Travel Cheat Sheet for Europe – Europe is a great place to travel to and you will find this Travel Cheat Sheet for Europe very helpful. Covering amazing cities such in Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, London or Prague, this guide will inspire your travel ‘must-do’ list.
The architecture, the culture and the food are only a few things that makes it worthwhile exploring.
But where can you find the real city vibes away from the usual sightseeing tour?
Momondo launched this great ‘Travel Cheat Sheet’ that will share local knowledge accumulated from locals and travel experts in Europe.
Travel Cheat Sheet for Europe
How To Time Travel In Europe
Out of all the trips in the world, I personally think a trip back in time would be the most amazing of all – today we can travel almost anywhere, even into space, but can we travel back in time?
Well, perhaps not the way that we ultimately would like to – but there are a few places that at least leave the impression that you have traveled back in time, and with a bit of effort from your side you can make it feel that way even more…
These days a popular way to re-experience a world from the past is to go on escorted holidays, where they take you around to historical places, tell its history and mix it up with some themed dinners and other experiences to make you feel like you really are experiencing the past.
Here are a few wonderful places which I think definitely makes you feel as though you have taken a step back in time…
Tallinn, Estonia – Medieval Spirits
There are many well preserved medieval towns in Europe, but when it comes to remaining the charm, Tallinn has managed to do it the best.
The city with its stone wall surrounding old buildings with colorful wooden doors, narrow cobbled streets and long history is a great place to dream yourself away to the past, and all the wooden stalls and restaurant waiters dressed in medieval outfits make it even easier.
Founded in the 12th century, Tallinn with its ancient city walls, high church spires and red roof tops it was an irresistible sight.
Walking around on the cobble stoned streets and alleyways lined with medieval houses in mixes of German, Russian, Swedish and Danish architecture, you feel as though you have stepped back in time.
To add to the experience, shopkeepers and restaurant waiters are all dressed up in medieval outfits.
Some people might have found it a bit tacky, but personally I think it enhanced the feeling and made it easy to imagine what life would have been like a few hundred years ago.
To read more about our time in Tallinn, make sure you check out:
Tallinn Estonia the Capital City of Estonia – As We Travel Europe
We’re going to start the morning by visiting the beautiful Town Wall.
The Town Wall dates back to the 14th century, and it’s one of Europe’s best preserved medieval fortifications.
It’s really impressive. It used to be 2.4 kilometers long, and today, 1.9 is still standing.
I think it’s what gives Thailand its beautiful, medieval, fairy tale charm.
I think it’s so cute.
When you’re a kid you hear about the fairy tales, and the knights, and the castles and the Princes, and you think it’s this wild imagination, but here in Tallinn, it’s real.
It’s so cute and it’s so amazing.
Your imagination becomes a reality.
Apparently, in the 17th century, this church behind me was one of the tallest buildings in the world.
Let’s go and have a closer look.
We were about to go in the church.
You said it was the tallest building in the 17th century?
We can’t go inside because there’s a wedding being held in there.
I’ve never seen a steeple so tall before.
It’s so long.
Apparently, it’s been hit by lightning like for or five times, and each time it’s been burnt to the ground, so I’m really not sure why they built a steeple so high.
We’re in Raekoja plats, the town square, which was a popular meeting place for locals and a few executions.
One of the most famous executions was that of a priest who was served a really bad omelet, and he killed the waitress with an ax.
Not exactly a good reason.
Anyway, today there’s a lot of cafés around, so we’re going to go try and find some lunch.
Something I think really enhances the feeling of this Old Town are all the people here dressed up in medieval traditional clothes.
I think it’s really cool.
I just bought some roasted almonds from one of them, and they taste really nice.
What Estonian people miss the most when they’re on holiday is the black bread.
It’s Estonian rye bread, and it looks like this.
It looks like a bloody brick.
It’s so heavy.
We bought—for two Euro, we bought 1.5 kilo of black bread.
And it weighs a ton.
This is crazy.
Apparently, it tastes best with cheese.
Let’s has a bite.
That’s really good.
That’s really nice.
It’s really thick and very dark.
Yeah really thick.
Next we’re going to visit the most beautiful street in town.
They say that this is the most beautiful street in Tallinn, and it really, really is pretty, but to be honest, I think the whole Old Town is just beautiful.
Now we’re going to go check out Alexander Nevsky’s Cathedral.
We’re standing outside Alexander Nevsky’s Cathedral, a Russian orthodox cathedral which has become sort of an icon of Thailand, which some of the locals find a bit annoying, because they see it as a symbol of oppression from the Russians.
