Millions of American tourists cross the pond each year in search of the European experience. As English is widely spoken throughout the content and there is limited culture shock, Europe is a great holiday destination for U.S. travelers.
Whilst America is home to colossal cities, world-famous monuments and movie sets, European countries offer fascinating history and excellent gastronomy.
Some of the European countries most visited by U.S. nationals are Italy, France, and Germany.
The information below explores what these countries have to offer the American tourist as well as advice for obtaining an ETIAS visa waiver for US citizens.
Europe’s Long and Varied History
American travelers show a great interest in the colorful and varied history of Europe. Each country has its own unique story to tell: kings and queens, wars and rebellions have all left their mark.
From ancient Rome to the current day, visitors can get an insight into the history of the continent and the wider world from its museums, monuments, and buildings.
Italy: ancient Roman architecture
Italy has long been a compulsory destination for U.S. tourists interested in history. As the former capital of the Roman Empire, the city boasts an impressive show of ancient Roman buildings, one of the oldest of which is the Pantheon, built by Hadrian in 117 AD and still in use today.
Ancient history in Rome
Historical tourist attractions in Rome of particular interest to Americans include:
- The Colosseum: amphitheater used for gladiator contests and pubic spectacles, built between 70 AD and 80 AD
- St Peter’s Basilica: in the Vatican city, one of the holiest Catholic shrines, completed in 1626
- Trevi Fountain: visitors can throw a coin into the fountain and make a wish, built in 1762.
Art and culture in Florence
In addition to Rome, U.S. travelers enjoy the Italian city of Florence. With sculptures by Michelangelo and Giambologna plus frescoes by renaissance painters, Florence is a hotspot for art, culture, and history.
The Uffizi Gallery is one of the oldest and most visited art galleries in the world, home to masterpieces dating back hundreds of years.
Germany: museums, monuments and landmarks
Whilst Italy offers the best snapshot into life in the ancient Roman Empire, Germany provides a closer look at the 18th to 20th centuries.
U.S. holidaymakers in Germany can learn about the history of Europe and its impact on the wider world from the many museums, monuments, and landmarks dotted throughout the country.
18th to 20th century history in Berlin
As the German capital, Berlin is the place to go for the most important museums and fascinating monuments. Amongst those most commonly featured on US travelers’ itineraries are:
- The Berlin Wall: sections of the 87-mile long concrete barrier, which famously fell in 1989, are scattered throughout the city. A poignant representation of the Cold War.
- The Reichstag Building: built in 1894, heavily bombed during the second world war and rebuilt in 1999, now the German parliament building.
- Brandenburg Gate: built between 1788 and 1791, this was once a city gateway and displays highly impressive ornate carvings.
U.S. tourists in Germany should also consider visiting some of the county’s smaller towns. Nuremberg, Heidelberg, and Schwerin are all picturesque locations of historical importance.
Europe’s Exciting and Varied Gastronomy
One of the greatest attractions drawing Americans to Europe is its varied gastronomic offering. Pizza and pasta in Italy, fine dining in France and traditional German dishes are just some of the delights U.S. tourists enjoy sampling.
The cities below are some of the top destinations for those in search of a gastronomic experience:
- Venice, Italy, for Cicchetti, typical Venetian antipasti
- Milan, Italy, for golden Milanese risotto
- Paris, France, bakery bread and fresh pastries for breakfast
- Nice, France, for a classic Salade Niçoise
- Berlin and Hamburg for Currywurst, Germany’s famous sausage street snack.
Michelin star restaurants in Europe
In addition to trying these delicacies in charming local eateries, American tourists in Europe can choose from an incredible selection of Michelin-starred restaurants.
Paris and Barcelona continue to rank amongst the cities in the world with the greatest number of Michelin-starred restaurants run by some of the most celebrated chefs around.
What do U.S. Citizens Need to Visit Europe?
From 2021, U.S. citizens will be required to obtain the ETIAS visa waiver in order to enter Schengen area countries.
Once launched, Americans will be able to apply online for the ETIAS visa waiver. The approved visa waiver is sent to the applicant by email.
Further practical advice for travel to Europe
Americans, especially those visiting Europe for the first time, should take the time to plan their trip and consider the following:
- Different countries experience different weather conditions, check the forecast and pack suitable clothing
- Research travel options for getting around Europe
- Book accommodation in advance, especially during peak season.
By following these recommendations, and ensuring they have the required documentation, U.S. travelers can enjoy everything European destinations have to offer.