Europe conjures up a multiplicity of enticing connotations, particularly for a continent that’s tiny compared to most. Despite its size each year it draws millions of culture-hungry tourists to its ports. Travelers come in droves, wheeling their bags over those damn cobbled stone streets, mouths watering in anticipation of their European vacations, seeking out hefty doses of vintage charm, bygone rituals, art and culture, and flavors so fresh you can almost smell the soil. But after centuries of being the world’s tourist hot spot, are there any signs of its popularity waning?
According to statistics from the World Economic Forum, apparently not. Europe continues to receive the most international arrivals per year, “thanks in part to its rich cultural resources, world-class tourism service infrastructure, strong health and hygiene conditions, and—notably with the Schengen Area—high degree of international openness and integration.” So as new and exotic as many other travel destinations might be, it seems that European vacations are still a top choice.
What makes Europe so irresistible?
In a hilarious article (travelandleisure.com exploring “why Americans love Europe more than anyplace else”, travelandleisure.com make several suggestions. They suggest that perhaps it’s because:
“Everything is adorably small” – from people to streets to smart cars, compared to the supersized States, Europe is miniscule. According to their account, “like Legoland with cigarettes.”
The fashion is a sight to behold. They suggest that: “The birthplace of Camus, Beckett, and Ionesco, Europe has always been at home with absurdity. Nowhere is this proud legacy more evident than in the way European men dress. Seriously, have you ever seen an Italian in his native environment, left to his own sartorial devices? He will pair a Day-Glo-orange cycling jersey with a checked suit (double-breasted, of course) and ivory suede moccasins. He will swathe himself in a veritable gelato shop of pastels. He will make Björk look pragmatic. Yet around the planet, Italian men are revered for their fashion sense. Why? Because no matter how ridiculous they look, they are impervious to embarrassment. When you own your goofiness as Europeans do, the world is your catwalk.” And it’s true, Europe is the home of haute couture and with top tailor-made fashion tours available nowadays, getting your European fashion fix has never been easier.
European vacations provide invaluable education for kids. By exposing your children to real life art, history, architecture, and foreign languages, they’re more likely to develop an interest and understanding of these things than if they were merely exposed to them via textbooks.
The glory of the food. In Europe food is not merely for sustenance, it forms an essential part of the local’s lifestyle. In many European countries, even during the workweek, long lunches are the norm; and grabbing a gelato between business meetings is all just part of a regular summer’s day.
“Loads of downtime” – The home of the siesta, shorter working hours, and more leave days than most continents, Europe embraces the ideal that life is for living, while the rest of the world slog away even when they’re reaching the point of diminishing returns. A trip to Europe offers a taste of this lifestyle, an opportunity to remember how good it can feel to be in a body - a body strolling in the sunshine, eating raspberry sorbet or admiring the dusk light streaming over La Seine.
Although the charm of European vacations remains year after year, the continent’s popularity and thriving tourism industry has learned to cater for the masses. And so occasionally Europe’s authentic gems and true local experiences get lost in the throngs of tourists racing to see all they can on a quick European getaway. But for those seeking something a little more luxurious, and a unique and authentic private tours of Italy, local specialists can design a trip that meets your specifications. For further information about designing your dream experience in Italy, contact Charme & Adventure, leaders in tailor-made European vacations and private tours of Italy.