Travel to Europe is filled with unique, culturally rich experiences of every kind. Visitors to the continent will be enriched by the various cultures and traditions that they encounter.
Whether you’ve spent decades traveling to Europe every summer or you’re planning your maiden voyage to the continent, read on to learn about the most unforgettable destinations in Europe, how to travel the continent on a budget, as well as some of the most memorable cruises that will give you a taste of what these countries have to offer.
Travel to Europe From the U.S: 10 Unforgettable Destinations
U.S. travel to Europe doesn’t always need to involve the Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace or the Sistine Chapel (though these sites are entirely worth hours of dedicated sightseeing).
Sometimes, travel to Europe can be off the beaten track.
If you are fond of taking the road less traveled, here are 10 lesser-known destinations overflowing with colors, memorable cuisine and captivating cultures.
- Azores, Portugal
- Rotterdam, Netherlands
- Barcelona, Spain
- Split, Croatia
- Milan, Italy
- Nice, France
- Meteora, Greece
- Podgorica, Montenegro
- Budapest, Hungary
- Prague, Czechia
Europe Travel Packages by AAA
AAA champions rich experiences abroad with educational excursions and meals that will tempt the finest palettes. Each vacation taken with AAA is an immersion of the senses, an escapade into the unknown — a truly unforgettable adventure.
Read on to learn about three of AAA’s top travel experiences in Europe, as well as what awaits curious-minded wanderers on the continent. Note that dates, amenities and itineraries are subject to change.
Royal Caribbean – Europe
Join an eight-day luxury cruise touring some of Europe’s most notable destinations aboard one of Royal Caribbean’s ornate vessels.
Enjoy the amenities of life onboard, experience immersive excursions ashore and meet fellow passengers who possess an equal passion for culture, architecture and the outdoors during this remarkable European cruise.
Holland America Line – Europe
This cruise includes itineraries of varying lengths that are designed to give passengers an authentic taste of several destinations of note.
Spoil your palette at a tapas bar in Barcelona, lounge in the peace of the Mediterranean, wander Norway’s otherworldly landscapes, and get up close and personal with the emblematic sights, sounds and flavors of Europe.
Concierge Grand European Tour River Cruises
Enjoy 15 days cruising European rivers and get to know charming riverside towns and bustling city capitals.
This extensive European river cruise includes the following destinations:
- Day 1: Amsterdam, Netherlands (embarkation)
- Day 2: Kinderdijk, Netherlands
- Day 3: Cologne, Germany
- Day 4: Koblenz, Germany
- Day 5: Wertheim, Germany
- Day 6: Würzburg, Germany
- Day 7: Bamberg, Germany
- Day 8: Nuremberg, Germany
- Day 9: Regensburg, Germany
- Day 10: Passau, Germany
- Day 11: Melk, Austria
- Days 12 and 13: Vienna, Austria
- Day 14: Budapest, Hungary
- Day 15: Budapest, Hungary (disembark)
Best Time of Year to Travel to Europe
Europe is a glorious destination year-round.
Cuisine, architecture, museums, history and intrigue are tucked around every street corner and down each mysterious alley.
At the end of the day, there truly isn’t a bad time to visit the continent. However, if you are trying to choose a time of year to visit Europe that will align with your interests, hobbies and budgetary needs, the following sections contain an overview of what the continent is like during different times of the year.
Europe in the Spring
Springtime in Europe brings moderate temperatures, fewer tourists than summer months and an abundance of unique sightseeing opportunities.
Three unforgettable locations in Europe to visit during the spring include:
- Keukenhof, Netherlands. Marvel at the tulip fields that cloak the countryside and transform each rolling hill into an eruption of perfect pastels.
- Provence, France. Stroll through the lavender fields, garbed in varying shades of periwinkle blossoms.
- Prague, Czechia. Saunter through the colorful Easter markets that adorn Prague’s historic streets.
Europe in the Summer
If you are planning to visit Europe during the summer but want to escape droves of tourists that will be all too eager to accompany you, here are six lesser-known European destinations that are idyllic for a summer escape.
