London, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Athens… Europe is chock-a-block with world-class cultural capitals rich with natural beauty. This diverse continent showcases its thousands of years of history in its grand monuments, from the acropolis in Athens to the imperial palaces of St Petersburg. Away from the main cities, European cruises involve unforgettable scenery whether it’s the mirrorlike lochs of the Scottish Highlands, majestic fjords of Norway or Mediterranean beaches. Explore this grand continent, the cradle of western civilisation
Europe’s considered a year-round cruising destination, although the best time to visit will depend on your itinerary. You’ll find a spot of winter sunshine in southerly reaches of the continent like the Canary Islands, but for northern European itineraries through the Baltic Sea or Norwegian fjords the summer months are best. The Mediterranean’s beaches are at their finest between June and September, with Greece’s beaches remaining comfortably warm well into October. The autumn is an excellent time to visit Europe for its harvest festivals and fall foliage, while December brings the charm and cheer of traditional Christmas markets!
This continent is, to put it mildly, rather massive… so there are both well-known highlights like the canals of Venice, Colosseum in Rome or Eiffel Tower in Paris. However, there are also many hidden gems to explore on a tour of Europe including medieval German villages and sleepy Greek islands. View the Tower Bridge in London for amazing city views, or Norway’s rugged fjords for truly spectacular scenery. Madrid’s Royal Palace is well worth a gander, while Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate gives you insight into centuries of European history. And while Venice’s canals are enchanting, nothing compares to the grandeur and glitz of St Mark’s Basilica!
With a British passport, you’ll be able to enter virtually all of Europe without restriction. Europe’s Schengen Zone covers 26 different countries within Europe, offering freedom of movement within the region. So if you enter in Austria, you won’t need to show your passport again as you cross the border into Hungary on a Danube river cruise. There’s one country where you might need to apply for a visa – Russia. If you’re cruising to St Petersburg and want to explore away from your official tour group, you’ll need to apply in advance for a tourist visa to do so.
European cuisine is widely regarded as delicious the world over, from Italian pasta and pizza to French croissants and Austrian wiener schnitzel. The possibilities are endless! Don’t miss out on the chance to try waffles in Belgium, where they’re the perfect blend between light and crispy and served with strawberries and cream. There are many forms of dumplings across eastern Europe, such as Polish pierogi with their potato or cheese fillings. Speaking of cheese, it’s beloved throughout Europe but particularly in Switzerland where Gruyere or Emmenthal is melted down into the gooey goodness of fondue. For dessert, try the chocolate variety!
Genoa - Italy
Genoa’s greatest selling point is the collection of 42 UNESCO recognised former palaces. Just off Genoa’s harbourside, is a glorious network of narrow alleys and streets with surprises around every corner.
As one of the most-frequently visited ports, when visiting Lisbon, I recommend you take the time to do your own leisurely walking tour next time; you may notice a lot more to this great city.
Popular areas to visit in Rotterdam include the Old harbour which boasts restored historic boats & you can visit the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen if you’re an art fan too.
A very modern city with a whole load of history to go with it. Its a city that a lot of cruises go from and it really is an amazing place.
Nightingale, Andover, 08th Dec 2018
This was our first cruise and was overwhelmed with our experience. Unbelievable food, superb entertainment, great value for money.
Mitchell, Dundrum, 2nd Dec 2018
Dubrovnik, Koper, split, Venice, just a few on our first week, outstanding, never saw such beautiful places, the one that sticks with me most on the sail away, was Venice.
There are 50 countries included in Europe, although a few of these fall into Asia as well. Russia’s the largest country in Europe, followed by Ukraine. At the smaller end of the spectrum is the tiny Vatican City, housed entirely within the city of Rome!
There’s a multitude of languages spoken in this diverse continent, but most of them can be divided into three main groups – Romance, Germanic and Slavic. You’ll find some obscure languages that fall outside the boundaries, particularly the Silbo language from the Spanish island of Gomera. Silbo consists entirely of different pitches of whistles, developed by the locals to suit Gomera’s mountainous landscapes!