Travelling to Europe for the first time can be both, exciting and nerve-wracking!
Unlike North America, Australia or New Zealand, you may not find a large English-speaking population in all European cities.
In fact, in smaller towns and little-known gems, the local language will prevail.
But, before you enroll for that Italian/Norwegian/Croatian class, let me help you out here…
…and tell you how even if you don’t know the language inside out, you can have the BEST time travelling through Europe LIKE a local.
For that, I’ll have to tell you a little story…
Travelling to Europe for the First Time: My Story
I love exploring new places, especially those not a lot of tourists have been to before.
My family and friends lovingly refer to me as, “Julia, the travel bug.”
I didn’t always have their support and encouragement.
When I planned my first BIG European adventure about 12 years ago, I told everyone, “I’m going to hike the Camino de Santiago.”
I was determined to complete this 800 km (500 mi) long-distance hike across Northern Spain as a solo traveller!
At the age of 23!!
Nobody thought I was serious.
Not many believed I could do it.
Barely anyone thought this was a good idea.
But I was determined to do it anyways.
That day came 5 years later in 2012, when I finally took action!
I set a date, booked a flight and created a travel plan.
I travelled for 40 days straight and got to know Spain in a way that not many tourists do:
I discovered some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen.
I was introduced to pretty little villages and cities full of cultural sights, all in one amazing trip.
I stayed in beautiful family-owned hotels and BnBs at very affordable prices.
I was able to make friends with the locals even though I only knew a few words in Spanish.
I enjoyed some of the most delicious food I have ever tasted in my life!
Naturally, I want YOU to travel like this, too!
Because since then… I’ve travelled like a local in Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany and other beautiful places in Europe.
And I noticed one thing that all of these amazing trips had in common:
The locals are usually very friendly and love to help!
From my experience, there is ONE (yes, just ONE!) sentence that fills their heart with joy and opens many doors to a truly authentic travel experience!
Travel Like a Local: Have the Best Food Vacations in Europe
That sentence is…
“What’s your favourite restaurant around here serving the best local speciality food?”
Food dissolves boundaries and brings people together in ways we may never understand.
THIS one sentence will make a HUGE difference to your entire European travel experience.
Not only will you have a food vacation of a lifetime because you’ll eat not at tourist traps but at little gems of restaurants that no one but the locals know about.
Usually family-owned and off-the-map, these local restaurants will blow you away with their delightful service and finger-licking specialities.
Not only that, you’ll probably also make a few local friends while eating there!
The more important thing is…
… when you ask this question of the locals, it shows them you really care about travelling Europe like a local and not a tourist.
You care about the culture, the people, the place and the cuisine.
You’re willing to make the effort to ask them for their recommendations.
That leads to an instant bond.
Now… Ask for Restaurant Recommendations Like a Local
In case, you’re thinking you’ll need to dig out that dog-eared, high-school Spanish book from the attic to brush up on your rusty Spanish…
…let me stop you right there.
I’ve done the job for you.
Enter your details below to get a pretty, printable PDF that’ll help you to ask for restaurant recommendations in 10 different European languages including both popular choices like French and Spanish and offbeat ones, like Croatian and Polish.
Now I know you may be thinking…
“But Julia, why can’t I rely on Google translate or any other similar app?”
Because when you travel Europe like a local and visit smaller towns and cities, your Internet may not work.
It’s important you practice this question so it flows easily and you don’t have to hunt for a cellphone signal while your tummy growls threateningly.
What does travelling Europe like a local look like to you?
What other resources would you like for me to share with you.
Share with me in the comments.