Always wanted to go on a Euro-trip? Well, why wait? Summer is fast approaching, so now's a perfect time to make that dream happen! Imagine enjoying a croissant and café au lait in front of the Eiffel Tower; or taking the ultimate selfie in front of the Colosseum in Rome. With so many exciting places to choose from, where to begin planning your adventure can be overwhelming. Not to worry, we've asked our resident American expat blogger Anne Marie to put together a guide specifically for Americans looking to visit Europe for the first time.
Ready to start planning the European vacation you've always dreamed of? Let’s get started!
What better way to ease yourself into the European lifestyle then with a stop in ‘jolly-old’ England? London is always practically bursting with things to see and do. What’s even better? Many of London’s impressive museums are free! "The first time I visited the National History Museum in particular made me feel as if I had been magically transported into Hogwarts!" says Anne Marie.
Radisson Blu Edwardian, Vanderbilt can be found in the heart of South Kensington and just a hop and skip from many of the museums and galleries or the Radisson Blu Edwardian, Berkshire Hotel's central location really cannot be beat. And it's also just off Oxford Street, so shopaholics beware! With all the shopping opportunities, you'll have to show some restraint in order to make time for sightseeing.
Expert's Tip: The names of streets and places can be very confusing to pronounce even for native English speakers. Check out this guide to some of London’s more peculiar pronunciations.
The Radisson Blu Edwardian Berkshire Hotel's central location really cannot be beat. And it's also just off Oxford Street, so shopaholics beware! With all the shopping opportunities, you'll have to show some restraint in order to make time for sightseeing.
Take the chunnel or fly (but Anne Marie suggests the chunnel) to get to the next stop on your European tour - Paris. Even those with the hardest of hearts will find it difficult not to be seduced by France’s tree-lined boulevards and quaint bistros. And no trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to the famous Eiffel Tower. Anne Marie recommends either reserving your ticket to avoid the lines (which can be especially long in the summer); or take the stairs instead of the elevator and get a workout in while you're at it.
The Arc de Triomphe is of course a must-see as well. And the Radisson Blu Hotel Champs Elysées offers a stunning view of this iconic landmark. Imagine waking up to a Parisian breakfast in bed with a view of the Champs Elysées. You really can't get much more of a French experience than that!
Expert's Tip: Parisians are rumored to be particularly rude to Americans, but you’d be surprised at how simply asking, ‘Parlez-vous Anglais?’ (Par-lay Voo, Ahn-glay) instead of immediately speaking English, will get you what you want with – dare I say it – a smile.
Get inspired for your trip to the City of Lights with these stunning and unique photos by urban photographer Sébastien Nagy.
If you love Spanish cooking and art museums you can get lost in, then Madrid is for you. While Barcelona may have the beaches, Madrid has an old-world elegance that is largely gone – even in many European cities.
Tip: Try the Culinary Bazaar on Plaza de San Miguel to experience an all-day market with delicious tapas and drinks to sample.
Situated in the El Barrio de las Lestras district, the Radisson Blu Hotel Madrid Prado offers a stylish retreat in the heart of the Spanish capital. You'll be just a few minutes from top attractions such as the Prado Museum, the Thyssen and Reina Sofía Museums, the CaixaForum and Retiro Park.
Live the ‘La Dolce Vita’ in Rome. "The best advice I got the first time I visited Rome was to throw away my map and get lost" says Anne Marie. You’ll discover amazing trattorias, quirky shops and classical ruins in a city that somehow manages to combine the intimacy of a small village with the buzz of a major European metropolis. The ‘Roma’ pass is great investment as it gets you a 3–day metro pass and entrance to sites like the Colosseum and the Roman Forum (though not the Vatican) using a much shorter line.
Tip: Just say ‘no’ to the very persistent salesmen on the street. Especially anyone that offers a ‘free’ rose as they will definitely demand compensation from you after. Avoid direct eye contact with these street vendors unless you want loads of cheap souvenirs for your friends.
Traveling to Rome by train? The Radisson Blu es. Hotel, Rome is only 10 minutes away from Roma Termini Railway Station, which means easy access to the entire Italian capital through the Rome Metro as well, so that you may fill your day with history, shopping, sports and - of course - stylish dining.
Like a phoenix, Berlin has managed to rise from the ashes of its troubled history to become one of the hottest spots to visit in Europe. Into 20th century history? Love to party until the sun comes up (or longer)? Want to be inspired by cutting-edge art and theatre? Berlin has all this and more.
Be on the lookout for bears. Not the real kind thankfully, but you’ll see loads of these colorful ‘Buddy Bears’ scattered throughout the city which are the mascot of Berlin.
Tip: If you’re lucky enough to be visiting on the first of last Sunday of the month, make sure to stop by the Nowkölln flea market that follows a canal along Maybachufer. This is a great spot to grab a beer, people watch and feel like a real Berliner.
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As can be seen in the Instagram photo captured by IGer @goldie_berlin above, stay at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Berlin and you can have a view of the majestic Berlin cathedral (otherwise known as the Berliner Dom).
For your final ‘hoorah’ in Europe travel to Amsterdam - the city of bikes, tulips and canals. While Amsterdam has a world-famous orchestra and art museums, it’s probably best known for its - shall we say...nightlife? Whether you’re a party animal or not, Amsterdam always has something new to discover.
For serious shopaholics, visit the area known as ‘De 9 Straatjes’ or the ‘Nine Streets’, which encompasses (surprise, surprise) nine narrow streets filled with the trendiest boutiques.
Tip: The Anne Frank house is one of the biggest tourist draws in Amsterdam. Visit an hour or two before closing time for a more intimate feeling, and to avoid some seriously long lines. Book your stay at the Radisson Blu Hotel Amsterdam to be just a short stroll away.