What is the perfect European holiday destination? Well, no two people are the same – and no two destinations are the same either. Not every European vacation spot is going to be as appealing to you as to your parents, or vice versa. Even with friends your own age, everyone will still have different tastes and preferences.
Most big cities will have something to offer everyone, of course – you just might have to look a little harder in some places than others. But in order to really get the most out of a European adventure, think about what kind of a traveller you are – and pick a place to match!
Are you the life of the party?
If you like to live life loud and vibrantly, there are plenty of options when it comes to having the European holiday of your dreams. Extroverts will never lack from chances to make new friends on the go – and if you pick the right place, there will be a million opportunities to live your best life. The perfect European holiday destination for you…?
Our pick is Barcelona
Why? On the picturesque Costa Brava, this Spanish city is a truly vibrant city, packed with culture, architecture and a whole lot of night life. Whether you’re making new friends as you puff your way up the steps of the Sagrada Familia, or grabbing a water bottle at the bar of La Terrrazza to cool off between DJ sets, you’re going to be able to spread those social butterfly wings and meet locals and travellers alike.
Join the club
Clubbing culture is a big part of life in Barcelona for young people, whether they’ve called the city home forever or just for a couple of nights. It’s such a big industry that there’s even a Barcelona NightCard to fast track your entrance into the best and brightest venues. Like in any city or country, however, you need to be sensible about how your spend your time out on the town. Drink plenty of non-alcoholic beverages – you want to stay hydrated, especially with all that dancing and the balmy Barcelona weather! Keep your guard up – if you’re at a club popular with tourists (and therefore pickpockets), it’s wise to wear a money belt underneath your clothing rather than carry a wallet. The last thing you need at closing time is to find that your money and passport have been stolen!
Don’t forget to brush up on your Iberian languages. Spain is home to many more languages than just Spanish, and Barcelona is a place where it’s wise to remember that. Barcelona is in Catalonia, where the native language is Catalán – and the people of Barcelona are very proud of their Catalonian heritage and language. While you’ll likely be able to use your guide book Spanish to get you through interactions with locals, learning a few phrases in Catalán is going to show that you respect their language and customs.
Hello! – Bon dia!
Goodbye! – Adéu!
Please – Sisplau
Thank you – Grácies
You’re welcome – De res.
Do you speak English? – Parlas anglès?
Want to learn more? Here’s a great resource for learning basic Catalán phrases.
Are you a total culture vulture?
We think Rome could be the perfect European holiday destination for you. It may seem obvious, but for good reason. Rome: the city of seven hills, the former capital of what was once the biggest empire in the world… It’s full of amazing cultural experiences that every lover of art and history simply has to visit at some time in their life.
Museum after museum
If looking at all things art and archaeological is your idea of the perfect day, you’re going to feel absolutely spoiled for choice in Rome. The Capitoline Museums are among the oldest museums in the world and include some outstanding examples of classical-era sculpture. And really, half the city is a museum in many ways, with spots like the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, and the Colosseum just existing alongside buildings from every century since. If you’re from a young country or city, the sheer amount of ancient history on display is astounding.
A pope-ular international experience
Rome isn’t just home to Rome. It’s also where you’ll find the world’s smallest sovereign state, Vatican City. The Vatican is only 110 acres in size, and its population is around 1000. But it’s also a vitally important part of the world as far as religion as concerned, as the home of the pope, the head of the Catholic Church.
But whether you’re Catholic or not, the Vatican is a must-do for anyone visiting Rome. St Peter’s Basilica is a beautiful example of Renaissance church architecture, while the nearby Sistine Chapel dates to a similar era but is most famous for its painted frescos on the ceiling, by the master artist Michelangelo. While you’re in The Vatican, be sure to check out the ATMs – you can use them in Latin, the official language of the country!
Feast, not famine
Of course, a trip to Rome would be incomplete without some serious eating. Enjoy everything from proper Roman gelato to tender potato gnocchi to olive oil dressed artichokes – and more! Rome is particularly famous for its pasta, with local favourites including amatriciana (featuring pork cheek, pecorino cheese and tomato), carbonara (one international visitors are probably more familiar with – featuring egg, pecorino, pepper and pancetta), gricia (similar to carbonara but with no egg), and cacio e pepe (a simple but delicious combination of black pepper and pecorino cheese). Rome even has a pasta museum, so if you’re a carboholic, this is definitely the city for you!
Hello! – Buon giorno!
