Where to go for your first time in Europe
Updated: Jul 29, 2018
So you want to go to Europe, but it’s overwhelming and you don’t know where to start. In fact, of the 30 cities with the highest number of international visitors in 2017, the list is dominated by 12 European entries. Where one starts can feel daunting, but I’ve put together a list of 5 places I think you should consider for your first trip to Europe.
Safe, friendly, and no language barrier for English speaking North Americans, London has an unending array of sites to see. Some of my favourites include Hyde Park, Camden Market, Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, and the British Museum, which is just one of several free museums you can visit in town. There are also many quality day trips from the city centre one could do and there’s no shortage of entertainment options to fill up your night schedule.
Friendlier than you’ve been led to believe, Paris is a city where you seem to find something happening around every corner. And not only that, it seems to have something for everyone – the art lover, the foodie, the history buff, the architectural hound and the literary scholar. My favourite – the tour offered at the Palais Garnier, home to the Phantom of the Opera. Plus there’s now a life-sized Escape Room scenario being offered themed to Phantom and involves a variety of actors. Sign me up. It’s great for families and is also perfect for Romantic getaways. The city just seems to have it all. Including crepes!
Germany has been a major player on the world stage for a large percentage of the 20th Century and as such, it feels like the epicenter of modern history. World War I, World War II, the Holocaust, KGB, GDR…it’s all here and your history buff is going to be in heaven. And instead of hiding from their past, the Germans embrace it, put it on public display saying, “this is who we were, not who we are or will be”. It’s fascinating, engaging, poignant and educational. If you’re into beer, don’t forget to try the Berliner Weiße when you order your schnitzel.
Rome is an absolutely beautiful city with some of Europe's most iconic landmarks, like the Trevi Fountain, the Roman Forum, and the Coliseum. And if Berlin is the epicenter of modern history, Rome is the epicenter of the world’s history for hundreds of years starting as early as 753 B.C. Controlling large areas of land, The Roman Empire is responsible for many of today’s customs and ideologies both in Europe and in North America. The centre of the city is also considered a World Heritage Site. Plus pizza in Italy is like nowhere else on earth and is indescribably good. An awesome pick for culinary masters.
I might be biased, because I absolutely love Prague and think everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. Prague is like nowhere else. When you visit Berlin, you can see the effects of war and ideology in their architecture, but Prague managed to escape the war relatively in tact and thus preserves an absolutely wonderful Old Town. But don’t let that fool you because Prague has a quirky underbelly worth exploring. The Sex Device Museum, the Idiom Installation, The Museum of Communism and the Dripstone Wall are just some of the quirky offerings this city has. It also serves up immensely rich Jewish culture and history not to be ignored.