Bringing in the New Year: European Style

The New Year is supposed to come in with a bang to set it apart from all the others. To make yours memorable, we’ve compiled a list of the best New Year’s celebrations in Europe. So swap out your traditional plans, and welcome 2015 at one of these New Year’s Eve bashes.

Loving Apartments conveniently offers accommodation in each of the locations listed. So if any take your fancy, check out our apartments and make reservations to join in all the festivities.


Photo Credit: Benno Hansen@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Benno Hansen@Flickr.

Silvester (New Year’s Eve) in Berlin is definitely not for the faint-hearted. You’ll find Berliners tossing firecrackers and shooting small fireworks from windows, making a lively and dazzling celebration. A lot of the festivities take place at Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column with over one million visitors – both local and from all over the world. Many others venture to the top of Teufelsberg, Grunewald or Viktoria Park to get a spectacular view of the grand fireworks at the end of the evening. You can be certain that the party will continue well past midnight into the early morning hours.

‘Happy New Year': Prosit Neujah


The Dutch in Amsterdam start counting down their Oudejaarsavond (New Year’s) in the square in front of the Rijksmuseum on Museumsplein. Champagne will be flowing all night. Oliebollen (fried dough, apples and raisins) will be consumed. Sparkling fireworks will be launched in front of Scheepvaartmuseum, and merriment will be had by all until the crack of dawn. You’ll also want to check out Dam Square and Nieuwmarkt for free concerts, small firework displays, beer tents and countless food stands.

‘Happy New Year': Gelukkig Nieuwjaar

Photo Credit: LenDog64@Flickr.

Photo Credit: LenDog64@Flickr.


Photo Credit: *Tom[luckytom]@Flickr.

Photo Credit: *Tom[luckytom]@Flickr.

Not only does Prague host an impressive display of fireworks for their Silvestr (New Year’s) over Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square at midnight, but they also have another glittery show at the Prague City Hall at 6 pm on New Year’s day, making it family-friendly as well. The New Year’s celebrations also continue the next day with a traditional lunch of lentils – thought to ensure family wealth. You won’t find any poultry offered for lunch New Year’s Day because it is believed to supposedly block good fortune. Prague’s castles and bridges are a magical back drop for your next New Year’s celebration.

‘Happy New Year': Šťastný Nový Rok


Budapest out-celebrates all other European cities with their three day New Year’s party at Vörösmarty Square from 30 December to 1 January. The square is full of music, live shows, drinks and kisses at midnight. The city runs public transport all night for convenience, and you’ll most likely stumble upon special events hosted by bars and restaurants throughout the entire city. On New Year’s Day, you can fight your hangover with kocsonya, a New Year’s traditional dish made with pig’s feet, and attend one of the many celebratory concerts hosted by the Palace of Arts and the Budapest Opera House.

‘Happy New Year': Boldog új évet

Photo Credit: Grand Parc@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Grand Parc@Flickr.


Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Paris doesn’t need to bother with a fireworks display when they are able to dazzle everyone with its light show at the Eiffel Tower. The Champs-Élysées provides an especially good view and ambiance on New Year’s Eve. The streets will be crowded with revellers; but if you are looking for an even more unique scene for your celebration, reserve a spot on a night boat cruise on the River Seine. And don’t forget, all the night clubs will be up and pulsing even more than normal to welcome the New Year. Some popular clubs to visit on the big night are Flûte l’Étoile, Mix Club and Point Éphémère.

‘Happy New Year': Bonne Année


The Puerta del Sol is Madrid‘s main hub for its jubilant crowds on Noche Vieja (New Year’s Eve). There will be an endless supply of drinks, dancing, music and . . . grapes? The Spanish have a long-standing tradition of eating 12 grapes as the clock counts down to midnight. One grape per second, representing each month of the year. If you can get all of the grapes down by the time the clock strikes midnight, it is believed that you will have good luck and fortune for the entire year. So don’t be startled if you see thousands of people inhaling grapes at midnight. Then the night life of Madrid takes over until around 6 a.m. It will be a celebration of a lifetime . . . or at least until next year.

