A Weekend Getaway for the Ladies

Tips for Backpacking in Europe That Students Can Use

Backpacking is a popular activity for students in Europe in that they can get to many amazing places on a budget. There are many important tips for students like yourself to be aware of before heading out around the continent.

A WeekendTips for Backpacking in Europe That Students Can Use Getaway for the Ladies

Tips for Backpacking in Europe That Students Can Use


Backpacking: Look for a Train Pass

The first tip is to get a train pass that you can use around different railways scattered across the continent. A train pass can give you unlimited access to rail services around Europe and even parts of Asia for a certain period of time.


Backpacking: Look for Hostels Featuring Kitchens

Finding a room at a hostel can be one of the best tips for backpacking in Europe that you can use. However, you should look for hostels that feature kitchens. These places often feature cooking utensils and other food prep items. You will not only save money by not having to travel out to eat but you may also make new friends at a hostel when you prepare foods for yourself and others.


Backpacking: Use a Debit Card

You should use a debit card when backpacking around Europe. This ensures that you can get access to your bank account without having to worry about using ATMs all the time to get money. However, you should review the foreign transaction charges that may be imposed on your card just to be safe. Check and see what fraud-protection features are included on your card as well.


Backpacking: Learn Key Phrases in Another Language

Learning a few basic phrases in a language spoken within the country you’re heading into always helps. Learning things like “hello,” “thank you” and “good morning” can always help. There are many great guide books that you can use to learn different languages as well as online learning programs so feel free to search around to see what’s available.


Backpacking: Don’t Pack Heavy

You can’t afford to pack far too heavily while traveling around Europe. Packing lightly is one of the best backpacking in Europe tips that you can use. You only need a few shirts and maybe a spare pair of pants or shorts while traveling. About three to four pairs of socks and underwear should be fine too. You can always find showers or laundry stations around hostels and other accommodations to wash your items in as needed.


Backpacking: Avoid Being out Late

This sounds like a motherly bit of advice but the truth is that many parts of Europe may become seedy and worrisome late at night. You may be more likely to be assaulted or to become a victim of theft if you are out on the streets late at night. Also, it is often easy to find prostitution and drug trafficking activities around the streets when it’s really late out. The fact that some laws protecting people from such activities may be lacking where you are only makes it all the more important for you to watch where you go at night. Therefore, you should avoid being outside while it is dark out for far too long.


Europe travel for students doesn’t have to be all that challenging if the right plans for backpacking are set up.


Related Europe posts:

Most Amazing Facts about Monuments In Europe

Top Ten Most Beautiful Castles in Europe

Top 10 Scenic Rail & Train Adventures in Europe

Top 7 Beautiful Beaches in Europe


View of Athens and the Erechtheum (porch of the Caryatids) from the Acropolis.

Most Amazing Facts about Monuments In Europe

1. Eiffel Tower, Paris, Franceeiffel-tower-paris

• The Eiffel tower was once repurposed as a giant radio antenna to save it from being demolished in 1909.
• Temperature changes cause the height of the Eiffel tower to change by nearly 16 inches.
• The French were smart: to keep Hitler from reaching the top of the Eiffel Tower during WWII, they cut the cables so his only option was to climb the steps.
• An Australian woman climbed the 1,700 steps to the top of the Eiffel Tower in less than 10 minutes in 2015.
• There are 328 steps just to get to the first floor of the tower.


2. The Colosseum, Rome, Italy

The Colosseum Rome Italy



• Over 60,000 Jewish slaves were forced to labor over the Colosseum from 70-80 AD.
• In what could be the longest and bloodiest victory celebration in history, Emperor Trajan in 107 CE hosted contests for 10,000 gladiators and 11,000 animals in 123 days.
• Some estimates show that over a million wild animals and nearly half a million people lost their lives in contests held in the Colosseum.
• Mini naval battles were one way the Romans had fun: by flooding the Colosseum and creating their own shipyards.


3. Big Ben, London, England

Big Ben London

• The loud chimes of England’s famed Big Ben can be heard even 5 miles away.
• Old English pennies are utilized to adjust the pendulum if Big Ben is noted to be running fast or slow. Slightly quick: add a penny, slightly slow: remove a penny. Each penny has an impact of 2/5 of a second on the timing of the massive timepiece.
• Soap and water are the only cleaning materials trusted to be used on Big Ben, and even then only once every 5 years. Window washers with a complex series of rappels carefully work their way down the faces to be sure not to lean on the hands or break the delicate balance.


4. Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia

Saint Basil’s Cathedral Moscow Russia


• Saint Basil’s Cathedral was nearly demolished by Stalin because it obstructed the parades he had planned for Red Square.
• It is so close to the Kremlin that many people think it was originally a war base as it looks like a fortified complex.
• Built between 1555 and 1561, St. Basil’s did not receive its colorful exterior until nearly 200 years after construction was complete.
• The capture of the Kazan, stronghold of the Tartars, was the reason Ivan the Terrible commissioned the cathedral to be built.


5.  Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Italy

• The building of the Leaning Tower of Pisa took from 1173 to 1372 to be built, as it was stopped over 100 years for one war and again in 1284.
• It is likely that even a small earthquake would make the famous historical structure topple to the ground.
• Various architects throughout the nearly 200-year building period attempted to keep it from falling over by adding curvature to the building itself.
• The first time in the long history of the building that it has stopped leaning was in 2008 when engineers found it to be finally stable.


 6. Tower Bridge, London, England

Tower Bridge, London, England

© Visitlondon.com

• The bridge has never malfunctioned, yet human error caused the bridge to open slightly while a double-decker bus was crossing it, driven by Albert Gunton. His bravery in jumping the bus a short gap earned him 10 pounds.
• More than 50 designs were submitted for this landmark bridge, and in a contest surrounded by controversy, the plans by one of the judges was the one finally approved and built.
• When the bridge opens once a day, it’s a sight to behold. However, if you want to take a boat through this opening you have to book it in advance – even though there is no charge.


