11 Quintessential European Things That Almost Eveyone Can Easily Spot

From its old-world architecture to its amazing landscapes, Europe is filled with wonderful and unique things that one can’t find anywhere else in the world. But there are certain items and experiences that stand out as quintessentially European. A popular online forum of experienced travelers came up with a list of the most European things that people can easily identify, and here are some of them.

1. A Proper Selection Of Cheese

Dutch cheeses
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Europeans love their cheese, and it’s not surprising that the continent is the go-to place for the best cheese. From pungent blue cheese to creamy brie, many countries in the region have a wide variety of artisanal cheeses that experts have mastered over the years. “Bigger supermarkets where I live have a vast selection of French, Swiss, Italian, Austrian, and if you are so inclined, German cheeses. And it’s glorious,” confirms a user who lives in Europe.

2. Castles Everywhere

Kilkenny Castle in the emerald isle ireland
Image Credit: Richard Atkins

Having one castle in your town is impressive. Having multiple castles in your village is astounding, yet for Europeans, they’re just a part of the landscape that they see every day. A person on the thread boasted of having a view of two castles from their house, one from their living room window and the other from their kitchen window.

3. Going to the Neighboring Country To Shop

Image Credit: The Broadmoor

Thanks to Europe’s open borders policy, residents can take a casual shopping trip to a neighboring country the way Americans visit a mall in the town adjacent to where they live. The freedom to travel between countries without a passport or having to encounter border patrol is second nature to Europeans.

4. Multilingualism

Group of young three stylish friends posing in the street. Fashion man and two cute female dressed in casual summer clothes. Smiling models having fun in sunglasses.Cheerful women and guy outdoors
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Halay Alex

Thanks to the educational systems in Europe, it’s not unusual for its citizens to speak more than one language, specifically their native language and English. A commenter on the thread jokes, “A person who speaks three languages is called ‘trilingual.’ A person who speaks two languages is called ‘bilingual.’ Someone who only speaks one language is called ‘American.’”

5. Walkable and Bikeable Cities

Young woman riding e bike in urban enviroment at sunny day
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The development of European cities occurred centuries before the invention of cars. Their build is in a manner that is very friendly to walkers and bicycle riders. Conversely, many newer American cities were constructed around vehicles, making their streets difficult for walkers and bicyclists to travel safely.

6. Eurovision

Scene with Logo Eurovision during national selection during the Eurovision
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Review News

If you’ve never heard of Eurovision, you’re not alone. An international song competition similar to American Idol, Eurovision is a distinctly European phenomenon. Eurovision is a secret guilty pleasure, according to this user, who claims, “It started as a very formal song contest and gradually turned into a festival of politically charged kitschy Europop. Everybody watches it, but nobody wants to admit it.”

7. Cobblestone Streets

People al fresco dinning in Italian restaurant in Venice, Italy.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / ChameleonsEye

In the United States, seeing a small section of a city with historic cobblestone streets is not unusual. For example, cobblestone streets are present near the Liberty Bell in the Old City section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Because European cities predate the U.S., there are cobblestone streets everywhere.

8. Parental Leave

woman holding hands with baby
Image Credit: Unsplash

European countries provide paid and unpaid leave for mothers and fathers to care for newborns and older children, depending on the country. A contributor to the thread details the parental leave policy in their country: “Here in France, it’s sixteen weeks for moms (six weeks before and ten after the birth), and for dads, it’s twenty-eight days. Sure, after, we can take six months each, but it’s unpaid.”

9. Roundabouts

Top View of Marques de Pombal Square, Lisbon, Portugal
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Gustavo Frazao

While these traffic circles are polarizing in the United States (people either love or loathe them), they are used throughout the European Union to control traffic in small towns and busy metropolitan areas.

10. Ancient Architecture Everywhere

ROUEN, FRANCE - JULY 3RD, 2018. Place du Vieux-Marché, On the left, the Cathedral, a group of adult and adolescent tourists, with far, a small train of walk.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jacky D

Europe’s ancient cities have architectural marvels that are hundreds of years old. A person on the thread marvels at the current use of classical buildings: “Having pubs, schools, random post office buildings…older than any construction in America.” Another user writes, “Casually having buildings from millennia ago around you all the time.”

11. Holidays in the Canary Islands

Sunrise in Puerto de Santiago city, Tenerife, Canary island, Spain
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Serenity-H

Vacationing in the Canary Islands is a uniquely European tradition, with people saving their four weeks of paid leave to take an extended holiday at the Spanish island chain every July and August.

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Portrait of shocked amazed stressed girl staring hear unexpected news information isolated on violet color background
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woman yawning
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Her articles have appeared in publications such as Wealth of Geeks, MSN (US), MSN Ireland, Flipboard, The Facts, The Cents of Money, A Dime Saved, The Times (Frankfort), Invested Wallet, Chronicle-Tribune, Mama of Five Blog, Lafourche Gazette, The Herald-Press, Kinda Frugal, Peru Tribune, and Financially Well Off. Stephanie Allen got her start in writing by teaching college writing and technical writing courses. She transitioned to working as a contract technical writer specializing in information technology. Her love for writing on various subjects led her to Wealth of Geeks.

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