‘Happy New Year': Feliz Año Nuevo

Madrid New Years

Photo Credit:

> Dana Wolthuizen is studying English and non-profit business at Central College with a passion for travel writing.

Winter Wonderlands of Europe: Christmas Markets

The countdown to Christmas is on. The children are anticipating opening all their shiny, packaged gifts early in the morn’. The smell of goodies is wafting from all the bakeries and kitchens you pass.

It’s lovely.

But if you want to feel the full extent of all the holiday festivities, you should visit Europe’s most popular Christmas Markets. They’re magical – the Winter Wonderlands of Europe. Luckily, many of the Christmas Markets can be found in European cities in which Loving Apartments offers affordable accommodation to make you comfortable during the holiday season.

Market at Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche

Photo Credit: Eirik Newth@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Eirik Newth@Flickr.

The Christmas Market at Kaiser Wilhem Gedächtniskirche is one of the most celebrated Christmas Markets in Berlin, which is something to boast about because Berlin hosts around 60 Christmas markets each holiday season. This market is chockfull of holiday decorations, ornaments, wreaths, toys, jewellry and oodles of gift options. But you’ll probably be most enticed by the wonderful scents of all the Christmas treats – hot cocoa, roasted almonds, mulled wine, fruit glazed sausages and so much more. Millions of lights surround the Breitscheidplatz, and in the middle of the square stands a majestic Christmas tree at 20 metres high. You’ll leave the market with your Christmas shopping completed, your stomach satisfied and your heart warm.

Fira de Santa Llucia

Photo Credit: Barcelona cat@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Barcelona cat@Flickr.

The Fira de Santa Llucia makes its home in front of Barcelona‘s cathedral and dates back to the 18th century. This Christmas market has become the most classic market in Spain to pick up all your festive decorations and gifts. The market is especially famous for its many stalls of mistletoe, Christmas trees and caga tiós. Caga tiós is a special tradition of Catalan Christmases and can be translated as “poo logs.” The log has a painted smiling face, and children take care of the log by covering it by a blanket or feeding it every day from December 8 to Christmas. That way, on Christmas Eve, the Caga tió will be sure to plop out lots of Christmas goodies.

Christmas Markets in Old Town Square and Wencelas Square

Photo Credit: Boris Tylevich@Flickr.

Photo Credit: Boris Tylevich@Flickr.

Prague has been declared to be a “winter wonderland” setting, uniting both the locals and tourists in festivity in its Christmas markets. The most popular markets can be found in the Old Town Square and Wencelas Square. The markets have become mostly famed for their beautiful choir music that rings out as you peruse all the toys, winter wear and homemade goods. You can enjoy your Czech beer as you salivate over the spit-roasted pigs, barbecued sausages and all the pastries. A tree from the Krkonose Moutains is spotlighted in the middle of the Old Town Square in a flurry of lights and ribbons. You can find a hearty Christmas tree in the middle of Wencelas Square as well.

Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market


Budapest Christmas Market

Photo Credit: TopBudapestOrg@Flickr. 

Every year Budapest hosts a holiday market in Vörösmarty Square, in the heart of the city. What better place to celebrate this joyful season? There is a special program at the market almost every day whether it be a concert, play, folk dancing or a puppet show. You’ll also find a wide array of artisan products and traditional Hungarian Christmas foods. You’ll be lured into the market by stuffed cabbage in roasted goose thigh, pork knuckle and grilled sausage and meat. Not only is the market a lighthearted Christmas hub, but also a cultural hub for Budapest.


Campo Santa Stefano

Photo Credit: mararie@Flickr.

Photo Credit: mararie@Flickr.

