Last Updated on May 17, 2018
2018 is the year where we can travel to Europe comfortably, especially during summer months because there are new nonstop routes from the United States and Canada. The new routes are not only from Air Canada or Delta, there are also other discount powerhouses available like Norwegian Air.
However, spending a long, well-deserved vacation in Europe needs a lot of planning and a few friends or family members to share with us the unique cultures, the beautiful languages, the natural wonders, and of course, the delicious cuisine.
When you reach your destination, remember to slow your pace and explore what makes the place interesting in order to feel the essence of Europe. When you do, all your senses will fall in love with every small part of each country.
Check Your Passport
Before sitting a date of departure or booking a ticket, make sure to check your passport’s expiration date. There are many travelers whose dreams were broken because of that small print.
In order to travel to the 26 countries of Europe that are border-free (Schengen Zone), your passport should be valid for at least 3 months beyond your date of departure. In fact, and since U.S. passport owners are allowed to travel for 90 days without a visa within the Schengen Zone, they need to have 6 months of validity in their passport.
This summer, the U.S. Department is expecting a lot of new applications and renewals warning the citizens that it could take up to 3 weeks for expedited service and 6 weeks for routine service.
Thanks to Schengen, we can have lunch in France, hop a few trains, and then have a great night in San Sebastian in Spain with no border check. Keep in mind that not all countries are a part of the agreement like Ireland, UK, Cyprus, Romania, and Bulgaria, which where you should expect many checks and stamps.
However, you have to remember that border check could also happen at any time within the Schengen Zone, too.
New Summer Travel Routes
Nashville is going to be spreading a lot of love for travel lovers because now it has nonstop service to Europe in 2018. Finally, it has a new British Airways that fly directly to London. Philadelphia, also, has more to sing with the new flights by American Airlines to Budapest and Prague.
Air Canada, on the other hand, is creating easy access to emerging destinations with the new flights that have nonstop service from Toronto to Zagreb, Porto, Bucharest, and anywhere between Lisbon and Montreal.
That’s not it, the Norwegian Air (A.K.A. the budget-friendly airline) and the Bare-Bones have introduced new routes to Europe, including nonstop service to London from Chicago and Austin. West coasters are enjoying better fares and more options with the new services including the nonstop flights from San Francisco to Madrid via Iberia.
Traveling by Sea
Summer days are the best because ferries start connecting mainland port cities and island paradises throughout the Mediterranean making travel super easy and extra amazing, even during the busiest months.
So, if you are interested to travel in style from the French Riviera to Balearic Island in Spain, then you must check out Corsica Ferries that offers a new route from Toulon, Spain, and France to Mallorca.
Furthermore, there are overnight ferries that connect Italian port cities like Venice and Ancona to the beaches of Montenegro and Croatia. In 9 hours, Jadrolinija Ferries can take you to Bar in Montenegro from Bari, Italy. However, make sure to read all reviews before booking a ferry because not all of them are equal.
Traveling by Train
In case you are more interested to watch the countryside and the beautiful villages, then you must travel by train and enjoy the natural sites that will make you feel like you are meditating.
There are many great reasons why you should travel by train: the tickets are inexpensive, the seats are very comfortable, the view is incredible, and you will be free from the long check-ins and security lines.
Eurostar offers a new route from London to Amsterdam that could take only four hours. Plus, you will be able to use free Wi-Fi, food, and drinks. Also, there is a new service by Trenitalia that connects two of the most interesting cities in Europe: the capital of Ljubljana, Slovenia to Trieste, the Italian Jewel.
Moreover, and for long night rides, Berlin Night Express (summertime only!) takes travelers to the north of Germany on a 10-hour journey, and that’s where the entire train hop on a ferry to cross the Baltic Sea and head to Sweden. Isn’t it cool?
New Art Openings
Summer of 2018 is going to be very interesting in Paris because it is unveiling the Rem Koolhaas-designed Marais arts center Lafayette Anticipations that is featuring its first group show. Plus, the innovative digital art immersion where visitors are placed within Gustav Klimt masterpieces at Atelier des Lumières.
Florence lovers will be able to experience the juxtaposition of modernity and class because it is the city’s first contemporary art gallery. Collezione Roberto Casamonti will be showcasing the most important works by Paul Klee, Picasso, and Yves Klein.
Let’s not forget this summer’s biggest event which is the first ever solo exhibition of Tate Modern of Picasso’s greatest works. It will be held on September 9 in London.
Expand your Destinations
It is not a secret that the biggest reasons why we would travel to Europe’s most beautiful destinations are the over-tourism, the crowded streets, and the overpriced hotels/restaurants.
But we shouldn’t let all this be an obstacle to achieving what we have in our travel bucket-list, so the best solution is to expand our list and discover new destinations that are not crowded, yet, stunning and gorgeous.
Wroclaw, Poland was voted as Europe’s Best Destination for 2018 due to its colorful architecture and the picturesque market square. You will be able to visit its 12 islands and walk on its 100 bridges, offering you the opportunity to see Europe’s future and history.
Europe’s Great Outdoors
Since you are willing to travel during the summertime, exploring the colorful streets should not be your only activity because outdoor adventures in Europe 2018 are becoming various and more exciting.
Cyclists are granted the ability to push limits with long distance paths like EuroVelo 6, which is a 2,700-mile journey from the Atlantic to the Black Sea traversing 10 countries.
Hikers will appreciate Europe a little more this summer because it opened trails for every fitness level from Austria to Albania. Plus, they can take more leisurely paths that connect vineyards and villages from Piedmont to Calabria (Italy).
If you are interested to learn new things like Kitesurf, then you should fly to Tarifa, which is the southernmost point in Europe, or free diving off the coast of Madeira. Wherever your destination will be, you will still find the thrill you need.
The European Union has been celebrating their culture for over 30 years by designating annual European Capitals of Culture. In 2018, there will be 2 cities sharing the honor: Malta’s capital of Valletta and Leeuwarden-Friesland in the Netherlands. The entrance is free and for all.
Visitors expect from Leeuwarden-Friesland to show 11 new fountains because this city is where water has a defining feature. Each new fountain will be considered as an impressive artistic factor.
Malta, on the other hand, will present 400 events featuring 1,000 performers and artists. The organizers claim that since 1964 (the republic’s formation), the city didn’t witness such concentrated cultural activity.
Respect Every Corner
Remember that there are countless things to explore and witness in each corner of Europe, so don’t rush into those famous destinations, take Instagram pictures, purchase a cheap souvenir, and run away from there.
As we mentioned before, you should slow the pace and be present! Europe is gorgeous and deserves to be treated with respect, and by that I mean, give each beautiful corner the time it needs, enjoy the food, and savor each moment.
Do your best to explore the world’s most fascinating places with sustainable manners. Here are some ways to help us all be better travelers:
– Learn local language.
– Eat where locals eat.
– Respect their traditional costumes and dress code.
– Spread more kindness.