But this is a mistake. Western Europe may operate under a veil of cosmopolitan sophistication, but if you open your mind and let down your guard, you’ll uncover a fascinating mix of charisma, diversity and open-mindedness.
A region for all
The top of the region provides an entry point to the Arctic. The lower section houses the celebrated cities of Paris, Rome, and London. And in between, is a veritable playground for history buffs, adventure extremists, and culture junkies alike.
As a whole, the region is relatively small. But from the sandy beaches of Spain to the icy fjords of Northern Norway, there’s nowhere else on Earth you can traverse so many contrasting areas so easily and so suddenly. For this, Western Europe is a must-visit region for all. For a cultural, historical and architectural experience, book one of the many Rome Apartments for a week, or even a month, and enjoy your surroundings, un-rushed.
Western Europe | Must See
There’s always so much to see, but so little time. For a little romance, the Paris is usually on the cards. Paris Apartments are just as easy to reserve as plush hotels, so why not spend a few more days in the city of love. Here are a few other must-see cities to add to your next itinerary.
Fledgling travellers will know Amsterdam for its voyeuristic red-light districts and social acceptance of illicit drugs. But this infamous Dutch city is so much more. Think labyrinthine canals, criss-crossing clusters of vintage bicycles, and a level of non-chalance to rival the most relaxed cities in the world.
To make the most of a visit to Amsterdam, grab a bike, wander the city, and let the sights, sounds and smells find you. You’ll soon see that the real Amsterdam defies convention by possessing beauty, breadth and brains. If you need a hotel in Amsterdam.
If you open your eyes in Interlaken, even just a little, the towering mountains will overwhelm you. They don’t just stand quietly either; they tempt and goad unsuspecting visitors into otherwise irresponsible adventure pursuits.
But travellers don’t just bump into Interlaken; they come with the express intent to push limits. We’re talking skydiving, paragliding, canyon jumping, ice climbing, via ferrata, zorbing (yes, zorbing), rafting, and much more. Those placid pictures of pitched roofs belie the seriousness of a visit to Interlaken.
Imagine New York without the hype, without the gaudiness, but with a pinch of grunge and sprinkle of grit. That’s Berlin. It’s so much more than just another European city with history; it’s the hot-blooded temptress of culture, cuisine and cool. Give yourself some time to explore by searching for cheap Apartments in Berlin, relative to the rest of Western Europe.
So, where do you start. The Reichstag? Checkpoint Charlie? The Brandenburg Gate? The street art? The pumping nightlife? The relaxed cafes? Or the war-torn architecture? It’s safe to say, if you’re in search of contemporary Berlin’s inner core, you better schedule weeks rather than days for you next visit.
Western Europe | Must Do
The road less travelled is rarely in plain sight. But these must-do activities are sure to get you on the right track.
Via ferrata is “steak with lots of sizzle”. It combines the adventure of trekking with the adrenaline rush of climbing. It does this using fixed cables, ladders and bridges over relatively difficult terrain. The terrain is normally too rugged for your average trek, but it’s also too undulating for the typical rock route.
Since via ferrata gives you great accessibility to unpopulated areas, it’s perfect for those in search of the unknown. Via ferrata are found in the mountains of Italy, Germany, England, France, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, and Norway.
For those with enough time, cruising the canals of Western Europe is supremely rewarding. There’s something raw and untainted about these waterways that provides a completely different travel experience.
Half the time is typically spent on the barge and the other half is spent on dry land discovering wineries, cheese factories, and small reticulated villages. And you never know whom you’ll meet on the barge or in the villages; potentially companions for subsequent global adventures.
Vespas are well stocked throughout Europe and are entrenched in Western European culture. There’s just something so cosmopolitan about zipping around a city, wind in your hair, not a care in the world. But there’s also a more adventurous option.
For a real adventure, hire a Vespa for a few weeks, tie your kit to the back, and tour an entire country along its blacktop. This gives you a local-eye-view of what makes the people tick. And if you’re really game, find a friend, buy a couple of 2nd hand scoots, and tour the whole continent aboard two wheels. Barcelona makes for a great starting point to practice those skills before scooting around the Spanish, French and Italian Rivieras, and there are Barcelona Apartments in abundance for long and short stays.
Western Europe | Must Try
If you want more than sights, sounds and smells, give the place a good taste test. Check out these must-try local favourites.
When the mercury drops below zero and the sun’s all but disappeared, you know it’s time to pull out the schnapps. With hundreds of flavours and many origins, you can travel vicariously through Europe without leaving your barstool.
Be warned though, certain varieties of schnapps strip the paint off cars. If you think that’s a good thing, get friendly with the barman and he’ll point you in the right direction. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, try an Austrian rum labelled “Stroh 80”. Take note, the “80” is for 80%, not 80 proof.
The national Scotish dish called Haggis is made of Sheep’s pluck, which is a coded reference to minced heart, liver and lungs. But don’t worry, they add onions, oatmeal and spices for good measure. And it must be good if they have to add oatmeal.
All of that goodness is cooked in the animal’s stomach for three hours and served with an alcoholic complement (this is where Stroh 80 comes into its own). Connoisseurs even say that haggis has an “excellent nutty texture with delicious savoury flavour.”
Once you try an authentic pizza from the town of Naples, you’ll understand why it’s sacrilege for Dominos and Pizza Hut to refer to their offerings as “pizza”. You’ll also understand why asking for “the lot” is a capital crime in this region; real pizza is all about nuances.
To enlist in this institution, find a local pizzeria with comfortable outdoor seating, swap pleasantries with the proprietor, and ask his recommendation for a complementary bottle of vino. Just try not to ruin the moment by thinking of returning home.