By far one of the most popular travel destinations in the world is Europe. Home to many diverse countries, landscapes, cultures and languages, Europe borders the North Atlantic Ocean to the west and the bright blue Mediterranean Sea to the south. It remains a fascinating place to visit time and time again.
Stepping Back to the Ancient World
Europe today showcases many throwbacks to its long storied past. Sprawling empires have reigned throughout the ages from Roman to Austro Hungarian. Fundamental philosophies we still adhere to today were formulated in Ancient Greece. Tales of intrigue surround it's many still standing castles.
Of course ancient history preserved also has the side effect of some difficult navigation. Cobblestoned streets may sound idyllic but walking for an extended period over the uneven surface can be a major strain on hips, back, and feet.
Do be prepared for some walking though - many old sections of European cities are compact, with many attractions right on top of each other. Such that you may not realize how long you’ve actually been on your feet going from museum to cathedral to outdoor café.
Europe Farther Afield
Turkey may not have been a common travel destination 20 years ago, but today this is a thriving and popular tourist destination. Turkey’s unique positioning in the world geographically makes it the perfect introduction to the Middle East. You'll notice many European influences as you wander the streets of Istanbul admiring the architecture and smelling the delicious food from various markets.
Older travelers may have an ingrained mental block about visiting the balkan states or Central European countries such as Hungary or Slovakia. Iron Curtain remnants are still visible, and life under communist rule remains a not so distant memory for some. But it’s precisely this fact that can make a tour through these countries so impactful. Apart from being uncommonly beautiful, their recent and ancient histories are fascinating to learn about, particularly from local guides.
The mysterious and stunningly beautiful Scandinavian countries to the North deserve a mention as well. These hidden gems are extremely fun for history enthusiasts - prepare to discover the story of the vikings and their tremendous influence over the look, feel, and culture of such places as Finland, Norway, and Sweden. From castles to fjords, Scandinavia might be a little out of the way, but well worth the extra effort to get there.
Russia is an extremely proud, complex nation. Constantly at odds it seems, with its neighbors, it nonetheless has a fascinating history to learn about and landmarks to visit. Entering Russia can involve some hoops so make sure you’re really on board to dive into the culture and cover long distances. Consider choosing a guided tour company that has a lot of experience in Russia specifically. This can help unlock all the wonderful things about the country even further, and make the visa process less of a headache.