Let’s have a look inside.
Well they wouldn’t let us inside.
We have no idea why.
No, that’s the second time it’s happened today with churches.
I think it looks really cooler from the outside.
Those dome on top are really colorful, it’s a great structure.
Since we can’t go inside, we’re going to walk around the corner and apparently there’s a great view overlooking Tallinn.
I think it’s the best way to finish our day here.
Tallinn Estonia Why You Should Go Now!
It’s amazing how many assumptions we have about places we’ve never been to before, all thanks to TV, media and where we were raised.
Tallinn in Estonia was for me one of those places…
One of my favorite Swedish comedy movies is about a bunch of old single men going to Tallinn to bring home a girlfriend/wife.
Because of this silly movie I used to think that was what Tallinn was about, but I realized very quickly how wrong I was, and actually felt a little embarrassed by my judgments.
Although Tallinn indeed had many gentlemen cafes and bars tucked into the backstreets, the UNESCO world heritage city had so much more to offer.
And it is an inexpensive place to visit.
Tallinn Estonia The Medieval Town
The Old Town was one of the most beautiful and well preserved medieval towns I’ve seen – and believe me, during the Europe Train Challenge we’ve seen A LOT of old towns..!
Founded in the 12th century, the city with its ancient city walls, high church spires and red roof tops was an irresistible sight.
Walking around on the cobble stoned streets and alleyways lined with medieval houses in mixes of German, Russian, Swedish and Danish architecture, you felt as though you had taken a step back in time.
To add to the experience, shop keepers and restaurant waiters were all dressed up in medieval outfits.
Some people might have found it a bit tacky, but personally I think it enhanced the feeling and made it easy to imagine what life would have been like a few hundred years ago.
Why take everything so seriously?
Play around a little, let go and have some fun!
Amazing History & Wonderful Food!
There was history around every corner, even many of the doors you would find walking around town had a quirky story behind them.
We also had some pretty memorable food experiences:
… eating the biggest pancakes I have ever seen at Kompressor, stuffing ourselves full with big plates of Estonian marzipan and buying several kilos of black bread – we almost felt stupid to be leaving this place which seemed to have everything.
I wasn’t the only one enjoying Tallinn so much so that we gave it a thought of perhaps settling down.
Everyone I talked to was here for the second, third or fourth time, and we were all staying several days longer than planned.
Best Christmas Market In Europe
Tallinn is the Europe Capital of Culture 2011, and there were (and still are) tons of things going on every single day, from folk music dances to concerts to work shops.
But even if though there is only one month left, you can be sure that the final month will be one of the best, with a Christmas market ranked as one of the very best in the whole of Europe.
I must say that I found the people in Tallinn being the friendliest out of the Baltic countries – even those who you could tell were in a bad mood couldn’t help but to help you out anyway!
Have you been to Tallinn, if so what did you think?
Venice, Italy – Rococo and Glamour
Venice with all its bridges and canals, narrow cobbled streets and the beautiful Venetian Gothic architecture makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in the world of ”Giacomo Casanova”.
To make you experience it even more the best time to visit would be during the Venice Carnival when the streets are crowded with people dressing up in traditional Venetian masks and colorful 18th century costumes.
Edinburgh, Scotland – Medieval Ghost Town
Edinburgh is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, with historical closes running like a maze through the medieval gothic houses, covered in black stains from a time when it was one of the most polluted cities and used to be called ”Auld Reekie” (Old Smokey).
But there is something slightly ghostly about this city, especially at night, and the truth is that it’s one of the most haunted cities in the world – so if this makes you slightly worried, make sure you arrange travel insurance before you leave.
To really get into the mood of this haunted city and get a glimpse into the life in the old days, you can take several different tours.
There are many ghost tours at night which take you around the closes and underground, with guides disguised as famous ghosts of Edinburgh.
Vienna, Austria – Rococo And Coffee
Follow in the footsteps of royalty and take a stroll in the huge gardens of Schönbrunn Palace, sip some coffee and take a bite of your Sacher torte in one of the many pretty cafes that look the same as they did 200 years ago, and where famous artists, philosophers and composers used to hang out.
It is easy to pretend you’re in a different era, catching a horse wagon instead of the bus and buying tickets to classical concerts from salesmen dressed in white curly wigs and read coats.
