Ever since my first trip to Europe as a teenager in 1998, it's been one of my favourite places to travel to. There are a lot of reasons why I love Europe- the history, the architecture, the way of life- but mostly, I love it because I find travelling there quite easy. Europe is a place that I didn't experience a lot of culture shock. Of course, many things are different than in Canada, but nothing too extreme that I felt uncomfortable. Still, I remember being nervous to visit Europe for the first time. It is absolutely normal to feel apprehensive when travelling somewhere for the first time. A lot of that nervous energy comes from simply not knowing what to expect.
Trains are generally the best way to get around in Europe. The rail network is comprehensive, ticket costs are rather affordable, and the scenery is gorgeous. Trains are a great way to visit many destinations quickly and efficiently. We LOVED TRAVELLING BY TRAIN in Europe! Bike share programs are becoming more and more popular around Europe. In many cities you'll find stands where you can rent a bike for a short period of time and return it to any rental point in the city. We used bikes to get from place to place in Paris all the time. European cities are very walkable. Many of the main sights are in close proximity to each other, so bring a comfortable pair of shoes.
It can be hard to decide where to go and what to see on your first trip to Europe because there are so many fantastic options. Try and master a few phrases in the local language. We found that English was widely spoken in the major cities, but people still appreciated us making an effort to communicate with them in their own language. Be open minded and welcoming of new experiences. Don't expect things to be the same as home. To minimize time spent in transport (and the fatigue that can come from it), plan your itinerary so that you can spend at least 3 days in major cities.
Choose destinations that are close to other places of interest so that you can either have a base to day trip from, or will need less travel time from point to point. For your first trip to Europe, it can be less overwhelming to focus on a region and spend more time in fewer places, than having little time in many places.
Europe has so much to see and it’s tempting to rush around, trying to see as much as possible. Remember to slow down, take your time and savor the experience of your first trip to Europe!