In Europe, there is no lack of things to do: There are so many experiences to savor, from taking an Alpine train in Switzerland to driving the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland and eating falafel sandwiches in Paris. One lifetime will not be quite enough.
We couldn’t help but think back on the experiences that have caused us to fall in love with Europe repeatedly as we stay closer to home, for the time being, daydreaming of adventures past and excitedly anticipating future European excursions.
Take a walk on London’s Primrose Hill
Even though the city is known for its royal parks, a journey up Primrose Hill has a certain charm all its own. Look for “Shakespeare’s Tree” on the ascent; it is an oak that was first planted in 1864 to commemorate Shakespeare’s birth centuries earlier (it is ceremoniously replaced by a new one every 100 years); and, if you can, save turning around to see the skyline until you get to the very top; it will be worthwhile. Plan your walk for sunset to see the sky turn orange over distant monuments like Canary Wharf, the Millennium Wheel, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. This perspective moves even the most pessimistic Londoners.
Enjoy pintxos and surf in San Sebastián
San Sebastián has earned the title of the world’s best food city for its ingenious use of pintxos, or regional tapas, and it is unique “grab and eat what you want” philosophy. Amid surf beaches, belly up to a pintxos bar, grab a beer and fill up on appetizers the size of your head cooked with fresh seafood, vegetables, and cheese. Anything goes—you can stay for five minutes or an hour. It has a beachy ambiance, Michelin-rated food, and flip-flops.
Splurge on a water taxi in Venice
It costs a lot to live in Venice. A town vehicle substitute, the water taxi is also far more expensive than the public Vaporetto (waterbus). However, there isn’t a better way to get from the airport to your hotel than to board an open-air boat as soon as you land, giving you a half-hour to relax and take in Venice’s opulent structures. It prepares you for a visit like no other city can. Bonus? The Cipriani, one of the city’s famous hotels, has a private dock and may send its transportation for you.
Bike along Amsterdam’s canals
Amsterdam is a city on two wheels; biking is a way of life for those who live there. You may see canal houses and waterways from the 17th century if you rent a bicycle and ride around well-known canals like the Prinsengracht. Alternately, go for a quieter ride around Vondelpark, which is particularly lovely in the spring and fall. Whenever you’re driving, always use your hands to signal a turn and avoid stopping in the center of the bike lanes. If you forget, locals will promptly remind you of the traffic laws.
Soak in a thermal bath in Budapest
Budapest’s magnificent thermal baths are one of the city’s greatest attractions. These architectural marvels are surrounded by a maze-like system of saunas, steam rooms, and naturally warm pools whose mineral-infused water comes up from the ground. Despite the city’s abundance of these thermal springs, must-sees include the renowned Gellert and the Turkish-built Király and Rudas Baths from the 16th century.
Weird things to do in Europe
Some tourist attractions are popular for a reason. They’re the ones you travel to Europe to cross off the list: a shaky gondola ride through Venice’s canals or the obligatory Eiffel Tower photo. Innumerable places in Europe are worth visiting on their own. Still, the continent is home to much more than cathedrals and beaches, some of which are very strange. Here are a few things to do in Europe that you probably never thought of, including plastic hammer battles in Portugal and a night spent in a former Soviet prison.
1. Sleep with fishes at Sweden’s Utter Inn
The Utter Inn in Sweden is reminiscent of a traditional Swedish home in many aspects, including its red-painted wood paneling, white gabled roof, and its position on a small island amid Lake Malaren.
However, if you glance out the hotel’s lone room window, things start to seem a little weird. A giant Baltic salmon follow a massive school of smelt as they glide. You’re not exactly near a lake, so these are not your typical lakeside views.
The red cottage is simply the tip of the architectural iceberg; Utter Inn is a little float 3m below the lake’s surface. Living here for a night is like spending it in a goldfish bowl.
2. Play for high stakes at Italy’s Il Palio
Il Palio, Siena’s celebrated bareback horse race, is a thrilling, life-or-death sprint around the perimeter of the magnificent Piazza del Campo. The race lasts just 90 seconds and is held twice each summer. As riders push one another off their mounts, the only rule is that there are no rules at all. Less than half of the participants frequently complete the route due to its dangerous nature, which includes hairpin curves and steep, slick surfaces. In any scenario, the horse is the only thing that counts; the animal that crosses the finish line first, even without its rider, is the victor.
Best things to do in Europe at night
Monaco at night – Casinos and Formula 1
Monaco is an odd location in Europe. You may walk the entire nation and see most of its attractions in a single day because it is the second-smallest country in the world (after Vatican City).
Although it contains a little historical district, it is mostly known as a hub for the affluent. London-based Las Vegas. The new section seems like a tiny, ideal artificial enclave. Travelers’ opinions of Monaco are split: either they adore it or detest it.
Cafes and restaurants in Skopje’s Old Town
As indicated above, Monaco is the antithesis of Macedonia (FYROM), which is undiscovered, underappreciated, and nobody travels there. What a misstep that was! The nation’s capital, Skopje, comes alive in the summer, with families dining and having fun in the old town until late at night. Along the Vardar River and the historic Ottoman market are some enormous, sometimes contentious. Still, wonderfully attractive buildings, especially at night when the fountains are on and all the lights are on.
The costs are another fantastic aspect of Skopje; you can get a fantastic dinner and a pint of beer for approximately 5 EUR! View my article about Skopje.