by Susan Melnyk
Although every town and city in Europe has its own unique personality, these 5 choices give you a huge range of European culture to experience. No matter whether you are traveling on your own, with friends, or your family, these cities give you a true cross-section of what Europe has to offer and are the perfect introduction to each of the countries in which they reside. Be sure to check out our SHARE page and let us know what trips and ideas you have for living and travelling in Europe, for your chance to be published on our website and in our newspapers!
You can’t leave Europe without experiencing Venice, even if just for a few days. Strolling the streets of this Italian city will make you feel like you have stepped back in time or find yourself walking through the set of a film. The narrow streets and canals are mesmerizing and after sipping an Italian cappuccino, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without them. Venice is a city to wander through, so don’t try to hurry along in an attempt to see everything. Take your time, get a little lost and fall in love with this famous city by the sea.
There are few people who don’t long to wander the streets of Paris at some point in their lives. Books and movies have painted a romantic picture of this city in our heads and it doesn’t disappoint in real life, either. There is something for everyone in Paris, whether your goal is to see the Eiffel Tower, peruse the many museums and art galleries, do a little shopping, or taste the food that the world raves about, Paris will welcome you with open arms. You can spend a ton of money in Paris or keep to a reasonable budget, all depending on your planning and taste. Don’t be afraid to take the Metro (subway) and blend in by dressing like a local. Paris isn’t known as the fashion capital by accident… leave your worn jeans at home, dress to impress, and enjoy being a Parisian for a couple of days!
Although this city has had a less than glamorous reputation in the past, there is much more to Amsterdam than the seedy nightlife and weed consumption it’s known for. The Jordaan District of the city is full of up and coming restaurants, stores, and the Anne Frank House, as well as a ton of art galleries and museums. With more canals than Venice and more bikes than people, Amsterdam is a wonder to explore on two feet or two wheels. Once you’ve arrived, park your car, as the city is best explored on foot and by canal boat or trolley. Head to the main station to get a day pass for the public transport system, find a good map, and let yourself get a little lost, as you can always take a taxi back to your hotel. The Netherlands is sure to enchant you with its combination of cutting edge architecture, rich history, laid back lifestyle, and friendly people.
This Czech city is driving distance from many U.S. Army and Air Force bases here in Germany and, with a little planning, can be a much more affordable trip than Paris or Venice, without sacrificing the incredible architecture, wonderful restaurants and conveniences of its more frequently-travelled counterparts. Prague has all the beauty and architecture of Paris, but in a more casual and laid back package. The pace here is less hurried and it’s a great place to visit a modern art gallery, do a little shopping, or experience the nightlife.
If you are driving to Prague from Germany, be sure to stop at ADAC (or just before the border) to purchase a registration sticker. The stickers are normally less than 20 Euro and are similar to a toll, allowing you to use the Czech highways as a tourist. Czech police are famous for searching out cars at rest stops and gas stations near the highway and the tickets they give cost far more than the original toll price, so don’t try your luck, and don’t forget your passport!
Berlin is one of those places that every tourist recommends after visiting. With its multifaceted neighborhoods and sections of the city, you can spend the entire day shopping at high end stores, exploring unique boutiques, visiting art galleries and museums or checking out the mix of traditional and modern architecture.
The history of Berlin, Germany’s capital city, is as complicated and varied as the city itself. Check out this article (click here) to learn about all the different ways you can explore this incredible place while you are stationed in Germany or visiting the area.
- Feel like taking a road trip without a set destination? Check out the German Alpine Road!
- Looking for a city to explore closer to home? Check out Landenberg, just a one hour drive from Kaiserslautern.
- Interested in visiting Hamburg? Learn more about Germany’s second largest city.
- Or share your adventures with us for the chance to get your article on our website or in one of the military newspapers we publish!