Kent, UK – Haunted Castles
UK is full of history and amazing castles, and today there are many cool variations of tours you can take which have fun themes like Murder Mystery or Haunted Adventures.
There are as many as FIVE haunted places in Kent, which explains the many tours offered:
You can visit haunted castles, and stay in haunted hotels, and in the evening throw a twist on the dinner party and have a Murder mystery play with actors.
Where you try to solve the mystery of who had murdered the victim.
Kent offers a lot of these kinds of tours, and of course one of the most popular is a trip to the most beautiful haunted castle in UK: Leeds Castle.
A Tip To Seeking Out History!
Many places in Europe like to celebrate their history with festivals and carnivals – in Scandinavia and UK you will find many different medieval festivals, in Austria you will find classical music festivals and so forth.
A good way to really experience a country’s history is to attend these kinds of festivals, so before you plan to visit a country, make sure you check if they have any of these kind of events on (usually during summer) – it could be a fun bonus to your trip.
Traveling Through Europe In A Crisis
This summer we spent about 5 weeks traveling around Europe, and everywhere we went, people talked about the crisis and how it had affected their country.
We spoke to a lot of people, and often got to see the results of the crisis first hand – this left a big impression on me, and I learned a lot about how people from different cultures deal with the same situation…
Cuts, Loyalty and Pride
One Portuguese woman we met gave us a great insight into how the Portuguese people dealt with the crisis.
She was a nurse, and in the last three years her salary had been cut with 60%, but she felt lucky that she still had a job at all.
She said that the worst thing for the Portuguese was having to move abroad in search for other jobs, it was a failure beyond having a lousy salary in your own country.
She said that they would rather have a bad paying job and remain in the country, than having to move abroad to survive.
Everyone we met in Portugal had different opinions on their future.
While one person said that the Portuguese would make sure they paid everything back because they were too proud not to, another person said that it was in their history to always mess everything up; “Whenever we finally have a chance to succeed, we always f*ck it up”.
Strikes and Suicides
It was amazing to think of how we had managed to travel by train through 35 different countries last year without ever missing a single train, because this time around we faced problem after problem.
The worst part, however, was not the actual incidents, but how everyone reacted.
When standing on the platform waiting for a train in Belgium, we were told it was cancelled because someone had just jumped in front of it and killed himself.
The first reaction of everyone around us was not shock, not even a tinge of surprise, but: not again…
A guy standing next to me said that people committing suicide by jumping in front of trains “happens all the time” in the country, and is becoming increasingly common.
In Portugal, train cancellations were even more common – our little week long trip in northern Portugal turned out to be a week of strike after strike.
Out of the 4 trains we took that week, all of them were cancelled due to strike (making everyone wait for hours).
The strange thing was how the ticket sales people dealt with it.
When we asked where the train was (nobody EVER said that it was cancelled, or why – unless provoked), one saleswoman even denied that there had ever been a train due to arrive at all.
It wasn’t until we showed her our tickets that she became quiet, left the booth for 10 minutes, then came back and wrote us a new ticket – and finally explained that it was a strike going on (when we asked for a third time).
Matter of Opinion
The fascinating thing about people is how they view the same issue.
One Belgian woman we met, who was (incidentally) working for the government, said that she hadn’t really noticed a big difference in their economy.
A few days earlier, a man who had seen us filming, came up to us and had a very different opinion about the situation in the country – he wanted us to film him giving ‘a message to the people’ that Belgium wasn’t as un-affected as it seemed
The 5 Best Castles To Visit In Europe
What the best thing about Europe was, many people mentioned the castles – Europe has an abundance of incredible castles that are so well kept you feel like you’ve instantly stepped back a few hundred years in time.
Here are five castles in Europe, they all stand out in their own way, are all very different from each other and are unique for different reasons…
The Most Beautiful Castle – Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Choosing the most beautiful castle in Europe is probably the toughest one as we all have different tastes, and our judgements are all based on many different things.
Personally, the biggest is not the most beautiful in my eyes.
Maybe I should blame it all on the hundreds of fairy tale picture books that brainwashed me as a kid, or the picturesque Walt Disney castle I saw every time I watched a movie, but to me a beautiful castle has to have tall spires, and be perched on top of a hill.
While traveling by train in the gorgeous Graubunden area of Switzerland, I saw many beautiful castles perched on top of mountains, but the one that best describes a beautiful castle for me is Neuschwanstein in Germany.
The Neuschwanstein Castle is breathtaking with the beautiful snowy mountain peaks in the background, two lakes and the many spires in different sizes.
