From the canals of Venice to the heat of Spain to the natural beauty of Iceland, Europe has a vast number of picture-perfect places to bond with your new spouse. If you're planning a Europe honeymoon, don't stress with these 7 great tips that ensure a fantastic time.
- Perfect key phrases in a few languages. Even though there are 24 official languages in the European Union, you don't need to become a polyglot to successfully traverse the countries in Europe. By learning basic phrases in German, Spanish, and French, you'll be able to make yourself understood pretty much everywhere on the continent. Many people in the service industry do speak English, but don't rely on that too heavily--especially in more rural areas. Know how to order, ask for the bathroom, say thank you and please, and basic directions. Even if the person with whom you're speaking knows a bit of English, he or she will be appreciative that you're trying to connect in their native tongue.
- Don't try to plan too much. You could spend a lifetime traveling around Europe and still not see everything it has to offer. Especially if you've never been to Europe before, it can be tempting to visit half a dozen countries in as many days since it's easy to travel between them. Although you'll rack up stamps on your passport with this method, you'll end up stressed and unable to immerse yourself in any of the culture that is so prevalent throughout the continent. It's fine to want to sample the flavors and sights in a few places, but you don't want to be moving every single night.
- Make use of public transportation. The public transportation that most European cities have (even small ones!) is incredibly efficient and similar to what can only be found in the largest American cities. With buses that run all day and well into the night, express trains that can take you from country to country, and subways that can get you where you're going in a jiffy, skip the taxi rides and get yourself a local public transportation pass.
- Know where the American embassies are in each country. In general, Europe is very safe for American travelers. That being said, it's always good to have the location of an American embassy in case of an emergency: they are a great rallying point, and they provide advice for stranded or distressed travelers. Plus, if you lose your passport, this is the first place you'll need to go to ensure a smooth ride on your way back home.
- Take advantage of what's free. Europe has some incredible historic sites, art museums, and parks--and most are completely free to the public. From the wonders of the British Museum in London to the stunning Englisher Garden in Munich, these free sites can help stretch your budget will allow you to indulge in the best of what Europe has to offer. Many places even offer free theatre and concerts during the warmer months.
- Support local eateries. With the globalization of major American cities, it's easy to grab a Subway deli sandwich or a Big Mac from McDonald's even in Paris and Barcelona. Leave the American chains back home and focus on the varied local foods that are available all over Europe. Linger over a plate of tapas in Madrid, scoop up fish and chips in London, and indulge in some cheese spaetzle in Bavaria. Your taste buds will thank you!
- Give yourself time to wander. Europe has some amazingly romantic side streets and alleyways, and it's perfectly wonderful to get lost in them for a few hours. You might feel an inclination to plan every minute of your Europe honeymoon, but you should give yourself some time to breathe in your itinerary. Doing so will allow you to explore the details of each place you visit, interact with locals, and find the perfect sidewalk cafe in that jumble of tiny streets.