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If working from anywhere in the world, at a time of your choosing, sounds like your idea of heaven you are not alone. With millennials being hailed as an ‘asset-light’ generation increasingly looking to fill their virtual possession portfolio with life experiences rather than accumulating material wealth, the term digital nomad has never had more relevance.

Savvy citizens are moving away from traditional forms of employment where they are limited to an office space and ‘Groundhog Day’ desk between 9am and 5pm five days a week. The working population are both seeing and seeking the opportunities out there and engaging in a more free-spirited approach to work, where earning potential seeks to become a life experience embedded in your personal life rather than a separate entity that you have to endure in order to survive.

A CHANGING REALITY

Increased connectivity around the world has disrupted the traditional linear model of how the world works – people are thinking outside the box and making decisions to suit themselves rather than follow a generational dogma of the predictable path to success. Success is no longer simply about having a four-bedroomed house, 2.4 kids, a dog and a fabulous car. It is about living a life of freedom crammed full of extraordinary experiences with extraordinary people and digital nomads are those who are embracing this enlightened reality and possibility for a life less ordinary.

Digital hot spots, portable tablets and laptops, a plethora of marketing options through social media, and an increased desire for freedom, have all conspired to make this market grow exponentially. Millennials are embracing an opportunity denied to their grandparents of a work-life balance like no other. The digital nomad lifestyle encompasses flexibility, variety and crucially adaptability. It’s moving away from the job-for-life mentality and working to an assumption that people are now more self-reliant than ever and if anything, they are loving it rather than fearing it. In fact, from being seen as something exotic and obtainable to only the fortunate few, the digital nomad lifestyle is integrating into the mainstream with this year seeing the first Digital Nomad conference taking place in Berlin.

SO WHAT’S THE MAIN REASON TO BECOME A DIGITAL NOMAD?

It’s a low-maintenance, low-cost entry to business that appeals on so many levels – it’s lightweight and portable and eliminates many of the stresses associated with a more traditional lifestyle such as rent or mortgage, furniture and household goods, endless bills, mounting car costs ad infinitum.

The joy of the digital nomad lifestyle is that it creates flexibility meaning you can work abroad if you so choose, or simply hang out in your local café with your favourite work buddies. It’s all about the life that you want to create and your reasons for it, including the vision you have of that world. With technology literally at our fingertips, we can communicate around the world, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and anyone with access to a computer, tablet or cell phone could be a potential customer or client of the digital nomad. And we here at Tep  – being passionate arbiters of travel and connection – embrace this reality wholeheartedly and want to keep you in touch when you need to be and most importantly when you choose to be.

It’s not even particularly difficult to start out working life as a digital nomad. As long as you have access to a laptop/tablet/cell phone and a WiFi signal, you are almost good to go. You can choose to start by buying an existing online business (albeit if you have a little capital to invest); going freelance – for example being a writer, take a course in online digital marketing, becoming an online trainer or mentor in your area of expertise, sell on eBay or train to become an expert in social media posting, promoting your lifestyle and actually making money out of it – you might not even need training for this if you are a millennial who was born without a silver spoon but instead a tablet on tap – you may have mastered the minutiae of social media etiquette and be able to create your own social media brand with very little expenditure required. The truth is there are numerous ways to get started if workplace autonomy is what you require.

We live on a planet containing approximately 7.4 billion people and counting and around 40 per cent have regular access to the internet. The fabric of the internet is woven securely into our daily lives and we purchase and research on an increasingly frequent basis. We want answers – it’s out there at the click of a mouse or touch of a phone screen. And so the creative digital nomad taps into this massive market and seeks out his or her niche in this teeming sea. Technology has made this market super easy to access and the only thing possibly standing in your way is a dodgy internet connection! And that’s where Tep has got it covered. With a handheld device that creates your very own wifi hotspot, it has to be the digital nomad’s ideal travelling companion.