 7. Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

Sagrada Familia Barcelona Spain


• A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the large Roman Catholic Church was designed by architect Antoni Gaudi in 1882 and has yet to be completed.
• The architect’s life was cut tragically short in 1926 by a tram accident, and he was buried within the crypts of the stunning Roman Catholic basilica.
• When complete, the church will rise to a height of over 560 feet, and will be 95 meters long and 60 meters wide.
• The expected completion date of the project is not until 2041, and even that “early” date wouldn’t be possible without the aid of computer models used starting in the 1980s to speed up the process.


 8. Arc de Triumph, Paris, France

Arc de Triomphe, Paris

• Get the best possible view of Champs- Élysées and the surrounding neighborhoods from the pinnacle of the Arc, 50 meters in the air.
• It was completed in 1836; Napoleon missed seeing the completion of his dream by 15 years.
• The soot that is part of a large city like Paris is so detrimental to the building materials that the Arc de Triomphe must be cleaned on a regular basis to keep it white and shining.
• If not for the intervention of the French Government, the Arc de Triomphe would be a massive three-story elephant shaped building that would be entered through the stomach.


9. Acropolis Of Athens, Athens, Greece

Acropolis Of Athens, Athens, Greece

Acropolis Of Athens, Athens, Greece

• Starting the so-called “Golden Age of Greece”, the building of the Parthenon was commissioned by Pericles who was a Greek politician and the founder of the city of Athens.
• A temple to the Greek goddess Athena is the basis for the Parthenon, which stands on the Acropolis of Athens.
• Acropolis literally means “high city” in Greek, and while many other cities have an acropolis, when you see the term capitalized it is generally referring to the resting place of the Parthenon.
• Sacred caves used for rites for other Greek deities such as Dionysus are visible from the Acropolis, making it an excellent starting point for further exploration.


10. Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy



• While the fountain appears to be in relatively good shape, there is a movement underway by Fendi, an Italian fashion company, to begin a 2.2 million Euro restoration, the most thorough in history.
• Caritas, a Catholic charity for needy families in Rome, is the beneficiary of the approximately 3,000 Euros swept from the fountain each evening.
• The water in the Trevi fountain is special, traveling via the Aqua Virgo aqueducts 21 kilometers away from Salone Springs to supply the historical fountain and others in Rome’s center.


11. The city of Dubrovnik is a living monument, Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia

• This Mediterranean seaport city is surrounded by the most beautiful beaches in the world, and was established in the 7th century.
• Nearly 2 kilometers of fortifications and ancient walls surround the fanciful Baroque style architectural creations.
• The City of Dubrovnik is actually an independent state, something that is especially important to the United States. Dubrovnik was the very first country to acknowledge the sovereignty of the U.S. from the English.
• Dubrovnik has long valued freedom: they were the first country to abolish the trading of slaves as far back as the 15th century.


12. Cristo Rei Statue, Lisbon, Portugal

Cristo Rei Statue Lisbon Portugal

©Javier Gonzalez

• When Portugal was spared during WWII, the country erected the monument as a ‘thank you’ to God.
• The 98-foot statue stands proudly on top of a 26-foot pedestal, with arms that stretch nearly 100 feet wide to take in all of Christianity.
• Cristo Rei can be loosely translated to ‘Christ the Redeemer’ from the native language of the Portuguese people, who consider it a major cultural icon.
• While construction was completed in 1931, the statue was not consecrated until 2006, and is now considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.


13. The Pena Palace Sintra, Portugal

The Pena Palace Sintra Portugal

©Never House

• Considered one of the most amazing tourist attractions around Lisbon, the so-called Pena Palace is surrounded by 200 hectares of panoramic viewpoints, tree-lined walks, and hidden lakes.
• No changes have been made to the state rooms since 1910 when the Portuguese royal court escaped the revolution by fleeing to Brazil.
• Palacio Pena translates loosely to ‘Feather Palace’, a fitting moniker for this palace in the sky that seems approachable only by birds.
• The German architect, Ludwig von Eschwege, created a mix of revival styles when designing the estate including Renaissance, Egyptian, and even Oriental. The palace is now a national museum.


14. The Ferdinand Cheval’s Ideal Palace, Hauterives, France

The Ferdinand Cheval’s Ideal Palace Hauterives France

©Frédérique Voisin-Demery/Flickr

• Created over a period of 33 years, the Ideal Palace is the realized dream of Ferdinand Cheval – a rural postman who stumbled upon an oddly-shaped stone and decided to bring his dream to life in his garden.
• A self-taught stonemason, Cheval’s inspirations included the illustrated magazines that he was delivering as well as postcards and nature.
• Alone with his postal route and his wheelbarrow, Cheval would pick up stones across his 18 mile rounds through the country. His dream palace was finally complete in 1912 when he was 76 years of age.


15. Royal Pavilion, Brighton, England

Royal Pavilion Brighton England

©Marcus Mailov

• Brighton represents the largest resort near the seaside on the south coast of England, and is famous for The Lanes, an electric beach railway as well as the stunning pier.
• Every corner of the United Kingdom and world contributes to the 8 million-plus visitors that the East Sussex resort attracts.
• The Prince Regent was advised by his doctor to take more sea air for his gout, leading to the building of the Pavilion at the end of the 1700s.
• While it was begun in 1787, it took three stages of building with the most recent by architect John Nash in 1815.


