14 American Tourists Share Their Biggest European Culture Shocks To Prepare Other Travelers

List Rules
Americans: vote up the most unexpected culture shocks.

Europe is vast, and attracts a lot of tourists who don't always know the unspoken rules of every given destination. To be fair, travel can be pretty overwhelming! But to prepare yourself for the biggest differences between Europe and America, you might want to check out these stories from tourists. Read on to learn what to expect when traveling.


  • 1
    5 VOTES

    The Cities And Buildings Are Incredibly Old

    From Redditor u/Diogenes_Shadow:

    History. I followed a tour of American tourists into the church in downtown. Question gets asked: Is this the oldest church in town? Heard reply:

    "(Chuckle) Oh no, the old church is on the north side of the river. This church was built in 1310."

    Just a different perspective on history.

  • 2
    4 VOTES

    Small Drinks Are Actually Small

    From Redditor u/HutSutRawlson:

    When I ordered a small drink, it was actually small.

  • 3
    3 VOTES

    You Have To Pay To Use Public Toilets

    From Redditor u/CustosClavium:

    The difficulty of finding a public toilet, and then having to pay to use it.

    I went to Rome in September. Walked miles and miles checking things out, drinking tons of water to stay hydrated, and not a toilet to be found.

  • 4
    4 VOTES

    They Don't Put Ice In Their Drinks

    From Redditor u/SluggoDog:

    Lots of stuff freaked me out in Germany.

    No ice, having to pay for water, no ice, trains that take you anywhere, and especially no ice.

    But one night I’m flipping through the TV, and I came across this show that was obviously a comedy, and it had the strangest puppet character. I was mesmerized for two hours watching this show that I couldn’t even understand. Finally figured out the main character was a damned depressed loaf of bread.

    Got back home and watched every episode I saw there on YouTube with English subtitles.

  • 5
    1 VOTES

    You Can Drink Beer Anywhere At Any Time

    From Redditor u/CregSantiago:

    You can drink a beer anywhere, any time. I mean, I woke up in Berlin and bought a bottle of beer at a small breakfast stand in a park; it was like 6 am.

  • 6
    1 VOTES

    There Is An Abundance Of Inexpensive And Very Good Wine

    From Redditor u/somafm_addict:

    In Italy: The abundance of inexpensive and very good red and white wines. Amazing!

    Amsterdam: Most things are designed to be practical. The people are polite and practical as well. No large, fancy cars.

    Both places. The facts that I could jump on a train and get to most places in Europe was really cool.