EMBRACING THE LIFESTYLE

To embrace the digital nomad lifestyle, the essential component (after your laptop/tablet) is an uninterrupted wifi connection, which is what makes Tep Wireless a match made in heaven for the digital nomad. Teps’ pocket WiFi is a wireless modem that connects any wifi device to 3G internet. The beauty lies in the fact it requires no installation, cables or software and you can, if necessary, connect up to five devices at any one time. And, critically, you can enjoy up to eight hours of uninterrupted work time before recharging – giving you the length of an average office day to do your thing but most brilliantly at the time of your choosing – so if burning the midnight oil is your thing in far-flung places, digital nomad-ing with Tep is no problem. To find out more about how Tep could be part of your digital nomad lifestyle click here.

Tep offers you the safest, securest and most cost effective way of accessing the internet when you’re away. For one fixed daily cost of just $9.50, you can enjoy truly unlimited data for up to 5 devices on the go (the device is pocket sized and works in over 80 countries worldwide). With Tep you’ll never have to worry about returning to a shock bill or being stranded without access to the web – so you can leave the drama to the writers!

If you’ve had any experience with traveling abroad whilst roaming, you’ll know the risks of receiving a shocking bill are high – as many as 4 in 10 people have been landed with one. In this informative post we’ve given you a breakdown of the new measures, who will benefit from them and some useful advice on how to stay clear of excessive roaming charges for those who are left out.

The new ban on all roaming surcharges was announced by the European Commission this year and will come into force in June 2017 across all its 28 member states (plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein).

The new measures will also include a 14-month period from April 2016 where an interim cap on charges will be in place. During this period surcharges will still be allowed but will be significantly reduced; calls and data will be capped at €0.05 extra and SMS will be capped at €0.02 per message sent.

A timeline of the changes

– October 2015 – Agreement formally adopted by the Council and by the European Parliament.

– April 2016 – Interim period on charges will come into force: Network providers will still be able to add surcharges but will be capped at €0.05 extra per megabyte of data, €0.05 extra per minute of calls and €0.02 extra per SMS sent.

– June 2017 – Roaming charges abolished in 31 European countries

Who will benefit from the EU’s new measures?

For the 10% of the global population with a smartphone who live in Europe, the horror of bill shocks will no longer be a fear once June 2017 comes around, so long as you travel to one of the EU member states that the new regulations apply to.

Here is the full list of European countries that are included and excluded from the ban:

EU Countries that are included:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy,Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK

EU Countries excluded:

  1. Albania,
  2. Andorra,
  3. Croatia,
  4. Russia,
  5. San Marino,
  6. Switzerland,
  7. Turkey.

As you can see from the list, a few European destinations will be excluded from the new regulations – including tourist hotspots Croatia, Turkey, Russia and Switzerland. Even with the interim data cap at €0.05 per megabyte, costs will still be significant for any data usage – 300 Mb of daily data usage could set you back at least €15 per day, and 1Gb of data will still cost you €50. So, if you are from the EU and want to travel to countries outside the roaming ban, make sure you take a look at our post on holiday roaming here to avoid the common pitfalls.

How will the changes affect the rest of the world?

Unfortunately, the abolition of roaming charges in Europe is unlikely to be implemented in other parts of the world.  In fact, high roaming charges between continents looks here to stay for at least the foreseeable future. In other words, holidaymakers from the rest of the world who want to travel to Europe, or European travelling to the Americas, will still have to be extra cautious in using their mobile data, as excessive usage will likely cost a fortune.

The U.S. in particular shows no signs of improving, with network providers AT&T and Verizon charging overseas travelers as much as $20 per megabyte for data roaming, meaning streaming a movie on Netflix could cost you a whopping $18,000! We’ve highlighted some of the most shocking data roaming stories in our Horrors of Data Roaming post if you want to read more.

Our verdict

Mobile data roaming consumption has been steadily increasing over time, which clearly shows that whilst the cost are high, the modern day travelers considers staying connected on their trips an essential not just a luxury.