16. Bubble Palace, Cannes, France

Bubble Palace Cannes France


• The decadent and bizarre Bubble Palace was built by a famed Hungarian architect and was inspired by the look of a series of prehistoric caves.
• Pierre Cardin is the most recent owner of the Bubble Palace, and the famous Italian-born fashion designer continues to host high-fashion runway shows and a string of wild after-parties as well as numerous photo shoots and celebrity parties.
• This relatively recent building points to the South of France’s continued popularity as a vacation spot for the rich and famous of the world.
• The complex takes up nearly 1,200 square kilometers on the hills of Cannes


17. Hundertwasser House in Vienna, Austria

Hundertwasser House in Vienna Austria


• The home was designed by Josef Krawina, and while it is often known by its common name of Hundertwasser House, the formal name is Hundertwasser-Krawina house for the Austrian’s heavy involvement in the planning and execution stages of building.
• The fascinating building was fully completed in only two years, between 1983 and 1985, and the city of Vienna presented Krawina and his co-architect free rein on the design.
• The Hundertwasser House is truly a home – inhabitants are allowed to decorate the façade entirely to their own taste, and many have chosen to add to the city’s green oasis feel with an abundance of shrubs and trees on the numerous balconies.
• While the Hundertwasser-Krawina House is not open to the public, only a few hundred meters away the Kunst Haus Wein contains a permanent exhibition of some interior décor elements.


18. The Church of Hallgrimur, Reykjavik, Iceland

The Church of Hallgrimur Reykjavik Iceland

©Ben Kucinski

• Also known as the Hallgrimskirkja, the Church of Hallgrimur is a Lutheran church located on a hill near the heart of the city and is considered one of the country’s most striking landmarks as well as being the biggest church.
• Representing the natural Icelandic landscape, the church’s tall spires reach to the heavens just as the volcanoes, basalt columns and ice caps do.
• Built in 38 years, the majestic landmark was started in 1945 after an extensive period of design discussion. The church was not consecrated until nearly 10 years after it was brought to completion, in 1986.


19. Meteora, Thessaly, Greece

Meteora Thessaly Greece

• Twenty-four monasteries were built in spectacular fashion in the sky, yet only six remain after bombings and raids in WWII, when many of the art pieces were stolen and never recovered.
• The monasteries remain almost inaccessible to this day, and they were built in the 15th century despite inconceivable difficulties.
• Many of the monks have now left the facilities, yet visitors are still required to cover their shoulders and long skirts or pants must be worn at all times.
• The location is considered a UNESCO World Heritage site.
• Meteora means “suspended in the air”, a great description for these high aeries.


20. Blue Domed Church in Oia, Santorini, Greece

Blue Domed Church in Oia, Santorini, Greece

©Lonely Planet

• The color of the dome is painted to perfectly represent the stunning blue of the Greek sky.
• There is not really one specific church with a blue dome – there are dozens, each in a more beautiful setting than the last.
• Each blue-domed church represents the Greek lifestyle of amazingly blue water and sky, easy living, and is the color of everyday life.
• The island of Santorini is the most iconic of the Greek islands, and is thought to be the inspiration for the lost city of Atlantis legends.
• Santorini was technically a group of islands in a circle until 1500 BC when a volcano brought them together as a land mass.


21. Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany

21. Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany

• The Brandenburg Gate has long been a symbol of division between Eastern and Western Germany, until 1989 found the gate finally reopened after the fall of Eastern Germany when it became a reunification symbol.
• The Quadriga statue at the apex of the Gate was once stolen by Napoleon in 1806 where it was kept in Paris until his defeat in 1814.
• The Roman goddess of victory, Victoria, is driving the Quadriga chariot.
• Historically, only the royal family was permitted to walk through the central arch, with “lesser folk” being required to wander through other arches.
• King Friedrich Wilhelm II originally built the arch in 1791 as a symbol of peace.


22. Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UK

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, UK


• Consisting of a ring of standing stones, Stonehenge is one of the most recognizable and famous sites in the world.
• Historians, archeologists and the public have been fascinated by this mystery for thousands of years. While there is some discussion as to the exact date, the ring of standing stones is estimated to have been built as early as 3,000 BC and is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval World.
• In an unbelievable feat of geometry and mathematics, the early builders of the historic site were able to align it with not only the midwinter sunset but also the midsummer sunset as well as the moon’s northerly and southerly setting location.


23. Palace of Diocletian, Split, Croatia

Palace of Diocletian Split Croatia

© Limes.Media

• The living heart of the city, the Palace of Diocletian is neither a palace nor a museum, and instead contains a bustling mix of labyrinthine streets that are home to myriad shops, restaurants, and bars.
• Construction took a total of 10 years for completion, and Diocletian spared no expense in its creation – importing columns and sphinxes from Egypt as well as marble from Greece and Italy.
• The palace, which was built from lustrous white stone, faces the harbor. The majority of the stone was sourced from the nearby island of Brac and it is considered one of the most imposing of the Roman ruins still in existence.


24. Church of Saint Donat, Zadar, Croatia

Saint Donat Zadar Croatia


• A 9th century circular-shaped building, the Church of St. Donat is considered one of the most well-known of Zadar’s many monuments.
• The perfect example of a “court chapel” model doesn’t have a direct model, as other structures such as the Palatinska chapel in Aachen.
• Originally dedicated to the Holy Trinity, the Church of Saint Donat was consecrated again in the 15th century to take the name of Zadar’s Bishop Donat, who commission its building.
• The church’s interior contains clear original columns from the Roman Forum as well as stone slabs from that period.
• The historic church is now a popular venue for musical events and is no longer used for religious purposes.


25. Amphitheater Pula, Croatia




• Commonly known as the Arena of Pula, the Amphitheater is the starting and ending points of many sightseeing tours in the area.
• Once the site of famous gladiator brawls, the Amphitheater is the largest, most important and most famous monument of Croatia and was built in the 1st century AD.
• The Colosseum in Rome was built at about the same time, but the Emperor Vespasian built the Arena of Pula.
• Nearly 20,000 spectators would have been engaged in the gladiator fights during the Amphitheater’s heyday, and like the Roman Colosseum, hundreds of thousands of wild or domesticated animals as well as human gladiators lost their lives there.