The Christmas Market in Campo Santa Stefano in Venice is unique because it only sells local Venetian products – masks, nativities, wooden toys, handmade stationary, winter greens, lace, linen, glassware and too much more to list. These artisan items will make the perfect gift for your loved ones to unwrap on Christmas day. The square of the market fills up with little wooden cottage fronts, creating a quaint ambiance for your shopping and celebrating. You’ll want to go to the market at night to see it ablaze with fairy lights and to catch one of the late night concerts that this Venetian Christmas Market is known for.



STAG-gering Weekends

Stag parties. The last hurrah before the big commitment of saying “I do.” It’s meant to be a party of a lifetime with a night full of pints of Czech beer, dancing, gentlemen clubs and camaraderie. However, stag parties come with a lot of planning, and the details can get a little hectic. Along with the pubs and night clubs, you are also going to want a place to relax after your night out. Luckily, Prague checks all of those stag party necessities off the list.

Photo Credit: theogeo @ Flickr.

Photo Credit: theogeo @ Flickr.

Loving Apartments offers accommodation in the heart of Prague, allowing its guests to be in the middle of the nightlife hub. Many of the apartments are within a short walking distance of some of the top rated night clubs, pubs and breweries throughout the city, including but not limited to popular venues such as Kulovy Bresk, Roxy Club and Lucerna Music Bar. Prague’s pub and club scene is never ending and caters to young men in their 20’s to older gentlemen, satisfying a wide variety of tastes in alcohol, music and dancing. Loving Apartment’s close proximity to such locations makes it convenient to get home safely at the end of the night. The last thing you want to worry about at your stag party is finding your way back to bed.

However, if you are looking to escape your mischief at the end of the night and leave behind the bustle of night life for a short while, Loving Apartments can also offer apartments outside this flurry of activity. The accommodation will lend more relaxation to guests who would prefer peace after an exciting night out.

Don’t fret over finding lodging to fit all of your friends, we provide apartments in Prague that can comfortably hold up to eight guests. Just in case that head count still doesn’t cut it, Loving Apartments has many apartments in the same building. This allows more space for each of your guests while still having the luxury of being right next door in case you need to top off your party with some nightcaps. Loving Apartments makes pricing and reserving for large groups easy with the Big Group Booking Tool. This tool allows you to specify how many guests you have, how many nights you need and what you would like for sleeping arrangements. The Big Group Booking Tool will then show you what apartments are available, how many there are in each building and the price of reservations with just one click of the mouse.

Photo Credit: christopher.woo@Flickr.

Photo Credit: christopher.woo@Flickr.

A monumental occasion of a marriage deserves a monumental celebration, surely one that spans the weekend! Consider spreading the fun out over a couple of days because the stag party is most certainly going to heat up once it gets started. Staying the weekend will allow you and your guests to recover during the day and gear up for round two the next evening.

So before the single life is behind you, raise your glasses and enjoy a weekend in Prague with Loving Apartments and the guys. Cheers.


Click here for the Big Group Book Tool:

Top 6 Family-Friendly Events To Enjoy In Europe!


Carrieres de Lumieres, 5th of January 2014

If you are trying to decide whether or not to take the family to Provence and the question is, “What can we all do together,” then look no further. The underground quarries just outside the villages have been host to sound and light shows featuring great artists for awhile now. Last year the show featured Van Gogh and Gaugin, and has been described as nothing short of beautiful. The artists’ works are projected gigantically on the quarry walls as you wander through a maze of underground tunnels. The images move or swim across the walls to a soundtrack that plays throughout your visit. This year’s show is called Monet, Renoir… Chagall, Journeys around the Mediterranean. It will move through these artists works and put you and your family in a different world for over an hour.

The shows run from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. through September and starting in October they run from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The price for adults is 9.50 euros, price for kids 7-17 is 7.5 euros, and kids under 7 get in free. This is a great activity for the whole family, and if you have very young children, then it is a great way to save some money.


