Europe is a large continent with a varied selection of cultures and people. Many of those who are looking to enjoy a holiday in Europe then will be looking for different things, but a vast majority will hope for a friendly European experience, particularly those who are hoping to spend a longer stretch of time there, and who are hoping to speak to more of the locals and sample living and working in the country. Of course different places in Europe offer different things, so if you want a friendly European experience then this will depend to a large extent on where you decide to visit.
The majority of people who visit the continent will find the people very welcoming and will describe meeting many a friendly European resident who helps them navigate to their destination, or who helps them with some of the local customs. Some of the most friendly European countries and regions include Greece, where you can expect lots of friendly faces all happy to see you, and the same can be said about places like Southern France, and Northern England where you can expect the general population to be very chatty and forthcoming.
However other places in Europe may seem less friendly for a number of reasons and it’s important to understand this before you go. Firstly, if you are visiting a capital city – particularly Paris or Rome – you might find that the population are somewhat less patient with you. Many people describe those in Paris as ‘purposely’ not speaking English, though this is hard to prove either way. The reason often for this is that the capital cities have a faster pace of living, and that the people here will be in a rush to get to their destinations. At the same time, those in these European cities are likely to encounter a high number of tourists as a result of their famous architecture and history. Thus a lot of the residents are slightly more ‘impatient’ with tourists who make their roads busier and their sites filled with queues. In order to get a slightly more friendly European experience in these regions then, ensure that you avoid the tourist season and try to be respectful and not get in the locals’ way. Taking some time out to learn the basics of the local language or to at least look as though you’ve made an effort can also help a lot, particularly in Paris.
Some people also claim that they find some of the locals in Germany rude, but this is often a misunderstanding. For instance, those who are used to orderly queuing for busses and transport may find it rude that they are likely to get pushed in front of – however this is simply the custom in Germany and if you understand this it may seem a lot less offensive. Similarly many people think that Southern England is a slightly less friendly European country – in reality those in Southern England are just more reserved and shy and this can come across as being less friendly. Another problem in some cases is language barrier – here you will find that much of Eastern Europe for instance is very friendly, but that travelling here – especially to the less built up areas – will present more language barriers.
Of course it is important not to generalise, and any region will have friendly and rude citizens just like everywhere else. However understanding the customs, learning a bit of the language, and heading to the right places at the right times can make a big difference.