26. Mont Saint – Michel, France

Mont Saint – Michel, France

Mont Saint – Michel, France

• The remarkable walled city perches precariously on a small granite outcropping, and is one of the most-visited tourist attractions in and around the Paris, France area.
• As far back as 1979, Mont Saint-Michel was classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, one of the first to be so designated.
• Medieval walls and defenses are still fabulously articulated in this city on a rock, one of the few remaining today that has not fallen to war or the ravages of time.
• Never just a church, the city is small but still boasts day-to-day inhabitants including a mayor, all of whom cater to the million-plus tourists who visit every year.


27. Parliament of Budapest, Hungary

Parliament of Budapest, Hungary

• This magnificent example of Neo-Gothic architecture also displays a touch of Baroque and Renaissance characteristics and is only a little over 100 years old though it looks much older.
• The impressive interior of the Parliament can be visited anytime that the parliament is not in session, so you can glimpse the true beauty of the circa-1902 building.
• The Crown Jewels have been lost or stolen many times over the years, but now they are held at the Parliament for protection. Jimmy Carter returned them from their hiding place in the United States gold reserves in 1978 and they have been safely at the Parliament building ever since.

Related Europe posts:

Top Ten Most Beautiful Castles in Europe

Top 10 Scenic Rail & Train Adventures in Europe

Top 7 Beautiful Beaches in Europe

Spectacular European River Cruises

Traveler’s Guide to Croatia

Traveler’s Guide to Croatia: From Sinj and the Medieval Equestrian Competition to the Wine Country of Varazdin and Beyond


The nation of Croatia offers something for almost everyone. With 2,000 kilometers of breathtaking coastline, most travelers tend to visit the country’s pristine beaches, but inland Croatia is filled with rugged wilderness as well as tranquil farmland, vineyards and castles for those who want to really get away and experience true Croatian culture.


Visitors might consider dividing their time between the inland areas as well as the coast to get a taste of the real Croatia.


Plitvice lakes National Park, Croatia


Croatia Top Attractions

Visiting Sinj


Visitors traveling to Croatia during the first weekend of August, shouldn’t miss the nearly 300-year-old Sinjska Alka, held in the town of Sinj, just 35km north of Split. The easiest way to travel through Croatia is by rental car, although there is bus transportation available. This ancient town was originally known as Setovia; to get there, follow the road inland from Split and past the ancient fortress of Klis. You’ll cross a stony desert, ultimately reaching a beautiful landscape filled with fields, willow trees, and the winding Cetina River in the distance, with Sinj set under the shadow of Mount Visoka.

Hotel Matanovi Dvori offers large and comfortable rooms in a family run, B & B style lodging with old fashioned hospitality. Locals are said to gather here to sing traditional songs.


Sinjska Alka


The famed historic horseback tournament takes place here as it has for the past 295 years. This equestrian competition consists of competitors on horseback armed with lances that aim to hit the inside of a metal ring, known as the alka, and points are awarded according to which part of the alka they hit.


It’s a great privilege for the knights, who can only participate if they were born in the city or surrounding villages. The knights ride their horses at full gallop along the main street, aiming their lances and adorned in the same costumes worn by warriors back in the 18th century. This spectacular event is often the highlight for visitors to Croatia.


Northern Croatia


It’s well worth taking the time to explore northern Croatia’s castles and spectacular wine country. The road between Zagreb and Varazdin, known as the Zelina Wine Road, provides breathtaking scenic views as well as a number of wineries offering fine wines as little as $5 a bottle and picturesque castles and manor houses dotting the landscape at the edge of primeval forests.

Stay in Varazdin and you may never want to leave.  The town was once the nation’s capital and today, is filled with stunning architecture and history with baroque buildings and narrow, winding streets. Sip local fruity, white wines that are typically found only in Croatia; pair with hearty meals like strukli (cottage cheese strudel) for a perfect match.

The Turist Hotel is highly recommended as well as being reasonably priced and clean, within walking distance from the beautiful old city area.

Nin, Croatia


Journey back to Nin, Croatia in Zadar County, the oldest Croatian royal town, and you’ll discover the nation’s best sandy beaches. Ninska Laguna is often recognized as one of the most beautiful Dalmatian coast beaches and also known for its medicinal mud, but the entire area is an oasis of long, sandy beaches that are protected from winds and offer clean and warm water for swimming.

Consider a stay at the gorgeous Zaton Holiday Resort, built in traditional Dalmation architectural style with private balconies just steps away from the beach.



Related Croatia posts:

A Delightful Travel Destination – Zagreb, Croatia

Plitvice, Croatia Travel Info and Guide

Dubrovnik Travel Info and Guide, Croatia



Check Out the Hottest New European Beach Resorts

Europe is home to some of the most attractive beaches in the world. The variety of beach resorts around the continent is only growing as this listing of the newest top resorts shows.


New European Beach Resorts

New European Beach Resorts

Cornwall, England

Cornwall is on the far southwestern end of England and is home to many appealing beaches. There are more than a hundred beaches to visit around Cornwall. The Gorran Haven Beach is a noteworthy east-facing beach that is also pet-friendly. Meanwhile, the Bedruthan Steps Beach is located near some beautiful cliffs and is secluded enough that it can only be accessed during low tide.

The resort has become popular in recent time thanks to its extensive variety of fine restaurants and hotels. These include the Cornish Arms Pub run by Rick Stein of the BBC and the Cliffside Scarlet Hotel.


Valletta, Malta

Valletta is a popular peninsula around the Marsamxett and Grand Harbours in Malta. Valletta is famous for being home to many of the most appealing Baroque buildings around the island and has been officially recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The beaches and bays all around the region are among the most popular places for people to check out when looking for thrilling things to explore. The beaches around the region include many fine spots that highlight impressive views of prominent attractions like the Hastings Gardens and Upper Barrakka Gardens. Water polo and swimming sites are available around the region as well as plenty of rocks to sunbathe around including the ones at the Jews Sally port.

