With The Colosseum, The Kremlin, The Eiffel Tower and all the musical charms of a traditional Irish pub, and stretching from the sunny coast of Portugal to the sparse Ural Mountains of central Russia, Europe takes in 50 countries, over 200 languages and a vast array of the world’s most famous sites, making this cultural behemoth many traveler’s dream destination.
The west hosts the cultural grandeur of former empires: the Houses of Parliament in London, (London Wikipedia) the elegant yet surreal art of Barcelona and the ‘pillars of civilization’ in the crumbling buildings of Athens (not to mention the joys of old-world Rome). To the east you’ll find a world emerging fast from the remnants of communism, and blessed with the rustic beauty of the Romanian countryside and an imposing gothic look crossed with bohemian novelty in beautiful Prague.
There are experiences you’ll never forget, like sunrise over Stonehenge on the longest day of the year, eyed to the pacey beats of hippies, or the gentle splash of your gondola weaving down the watery streets of Venice. For nature fans, the soaring peaks of the Alps and the Pyrenees blow skiers’ and hikers’ minds. With a little luck, you can gasp at the eerie natural lights of northernmost Norway, or swim with turtles off the rustic coastlines of Greece.
For modern-day mayhem, Germany’s beer halls, the glitz and glamor of Monaco’s casinos and a host of summer music festivals offer nightlife you’ll never forget; central Europe’s snowy Christmas markets put you in seasonal spirit, while liberal Amsterdam lets you bend the rules without breaking them. Earlier in the day, Belgium’s mussels, Italy’s ice cream, Spain’s fried baby squid and the soft Cepelinai dumplings of Lithuania will all have you hassling the chef for recipes.
Getting around is easy, with long distance buses, budget airlines and Euro rail passes that’ll keep you hopping through countries galore, and an ever-increasing number of competent English speakers to help you on your way. Over each border a new greeting awaits you: a glass of wine in France, an extra strength coffee in Italy, a Guinness in Dublin, a bowl of olives in Greece and a slug of vodka in the Ukraine, each one unique, and each unforgettable.