Where rich culture and spectacular sights go hand-in-hand
Europe has long lured visitors with its siren song of history, culture and unforgettable travel sights. You too can discover what is undoubtedly one of the world's most beloved travel destinations with the help of our Europe travel guide. Sip on a cappuccino in Rome, traverse the towering Swiss Alps or explore cosmopolitan Stockholm; there's no limit to the things you can see and do in what is one of the cradles of civilisation.
Cuisine, history, monuments and more
How do you even begin talking about Europe as a travel destination? There are so many countries with so much to offer in terms of history, culture, landscapes, cuisine and more. Although it is the second smallest continent, Europe has had a profound impact on the western world, credited as the birthplace of modern civilisation pushing democracy, philosophy, language and engineering through the once dominant empires. Over the centuries Europe has been home to a majority of the world's greatest artists who have left their legacy in terms of literature, architecture, paintings, music and theatre.
The Mediterranean allure of Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal, the eastern charms of Turkey and Cyprus and the icy allure of Scandinavian countries work together to make Europe an all-encompassing destination that truly has something for everyone. Somehow, cities born centuries ago have held onto their heritage while progressing forward at whirlwind speeds. Whether your idea of the ultimate overseas adventure is skiing, style hunting, savouring local flavours or singing along with the choirs in World Heritage Listed cathedrals, Europe has you covered.
Be charmed by Europe's celebrated countries
Where German and Slavic cultures meet you will find Central Europe. Sprinkled with fairytale castles, snow-covered alps and cobblestone city streets, Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Switzerland are somewhat of a rite of passage for first-time Euro trips. Visit the originator of Oktoberfest (Munich), the birthplace of Mozart (Salzburg) and a city rebuilt post-war, steeped in haunting history (Warsaw).
The European capital of cuisine comes down to two big contenders – France and Italy. France's city of lights, the ultimate romantic destination Paris is also a culinary hot spot where pastries, classical French fare and caramels flow freely. A word to the wise for your holidays in France: always save room for dessert. In Italy, the land of pizza and pasta, food is love. Treat your palate to fresh fruit gelato, warm baked bread, quality Mediterranean seafood and locally produced wines from Rome to Florence and beyond.
While not as popular as the big hitters mentioned previously, the vast expanse of Russia and the Nordic countries of Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Finland offer incredible tundra landscapes, untamed scenery and postcard-perfect alpine villages. Don't forget Monaco, Luxembourg, Belgium and Malta too! Europe is an overwhelming feast for the senses in all the right ways and, with Flight Centre's huge range of holiday packages, you can have your pick of incredible European experiences.
Michelin star menus
Birthplace of the Michelin Guide, Europe has seen foodies lead by the prestigious restaurant rankings for more than a hundred years. Fine dining aficionados first booked their tables and licked their lips in France at the turn of the 20th century, but it wasn't until thirty years later that the stars began to light up the best in the business. As of 2012, culinary capital Paris had a grand total of 118 starred restaurants, Luxembourg and Berlin each claimed 16, Rome earned 15 and Brussels received 21. The red restaurant bible awards traditional and inventive cuisine based on the quality of ingredients, the simplicity or complexity of flavours, value for money, consistency of service and plating. There is no room for error when you're vying for a Michelin star, so you can rest assured your dining experience will be one to savour. Just make sure you book ahead!
Capitals of wellness
Ever since the Romans spurred the trend for public baths way back when, people have relished the opportunity to let their troubles soak away. Treat yourself to a health and wellness retreat on your visit to Europe and have your pick of thousands of dedicated spa resorts found in urban centres and outlying countryside. Enjoy a classic Turkish bath in Istanbul, take a dip in the foundations of well-being in Portugal, slip into a sauna in Finland and pop into the town of Spa in Belgium to see why it leant its name to aquatic relaxation. Most European countries have an extensive health and wellness menu, so take some time out between sightseeing and sample the treatments on offer.
Fit for a king
A trip to Europe is not complete without a fairytale experience at a grand, majestic castle. There are plenty to choose from in countless cities across the continent, each oozing mystery, romance and epic tales of times gone by. Let your imagination run wild with visions of dungeons and dragons in Europe's captivating medieval fortresses and opulent palaces. Visit Germany's Castle Neuschwanstein, of which the iconic Disney castle is rumoured to be modelled off, see the imposing Mont Saint-Michel perched atop a rocky island in France, feel chills creep down your spine at Dracula's Bran Castle in Romania and indulge your inner Shakespearian with an excursion to Denmark's Kronborg Castle, immortalised in the play Hamlet.
Getting there and around
Booking your flights to Europe is easier than ever with a huge range of airlines flying to capital cities and regional centres from country to country. Better yet, why not broaden your cultural horizons tenfold with a multi-stop flight? If you want to save time and streamline your holiday planning, have a look at our current European holiday packages, combining flights, accommodation and added extras to offer you a comprehensive holiday experience.
Keen to see the continent from a different vantage point? Consider a cruise through Europe's waterways and pull in at port cities like Vienna, Amsterdam, Prague and Budapest among others. Make the most of your time abroad by adding a tour to your travel plans and let those in the know guide you to the best kept city secrets, the historical highlights and the cultural gems in your chosen destination.
Cross the borders and spend some time getting to know Europe's charismatic cities by booking a hire car. Fancy a day trip to France, a few days skiing the Swiss Alps or a road trip on Germany's autobahn? Go your own way and make it happen with your own set of wheels.