The days of the 17th-century Grand Tour may be over, but flights to Europe continue to loom large as the ultimate holiday for modern travellers. When it comes to the greatest number of countries in close proximity that can truly be called travel classics, Europe wins any bucket-list competition hands-down. But it's not all churches. Contemporary culture is also alive and kicking – from gritty street art and music in Berlin to cutting-edge fashion in London and Antwerp to the design hubs of Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki. And you won’t go hungry – with fabulous, distinctive food from Modern British and New Nordic through to the enduring cuisines of the Mediterranean countries.
Flights to Europe
So much to see, so little time. There is not much that Europe doesn’t offer within her 50 something countries. Modern icons include the Millenium Eye and the Gherkin in London, the sinuous, silver Gehry-designed Guggenheim in Bilbao through to enduring ancients such as the Aya Sofia in Istanbul, the Acropolis in Athens and the Pantheon in Rome. Then there are the swoon-worthy landscapes that span the epic volcanic plains and lakes of Iceland; majestic fjords of Norway; the alpine castles of Germany; the Alps of France, Switzerland and Italy; the heaths and highlands of Scotland; the sun-drenched beaches of Cote d’Azur, Costa Brava and the Algarve; myriad islands of Greece and Croatia through to the narrow, hedge-lined lanes of Cornwall, England, the rolling lavender fields of Provence and the olive groves of Tuscany. Just close your eyes and pick…
Contemporary and traditional, dynamic and staid, the United Kingdom contradicts as it charms. The world’s first industrialised nation and foremost power during the 19th and 20th century, this tiny country located off the north-west coast of Europe has arguably had more influence over modern culture than any other in the world. Go there for dynamic modern cities like London, Glasgow, Dublin, Edinburgh and Manchester that boast the best of contemporary music, fashion, design and art. And for the iconic visions of its countryside, dotted with relics from the Roman Empire and her pagan history, as well as lush rolling green hills, ancient forests, windswept cliffs and of course, the old English pub.
It’s not if, but when, you’ll visit France. Europe’s largest country boasts seven cultural regions so well known they are distinct destinations unto themselves; Normandy and Brittany in the north; the pretty farmlands of Central France; Biarritz and the other sea and wine destinations of South-western France; the spectacular mountains of the Pyrenees; as well as the French Mediterranean, the endless sunshine of the French Riviera, cosmopolitan Marseilles in the heart of Provence, and the French Alps. Oh and there’s also Paris – a city of unsurpassed beauty and atmosphere and arguably the world’s top tourist destination. Its intimate streetscape, diverse arrondissements (neighbourhoods), extraordinary restaurants, eclectic shopping and intoxicating café culture keep the travellers coming back time and again.
Viva España! With the second-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in any country after Italy, it seems like this vibrant nation is doing just that. With beautiful signposts to her dynamic history - Jewish, Moorish Muslims and the Berbers of North Africa – and plenty of distinct regions like some fiercely autonomous. Highlights include Madrid, the energetic capital, with some of Europe’s best museums and galleries; Barcelona, synonymous with the fantastical work of Gaudi; the Guggenheim of industrial Bilbao; and Granada with the magical La Alhambra.
Think beyond school geography lessons that seemed to stop and start with the mainland boot of Italy and the soccer ball island of Sicily at its toe. Now fabulous destinations like island of Sardinia are attracting travellers from everywhere. Primarily mountainous, with the Alps shared with France and Switzerland, as well as the Apennine and rugged Dolomites, Italy is divided into six regions packed with natural, historic, gastronomic and cultural sights and experiences. Central Italy holds most of the big tourist drawcards with Rome, the Vatican City, the Renaissance city of Florence in Tuscany Siena, Pisa and the historic stone towns of Assisi, Perugia, Orvieto and Gubbio.
There’s also North-west Italy and the Alps, the Italian Riviera with the beautiful town of Portofino and Cinque Terre with its five cliff-top villages, the industrial town of Turin, the fashion and business centre Milan and the mediaeval maritime port of Genoa; North-eastern Italy with the romantic canal-city Venice, and food capital Bologna; Southern Italy has the thriving and busy Naples (with its UNESCO World Heritage city centre), Amalfi Coast, excavated Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and the idyllic island of Capri. Finally, the islands Sicily offer extraordinary archaeology with Greek and Roman ruins, gorgeous waters and beaches while Sardinia has spectacular scenery and beaches.
The ultimate destination for architecture, design and culture junkies, it’s hard to imagine in which cultural pursuit the Germans are not leading the way. From the über cool Berlin to the financial powerhouse of Frankfurt to the historic cities of Nuremberg, Cologne and Munich, Germany is dense with cultural and historical attractions. Rich regional cuisine, famous Rhine valley wines and an endless supply of craft beers will help you on your way as you travel through fairytale castles perched on rocky outcrops; river valleys with vineyards stretching along their banks; sweeping alpine scenery; charming half-timbered towns and cities stuffed with artistic and cultural riches.
