Monday,  August 26, 2019  3:33 am

How to avoid looking like a tourist in Europe

How to avoid looking like a tourist in Europe
Marie-Eve Vallières

For Marie-Eve, who is from Montreal, travel holds no more secrets. Having lived in London and France, she has spent the past nine years quenching her thirst for adventure and discovery. Twenty-nine countries later, Marie-Eve continues to travel the world.

Imagining the stereotype is easy: the average North American tourist treading on European soil for the first time, blinding white sneakers and a not-so-secret-looking fanny pack that comes in handy for stashing their passport and Euros.

Too busy gazing up at the Arc de Triomphe or at the Colosseum, many tourists don’t care much about what they might look like to others.

But, for your clients who are interested in assimilating into the local landscape and culture, here are a few tips to share with them before they leave for the Old Continent.


In Paris, the number of pick-pocketing incidents is so extreme that the police have set up a special unit on the Metro. Lines one and four are the worst for this and travellers should be wary of their surroundings.

Lines 1 and 4 are the worst for pick-pocketing; travellers out at dusk should keep their cash close.

In France, travellers with a sweet tooth should inquire about a phenomenon known as café gourmand (‘greedy coffee’): it’s a small tray filled with different sweets for the day — three desserts for the price of one!


In Italy, many restaurants force tourists to pay an extra charge for any meals enjoyed on an outdoor terrace. Instead, why not take a sandwich to go, and enjoy it in one of the many parks, or on the edge of a centuries-old fountain?

Only tourists drink a cappuccino past 10 a.m. After this hour, it’s better to stick to the espressos, unless you want the baristas knowing you’re not from around there.

Drink your cappuccinos at breakfast and sip espressos in the afternoon to blend in.

In Western European countries, unless you prefer sparkling water, it's better to tell your waiter you prefer tap water, otherwise, you’ll be enjoying the bubbly (and not the kind you’re thinking).


Over in Granada in the south of Spain, it's tradition to order tapas if you're going out for drinks. Tapas are served for free with each glass, depending on how the owner is feeling that day.

How could anyone say no to tapas? In Spain, it's tradition!

Public toilets cost money, so it’s always good to keep some change in your pockets.


Before dipping into Iceland’s famous hot springs, you must take a shower!

The famous Blue Lagoon in Iceland provides day passes for tourists that include a towel and slippers for the showers and locker room.

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