Time Elevator, open year-round

Are you considering heading to Rome but are worried that experiencing the history there might get a bit boring for you or your kids? Well, there is an exciting way to view the history of Rome that will make your sight-seeing much more special. The Time Elevator is an exciting adventure that includes all of your senses through the use of new digital, mechanical, and stereoscopic technologies. When you go into the Time Elevator you step into the history of Rome and immediately are taken back to the founding of the city. As you move forward you see the victories and defeats as well as the development and eventual fall of the Roman Empire. This is followed by later events focusing on the popes all the way to the Fascist period, and even some present day Rome.

Photo Credit: Time Elevator Roma Facebook Page

Photo Credit: Time Elevator Roma Facebook Page

You experience all of this on a treadmill, which is a fixed special armchair, with a sophisticated audio system with individual headphones in 6 languages (Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Russian). Not only do you hear the action but you feel it as well through multi-sensory effects like rain, wind, and many others. This journey through time gives you a unique perspective and will be fun for all ages. It costs 12 euros for adults and 9 euros for children. If you want more information you can visit


Folklore Show of the Danube Folk Ensemble, 29th October 2014

If you’re looking to experience the history of a country in an exciting and visually stimulating way, then Budapest should be next on your travel list. The folklore of all countries is interesting, but in Budapest, one group has been able to put the common folklore into a dance and music show and they have become one of the most popular folk acts in the world. They combine the continuous theatre dance with folklore dances, but also include modern aspects to better relate to the audience. They are made up of a 30 person dance ensemble accompanied by a 7 person folklore band. The show does not run every night of the week and takes a break for the winter months. The dates for the remainder of the year are one performance on September 30th, and October 2nd, 7th, 9th, 14th, 16th, 21st, 23rd, 28th, and 30th. The winter break follows and performances resume in May, 2014.

Folklore Show of the Danube Folk Ensemble

Photo Credit: ٭٭ NơƐണí ٭٭ @ Flickr.

The tickets are arranged into 3 categories depending on the quality of seat, and the seating map can be viewed at by clicking on things to do, and then looking under the events category. Prices can be found here as well. Remember that the Euro is not used in Budapest, but they use the HUF. The most expensive ticket costs around 21 Euros (6200 HUF), but the conversion rates may change so be sure to check before you purchase tickets. They are also offering a special rate if you decide to purchase a dinner cruise right after the show. The hosts/hostesses will lead you on a 4 minute walk to take a cruise along the stunning Danube River. This special package only costs around 49 euros (14500 HUF) with a category I ticket at the current exchange rate. Reservations can be made by emailing Come enjoy a fabulous show with the family, and then treat them to dinner on the river at a very good price.

Folklore Show of the Danube Folk Ensemble 02

Photo Credit: Txapulín @ Flickr.


Family Sundays at Castelo de Sao Jorge, 1st and 4th Sundays of each month

Have you been having trouble getting your kids to enjoy history? Well, here is another fun way for you and your kids to experience some of the history of Lisbon. On the first Sunday of the month at 11:00 a.m., the “heralds of fun” at St. George’s Castle, will lead you through two hours of fun and games. The games will carry historical meaning and are meant for the kids, and even parents, to learn from them. The games played include break-the-jugs, the blind-stick, the treasure tower, and many more.

Castelo de Sao Jorge 01

Photo Credit: freakyman @ Flickr.

If you’re looking to learn more about the buildings history, then come back on the fourth Sunday of the month for a 1.5 hour tour of the castle and archaeological site. This tour will help you discover characters and stories of the past, while also striving to gain sensitivity and respect for historical heritage as an important aspect of culture. To make reservations you can call 218 800 620 or send an email to Each activity costs only 3 Euros and is sure to have you and your children hooked on history.


Festa Des Verman (Wine Fair), 28th and 29th September 2013

If you and your family are looking to experience the culture of a place first hand, then this festival is a good start. Every September, the village of Binissalem celebrates their feast Festa Des Verman, or the grape harvest festival. This celebration includes a variety of events like a grape-crushing competition, mass village dinners, parades, and a wine-tasting contest. The two highlights of this event, of which people say you cannot miss out on, are the fire-runners and, more importantly, the infamous grape battle where it is mandatory that you wear white. The final day of the festival has local entertainment in the main square and free wine starting at 4:30 p.m. in the church square.

