European Capitals You Must Visit at Least Once

Push pins on a world map.

There is a reason why most people place European capitals on their wish lists! Each and every capital city in Europe presents an intriguing combination of rich history, mesmerizing architecture, friendly people, tasty food, incredible nightlife, exquisite artwork, and many more. No matter which city you decide to visit, be sure that you will fall in love as soon as you arrive. You will fall in love not with another person but with small pathways, quirky stores, flowery balconies, and roads leading to the beach. Or, who knows – maybe you do fall in love with a local too! So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bag, buy that ticket and start exploring! But, if you don’t know where to go first, we got you! We prepared a list of European capitals you must visit at least once! Thus, keep on reading.

London, England

Without a doubt, one of the European capitals you must visit at least once is London – the capital of England! This capital is host to several million tourists every year. Some tourists see the fantastic London architecture, some learn about the United Kingdom’s rich history, and some just want to have fun in a city full of posh shops and restaurants.

The best way to experience all of the things mentioned above is to hop on a New Routemaster – a double-decker bus that will take you to all of London’s hotspots and allow you to take some Insta-worthy photos. For instance, it will take you to the Tower of London, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, and many more.

Moreover, when it comes to London, we have to give you some essential tips for essential travel – get yourself an umbrella as soon as you arrive. Rain is a common sight here, so if you don’t want to be disturbed by it, have a small umbrella by your side at all times.

A picture of Big Ben and London Bridge.
London will forever be one of the European capitals you must visit at least once.

Paris, France

Welcome to the City of Light. Or, let us say, welcome to the City of Love and one of the best European destinations for singles! Just like London, Paris is also one of the European Capitals you must visit at least once in your life! Or, if you are really lucky, visit it a couple of times as one trip is not enough to see everything this beautiful city has to offer.

Some of the sights you simply can’t miss out on while in Paris are Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Arc de Triumph, Place de la Concorde, etc. But, don’t just look at these sights – learn about them! Find a tour guide who will explain these sights’ role in history. Moreover, while here, don’t forget to sit in one of those famous Parisian cafes and order an espresso and a chocolate croissant. And, check out the street vendors and buy a beret too!

Also, don’t hesitate to visit Paris in winter! The city lights will leave you breathless! And, when you get tired of all the walking and exploring the city, why not go to some of the famous ski resorts in and around Paris, such as Montmartre or Les Trois Vallées. Trust us, there are many reasons for a ski trip to Europe, that is, to Paris and France, but we will leave it up to you to find out. 

A view of Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Going to Paris must be on your bucket list!

Rome, Italy 

Ahh, Italy! There is not a person in this world who wouldn’t like to visit this sunny county where everything smells like pasta and wine and where everybody wants to be your friend. But, to understand the true spirit of Italy, one must go to its capital – Rome. Rome is, above all, a city telling Roman Empire’s history. You can see that when through the Roman Colosseum, Vatican City, Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, etc. And you can see that when just walking through the streets of Rome.

We assure you – once you start exploring the city, you will get an instant wish to move here. And why wouldn’t you? Just hire movers and let them relocate you. If you want to avoid stress when packing, the key is starting early. But, we wouldn’t worry about stress here – Rome is just naturally peaceful. 

Moreover, movers are not the only ones who can help you relocate – Trevi Fountain also can. Namely, it is believed that if you toss one coin into this fountain, you are destined to return to the Eternal City (Rome). And, if you want to return and also find the love of your life here, you must toss two coins. So, be careful what you wish for!

Trevi Fountain in Rome.
One thing is for sure – you will want to come back to Rome!

Athens, Greece 

We simply cannot talk about the European capitals you must visit at least once without mentioning Athens – the capital of Greece. Athens is, without any doubt, the oldest capital of the world. Historical landmarks stretched throughout the city for as long as the eye can see. Acropolis, Parthenon, Plaka, Herod Atticus Odeon, Panathenaic Stadium, Agora, etc., are just some of the must-see places in Athens. 

Moreover, while here, don’t forget to go to one of the many museums and galleries. This is where you will be able to learn the most about Greek history and culture. And, when you get tired of all the sightseeing (which will doubt will happen), sit in some local greek restaurant and try some authentic food and drinks. The Greeks will welcome you with amazing hospitality and, if you are lucky enough, they may play some music or let you break some plates to celebrate your trip. 

There are many European capitals you must visit at least once. We mentioned just four of them, but you already know that there are many more with visiting. So, do your own research. Maybe you will find a capital that suits your preferences more. But don’t hesitate to visit the ones we mentioned either – they are on top of all traveler’s lists for a reason. 

Staying in a Hotel vs. Renting a Flat When Visiting Europe

Map of Europe

If you are planning a ski trip to Europe this winter or just want to visit the Old Continent at some point, you should know your lodging options. Even though a hotel might be your first choice, you should think about renting an apartment, for example. Rentals have become very popular during vacations in Europe, and tourists seem satisfied with this type of accommodation. However, both a rental and a hotel might have advantages and disadvantages. As a result, this article is here to help you decide which one is the best between staying in a hotel vs. renting a flat when visiting Europe.

