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There’s a reason why some of the most cliche, heartfelt movies reference the main character taking a backpacking trip through Europe and returning a new person. It’s a rite of passage, and one everyone should be able to experience. Europe is full of unique culture, stunning architecture, and good eats. A European vacation is both educational and inspirational. It’s a wonderful vacation choice for the whole family. We’ve researched the best places to visit and the experiences you need to plan ahead for. We’ve also included some valuable money saving tips.
Most vacationers know to visit the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Louvre. Paris is so much more than that. It’s home to world renown art and history beyond the naked eye.
Take a nighttime boat ride on the Seine River. Book a ticket ahead of time to take a breezy boat ride down the city’s largest river. Some boats offer drinks, alcoholic and nonalcoholic, and snacks aboard. Snap a photo as the Eiffel Tower sparkles behind you.
Tour the Paris Catacombs to witness the world’s largest grave. It may sound morbid, but it’s actually a very interesting part of Parisian history. A tunnel full of over six million individuals’ bones lies below the big city.
Watch a show at the Moulin Rouge. If your hotel offers childcare services, take a date night out and attend the most famous cabaret show. Each number will wow you with synchronized choreography and extravagant costumes. Dancers swimming with snakes, skating on trampolines, and fire breathers are a part of it. Be sure to book your ticket ahead of time.
Visit the famous museums. It’s no secret Paris is home to some of the most famous art. We mentioned the Louvre, but the Musée d’Orsay, Petit Palais, and the Musée Rodin are also must-see collections.
Visit The Sainte-Chapelle Chapel. This is a gorgeous cathedral located close to Notre Dame. It was built by King Louis IX and features some of the most detailed stained glass to date. The architect remains a mystery.
Visit the Château De Versailles. These massive grounds were originally built by King Louis XIV in 1682 to move the French government from the Louvre to the Palace of Versailles. The Hall of Mirrors, the King’s grand apartments, and the gardens are worth the wait.
Rome is a city to amuse each of your senses. Pasta, gelato, and espresso galore to please your taste buds and noses as you stroll the streets. Enough art to last your eyes a lifetime. And more.
Climb the Spanish Steps. Located between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinita dei Monti, these famous steps lead up to the Trinità dei Monti church. The 138-step staircase makes for a great photo opportunity.
Explore the area of Trastevere to gain a more local perspective of the country. Boutique jewelry shops and side streets full of handmade crafts are for sale. The area buzzes at night with exciting nightlife. It’s the perfect area to explore if you’re young (or young at heart).
Throw a Coin in the Trevi Fountain. Legend says anyone who throws a coin in the fountain will return to the city of Rome. This tourist attraction is worth the effort to get up early in the morning before anyone else arrives. Close your eyes and make a wish.
Visit the Colosseum. Over four million people visit the Ancient Roman amphitheater. It’s the largest amphitheater still standing today. Book a ticket online and avoid the weekend days to avoid the most crowded days.
Visit St. Peter’s Basilica. Feast your eyes on one of the most beautiful churches, inside and out. The inside is lined with artwork that is so detailed it appears to be painting, when in fact it’s a glass mosaic. It’s free to enter and some parts are paid admission.
Visit the cobblestone streets of Centro Storico. This urban area of Rome is made up of three roads leading to Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum. It’s lined with local shops and the homes of Rome’s wealthiest.
The friendly Dutch, historic museums, and romantic scenery is waiting for you in Amsterdam. The city is more than its liberal reputation. All walks of life roam the winding narrow roads and cruise down the river canals.
Roam Vondelpark, the largest and most popular park in the city. Locals enjoy people watching and picnicking in the open fields. It’s free to visit and certainly worth the stop.
Take a canal cruise. The extensive canal system used to be an important route for the transportation of goods, now it’s a popular attraction for tourists and plays a role in city traffic. Many of the city’s residents live in houseboats along the canals. Book a cruise for the whole family ahead of time!
Ride a bike like a local. Riding a bike is the most popular way to get around town, for locals and tourists. Many provide bike tours and bikes to rent. Bikes decorated with flowers and bright colors fill the streets.
Visit the world-class museums. The Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and the Stedelijk Museum are just to name a few. Rich art and World War 2 history can be found in these museums. The popular anonymous artist Banksy also as an exhibit.
Visit the Anne Frank House. This is one of the main attractions that bring visitors to the city. The quaint house Anne Frank went into hiding in 1942 sits right on the edge of the street. You can take a tour through the preserved apartment in small groups. Be sure to get your tickets online ahead of time, they go quick!
Visit during tulip season. Amsterdam’s tulip season is one worth planning around. The Keukenhof Tulip Gardens are open from late March through early May. The flowers are grown in beautiful patterns and in a rainbow of colors.
Plan ahead to get the best offer on flights, hotels, and attractions. It’s recommended you start planning at least six weeks to four months in advance.
Do your research on currency exchange. It’s smart to choose the right credit card ahead of time. Not all cards charge a fee for foreign exchanges. An ATM may also be an affordable option depending on the exchange rate.
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