While Valletta has plenty of history to its name, it is also a place filled with plenty of great resorts and thrilling hotels like the Maison La Vallette. People can especially enjoy a variety of appealing cafes and wine bars all around the town. The Caffe Cordina, Tico Tico Bar and the Pub are among the top spots to check out here.


Korcula, Croatia

Korcula is a prominent island off the coast of Croatia that has become a great place for beach travel in recent years. Korcula is home to many beautiful Adriatic scenes and a variety of Venetian Renaissance buildings that are reflective of the island’s history. The old Dalmatian defensive towers and red-roofed houses around the town are unique features that make this place look appealing. The island is especially popular for its connection to Marco Polo as it is believed that he was born on this island.

The beaches around Korcula include many attractive sandy spots home to many unique resorts. The Banje and Vrnik beaches are popular pebble beaches while the Zakrjan beach is home to some of the most impressive rocky formations around. There are also plenty of different beach resorts to visit while out on the island including the Amfora resort on the western end and the Jedra Beach Resort Hvar located further east on the southern part of the island.

Visit any of these places the next time you are considering a great trip to an appealing beach resort in Europe.


Related Europe posts:

Top Ten Most Beautiful Castles in Europe

Top 10 Scenic Rail & Train Adventures in Europe

Top 7 Beautiful Beaches in Europe

Spectacular European River Cruises

The intellectual and artistic Paris - Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Interview with Adeline Marchand of Esprit de Paris

Adeline Marchand is the owner of Esprit de Paris, a unique tour guide service offering visitors the opportunity to experience Paris from the eyes of a local and to be truly immersed in Parisian culture. Having grown up in the trendy, creative and historic Paris neighborhood of Upper Marais, Adeline shares her expertise and understanding of Parisian life in a way that cannot be found on the standard tour bus.

Adeline Marchand is the owner of Esprit de Paris



Adeline has a master’s degree in 18th century French history from the Sorbonne with a focus on the Grand Tour, an aristocratic rite of passage in addition to having educated herself through experiences with the curator of the Louvre Museum, working with collectors at the International Contemporary Art Fair and even assisting writer Olivier Cadiot and director Ludovic Lagarde at the Festival of Theater in Avignon.
Private tours in the heart of a mythical city of concealing inexhaustible treasures


She enjoys sharing her passion and knowledge of the City of Lights with visitors with a strong awareness of what it’s like to be in a foreign country having traveled throughout the world herself. Her goal is to allow tourists to become locals during their holiday while catering to their particular interests.

Recently, I had the opportunity to ask Adeline more about her company and she kindly provided me with additional insight.



Europe Travel: How long have you had your business, and what made you decide to start your Parisian tour company?

Adeline Marchand: I started my business of private tours of Paris two years ago. My father, who used to work for an American multinational banking corporation, started a new life a few years ago, and created  a Bed & Breakfast in our family house, in the Marais (the historical center of Paris), Bonne Nuit Paris. One day, he told some of his clients that I studied history at the Sorbonne. The mother and her daughter, who were from the USA, asked me if I could go around the area with them to give some explanations about the buildings, and to make them “feel” and understand the city. And I had a lovely time! The cultural exchange is very exciting for me.



Europe Travel: Do you cater to specific types of tourists?

Adeline Marchand: I receive travelers from the USA, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand – all types of travelers make it an interesting experience for me. I appreciate and understand the couples, the families, and the women traveling alone. I have noticed that people who travel often are more open to alterity; they often seem to be more curious and they will ask very respectfully how things work here (in Paris) instead of trying to get what they have at home. I particularly enjoy spending time with teenagers on their own because they are very receptive. It often happens that parents frequently ask me to introduce Paris to their teenagers.


Europe Travel: What are some of your more unique tours?

Adeline Marchand: I try to make each and every one of my tours unique! Far from the traditional tourist route (unless it’s a client’s request), my clients gain entrée into the authentic life of real Parisians and feel more like a local. In Rome, it is said that you need seven generations to be considered as a real Roman! With Esprit de Paris, my clients will become a little more Parisian in a few hours…

The intellectual and artistic Paris - Saint-Germain-des-Prés


Europe Travel: What might tourists expect to get out of your tours that they may not be able to experience with others?

Adeline Marchand: My tours are exclusive because my clients will discover the essence and soul of Paris, this special way to be sophisticated but nonchalant. I will try to reveal the mentality and customs of the French. The cultural and intellectual life of Paris needs context and history to be fully appreciated. We will visit private mansions, museums, secret places, lovely gardens, cafés, and I will help tourists to discover the cultural heritage, lifestyle, sophistication and creativity of Paris.


Europe Travel: Which of your tours tend to be the most popular?

Adeline Marchand: It is the Marais tour and the Château de Versailles tour. They are my favorite tours too! I have been raised in the Upper-Marais, a very creative, trendy and historic area, said to be shabby chic. So I know its charming places and their secrets… And I received a master’s degree in 18th century French history, which the period when the Château de Versailles was inhabited by the King and the Royal Court. I love this time of sophistication, pleasure, refined decadency and violence.

Visit of the historical area in the center of Paris: the Marais


Europe Travel: Do you recommend a particular time of the year that might be best for travelers visiting Paris?

Adeline Marchand: Paris is the most visited city in the world because each time of the year is wonderful! It rains, although lightly, often in Paris, and the city is still charming. We take an umbrella and life goes on!  And the color along the riverside is amazing on a rainy day!

In spring, summer, and autumn, the monuments are really crowded, but you can enjoy the liveliness of the terrace of the café and experience the favorite hobby of the Parisian: people watching. Each Parisian has the feeling of being someone important. Self-confidence, conviction, enthusiasm and a mysterious allure, that’s the characteristic of the Parisians.