We believe that the EU’s step towards abolishing hefty roaming surcharges is most definitely one in the right direction. We fully support any measures that make sure consumers get savings and more affordable access to the internet. However, there are many gaps left by the new legislation that will still mean costs stay high for travelers from outside the EU, people traveling to destinations not included in the ban and for heavier data users.

Savvy travelers have learnt to adapt to the surcharges in a number of different ways; by using free public wi-fi, capping their bill, buying a data add-on or even turning their mobiles off entirely. Yet all of these options make accessing the internet a hassle, more costly and in some cases even risky (public wi-fi has some serious pitfalls – which you can read about here).

Thankfully there is a solution that solves all of these issues. Tep portable WiFi devices delivers you cost-effective, reliable, fast and secure internet for almost any destination in the world. The device will even be cheaper than the EU’s interim price cap, at €8.95 / £6.5 / $9.95 a day for unlimited usage for up to 5 devices, you’ll be hard pushed to find a more competitive price on the market.

Until roaming charges are abolished worldwide, we recommend using Tep’s wireless device for an all-encompassing solution, regardless of where you are planning to travel next.

Pitfalls of Holiday Wi-Fi

The High Cost of Data Roaming

It’s a problem many well-seasoned travellers are accustomed to, 4 in 10 people polled by USwitch have been landed with a shock bill just for using their mobile phone abroad. Even for the careful user, turning your phone on in a foreign country and receiving texts or voicemails can cause costs to soar. Using mobile data is particularly expensive as one British holidaymaker found when she racked up a £2,318 bill simply by using her mobile data to navigate the confusing and congested streets of Istanbul.

Why are the costs so high?

The carrier you are roaming on whilst you are abroad charges your network per megabyte, and does it at an astronomical price. The reason for this is rather interesting, because every country you visit will have multiple networks and your phone frequently switches between them, there is no incentive for roaming providers to push down prices. On top of that, your network carrier has to charge you for the highest network out there, in case you stay with them the entire time. The net result is that you get totally screwed over.

What can you do about it?

The reality is most modern travellers like to stay connected wherever they go, especially in a new country, where having access to Google maps could mean the difference between being lost and getting to your hotel safe and sound. Mobile data is also really useful for quickly evaluating a local restaurant on Trip advisor, finding out the opening times of a local attraction or staying in-touch with friends and family. If you don’t want to be paying a premium for uploading your holiday snaps to Facebook or checking directions to that great Bistro you’ve been recommended then there are few standard ways you can avoid it.

Contact your network provider and ask them to cap your bill – this will make sure you don’t return to a shock bill but will mean you won’t be able to use your data after it’s reached the limit.

Buy a data add-on that will give you a set amount of data to use whilst your away – this is a good option if your provider has reasonable offers on but will again mean you can’t use data after it runs out.

According to a recent Deloitte report 53% of people say they turn their phone off entirely or turn off data in order to avoid the costs of roaming. Just 18% said they would activate a data-add on.

Holidaymakers are clearly fed-up with having to pay excessive amounts for using their mobile phone abroad and want to be able to connect to the Internet whilst travelling without risking overcrowded Starbucks and unsecure connections.

If you don’t want to risk your mobile phone bill skyrocketing whilst you bask in the Sicilian sunshine you could always resort to turning your mobile data off and sticking to public Wi-Fi. You might think that this is an easy fix but connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots has its pitfalls.

Public WIFI

Public Wi-Fi hotspots, typically found in Hotel lobbies, Airports and Coffee Shops, allow you to connect to the internet for free (or for a small charge) and will usually require a password or registration. Whilst this option is incredibly convenient and free to use, there are several pitfalls which many people remain unaware of. The main risk to always be aware of is your data’s security. When you are logged in to a public network it becomes infinitely easier for a hacker to access and steal your personal information, think passwords, logins and credit card details – here’s a useful guide you should read to make it harder to steal your data.

Some Wi-Fi providers will also ask you to sign-up with them in order for you to access their service for free, whilst this may seem like a reasonable trade-off you are leaving yourself open to spamming and having your email address sold on to third parties. Make sure you always check the terms before you click to agree! Even if you do manage to jump through all the security hurdles, you are still hugely restricted to where you can use your Wi-Fi enabled devices and cannot enjoy access to the internet unless you are close to a hotspot.

