugal's Douro River is a great destination for those who enjoy wine and picturesque landscapes. The Douro Valley is where port wine comes from. Most trips operate within Portugal and sometimes extend into Spain. If you’re on a timeline, you can find shorter river cruises in this area of Europe.
The Rhone - The Rhone passes through France and Switzerland. On a river cruise down The Rhone you will travel by way of an ancient and important trade route during the time of the Greek and Roman Empires. River cruises here are also a culinary tour where you can sample regional wines and foods.
Touring Northern Europe & Scandinavia
A visit to Scandinavia and the Baltic countries of Northern Europe is a must for those who would like to experience a less crowded European experience. These areas boast some of the most precious and untouched wilderness in the world and are a great location for outdoor enthusiasts. Additionally, the cities of the region rival those of Western Europe in their cosmopolitan, artistic and historical significance.
Many active travelers enjoy visiting Scandinavian countries as an opportunity to do activities such as hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, boat trips and seeing the Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights. As countries that experience prolonged winters, winter adventurers here have much to explore. During the summer months, you can find a lovely and refreshing seaside holiday with visits to cities such as eclectic Copenhagen, Oslo’s breathtaking fjords and Stockholm and its hidden islands.
The Baltic countries of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia have enchanting castles set amongst dreamy landscapes. A visit to these countries makes you feel like you are in a fairytale. Historians will engage with significant history, particularly during Nazi and Soviet occupations of these lands. It is also a place where one sees architecture influenced by the Stalin era and socialist realist art pieces.
Whether you are looking for an artistic, historical, cultural or outdoor experience, Scandinavia and Northern Europe offers all of the above and more. The experience that you have is also sure to be surrounded by more locals than fellow travelers which allows for an authentic experience.
Russia is a destination for those looking for a culturally rich experience. As the largest country in the world, it is a destination that is mostly off the beaten track. It offers travelers a unique travel experience. Some notable experiences that tourists like to have are: a visit to Moscow and St. Petersburg to see the glittery palaces, fortresses and national treasures, a taste of some small-batch vodka or a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway to see the amazing countryside.
There are important things to know when planning a trip to Russia. It is important to note that all U.S. travelers to Russia must obtain a Tourist Visa (that lasts up to 30 days). This process is one of gathering all necessary paperwork and following the Bureaucratic process. Apply early to ensure that the process goes smoothly.
Some travel agencies and companies will assist you in applying for your visa. Safety in Russia is also a consideration for travelers. For the most part, Russia and the places that tourists typically go are relatively safe and only require normal precautions like at home. It is important to note that outside of these tourist areas, it is important to exercise increased caution to ensure a safe trip.
A trip to Russia is a very engaging trip to take as it is historically, artistically and culturally rich. Being that Russia was a country particularly isolated from the United States during the Cold War, it offers history buffs an interesting look at Russian and U.S. relations of the past and present. Any trip to Russia is sure to offer an engaging and diverse experience.
The Mediterranean is a perfect place to put your feet up to enjoy the warm salty breeze and the friendly people. It is a destination known for its connection to the ocean through delicious sea-based cuisines and cultures with intriguing folklore and traditions. Destinations along the Mediterranean are popular including the Greek Islands, the Croatian Coast or the Italian and French Rivieras.
One way to experience the Mediterranean is on a small ship cruise. Small ship cruises and tours allow you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture, history and locales that make the Mediterranean a magical place. If you are a sailor, or one who would love to try sailing, a sailing tour is an excellent way to travel the Mediterranean coastlines.
You can explore quaint ports and towns or major metropolitan areas after sailing the open seas. Or you can join a small boat cruise on a yacht or a small to mid-sized vessel. These tours range from budget to luxury, so you can find what fits your travel style and budget. They also offer numerous destination choices, so you can tailor your experience to your interests.
The Mediterranean is also a historical destination, particularly in Greece, where ancient civilizations can be experienced firsthand in Athens, the stunning Meteora and the museums of Corfu. Those who are interested in understanding the roots of western civilization will delight in the enriching experiences that Greece offers. Greece also boasts some of the most picturesque architecture and villages with its special blue and white schemas.
The Mediterranean is full of options and possibilities for a wonderful holiday and adventure. Whichever destination or destinations you choose, you will quickly see why the Mediterranean is home to European’s favorite holiday destinations as well. Beauty, relaxation, culture and history await you there.