Europe Travel: What are a few of your favorite spots in Paris?

Adeline Marchand: The Pont des Arts offers one of my favorite views. I love the Ile Saint Louis for the charm and the quietness of the riverside. The Place des Vosges is incredibly beautiful and this is where I spent my teenager years.

Pont des Arts Bridge, Paris


As far as bars, restaurants, and clubs, it is continually changing in Paris. Parisians are like bees with flowers! I have dinner in the 7th or the 17th arrondissement that tend to offer very good restaurants and then I go out in the 2nd, the 3rd, and the 6th arrondissement (various districts of the city).


Esprit de Paris and Adeline Marchand can be reached via email at: adeline@esprit-de-paris.com. Her website is www.esprit-de-paris.com.

Related France  posts:

Autumn in France’s Loire Valley: Castles, Vineyards, Tours

The Best View of Paris, Sacre Coeur Basilica

Beaujolais Day – Celebrate Wine at the Best Festival in France

Top 3 Destinations for an Affordable European Honeymoon

European Tourism & Travel Trends in 2015

The 2015 tourism season has shown that there are plenty of interesting trends within the European travel industry that need to be explored. Here are a few interesting looks into what is happening within the industry.


Trends 2015

The European Travel Commission found in its first quarter report for 2015 that the number of international tourist arrivals continues to experience a steady rate of growth. In particular, a four percent increase in arrivals into Europe has been spotted so far this year. It is a consistent total although it is also lagging behind the Middle East in terms of places people are interested in traveling to.

European Tourism & Travel Trends in 2015

The United Kingdom, Germany and France continue to be the most prominent countries that people are visiting. However, there has been a growth of at least 20% in people visiting Iceland, Croatia and Montenegro.

Slovakia, Estonia and Finland were the only countries in Europe to have experienced declines in the number of foreign visitors. Finland’s total particularly went down by more than 20 percent.


2015 Tourism Performance Summary

Occupancy trends have been favorable throughout much of Europe as travelers are ignoring ongoing financial concerns in some parts of the continent. This can especially be seen with Greece as the number of visits to the country are growing in spite of concerns over that country’s economy. Greece had a 23 percent increase in international arrivals last year.

Skiing destinations like Switzerland and Austria have also experienced strong growths in their tourism numbers. This is a consistent and expected increase that has helped make the countries more popular in recent times.

Tourist Arrivals and Nights in Europe

Long-Term Forecasts

Inbound tourism in Europe is expected to grow by about three percent by 2017. The total for outbound tourism in the continent will move up to four percent by that same time. These are totals less than the 6 percent expected in Asia and the Pacific and the 5.7 percent in the Middle East.

2015 Air-Transport Stats

Air passenger travel in Europe has been wavering around a 70 to 80 percent weekly load factor with a 2 percent growth in capacity. The trend is relatively close to what has been found within the last two years.


European airlines capacity

European Hotel Performance: January – May 2015

All parts of Europe have seen their hotel occupancy rates either increase slightly or remain unchanged. A 3.1 percent increase in occupancy was found within all parts of Europe during the first half of the year. This is 0.3 percent higher than what was experienced in the Americas and nearly two whole percentage points greater than what Africa is experiencing. The revenue for each available room in Europe has increased by close to 10 percent as well.

Global Hotel Performance, Jan-Mar 2015

Key Intra-European Markets 2015

Germany has proven to be prominent in terms of the most popular countries that people are traveling from. In particular, Iceland experienced an increase of 45.4 percent in terms of the number of German visitors coming in during the first 3 months of the year. Malta, Cyprus and Croatia also had increases of 25 percent or greater in German visitors.

Travelers from the Netherlands, France, Italy and the United Kingdom also helped to increase demand for travel around Europe. British travelers have particularly made Montenegro a popular destination with nearly double the travelers from the UK coming into Montenegro in 2015 when compared with the same time frame in 2014. Hungary and Iceland have also become noteworthy targets for British travelers.


Russia has struggled to bring in many tourists although this could be due to ongoing economic and political issues within the country. Montenegro and Romania were the only two countries that experienced an increase in the number of Russian tourists so far this year.

Key Outside Markets

The growing United States economy has helped the American tourism industry thrive in recent times with most markets growing in terms of the number of American tourists coming in. Central European countries like Romania, Hungary and Serbia have experienced strong increases in recent time.

The vastly growing Chinese market has also come into play within Europe. Seven countries in Europe, particularly Cyprus, Serbia and Spain, experienced a growth of 50 percent or higher in terms of Chinese tourists coming into their countries. More visitor nights are being spent by Chinese tourists as well.

Canada’s numbers have been tapering off due to the depreciation of the Canadian dollar. Spain and Serbia continue to see an increase of more than 50 percent in terms of visits and nights stayed in those countries by Canadian tourists.

Summary of International Forecasts


Travel around Europe by people from within the country appears to be growing in popularity and has entailed many visits to countries around the central part of the continent. The German, British and French markets continue to dominate as well. Meanwhile, foreign markets like the United States and China have helped make tourism in Europe more popular although Canada could go either way in the future. Individual countries will have to explore what they will be doing in the future as global economies continue to evolve.

A quarterly insights report provided by European Travel Commission, May 2015


European Tourism Trends in 2012

European Tourism & Travel Trends in 2013

How to Travel Europe by Train

Mastering the European Rail System

One of the most popular ways to travel around Europe is by train because of the sheer expanse of the rail system and the convenience it affords travellers. You can quickly get from city to city all over Europe on the rails, without having to worry about driving or carrying a map. Europe travel by train is easy to do when you have a little bit of insider knowledge and have used a Europe train planner to make sure you have all of your times and destinations carefully planned out.

