Europe’s treasured big cities are irresistible to Aussie travellers. There is so much to explore that trips often turn into month long expeditions through multiple countries. And since we really are down-under, it makes sense to visit as much of Europe as you can, to make the most of those long-haul flights. If you are preparing to take off on your own Europe adventure, check out our top tips for first time visitors.
Top Tip – London boasts more than its far share of wide open spaces. Take a break from the bustling city streets and retreat to one of the famous eight royal parks, such as Hyde Park with its pretty waterfront gardens.
Shopping – There is certainly no shortage of shopping destinations in London, from the legendary Oxford Street to major Westfield shopping malls. Be sure to stop in at Harvey Nichols, Harrods and John Lewis.
Food – London has a dynamic restaurant scene with many celebrity chef establishments. Book ahead to snag a spot at your favourite chef’s restaurant or consider joining a cooking class.
When to go – Visit London in late summer when the city is buzzing with many local festivities and fantastic entertainment. Enjoy the warmer weather and spend time in the great outdoors.
Top Tip – See Rome’s famous historic landmarks at night. The Colosseum, the Pantheon, St Peter’s Basilica and the Trevi Fountain all look spectacular in the evening and make for breathtaking photos.
Shopping – Browse the famous upscale shopping street Via dei Condotti but perhaps save your coins for a visit to one of Rome’s discount malls, such as the Castel Romano Outlet Mall.
Food – Dine at one of Rome’s rooftop restaurants and admire the incredible views of the Eternal City while feasting on traditional Italian fare.
When to go – Rome is one of the most famous cities in the world which makes it a popular spot for holidaymakers. Avoid the summer crowds by visiting in autumn when the days are longer and the city is painted in colours.
Top Tip – For impressive views of the city including the Eiffel Tower, visit the Tour Montparnasse. You will experience 360 degree views of the gardens, avenues, monuments and dazzling lights of Paris herself.
Shopping – Take a stroll down the prestigious Avenue des Champs-Elysees, with its many luxury shops and upscale boutiques. For a taste of Paris’ prestigious department stores visit the famous Boulevard Haussmann.
Food – Stop by the local bakery, pick up a freshly baked baguette, some cheese, meat and a few French pastries and have a picnic down by the River Seine.
When to go – If you want to see the City of Love at its most beautiful, visit during a Parisian spring. You’ll enjoy some stunning weather and it’s just outside of peak season, so there will be fewer tourists and more locals.
Top Tip – A day trip from Munich could have you exploring the stunning Bavarian Alps. The mountainous terrain is perfect for a range of outdoor activities, from skiing and snowboarding to hiking, canoeing and paragliding.
Shopping – Shopping is a national pastime in Germany. Get your retail fix in Munich’s city centre, the two main streets, Neuhauser Strasse and Kaufingerstrasse are home to many major department stores.
Food – Enjoy sampling Germany’s hearty fare, with schnitzel and sausages galore. Locals recommend the ever popular currywurst, a steamed and fried pork sausage. The Viktualienmarkt in Munich is filled with local delicacies.
When to go – It’s hard to pass up a winter holiday when the renowned German Christmas Markets are on. The ever popular festival Okoberfest is on from late September until early October, while the warm days of summer draw big crowds every year.
Top Tip – One of the most visited monuments in the country, the Sagrada Familia is a magnificent catholic basilica in Barcelona. Entry to the masterpiece is in great demand so pre-purchase your tickets to avoid the long queues.
Shopping – You will be pleased by the array of mainstream stores and fashion outlets in Barcelona. If you’re lucky, your trip may coincide with either the annual summer or winter shopping sales.
Food – You will be delighted by the sumptuous Spanish food on offer. Consider a food tour in either Barcelona or Madrid to taste the best tapas as recommended by your local guide.
When to go – For a holiday when the sun is shining, visit Spain in summer and spend time at the beach. Just remember many Europeans also take their annual holidays in August. If you prefer cooler weather, try autumn or spring.