As a Brit, I usually get referred to as a European from people outside the EU. This wasn’t always the case, however. There was a time when I maintained my country of origin but the trend these days seems to clump everyone in Europe as one nationality; European. I would sometimes adamantly introduce myself as being from England but now I have just given up and accepted my European status.
This referral is more common in the US where if they were going on vacation they would simply say they were going to Europe. Which country in Europe? Doesn’t matter.
When I think about it though, Europe must seem like one big country to someone from the US or even further afield. With America being twice the size of Europe a trip from London to Paris must seem like their regular commute. So in that respect when people say they are visiting Europe, they a literally visiting the whole continent. This is a bit of luxury we have been residents.
With all the different cultures and languages within a relatively small area, tourists can get a whole variety of experiences. It’s almost as if they can have mini holidays within a holiday. It’s easy for us Brits to hop across the channel for the day of shopping or even have a family day out in Disneyland Paris followed by some sunbathing in the Med.
Everyone has thought about the obligatory European road trip, whether it’s young students on a gap year or an elderly couple getting away for a week or two. To see all these different cultures is simply a question of hopping into a car or train.
What’s the main reason to travel to Europe though? We can offer something unique to the rest of the world and that’s western history. The birthplace of the Renaissance and the industrial revolution is immortalized in the streets of Venice, London, and other historical landmarks. Where else could you see the Baroque or Gothic architecture of the 17th and 18th century? If anyone has an interest in history, they would have a field day in the big cities of Europe.
Now Europe is transforming into something else entirely though. It’s not just seen as a cultural experience, but also a place filled with entertainment and fun. The UK alone has some of the best theme parks in Europe with the likes of Alton Towers, Drayton Manor, and Thorpe Park.
Disneyland Paris was also the center of attention for Disney fans as they celebrated their 20th anniversary. Something that did not seem likely when it opened due to its rocky start, but the rise of its popularity gave way to boosting confidence in other theme parks such as PortAventura in Spain and Siam Park in Tenerife.
As with Orlando in Florida, where it is seen as the theme park capital of the world, Europe is beginning to catch it up. But it does need something else to make it a real contender. The one thing that is missing is competition. Orlando has such a high density of theme parks because of the rivalries between the resorts. This opens up the question of what would happen if a Universal Studios park or SeaWorld attraction opened next to Disneyland Paris.
So as a European, I can have the best of both worlds, the old and the new, the cultural and the thrilling. This amalgamation of genres can bring the entirety of Europe together as one destination providing something for everyone.