Festa Des Verman 01

Photo Credit: Porto Bay Events – Porto Bay Hotels @ Flickr.

This festival does not require reservations or purchasing tickets beforehand, but it could be quite crowded so be sure to arrive early. It is an exciting event to take the family to. And the grape battle is something your kids will not soon forget. Head to Majorca and witness as well as take part in a fantastic local festival, while enjoying some of the greatest wine in the world.

Festa Des Verman 02

Photo Credit: George M. Groutas @ Flickr.


Andante Boat, Operates all year

Whether you are looking for a simple sight-seeing cruise, want to have dinner while sailing through the historic center of Prague, or want a boat all to yourselves, the Andante boat is a perfect fit. This boat offers all of these options, and if you decide to rent out the boat for a group, there are even alternate destination choices like the quiet river town of “Slapy,” or a slow drift around “Nelahozeves Castle.”

Andante Boat 01

Photo Credit: crazbabe21 @ Flickr.

This beautiful boat has an air conditioned, inside dining room with 60 seats and an adjoined smoking room for 10, as well as a sun covered sight-seeing upper deck that seats 90. Catering is also available on the boat. You can head to to book a cruise or rent out a boat. Prices vary depending on the cruise and they can also be found at the same sight, but remember they are listed in the Koruna of the Czech Republic. The conversion is 1 Euro to roughly 26 Korunas, but be sure to check before you make reservations as the rate is constantly changing. The Andante Boat is a great way to have a family reunion that nobody will ever forget, or just take a relaxing 2-hour cruise with the kids to see the wonderful sights of Prague.

Our Top 5 Pick of Beautiful Christmas Markets

Christmas in Europe is all about tradition, family, crisp weather and cosy fireside nights. There’s no better way to get into the festive mood than to wrap-up warm and go to one of Europe’s many great Christmas markets. So here are five of the best to tempt you out of your holiday apartment and embrace the spirit of Christmas yet to come.

1. London

Head to the iconic Southbank of the Thames, under the London Eye, for a traditional Germanic Christmas market. There’s plenty to eat, toys and gifts to buy, and activities for the children – a great day out from your London apartment.

Christmas Market, London – Image © _Husky_

Christmas Market, London – Image ©  Pix42day

Christmas Market, London – Image ©  Ntalka

Christmas Market, London – Image ©  Mal088

2. Budapest

Vörösmarty Square is home to a hugely popular Christmas market. It really is as much about delicious warming Hungarian food as it is about shopping for gifts: but if you can pull yourself away from the lure of the open kitchens, there is a huge selection of unique gifts to make Christmas truly special.

Christmas Market, Budapest – Image © Contrast & Imagination

Christmas Market, Budapest – Image ©  Contrast & Imagination

Christmas Market, Budapest – Image © Contrast & Imagination

3. Barcelona

Not much chance of snow but the traditional Christmas market is centuries old and has over 300 stalls with decorations, handicrafts and much more. Plenty of seasonal music, a lovely Nativity scene in Plaça Sant Jaume and the kids can win a prize and let off steam by beating caga tió with a stick!

Christmas Market, Barcelona– Image © Anura in Canberra

Christmas Market, Barcelona – Image © PinkBow

Christmas Market, Barcelona – Image © i love technology

4. Prague

When your city has Wenceslas Square as a jewel in its tourist crown, it would be plain wrong if it didn’t have one of the best Christmas markets on the continent. The setting is magical, snow is almost guaranteed and the colourful market has everything from hand-crafted stocking fillers to stunning Bohemian crystal: there is no shortage of seasonal food, drink, Christmas music and daily carol singing. Perfect.

Christmas Market, Prague – Image © Petrosvaios

Christmas Market, Prague – Image © Clemansfield

Christmas Market, Prague – Image © SleepyJeanne

5. Berlin

The only problem with a seasonal break in Berlin is deciding which of the many of Christmas markets to go to? Well, the most popular is also the most contemporary feeling and clusters around the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. Of course there’s tradition here but modern artworks, decorations and up-to-the-minute jewellery satisfy the most modern of tastes.