How to Travel by Train through Europe



Travel Europe by Train: What You Need to Know

One of the greatest parts about traveling around in Europe is how easy it is, especially by train. Learning the Europe rail system and all of the things that are important to getting around Europe by rail is not hard and can be picked up as you go along, but for the smoothest trip possible, check out these insider tips:


Consult the Europe rail schedule before you plan your trip. Know when your train will be leaving and how long your trip will be so that you can book your hotel rooms for the right times. Raileurope.com has real-time rail schedules for every train in Europe. Check out their Europe rail schedule to plan your trip.


Remember that Europeans use a 24-hour timetable system. After noon, instead of 1:00, Europeans use 13:00. Convert the times you usually use by subtracting 12 and then adding on a PM so that you are always on time for your train.


Free timetables at rail stations give scheduling information on the go. Every train station on your trip will have these large, yellow schedules of departures that can help you to figure out when your train is. There are four distinct columns listed; one for departure times, track numbers, the type of train, and the destination. These will guide you to the correct spot to board your train.


 Always confirm your travel plans with the information clerk at the train station. Clearly write out the city you are traveling from and the city you are traveling to, along with your times. Ask the clerk if this is “OK” and they will be able to confirm that you are on the right track.


 Get on the right car. The entire train most likely is not going to the same destination. Your car will be clearly labeled to tell you the destination. Sometimes cars are dropped off or picked up along the trip, so it is imperative you are on the correct car to get where you want to go.


 Go to the right train station. Many cities have multiple train stations, such as Paris, which has six. In order to catch your planned train at the time you chose, you need to be at the correct station. If you find yourself at the wrong station, you can easily take the subway or a bus to the other station.


 Always clip your backpack to the rack that is located up high. Thieves stake out unsuspecting tourists who are not paying close attention to their bags, so make sure to secure yours to the overhead rack so it is not stolen.

A Europe train planner online will help you to map out your trip and get where you want to go easily. Using the rails in Europe is a snap once you have it down, so remember the above tips and enjoy your trip around Europe!

More Europe Travel Tips:

Top 10 Scenic Rail & Train Adventures in Europe

Europe – Disabled Travel Advice

Europe Safety Tips: Avoiding Scammers and Thieves

Using Electricity in Europe – Europe Travel Tip

Camping in Europe

How Can I Go Camping in Europe?

Camping can not only be a great way to see Europe and enjoy a more authentic experience, but it also offers a much cheaper option as compared to other types of accommodations. There are few Americans who seem to take advantage of the opportunity, so if you do you’ll probably have the chance to mingle with a lot more Europeans and get to know the culture better.


Camping in Europe

There are more than 10,000 campgrounds across the continent, although the experience can differ a bit compared to what you’ll find in the U.S. Campgrounds may be located on the outskirts of an urban center and are often more functional, similar to a city park, than set in a remote, scenic location. Some are basic, similar to a park-and-ride while others offer a resort-like property complete with restaurants and even water parks. There is no need for a reservation and they are rarely full.


Campground locations

By writing to each country’s tourist office, you can obtain helpful camping maps. Guidebooks are also available, such as Caravaning in Europe. In general, you’ll pay anywhere from 6 Euro to 25 Euro to camp; far cheaper than the cost of most hotels, bed and breakfasts and even hostels. There are also hundreds of websites dedicated to camping Europe, offering specific information for many different countries. Many offer ratings and reviews of the various campgrounds and are available in multiple languages, including English. Some of the best offer the ability to locate campgrounds through maps or locations.


Camping equipment


You can bring your own camping equipment, but it usually makes more financial sense to just buy your gear when you arrive due to the high airline baggage fees.  Tents, sleeping bags and other supplies are cheaper at the large superstores that can be found in the U.K., France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Equipment rentals are also widely available. Just get the basics; instead of using a stove, keep your meals simple or enjoy the food in the campground café or nearby establishments.


Wild camping


If urban camping doesn’t sound like your idea of an outdoor adventure, there are some places in Europe where you can go “wild camping,” meaning just pitching your tent in a good spot, and not inside of a campground or designated area.

In Scotland, you can camp on public hill land as long as you’re 100 meters from a road and don’t leave any trash behind. There are some wonderful, incredibly scenic places available to camp throughout the Scottish Highlands. The Hebrides are fantastic; consider the west coast of Harris between Horgabost and Scarista for spectacular views.

Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Iceland and Finland are all countries in which you’ll find numerous beautiful places for wild camping.




European campgrounds tend to be very safe and are generally theft-free. Typically, you’ll find them filled with honest, middle-class European families and most campers leave their gear in their van or zipped up inside their tent. One of the biggest advantages of camping here is getting to know people from other countries, and oftentimes your campmates will become your new friends that help watch your back allowing you to leave your things and know that they will be safe.


Related Europe posts:

Top Ten Most Beautiful Castles in Europe

Top 10 Scenic Rail & Train Adventures in Europe

Top 7 Beautiful Beaches in Europe

Spectacular European River Cruises

Castle Brasov Romania

Four Reasons to Go to Romania

Romania’s capital of Bucharest was named one of the cheapest cities in Europe to visit in 2015, but that certainly isn’t the only reason to visit. This new addition to the EU is perhaps best known for its towering Carpathian Mountains, abundance of magnificent castles, and of course, the Bram Stoker’s fictional character of Count Dracula.


If you’re looking for an exciting yet affordable vacation, head to this beautiful country in Southeastern Europe before the word gets out and prices go up!

Castle Brasov Romania

Here are just four reasons you should go sooner rather than later.


Spectacular landscapes


Romania’s spectacular terrain includes soaring mountains and even one of the most breathtaking roads on the planet known as “The King’s Road.” This hidden gem in the Carpathian Mountains winds through dense forests, alpine meadows, and green pastures complete with shepherds and sheep connecting Transylvania with Oltenia. This country is one of the rare places in Europe that you might even run into a bear or a wolf in the city.


