Welcome to Western Europe
Interlocking countries and cultures create a jigsaw of history, art, architecture and cuisines, along with time-honoured traditions and inspired new trends.
In Western Europe, history is all around you: in prehistoric Cro-Magnon caves, in other-worldly passage tombs and stone circles, in the tumbledown remains of Greek temples and Roman bathhouses, in ostentatious chateaux, castles and palaces where power was wielded and geopolitical boundaries were shaped and reshaped, in the winding streets and broad boulevards of the many stately cities, and at poignant sites including the D-Day beaches and the remnants of the Berlin Wall. Understanding Europe's history is a vital part of figuring out what makes these countries what they are today, both individually and as part of a greater whole.
Extraordinary Art & Architecture
An architectural heritage spanning seven millenniums has given rise to iconic, instantly recognisable landmarks, from Rome's gladiatorial Colosseum to Cologne's colossal cathedral, London's Big Ben and Paris' art nouveau Eiffel Tower, along with sky-scraping contemporary additions. This expressive environment is inextricably tied to Western Europe's artistic legacy. The home turf of virtuosos from Michelangelo to Monet, Da Vinci to Dalí, Rubens to Rembrandt, Botticelli to Banksy continues to inspire boundary-pushing new artists. A cache of monumental and intimate museums, galleries and public spaces throughout Western Europe showcase their exceptional works.
Distinct cultures, defined by their language, customs, specialities, idiosyncrasies, sense of style and way of life, make Western Europe an endlessly fascinating place to travel. Along country borders in particular, you can see where cultures intertwine and overlap. You'll also see subtle cultural shifts between each country's own regions, and the influence of trade and immigration over the centuries. Wherever you travel, allow time to soak up local life in public squares, parks and gardens, vibrant festivals, and in neighbourhood pubs and cafes where you can watch the world go by.
Celebrated Food & Drink
Eating and drinking is celebrated with gusto in Western Europe. Every country has its own unique flavours, incorporating olive oils and sun-ripened vegetables in the hot south, rich cream and butter in cooler areas, fresh-off-the-boat seafood along the coast, delicate river and lake fish, and meat from fertile mountains and pastures. Each country has its own tipples too, spanning renowned wines, beers, stouts and ciders, and feistier firewater including aperitifs and digestifs. One of the best ways to whet your appetite is to browse vibrant street markets laden with seasonal produce.