Travelling in Europe represents a journey through history, various cultures and all sorts of landscapes in the most compact continent in the world. It may be small it sure is dense! Rich with cities you won't want to leave after a weekend visit, Europe also attracts visitors for its lakes and ski resorts in the Alps, and its pine-scented air along the Mediterranean beaches. With so much diversity, many visitors who come here don't know what to do first!

The climate in Europe is fairly standard and consistent. The Mediterranean and its shores are extolled for their hot and dry summers that delight sunbathing aficionados. Inversely, the northern part of the continent and harsh winters attract those a little more daring and adventurous, who don't think twice about taking the reins of a team of huskies and flying across the frozen ground in Finland and Sweden. Not to mention the United Kingdom, including Ireland, where the rain, which according to some is constant, contributes to the charm of these countries.

As you travel through Europe, you get the feeling of being in a history book, especially on trips to Greece, Italy, and some of the surrounding countries. The clash of many civilisations played a major role in creating lands of all sizes and with all walks of life. The succession of wars that set the pace for life in Europe for many centuries, leaving behind remnants that can be explored during a visit, only strengthens this feeling that the continent is more alive than ever.

It is at the heart of these cities that Europe finds its effervescence. The ideal playground for those who like their city breaks, Europe's convenient size means that it is possible to quickly move from one cosmopolitan city with its own rich culture to the next. Leading the list are the romantic cities of Paris and Rome, attracting couples from all over the world, then there are the party spots of Barcelona and Ibiza in Spain where the fun doesn't stop until the wee hours of morning, and London, which is famous for its eclectic arts scene.

As for those who like their history and castles, they can head for central Europe to admire the fortresses straight out of a fairy tale. Although Neuschwanstein castle in Germany is the most famous one (it was the inspiration for the castle in Beauty and the Beast), Austria and the Czech Republic also have their fair share of offerings, notably from the Middle Ages.

Don't be fooled into thinking that Europe's charm is only to be found in its urban centres! The landscapes also play a major role, starting with the virgin fjords of Norway. Although you are guaranteed tranquillity and crisp, clean air at the edge of these waters surrounded by pine trees, the waters found around Corsica and Algarve (Portugal) are perfect for swimming in, in a private little unspoilt cove. Finally, it is impossible to bring up the nature in Europe without mentioning Iceland. Situated at the confluence of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, this geologically active island has been sculpted by its seismic activity and volcanic eruptions. Contrary to what many people may think, Iceland is relatively green!

Finally, a trip to Europe might also finish with a few Asian touches if Istanbul, a veritable bridge between the two continents, is your destination. It's true, nobody can agree on Europe's official border, with some placing it east of Moscow and others extending it all the way to the far eastern side of Russia. Being so difficult to define only adds to its attractiveness. In any case, there are more than just a curious few who come to discover its wealth. From Lisbon to Tallinn, no matter when or how, it is sure to surprise you.

All of our Europe travel guides