Not surprisingly, the Walt Disney castle is said to be inspired by this one, which might be why it to me represents everything a castle should be.
The Largest Castle – Prague Castle, Czech Republic
Ok, this one is really hard to define, as many castles call themselves the largest based on different terms and measurements, but I won’t get all nerdy about how it’s measured, instead I will just refer to Guinness Book Of Records.
So, according to Guinness, the largest castle in the world is Prague Castle, in the Czech Republic.
It dates back to the 9th century and is situated with a beautiful view over the city.
The castle district also houses the beautiful St. Georges Basilica and St Vithus Cathedral, with the most beautiful stained glass windows I’ve seen.
The Most Expensive Castle – Bran Castle, Romania
Many castles in Europe are cultural icons and have a long history, which make them priceless.
Putting a price tag on some of the castles in Europe like the Windsor castle in England would be unthinkable, nobody would simply be able to afford it.
However, this is not the case with Bran Castle in Romania.
Archduke Dominic von Habsburg, grandson of King Ferdinand of Romania (and also a New York architect), put the castle up for sale in 2007.
The Bran Castle has been the home of many royalties in Romanian history, most importantly, the home of Vlad Dracula III, nicknamed the ”blood thirsty prince” and Vlad The Impaler, the figure of whom the famous vampire Dracula was based.
They expected to sell it for $135 million, which would have made it the most expensive castle in the world.
However, nobody bought it, so the castle was instead turned into a museum, which personally I think is a much better idea.
Things to Know When Planning For the Perfect European Trip
Planning For the Perfect European Trip?
Look at it this way: You like going on trips, and you’ve decided that this time around, Europe is your destination of choice.
You want to go for a European trip.
However, there are a few things that you really need to consider and keep in mind as you get down to planning for this trip.
Here’s a simple list that you’ll find very helpful:
You Can’t go on a European Trip Without Valid Travel Documents
You also need a valid visa.
All those documents should be legally issued.
In most cases, you can be allowed entry to a European country only if your visa is valid and indicating an expiry date of between 3-6 months from your date of entry into the country.
Also, be smart enough to get your train and bus tickets validated before you hop into any trains or buses.
You don’t want the train police to run into you and find you with a ticket that’s not validated. You risk a heavy fine for that.
You Should Notify Your Credit Card Company Before Departing
If a credit company finds out that a card is being used outside the country without their knowledge, they could block or suspend it with immediate effect to avoid a bad case of fraud or identity theft.
You avoid this by letting the company know that you’re going for a trip outside the country so they know you’re the one using the card out there.
In addition, you need to load your card to ensure you have enough money to finance your full trip.
It’s also smart to pay for expenses using the local currency.
This will go a long way in lowering the charges added when you swipe your card to pay in dollars in a foreign country.
Downloading The Appropriate Apps Can Be Very Useful
If you really need the best experience during your European trip check out this website Routeperfect find the best and most helpful apps and download them before you start your trip.
For example, Google Maps will help you find your way around tricky streets and highways.
Google Translate will help you translate the local dialects and save you the pains of language barrier.
In fact, Google Translate has been synchronized with Word Lens.
You can now translate streets signs and other texts by just training your camera on them. That’s great!
You Need to Mind the Time Zones
The best way to cope with the time differences during your European trip is to try to adapt to the time zone of your intended destination even before you get there.
You start taking your naps and food at the time that it’s done at the destination.
That way, you’ll have a better chance of adapting fully and faster once you get there.
You don’t want the time zones messing up your good mood for the trip, do you?
Ready Your Travel Accessories And Footwear
If you’re planning a great European trip, chances are that you’ll be moving around a lot, and that means that you need to be well-equipped for the adventure.
To that end, you’ll need good shoes as well as USB adapters and portable chargers.
You don’t want all your electronic accessories getting power-drained and shutting down in the middle of Europe.
Don’t forget to carry a water bottle too.
You can always refill it at the public water fountains.
You also need a small, portable medical kit or medicine bag where you put some emergency basic medications like pills for stomach ache or headache.
Remember to carry a watch too so you can keep good track of time.
Decide on When And Where to Visit
You realize that the whole world goes by seasons, and Europe is no exception when it comes to the warm and cold seasons.
Before you embark on your European trip, first make sure you’re targeting to catch the season of your choice there.
Do you want to enjoy winter or summer in Europe?
Make your choice, and while at it, decide on which fun activities attract you and are active during that particular season.
Also, you need to know where exactly to go to catch the action of the season.
