With relatively short distances between countries and cities, Europe offers the chance to experience the culture and lifestyle of several nations on one trip.
Sightseers can spend the day visiting the emblematic monuments of France and just a few hours later be relaxing on a Spanish beach.
In fact, millions of tourists cross the pond each year with Italy, France, and Germany consistently ranking amongst the top 5 European countries visited by Canadians.
This article takes a look at the top activities to do across Europe, from art and culture to outdoor attractions.
Canadians planning holidays in Europe should keep in mind that, from 2022, they will need to register with ETIAS in order to enter any of the countries in the Schengen Area. ETIAS is not a visa, Canadians will still be able to visit Europe visa-free even after the introduction of the new travel authorisation.
Conveniently, the same ETIAS visa waiver can be used to travel throughout the Schengen Area, meaning that Canadians can experience much of what the continent has to offer on one trip.
Art and cultural activities in Europe
Canadians with an interest in art and culture will find many places of interest throughout Europe. From world-class art galleries to theatres and museums, European cities offer a wealth of opportunities to see some of the finest works and exhibitions to be found anywhere in the world.
Some of the most worthwhile artistic and cultural activities in Europe are detailed below.
Visit the Louvre Museum in Paris
If the Eiffel Tower takes the top spot on most Parisian travel itineraries, the Louvre Museum is a close second. With the chance to see paintings and sculptures by globally renowned artists, it is well worth a visit.
Amongst the Louvre collections are some of the most important works of art in the world, such as:
- The Mona Lisa
- The Raft of the Medusa
- Liberty Leading the People
- The Dying Slave and the Rebellious Slave
- The Winged Victory of Samothrace
See Renaissance artwork in Florence, Italy
Distributed throughout this relatively small Italian city are several museums and galleries containing highly influential paintings and sculptures.
Canadian tourists with an interest in the history of art in Italy and wider Europe should consider visiting:
- The Palazzo Vecchio
- Museo dell’Opera del Duomo
- The Uffizi Gallery
European food tours & gastronomic experiences
European nations feature heavily on the list of the world’s most Michelin-starred counties. Perhaps even more impressive than the standard of chefs and their innovative creations is the variety of cuisines on offer.
Most Canadians will be familiar with Italian and French food, but perhaps not the typical dishes of Norway or Switzerland.
A great way for tourists to experience the gastronomy of a foreign country is to take a food tour. Many European cities offer such culinary experiences and most have English speaking expert guides.
Some of the most interesting and enjoyable food tours across Europe can be found in:
- Barcelona, Spain: tapas routes and wine tasting are popular
- Munich, Germany: including beer and street food tours
- Lison, Portugal: a chance to try the finest Pastéis de Nata
As well as learning about, and trying, typical foods and dishes, guides will also be able to offer restaurant recommendations for eating like a local.
Outdoor activities in Europe
Away from the large towns and cities, Europe boasts some staggeringly beautiful nature and countryside. From rugged mountain ranges in Andorra, one of Europe’s microstates to the peaceful lakes and forests of Finland.
Travellers with a sense of adventure can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities, whichever country they are in.
Keen cyclists will find scenic bike routes throughout Europe, suitable for both amateurs and those seeking more of a challenge. One of Europe’s most popular cycle paths is found in Germany, along the Danube River whilst the Adige Cycle Path in Italy offers spectacular mountain views.
There are some excellent surfing destinations in Europe. The northern coast of Spain and the Canary Islands offer quality beach breaks whilst Peniche and Ericeira are famous surfing spots in Portugal.