Western Europe is renowned for its numerous ancient buildings, alluring landscapes, diverse cultures, solid world-class infrastructure, and up-to-date upscale lifestyle. Embarking on a journey to this part of the world is certainly a dream of every traveller, including mine. When Selamat Bercuti invited me to follow on a Muslim-friendly Western Europe package tour, I immediately jumped on it, making turning my dream into reality.
Selamat Bercuti – making a journey to Europe possible
When planning a trip, we fastidiously research for the lowest priced airline tickets, transfers and accommodations. This whole affair can be time and energy consuming at best, downright quite confusing and frustrating at worst. For better peace of mind, obtaining the services of a travel agent is the best option for hassle-free vacation. Selamat Bercuti is one of Malaysian’s leading travel agents that offers Muslim-friendly tour products (including halal-certified meals, personalised travel itinerary, exclusive ground transport, and accommodation) to exciting destinations including Europe, which is my favourite. Through this nine-day trip, the package brought me to England, Netherlands, Belgium and France!
Iconic landmarks that should be visited in Western Europe
1. Catch the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace
Located in the City of Westminster, Buckingham Palace has been the London residence of the royal family since Queen Victoria’s accession in 1837, which is why I have always been interested to see it with my own eyes. I opted to witness the Changing of the Queen’s Guards ceremony that begins with a troop of guard riding from the Hyde Park barracks and arriving at the palace to take over the guarding duty from their colleagues who were serving before.
GPS: 51.501866, -0.141792
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2. Learn the stories behind Stonehenge
This trip brought me to Stonehenge, one of the Britain’s prominent archaeological mysteries. Located 90 minutes away from central London, this well-known spot is ideal for those who are into ancient mysterious ruins. Though I did not manage to capture any appealing images of this iconic landmark due to rainy weather, I was still able to admire and learn more about this monumental vestige at the Stonehenge Visitor Centre.
GPS: 51.182913, -1.825150
3. Shop at Bicester Village
For shopaholics, a trip to England would not be complete without shopping at Bicester Village. It is the best place to purchase leading European fashion and lifestyle brands like Guess, DKNY, Prada and Burberry at outlet prices when being in London. Bicester Village also offers notable dining options such as the cosy and trendy English country-style farmshop restaurant & café, and itsu, an Asian-inspired restaurant chain.
GPS: 51.892392, -1.156170
4. Savouring Malaysian dishes at Rasa Malaysia Restaurant
There is a saying that the further we travel, the more we miss home, especially the food. Rasa Malaysia provides me an opportunity to savour several authentic yet delectable Malaysian dishes such as nasi lemak (rice cooked with coconut milk served with aromatic fried chicken), asam laksa (rice noodles with flavourful fish based soup), and spicy fried noodles. A place with great ambiance that brings Malaysians closer to home!
5. Delve into the history of Netherlands at Zaanse Schans
Moving further to Netherlands, Selamat Bercuti brought us to one of the well-known attractions in this country, Zaanse Schans. I feasted my eyes on a collection of stunning well-preserved historic windmills and houses believed to be the great example of how a traditional Dutch village looks like. Besides beautiful panorama, this is also the place where travellers get the chance to visit museums and traditional factories, sample Dutch cheese and witness how wooden clogs are made.
GPS: 52.477787, 4.817863
6. Tour around Amsterdam City Centre
I have been to Amsterdam before and it is amazing that a previous travel memory from two years ago still matches the awe of seeing it again like it was the first time – it is indeed a charming, aged European city that never cease to amaze. Amsterdam, being the Netherlands’ largest city, is the financial, cultural, and creative hub of this nation. The thing that I love most about exploring this city is its quaint architecture and more than 1,500 bridges!
GPS: 52.370235, 4.893680
7. Witnessing the Mysterious Atomium monument in Brussels
The tour proceeded to Belgium, the country adjacent to the Netherlands. Belgium is well known for its rich pastries like decadent chocolates and delightful waffles. I stopped by at the beguiling Atomium, one of Brussels’ famous monuments. Originally constructed in 1958 for the world expo, it is simply gratifying to be able to see this work of art through my own eyes.
GPS: 50.896514, 4.341638
8. Admiring the grandeur of the Eiffel Tower
By following Selamat Bercuti’s Europe tour, I am now able to tick another destination off my bucket list: Paris, the popular city renowned for its fascinating architecture, gastronomy, fashion and glamour. When being in this city, a visit to the world famous Eiffel Tower is a must. I went up the tower to take in the summer breeze while the enjoying spectacular views of Paris. There are few cafés and restaurants available on the tower for travellers to enjoy refreshing beverages or pastries. Eiffel Tower is definitely one of those landmarks you simply must visit at least once in your life.
Gaya Travel extends our heartfelt gratitude to Selamat Bercuti for making the writer’s dream trip to Western Europe possible.
This article is included in Gaya Travel Magazine Issue 11.4. Read the magazine for free HERE.