Planning a trip to Europe

Whether you’re considering a trip to France to see the Eiffel Tower and the Louve, camping in Iceland to witness the Northern Lights, Germany to partake of the festivities of Oktoberfest, Italy to see the ancient (and modern) city of Rome , or anywhere else in Europe for any other reason, you’ll want to iron out a lot of details before you go.

Europe offers the traveler a dizzying array of cultures, cuisines, sights and activities to choose from. What you will experience in Oslo differs from that in Zurich, or Kilkenny, or Manchester, or Dusseldorf, or Athens , or…. well, you get the idea.

With such diversity, choosing a destination can be daunting if all you have is a vague notion of “seeing Europe.” But, like most vacations, taking the time to define what you want out of your trip to Europe can dramatically ease the process.

Think about where your passions lie. Do you love art? Are you a history buff? Do you have the movies Gladiator or Troy on your DVR with the delete option disabled? Are you a connoisseur of gourmet food, fine wine or quality beer? Do you love listening to Mozart (or maybe Monoq)? Are you fascinated by Muscovite architecture?

Thinking about what experiences you find most satisfying and gratifying will almost certainly steer you toward a country (or group of similar nations) where that interest is celebrated. If you are still having trouble, you can, of course, call Wanderlust Travel to discuss your options. You’ll receive thoughtful guidance to help you select a destination to provide the best experience.

Another important consideration is how you’ll get around once you’ve landed in your destination country. In terms of land mass,  the European continent is approximately the size of the United States. (Europe, 3.9 million square miles; USA, 3.8 million square miles.)

Passenger trains offer a reasonably priced option that allow you to get from one city to another, even to a city in another country, with the benefit of allowing you comforts and amenities like a dining car or cocktail bar, plus endless views of European countrysides. There are myriad options for travel via automobile, naturally. You can rent a car to drive yourself. Alternatively,  you could hire a tour company to take you to see the sights on a tour bus or privately chauffeured car or limousine. If you intend to stay in a single location,  walking tours are available most major cities,  and bicycles are available for rent in many locations. In cities with large rivers or lakes nearby, ferries and water taxis are common as well.

If you are booking your trip through a travel agent (I sure hope so! And I also hope it’s Wanderlust Travel!!!), I strongly encourage you to book any outings or excursions with the rest of your trip. Travel agents have access to networks of the most reliable and reputable providers, giving you the best experience available.

Accommodations in Europe range from the modest to the lavish, the historical to the modern. In the Old World, particularly in the large cities, space is at a premium. Keep this in mind when choosing a room. What we consider a standard sized hotel room here in the States might look like a luxury suite compared to some European hotels,  particularly those in older, historical buildings. Larger accommodations are available, of course, but usually at a premium to which we Yanks are unaccustomed.

European food. Mmmmm…

Oh, sorry. I got distracted, thinking about Jagerschnitzel mit Spaetzle, accompanied by a mug of schwarzbier. Of course, my predominantly German heritage draws me to such menu items. Wherever you go in Europe, you’ll invariably learn about regional cuisine in a way that goes far beyond the menu at Olive Garden. Italian, French, Greek, German, Polish and every other style of food in Europe has its own classic recipes that will amaze you, no matter how often you’ve had the same item made in America.

Likewise, Europeans mastered beer, wine and liquors hundreds of years ago. If you enjoy these libations, allow yourself to sample brands you’ve never head of. Drink an altbier brewed in a tavern in Dusseldorf’s altstadt. Taste a grand cru from a vineyard you’ve never heard of outside Bordeaux. Savor a trippel made from an 800 year old recipe at a Belgian monetary. And, of course, sip a single malt Irish whiskey while overlooking the River Brosna.

Europe is an amazing continent. From the lowlands of Holland, to the peaks of the Swiss Alps, there’s no shortage of adventure, as well as limitless serenity.

Maybe you’ll want to research your lineage in the archives of an ancient church. Or catch a professional soccer match. Or visit a medieval castle. Or gaze in silent and somber reflection upon battlefields where soldiers once marched.

Whatever your reason, Wanderlust Travel would love to help you get there. Call or message me today to discuss your trip. You’ll never regret going, but if you don’t,  you’ll always wish you had.


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