You’re not going for a European trip just to traverse the continent with no fun activities to join in.
That would be both funny and somewhat crazy.
Make Your Reservations Early
The good thing about planning for your reservations early enough is that you get to find the most appropriate places with the most affordable rates.
With a trip planner, you can accomplish this.
A trip planner map can also map your chosen destinations and tourist sites on a map and help you come up with the best and most appropriate route to use during your European trip.
Have A Credible Budget
The worst you can do is go on a European trip without a clear budget.
That’s a sure way of tossing yourself into a financial hole.
First, you need to come up with an estimate of how much you want to spend on your trip, and you do that by doing a rough estimate of the total of the various expenses you expect to incur, and then add some extra money as an emergency fund.
Once you have decided how much you can spare for the trip, you can then set about allocating and reallocating funds to the various activities that you want to engage in while on the trip.
That’s how you come up with a good budget.
Anyone who wants to go for a European trip would surely find the above great points most helpful in their planning.
If you can keep these things in mind, you can expect to enjoy the best trip of your life.
Driving VS. Flying Holidays in Europe
Driving between destinations in Europe is usually not faster than flying between them, but it is often more enjoyable and less expensive. Driving VS. Flying.
Here are some reasons to consider getting behind the wheel on your next trip through Europe:
Memorable Europe Road Trips
Sitting in a cramped seat in coach, or enduring lost bags, delays, and bumpy landings – air travel can be memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Taking the time to drive between countries gives travelers a chance to really experience the landscape, from the towering fields of sunflowers in Eastern Europe to the perilous hairpin turns of the Alps.
Watching the scenery change while listening to music on the car stereo is one of the simplest yet most profound pleasures of a road trip.
Driving through Europe allows greater scheduling flexibility.
Travelers can decide to linger another day in a quaint seaside village, or make a spontaneous day trip, without having to worry about missing or rescheduling their flight.
This freedom can be the difference between an ordinary holiday and a once in a lifetime experience.”
Flying down the unrestricted zones of the autobahn in Germany is a dream come true for many gear heads, as is zipping down the Strada Statale 163, the coastal road that connects Sorrento and Salerno.
The Col de la Bonnette, one of the most famous roads traversing the Alps, is the highest road in Europe.
Tackling these destination drives makes travel the focus of the holiday, and not just a means to an end.
Get Away From It All
Air travel is a convenient way to get from one big city to another, but it often means missing out on huge portions of countries.
After seeing the sights in town, visitors can drive out to the countryside for a completely different perspective.
So if you’re planning to go away for the holidays, choose your dates wisely…and check your fares on Airfares Flights
On long trips, driving through and overnight stays in country villages can provide much-needed relaxation, as rural areas are often less expensive, more friendly, and free from tourist crowds.
Depending on the route, a road-trip for a family of four can be many times cheaper then flights.
The team at Motors.co.uk compared the cost of travelling abroad by plane, versus automobile, to some of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations.
The cost of flying a family of four: two adults and two children, departing on a flight from London to Florence – priced at £2097 is well over the comparable price of £730, based on the same size family travelling to and from the same destination in an economy sized car– which includes a ferry crossing from Dover at just £120.
Driving through Europe can make for a very enjoyable holiday, but a small amount of planning goes a long way: GPS, in addition to maps, will help drivers stay on track. Overcome your fear of Flying
Money for and knowledge of toll routes is advisable, as is medicine for motion sickness for passengers (especially on mountain roads).
Learn where congestion is common – for example, many roads in France turn into parking lots as vacationers escape to the countryside in July and August.
Romantic Weekend Breaks in Europe
Happy Valentine’s Day everybody!
I thought that since today is the most romantic day of the year, I would inspire you with some cozy places in Europe to take your sweetheart on a romantic weekend break this weekend!
This year Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday, pretty bad timing stuck in the middle of the week, making it difficult to do anything more romantic than visiting a restaurant.
But instead of just giving your darling a flower bouquet and some chocolate, why not look for some last minute deals and add a little note inside the bouquet with two tickets for a romantic weekend break away?
February is off-season in Europe, which means that you will find some awesome holiday deals and be able to splurge for less than usual, both when it comes to the flight tickets as well as accommodation.
But to make sure you really get it cheap, I’ve put together some romantic places that will keep your wallet happy.
Here are some places that are perfect for romantic weekend breaks even in winter time…
Which is your favorite romantic place to visit?
What will YOU be doing for Valentines day this year?