Another problem many travellers face when they eventually locate a coffee shop with free Wi-Fi, is that they then have to deal with the noise, overcrowding and having to pay for a $4 Caramel Macchiato they never even wanted.

Portable WIFI

Portable Wi-Fi allows you to connect to the Internet from a secure, safe and convenient device that fits in the palm of your hand and can be taken anywhere. The device effectively creates a wireless hotspot with a 3G connection. By connecting to the internet through your portable device, you can save your mobile phone’s battery from draining, giving you more time to make your friends back home jealous with your photography skills.

Avid travellers David and Veronica James, better known as the ‘Gypsynesters’, were through with paying an ‘arm and a leg’ to use their devices abroad and found themselves quickly eating through data add-ons which they purchased from their U.S based network provider. Read their experience of using Tep Wireless’ portable Wi-Fi in Europe and South Africa here.

Tep Wireless’ device is available to rent for a fixed daily cost of $9.95 and allows you to travel and use the Internet seamlessly in 64 countries worldwide, making it great for that Euro trip you’ve been planning. It also gives you unlimited access for up to 5 devices, which means you can share your fuss-free connection with your friends and family. The main benefit of using a device such as Tep’s is that you no longer have to worry about your bill skyrocketing or your connection being insecure – it’s truly unlimited and completely secure.

So there you have it, our top tips to avoid unreliable Internet connections and high data roaming charges. If you need some holiday inspiration, why not check out our last post on the top cities to visit in Europe.

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Whilst Europe may be one of the smaller continents of the world, you will find no shortage of historical and cultural diversity. In this second post in our series on Europe we’ve decided to highlight the standout destinations that simply cannot be overlooked on your travels. Tep-Logo-EditedThis post will give you an overview of our top ten picks of the best cities to visit whilst on the holiday. It also includes a rundown of the attractions you can’t afford to miss with some useful tips to make your experience that little bit better.

10. Budapest

Country: Hungary

Language: Hungarian

Currency: Hungarian Forints

Nearest Airport: Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport

Useful Phrase: Szia = Hi

Budapest is a city full of life and charm and is lovingly referred to as ‘the Paris of the East’. The capital city of Hungary, is probably most famous for its divine Turkish thermal baths – go to Széchenyi, Gellért or Rudas for a relaxing dip. In addition to the baths, you must make sure to  visit the stunning Parliament Building, St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Chain Bridge, Budapest Opera  House, the Palace of Arts and the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art. This city is beautiful by day or night so we recommend checking out this Travel Guide for an evening tour of the sights or Absolute Tours for when the sun is out. If you want to find the best view in Prague, climb the 300 steps of St. Stephen’s Basilica, it will leave you absolutely breathless – literally.

9. Athens

Country: Greece

Language: Greek

Currency: Euros (but maybe not for long)

Nearest Airport: Athens International Airport

Useful Phrase: To onoma mou ine… = my name is…

In Athens you can walk in the footsteps of philosophy’s greats – Socrates, Aristotle and Plato were all products of Greece. It is also the birthplace of modern democracy and one of the oldest cities, which we think makes it worthy of a spot in our top 10. The Greeks never shied away from grandeur and built some of the most magnificent buildings including the Parthenon located on the Acropolis, The Agora, and The Temple of Olympian Zeus. Whilst many of these have  succumbed to old age, they are still extremely worthwhile visiting, we recommend Athens Tour  Guide or Private Greek Tours for their range of specialty day trips – like this one to the gorgeous  island of Aegina. There are also many museums you can visit to soak up some ancient history, Acropolis Museum, National Archaeological Museum and the Benaki are our top picks. Before you leave make sure you go to the Monastiraki Flea Market to pick up a few little souvenirs.