Booking

If you are used to staying at a hotel during vacations, you already know how things work. You do some research, find the hotel that meets your needs, make a call, and you have a room reserved. Or, if you already know the hotel you want to stay at, you can make a reservation online. When it comes to renting a flat, though, the research might take a little longer. Many rentals are not verified, even on booking sites, and some of them might not have reviews. That can make it a bit harder for you to determine whether or not that flat is good for you. However, if you are lucky, you might be able to find a suitable rental pretty quickly. Simply look for those with the most reviews and a detailed description. Examine the photos, the location, and the amenities, and then compare them to the reviews. If they check out, you have a winner.

Payment

When renting an apartment in Europe, you should know that booking websites charge a booking fee. The fee is part of the price, and it will be handed over to the owner, but only after you check in. Even if it might seem strange, this procedure is there to protect the owner from fraud. Furthermore, some websites will need identification to make the owner and their guests feel more secure.

On the other hand, when it comes to hotels and payment, you have more options. For instance, you don’t need to pay in advance if you don’t want to. Most of the time, hotels will charge you either at check-in or check-out. Some hotels might encourage you to pay in advance, offering discounts for prepaid rooms. However, you can still choose to pay for the room at check-in or out.

Person holding money.
If you plan to rent a flat in Europe, make sure you have Euros or money in the local currency with you.

Prices

The price makes a big difference when deciding between staying in a hotel vs. renting a flat when visiting Europe. If you pay between $100 and $150 per night for a hotel room, a rental will cost around $40. But, of course, it can depend on the destination you choose. However, unlike with hotel rooms, you might be asked to pay a safety deposit for the rental. This deposit can vary based on the apartment, so make sure to check before you book it. Also, you will have to pay the deposit upon arrival in cash. Most rental owners don’t accept credit cards, so you will need to have some money with you when you check in, ideally in local currency.

Check-ins

When it comes to check-ins, hotels might have a plus. They have a reception, so someone will be there to check you in 24/7. You will receive the key to your room, and then you are free to come and go as you wish. In a rental, on the other hand, you need to set an exact time when you will be checking in. As a result, when you agree on the hour with your host, make sure that you will be able to arrive on time. Research the exact location of the flat and how to get there. It is the same as a hotel room once you have checked in. You can come and go as you please because you will have the key to the flat. However, if you share the apartment with someone else, you may have to share the key.

The advantage of hotels vs. rented flats is the reception that is open 24/7.

Safety

If you are concerned about the safety of your valuables while traveling in Europe, both a hotel and a rental can be considered safe. Most hotels have CCTV coverage, making it difficult for your items to be unsafe while in the room. Furthermore, hotel security knows who entered the hotel, when they did so, and where they went. It’s pretty hard to get past them without being noticed. In rental flats, you can also have cameras at the entrance, and you and the owner are the only ones who have the key. But, if you are skeptical and need to find a way not to worry about your possessions while traveling, you can leave them in safe hands in a rented storage space back home. Your precious belongings will be safe during your travel, and you can enjoy your vacation stress-free.

Amenities

When it comes to staying in a hotel vs. renting a flat when visiting Europe, a hotel room will win if you prefer comfort. Hotels can offer breakfasts, housekeeping, laundry services, or room service. In addition, the employees will help you with anything you need. For example, you can ask about the location of the nearest pharmacy or where to buy the most original souvenirs. At the same time, internet services may be poor, or you may be required to pay for them. Then again, in a rental, even if you have to make your breakfast and do the laundry, you might have a much better internet connection. In addition, you can look for a flat that has all the things that will make you feel at home. Air conditioning, a balcony, a separate bathroom, a TV, or a parking space are just some examples.

If you rent a flat while visiting Europe, you will have all the comfort and amenities that you need.

Final words

Choosing the best accommodation for your trip to Europe is totally up to you. If you are willing to pay more but have an easy check-in, no deposits, comfort, and more security, you should choose to stay at a hotel. But if you want to pay less, live like a local, have all the amenities you want, and all the space you need, you should go with a rental. Your preferences will dictate whether you will go with staying in a hotel vs. renting a flat when visiting Europe.

Is it the right time to travel again?

A man looking at the sky, wondering if it's the right time to travel
Photo by Chei ki on Pexels.com

Is it the right time to travel again? COVID-19 has had a serious impact on the world economy and the travel industry. However, after being stuck at home for months, more and more people are eager to travel again. But, is it the right time to travel again? Let’s try to answer that question here and now.

A plane flying
Photo by Sam Willis on Pexels.com

Preparation is crucial

Whenever you need to travel, you know that it’s important to get everything ready including your vehicle. But in these times, it’s even more important to be truly prepared, since the consequences could be more serious than before. For starters, your car needs to be ready for the whole trip. Next, you need to have masks, disinfectants, and gloves with you at all times. Also, carry some soap with you, so that you can wash your hands every once in a while. Remember that it’s better to follow the safety measures than to have your travel ruined by COVID-19 symptoms.

