When first arriving to a new European city, the tourist can feel overwhelmed because there is just so much history and culture to experience. Additionally, one can sometimes miss out on prospective sights that they would have loved to see by simply not knowing that the site was there. This is why I recommend allowing yourself a day to get to know the European city that you are visiting before you start selecting museums, monuments, and restaurants to discover.
Here are my tips on how to make the most of each and every European city that you visit:
- Take a Hop-on-Hop-Off Bus: I used to think that these buses were tourist traps; however, I was greatly mistaken. The reason that these buses are great is that they drive you around the city and allow you to see what sights are there to see with a brief history of each local sight. This can give you the chance to decide which areas of the city that you should focus your itinerary on for your stay.
- Look for a Free Walking Tour: In Europe, there has been a movement to have a “tip only tour.” What this means is that companies will hire locals to meet tourists in the center square of European cities and allow them to take a free walking tour and tip at the end if they like the tour. This is a great way to get acquainted with the city that you are visiting and to learn unique history tips that you may not have come across otherwise. Additionally, many of the tour guides are quite hilarious, which will provide you enjoyable comedic relief as well.
- Attend the Local Pub Crawl, Night Tour or Beer/Wine Tasting Event: Given that Europe is one of the foodie epicenters of the world, there have been many unique tours developing that are related to gastronomy. These tours can take place during the day and at night and they allow you to be exposed to unique restaurants and bars that you may not have been exposed to otherwise. Recently, I took a beer tasting tour in Prague that took me to some of the oldest breweries in Europe that I would have never found on my own. One can usually learn about these tours at the hostels. Thus, even if you are not staying in a hostel, do not be afraid to stop by and get a local tour guide. Many of the receptionist’s friends are tour guides and they can get you a discounted price on these fun tours.
What is important to remember when visiting Europe is that it is not bad to be on a group tour your first day. This way, you can be exposed to everything that the city offers that you are visiting. From there, you can go back to special sights that you are more interested in learning about. If you take these tour options, you will have a meaningful educational travel experience as you visit European cities that will memorable for many years to come.