For me, Summer vacation is already halfway over and in several weeks I’ll be back to the grind of schoolwork. However I realized that during this summer I haven’t actually had time to go on a proper vacation. This got me thinking, if for some reason I had enough time from between now and until mid-August to go traveling, where would I want to go? The first thing that came to mind was Europe. But Europe is full of different places and cultures so where exactly did I want to go? Well I’ve compiled a list of European countries that I think would be great summer destinations.
First off France. When you think of “vacation to Europe”, France is most likely one of the first countries to come into mind. It is a very popular tourist attraction spot, not just because of the giant iron tower in the middle of Paris, but because of the rich cultural history of France. Whether it’s touring art and architecture in Paris, wine sipping in the south near Marseilles (Marseille) or along the Rhône river, or enjoying the beautiful view of the Alps near Grenoble, you can never get bored in France. However, if you’re not fluent in french, you might want to take along a french phrase book, just in case you find yourself in a room without any English speakers.
Second item on the list is England. For all Anglo-Americans, England is the “Old Country” that place where your ancestors came from on a boat back some four hundred years ago. As far as travel destinations go, England is quite a popular choice, partly because everyone there speaks English. Of course there’s other reasons to visit England: London is a very popular tourist attraction with lots of places to go sightseeing – Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, The London Eye and the River Thames just to name a few. If you want to get away from the big cities you could also tour the English countryside, and maybe stop in to see a few castles along the way. For me personally, I would like to visit the place of my namesake, the Isle of Sheppey, in Kent, mostly just to have a picture of me in front of a sign with my name on it.
Germany is one of my favorite countries, mostly because Germany is itself quite diverse. Visiting cities in the South such as Munich (München), Nuremberg (Nürnberg), and Stuttgart is a very different experience from visiting northern cities such as Berlin, Hamburg, or Hanover (Hannover) mostly because Germany is historically one big melting pot of various Germanic cultures. Cities like Munich tend to be very spread out and seem to retain most of their historical appeal, whereas cities like Berlin have a unique modern quality to them. Even after it’s rough history in the past century with the two wars and a divided country, Germany has rebuilt itself into one of the most modern countries in Europe since it’s reunification in 1990. And if you don’t speak German, don’t worry! Most people in Germany can speak fairly decent English, and even for someone like me – an American who speaks German – most people will hear my Americanized accent and automatically start speaking English. Pretty convenient.
Last on my list, but certainly not least is Italy, the land of pasta, pizza, and that funny looking tower that looks like it’s about to fall over. Italy of course has a history that dates back a couple thousand years to the Roman period and throughout the centuries has been home to some of the greatest artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michealangelo, Raphael, Sandro Botticelli, and Giovanni Bellini. Italy is also home to some well known cities such as Venice (Venezia), Milan, and Florence (Firenze). Rome of course is one of Italy’s most well known cities and probably one of the most well known cities in Europe. Why? Well besides it’s history as being the seat of the Roman Empire, it is also the location in which the Vatican city is located. As a result, Rome holds some of the old ruins of the Roman Empire, such as the Colosseum as well as some important Catholic sites such as the Vatican and Castel Sant’angelo. And in case you don’t know any Italian, or if you want to start learning, why not bring along a lonely planet Italian phrasebook to help get you by.
If any of these places interest you, check out the lonely planet travel guides to get more information on some of the popular attractions in these countries.
Of course this is not an exhaustive list of countries to visit. There are great places such as the Czech Republic, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, and many more. So the question is, where will your next Euro-Trip be?