Europe. We’ve all seen the pictures of magnificent architecture, rolling hills, faces etched with time and cultural tradition. And, considering one study that shows many Americans would rather focus on relationships and experiences rather than material gifts, it’s no wonder that European travel has become more popular than ever. 1 If you’re thinking about a trip to Europe, as I am, consider the following compelling reasons to act now:, I’d highly recommend
- People. Sure, you intend to visit the Eiffel Tower or that out-of-the-way chateau deep in the hills of France, but I keep hearing the people in Europe are a great reason for a visit. Be it friendly, curious or just worried about the well-being of a stranger, many locals take visitors under their wing. In fact, about.com reports many Eastern European locals invite visitors to their home for a freshly-made meal. What better way to learn what everyday life is really like in that quaint European town or bustling city, than from someone who lives there? Personal tour, anyone? Hey, count me in for the European hospitality… I’ll be on the next flight there!
- Traditions. How would you like a gulp of live fish with your red wine? Though it may not sound appealing, it’s one of the countless traditions in Belgium (and I would guess it’s certainly entertaining to watch)! If consuming live fish isn’t your thing, perhaps observing England’s Straw Bear Day or watching people dance around the May pole is. Feeling a little more daring? There’s always the running of the bulls or tomato fight in Spain. Whatever your cup of tea, Europe certainly offers many traditions to be enjoyed by all.
- Architecture.. From the Coliseum and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, to the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, European architecture is a sight to see. Some medieval castles tell goose-bump-inducing stories of their own. The Chillingham Castle in Northumberland, Britain is said to be haunted and I’ve read if you listen closely, you can still hear the hushed voices of yesteryear whispering in the chapel.
- Mystery & Myth. I imagine it’s hard to go anywhere in Europe and not notice its rich cultural lore and mystery. Old myths come to life in Greece where you can visit the ancient temple ruins of Apollo and Aphrodite. Learn the tragic story of Persephone, one of Greece’s long-forgotten goddesses who met a tragic end. Tradition has it that she was dragged to the underworld by Zeus, god of Hades.
- Food. European food is vast and varied and boasts interesting as well as tasty cuisine. Try Polish perogies, balandėliai from the Lithuanian region or food with a Mediterranean touch. The possibilities are endless and will bring out anyone’s inner foodie.
With a long, rich history, Europe offers something for everyone, no matter what you are looking for.
What are your favorite things across the pond?