Western Europe’s mix of countries and cultures includes rich history, artistic and architectural heritage and great food; enduring traditions and cutting-edge trends. The bucket list for many includes top tourist attractions, best restaurants, shopping and markets and romantic spots.
Here are our recommendations for a Western Europe holiday sampler.
Britain’s charm tops the Indian traveller’s list even today. Nostalgia and Bollywood are part of London’s travel tips for Indians and the best romantic things to do in London is a real travel target for many. The city’s top attractions like the London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, museums and art galleries, Hyde Park, St James’s and Regent’s Parks, Madame Tussauds and great theatre remain chief draws. The city provides a variety of global cuisine and the best Indian restaurants in London are never too far away on your next meal stop. Never to disappoint, London always remains an iconic travel experience.
Best months to travel: Jun-Aug
Best deals: Plan ahead for best prices; avail of student discounts
Best eats: Traditional fish and chips; afternoon tea and scones; Indian vegetarian curry
Best for shopping: Oxford and Regent’s Street, Portebello Road
Best gifts back home: Traditional English biscuits (Fortnum & Mason or Harrods); jewellery (V&A shop or Kabiri)
Looking for romantic places in Paris is like looking for fish in the ocean. Gorge on the iconic sights and sophistication of Europe’s most hopelessly romantic city. Love is never lost in the City of Lights with beautiful monuments, scenic spots and world famous structures that welcome visitors to it daily. From the best things to do around the Eiffel Tower, to a stroll down Champs-Elysees, Paris’s iconic boulevard, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the Musee du Louvre and the lively Parisian village of Montmarte, Paris is a city of lit-up splendour, cafes, cabarets and more.
Best months to travel: Apr-Oct
Best deals: www.tour-eiffel.fr; Prebook tickets online to avoid long ticket queues at the Eiffel Tower
Best eats: Crepes and French macaroons
Best for shopping: Galeries Lafayette, Le Bon Marche, Galerie Bordelaise and Le Printemps
Best gifts back home: Wine, cheese, perfume and arty posters
Brussels is Belgium’s dynamic yet personable EU capital. For romantic things to do and see in Brussels, savour the ‘world’s most beautiful square’, then seek out the remarkable cafes and sample the famous Belgian beer (know more at the Cantillon Brewery). Besides Brussels’ malls and shopping centres do visit the comic museum, Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée, and Le Village de la Bande Dessinée for original memorabilia of Tintin, and art nouveau survivors in Brussels Grand Place. Brussel’s highlights include the splendidly spired Gothic Hôtel de Ville; the quirky Manneken Pis a fountain-statue of a little boy taking a leak or the exhibits at the museum Musée de la Ville de Bruxelles.
Best months to travel: Feb-Apr
Best deals: BrusselsCard (www.brusselscard.be) allows free visits to more than 30 Brussels-area museums and free transport
Best eats: Belgian waffles, mussels and the veggie delight, stoemp
Best for shopping: Rue Charles Buls; stretch between Grand palace and Mannequin Pis
Best gifts back home: Belgian chocolates; lace
World Heritage–listed canals lined by gabled houses, candlelit cafes, whirring bicycles, lush parks, monumental museums, colourful markets, diverse dining, quirky shopping and legendary nightlife make the free-spirited Dutch capital one of Europe’s great cities.
Top things to do in Amsterdam begin with a visit to the Royal Palace or the city centre square which is the oldest and home to its infamous Red Light district; the Canal Ring and its buildings that are architectural treasures, the Anne Frank Huis or museum and Museumplein and Amsterdam’s big three museums (Van Gogh, Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk) in Old South neighbourhood and Vondelpark, an urban idyll garden.
Best months to travel: Mar-May; Jul
Best deals: avail of student discounts on Amsterdam’s canal boats
Best eats: Beet-crusted North Sea cod, Heineken beer
Best for shopping: City Centre square, along Vondelpark’s western side
Best gifts back home: Dutch Gouda cheese, Delftware, Stroopwafels