Culture and Custom

Many travelers have the expectation that Europe will be just like their home country, except that people might speak a different language. While ideas are converging and becoming “global,” there are still some major differences that the first-time traveler to Europe should know about.

Remember–it’s not difficult to deal in generalizations–it’s difficult not to find fault with them. Western Europe is a big place and it’s been settled over its long history by lots of different cultures.

So take the generalizations below as general guidelines for navigating European customs. Sweden is vastly different from Portugal. That’s what makes travel fun.

Drinking in Europe – The idea of the “big gulp” cup or infinite refills of soft drinks that you’ve come to expect in the U.S. has not exactly caught on in Europe.


Things to try in europe

  1. Bypass the Lines at Europe’s Most Popular Attractions
  2. Get to Know Europe with Hop-On Hop-Off Tours
  3. Dig Into the History of Ancient Rome
  4. Get Away on a Day Trip
  5. Skip the Line at Top Museums
  6. See the Birthplace of Cabaret in Paris
  7. Get Into the Outdoors
  8. See the Ancient Wonder of Stonehenge
  9. Skip the Lines to Get to Know Gaudi
  10. Visit Movie and TV Locations
  11. Explore the Wines of Italy
  12. Walk Ancient Roman Streets in Pompeii
  13. Imagine the Royal Life on a Castle Tour
  14. Drift Down a Canal
  15. Learn About World War II History on Location
  16. Enjoy Lively London
  17. Get Cultured by Old Masters
  18. ake in Live Cultural Experiences
  19. Tour the Cities of the Dead
  20. Eat Your Way Through History
  21. Raise a Toast to the Emerald Isle


Europe is traditionally reckoned as one of seven continents. Physiographically, it is the northwestern peninsula of the larger landmass known as Eurasia (or the larger Afro-Eurasia); Asia occupies the eastern bulk of this continuous landmass and all share a commoncontinental shelf. Europe’s eastern frontier is delineated by the Ural Mountains in Russia. The southeast boundary with Asia is not universally defined, but the modern definition is generally the Ural River or, less commonly, the Emba River. The boundary continues to the Caspian Sea, the crest of the Caucasus Mountains (or, less commonly, the Kura River in the Caucasus), and on to the Black Sea. TheBosporus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles conclude the Asian boundary.

The Mediterranean Sea to the south separates Europe from Africa. The western boundary is the Atlantic Ocean. Iceland, though on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and nearer to Greenland (North America) than mainland Europe, is generally included in Europe for cultural reasons and because it is over twice as close to mainland Europe than to mainland North America. There is ongoing debate on where the geographical centre of Europe falls.