Tuesday, April 18, 2017

9 European Holidays not to miss this Summer

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Indian travellers seem to have always an affinity towards European destinations. This could be due to Bollywood movie scenes shot around the spectacular European destinations, could be the ability of today’s India to spend more and travel farther or it could simply be the fact that the rest of the world loves to visit Europe and Indians wish to follow their footsteps.

Do you have such affinity towards Europe? Do you have any dream European holidays on your bucket list? Or even better, are you thinking of traveling to Europe this summer with your family and friends? Well, if you are, here are 9 of the best European holiday ideas for this summer and hopefully some of these can find their way into your European holiday itinerary.

Romantic Paris

The locks of lovers and Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

One of the world’s most visited cities, there is no better time to explore Paris than the summer months. Gorgeous weather and bright sunshine adds a jump to your step as you explore a city where art, creativity, fashion, food and wine merge into one. Whether you are walking by the banks of the river Seine as portrayed in the Bollywood movie ‘Befikre’, lost in the magical world inside the Louvre, partying at one of the many summer festivals, watching a live opera show at the opera house, feeling a sense of peace at the Notre Dame or Sacre Coeur churches, enjoying a fine dining session at one of the city’s famous restaurants or shopping for designer labels till you drop, a summer holiday in Paris offers all this and much more.

Fairy Tale South Germany

The world's largest cuckoo clock at Schonach, Black Forest, Germany

Think cuckoo clocks, mouth blown glass, the world’s first long distance automobile journey and the forest that gave the world some of its best fairy tales! South Germany’s Heidelberg, Black Forest, the Bavarian Alps, Lake Constance and Stuttgart are this and much more. Perfect for outdoor lovers, South Germany is a beautiful combination of outdoor adventure and fairy tale wonders.  And what’s even better is that the Indian heartthrob destination of Switzerland is just a short drive away.

Beaches of Spain

Spain offers a perfect combination of local culture, delicious food, vibrant nightlife, soccer lovers and pristinely beautiful beaches. If you are looking for a beach holiday in Europe, Spain will comfortably lead the way in all top lists. After all, it is difficult to beat the 200 km long white coast of Costa Blanca, the lush forests and spectacular beaches of Tenerife, the island life of Mallorca, the beach parties of Ibiza, the sea side resorts of Costa Brava, the quiet and sunny coastline of Costa del Sol, the mind blowing Canary islands and last, but not the least, the culture, nightlife and beaches of Barcelona, Spain’s 2nd largest and one of the most popular cities.

National Parks and Islands of Croatia

One of the hottest destinations in the world at the moment, Croatia, straddles the Adriatic Sea on the South and the West and the highlands and mountains in the north. This entire South East European country is steeped in rich culture, spectacular coastlines, lush green islands and some of the prettiest natural landscapes present on mother earth. Be it the heritage coastal city of Dubrovnik, the river valley of Krka National Park or the majestic Plitvice National Park, Croatia packs quite a serious punch.

Norway’s Midnight Sun

Stunning Norwegian Landscape

Tucked up in the upper reaches of the Northern Hemisphere, Norway is the place to witness the magical beauty of the Northern Lights. In the summer months, the aurora borealis is not much visible and hence the midnight sun is celebrated. With some of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls, gorgeous fjords, mighty glaciers, absolutely beautiful cities, a high happiness quotient, some of the world’s most green energy and an unbelievably easy access to the Arctic Circle, Norway deserves a special place in a European holiday itinerary. 

Liberal Amsterdam

A hot favourite with the younger generation due to the liberal smoking laws, this Venice of the North, is certainly a sight to behold. With year round lively festivals, lovely canals that criss cross the city, bustling coffee shops, the famous Red Light district, the heritage canal ring, heritage structures in windmills and medieval wooden houses and an amazing collection of museums, Amsterdam is definitely one of the top attractions of a European holiday and hence it finds a mention here. The best way to explore Amsterdam is on a bicycle just like the locals do.

Cultural Overdose in Italy

Gorgeous view of Florence

Home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world, Italy is like most of European holiday packages rolled into one. From delicious pizzas to lip smacking gelato, from trendy fashion to India like motorcycle mania and traffic and from a beautiful language to their famous hand gestures, Italy throws so many charms at you that you will definitely fall in love with her. The canals of Venice, the beautiful island of Sicily, the might of Rome, the food of Bologna, the Renaissance city of Florence, the heritage city of Naples, the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, the rocky coastline of Amalfi, the beautiful countryside around Lake Garda and the list just goes on. Italy deserves a special holiday just on its own and do make sure that you manage to get as long a break from work as you can, as Italy is totally worth it.

Best of Eastern Europe in Prague

Once a capital of Bohemia, Czech Republic’s capital Prague, offers a magical experience to all its visitors. Untouched during the world wars, the cathedrals, church towers, bridges, cobbled paths, castle and museums make for fabulous sightseeing during the day. And during the night, this city morphs into the perfect party destination. In fact, such is its popularity that it is often referred to as the top nightlife destination in Europe. A not to miss activity in this magical city is to watch the city go by from inside a boat on the Vltava River.

Natural Wonders of Iceland

Chasing Northern Lights in Iceland

Photo Credit: Iceland Tourism

If you love unusual yet fascinating nature, Iceland will definitely appeal to you. With massive waterfalls, sizzling geo thermal springs, innumerable volcanoes, lava forests, icebergs and glaciers, this Nordic country simply oozes raw appeal. A visit to Iceland is like seeing the raw beauty of mother nature’s creations. Whether you are driving to the mighty Gulfoss waterfall, watching the sunrise at Snaefellsjokull National Park or listening to the adrenaline junkie in you by doing glacier hiking, ice climbing, ice caving, volcano climbing, kayaking, river rafting or off-roading, the natural wonders of Iceland are sure to make you tick off all the adventure activities on your bucket list.

So, which of these holiday ideas are finding their way into your European holiday itinerary? Is it one or a combination of a few? While planning your European holiday, do ensure that you cover all bases such as a good travel insurance plan, a solid forex card, a comfortable airline given that the journey will be about 7 to 10 hours long depending on where you are located in India and last, but not the least, a proper Schengen visa.

Note of advice regarding the Schengen visa:
The Schengen visa is easy to get, but there is some protocol to be followed. You need to apply for your Schengen visa from the country where you intend to fly into or the country where you intend to stay the longest duration. This is pretty important to know. A lot of Indian travellers have been known to goof up here. Once you have selected your embassy, take an appointment with an approved agency like VFS with all the necessary documentation, flight tickets, hotel bookings and the all-important travel insurance for Schengen visa. If you have followed all the necessary protocol, you should get your Schengen visa on your passport soon and off you can go with your family and friends on your dream European holiday.

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