Many Americans take their first trip to Europe thinking they know what to expect. While the delicious coffee and the countless student backpackers may not come as a surprise, there are a number of things that tend to catch people from across the pond off-guard when they first visit the continent. Here are a few things every first-time visitor should know about Europe…
It Can Get Hot. Really Hot.
When many Americans hear “Europe”, they instantly picture rustic Bavarian villages overshadowed by snow-capped mountains. However, if you’re planning to head to the southern regions of Italy, Greece or Spain in the middle of summer, you can expect the weather to be extremely hot.
Customs Can Be Complex
If, like many people in North America, you’ve generally stuck fairly near the continent for your vacations, then the customs systems were probably fairly straightforward. When you’re entering Europe, things get a little more complicated. There are strict limits on the alcohol and tobacco you can take in and out of EU countries, as well as regulations regarding plants, fruits and vegetables. These can vary from country to country within the continent. The regulations on visas have also changed, which you can find out more about the ETIAS guidelines here. Do your homework in advance to ensure your trip goes smoothly.
Not All Food is Created Equal
Despite its reputation as the home of the best cuisine in the world, you can’t just wander around Europe, picking restaurants at random, and assuming that you’re always going to get a dish you’ll never forget. Much like the US and Canada, for every high-end, fine-dining establishment serving delectable local cuisine, there are going to be 10 to 15 serving pretty average food. If you want to make sure you’re dining in style when you eat out, the best way to go about it is asking the locals.
Wine and Cheese are Incredibly Cheap
You’re not going to have to fork out 25 Euros for a bottle of good wine when you’re visiting Europe, or even 15 for that matter. In many European countries, you’ll be able to have a quick walk around a supermarket, and find a decent bottle of table wine for as little as seven Euros. While you’re at it, be sure to pick up some equally cheap fresh bread, and some of the best cheese you’ll ever taste!