Planning a summer in Europe? Whether it’s your first time on the continent or you’ve done some backpacking before, these travel hacks for exploring Europe will be invaluable to ensuring your vacation goes smoothly.
Plan your itinerary
This is a whole continent we’re talking about here, so first things first you need to know where you want to go. Are you keen to explore Mediterranean gems like Italy and Greece? Or are you more interested in interrailing through Central Europe? Perhaps you’d like the magical landscapes of Scotland and Ireland? Whether you’re zoning in on one country or hoping to cross as many borders as you can, having a logistically sound plan is key to ensuring your adventure goes well. That’s where Culture Trip comes in – our small-group trips are the perfect way to see a lot without drowning in spreadsheets and travel blogs. Our itineraries are carefully curated by seasoned Travel Experts to ensure each trip is immersive and authentic, while Local Insiders are on the ground as your private guide throughout, making sure you get priceless morsels of cultural insight, and recommendations you won’t find on the internet.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Travel by train
Once you’re in Europe, the amazing thing is that you can pretty much go anywhere without setting foot on a plane – unless you’re going to Iceland, that is. Even if you land in the UK you can get the Eurostar from London to Paris, Amsterdam or even Berlin. Once on the mainland you can go pretty much anywhere. Train routes are getting better and better, as are facilities and the locomotives themselves. High-speed lines in Italy, Spain and France are all excellent, while travel passes in countries like Germany mean you can cover hundreds of miles at bargain prices.
Not only will you save money and reduce your carbon footprint, you’ll also get to see more of Europe as you travel. A train ride is an experience in and of itself, as you watch entire countries whizz by your window seat. Snow-capped mountains, alpine lakes, historic cities, dreamy coastlines and luscious forests are constantly on hand to keep the journey interesting.
Our Rail Trips celebrate the joys of train travel, and we have a few running throughout Europe. You can go from Southern Europe to North Africa on our Madrid to Marrakech trip, explore the most iconic cities of Northern Italy on a nine-day Rail Trip or take the Caledonian Sleeper train from London to Scotland on our Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands itinerary.
If there’s one of our trips that best celebrates the joys of European train travel, however, it’s our 10-day Berlin to Budapest: The Best of Central Europe by Train trip. You can explore some of Europe’s most historic, and most underrated capital cities, via some of the most scenic routes on the continent.
Get out of the city
London. Paris. Amsterdam. Rome. The list really does go on. Europe’s seemingly never-ending list of amazing cities covers the continent like spots on a teenager’s face. Our top tip is not to neglect the countryside, either. Europe boasts just about every kind of natural bounty you could imagine. From epic mountains in the Alps to postcard-worthy beaches all over the Med. There are volcanoes – and natural hot springs that go with them – luscious mountain forests and rolling hills covered in vineyards and olive groves. Luckily, public transport and road infrastructure means you can discover thrilling cities and experience rural bliss in one trip. No itinerary better sums this up than our Seductive Southern Italy trip, which goes from the street food delights of Naples and the gorgeous architecture of Lecce to the beaches of the Amalfi and the unique rock formations of Puglia.
Leave room for spontaneity
The world is your oyster in Europe – especially in Croatia, where the oysters are to die for – so don’t be afraid to drop your plans or leave an afternoon free to go where the gentle summer breeze blows you. This might mean getting lost in the pretty side streets and cobbled alleyways of Edinburgh or Istanbul, or it could mean taking a spontaneous day trip to an island in Greece. In most of Europe it’s pretty easy to spend a day doing almost nothing, and yet it might end up being your favourite day of the whole trip. Our itineraries are thoughtfully curated so, while activities and accommodations are all lined up from the start, we also schedule in plenty of free time for Culture Trippers to explore at their own pace.
What to pack for a holiday in Europe
Depending on how you’re planning on getting around, you need to consider what you pack and how much you pack. Most of Europe is warm to hot in summer, so you can pack lightly. If you’re backpacking or planning on spending a lot of time walking and catching trains then you’re going to want to pack as lightly as you can. European cities are pretty well equipped with tourist-friendly hostels, launderettes and storage facilities, so you should be able to find a way around however you want to do it.
Good shoes are essential, especially if you’re planning on exploring rural areas. Even city explorers need a sturdy pair, though, as European cities are super walkable and, almost without noticing, your step count will reach some pretty crazy totals on most days. Don’t forget to make sure your tech set-up is good too – a universal power adapter and portable charger are particularly useful.
Travel with Culture Trip!
It’ll come as no surprise to you that we think the best way to experience Europe is with the help of Culture Trip. Book with us and be safe in the knowledge that your itinerary is created by experts and led by locals passionate about showing you the authentic side of their homeland. We’ll take care of accommodation, domestic travel and all included activities, all you have to worry about is getting there and saving some budget for food and souvenirs. We have an incredible range of itineraries all over the continent. Take a look below to see what we have to offer, and click through to read the itineraries in full.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.