Spotlight: The perfect first Europe tour package for city lovers?
Ah, Europa: a continent of romance and history, of unmissable sights and sounds and smells. A bona fide backpacker mecca, this is a land of party-loving hostels and beer-mad cityscapes that seems virtually custom made for the globetrotter. It’s where mighty Berlin spreads its wings, where Vienna promises café culture extraordinaire, where Italian pizzas bubble up in earthy trattorias from Tuscany to Croatia, where snails come doused in garlic and the beaches range from the salt-sprayed Greek isles in the south to the snow-spattered Baltic in the north.
Going from Ukraine and Poland in the east to the surfer towns of Portugal and the Azores in the west, it’s hardly surprising that there’s a seemingly endless array of things to do and see here for the budding traveler. And for city lovers in particular there’s some real gems. Take Rome – the Eternal City and the home of the Colosseum. Take Lisbon – plumped with Age of Exploration castles. Take Budapest, its baths forever bubbling and steaming under the eastern airs.
With so much diversity and difference across the continent, there’s probably no perfect Europe tour package to be had. But that ain’t going to stop us at LBW from trying, and we’ve whacked together three of the top metropolises on the continent to offer visitors here a fine intro to travel in Europe. The result: our Euro Super City…
A glance at the Euro Super City itinerary
We know that every city-loving traveller will want to make the most out of their time in Europe, visiting as many urban spots as possible. But we also know that hitting the road here can be a hectic business. One too many German beers in that Oktoberfest party and bingo, you’ve missed that all-important train. An incurable love affair with Paris (or in Paris, if you’re lucky!) and you might just want to stay put. To avoid these pitfalls of planning your jaunt, we’ve whittled down all of the great continental metropolises to just three, offering a taster Europe tour package that’s perfect for whetting the appetite and getting backpackers used to life on the European road.
Here’s a glance at the trio of top spots that makes up Euro Super City, our prime Europe tour package, along with a look at all the treats you can expect at each, from the mouth-watering local food and drink to the top sights on the menu. Enjoy!
London: The Big Smoke. Home of grand Buckingham Palace and the stomping ground of Sherlock Holmes. Cut-through by the Thames and made lively by hearty English pubs and the street markets of Shoreditch and Spitalfields in the east. From Church Street to London Bridge, Hyde Park to Piccadilly, this global metropolis is first on the list…
There’s only one real way to get acquainted with the sights of London like a real tourist: on one of the town’s trademark double-decker buses (painted red of course!). This will drive you all over the heart of the great city, dropping you on the doorstep of must-sees like Buckingham Palace, Westminster, the gateway to Downing Street (home to the British prime minister), London Bridge, pretty little Leicester Square, surrounded by the famous theatres of the West End and within walking distance of the lights of Piccadilly Circus.
Okay, so roasted dinners and deep-fried chips might not be everyone’s cup of tea (excuse the terribly English pun!), but if there was ever a time to sample the British kitchen, this is it. So-called greasy spoons beckon from the streets of The Big Smoke touting colossal full English breakfasts by morning, while chippies have the best potato snacks going! And then there’s the international influence, bubbling up with famous curry houses on Church Street and the likes of spring rolls, Mexican burritos and Philly cheesesteaks around Old Spitalfields and Camden at night.
Paris beckons next. Croissants, buttery and soft, gleam in the windows of boutique patisseries. The shimmering dome of Montmartre pokes over the tenements in the distance. The scents of freshly-baked baguettes mixes with the slosh of Bordeaux reds in the bistros, and the winding cobblestone streets of the Latin Quarter give way to the outlines of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame.
The Eiffel Tower is the obvious one, of course. And on this Europe tour package we do things differently, opting to hit Paris’ greatest attraction in real Parisian fashion: by bike. You’ll cycle under the great metal structure and across the arched bridges of the Seine to the Louvre (world-famous thanks to both the Mona Lisa and Dan Brown!). Notre Dame Cathedral is also on the menu, while others can opt to explore the charming Latin Quarter where the beatniks once lived, or hit the Moulin Rouge for something a little raunchier!
Bursting at the brim with blue cheeses and world-class red and white wines that flood in from Champagne to Bordeaux, set to the sounds of crunching baguettes and the scents of coq a vin, Paris truly deserves its place as one of the world’s culinary capitals. You won’t have to look hard to enjoy it on this trip, whether that means flitting between the late-night bistros and bars sipping Pinot Gris and Merlot after dark, or settling with a cheese and bread picnic on the banks of the Canal Saint-Martin!
Amsterdam is third up – a must on any Europe tour package worth its salt! UNESCO-attested canals drift lazy barges through its center. Vondelpark pulses with the click of bicycles and the chatter of local beer drinkers (Heineken, of course). Smoky “coffee houses” cling to the corners of the Red Light District and the pub crawls erupt every evening between Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein – two of the greatest partying areas in all of Europe!
Every sightseeing tour of Amsterdam begins and ends at Dam Square – the throbbing epicentre of the Dutch capital. From there, it’s out and onto the UNESCO canals that ring the heart of the town. You can opt to take to the water itself and spy out must-sees like the grand Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank’s house from the water. Or, you can rent bikes and join the streams of locals going off-the-beaten-track, to the creaking windmills in Noord or to the breweries south of the docks for example.
The Dam is a truly multicultural city. That means foodies here can expect to enjoy everything from hearty Dutch meatballs and Belgian fries to Turkish falafel (keep a lookout for Maoz Falafel – some of the best in town!) and Indian curries in these parts. Beer is big business too, and it’s no coincidence that Heineken and Amstel both make their home in the Dutch capital. Expect oodles of hidden beer bars and pubs to explore (we join the pub crawl to make seeking them out easier), and be sure to sample the potent local Trappist drinks if you like your hops hard and strong!
If you can think of any cities to add to our introductory Europe tour package of must-see metropolises, then we’d love to hear about them in the comments! Or, if we’ve tickled the wanderlust and you want to join this awesome tour, be sure to head over to the itinerary page…