While those in the United States definitely seem to have their own perceptions of other areas in the world, it's interesting to think about some of the myths that surround other cultures and locations. Although there are many of us that have had the privilege of traveling across the pond to Europe, there are millions that have never made that voyage. In the meantime, there are a number of myths that circulate Europe and Europeans, in general, that have made their way into the minds of those in the United States and the rest of the world.
Some of these myths have been perpetuated by how Europeans have been depicted on both the small and big screen. Stereotypical European characters have caused many people to think that some of these myths may be centered in truth. While the general public seems to understand that not all British men act like Hugh Grant's character in Four Weddings and a Funeral and not all landscapes are going to look like something out of Under the Tuscan Sun, there are still some myths that seem a bit up in the air. Check out our list of the 25 things that we think about Europe that are actually true and see how many may be a bit of a surprise.
25 they Are Big Spenders
One of the biggest myths about Europeans revolves around their spending habits. Many people can't help but think of the famously expensive department store, Harrods, which is known for having luxury items that carry huge price tags. While there are definitely people of all different incomes throughout Europe, it's interesting to see that Britons have spent a large amount during the holidays with each new year.
Tech firm Adobe stated that the spending for the holidays in 2015 was £2.46bn and each new year has had even higher predictions for consumer spending.
Although there are people of all different incomes throughout Europe, there’s no denying that there is a high number of spenders.
24 Europe Often Copies The U.S.
With the United States being seen as a huge world power, it's not surprising that many people think that other parts of the world try to emulate it. One thing about Europe is that it is trying to emulate the people in the United States. From fashion trends to celebrities crossing the pond, it's interesting how much can be influenced by what’s going on in the United States.
A great example of this is the fact that there are a number of holidays that have found their way over to Europe.
From celebrating Black Friday to celebrating Halloween, it's interesting that holidays from the United States are being celebrated by those in Europe.
23 they Really Like Gravy - somewhat true
It's no secret that there are different areas around the world that have their own very distinct cuisine. Yet, there is a myriad of different facets within each location that have their own preferences and specialty dishes.
Just as Chicago is known for its deep dish pizza and Maine is known for its lobster rolls, there are many different sections within Europe that have their own specifics in cuisine and preferences.
Some think that Europeans just love to drown things in gravy because of popularly known dishes like Yorkshire pudding but not everyone in Europe enjoys gravy to that great of an extent. However, it's undeniable that a traveler would be able to find a Yorkshire pudding or chips and gravy dish on any given pub menu when traveling in certain areas of Europe.
22 they love Soccer (Football)
In the United States, it doesn't seem like soccer is a hugely popular sport in the same way as baseball or basketball. Yet, the rest of the world seems completely enthralled with the sport that the Brits call football. Europe is known for having a huge number of soccer fans and people go all out when it comes to their devotion to their favorite teams or celebrating the achievements of their favorite players.
The athletes that have excelled in soccer have gone on to become huge stars in Europe and have achieved a great deal of fame in other parts of the world as well.
The popularity of some of these more well-known players has helped to propel their careers in more than just on the field and some have gone on to become known as some of the biggest celebrities throughout the world.
21 They Love A Period Drama
There are different types of television and film preferences in various places around the world but it seems like they are known for having a love for period dramas. This myth is only exasperated by the fact that so many actors with British accents have been portrayed in period dramas.
There have also been a great deal of period dramas that have become hugely popular throughout Europe and have crossed over to other audiences.
Television shows like Downton Abbey and Poldark have become huge hits with viewers and it seems like TV audiences are constantly looking for the next period drama that will enthrall like some of these other shows.
20 A Lot Of Haunted Places
With Europe having such a long and intriguing history, it's not surprising that so many people think that it is a hotbed for paranormal activity. It doesn't help that there have been numerous Hollywood films that have taken place throughout Europe and have told some ghost stories that have lingered in people's minds.
While the entirety of Europe definitely doesn't have ghosts walking the streets, there are actually quite a lot of locations that are known for having a dark past.
From Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England that became famous for having an apparition caught on film to the Venice Island, Poveglia, which is known for having an abundance of paranormal activity, there actually are a number of places in England that would be perfect for the ghost enthusiast.
19 A Major Sweet Tooth
There are some parts of the world where desserts aren't really seen as the main go-to section of the meal. While Asia is known for its distinct cuisine, there aren't a huge number of dessert dishes that pop out at people when considering classic Asian dishes. Yet, that definitely isn't the same for the cuisine in Europe.
In fact, people often think of Europe as being known for its fascination with anything sweet, from decadent tarts to intricate French pastries.
There are a number of television shows that cater towards the European sweet tooth, including the hugely popular series, The Great British Bake Off, and it's undeniable that some of the most decadent desserts hail from Europe.
