First Time Travel to Europe? Read These 8 Best Tips Before You Go!

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If you’re planning first time travel to Europe, it can be overwhelming and exciting at the same time. But when you have a better idea of what to expect, your trip planning will be easier. That’s why we’ve put together these 8 beginner tips for first-time travelers to Europe.

They will give you a leg up before you go, and make you feel a lot more knowledgeable long before you set foot in Europe. Read them, below.

first time travel to europe

CONTENTS – In this article, you will learn several things you should know for first-time travel to Europe, including: 

Traveling to Europe Tips You Should Know Before Going

Since you’ve never visited Europe before (or it was a long time ago), you’ll want to make sure you’re fully prepared for your trip.

You’ll want to save money, travel more wisely, and have the most enjoyable time!

So, follow this list of helpful things to know before you go on your first trip to Europe.

1. Visa-Free Travel

Part of the EU’s (European Union) beauty is the freedom of movement between countries. While this core concept is active, you may still need your passport and an EU visa waiver to cross certain borders.

So, be sure to take your passport when you travel throughout Europe, even if you’re only going to be driving through another country for a day.

2. Europe Is More Than Just France, Germany, And Italy

When you think of traveling to Europe, you may tend to think of buzzing destinations like Paris, Venice, Florence, and Barcelona.

However, there are so many other fantastic destinations to see, especially on your first time travel to Europe!

So, add some of the lesser-known destinations to your itinerary.

That might be the microstates in Europe, or off the beaten path within more well-known destinations, such as the hidden gems of mesmerizing Dordogne Valley in France.

3. City Trip Europe…European Cities Are Magnificently Unique!

Another amazing reality in Europe is that the cities (let alone countries) differ greatly from one another other.

From London’s bustle to Venice‘s charm or Berlin’s coolness, they are vastly different in both history and culture. It’s hard to believe that even if you’re in the same country, you’ll find tremendous differences.

Take, for instance, London vs. Manchester in the UK. They’re just two hours away from each other by train, yet they offer completely unique experiences.

That means if you’re planning a European road trip, you’ll want to include a variety of cities.

Then you can truly experience the rich diversity of European Cities. That’s a great plan for your first time travel to Europe!

4. Same Language, Different Nationalities

When it comes to languages, France, parts of Switzerland, and a large portion of Belgium are among the many countries whose people speak the same official language.

Yet they are culturally distinct.

Technically, this should make learning a new language easier.

But you’ll still want to be aware of subtle language differences on your first-time travel to Europe (or any country, for that matter).

Likewise, you’ll find regional dialects within countries.

The dialect in the Venice region (Venetian) will have different nuances from the Italian spoken in Sicily (Sicilian), Naples (Neopolitan), and Rome (Romano).

In fact, you’ll find somewhere around 34 languages and dialects spoken in Italy, even though Italian is the official language.

Although Italian is the official language of Italy, it’s not widely known that the country boasts some 34 spoken languages and related dialects. 

The same is true of Spain. When you think of the language spoken in this country, you probably think of Spanish. While it’s true that Spanish is spoken as a first or second language throughout, you’ll also find these other official languages in Spain:

  • Castilian
  • Catalan
  • Galician
  • Basque
  • Aranese

Plus, expect that Spanish spoken in the Andalucian (southern) region will sound different from Castilian Spanish. And, you’ll also hear Arabic spoken.

So, before your trip, find out what language(s) you should brush up on.

Related: Tips for Communicating when You Don’t Speak the Language

Related: 25 Best Reasons to Visit Switzerland (and the Best Time to Visit)

5. Getting Around Europe – Take Public Transportation

Who wouldn’t love to be chauffeured around the Champs-Élysées in a Jaguar?

But a bus, metro, or a tube will fit the bill more economically.

The good news is that Europe’s public transportation services are excellent – even for your first time travel to Europe.

You can ride the bus or train wherever in big cities and even in remote locations such as Cinque Terre, Italy. It’s a great way to navigate throughout Europe, between countries and cities because it’s quick, cheap, and simple to use.

public train transportation in Europe

6. Flights Are Cheap | First Time Travel to Europe

At the time of this writing, even those who hate low-cost travel can’t deny that flights to and from Europe have become unbelievably affordable. That’s in part thanks to lower-cost airlines, if you don’t mind having a little less leg-room, of course.

For as little as £4 (about $5 US) each way, you can fly from London, England to Gothenburg, Sweden, which is one of the cheapest flights. However, the cost of getting there and back from some of the quieter airports they fly into can still add up.

That said, there’s no denying flights are on their way back up. With the demand surging, it’s no telling how high they will go!

So, if you’re planning a trip to Europe, scoop up the best fares available when you see them.

Related: How to find Flight Deals Online

7. Hotels In City Centers Are Expensive

Almost everyone wants to visit the amazing cities of Paris, London, and Barcelona.

