Europe is a rich tapestry of history and culture, decadent cuisine, and amazing works of art and architecture – leaving those that visit it awestruck.
Its treasure trove of cultural and historical wonders draw people in from around the world. Re-visit history by exploring Athens, the birthplace of democracy; walk in the footsteps of ancient gladiators in Rome, Vikings in Iceland and Greenland, and pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago; explore the wondrous palace of Versailles and fairytale-like Neuschwanstein Castle; admire the Mona Lisa in Le Louvre; listen to the masterful music of Mozart in beautiful Schoenbrunn Palace; and stand in awe of mysterious Stonehenge.
Also diverse and inspiring is Europe’s scenic wonders: explore the rugged beauty of Italy’s Dolomite Mountains; relax on the beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean; discover the unique geology of Iceland’s Pingvellir National Park; listen to the cascading waterfalls of Croatia’s Plitvice National Park; discover Norway’s dramatic fjords; and stand at the edge of the breathtaking cliffs of Moher.
While exploring Europe’s rich blend of historical, architectural, and natural wonders, don’t miss out on yet another one of its world-famous wonders – its tantalizing cuisine: indulge in cheese fondue in Switzerland, pierogi in Poland, pizza in Naples, strudel in Austria, escargot in Paris, port in its Portuguese birthplace, wine tasting in Tuscany, and much, much more!
45 official countries
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If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you,for Paris is a moveable feast.
Whether it’s art, dance, food and wine, music, or religion you’re most interested in, festivals offer a great chance to mingle with locals and get a taste of a region’s culture.
One of Spain’s most famous festivals is Semana Santa, which is held during Holy Week. For Christians, Holy Week is a time to commemorate the entry of Jesus and his disciples into Jerusalem, his death, and his resurrection three days later. Spain’s version of the holiday is a more extravagant affair that features parade-like processions of Catholic brotherhoods, many of which date back to the Middle Ages.
For the most elaborate and vibrant experience, attend festivals in Málaga and Seville, where you can watch penitents march in colorful robes that hide their faces, carry processional candles or crosses, and walk barefoot, bound by shackles and chains. They are also accompanied by ornate floats decorated with impressively artful sculptures depicting scenes from relevant passages of the Bible, such as the Passion of Christ or the Sorrows of Virgin Mary.
You could easily spend months exploring Sicily, Italy’s largest island, and there would still be plenty left to discover in the layers of history and culture that make Sicily what it is today—a diverse, culturally-rich destination. But no exploration of Sicily would be complete without trying some delicious, traditional Sicilian dishes.
Adventurous eaters will enjoy sampling pani ca meusa. This popular Palermo specialty consists of a soft sesame bread filled with veal lungs and spleen, and sometimes topped with cheese. Less extreme alternatives include delicious chickpea fritters known as panelle, and arancine (also called arancini in Catania), fried rice balls stuffed with ham and cheese or meat. In Catania, don’t miss visiting the fish market and Via Plebiscito at night. Its traditional barbecue restaurants offer a great opportunity to join the locals sitting outside, enjoying cold beer and grilled meat.
To truly feel like a local, start the day as the Sicilians do, with a glass of granita. This drink is made with crushed ice mixed with fruit, almond milk, pistachios, and/or coffee. It’s just the refreshing beverage you’ll need after a morning spent exploring the island in the warm Sicilian sun!