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Europe is a powerhouse destination for travelers. The continent is a dense collection of many cultures and historical sights combined with amazing natural scenery. Novice travelers will enjoy the excitement and rewards of international travel but without the hassles of other far-away destinations. Experienced travelers continue returning to Europe after falling in love with the continent and continue to find new experiences.
The following are just a few destination possibilities on the continent of Europe:
Speaking of France tends to stir up divisive opinions (both good and bad) about the French. Open minded travelers will find that the French are not necessarily stuck up and rude but simply fiercely proud of their culture and way-of-life. Moving beyond its people, France is filled with historic and natural sights to keep a traveler going for a long time.
Paris is the capital of culture and romance and has something for everyone. While bouncing between sights and museums, visitors should remember to also enjoy the city's parks and cafes, following the lead of locals. Outside of Paris, travelers may visit the historic beaches of Normandy for World War II history and continue to the medieval island of Mont-St-Michel. For a balmier destination, head south to the beaches and beautiful blue water of the French Rivera. Another option is to head to one of France's famous wine regions such as Bordeaux, Burgundy or Champagne to enjoy the French countryside.
There is a reason why Italy is the most popular country in Europe to visit -- the food, the romance, the history, the art, the culture, the style...the list goes on and on. The amount of sights and destinations is immense.
Perhaps no city in the world matches Rome's combination of history, art and culture. The city is home to fantastic art collections, quintessential Italian piazzas and numerous historic churches. Vatican City contains St. Peter's basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum.
North of Rome is Tuscany, known for its wine, food and medieval villages. Tuscany's hilltowns can be overrun with tourists, especially in peak season, but they still exude charm and character. For a similar experience with fewer tourists, try the hilltowns in nearby Umbria.
Norway is one of the most natural and beautiful countries in Europe. This long and skinny country stretches from near Denmark to well past the Arctic Circle, even touching Russia. It is a land of a harsh and dark winter but a wonderful, bright and beautiful summer. The major cities of Norway (such as Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger) give you a glimpse into a country with one of the highest standards of living in the world.
The main draw for tourists is Norway's natural beauty. The most popular tourist route is the 1 to 3 day "Norway in a nutshell" trip in the Sognefjord region. The 1-day trip starts with a train from Oslo into the mountains, then down a narrow valley to Flåm. Travelers board a boat in Flåm for a spectacular two hour cruise down Aurlandsfjord and up Nærøyfjord to Voss. From Voss, travelers can either return to Oslo or continue to the coastal city of Bergen. If time allows, you can experience much more of the Sognefjord by staying one or two nights on the fjord before retuning to the city.
For the ultimate travel experience in Norway, take a Hurtigruten boat along the jagged Norwegian coastline. The Hurtigruten is a combination of a cruise ship, a passenger ferry and freight boat. Boats depart daily in the peak season from Bergen in the south and weave through fjords and islands following the coastline to Kirkenes, near the border with Russia. Along the way, the boat stops at towns and cities dropping off locals, tourists, freight and mail. Travelers can book "The World’s Most Beautiful Voyage" as a 6, 7, or 12-day cruise package or use the boat as a ferry for shorter trips.
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