Not so fantastic for your bank account, though!

Typically, Europe’s major cities are busy places. Many hotels offer relaxing stays that are sought-after by weary travelers.

You can certainly get a one-of-a-kind city center property and royal treatment if you’re willing to spend a lot of money.

But looking to services like Airbnb can help you save some money. Even better, you’ll have the opportunity to experience life in the city like a local.

Another good possibility is to go out of your way to visit a regional city, instead.

You’ll find many scenic towns in the south of France (like Nimes, for instance) for a fraction of the price of Monaco. It still has a picturesque charm that’s just waiting to be explored.

And it would make lovely memories for your first time travel to Europe!

8. Same Currency, Different Price

Although several European countries have adopted the Euro, prices can still vary significantly. That’s because each country has its own economy.

As an example, the cost of a bottle of water in Paris could be higher than one you purchase in a small Italian village.

This may seem self-evident, but if you’re only stopping for a few minutes as part of a longer journey, it’s a good idea to keep this in mind. This is useful to know when making your budget, especially for big expenses.

Related: Best Apps for Traveling Europe (& Beyond) Guaranteed to Improve Your Trip

Final Thoughts on First Time Travel to Europe

Now that you know these useful tips for first time travel to Europe, you’ll certainly be better prepared for the adventure.

And with any luck, your first time travel to Europe will whet your appetite for many return trips.

Considering a visit to Spain? Here are the top experiences in Spain not to miss.

Or, read these ideas for summer holidays in Europe from Paris to Prague.

Photo credit: Feature: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Roman Kraft (Unsplash), Train: courtesy of Canva Pro.

17 thoughts on “First Time Travel to Europe? Read These 8 Best Tips Before You Go!”

  1. As someone who visits Europe as often as possible, this is SUCH a good list of recommendations! I would add NOT to rent a car in Italy. Every time we do, we end up receiving tickets in the mail for months following the trip- even though we follow all the laws (or we think we do??) Public transportation is 100% the way to go!

    • Oh no! Sorry to hear about the tickets! Europe sets a high bar for their public transportation, for sure. Thanks for your kind words, Chloe!

  2. This is an awesome guide to first comes to Europe. As the European that I am, your tip of using Airbnb is really useful. If it was not for Airbnb I could not have afforded travelling to many of the big Nordic cities as they are pretty expensive.

    • Thanks, Pilar! I agree – You can find some really great Airbnb’s that are affordable, too!

  3. Great tips for people planning their first trip to Europe. Very helpful in planning the trip. Europe is highly diverse in terms of culture, language, architecture, and cuisine. Each country offers unique attractions and places. As you write, it is not only France, Germany, and Italy. Spain, Portugal, and Poland are unique. Northern Europe, such as Norway, Sweden, and Great Britain, is also worth seeing. Hotel prices, especially in the capitals, are pretty high, but you can always find something cheaper on the outskirts of the cities, which are usually well connected by public transport.

  4. I do remember my first time to Europe. And would have loved some tips for beginners. We started with some of the bigger cities. But later trips did bring in the smaller spots off the beaten paths. We do love how great the public transportation is in Europe and often choose that when we can. We were surprised when we found we could often get decent wine for less than soda or bottled water!

  5. I wish I could take advantage of regional flights that are cheap, but it costs an arm and a leg just to get to Europe. These are great tips and I especially like that you can go to a secondary city and see something entirely different than just the capitol and that Europe is more than just the Big Three in the Continent. So much to see and do and these tips are a great start.

  6. I absolutely agree! The hidden gems are beyond the big European cities – and there is so much diversity from country to country and region to region. Great tips shared for those first-timers to Europe. The transportation infrastructure makes it a breeze to get from one destination to the next, or staying put where almost all cities are walkable too.

  7. I agree that traveling to Europe may feel overwhelming. I was born and raised there and I still find it difficult to travel in some countries. It’s good to know what to expect before you go to Europe, so I find your post very useful for first timers.

  8. These are great tips for someone’s first trip to Europe. As an European, I know how privileged I am to be able to travel freely between so many different countries. I love exploring smaller towns rather than capitals, which are always so easy to reach by public transport. The train network around Europe is incredible and quite affordable if you choose regional trains rather than high speed ones.

    • Yes, as an American, I am always so jealous of how accessible much of Europe is to you! We need a similar, affordable, fast train system here in the US. Love exploring the small towns in Europe, too.

  9. These are some absolutely great tips. I remember my feelings and experience when I first visited Europe. Indeed Europe is more than France, Germany and Italy! More so, it is more than Eiffel Tower and Pisa Tower. There are so many smaller places to visit in these very countries. Indeed public transport in Europe is excellent in the cities also biking culture is great in the smaller towns, so yes, a car is unnecessary!

    • I’m glad you can relate to these experiences! Biking is a great option many overlook, too.

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