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Map of Europe

Places in Europe you can visit without getting on a Plane

Travelling by Sea to nearby interesting foreign countries. Going abroad without flying.

In case you didn't know, Great Britain is an island. The sea surrounding Britain is not vast, and only a few hundred miles away there are other countries, on the mainland of continental Europe, and other places too. It's not just France. There are many other countries that are quite nearby.

From a British perspective, other countries which are "abroad" or "on the Continent" may seem foreign parts and a long way off, but actually they are surprisingly close. With the sort of distance scale of London to Leeds, Belgium and Holland are nearby.

Interestingly, you can get to a variety of interesting countries without having to get on a plane*. Besides a few people having a fear of flying, there's also the anti-terrorist nonsense which is a nuisance and largely unnecessary.

Going by sea is the way. Britain being an ancient maritime nation, there are ships coming and going all the time. These days you can get on a ship, and within a few hours you can be walking around in another country. Ships have no need to be fast, and they typically travel at about 20 knots (about 20 miles per hour), over water. Going by ship seems always to have additional style to it. Even on cross-channel ferries it's got as aspect that hints at "cruising". The views are good, and the fresh sea air is regarded as good for you. You're on holiday and you don't need to rush. What many people don't realise is how near to Britain many of these interesting countries are. Nearby countries across the North Sea include France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, and Germany. You can also get to the Ireland (Eire), the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, and a bit further away Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Spain, and Portugal. These and other countries, are within reach.Map of Europe

Look on this map of Europe and see how near these countries are.

Travelling on a ship is different from other modes of transport. Whereas in almost all other transportation systems you have to sit on a seat all of the way there, on a ship you can walk about in an indoor world which has halls, rooms, corridors, lounges, and amenities. It's sometimes more like a shopping centre or a holiday camp, where there's a lot to look at and do.

The journey itself is part of the holiday, and it isn't just a matter of twiddling your thumbs and trying to get there as fast as possible. At sea you have time to wander around and make a holiday of it during the journey. The inside of a passenger ship is like a big building with a lot going on. It's up to you to explore. Incidentally, although the internal spaces resemble those of the interior of a building, it is not entirely static. This may initially be slightly disconcerting because you're used to building standing still, but you soon get accustomed to it. You are unlikely to get sea-sick, and the knack to avoiding sea-sickness is to go with the flow, have a dose of the duty-free alcohol, and just accept that the world around you is in continuous motion.

The food is often quite good, and on various ships I've been on, you are encouraged to have a good appetite. It's not like on a plane where the airline has had to pay for every gramme of the food to be lifted seven miles up into the sky. On ship, the food is loaded aboard at near-enough ground level and weight isn't an issue. Also, onboard ships, there are kitchens with cooks preparing food, and restaurants with tables and chairs. Map of EuropeIt's like a castle which is routinely under siege for a day and there's an aspect of self-sufficiency to the whole environment.

Another of the attractions when travelling on a ship is that you can go on deck and see... the sea! The views from a ship are quite good. You are about ten stories high above the sea which is swooshing past as you're relentlessly going along at about 20 miles per hour, which is quite fast over water. On a nice day on the open sea you can see for miles and miles, and when the ship approaches land, the coastal scenery comes into view and slides past gracefully as a vast vista of geographical magnificence.

In case you hadn't guessed, this website is an affiliate website, and there are some links to places which you may like to use to book your holiday cruising across the sea to those nearby countries in Europe. For example,DFDS Seaways (Newcastle to Amsterdam, Dover to Dunkirk and Calais, and Harwich to Esbjerg (Esbjerg is in Denmark) , P & O (Dover to Calais, Portsmouth to Bilbao, Portsmouth to Cherbourg, Portsmouth to Le Havre, Portsmouth to Caen, Hull to Rotterdam and Hull to Zeebrugge), Cruise.co.uk , The Cruise Specialists , Irish Ferries (Holyhead to Dublin, Pembroke to Rosslare, Rosslare to Cherbourg and Roscoff), Ideal Cruising (Tilbury to Amsterdam and Southampton to Zeebrugge), and Ferry Savers (many destinations, places, and routes - on a map!). For an even wider range of travel options, you can see the travel page here, which has a great many places listed.

* Planes. Problems of flying on a plane. For the purposes of this article, the Eurostar underground train system is regarded as "plane" because it is as expensive as flying, and there's similar security problems and anti-terrorist nonsense, and there's a lot of waiting around, and the food in the waiting areas is inedible for the coeliac, as I have found, as per on airlines. Having a mode of transport that's designed to be fast, and then having to wait two hours before you start, is ridiculous.

Creative commons free MAPS copied with permission from Free World Maps.net, whose link is also featured at the page of MAPS

More maps of Europe...

Physical:Map of Europe
Political:Map of Europe