Tips & suggestions

Travelling in Europe is now very convenient. Most of the European countries have joint the Shengen’s treaty, breaking down the borders and making easier to travel across the old continent.

You can decide your favorite way of travelling.

Hitchhiking: this is still a good option, mostly in central-eastern countries, less in western Europe. Here some tips

Blablacar and Carpooling are the best way to travel the whole Europe. Join the websites and these communities. You can find good and cheap opportunities to travel by car and meet nice people

By aircraft: several low-cost airlines operate within the continent like Ryanair, Easyjet, Wizzair and more. Website www.skyscanner.com gives a good hand in searching the best deal too.

By railways: every country has its own national railway company with a website that offers special tickets if bought in advance (here is the list of european railways). Often crossing the border with another country adds an extra cost (international service) to the journey. Best railways website to check connection is www.bahn.de If you are under 26 you can benefit of InterRail’s convenient fares. InteRail is one of the flexible European train pass for all ages that can save you much money.

By autobus: eurolines is probably the most famous autobus company with local brands in almost every European country. Many local autobus companies also provide good connection at very good price, especially if booked online and in advance. Other convenient bus companies are: Student Agency, Polskibus, Ecolines, Orange ways…

By ferry boat: fees vary with the season. Usually are more expensive than bus or even low-cost flight but the scenic journey might be worth the cost.

 

Accommodation

homersleep Hospitality is still a value in many European regions. Hostels and main accommodation can be easily found at any budget and can offer all good services you need to enjoy your stay.

Hostel: this is the first choice for backpackers and young travelers. Convenience and friendly atmosphere are assured in most of the cases. Almost every European city has a good range of hostels to be offered. My tip is to contact directly the hostel as it could be possible to agree on a discount based on the number of days and season. Look at my favorite hostels list.

Guesthouse/Pension and Bed&Breakfast: this option is between hostel and hotel, according to price criteria. B&B Accommodation offering bed and breakfast, usually in a private house, are widely spread in U.K. and Ireland (and generally in western Europe), while pension/ guest house (normally has at least 4 letting bedrooms, some with ensuite or private facilities) are more common in central and east Europe. Best way to find a good price and discounts is through the website www.booking.com

University dormitories are another affordable option for accommodation. They are increasingly available when students are on vacation during the summer or winter breaks. Your stay may include access to the cafeteria and possibly use of other on-campus facilities for an additional fee.

You could also decide to spend some days working as volunteer in bio-farm, receiving in exchange for few hours of work accommodation and food, there are many websites that put in touch workers and hosts willing to receive an hand in their proprerties: woof, workaway, helpx

Farmhouses and rural tourism is growing in many European regions. This accommodation offers relaxed environment, biofood, deep contact with beautiful landscapes and inlands.

Hospitality club and Couchsurfing are the best opportunities to get a free bed and (most important) direct contact with local lifestyle, getting hosted you will really understand how a person from the city you are visiting lives.

Camping might be an option during summer and spring (often caravan and mobile house are rented at the camping site).

 

Eating

General easy rules:

eating

  • Prices are much higher close to major tourist attractions. Often in this area there are only so-called tourist traps. Locals wouldn’t dream of eating there – you shouldn’t either.
  • Is the menu available in multiple languages? If yes then start running…away!!
  • If no prices are posted, be aware!

 

Take-away stores are in good number in every city; Turkish kebab, Italian pizza, oriental food are available without any problem and for a cheap price. However local snacks and fast food is always the best option, Zapiekanka in Poland, Sausages in Germany and Austria, Burek in Balkan countries, Panini and pizza in Italy, boccadillos in Spain…

Canteen Restaurant and fast food bistro: is an alternative solution to the classic concept of restaurant. Usually a variety of food is available without table service, which is the reason the price is kept lower.

Markets and grocery stores are other great options. You are free to choose the food you like and prepare it as you wish. Same rule as before, if no prices are posted, be skeptical. Travellers are often ripped off by market merchants in tourist centre. Find places that print the prices. Often a market with no printed prices has a double price standard: one for locals and a more expensive one for tourists.

 

Drinking and Nightlife

drinkpopSame rule as for eating: Prices are much higher close to major tourist attractions. Often in this area there are only so-called tourist traps. Locals. Avoid tourist traps!

Drink local! In central, east and north Europe you will find good beers. Best beers in Europe are in Czech Republic, Belgium and Germany. Then English pale and irish stout. Italy, France and Spain are best countries for wine. Poland and Ukraine are best vodka countries; good strong spirits can be enjoyed in Balkan region (Rakia), central Europe (Slivovice in Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia…).

 

Ask at the hostel where you are staying or to locals for the best place, watch out around city walls, and search for flyers and free magazines available in bars.

Also join Couchsurfing local communities, meet locals, ask for suggestions and participate to weekly meeting and party.

 

 

 

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