- Stiniva, Croatia
- Cala Saladeta, Ibiza, Spain
- Nantes, France
- Makarska, Croatia
- Budva, Montenegro
- Saranda, Albania
Europe in the Autumn
Europe is home to some of the most stunning, vibrant landscapes during the autumn season.
If you’re passionate about catching sunset hills bathed in shades of fiery orange and amber gold, here are five of the best European destinations to catch the changing foliage.
- Mullerthal, Luxembourg
- Hallstatt, Austria
- Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
- Bavaria, Germany
- Lake Bled, Slovenia
Europe in the Winter
There is scarcely anything more magical than the European continent blanketed in snow, adorned with festive markets and bathed in the cheery fragrances of the holiday season.
Whether you go to the Swiss alps for some skiing, wander Christmas markets to your heart’s content or sip mulled wine from a corner cafe in France, here are five of the best winter destinations in Europe.
- Zermatt, Switzerland
- Reykjavik, Iceland
- Nuremberg, Germany
- Bergen, Norway
- Strasbourg, France
6 Ways to Europe Travel on a Budget
It is a common misconception that Europe travel cannot be done on a budget. Consequently, travelers with less to spend often choose to forgo international travel altogether.
While Europe travel can be incredibly expensive and lavish, it can also be done both cost-effectively and enjoyably. If you are looking for ways to cut down on expenses while still having a fun-filled trip, here are six tips for keeping costs under control during your Europe vacation.
- Stay in a hostel. Hostel dorm beds can be incredibly cheap, with some establishments offering bunks for under $10 per night.
- Couchsurf. Couchsurfing is another cost-efficient way to find accommodation (and maybe even some new friends) while traveling Europe.
- Eat at grocery stores. Rather than spend excessively at expensive restaurants in touristy areas of town, locate the nearest grocery store and pick up a few items to make a meal out of. Eating at a grocery store instead of a restaurant can cost around $3 to $5 — which is significantly better than the $12 or more it would cost to dine out.
- Know your budget. Knowing your budget is one of the most powerful ways to control your spending while traveling Europe. Know how much you can spend each day and keep track of your expenses.
- Plan your itinerary. Planning is the key to successful travel and ensuring that everything (spending included) goes as planned. Planning where you will spend each night, what sites you will see or what tours you will do ensures that you allot adequate funds for each activity and don’t ever come up short.
- Know when to splurge and when to save. Know the things that are worth splurging on — to you. Every traveler has different interests, priorities and reasons for traveling. An extravagant expense that one traveler might deem totally worth the price (dining at an upscale restaurant, for example), might have little value to another traveler. Understand what items or experiences are worth spending the money on, and cut back on other expenses that don’t have as much meaning for you.
14 Budget-Friendly European Cities
Europe is often thought of as a bougie, upscale continent with few (if any) destinations suitable for budget-conscious travelers.
While Europe is overflowing with grandiose hotels, Michelin-acclaimed restaurants and upscale destinations, the continent is also home to more than a few captivating cities that can be visited on the most rigid budget.
14 of the most budget-friendly European destinations include:
- Budapest, Hungary
- Český Krumlov, Czechia
- Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Valletta, Malta
- Porto, Portugal
- Bratislava, Slovakia
- Riga, Latvia
- Belgrade, Serbia
- Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Sofia, Bulgaria
- Bucharest, Romania
- Warsaw, Poland
- Kotor, Montenegro
- Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Book Your Travel to Europe With AAA
Whether it is your first or 50th time visiting Europe, book your experience with AAA to have the most fruitful, fun-filled and memorable vacation of your life.
When you partner with AAA, you ensure that you have a truly great experience touring some of the most celebrated destinations on the planet. AAA takes pride in being a leading figure in the travel industry while also focusing on curating every experience to mirror individual adventurers’ style and travel objectives.
Get in touch with AAA today to speak with a seasoned travel agent or to book your next vacation. Europe and beyond await!