Goodbye! – Arrivederci!
Please – Per favour.
Thank you – Grazie.
You’re welcome – Prego.
Do you speak English? – Parla inglese?
Need more basic Italian? Here’s one link – but the internet is full of amazing options.
Are you a quiet soul?
If you prefer to stick with your own company, rather than spending time with new people, you’re not alone! Not all travellers are extroverts – in fact, many people who are introverted love to travel, as it’s a chance to slip away into a new place where you don’t know anyone and just spend time with your thoughts and whatever you want to see. The perfect European holiday destination for you…? Lovely Latvia.
And Latvia is one such place – a country that has embraced its introvert nature, meaning that any and all introverted visitors will fit right in. This Baltic nation may not be an obvious place to pick, but this region is growing in popularity all the time, and Riga is a beautiful coastal city, with something to offer year-round.
Stroll in silence
There’s nothing quite like hopping off the train in a new city and just going for a walk to get to know the neighbourhood. Of course, it’s always wise to have maps of the city pre-downloaded onto your phone, and to have details of taxi companies or train timetables to hand – but sometimes you just want to get ‘lost’ among unfamiliar buildings and listen to the hum of the city and an unknown language. Check out TripAdvisor’s top ratings for walking tours if you do want a bit of guidance in your strolling. Wherever you go, you’re sure to be charmed by the beautiful variety of architecture that Riga has developed over the centuries!
Riga has a whole lot of beautiful green park areas, with canals running through them and a bridge decorated with ‘love locks’ – padlocks inscribed with two lovers’ initials and attached forever to the rails of the bridge. Relax, unwind, or take a boat ride along the picturesque canals! Think this could be the perfect European holiday destination for you…?
Find peace in places of sanctuary
Whether or not you have any religious beliefs of your own, Riga’s many beautiful churches are lovely places to visit for a moment of respite from the outside world. High ceilings and amazing architecture add to the experience of peace and tranquility.
While there are many churches to choose from, one that really shouldn’t be missed is the Nativity of Christ Cathedral. Keep in mind that there are customs to observe – nobody can wear shorts, and women will need to cover their heads with a scarf.
Hello! – Sveiki!
Goodbye! – Uz redzēšanos!
Please – Lūdzu.
Thank you – Paldies.
You’re welcome – Vienmēr laipni.
Do you speak English? – Vai jūs runājat angliski?
Are you always looking for an excuse to get back to nature?
Wondering where Bergen is and why it could be the perfect European holiday destination for you…? Here’s one you maybe haven’t heard of – and if you’re a nature lover, that’s probably just what you want! Bergen is a city in coastal Norway, and for Scandinavia, it’s really quite a mild climate. Winter will rarely drop below -10°C, meaning that you’ll always be able to get adventuring in some way, as long as you’re properly dressed!
Bergen is right in the heart of Norway’s fjords, and it is as scenic as cities get. The city is surrounded by green hills and mountains, where you’ll be able to enjoy all kinds of exploring. Of course, no trip to the fjords of Norway would be complete without a cruise out on the water, and there are plenty of different options to suit different budgets – from brief tours on simple vessels to fancy overnight cruises with all the modern conveniences. Or if you’re feeling extra active, you could give kayaking on the fjords a go – or even rafting on the fjords or the surrounding rivers.
Hiking on high
Hikes and walking tours around Bergen are hugely popular, and for good reason. Take the Fløibanen funicular or the Ulriken cable car into the Bergen mountains and you’ll have trails upon trails to choose from, with beautiful scenery and views of the city as well as the wider region.
A cycling city
Another option is cycling, both around the charming city itself as well as up into the ‘seven’ mountains that surround the city. But here’s an expert tip: even though the city of Bergen is known as ‘the city of seven mountains’, nobody can agree on which seven they are – there are actually nine mountains in and around Bergen!
The perfect European holiday destination for you…?
Norwegian 101 (though most Norwegians do speak at least some English!):
Hello! – Hallo!
Goodbye! – Ha det!
Please – Vær så snill.
Thank you – Takk.
You’re welcome – Vær så god.
Do you speak English? – Snakker du engelsk?
Need to know more? Here are some great Norwegian phrases as well as pronunciation help!
Think you’ve found the perfect European holiday destination for you…? Have you booked a trip to Europe already? If so, have you arranged your travel insurance? If not head over to our Compare Plans page to find the travel insurance policy to best suit your needs.