Traveling to Europe for the first time is an amazing experience. The continent is filled with eye-opening sights and seemingly infinite new cultures to explore and learn about. Though most Europeans are welcoming of tourists, some can get fed up with a few classic and annoying behaviors that foreigners tend to display when they arrive.
There are definitely a few things that foreigners do while in Europe that the locals can’t stand. It’s best to avoid doing these, not only as a sign of respect for the locals but so you don’t accidentally find yourself in any confrontations while abroad! Check them out below!
10 Speak Only English
One of the worst things you can do as a tourist in Europe is arriving in a foreign country and expecting the locals to speak to you in English. That would be like a foreigner arriving in your country and expecting you to speak their language to them. It’s totally ignorant and entitled.
Of course, in many countries, they will speak English to you. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn a few words in the local tongue at least as a courtesy. This will impress the locals more by showing them that you respect their culture.
9 Have Loud Conversations In Public
This may not just apply to the countries of Europe, but all countries around the world. A lot of people are welcoming of tourists to their homeland, especially if their nation relies on tourism. But nobody likes loud and boisterous tourists who aren’t aware of themselves when they’re in public.
It’s easy to get overexcited when you’re in a foreign country and buzz with bliss when you’re standing outside the Colosseum or the Eiffel Tower. But having loud conversations in public and causing a scene just annoys locals who are trying to get on with their day.
8 Act Ignorant Of Local Laws
No matter which country a tourist travels to, it is always their job to educate themselves about the local laws. You can’t claim ignorance when you get in trouble for breaking the law, so it’s in everybody’s best interest to just learn and follow the local laws.
Even if you don’t agree with them, it’s majorly disrespectful to arrive in a foreign country and break their laws. A classic example is the anti-jaywalking rules in Germany. Many tourists still jaywalk in cities like Berlin and then act surprised when locals reprimand them.
7 Litter And Fail To Recycle
As more countries in Europe are becoming environmentally conscious, this is starting to annoy European locals more than it ever did. Littering and failing to recycle isn’t just causing a mess—it’s ruining a whole country’s efforts to do the right thing.
In some countries, recycling is taken very seriously, so you don’t want to leave your litter behind you. Remember to take everything with you and dispose of it in the right place. If you don’t, you could face a fine. But more than likely, you’ll just be told off by angry locals.
6 Buy Into Each Country’s Stereotypes
It’s no secret that each country in Europe has its own stereotypes. While you might be able to make a joke of these at home, it is often considered rude to bring up those stereotypes around locals. Some might find them funny, but others will just be annoyed. To play it safe, don’t mention stereotypes at all.
That means no putting on an Italian accent in Rome, no mention of frog’s legs in Paris (unless you’re actually ordering them!), and absolutely no mention of leprechauns in Dublin. The locals will thank you!
5 Expect The Same Service They’d Get At Home
When American tourists travel to Europe for the first time, they’re often surprised to see that the service is quite different from what they’re used to at home. In the United States, restaurant service and customer service is exceptionally friendly and high-speed, so Americans may interpret anything other than that as rudeness.
But just because European locals don’t give the same kind of service that you’d get at home, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re being rude. It’s the custom in places like Paris for the customer to greet the shop assistant first and not the other way around.
4 Not Understand Basic Geography Of A Destination
It has to be annoying when a sea of tourists is always on your doorstep and they continue to make the same misconceptions about your country. A lot of European locals can’t stand when tourists mess up the basic geography of their home country, often because it’s a sign of ignorance.
Some common mistakes that people make in Europe include believing that Ireland is part of the United Kingdom (although that one is tricky because Northern Ireland is), not knowing where Dutch people come from, and believing that lots of smaller Eastern European countries are still considered Russian territory.
3 Ask If They Take Their Home Currency
Traveling is all about experiencing life from a totally new perspective, so it doesn’t make much sense to visit a foreign country and expect them to take your home currency. But some tourists actually do this, and it annoys locals to no end.
The majority of countries in Europe carry the Euro, though there are a few exceptions. Nations like Croatia, Poland, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Hungary still use their own currency, as does the UK. Always make sure you’re prepared with the right currency for the right destination before you arrive. Card is not commonly accepted in some European countries, so it’s a good idea to make sure you have cash.
2 Crowd The Sidewalk And Cause Traffic Problems
Some Europeans have a reputation for being hostile towards tourists. This usually happens in extremely popular tourist hotspots, like Venice and Barcelona, where there are so many tourists that they actually compromise the locals’ ability to go about their daily lives.
You can avoid annoying locals in destinations like this further by not being the cause of any traffic problems. That means walking on busy sidewalks rather than crowding or loitering. It also means not walking on roads where traffic is trying to get through and generally obeying the road rules.
1 Act Rowdy And Drink Too Much
Each European country has a slightly different drinking culture. In some countries, drinking beer, vodka, or wine is the norm. But there are few countries where locals make a habit of getting absolutely drunk in public. There’s no better way to identify yourself as an annoying tourist than by drinking too much and being a nuisance in public.
Most Europeans don’t mind that their city is flooded with tourists as long as those tourists don’t cause a ruckus. So it’s easy to see how drinking too much and causing a scene can seriously annoy locals.