8. Prague

Country: Czech Republic

Language: Czech

Currency: Czech Koruna

Nearest Airport: Václav Havel Airport

Useful Phrase: děkuju (dyeh-kooyoo) = thank you

The capital city of the Czech Republic has its own distinctive character and is overflowing with historical wealth; from its rich mixture of roman, gothic and baroque design to its triumph over Nazism and Communism. This ‘City of a Hundred Spires’, as it’s commonly referred to, is full of attractions that have stood the test of time (and wars), including the Prague Castle, the Astronomical Clock, the Old Town Square, the Old Jewish Quarter and the Charles Bridge. If you want to take a tour around the city we suggest trying the free 3 hour tour offered by Sandemans – yes, it won’t cost you anything and is incredibly informative! There are also more fun ways to explore this incredible city; take a Segway tour or try the Jazz boat which will take you on the Vltava river that conveniently meanders through the center of the city!

7. Vienna

Country: Austria

Language: German

Currency: Euro

Nearest Airport: Vienna International Airport

Useful Phrase: Auf Wiedersehen = See you later

A gorgeous European city that does not disappoint. Vienna is filled with imperial palaces, classical concert halls and museums. The Schönbrunn and Hofburg Palaces of the Habsburg Royal Family, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and Rathaus are all structural masterpieces which we highly recommend taking a look at. If you want to take in the sights from above, Wiener Riesenrad (a giant Ferris wheel) located in Vienna’s largest public park (the Prater), is the perfect vantage point to enjoy the best views of the city. Vienna has music running through its veins, with classical masters Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Haydn all composing masterpieces here. We highly recommend visiting Mozarthaus, listening to a classical concert at Bösendorfer Hall, Musikverein or Wiener Konzerthaus or downloading a playlist of the Vienna Four for you to listen to while you stroll through the streets they once walked! If you’re looking for a guided tour with a difference try Polawalk, which will leave you with the perfect souvenir of your trip – unforgettable memories (and some pretty epic Polaroid shots if you ever need a reminder)

6. Rome

Country: Italy

Language: Italian

Currency: Euro

Nearest Airport: Rome Airport Fiumicino, Ciampino Airport

Useful Phrase: Come posso andare a… = How can I go to…

When in Italy’s capital we recommend you dive head first into its awe-inspiring architecture where classical, baroque, renaissance and Christian influences have coalesced to create some of the most beautiful urban scenery, buildings and sculptures on earth. Rome has so many attractions but a few stand out: the majestic Roman Colosseum and Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, the Sistine Chapel’s frescos, St. Peter’s Basilica and the legend of the Trevi Fountain. If you’re lucky you may even catch a glimpse of the elusive Popemobile in the Vatican City which, although is technically its own country, is located in the west of central Rome. Real Rome Tours will give you a guided tour of the city in a day. If you want to tour the city at your own leisure it’s definitely worthwhile investing in a Roma Pass, which gives you free access to 2 museums and unlimited transport on bus, trams and trains plus discounts to other sites.

5. Amsterdam

Country: Holland

Language: Dutch

Currency: Euro

Nearest Airport: Amsterdam Schiphol

Useful Phrase: Kunt u mij helpen? = Would you help me please?

A charming and alluring city that juxtaposes the picturesque backdrop of canals, museums and narrow houses against hazy ‘coffee shops’, sultry red lights and cycle madness (there are more bikes than cars here). Amsterdam has a broad variety of attractions that can all be admired on foot; the Royal Palace, Anne Frank House, Vondelpark, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk are all great places to start your trip. We highly recommend taking a bicycle tour if you want a truly Dutch experience. The city also houses work from Holland’s finest artists, Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Vermeer. For the more adventurous tourists, Amsterdam’s Red Light District has some shows that will shock (and maybe even delight you).

