Europe is one of the most incredible continents to explore in the entire world, probably the best. May it be the historical Colosseum or the modern Atomium, Europe covers all areas of the spectrum when it comes to art, culture, architecture, cuisine, and so on. As a result, people from even other developed nations flock to countries like France, England, Switzerland, and so on to lead more compelling lives and experience the vivid culture and way of life in places such as Paris, Prague, London, Munich, Zurich, etc. It also comprises transcontinental countries such as Kazakhstan, Turkey, Russia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. These countries are also known for their distinct cultures.
When visiting the land of Europe, you always need to make sure you’re keeping up with the pivotal rules and regulations. There are certain things not to do in Europe that you must consider and not forget on your visit.
12 Things Not To Do In Europe
Europe is one hell of a ride but there are certain precautions and things to keep in mind before boarding this ride. Listed below are some of the things that define what not to do in Europe.
1. Do Not Litter
Several countries in Europe have a bottle recycling system. For example, Germany has a Pfand system that has brought about a wonderful change for the better. In this system, eight to twenty-five cents are added to your receipt when you buy plastic bottles, cans of soda or glass bottles of alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages which are then returned to another shop.
The shop has to accept the bottle even if they weren’t the shop that sold those bottles to you in the first place. The Pfand system is a wonderful idea implemented to bring about environmental change for the better.
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2. Do Not Beckon The Waiter By Waving
In European countries, especially France, there is a certain etiquette to be followed when dining in a restaurant or relaxing in a bar. Usually, you are shown your seat by the waiter or you can just choose a table that you like. Sometimes, when the joint is very crowded, waiters can take some time to get to your table to take your order.
Instead of waving at them, you can either gesture at them via eye contact or you could just slightly indicate that your order remains to be taken by showing your hand just a little bit. Waving at them is considered very impolite and disrespectful.
3. Do Not Use The Bicycle Lanes For Walking
Bicycles are a very efficient mode of transportation in several countries all over Europe. It is cheap and good for the environment and easily navigable and the well-connected bicycle lanes also help up and coming professionals get to their workplace on time. Thus, walking on lanes meant for bicycles is a serious offense and can also be very dangerous for both the bicyclist as well as you.
It could lead to injuries which would ultimately hamper the jolly mood of your vacation. You could also risk getting cursed at by irate bicyclists and might have to face the wrath of their shrill bells.
4. Do Not Skip The First Verse Of German National Anthem
When in Germany, do yourself a favor by learning at least the first verse, if not the whole German national anthem. If at a sports game or any event where the national anthem is sung as a part of the tradition, make sure you stand up and sing the first verse at least or you might end up offending the nationalistic Germans.
The German national anthem is called Deutschlandlied. It is an anthem written by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben, in the year 1841.
5. Do not Assume That Everyone Knows English
Europe has been divided into East and West ever since the Second World War and these divisions have not only been a result of but have also affected linguistic and ethnic differences. Although English is one of the most widely spoken languages, some of the Europeans (even being bilingual and trilingual) are not expected to know the language.
In public places like restaurants, museums, cafes, etc. you may encounter waiters or attendants conversing in English. Still, there are public spaces where the attendants won’t know the language.
6. Avoid Making Much Noise
Foreigners often hold a bad reputation for being too noisy in the quieter spots of Europe, especially rural areas. It is one thing to go out at night to have a cheerful time and be as loud as you like in a bar or nightclub and another to do so in tranquil areas and disturb the harmony of a community.
7. Do Not Leave A Bigger Tip Than Required
If you’re traveling to Europe for the first time, then this is for you! In countries like America, it is customary to leave at least 15 to 20 percent of the bill as tips for the service provided by the waiters but that is not the case in various countries of Europe. In some countries, the rate isn’t as high.
It would be a great precautionary measure to avoid leaving more than necessary, especially if you are traveling on a budget. Ask the locals to know how much is an adequate amount to tip the service staff in a restaurant or café.
8. Avoid Jaywalking
Do not even think about crossing the streets if the traffic signal lights haven’t turned red for the vehicles yet. It doesn’t matter if there are no cars on the road when the lights are red only then cross the street.
There is a system in most countries where the signal is posted on the footpath at the zebra crossing and has a button that pedestrians have to press if they wish to cross the street. If you are caught jaywalking, you can be fined. The fine is usually 5 EUR, although it differs in each country.
9. Avoid The Nazi Salute When in Germany
This is a quite imperative thing that comes under what not to do when traveling in Europe. One of the most offensive things you could do in Germany, the Nazi salute is prohibited irrespective of the context. Avoid doing so even if you’re doing it as a joke.
They can charge you with a heavy fine or you could also be sentenced to five years in jail or sent right back to your country, barred from ever returning to Germany.
10. Avoid Taxis Late At Night
Opt for services such as AlloCab, LeCab, Uber, etc. when you need conveyance late at night in any European country. Although countries like England, France, and Switzerland do have good local cab services, you might have a hard time trying to catch or even come across one in most of the other countries.
Also, these cabs charge twice as much as they do during the day and if you are traveling on a budget it is best to avoid spending unnecessarily.
11. Avoid Wearing Shoes When Entering Someone’s House In Poland
Like in many eastern countries, people in Poland also follow the tradition of wearing slippers or walking barefoot within the premises of their house. If you are invited as a guest to someone’s house in Poland, make sure you take off your shoes when you enter their house if you don’t want to show insensitivity towards their social customs.
You might even end up bringing in a lot of dirt and spoiling their floors which is another reason that they themselves avoid wearing shoes indoors.
12. Avoid Drinking In Public Places
While in some countries such as Germany drinking in public is totally legal, other European countries such as Poland frown upon public drinking. So much so that it is considered an offence and you will end up getting fined if caught.
You can always go to a bar or an eatery if you wish to drink.
Europe is a continent full of surprises. There is no dearth of activities to engage your body and mind in if you chose to tour around the various countries spread throughout the entire continent. You will come across a spectrum of diverse cultures, ethnicities, languages, and people that will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime. Just make sure you keep all the things not to do in Europe mentioned above in your mind. This will help you ensure that no unfortunate incident hampers your trip to Europe.
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