With 44 countries to explore, Europe is a world in its own right. This exciting and diverse continent offers a wealth of scenic beauty, centuries-old architecture and art, and an endless menu of fascinating cuisines. Each country has its own personality, language, history, food, traditions and people, a kaleidoscope of colourful possibilities just waiting to be experienced. Where will you start your tour?
Why we love holidays in Europe
Wherever you go, history is waiting for you in Europe – on the streets of Lisbon, in Rome’s Vatican City or in the castles of Vienna, to name but a few.
The Mediterranean coastline in Portugal, Spain, France and Italy is the definitive playground for a European summer holiday.
Art will take your breath away in every country, from the grandeur at the Louvre in Paris to cultural treasures in Amsterdam and Bruges.You can see incredible works created by legendary masters, such as Salvador Dali’s paintings in Barcelona and Michelangelo’s David in Florence.
The architectural landmarks, like Paris’ Eiffel Tower and Rome’s majestic Colosseum, are movingly beautiful.
We love travelling to Europe for its snowy winters and magical Christmas Markets.
Whatever type of traveller you are, you’ll find Europe exciting and full of attractions. It’s perfect for honeymooners and couples, families, groups of friends and solo travellers.Start your journey here by browsing our 2021 European holiday packages and book your Euro-trip with us today!
What to do in Europe
European holidays are full of fabulous food, famous attractions, and great shopping. Wherever you go, you’ll find fascinating people, fairytale villages and towns, enchanting castles, gorgeous gardens, and a variety of exciting things to do. Exploring Europe’s different countries is a joy in itself. Spend your days visiting art museums, historical landmarks, or dining on local cuisine. From Milan’s fabulous shopping and Barcelona’s legendary architecture to Croatia’s magnificent beach resorts and breathtaking coastal views, the options are as endless as the possibilities. It’s all up to you and the type of holiday you’re after, whether it’s a romantic getaway, time with family to relax, or a getaway with friends.
Things to do in Europe
In winter, soak up the magical atmosphere of joy, especially during the Festive Season, when Europe's famous Christmas Markets are abuzz with merry activity.
In summer, Europe’s beaches are packed with people who flock here from around the world to enjoy the atmosphere, from basking in the sun on the chic French Riviera to island hopping in Greece.
Europe’sfascinating cities have distinct personalities, from low-key Dubrovnik to fashionable Athens.
Relax at a sidewalk café in Paris.
Go on a canal cruise in Amsterdam or a gondola ride in Venice.
Explore the cobbled streets in the old parts of Budapest or Prague.
Whether you visit for a handful of days or spend a few glorious weeks soaking up the sun or exploring, holidays in Europe are as laidback or exciting as you wish them to be. Take a look at our available packages and let's start planning!
Know before you go...
What must I pack?
The weather in Europe can be extremely varied according to the season you’re travelling and the country you’re visiting, so always check the weather forecast.
Your summer packing list should include lightweight clothing with items that can be layered, beachwear (if you're heading to the coast), a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen, and comfortable walking shoes.
Winter in Europe is a cold (often snowy) affair, and you will need to pack the appropriate weatherproof items.
Be sure to pack comfortable clothing for the times you will spend in transit, whether you are travelling by plane or by coach.
For flights and public transport, be sure to have hand sanitiser handy. Don't forget a mini first aid kit and your regular prescription medication.
Camera (or just use your phone) and charger. Some noise-cancelling earphones will come in handy too
Bring along a European travel adaptor.
Getting there & getting around
There are frequent flights from South Africa to all major European destinations.
You can travel between European countries by plane, train or hiring a car.
As a whole, the public transport in most European cities is excellent and typically includes taxis, the underground, buses, trains and where relevant, ferries.
Smaller towns and villages in outlying areas throughout the continent may have less sophisticated transport infrastructure – it depends where you are going.
Language & phrases
There are 24 official languages in Europe.
English is the most commonly spoken language, followed by French, German and Spanish.
Learning a few phrases in the language of the country you're visiting will be warmly received by locals.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
Water is scarce throughout some parts of Europe, most notably on the islands. Be mindful of your water usage – keep your showers short and re-use the towels in your hotel room.
Wherever possible, promote community-based tourism by buying local food and souvenirs and supporting local artisans.
Be mindful of your waste, especially on the islands. Waste disposal is a costly affair for local businesses, so be sure to support their efforts by not bringing with you items that are heavily packaged or single-use plastic. Instead, take fabric shopping bags with you and use refillable water bottles (when local drinking water is available).
Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
Always have a map (or app) on hand, especially when travelling at night.
Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
What do I do in an emergency?
If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
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