4. Barcelona

Country: Spain

Language: Spanish or Catalan

Currency: Euros

Nearest Airport: El Prat de Llobregat Aeropuerto

Useful Phrases: Bon dia, gràcies = Hello/Good Day, Thank you

The jewel in Catalonia’s crown, Barcelona is one of those cities you could easily lose yourself in. The city is just big and vibrant enough that you will never be bored but also equally perfect to spend a day walking around. The mesmerizing architecture in this city is what defines it as one of our favorite destinations in Europe with Antoni Gaudí’s ‘modernista’ style, La Sagrada Familia, Park Güell and La Pedrera are amongst our top sights. Forever Barcelona are the tour guide to go with for a very personal experience of the city. If art is your thing, make sure you visit the Museu Picasso and Els 4 Gats; a former haunt of luminaries Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso. Tip: the locals speak Catalan which is a regional dialect in Spain so don’t be caught off guard – they will also speak perfect Spanish. If you want to garner the love of some locals here’s some more useful phrases in Catalan and Spanish.

3. Istanbul

Country: Turkey

Language: Turkish

Currency: Turkish Lira

Nearest Airport: Atatürk International Airport or Sabiha Gökçen International Airport

Useful Phrase: Anlamadım (I don’t understand)

This encapsulating city is a melting pot of East and West and is the 5th most visited city in the world. It’s a hotbed of historical importance that is home to some of the most stunning mosques, whose domes and minarets form part of its iconic sky-line. You must visit the Blue Mosque, The Church of Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia), Topkapi Palace, Byzantine Hippodrome and the Basilica Cistern. For a guided tour of these sites try Daily Istanbul Tours. The Grand Bazaar is an authentic Turkish market place that merges vibrant colors and smells with the bustle of craftsmen peddling treasures like silk carpets, spices and jeweler – it’s also the perfect place to snag a bargain.

2. Paris

Country: France

Language: French

Currency: Euros

Nearest Airport: Charles de Gaulle Airport

Useful Phrase: S’il vous plaît, je cherche… = Please, I’m looking for….

A close second on our list of the top European cities. Paris is the romantic capital of the continent that continues to capture the love of tourists with its beautiful scenery, quintessential cafe bistros and dreamy architecture. You can’t leave without getting to see the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and the Notre Dame Cathedral. For a tour with a difference we recommend Wego Walking Tour or Ultimate Paris Guide. For all you art connoisseurs make sure to visit the Louvre and The Musée d’Orsay or check out the latest exhibition at the funky Palais de Tokyo. Public transport is incredibly easy in Paris and the Metro is the quickest way to get around, stations are pretty easy to come by – just look out for a big yellow ‘M’ (make sure you don’t walk straight into McDonalds – yes they have those in Paris). If you’d like to try something other than ‘Le Big Mac’ during your stay, here’s an all-in-one guide to best restaurants, bistros, patisseries and wine bars courtesy of Paris by Mouth.

1. London

Country: United Kingdom

Language: English (albeit slightly posher)

Currency: British Pounds

Nearest Airport: London Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick or Luton

Useful Phrase: Excuse me, Thank you, Sorry – the Brits appreciate politeness

It’s been voted the best city in the world to visit and is number one on our list. London provides an array of options that cater to almost any taste with iconic attractions, museums, bustling markets, Michelin-starred restaurants, shopping, street food and world-class art. There is nowhere else in the world where you can you gaze into the residence of a British monarch, visit four World Heritage sites and still have time for afternoon tea (at the Ritz, if you can). The must sees: Buckingham Palace, The Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Tower of London and the Royal Botanical Gardens. If you want to take the more traditional route and do all your sightseeing in a day there are a number of guided tours that will give you a great overview of the city’s history – try The Original London or See London By Night. For a more thrilling way to take in the sights you could take a River Cruise, hop on the iconic London Eye or our personal favorite rent a ‘Boris bike’. London is an extremely well connected city with innumerable public transport options, we recommend using the Citymapper app for your route planning or Uber if you don’t want to be charged the earth for a taxi. Londoner’s are blessed with access to some of the best museums and galleries; the British Museum, Natural History Museum, The Victoria and Albert and Tate Modern are all filled with art and treasures that you can enjoy totally free. For the shopaholic London provides in abundance with trademark department stores like Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty London as well as hundreds of high street shops on Oxford Street and the largest shopping center in Europe – there is no shortage of ways to indulge!