18 Europeans Love Dogs
When it comes to domesticated pets, there are some places that seem to be far more friendly towards dogs than others. Europe is actually known for being filled with a vast number dog lovers and people can't help but think about the intriguing history regarding dog breeds.
Some dog breeds can be traced back to Europe and many people believe that the whole of Europe are all enthralled with their four-legged friends.
Although there are undoubtedly Europeans that aren't very dog-friendly, there are millions that can't help but show their love for these furry pets. One great example of how much Europeans love dogs is the stellar popularity of Crufts, the international canine event in the United Kingdom.
17 Their shows are Far Less Censored
There are some aspects of television in the US that seem a bit over-the-top in regards to using profanity and having some revealing aspects but, on the whole, it is pretty much well-censored. There are other parts of the world that show a great deal more in regards to profanity and showing off some skin.
There is the idea that Europe is far less censored when it comes to those things and it's actually true. From beaches that are known for people showing off a bit more to television shows that wouldn't be available in the United States before dark, it's interesting how so much more is allowed in Europe.
16 They Favor Bawdy Humor
When it comes to certain areas in the world, there are some places that are known for being a bit uptight. Yet, there are others that are known for favoring bawdy types of humor. This is definitely the stereotype for those in Europe, especially since so many British films and television shows have centered on bawdy behavior.
Love, Actually is a great example of how British people are seen to the rest of the world since it portrayed a talk show appearance that was seen as hilarious to a British audience. Yet, this may not be an actual myth since there are current running shows on European TV that center around this exact type of humor.
15 It’s Expensive To Live In Europe
While there are definitely some smaller towns and villages throughout Europe that don't have hugely inflated prices for housing and living expenses, it seems like people generally think that it is extremely expensive to live across the pond.
European department stores like Harrods cater towards people of a particular income and large cities like London are constantly making the list for most expensive places in the world to live.
In 2016, The Independent reported, "London has been ranked the most expensive city to live and work in by Savills, the estate agent, beating New York and Hong Kong to the top spot". But luckily, there are many other places to live in Europe.
14 There Are A Lot Of Rats
When places in Europe are depicted to the rest of the world, it sometimes seems like the streets aren't always shown in the best light. There are many parts of Europe that are thought to be a bit grimy and there is the idea that rats are rampant throughout various areas.
However, there have been numerous reports revolving around the actual sightings of giant rats in Europe and there have even been photographs to surface online.
In May 2018, The Telegraph reported, "As Italy struggles to deal with burgeoning populations of an introduced giant rodent, a mayor has come up with a novel solution -- eat them."
13 Europeans Eat A Lot Of Fried Food
While there is definitely a huge variation of different types of cuisine throughout the whole of Europe, it seems like they are best known for the fried food dishes.
From French fries to battered and fried fish, it's not surprising that people can't help but think that Europeans eat a great deal of fried food.
These fast meals that aren't the healthiest are actually a huge staple for many in Europe. In 2011, The Daily Mail reported, "The average Briton will wolf down 312 portion of fish 'n' chips in his or her lifetime and spend a total of £17,250 on takeaways."
12 Europeans Drive Fast
When it comes to rules of the road in various countries, it seems like the United States has far stricter guidelines. Speed limits are thoroughly enforced and drivers in the United States are never allowed to drive at ultra-fast speeds like Germany's autobahn.
With speed limits over 70 mph, it's actually not a myth that people in Europe drive at far faster speeds.
While there are those that get hung up on the fact that the steering wheels are on the other side of the car and people are asked to drive on opposite sides of the road, it's the speed limit that really surprises people when they travel to Europe.
11 Europe Is Flooded With Tourists
There are some vacation spots that are seen as a must-see place for travelers because of how desolate they are and how it can be a great getaway for those wanting a bit of solitude.
Yet, that isn't exactly how Europe is portrayed to many people since it's often seen as overcrowded when it comes to tourists.
While there are some places in Europe that are seen as farmland and very quaint, there are actually many areas that are completely bombarded by tourists. In fact, so many tourists have flooded to certain areas in Europe that it's caused some of the locals to protest.
10 Europeans Don’t Like Tourists
Tourism brings on a great boost to the economy and it can be a huge advantage for areas that need an influx of customers to local businesses. Yet, not all locations are happy to welcome tourists in their community.
There is this idea that Europeans don't actually like tourists and for many places that have a huge number of travelers coming through with each year, it's actually quite true.
From Parisians angered by tourists ruining the bridges with all the padlocks to beaches that are bombarded by tourists to the point where locals can no longer enjoy them, it's interesting how tourism comes with so many disadvantages for the locals.
