European Customs To Learn Before Making A Tool Of Yourself Abroad

Hopefully, every single one of us will travel to Europe at least once in our lifetime, and hopefully, we’ll all do the experience justice given the chance. Really immersing yourself into the culture and customs of a certain country results in a far more authentic and hella fun Euro experience compared to what you’d get from a couple of Instas and predictable tourist attractions.

Besides, if you’re not doing as the locals do, there’s a good chance you’ll make a total boob of yourself. Do yourself a favour and understand the everyday customs Europeans are living by, which might be of surprise to you, and experience the continent like you’re one of ’em.


The British will greet you by asking “You alright?”, which may lead you to believe that you’re being particularly transparent with your emotions. You’re fine and it does not look as if you’ve been crying over your ex from several years ago. They’re simply saying hello, to which you should reply “Well thanks, how are you?” in some iteration. Responding with a confused or angry “Yes, why?” will come across a smidge bitchy.

In France? You’ll get more action from a stranger than your bae. The way they greet can involve multiple kisses – or “bises” – depending on which region you’re in. Two is the most common, but it can go upwards of four. The same thing can be said for Spain, Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium. Let the local take the lead, but don’t act all weird and uptight should you cop some smewches. Be prepared and love it.


Photo: Getty / Ignacio Perez Diez

If you’re in Spain and need to purchase something between the hours of 2-5pm – whether it’s milk or a tampon – you could be in trouble. The Spanish shut up shops and businesses between these hours to have a nap and Jesus, Mary and Joseph, why can’t this be a worldwide tradition?

Basically, you’ll need to stock up before the siesta goes down or you could be left needing something you won’t have access to. Restaurants also usually take a timeout between 4-8pm, so make sure you’re sufficiently full beforehand. If you’re complaining about being hungry or needing something between these hours, you’ll sound like a bit of a duffer. If you try to bother any business owners between these hours? Downright rude.

Later dinner hours are also prevalent in Italy and Greece.


Whether you’re having a dart inside a bar in Greece or drinking on the streets of Belgium, there’s a lot of behaviour you’ll get away with in Europe that you’d get reprimanded for back at home. Try not to get too excited over it because in Europe it’s normal. Think about how you’d look at someone crying of joy over a Bunnings snag. They wouldn’t seem so adorable, would they?


Photo: Lizzie Mcguire Movie

Dubbed apervito, cute lil’ snacks are given out free with alcoholic bevvies to stimulate your appetite for dinner in Italy’s Milan, which is generally had much later than in Australia. From mini panini to arracinhi balls, meats, cheeses and salads, most bars will serve a plate per drink from 7-9 pm (but not every bar, so choose your watering hole wisely).

In Spain’s Granada, you get a free tapas servings like paella, cured meats or bread with every alcoholic drink you buy. To put it into a perspective, drinks are usually around 1 Euro (or $1.50 AUD).

Keen to get on over there now that you’re better versed? Jump aboard a once-in-a-lifetime Europe adventure with G Adventures here. By travelling with a local G Adventures leader, you’ll be swimming in authentic experiences, hitting up the best hotspots and learning about the local customs – something you just don’t get travelling on your own / a stanky tour bus of 50 people.