Senior and Baby Boomer travelers enjoy visiting Europe for many different reasons ranging from relaxation, a dive into history, outdoor experiences, cosmopolitan delights or engagement with the arts. For any of these travelers, there are trips to fit any interest, passion or motivation for European travel. Tours can additionally offer travelers experiences they can share with other travelers from their generations to form lasting friendships.
Many senior and baby boomer travelers visit Europe to engage up-close-and-personal with the significant historical events from the ancient past and history that is directly related to their lived experience or that of their family members. For example, for generations who have different types of connections to WWII, many senior and baby boomer travelers come to various parts of Europe to see and learn from historical events, sites and experiences related to the War. In particular, such travelers commonly visit the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, the Reichstag in Berlin or the Warsaw Ghetto in Poland.
Senior and baby boomer travelers may also fancy a trip to cosmopolitan centers of Europe such as Prague or Florence, a sailing cruise through the Mediterranean Sea or a hiking adventure along the coasts of Ireland. There are endless experiences and adventures for these travelers to enjoy.
Europe is a quintessential destination for young travelers who have recently graduated high school or college, are taking a break from being a young professional or those who are taking a solo trip or a trip with friends. There are many reasons why. It is a destination where you will certainly meet people from all around the world, who will open your world perspective and build unforgettable travel stories with you. With so many wonderful destinations, Europe is a place where travelers can explore multiple and diverse cultures, sites and adventures on a single trip.
Many young travelers would like to meet other like-minded travelers to enjoy their travel experiences with. If you are a solo traveler or traveling with friends, joining a tour is an excellent way to make lasting friendships from all around the world. Popular destinations for young travelers looking to socialize, sightsee and enjoy nightlife are island hopping in Greece, visiting Spanish cities like Barcelona or the island of Ibiza or to cities like Berlin or Munich in Germany. Whichever destinations you choose, you can find a tour that specializes in your activities, age group and interests.
Most young travelers to Europe want a sense of adventure and networking built into their experience. They’d like to see some sites that are off the beaten track and were referred to them by other travelers. A notable and unique experience like this is visiting the ruin bars in Budapest, which are just as they sound- a bar situated in an ancient ruin. There’s no better way to enjoy a craft brew and immerse yourself in history.
Europe is a great destination for a young traveler, as there are a plethora of experiences to discover the many sides of Europe. It is well-traveled by other young travelers so you are certain to meet interesting people from around the world. It also boasts excellent travel infrastructure, so that will keep your family and friends feeling secure in your decision to adventure the world.
The southeastern and eastern part of Europe is known as the Balkans. It is a collection of countries with a history marked by foreign rulers such as the Ottoman Empire. It is an area of Europe that is surrounded by spectacular and jagged geography, engaging architecture and unique cuisine that reflects its history as a gateway between the east and the west.
Touring the Balkans is seeing where timeless traditions and modern living intersect. It is a place for outdoor enthusiasts, those who want an intellectual and historical trip and those who enjoy culinary cuisines that showcase many different cultural influences. It is a place for those who would like to explore a part of Europe that is off the beaten track.
Popular destinations within the Balkans are visiting the gorgeous Bay of Kotor in Montenegro, Lake Bled in Slovenia and the enchanting city of Dubrovnik in Croatia. Additionally, exploring the coastline of the Adriatic Sea by boat is a lovely trip.
The Balkans can offer many types of tourism. For example, since the countries are known for their spectacular scenery, the Balkans are home to many filming locations from Game of Thrones. A traveler who loves this show could feasibly structure a tour of the Balkans based on these gorgeous filming sites. Come to the Balkans to take a walk through history, explore interesting cultures and explore rugged and untouched landscapes.
Multi-Country Tours in Europe
There are lots of different ways to see Europe. If you have some time and are interested in exploring multiple countries, this is a very popular guided tour option. Being that European countries are in close proximity to each other, it is viable to visit multiple neighboring countries on a single visit. The advantages of doing this, is that you will be able to immerse yourself in multiple diverse cultures and histories in one trip.
Common multi-country tours in Europe are ones in which the countries are generally close to one another. This makes it logistically more relaxing to get from one destination to the other. Popular multi-country tours are Germany, France and Spain, or France, Belgium and the Netherlands, or Croatia, Slovenia and Montenegro. The possibilities of tours are numerable, so you can tailor your experience to the countries, sites and experiences that are most important to you.
Europe is a diverse continent and is special in the way that so many different cultures live side-by-side. What better way to understand and experience this than through multi-country tours! When you return from your trip to Europe, you will be able to share stories from different countries which widens your world perspective.
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