9 Europe Is Filled With Graffiti
When it comes to graffiti, it seems like there are many different thoughts about whether or not it is truly considered art. In many places in the world, graffiti is seen as vandalism and it actually creates a look of a downtrodden area.
Yet, there are areas in Europe where graffiti is seen as a form of art and is actually quite welcome to the locals.
There is even a famous street artist that has made a huge name for himself through his graffiti art. Banksy is an England-based street artist that made a name for himself through his graffiti and he even opened up his own hotel, The Walled Off Hotel.
8 Europeans Love Antiques
With Europe being filled with so many historical buildings and having such a rich history, it's not surprising that millions of people assume that Europeans are just enthralled with antiques.
While there are undoubtedly people in Europe that couldn't care less about an antique, there are also millions of people that can't get enough of them.
In 1977, BBC aired a documentary revolving around London auction house and it wound up spawning the famed television series, Antiques Roadshow. It's currently in its 40th season and is a huge favorite by Europeans, with each new episode garnering vast numbers in viewership.
7 The Dollar Doesn’t Go Far In Europe
When people are traveling, one of the biggest things to consider is how the currency converts. People often overlook this when thinking about where to go during their travels since so many other things can take precedence.
Yet, getting a great deal on a plane ticket or a hotel stay can go out of the window when the currency exchange isn't taken account when traveling to Europe.
The dollar to euro exchange is currently around 0.7946, which means that for every $1,000 a traveler can expect to get $794.60. This actually can put a huge damper on a vacation in Europe and it definitely doesn't let the dollar go as far as some other places in the world.
6 There Is A High Obesity Rate
With Europe being known for incredibly unhealthy dishes and fried foods, it's not surprising that there is a myth that Europeans have a high obesity rate. While there are millions of Europeans that are incredibly fit and health conscious, that doesn't mean that there aren't those that fall into the obese category.
In 2017, The Independent released the results of a study that stated, "Around 27 per cent of Britons are now clinically obese and another 36 percent are overweight".
Like many other parts of the world, obesity is something that plagues millions of people and it's something that Europeans have been forced to address in recent years.
5 they Have A Completely Different Dialect
While there are areas of Europe that speak various languages, it's interesting how difficult it can be for people to understand those that are speaking in English because of their distinct accent.
The accent can be so thick in various areas of Europe that it can make it extremely difficult to understand.
On top of that, there are certain phrases and words that are used in such varying ways that it can make having a regular conversation quite difficult. This is made even trickier when it comes to various locations between the north and south. Something that means something in one area can mean something completely different in others.
4 They Travel A Lot
One of the biggest myths about Europeans is that they are constantly taking vacations. A common saying is that in August, everyone in Europe is on a vacation. While there are definitely those in Europe that don't have the luxury of being able to vacation throughout the year, there have been studies done on the amount of vacations taken in comparison to other places in the world.
The New York Times reported that the United States had figures of working 50 percent more than Germans, French, and Italians.
There is definitely a different mentality regarding work and rest in Europe and it exemplifies itself in the amount of vacations that are taken by the locals.
3 It’s Simple To Travel Between Countries
When traveling across the United States, travelers have a number of different options and it is seen as relatively simple. People often drive across the country, take a train ride or purchase an airline ticket at a fairly low price. The same is thought for European travel since people often associate it with those backpacking and visiting hostels.
Rather than traveling to different states, it's crossing into different countries.
Yet, that doesn't seem to be that much of an inconvenience for those that know how to travel the trains and have their passport handy. The Eurostar train offers a relatively inexpensive ticket price for a 2 hour trip from London to Paris and it garners millions of travelers each year.
2 They Aren’t Overly Friendly
There are parts of the world where friendliness is just part of the culture and people are constantly going out of their way to smile and exchange pleasantries with those that may cross their path. Yet, that doesn't exactly fit with the stereotype surrounding Europeans. There is a thought that Europeans can be a bit unfriendly, even if it may just be a cultural difference rather than having to do with their rudeness.
Forbes released the findings of a Skycanner.com survey and revealed the areas where locals weren't prone to friendliness. France, Ireland, Russia, Germany and the UK came top on the list.
1 Intense Rivalry With Australia
Many people often bulk Australia along with the rest of Europe just because it is part of the Commonwealth of Nations. Yet, not only is it a country that is outside of Europe but it is actually known for having an intense rivalry with England.
With soccer being such a phenomenon in the world of sports, it's not surprising that people would become so invested in Australia's winning record on the field. While there are those that are able to separate the soccer rivalry from the whole population of Australia, there's no denying that there is a bit of rivalry between those in Europe and Australia.
Sources: Londonist, Washington Post, The Guardian, BuzzFeed, CBS News, One Kind Design, BBC, Daily Mail, The Local, Time, Express, NY Times, The Guardian