Choosing Travel Insurance

Now that Covid-19 is a part of our everyday lives, ConsumersAdvocate.org wanted to better comprehend how travel insurance works with this new “normal”. Their in-depth guide on the best travel insurance features a side by side comparison of multiple companies voted “best for” in different categories. The insurances were researched based on types of coverage, financial strength, pricing, reputation, and extra benefits like support lines and mobile apps (a must for future adventures!).

It’s important to highlight that with Covid-19 the Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) add-on is considered a must for cancellation coverage. As the name itself suggests, it functions as one of the extra add on’s that allows you to cancel for any reason. It is always important to consider your travel insurance alternatives so you can travel worry-free and focus on the fun.

Is it wiser to travel to a domestic location?

The USA has many great locations that you could visit, from the best beaches in America, to amazing and awe-inspiring national parks. But, since the cases of the coronavirus have been reported in every state, you should know that even domestic travel increases the chances of spreading the virus. While experts agree that traveling close to home to a less-crowded place poses a lower risk, keep in mind that even state-mandated travel restrictions vary, so you should check the official state travel website for more information. Here’s some of the latest information:

  • Hawaii is opening up for tourists with COVID-19 testing
  • In Florida, a two-week-long quarantine is necessary for visitors from certain states
  • In Maine, visitors with a negative COVID-19 test aren’t required to self-isolate

Different sets of rules

Every country has its own set of rules right now. So, you have to know exactly the country you’re traveling to and follow the most current guidelines. Here aresome of the rules that are in force at the moment:

  • Some European countries that are major travel destinations are still off-limits to U.S. tourists, so it’s not the right time to travel to Greece, France or Italy
  • Visitors to the UK are required to self-isolate for two weeks
  • Iceland is extending the restrictions for the US tourists
  • Non-essential travelers are banned from entering Canada, but permanent residents or citizens of Canada are allowed entry with a two-week-long quarantine
  • The Bahamas has reopened. Visitors must possess a negative COVID-19 nasal swab test within 5 days of arrival along with a Bahamas visa and COVID-19 health insurance.

PHOTO: A man undergoing a COVID-19 test. (photo via zoranm/E+)

Travel Requirements

PHOTO: A man undergoing a COVID-19 test. (photo via zoranm/E+)

Travel Requirements

Hotels in the U.S.

Hotels have been deemed essential businesses since the beginning of the pandemic. However, in some states, there were certain restrictions for hotels. For example, they weren’t permitted to welcome regular guests, but only pandemic-related guests, like medical staff, or non-critical patients. Now that hotels are returning back to normal, even with enhanced cleaning practices, it’s important to protect yourself as much as possible. Be sure to clean the surfaces like doorknobs, tables, and light switches.

Renting a car

Renting a car is a low-risk way to travel, compared to using public transport that puts the passengers at risk. However, while person-to-person contact poses a greater risk, you should remember that the virus can remain on certain surfaces for days. Also, research also shows that it can remain in the air for an hour or so. For this reason, while car rental companies are carefully cleaning vehicles, you should also remember to wipe down all surfaces and increase ventilation, just in case.

What about flying?

The CDC and other health authorities are saying that flying is a good option, as there is no high risk of infection on airplanes. With the drop in air travel, it’s much easier to keep the suggested six feet between passengers, or in other words, maintain social distancing. Additionally, almost all international planes have HEPA filters that clean the air. Of course, you should still clean your hands and the surfaces that you touch frequently, and wear a mask.

Woman putting on a face mask
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Is wearing a mask mandatory?

Most airports and airlines require people to wear a mask. The CDC advises everyone to wear masks and to keep the proper distance. While masks might not provide full protection, wearing masks can significantly help reduce transmission of the virus. Research shows that wearing a mask prevents the infection from spreading person to person. Regardless of whether this is the right time to travel, the right way to do it is with a mask.

Should you avoid cruises?

There were many reported and confirmed cases among passengers on cruise ships. For that reason, the CDC has issued a warning that advises travelers to avoid cruises for a period of time, especially for high-risk groups. Besides, most cruise lines seem to be waiting until the middle of September to start with their voyages again.

Is it the right time to travel if you want to avoid any inconvenience?

During the pandemic, some people were stuck in foreign countries unable to get back home, cruise ships were unable to dock, flights were canceled by the hundreds, etc. After all, these are peculiar andchallenging times, and no one knows what to expect in the near future. So, if you want to avoid any potential inconvenience, it might be smart to avoid any traveling for now if you can.

Suggestion

If you don’t have to travel, but still want to, choose a safer alternative. You can go visit a national park with people you’re already in contact with, such as your family members. As long as you stay out of contact with other people and frequently-touched surfaces, your trip should be characterized as lower-risk.

Conclusion

So is it the right time to travel again? Well, it’s not the best time to travel, that’s for sure. But in case your trip is urgent or you’ve decided to return home after living abroad, it’s still doable. Just follow all the safety measures, as their purpose is to protect you as well as other people.