8 Incredible Cultural Activities to Try in Europe
Europe is a mosaic of cultures. Each country shines with its own personality, its own history, and its own cultural traditions. This makes for a hugely exciting continent with endless possibilities, but it also means that it can be tricky to know where to begin.
The prospect of Europe can be overwhelming for travelers simply because there is so much to see and do, from ancient monuments, to incredible architecture, to quirky rituals, to rolling greenery, to cute towns straight out of a storybook, and so much more.
If you find yourself flummoxed with the overflowing amount of cultural activities in Europe, then hopefully this list will help you out and give you a few ideas to start with. Whether you are a keen foodie, an art lover, or an urban enthusiast, Europe has the perfect match for you. You can count on it!
1. Cooking Classes in Tuscany
Tuscany is a fairytale landscape of rustic towns, soaring scenery, and medieval fortresses, but it’s also one of the most delicious regions of the world. Bursting with traditional Italian recipes and new, experimental flavors, it really is a bastion of foodie culture.
Throughout the region you’ll find hundreds of cooking classes where you can get to grips with the Tuscan cuisine. Using fresh ingredients handpicked from the surrounding vineyards, forests, and fields, you’ll learn how to reproduce some firm favorites and learn about the history of Italy along the way.
The best part? You’ll have a mouth-watering reminder of your trip when you get home.
2. Afternoon Tea in London
The British might not have tea and scones every day at five, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pretend just for a few hours. Set against a backdrop of quaint streets and world-famous attractions, try your hand at being royalty for an afternoon as you tuck into traditional tea.
Head to one of the major hotels or one of the new, trendy cafes, where you can sip away on a nice cup of tea (hopefully served in a frilly, floral mug), snack on square sandwiches filled with cream cheese and cucumber, and overdose on scones and other sweet treats. Spice it up a bit with a glass of champers for a really luxurious experience.
3. Bar Crawl in Amsterdam
Amsterdam, a city of hedonism and eternal wonder. With its tall townhouses and meandering canals, it really is a postcard-perfect city. But it’s not all quaint cobbles and grand museums. Amsterdam also plays host to a magnificent nightlife. After dark the city comes alive to the sound of world-famous DJs, local bands, and the vibrant chatter of locals and tourists.
Weave your way through the tangle of streets, stopping off in cozy bars along the way, and when the clock strikes midnight, head to the nearest superclub to dance the night away.
4. Attend an Opera in Vienna
Vienna is one of the most musical cities in the world, with a lengthy list of prominent classical musicians that called the city home. Throughout the art nouveau streets you’ll find glimpses of its musical past, but nothing beats actually seeing a performance for yourself.
Grab some tickets to the Opera House, the most important German-speaking music institution in the world, and immerse yourself in the melodic wonder of Austria’s culture and traditions.
5. Eat Tapas in Madrid
Spain is renowned for its delicious food, from tiny, terracotta plates of fresh cheese, Iberian ham, chorizo, and garlic prawns, to huge vats of melt-in-the-mouth paella, to freshly-caught fish served with handpicked vegetables from the dipping lowlands.
If you want to explore the sumptuous wonders of Spain, then Madrid is the place to be. Spain’s capital is a hotspot for cuisine, serving up a lip-smacking array of traditional tapas dishes served on sun-drenched terraces and a fresh wave of experimental dishes that have arrived from all over the world.
Book a table somewhere along Cava Baja, the best street for traditional tapas experiences in the city. Then, sit back, relax, and enjoy the explosion of flavors in your mouth.
6. Go on a Graffiti Tour in Berlin
Berlin boasts a tragic, fascinating history visualized in the many monuments, breeze-block buildings, and grand architecture. But, alongside this, there is a contemporary thread that weaves its way through the cafes, designer shops, and quirky art galleries.
The city’s new-found creative culture is an urban delight, providing Berlin with a unique atmosphere unlike anywhere else in the world. And, with it, it’s brought an influx of incredible street art from local Berliners and world artists. From huge, colorful murals to philosophical street installations, there’s something new to marvel at around every twist and turn.
7. Soak up the Café Culture in Paris
Parisians are a stylish, sophisticated bunch – characteristics that go hand in hand with the swirling design of the city and its elegant history. After you’ve explored all the major hotspots, from the Eiffel Tower, to the Louvre, to the cobbled squares of Montmartre, find yourself a cozy café to sit back and relax in.
Coffee culture is important in the City of Love, which is evident in the collection of top-notch cafes peppered throughout the winding streets and tree-lined boulevards. They’re the perfect place to soak up the Parisian lifestyle and snack on some delicious sweet treats while you’re at it.
8. Step Back in Time in Athens
Athens is a city that stems right back to the start of human civilization. You can almost see the toga-clad residents against the crumbling ruins of ancient architecture and through the old-world streets.
Despite the city undergoing a huge facelift in recent years, dragging it willingly into the present day with a new array of trendy cafes, contemporary art galleries, and a host of quirky bars, there is still ample opportunity to step back in time and immerse yourself in the fantastic, ancient history of Athens.
Whatever your style of travel, your interests, and your budget, Europe has a cultural activity that was made for you. From foodie delights to ancient architecture and lively nightlife, there really is a slice of cake for everyone.
By Lizzie Davey
Lizzie is a freelancer travel writer who currently spends her time between sunny Barcelona and beach-side Brighton in the UK. When she's not weaving words, she likes to travel to new places and wander through great galleries. She's the founder of creative travel blog wanderful-world.com, and her personal website can be found at LizzieDavey.com.