After spending almost three weeks in Europe, I feel I would be remiss to not share some of the things Nic and I learned while we were overseas and what we feel will make anyone’s Europe vacation easier!
General Info –
- Most countries in Europe are much more cash friendly than card friendly.
- Be ready to spend more money than you budgeted for.
- Swiss Airlines was our favorite airline to travel with – you get a croissant AND chocolate.
- Less is more, pack light.
- Download maps you can use offline for each city you are traveling to – there are some really great ones that highlight great restaurants, attractions, etc. Ulmon was the one we used for a few cities and loved it!
- Research various airport restrictions when it comes to liquids. When we left Switzerland we were only allowed one ziplock bag each, which meant I had to get rid of a few items. Even though all my liquids were 100 ml or less, I had too many of them for one ziplock bag.
- Research the baggage restrictions for the various airlines you are using. Cheap ones, like Ryanair, are really strict with it comes to carry-on and checked luggage.
- Side note: if you are checking a bag, it is usually cheaper to reserve it online before you get to the airport.
- Bring along a copy of your passport and driver’s license.
- Use the public transportation! For the most part, big cities in Europe have nailed public transportation, and it is usually quick, easy, and affordable.
- Look for free walking tours in each city – these are usually given by locals and are a great introduction to wherever you are visiting! See tips for specific locations below for the tours Nic and I used.
- Buy the Dublin Day Pass – this is worth every penny! Just using it for the Guinness Storehouse and the Jameson Distillery covers the cost.
- Dublin is a very walkable city, but if you aren’t going to be there long, buy tickets to aHop-On, Hop-Off bus. This will make it easier to get to all of places you want to visit.
- We bought our Day Pass and Hop-On, Hop-Off tickets together at a reduced price.
- If you don’t have plans to see the rest of the island, look into a day trip to another part of the country. Ireland is beautiful; we went to the Cliffs of Moher and stopped at a bunch of other neat small towns along the way!
- Sign up for this FREE walking tour. It is between 2.5 – 3 hours. They also offer some other tours which seem really great!
- Use the U- & S-Bahns. These are so slick and you can get a day pass for a really reasonable price.
- You can get your beer (or other drinks of your choice) to go in this city. Sure, it may be super touristy, but it is fun to sight see with a drink in hand.
- Alcoholic beverages are NOT allowed on the subway system.
- Appreciate the graffiti.
- Stay here for a few days – the city is massive and you will need multiple days to tackle it.
- Spend more than one day here.
- Check out the Letten, which is like an adult swimming area, complete with a bar and food, located right on the Limmat River.
- Walk through Old Town and along the Limmat River.
- Bring cash. Zurich is not super card friendly and a lot of places charge a fee.
- Go to this FREE walking tour. It is between 2.5 – 3 hours long and they also offer some other great activities you can sign up for. We did the paragliding!
- Do at least one of the extreme sports that Interlaken is known for. We signed up to do paragliding and it was amazing!
- Take the train to Jungfrauyoch – the Top of Europe! If you can be flexible, try to buy your train tickets for the morning (cheaper) that is going to be clear so you can see the incredible views.
- Hike, or take the tram to Harder Kulm – the Top of Interlaken. There is a restaurant and incredible panoramic views of the area.
- Like Zurich, Interlaken is much more cash friendly than card friendly.
- Hmmmm. You probably only need about a half day to see the city. Unless you know a lot about the history and have a list of things to see and do in the city, you can probably spend just a few hours exploring.
- It is crowded so bring your patient pants with you and keep your belongings close.
- There are some great day trips out of the city. Links are below:
- Day Trip to Capri: https://www.viator.com/tours/Naples/Day-Trip-to-Capri-from-Naples/d508-7809P28
- Half Day Trip to Pompeii: https://www.viator.com/tours/Pompeii/Ancient-Pompeii-Small-Group-Tour/d24336-20455P1
- Do your research before visiting this city. It can be overwhelming if you walk in blind.
- A very walkable city – you can probably take on most of it in 2-3 days.
- Day 1 – Vatican City. I really recommend booking a tour. There is a lot to see and a lot to miss if you don’t know your stuff. It was nice to have a guide.
- St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel are closed on Sundays. Mondays are the busiest days.
- Day 2 – Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Crypts of Capuchin, & Piazza del Popolo.
- Depending on how much time you think you will spend at all of these places, you really can do all of them in one day.
- The Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill are all included in one ticket. I recommend buying your tickets at the Roman Forum because the line will be shorter there than at the Colosseum.
- Be ready to wait in line, or be willing to splurge on a ‘skip the line’ pass.
- The first Sunday of the month – most of these are FREE to get into which is awesome, but it almost makes this day much busier than others.
- Start your days early and be ready to walk a lot!