It’s hard to beat Europe for history, scenery, culture,
charm and magic – no matter how many times you’ve been to Europe, there’s
always something new to discover and explore.
Europe offers a different experience depending on the time
of year that you visit. Summer (June, July, August) is great for its long days
and warm weather – but peak season brings with it higher prices and tourist
attractions and transport systems can be congested. Winter (December, January,
February) has captivating snow scenes and great skiing, but can also be a time
of storms, blizzards and floods. Low season means short days and less
sightseeing time, but smaller queues. The shoulder season in spring (March,
April, May) is a great time to visit as the weather warms up and the flowering
plants bring colour to the region. The crowds are fewer in Autumn (September,
October, November) but Southern Europe is still worth visiting as it is still
warm and the days long.
Many countries within Europe use the same currency, the Euro
so you don’t have to constantly change money, making it easier to budget.
Whether you prefer a five-star holiday or are on the cheap there are countless
European experiences waiting to bring you fun and enjoyment.
The European landscape is diverse, ranging from breathtaking
scenery like the snow-capped mountains such as the Swiss Alps, Mediterranean/Aegean
beaches and tranquil lakes.
Every city seems to have a large cathedral and the small
villages have at least one charming and attractive church. Europe is blessed
with famous galleries, monuments, castles and other historical entities. Rome
in Italy is well known for the Colosseum and the Forum. Paris has the Louvre,
Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomph and the Champs Elysees. London has St Paul’s
Cathedral, the Tower Bridge and Westminster Abbey.
For a truly unforgettable picturesque experience, drive through
the Provence region and the southern towns between France and Spain in autumn,
past rows of golden poplar trees in high, clear air scented with burning leaves
Try sailing around the islands of Greece or Croatia – experiencing
turquoise waters and taking in ruins from past civilisations in amongst the olive
trees and vineyards. And there are the
mountainous areas in Germany, France and Italy that are famous for wonderful
skiing and extreme snow sports.
Festivals and Events
Europe has numerous festivals of art, music, film, religion
- and even chocolate. For those who love the sweet stuff, Le Salon du Chocolat
is an indulgent celebration of chocolate and coffee that occurs throughout
Europe in October/November, with the largest celebration occurring in Paris.
A great way to experience European culture is to venture
outside the big cities and go local. Many villages have religious festivals and
you will be welcome to watch or join in the dancing, music and gastronomic fare.
But wherever you go throughout Europe, you’re bound to stumble upon some sort
of ritual or celebration going on. Just let yourself go and immerse yourself.
Soccer (or football) - the beautiful game, dominates the
sporting landscape in Europe. Attending a game will be one of the experiences
of your life, especially if you are lucky enough to witness a match between
fierce rivals. The English Premier League has Everton versus Liverpool, the
Spanish La Liga has Barcelona versus Madrid, whilst the Italian Serie A has the
local derby of AC Milan and Inter Milan.
For something different, you could go watch the running of
the bulls in Pamplona, or go coasteering in Wales – which is like canyoning,
but along the rugged Welsh coastline.
European food is just as diverse as the countries that are
part of the continent. For simple but tasty food, it’s hard to go past Italy.
For a sophisticated cuisine, French food is hard to beat (who can resist the little
sweet and delicious pastries!). For a cold weather warmer, try goulash, stuffed
cabbage or plum dumplings in Hungary, or German sausage, sauerkraut and beer.
Europe has a well-developed bus, rail and flight network. Most
international flights arrive via major hubs to the capitals and major cities.
The main hubs to Europe from Australia are Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala
Lumpur and Abu Dhabi.
Travelling Europe by rail is a popular way to get around.
Services are frequent, fast and efficient and it’s often more convenient to
travel by rail, plus you have a great feel for the local countryside.
Pickpockets are a risk in the major cities, especially
around rail and bus transport hubs, major attractions and other crowded places.
Beware of petty theft, minor crime and scam risks as well. Only carry as much cash as you need, and have
hardcopy and electronic copies of your travel documents – or, store them safely
at your accommodation.
Scammers are usually well-groomed and use sophisticated
distraction ploys such as pretending to spill something on you and helping you
wipe the substance off, asking you to fill out a survey, or performing a fight.
Other scams include ‘room inspectors’ - an elaborate scheme where someone knocks
on the door to talk, while another ‘inspects the room’, taking any valuables
Smart Traveller advises that there is an ongoing risk of
terrorism throughout Europe. Previous terrorist
attacks have occurred in major cities including London, Paris and Madrid so be particularly
vigilant around crowded areas. Natural disasters caused by harsh weather
conditions such as snowstorms, gales, floods and heat waves can affect your
travel plans. Many parts of Europe are vulnerable to earthquakes, tremors and
volcanic eruptions, for example, Italy. Familiarise yourself with local safety
procedures upon arrival.
Some European countries do not have an Australian embassy or
consulate so familiarise yourself with the nearest one located to you in case
you require consular services.
- Danke -‘Thank you’ in German
- Gracias - 'Thank you’ in Spanish
- Ciao - ‘Hello’ in Italian
- Bonjour - ‘Hello’ in French
- Merci - ‘Thank you’ in French.
While generally a safe destination, visitors to Europe are
also advised to use common sense and caution while travelling to avoid the
Being a smart traveller by getting vaccinated before you
leave Australia and by taking precautions to minimise the risk of illness,
accident or theft while overseas can help improve the chances of your trip to
Europe being memorable for all the right reasons. However, some things are
outside even the most cautious traveller's control; ensuring you have adequate
travel insurance is an essential way to minimise the costs of an illness or
misadventure in Europe.
Whether you have to change your travel plans for health
reasons, have your new camera stolen or even suffer an injury that requires
medical evacuation, Allianz Travel Insurance can help minimise the financial
impact. Allianz offers Basic Travel Insurance, Comprehensive Travel Insurance
and Multi Trip Travel Insurance for your trip overseas. Get a quote from