Europe 101: The Classics Starter Pack

Posted on 02/28/2024

There are few things more synonymous with “classic” than Europe. But within that category, The Continent has its own quintessential, timeless destinations that make up the traditional backbone of time abroad. For anyone’s first trip to Europe, there are three classic, iconic cities that serve as a perfect introduction to the wonder of the old world. Three cities that offer modern convenience, familiarity with American travelers, yet plenty of characteristically European flavor and world-recognized landmarks to have a newbie raring for a return. Those three cities are London, Paris, and Rome.

London

The longtime seat of the mighty British Empire, England and the United Kingdom’s largest city, this incredibly important global capital on the River Thames is a blend of incredibly new and storied old. It was settled by Romans in AD 74 and known then as Londinium, and “the square mile” and its original wall remain silent witnesses to this history. However, instances of the ancient world are rare due to the Great Fire of London 1666, which saw the entire medieval city razed over the course of four terrifying days Because of this tragedy, despite its historical age, it’s paradoxically also one of the newest cities of classic Europe. While many old, charming neighborhoods persist, a glittery skyline of modern glass skyscrapers dazzle against the sky – symbols of progress, perseverance, and the enduring spirit of this unique and storied city.

Must-Sees: Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Shakespeare’s Globe, Kensington Palace, Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel, London Wall, London Eye

Day Trips with United Vacations®: Stonehenge, Bath, Windsor Castle, Oxford, Cotswolds, Canterbury, Cliffs of Dover

Stay: Riu Plaza London Victoria or ME London

Paris

It’s a leading city for fashion, art, wine, cuisine, and architecture – all of the things that bring joie de vie into our earthly existences. These are the pursuits that make it a sophisticated cultural hub and a cornerstone to any introduction to Europe. Commercially, its diplomatic might and agricultural production has been the key to its continued power as one of the world’s oldest nations. Perhaps that’s why a Parisian sojourn is considered one of the most fulfilling and complete segues into a lifelong love affair with a European way of life.

Must-Sees: Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysees, Seine River, the Louvre Museum, Paris Catacombs, Arc de Triomphe, Galeries Lafayette, Jardin des Tuileries, Notre Dame Cathedral, Moulin Rouge

Day Trips with United Vacations®: Palace of Versailles, Disneyland® Paris, Normandy, Mont-Saint-Michel, Loire Valley and castles, Champagne

Stay: Hotel Villa Marqui, Member of Meliá Collection or Le Méridien Etoile

Rome

What hasn’t been said of one of the most powerful, influential empires of the Western world, from which sprang aqueducts and paved roads and gave us the calendar we use today to count down to our next vacation? Poetically known as the Eternal City, the capital of the Lazio region of central Italy truly is exactly that – one that’s foundational to the history of many nations and yet still relevant to the ongoing story of Western civilization. An obvious, unarguable must for anyone looking to understand better what has made Europe what it is.

Must-Sees: The Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, the Spanish Steps, Villa and Galleria Borghese, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

Day Trips with United Vacations®: Pompeii, Tuscany, wine tours, Positano, Capri, Amalfi Coast, Florence, Pisa

Stay: Hotel Romanico Palace or The Westin Excelsior

 

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