5 Best Countries in Europe for First Time Visitors
Backpacking in Europe is surely in every traveler’s bucket list. Who hasn’t heard of The Parthenon, the Roman Coliseum, and the beautiful blue-thatched houses in Santorini? From art and culture, history, and picturesque views, Europe offers all, and so much more! There are actually are so many places to go that it could be difficult for first-time visitors to decide where to go first, especially if time is an issue.
Deciding where to visit in Europe depends on what you are looking for. Are you looking for beaches, historical significance, art, food, or culture? Knowing what you want will help you with your itinerary.
That said, if we can recommend five places to visit for first time visitors, it would be the countries below.
If you are looking for some of the most stunning beaches in Europe then Greece is the place to go. There are over 200 islands in Greece and each are beautiful in its own unique way with something to offer everyone. The landscape is rugged and the waters are exotic and very blue.
The good thing is that most of the Greek islands are easily accessible from one another via ferries or small boats. Some of the islands also contain lots of wildlife, a lot of which is protected. The best beaches can be found in Crete, Kefalonia, Zakynthos and Mykonos, but Northern Greece and the mainland also have outstanding beaches as well.
Before heading off to the beaches, make sure to explore Athens first. This ancient city is worth a few days at least. And of course, drop by Santorini, especially if you’re with someone special. It is one of the most romantic cities in the world.
Many Greeks speak English as a second language, too, so you won’t have any trouble being understood.
Spain has so much to offer a tourist it’s almost unbelievable. Head there if you want to see exciting cities, beautiful sceneries, and gorgeous architecture.
The top city destinations are Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia. They are the three largest and they offer a wealth of museums, architecture, food, drink and shopping. A special mention is the works of Gaudi in Barcelona. You may queue for hours to enter the Sagrada Familia, but it will be very much worth it!
If scenery is your thing then Andalusia will offer it to you. The rugged mountains and hillsides in Andalusia will take your breath away. Nearly all the villages that are scattered around it have been painted white, making for some stunning photographs.
If you want a place with lots of tourists, head to the Costa Blanca or Costa del Sol where you will find visitors of every nationality scattered around the various resorts and towns. Spain has attracted tourists for many years so first time visitors to Europe are in safe hands while in Spain.
UK and Scotland
If you like culture and customs, then you will not find a better country to give it to you than the UK. London, the capital, will show you a wealth of museums, Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, and Big Ben. These are all the things that make up what being British is all about. The arts and theatre available in London is also some of the best in Europe.
If you head to south of the country, for example, Devon or Cornwall, you can partake in the surfing culture and appreciate as well the UK’s world-famous fish and chips. Around tea time, you will enjoy traditional tea, which is made up of scones, jam, clotted cream and, of course, a pot of tea.
Scotland, meanwhile, is steeped in tradition and culture and you will discover a lot of things about the country when you visit there. People would tell you why the Scots wear kilts, for example, and you will also get a chance to eat their world-famous haggis. You will get to enjoy as well the almost-untamed beauty of the highlands.
The best thing for a first time visitor is the fact that everyone speaks English so if you are worried about language barriers you will be fine in the UK and Scotland, although the accent may throw you off a bit at first.
If dining, history, art, and architecture are at the top of your list then it has to be Italy. Italy is famous for its pasta and pizza but the cuisine stretches a lot further than that. Many traditional recipes have been passed down for generations and remain a closely guarded secret in the family.
Italy is famous for its sauces and also meat dishes and of course a good meal has to be washed down with a fine wine. Some of the best wines in the world come from Italy and you will be spoilt for choice with over 250 varieties to choose from.
Let’s not forget the history and architecture in Rome and the Vatican, either, as well as the art in Florence. You can spend a week in each city and it still wouldn’t be enough.
Italy is a great place for first time visitors and many of the shop signs, menus and road signs are also translated into English which is a great help if you are worried about language problems.
These five countries merely scratch the surface of Europe. You should go back there again and again to fully appreciate its complexity and diversity.