We hope this list of our top ten European cities to visit has helped give you an overview of the amazing choices available for your next holiday. Don’t forget to check any visa requirements ahead of booking your Euro trip as some countries (outside of the European Union), will require a separate visa (the U.K is one of them).

To really enjoy your time whilst you are abroad we also recommend having regular access to the Internet via a portable wifi Europe device so you can make bookings, contact your tour guide or just check TripAdvisor. Check out what our friends Kat and Penny had to say about using a Tep in Italy and Turkey!

If you want to know about some of the great food dishes you can experience on your European travels then read our recent post on famous foods of Europe.

Here at Tep we absolutely love to explore the world and want to ensure our customers get the best insights whilst they are on holiday. We’re really excited to introduce a series of blog posts about all things travel. In this first post we’ll highlight some of the most tantalising and iconic savoury dishes from a few of Europe’s finest destinations with some helpful tips on recipes, drink pairings and restaurant recommendations.

Tep Food Europe

If there is one thing you’re guaranteed of on your culinary tour of Europe, its diversity. There is such an amazing array of dishes scattered across the world’s second smallest continent that we couldn’t possibly include all of them. So we’ve put together a pick of our favourites that we feel are a must try on your Euro tour-de-tastebuds – happy eating!

1. Paella Valenciana, Spain

This visually enticing and commonly mispronounced Spanish dish hails from the town of Valencia and is over 1,000 years old. The dish, pronounced ‘pie-a-ya’, with its trademark saffron colour, is cooked over hours in a giant shallow pan with rice, vegetables, an aromatic stock and will commonly include rabbit and snails (Paella Valenciana) or seafood. It’s a tempting dish that is great to share with a large group of friends, check out Saveur’s take on a Valencia-style paella here and enjoy with a glass of crisp dry white wine – we recommend Paco and Lola’s 2012 Albarino.

2. Moussaka, Greece

One of Greece’s best known dishes, which is also extremely popular in Turkey and the Balkans, is a delicious combination of thinly sliced aubergine (eggplant), seasoned ground lamb and a creamy béchamel sauce. If you fancy bringing a tiny square of Greek goodness into your life, try your hands at the Atlantic’s recipe by Aglaia Kremezi. If you happen to find yourself in Athens then make sure you try the real deal at this local hidden gem.

3. Goulash, Hungary

Also spelt gulyás, this hearty stew or soup traditionally consists of tender beef, paprika powder, tomatoes and green peppers. Whilst Goulash sounds like the name of a missing member of the Adams family, it is actually derived from the Hungarian word for herdsmen, who were the original inventors of the dish. Unlike the herdsmen, who probably only had access to goats milk, we suggest you pair your stew with a rich medium-bodied red wine. For the full Goulash experience head to the Budapest Bisztro close to the city’s centre (near metro station Kossuth Lajos tér).

4. Pizza Napoletana Margherita, Italy

The original Don of Pizza’s, which has become the global symbol of Italian cuisine, can still be found in Naples where it was first handcrafted over a wood fire. There are now certified original Neapolitan Pizzerias that produce their pizzas to strict guidelines. Anyone can make a pizza but in order for it to qualify as authentic it must be wood-fired with hand rolled 00’ dough, tomato sauce made from the fruits grown in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, mozzarella di bufala, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil (Italians take their pizza seriously). There are way too many places to recommend in Naples so here is a handy guide to a selection of the best.

5. Moules-Frites (Mussels and French Fries), Belgium

This quintessential bistro dish is consumed by the tonne in Belgium. It’s a simple but mouth-watering local speciality which consists of mussels simmered in white wine, heaps of butter, shallots and fresh parsley with a generous helping of the Belgian staple – fries. To keep things truly stereotypical, enjoy with a bottle of Belgium’s finest beer, Hoegaarden. If you can’t wait to get your hands on this dish, here’s simple recipe by the Food Republic you can try at home.

