Fantastic Europe: Expectation vs Reality

Fantastic Europe: Expectation vs Reality

There's more to Europe than the pretty pictures you see on the Internet.

Europe is probably the most photographed continent in the world. You can’t really fault that, to be frank – from the culture and history down to its awesome sceneries, it really doesn’t take much for you to recognise that the allure to visit that is real.

Also read: Europe on a Train: 8 Routes to Experience the Best of Europe

I’m pretty sure that most of us are planning a Europe trip at least once in our lives. As I’ve said, the allure to visit that place is too damn strong. But have you considered that so many people are going to think that as well? Disclaimer: sorry to anybody whose bubble I might burst!

1. Paris, France


europe expectation vs realityImage credit: Paul Beattie

The pictures of Paris circulating the big ol’ net are stunning. Everyone has seen them, so you probably know what I’m talking about. You might also be thinking that you’ll have a grand old time waltzing around the Louvre and taking your time to snap a picture of the Mona Lisa free from the pressures of a crowd around you.


mona lisa louvreImage credit: Wikipedia

“Wait, what?” Yup, you’ll soon realise that trying to take a good photo of the Mona Lisa is almost laughable. Literally nobody’s going to give a rat’s toot about the rest of the paintings – they’re only here to see the Mona Lisa. Expect this horde to be doubled in size on days where there are free entry – that is, the first Sunday of every month as well as 14 July (Bastille Day). You’d probably want to pay that little extra for more room to wander around than to be have camera lenses poking your nose at every turn.


2. London


buckingham palace

Ah, London. Home to some of the world’s most incredible architecture, red telephone booths – and of course, those gorgeous accents! Other than the Big Ben or the various museums, you’re probably going to want to drop by the Buckingham Palace as well. Let me guess, you’re probably already thinking that you should witness the Changing of the Guard, amirite?


changing of the guardImage credit: Brad Holt

…unfortunately, so does everyone else. This is the crowd you’re probably going to see, especially if you’re visiting during the high season. Elbows will be jutting into your side and cameras are going to be repeatedly smacking against your head as you try to peer over the shoulder of the person in front of you. If you insist on coming down despite this (I applaud you, brave soul), you better make sure to come really early to grab yourself a good spot.

Also read: London On A Budget: 20 Fun and Free Things To Do


3. Prague


prague old townImage credit: Nitin Vyas

Prague’s Old Town is the heart and pride of Prague, and a short wander around the Old Town Square will probably be enough to tell you that. The Old Town’s astronomical clock would probably come to mind while you’re enjoying your stroll, and you’re probably hoping that you’ll be able to catch the little hourly show at the clock itself.


prague crowdImage credit: Harald Groven

Lo and behold! That, ladies and gentlemen, will probably be your reality when you’re making your way over to the clock near its showtime. When there’s five minutes to go, be prepared for your mouth to drop in horror as you see the crowd swarm. There’s no better word for it, really.


4. Venice


venice st basilicaImage credit: brando.n

Venice is probably one of THE stops for any trip around Europe. You’ve probably seen all the pictures there is to see, with the dreamy gondolas wafting down the canals and its stout buildings standing proud on either side. Being in that city is probably 10x better than any picture you’ve ever seen, so you know that this is a place you definitely won’t want to miss.


venice carnevaleImage credit: mararie

Alas, if you’re thinking of going to Venice during the Carnevale period, you’re in for a rough time. I think the picture above speaks enough for itself.

Also read: Travel to Venice: Tips that Every Traveller Should Know


5. Rome


trevi fountainImage credit: Wikipedia

The pictures of Rome doesn’t do it justice. History and culture seeps from every brick and stone, and no picture can ever tell you it’s story as well as they can. I’m guessing that among the long list of things you want to see, the Trevi Fountain is going to be pretty up there. I mean, it is one heck of a Baroque fountain.


venice crowdsImage credit: Chris Yunker

Woe betide you! Yes, that’s the crowd you’re going to have to contend with when you’re there. This is one heavily-discussed topic by most travellers, so you might be ready to kick yourself if you find yourself on this boat. Try coming back early in the morning or at night, and maybe you won’t find yourself with an elbow to your side.


6. Munich


marienplatz plaza

You’re probably thinking of Oktoberfest when I mention Munich. Granted, that is a great thing to think about. However, Munich is also one of the places for those history and art buffs out there, and where better to witness these things than at the Marienplatz itself? It’s probably a good starting point to find those photos to send home.


munich crowdImage credit: Wikipedia Commons

You thought that? Ha. So did everyone else. Good luck!


7. Barcelona


barcelona beachImage credit: Katherine Herriman

It’s summertime, and you’re in Barcelona. Let me guess — you want to hit the beach. Well, after the chills of winter, who could blame you for that? Sun’s out, weather’s just right, perfect wind — there literally is no better time to lay out your mat and get that tan back.


barcelona crowdsImage credit: Allan Rostron

That is, until you see the crowd. Summertime also means that it’s the high season…and that’s going to signal the horde in like how a light would attract a moth. Looking at the picture, you’d be hard-pressed to find a secluded spot where you won’t be privy to the conversation of the couple next to you.

Also read: 10 Super Cool Hostels in Europe You Probably Didn’t Know You Could Stay At

I hope I really haven’t burst anyone’s bubble, but if I did, I’m sorry! Don’t let these realities stop you from visiting Europe though, because like I said, Europe is an incredible place and you’re probably bonkers if you’re going to give this place a miss. You’ve only got your one life, so time to make the most of it and brave through the worst of these crowds!

About Author

Farzana Fattah
Farzana Fattah

Farzana is a student at Singapore Management University who’s currently wondering what on earth she’s doing with her life. When not nerding out over the latest superhero movie or scrolling through memes on Tumblr, she is almost definitely researching random places across the globe and daydreaming about the next holiday destination. She is inspired by the variety of cultures in the world and hopes to travel to at least fifty countries in her lifetime to experience most of them.


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