A trek along the Danube Delta, the second largest river delta in Europe and the best preserved delta on earth, offers a chance to view a wide array of bird species as well as an abundance of wildlife. Discover lakes, floating islands and an incredible network of waterways as well as unexplored territories.

Amazing food


While few associate Romania with fabulous cuisine, after you visit that’s one of the many things you’re likely to rave about. From fantastic home cooked meals to elegant fine dining, Romania has it all, and at incredibly cheap prices too. Because the country still has a large farming community, in every village you’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables as well as freshly-butchered meats and cheeses.


Here, many people still cook in clay vessels that provide a unique taste to the food, while produce is local and untouched by genetic change that is common in so many other nations. Fresh dairy products and homemade cheeses are commonly consumed and sold here, particularly in the mountain areas. The country is also recognized for its outstanding wine as one of the largest producers in the world and possibly even the oldest with a wine culture that’s been in existence for nearly 6,000 years.



There is seemingly no end to the magnificent fairytale-like castles in Romania. In Transylvania, the “castle capital” of the country, you can choose from 100 or so of these beautiful treasures including the mysterious turrets and towers of Bran Castle, the French Renaissance Bethlen-Haller Castle and the especially grand Peles Castle, considered to be one of the most beautiful in all of Europe.



If you’d like to avoid tourist traps and the plethora of souvenir shops that all seem the same, Romania is a good place to do just that. Due to the lack of tourism, this is one of the few places has an extremely authentic feel to it. The town squares have a reason to be there other than to just draw in tourist dollars; in fact, most still act as the center of day-to-day life for the average Romanian. You’ll find at least one beautiful square in every town. Romania is also a place where people still travel by horse-and-cart, a sight commonly seen in the countryside.


In rural parts of Romania you can experience a way of life that hasn’t vanished as it has it much of the rest of the world. You’ll find people with occupations like shepherding, weaving, raising pigs and chickens in their yard and using animals for field work rather than more modern, motorized contraptions.


Many travelers say it’s getting harder and harder to find an “authentic travel experience,” fortunately Romania still fits the bill.

Related Europe posts:

Top Ten Most Beautiful Castles in Europe

Top 10 Scenic Rail & Train Adventures in Europe

Top 7 Beautiful Beaches in Europe

10 Best European Honeymoon Destinations

European River Cruises

Spectacular European River Cruises

River cruises offer the opportunity for a unique and exciting journey through some of Europe’s most beautiful terrain. With the recent European river cruise boom as well as lots of new riverboats and fabulous itineraries on waterways all over the continent, here is a look at some of the best to consider for 2014.

European River Cruises

Cruising the Rhine, Main and Danube

The Jewels of Europe River Cruise features 15 days and 14 nights of cruising the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers from Amsterdam to Budapest. These key European rivers are connected by a canal, forming a continuous stream from the North Sea to the Black Sea. Departing in Amsterdam, a charming compact city of picturesque canals, you’ll hit up ports in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Hungary, with optional excursions heading into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Your final stop includes the option to relax in the Thermal Baths and Spa of Budapest.

The adventure includes a number of fun excursions as well, such as a private concert at Palais Lichenstein in Vienna and a medieval banquet in Germany’s Marksburg Castle.

The heartland of France

The 7-night A Toast to Provence and Burgundy cruises through the heartland of France. It sails roundtrip from old town “Vieux Lyon,” known as a foodie’s paradise as well as being the home of high quality silk products, and the Basilica of Notre-Dame die Fourviere above the city. From there it moves on to renowned wine regions and villages of Burgundy’s Cote d’Or, gradually winding down in Provence where highlights include Roman-influenced Arles and the ancient papal city of Avignon.

Exploring the Black Sea

Spend 12 days traveling from Budapest, Hungary to Bucharest, Romania aboard the Black Sea Explorer River Cruise along the Danube to the Black Sea including seven nights on board the Scenic “Space-Ship” visiting Belgrade, Bran Castle, and the Iron Gate. As a special “Scenic” guest, you’ll even be taken into the home of a local family for a home cooked traditional Croatian lunch, and the opportunity to learn more about how locals live.

This fantastic river cruise will introduce you to some of the most interesting places in Central and Eastern Europe, such as Croatia’s wine town of Ilok and the Hungarian home of paprika, Kalocsa. You’ll also explore the Serbian capital of Belgrade, one of the oldest capital cities in Europe.

A fairytale journey along the Rhine

This exceptionally romantic 8-day adventure allows you to enjoy breathtaking Sleeping Beauty-esque fairytale castles and vineyards along the Rhine River. One of the most enchanting river cruises on the planet, it sails past magnificent castles, lush hillside vineyards and charming towns through The Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland. It even includes the opportunity to taste exclusive wines at Castle Vollrads in Germany, take in a Black Forest cake-baking demo and tasting, and more. Rhine River cruises combine history and culture, including the chance to explore some of the oldest historic cities in Germany.

The grandest cruise of all

If you’re looking for the ultimate river cruise of a lifetime, the 29-day Grand European River Voyage is surely the Grand Daddy of them all. Travelers who wish to experience Europe’s past and present all the way from Amsterdam in the west to Istanbul in the east in one incredible adventure, will find that this definitely fits the bill. This journey of a lifetime travels the length of the continent through ten nations and includes 38 shore excursions to give you an in-depth, authentic look at the real Europe. Here you’ll experience the wonders of the Old and New Worlds, from Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum to a medieval theater performance and browsing the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul.

Related Europe posts:

Top Ten Most Beautiful Castles in Europe

Top 10 Scenic Rail & Train Adventures in Europe

Top 7 Beautiful Beaches in Europe

10 Best European Honeymoon Destinations

European Travel Guide and Network