6. Pot au Feu (Pot on Fire), France

The French have an enviable repertoire of classics but Pot au feu has been described as “the most celebrated dish in France” and “soul food for socialists”. Like many modern favourites, this beef stew began as a basic peasants meal in 17th Century France and was made from scraps of leftover meat and winter veggies. The contemporary version includes a variation of beef, beef marrow, ox-tail, pork and chicken, which is slow-cooked in a pot for hours with vegetables, herbs and mustard. We recommend tucking into your Pot au Feu with a glass of hearty red, like Chateau Puy Blanquet, Saint-Emilion.

7. Haring or ‘Hollandse Nieuwe’ (Raw Herring), Netherlands

It’s perhaps one of the more unusual sights you will come across in Holland; locals holding a ‘raw’ fish by its tail and dangling into their mouths. Yet this traditional dish has been around for over six centuries and is a must try if you are visiting. The herring is prepared by cleaning the fish and conserving it with salt over night, it is then served with onions and gherkins. If this sounds a little intimidating, you could always try the gentler version, ‘broodje haring’ which is the same tasty fish served in a sandwich. You can try both here, at a typical Dutch stall just outside Amsterdam Centraal station. For more great tips on what to do in Amsterdam take a look at Lela London’s post.

8. ‘Köttbullar’ (Swedish Meatballs), Sweden

Another European classic that features in many countries is the meatball. The authentic Swedish recipe contains both pork and beef and is very quick and easy to make yourself. The ease of this dish, coupled with its sheer versatility has made it a firm family favourite all over Europe – thank you Ikea. We recommend eating your meatballs with a thick gravy, try the Londoner’s version here, or simply with a generous helping of lingonberry sauce and a Swedish dark-roasted stout.

9. Wiener Schnitzel (Viennese Schnitzel), Austria

One of our favourite things to try in Austria is the schnitzel that has been around since at least 1861 but become popularised by the musical The Sound of Music…”schnitzel with noodles”. This dish is made of a thin succulent veal cutlet which is lightly coated in breadcrumbs and pan fried, it goes perfectly with an ice-cold Austrian wheat beer, like Edelweiss. Check out the Figmuller restaurant in Vienna for the real deal.

10. Fish and Chips, England

You can’t leave England without getting your paws on a very British battered fish and chips lovingly wrapped in yesterday’s newspaper. The dish, which is claimed by both London and Lancashire, has been around for over 150 years. The fish is usually freshly caught cod, plaice or haddock and is served with a generous helping of chips (think fat French fries) doused in vinegar and salt and served with a dollop of mushy peas. You can find quality Fish and Chip shops all over England, but we recommend award winning, Whitby Fish and Chips. Alternatively you could try making Chef Josh Eggleton’s traditional version yourself.

11. Caldo Verde, Portugal

This extremely popular and heart-warming Portuguese broth comes from the Minho province in the country’s northern region. The basic traditional ingredients include kale, potatoes, olive oil and salt, although usually a meat such as linguica sausage is added for that extra flavour. Caldo Verde is the perfect remedy for a cold winter’s day and is straightforward enough to make yourself – we love this recipe.

12. Cheese Fondue, Switzerland

The fondue revolution began in the 18th Century as a way to use up aged cheeses and breads during the winter, when families had limited access to fresh produce. This Swiss staple is made by melting cheeses with wine, garlic and herbs and is served with dipping bread – it’s quite literally cheesy gooey heaven in a pot. For the authentic recipe you will need to invest in some good cheese (Gruyere, Appenzeller and Emmentaler) and kirsch a Swiss Liquor. If you want to dip your bread whilst gazing at the Alps, try one of the Wall Street Journal’s top fondue restaurants here.

BeerWe hope you enjoy tasting these delicious treats from Europe, there are a whole host of dishes that could easily have made our top 12, so do let us know if we’ve missed your favourites in the comments below. If you are visiting Europe and want some helpful tips to avoid getting overcharged for using Wi-Fi check out our last blog post here. Next week we shall be continuing the European theme and will be exploring the top ten places to visit.