The weather in Europe is beginning to hot up, and I’m guessing that some of you might be thinking about holidays overseas and maybe taking off for a lovely Mediterranean summer?
If not, why not? My new moto is #Yolo – You Only Live Once!
With the nip in the air in Australia beginning to bite, now’s the time when my thoughts turn to the old countries and northern hemisphere climates with long, dusky evenings, strawberries and cream, Pimms, lovely tapas, long walks, ancient architecture and a whole medley of memories yet to be made.
If you are lucky enough to be going travelling, I’d love to know where you’re going. I’m nosey like that. But I guess you knew that anyway 😉
I was reminiscing about our whistle-stop tour of Europe with Expat Explore, and thinking just how wonderful it was. I was also thinking about the wonderful places we visited and some of the things I learnt on that trip which might be useful for you.
These are my 5 quick tips for travelling in Europe – tips which are not always obvious, but which might help you have an amazing time.
1. If you’re visiting a popular tourist destination favoured by cruise liners, just remember that cruise ships dock in the mornings and generally leave late afternoon. Some places like Venice can become really crowded in the day. When the cruise ship passengers have departed, you’re likely to have the place almost to yourself. Think around 4pm onwards. Book early for Venice attractions if you’re travelling in season.
2. When you’re in a beautiful city try and get high – Eek! I don’t mean on chemical substances – but I do mean height-wise – because the views will be worth it. For example; Get thee to the top of the Eiffel Tower, or better still Montparnasse Tower (for great views of the Eiffel Tower), take the Cable Car in Dubrovnik to the top of Mount Srdj for fabulous views of the old city (Check out the best places to stay in Dubrovnik here) ask where to find the best lookouts in places like Budapest (one of the most photographic cities in the world) or go to Buda Castle for a great view of Chain Bridge and Parliament buildings, climb the stairs to the top of the Astronomical Clock tower, while in Prague, and in Venice get the lift up to the top of the Campanile di San Marco
3. Always travel with a guide book. Often I’ve decided to follow my nose with just a local map and regretted it. An inexpensive handbag sized guide in English from a tourist shop will tell you much more. Otherwise good old Lonely Planet, Fodors or Rough Guides for instance really do help you get a better feel for a place, what to see and do, and its history.
4. Don’t just rely on taxis. Travelling on public transport is often cheap and easy. Do beware of pick pockets. But have fun and speak to the locals.
5. Security – don’t take all your stuff out of the hotel at once. Leave things in a safety deposit box if you can. Be very aware of pick pockets in crowded places – Paris metro was our downfall.
So come on, spill the beans if you will – are you going anywhere nice anytime soon? Got any tips?