Christmas Market, Berlin – Image © Vinay Deep

Christmas Market, Berlin – Image © Ed from Ohio

Christmas Market, Berlin – Image © le bec

10 Free Things To Do In Prague

It’s all subjective but to many people Prague ranks as one of the most beautiful cities in the world and we at Loving Apartments think we have some of the most beautiful holiday apartments in Prague. Being purely objective, however, Prague is full of things to do and many of the attractions are free. Here are just a few:

  1. Feast your eyes on an inspired collection of decorative and applied art at Prague’s Museum of Decorative Arts. The collection spans from ancient times to the modern day and is housed in a building that is itself a work of art. You can see the collection for free if you go on a Tuesday between 17:00 and 19:00.
  2. A walk around the Church of Our Lady before Týn is a trip back in time through this Gothic masterpiece. Hemmed-in by houses, look up before you enter at the church towers each topped with four small spires. Inside, notable features include the baroque altarpiece and the oldest pipe organ in the city.
  3. Pick your way through the 12,000 tombstones in the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague. These ancient memorials form a higgledy-piggledy piece of art across the landscape. The author Franz Kafka spent many hours here in quiet contemplation but his final resting place is in the New Jewish Cemetery across town.
  4. Take a look at the John Lennon Wall and you are witnessing the enduring power of music to inspire resistance to suppression in Cold War Europe. Despite the communist regime of the day banning Western pop music, Czech youth was inspired by the lyrics of Lennon and McCartney. After Lennon’s death in 1980 political graffiti, Beatles lyrics and likenesses of Lennon repeatedly appeared on the wall – despite past attempts by the authorities to cover them with whitewash.
  5.  If you weave your way through the myriad of narrow Prague streets towards the Old Town Square, you suddenly burst into a vast open space with architectural beauty and historical significance a-plenty. A memorial to the religious martyr Jan Hus is here, as is the world’s oldest working astronomical clock.
  6. A stroll in the gardens of the Franciscan Monastery near Wenceslas Square will help you to recharge your batteries away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The monastery itself was used as a police station during the dark Cold War years but is now again a place of quiet religious contemplation for Franciscan monks.
  7. Enjoy entertaining show on the famous Charles Bridge. All sorts of performances take place here as afternoon moves into evening, some of it good, some not so good but all of it lively and fun.
  8.  Stroll around the elegant formality of Wallenstein garden and feel like Lord or Lady of the manor. Impressive topiary, bronze statues and geometric perfection make this a stately retreat when you want to break away from your fellow tourists but please ‘keep of the grass’.
  9. Why not burn off some calories with a walking tour of the city? As long as you have the stamina, free daily tours start from the Old Town Square at 10:45 and 14:00. Your guide will pretty much know all there is to know about the sights you’ll see and the three hours tour will just fly by.
  10.  You will feel on top of the world as you absorb the breathtaking views of Prague from Vyšehrad. The grounds of this castle are full of historic buildings, set within a well managed parkland. The grounds and the views can be enjoyed for free, although some of the attractions charge entrance fees.

You will find all of this close to your rental apartment; so why not book now and start planning your stay in Prague?

Shop ‘til You Drop at Na Prikope, Prague

The shopaholic is well catered for in Prague. There are many well stocked shopping malls and streets and the Old Town area of Prague brings them altogether within walking distance of many Loving Apartments holiday apartments. Whilst the beautiful Charles Bridge and Old Town Square are predominantly lined with souvenir shops and stalls, serious shoppers make their way towards Na Prikope street.

Pretty brightly painted shops line this pedestrian only shopping area. Na Prikope Street is lined with trees surrounded with benches for when you need to take a break. There is an eclectic mix of local names and major traders like Next, H&M and Benneton.  Restaurants and fast food outlets from McDonalds and Subway to steakhouses and hotel restaurants are also right here, for when you need to top-up your calories.

