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WESTERN EUROPE – Italy, France and Spain

Interconnecting countries and cultures create an intriguing array of different traditions, architecture, cuisine and history. From the ancient buildings of Rome in Italy to the city of love in Paris and the vibrant Catalan streets of Barcelona; Italy, France and Spain have some truly breathtaking and must-see destinations between them.

Italy

According to our survey, Italy is a popular destination for all ages. Results told us people flock to Italy “to be inspired to find an education or career path”, or relax before starting university or a career. Other people feel like they are missing out on worldly opportunities if they haven’t been to Italy.

France

Our survey told us France is a popular destination among all ages. People go to be inspired to find an education or career path, to relax before starting university or a career, and to experience worldly opportunities.

Spain

Spain is a popular destination among all ages, according to our survey. People go to be inspired to find an education or career path, to relax before starting university or a career, and to experience worldly opportunities.

Positano

Where to go

Italy

For city life: Milan – Italy’s fashion capital in the northern Lombardy region

For culture: Rome and Florence are crammed full of historic sights and wonders

For the coast: The Amalfi Coast on Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula offers some truly stunning views
For scenery: Lake Como and Lake Garda provide dramatic panoramas and are great for walks

France

For city life: The City of Lights, Paris, is home to the famous Eiffel Tower

For culture: Bordeaux is a famed wine-growing region

For the coast: Cannes is a resort town in the French Riviera

For scenery: The Chamonix Valley is perfect for hiking and skiing, and soaking up the scenery

Spain

For city life: Barcelona and Madrid (the capital) – two very different cities in their own rights

For culture: Seville – the capital of southern Spain’s Andalusia region

For the coast: San Sebastian – On the Bay of Biscay in Spain’s mountainous Basque Country

For scenery: Picos de Europa – lofty peaks 20km inland from the northern coast

Panoramic View of Le Mont

Seven of the best things to do

Italy

  • Drive along the Amalfi coast for some unforgettable scenes
  • Visit the ancient ruins of Pompeii
  • Experience the passion of a live football game
  • Visit the Colosseum and the Pantheon in Rome
  • Eat no-nonsense pizza the way it should be in Naples
  • Ski on the spectacular Italian Alps
  • Rent a boat on one of its beautiful lakes such as Lake Garda and Como

France

  • Go up the Eiffel Tower in Paris and go back down to see the famous museums
  • Travel down the French Riviera coastline for sun, sea and scenery
  • Visit the island commune of Mont Saint Michel in Normandy
  • Visit the wineries for a tour and tasting in the Champagne Region
  • Enjoy freshly made pastries such as the famous croissant
  • Visit the Chamonix Valley – one of the oldest ski resorts in the world, which is beautiful in both summer and winter.
  • See the ‘Mona Lisa’ and other masterpieces in the Louvre museum

Spain

  • Try late-night tapas in a traditional bar or restaurant
  • See Gaudi’s architecture in the Parc Guell in Barcelona
  • Watch a live football game – the fans create a memorable atmosphere
  • Walk down Las Ramblas in Barcelona
  • Look for a bargain at Madrid’s popular Sunday flea market in the La Latina barrio
  • Head to a festival – The Benicassim festival is Spain’s biggest music festival
  • Laze around on the Costa del Sol coastline and enjoy its stunning beaches

Essentials: what you need to know

Italy

When is the best time to go?

April to June and September to October is when the temperature is comfortable. You’ll also miss the summer crowds.

Visa: no

Vaccine: no

Currency: Euro €

Time zone:

  • UTC +2:00

Language: Italian

  • Hello: Ciao and Buongiorno (chah-aw, bwawn jawr-naw)
    • Tip: Best to say Buongiorno rather than ciao, if you are just meeting someone. Ciao is normally for friends.
  • Goodbye: Ciao or arrivederci (chah-aw, ahr-ree-ve-der-chee)

Local tips:

  • At the end of your meal it is common to order an espresso as the choice of coffee – and don’t order a cappuccino after 11am unless you really want to stand out as a tourist.
  • You might be charged more to sit down at a café, so drinking coffee standing up will save a Euro or two.

 Tipping:

  • Food & beverage: 0%-10% (typically unnecessary to tip because there will be a service charge)
  • Taxi: round up
  • Tour guides: €10 a day

Five dishes we love:

  • Antipasto – an appetiser based on delicious cold meats
  • Saltimbocca – veal wrapped with Proscuitto, a traditional dry-cured ham
  • Fresh pasta carbonara – a bowl of fresh pasta with a creamy sauce and ham
  • Gelato – an Italian ice-cream that you’ll want more of
  • Pizza – these guys invented it, so you know you’re getting the best

France

When is the best time to go?

April to June and September to October is when the temperature is comfortable and you’ll miss the summer rush. For those keen to hit the slopes, peak skiing season is mid-February to March.

Visa: no

Vaccine: no

Currency: Euro €

Time zone:

  • UTC +2:00

Language: French

  • Hello: Bonjour/Salut (bawn-zhoor, sah-loo)
  • Goodbye: Au revoir (au-ruh-vwahr)

Local tips:

  • Kiss both cheeks upon greeting friends and family.
  • Only have milky coffees (such as cappuccinos) before 11am. After 11am, drink espresso.
  • It’s polite to keep both hands above the table when eating.

Tipping:

  • Food & beverage: round up or 5% (typically unnecessary to tip because there will be a service charge)
  • Taxi: 10%
  • Tour guides: €2-€3 per guide

Five dishes we love:

  • Coq au vin – chicken braised in red wine, lardons and mushrooms
  • Escargots de Bourgogne – snails baked in their shells with parsley butter
  • Croque-Monsieur – a toasted ham and cheese sandwich
  • Pain au chocolat – pastries filled with chocolate
  • Croissant – the famously flaky pastry we all know and love

Spain

When is the best time to go?

April to June and September to October is when the temperature is comfortable, and you’ll also avoid the summer crowds and sun-worshipers.

Visa: no

Vaccine: no

Currency: Euro €

Time zone:

  • UTC +1:00

Language: French

  • Hello: Hola (oh-law)
  • Goodbye: Adios (ad-ee-ohs)

Local tips:

  • Evening meals normally begin around 9pm, and not before 8pm.
  • It’s very common to be late for meetings in Spain
  • Most shops will be closed between 1pm-4pm

Tipping:

  • Food: 10%
  • Beverage: round up
  • Taxi: round up
  • Tour guides: €10 per day

Five dishes we love:

  • Tapas – small, tasty traditional dishes ideal for sharing with friends
  • Iberico Jamon – You’ll see plenty of Spanish-cured ham legs at bars, restaurants and markets
  • Patatas bravas – fried cubes of potato with a fiery red sauce
  • Paella – a rice dish cooked with saffron and loaded with seafood and vegetables, or meats such as chicken and rabbit
  • Chocolat con churros – these Spanish doughnut fritters come with a thick chocolate dipping (and drinking) sauce – dunk away!

Ok, so how do I get there?

Find great offers and deals for flights to Europe on Netflights:

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