Europe is mind-blowing. 44 countries, over 20 recognized languages, and just about every type of attraction you could wish to see. There isn’t a map or leaflet or bus time table from Europe that doesn’t hold my interest. In fact, with so much on offer, it can be hard to know where to begin. I mean, does the travelling sight seer begin in the United Kingdom and meander down to the Med’? Is it better to pick an edge, perhaps, such as Portugal or maybe some outlying Greek island and work inwards? The secret is that there is no real trick to seeing Europe. There is no definitive list of must-see sights. Just an ever growing to-do list of terrific finds. With that in mind, I started thinking about the different types of shows that you can only catch in certain cities. That should help to drive your decision on where to begin…
Vienna sounds similar to the world famous Italian canal city of Venice, but don’t get confused. Vienna is the capital of Austria. In Austria they speak German and have main streets called tremendously long names like Mariahilferstrasse, which is a road name almost as winding as the road itself. But what is there to do in Vienna? All the usual tourist sights and restaurants? Well, yes. But there’s also the opera (find out more). Think pure culture. Think atmospheric opulence and a group experience like no other. Think outside the box. After all, nobody wishes to return home from a trip to a capital city with little more to show for it than a few selfies in the town square and a receipt from room service. Get out and see Vienna. Try something different.
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland. With millennia of history and even a series of underground levels forming the streets and homes of the old city, Edinburgh has so much to offer that arriving at any time of the year at all is always going to afford you a plethora of things to see and do. But don’t just go at any time. Go in August. Arriving in August means that you have the chance to see The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (although tickets sell out fast so you should probably buy before you fly!). What’s the tattoo, you ask? It’s an entire evening of military marching bands, fireworks, and other extravagant displays from dance and musical groups, all hosted at Edinburgh castle. Keep an eye out for the Top Secret Drum Corps from Switzerland – sort of like a line of drummers you might see at an American Football game, but way more high-calibre.
This is a bonus choice, because the host city moves each year. Unfamiliar with Eurovision? It’s a singing contest between qualifying European countries (yes, there are knock-out rounds for this weird and wonderful little corner of European oddness). There’s usually dancing and dressing up, too. And it’s just about the silliest thing in the world. A night long party where the winner is sometimes just as much the butt of the joke as the loser. What’s not to love?