 Close to McDonalds is the Black Rose Arcade (Cerna Ruze). The arcade runs between and incorporates two historic buildings, the one facing onto Na Prikope street dating back over 170 years. The small and relatively inconspicuous entrance belies the ultra-modern bright arcade with three floors of retail outlets. Everything from glass, furniture and soft furnishings to health and beauty, to toys and gifts and some high-end fashion from Cardin, Laroche, Valentino and Jean Paul. You can eat here too, away from the hustle and bustle at street level, from standard cafe food to good quality Sushi or Chinese.

Remember when you leave the pedestrianised area heading back to your rental apartment that jay walking is illegal in the Czech Republic; it’s easy to forget after you have been free to wander back and forth across the streets from one shop to the next.  Saying that you couldn’t see the red man at the crossing point because of all your shopping won’t hold any sway with the police if they catch you and we wouldn’t want the hefty fine to spoil your perfect day.

Quirky and Distinctive Buildings around Europe

Some may describe them as eyesores, whereas others may hold them in high esteem for their architectural creativity. Whatever your opinion may be, here are some fascinating structures that can be found across Europe – sure to catch the eye of any passer-by.

The Dancing Building - Prague

Edificio Mirador - Madrid

Container City - London

ING Headquarters - Amsterdam

Zeiss Planetarium - Berlin

La Pedrera (Casa Mila) - Barcelona

Excuse me, do you Speak English?

When visiting a city that speaks an alternative language to your own, do you make the effort to interact in their language? It’s so useful, and respectful, to learn a few common phrases to help you get by on your travels, without the embarrassing common scene of saying something in your language that little bit louder, and getting frustrating when they still don’t understand! I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of this at some point, or have at least resorted to a spot of charades to get by.

I always try to make the effort to at least be able to order something in my destination’s native language as I feel a sense of accomplishment, and most of the time the locals truly appreciate my endeavours. There has been the odd occasion when I’ve been skiing in France, when I have ordered food in French, and the waiter has responded back to me in English. Not put off by his blatant lack of patience, I continued to speak French to him, much to his frustration.

No one expects you to spend weeks brushing up on your Spanish skills, or to sign up for French classes before you travel – even just spending a few minutes on your flight over, or making sure you have a handy phrase book in your pocket is sufficient. To help you along your way, here is a handy list of common words and phrases when visiting some of our most popular destinations.

Dutch  (Amsterdam)

Catalan (Barcelona)

Hello Hallo Hello Hola
Good   morning Goedemorgen Good   morning Bon dia
Good   evening Goedenavond Good   evening Bona nit
Bye Dag Bye Fins ara!
Thank   you Dank u Thank   you Gràcies
Please Alstublieft Please Si us plau
Excuse   me Pardon Excuse   me Dispensi!
Sorry Sorry Sorry Perdó!
I don’t understand Ik begrijp het niet I   don’t understand No ho entenc
Yes Ja Yes
No Nee No No
My   name is… Min name is My   name is… Em dic …
Where is…? Waar is? Where is…? On és…?
How much does it cost? Hoeveel kost het? How much does it cost? Quant costa això?


French (Paris)

Czech (Prague)

Hello Salut Hello Dobrý den!
Good   morning Bon jour Good   morning Dobré ráno
Good   evening Bon soir Good   evening Dobrý večer!
Bye Au revoir Bye Na shledanou!
Thank   you Merci Thank   you Děkuji
Please S’il vous plaît Please Prosím
Excuse   me Excusez-moi Excuse   me Promiňte
Sorry Pardon Sorry Je mi líto
I   don’t understand Je ne comprends pas I   don’t understand Nerozumím
Yes Oui Yes Ano
No Non No Ne
My   name is… Je m’appelle My   name is… Jmenuji se…
Where is…? Où est…? Where is…? Kde je…?
How much does it cost? Combien? How much does it cost? Kolik to stojí?