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Travel Like a Local in These European Destinations

Anne October 10th, 2023
Travel Like a Local in These European Destinations


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As fall approaches, it is the perfect time to vacation in Europe as crowds begin to diminish. This time of year also gives you the unique opportunity to travel more like a local than a tourist to get a genuine experience. All you need to know are a few local secrets.

Before heading out, exchange your currency with CXI, so you are ready to participate the minute you arrive. CXI makes it convenient to get your foreign currency. You can reserve your currency for branch pick up or have it delivered to your doorsteps using OnlineFX Home Delivery.

To help start your planning, here are 5 European destinations where you can truly travel like a local and have an unforgettable experience. Plus, we've included how much currency to bring for a budget dinner for two, a pint of beer, and tipping customs.

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Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen old town, Nyhavn harbour, Denmark

While you might feel a slight chill in the air as you arrive in Copenhagen, this can add to the experience of traveling like a local. The best time to visit Copenhagen for great weather, lower prices, and fewer crowds is during low season: January to March. Head to the cobbled stone street of Jaegersborggade and choose one of the locals’ favorite restaurants and boutiques where they shop along this short stretch of roadway.

Stop in Meyers Bageri to enjoy delicious Danish pastries or while away in the morning at the Coffee Collective. While visiting the famous Tivoli Gardens, ensure that you also allocate time to visit Bakken, the park most frequently visited by the true locals.

The budget dinner for the two in Copenhagen is about $39.96. They usually include a service charge in your bill, however, if not, consider leaving around a 10% tip.


Paris, France
Rue Saint Antoine à Paris en île de France, France

No matter what time of year you visit Paris, there is always so much to see and do. Yet, instead of loading up your schedule with only tourist destinations, add a few locations that the locals enjoy. To beat the crowd, consider visiting during the low season: Early December and January to April

Instead of lining up to visit the touristy Disneyland Paris, venture to the Paris’ Parc Asterix to gain a more French experience. Also, dine in restaurants off the beaten path, away from such tourist attractions as the Eiffel Tower, and visit local markets and eateries to gain a sense of the Parisian’s relaxed lifestyle.

Wander into the Saint-Germain-des-pres neighborhood and enjoy the galleries, fashionable cafes, and vintage boutiques. 

Grab a glass of wine or beer while you enjoy a night out. An average pint of beer in Paris is about $7.45. Tipping in France is not mandatory. However, if the service is excellent, consider leaving around 10% tip for your server. In bars or cafes, leave a few extra euros with your bill as a tip. 


Venice, Italy
Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice, Italy

While Venice has become overcrowded with tourists, it is still worth visiting on a European vacation. One of the best ways to travel like a local here is to shop at a local market.

The Rialto Markets are a great place for people to watch and find fresh produce to snack on throughout the day. Watch the older Venetian ladies push carts along the way and see how and what they purchase to gain a clue as to how the locals live. The Italian winter season is considered mild, so it can still be an enjoyable time to visit Italy during the low season: Between November and February.

After visiting St. Mark’s Basilica, stroll behind it for a few blocks and find a cozy café to have lunch or look for family-run trattorias tucked away in neighborhoods. Tipping is not expected in Italy. The restaurant may add a service charge to your bill. If not, leave a few euros to your server as a tip.


Valencia, Spain

Modernist Mercat Central market in Valencia, Spain

Once you land in Valencia, Spain, you will quickly learn that the Spanish lifestyle is one of slow-pacing and relishing delicious meals. You’ll want to find a restaurant well outside touristy areas and try traditional paella the way it is intended to be enjoyed.

Budget travelers can take advantage of cheaper accommodation and less crowds in the dining scene by visiting during the low season: November to February. Stroll around the city at a leisurely pace, stopping at the local markets along the way. The Mercado Central is ideal for this.

Although tipping isn't common in Spain. The restaurant may already include the service fee. But if it's not, then feel free to add up to a 10% tip to your bill.


Munich, Germany

In Munich, do as the locals do and spend time exploring the green spaces around the city. The Englisher Garden, just north of Old Town, is vast, and you can enjoy walks or bike rides through its grounds, stopping for a beer and brat at a local biergarten along the way.  

While the city does have modern shopping areas, many locals prefer the old town shops. Join them by wandering down the Kaufingerstr, which leads to the Marienplatz and beyond. To save some costs on hotel rates and skip out on the crowd, the best time to visit is during the low season: December to February.

Grab a German beer while you're out on the town. A pint of beer is about $4.89. Tipping is customary in Germany. Cash is king in Germany, so have cash on hand. Be prepared to tip around 5-10% percent to your server.



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About Currency Exchange International
Currency Exchange International, CXI, is the leading provider of comprehensive foreign exchange services, risk management solutions and integrated international payments processing technology in North America. CXI’s relationship-driven approach ensures clients receive tailored solutions and world-class customer service. Through innovative and trusted FX software platforms, CXI delivers versatile foreign exchange services to our clients, so that they can efficiently manage and streamline their foreign currency and global payment needs. CXI is a trusted partner among financial institutions, corporations and retail markets around the world. To learn more, visit: www.ceifx.com


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