Whether you’re taking a city break in Paris or London, exploring ancient Rome or beachside Barcelona, or touring the imperial cities of Prague, Budapest, and Vienna, Europe has plenty to fill up your travel bucket list. Advance planning is the key to maximize your time and minimize your spending. Here are some tips to help you see it all in Europe.
Don’t Waste Time Waiting in Line
Queues for Europe’s top attractions can take more than two hours in peak season. Prebooking tickets is often cheaper than purchasing them at the door, and skip-the-line access means you won’t waste precious time waiting for tickets. Sights like the Tower of London, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, , the Vatican Museums in Rome, and La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona all offer skip-the-line admission.
Book a Tour
Opting for a tour can be a cost-effective way to visit multiple destinations in one day, and to save the hassle of driving or navigating public transportation. Europe’s open-border policy makes it easy to visit more than one country on a day trip. Visit Paris or Belgium on a day trip from London; hop over to Salzburg from Munich; visit Amsterdam from Brussels; or tour France, Andorra, and Spain in one day from Barcelona.
Save on Transport Costs
With low-cost flights connecting cities across Europe, flying can be the cheapest way to visit multiple countries in one trip. Train travel can be pricy, so it’s worth investing in a rail pass or limiting your train use to just a few special trips, such as the Glacier Express through the Swiss and Italian Alps, the Flam Railway in Norway, or the Eurostar from London to Paris or Brussels.
Enjoy a Local Experience
With limited time, you’ll want to fill your itinerary with must-see landmarks and must-do tours, but make an effort to experience local culture and traditions, too. Indulge in a traditional afternoon tea in London, take a cooking class in Istanbul, attend a football game in Barcelona, or learn to surf in the Canary Islands.
Travel During the Offseason
Touring Europe’s cities in July or August, or hitting the ski slopes of the Alps in December means bigger crowds and higher rates on flights, hotels, and tours. Alternatively, visiting offseason can allow your budget to stretch much further. Head to the Mediterranean beaches in May or June before the summer vacationers arrive, or take a city break at the end of November, when many of Europe’s famous Christmas Markets are already open.
Bring Your Walking Shoes
Most European cities are easy to explore on foot, and walking tours provide a great way to take in the sights. Save cash on public transport by choosing a hotel within walking distance of the main attractions and soaking up the scenery along the way. Active types could also hire a bike, join a running tour, or zip from one sight to another on a Segway.