Take a tour where tourism began
Every modern Grand Tour should take in the Art Nouveau Eiffel Tower and enormous treasure-packed Musée du Louvre in Paris, Gaudí’s landscape extravaganza Park Guell in Barcelona, baroque Charles Bridge in Prague, the thrilling Colosseum in Athens, and tossing a coin into the flamboyant Trevi Fountain in Rome. You could spend a century seeing Europe, check out the activities we are adding to our Europe bucket list:
- See Gaudí’s magical Sagrada Familia, still under construction in Barcelona
- Pay your respects to the royals and the literary in Westminster Abbey, London
- Take a river cruise through the Rhine Valley, Germany
- Walk the cliff-top pathways of the Cinque Terre, Italy
- Share a bouillabaisse in Marseilles, France
- See the outstanding collection of the Tate Modern in London
- Visit the Pompidou Centre in Paris for its modern art collection and inside-out design
- Wander the labyrinthine streets of Madrid to get your fill of Rioja, tapas and pinchosli>
- Find the hidden 12th-century Grand Place at the centre of Brussels
- Tour the German parliament in the Sir Norman Foster-designed Reichstag, Berlin
- See Picasso’s Guernica at Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid
- Explore the limestone plains of the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
Bestselling Europe tours at qantas.com right now…
- Paris pass
- London hop-on-hop-off bus tour
- Skip the line Eiffel Tower ticket
- Skip the line Vatican Museums Tour
- Skip the line Barcelona Sagrada Familia Tour
- 3-Day Cork, Blarney Castle, Ring of Kerry and Cliffs of Moher Rail Trip
- The Original Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg
Book these or any of our huge selection of tours, activities and transfers with Qantas Activities and you'll enjoy a Price Promise and 1 point per AU$1 spent if you are a Qantas Frequent Flyer.
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Europe is not the birthplace of the modern travel tour for nothing. With high-speed trains, abundant cheap flights, outstanding roads and inter-country ferries, it’s entirely possible to be on a Mediterranean beach in the morning and high in the Alps at night. A multitude of high quality transport options - rail, air, cruise ship, bike, barge and even walking – will ensure that your journey is as much a part of your trip as the destination.
Romance Europe by rail on iconic routes such as Seville to Madrid, Paris to London Eurostar or the magnificent Swiss Alps from Milan. You can book tickets before you go and there are often great value multi-trip passes available.
Zoom down the Germany autobahns or rally along winding country roads to visit all those lovely European villages and vineyards with your own car hire in Europe. Remember you can get easily from the UK to Europe on the ferry via Dover and Calais.
Great bike paths, a welcoming attitude to cyclists and short distances between towns mean that cycling is a terrific way to get around Europe. Rent a bike or take off on bike tour to get around to unexplored nooks and crannies.
Hop on hop off
Nothing short of a European classic, there’s not a city in Europe that doesn’t offer a hop on hop off bus tours. They are cheap, offer no commitment and get you to all the main places in a day. Handy hint to beat the queues at Europe’s biggest attractions: combine it with one of our fantastic skip the line tours.
Connect to France more easily than ever on the Qantas Emirates Partnership. With daily A380 flights to Paris, what's not to love about the city of love? Find out more about our flights to Paris.
London's calling... Book your flight now and soak up the endless nightlife, grand museums and epic architecture of one of the world's greatest cities. Find out more about our flights to London.
Fly into the fiery city of Barcelona, home to the architecture of Gaudi and the medieval Gothic Quarter, and set at the base of the magnificent Montserrat mountain range. Find out more about our flights to Barcelona.
Hang out with the European avant garde in the defiantly anarchic Berlin. With über cool streets and cutting edge nightspots set amidst sights of epic historical significance, there's a reason why everyone who is anyone is going to Berlin. Find out more about our flights to Berlin.
FLIGHTS TO EUROPE
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GETTING AROUND THE EUROPE
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Zoom down the Germany autobahns or rally along winding country roads to visit all those lovely European villages and vineyards with your own car hire in Europe. Remember you can get easily from the UK to Europe on the ferry via Dover and Calais.Book
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*Prices in AUD for 1 adult and based on payment at qantas.com by BPAY (for bookings made 7 days or more before departure) or Debit Card (for bookings made within 7 days of departure), or Qantas UATP. View card payment fees which apply to the use of other cards. For card payments, add A$30 for Credit/Charge Cards or A$10 for Debit/Prepaid Cards, including Qantas Cash™, per passenger, per booking. Also add A$35 per passenger for domestic bookings or A$60 per passenger for international bookings made through 13 13 13 or through airport locations. Some agents may charge services fees which vary. Prices are return in Economy, Premimum Economy or Business as specified and valid for Qantas and selected partner airline services only. Prices may fluctuate if carrier charges, fees, taxes or currency change. Amounts payable to third parties not included. Offers subject to availability. Prices based on two people travelling on the Europe Companion sale. See fare rules.
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