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Europe Trip Planner

Euroventure specialises in multi-city europe trips – specifically interrail and eurail adventures., check out our resources and tools below to help you plan your european escape.

It can be really overwhelming trying to plan your Europe trip. There are a ton of things to work out, research and eventually book. That’s why we offer as many resources and services as possible. From planning tools and rail trip advice, to fully guided tours , we can help you plan your ultimate Europe trip on your terms.

Use our interactive Europe Trip Planner tool to create your own route.

Use our Europe trip planner map  to create your own self-guided route, including any major European destinations – plus some further afield including Russia and China!

The map tool is interactive and super easy to use; you can make a plan without any obligation to book your trip with us. We’ll then send you over our best ideas for your route, plus a price including all your trains and accommodation. If you like the idea of having your multi-destination trip planned for you, you can book it within minutes! If not, no problem – you can still use the planner.

Not sure which destinations to visit? Get some inspiration with our destination guide !

trip planning europe

Planning a trip to Europe but need some inspiration? Take a look at our self-guided itineraries.

Choose the route you like the best, and we’ll plan your Europe trip. You travel on your own, or with friends, but we’ll organise everything and send it all to you in a handy travel pack. We can also book activities, attractions and excursions for you. All you have to arrange is a flight to and from your start/finish point, plus your travel insurance (which you can sort through our partners here ) and spending money. Find out roughly how much spending money to take .

Wherever we can, we use trains to get from A to B. They’re the most sustainable, sociable and convenient way to get around – and we’ve got deals with all the main providers plus a ton of expert knowledge! Read more about  travelling Europe by train  – or check out our comparison of  different ways to travel Europe  for more inspiration. Scroll down for Europe trip itineraries from 1 – 8 weeks or longer!

If you prefer to travel with likeminded backpackers, why not join one of our small group trips across Europe:  Find out more.

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Europe Trip Planner

Top destinations in europe.


Top attractions in Europe

La Sagrada Familia

Other notable attractions

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Explore nearby places

  • Mazerolles-le-Salin
  • Grandfontaine
  • Roset-Fluans
  • Ecole-Valentin
  • Avanne-Aveney
  • Saint-Loup-Nantouard
  • Chatillon-le-Duc

All related maps of Europe

  • Map of Europe
  • Map of Burgille
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  • Map of Recologne
  • Map of Etrabonne
  • Map of Hugier
  • Map of Vitreux
  • Map of Mazerolles-le-Salin
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  • Map of Malans
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  • Map of Osselle
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  • Map of Saint-Loup-Nantouard
  • Map of Chatillon-le-Duc
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Europe throughout the year

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trip planning europe

Planning a Trip to Europe: Your 10-Step Guide

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Caroline Costello

Caroline Costello's travel accomplishments include surviving a 2 a.m. whitewater rafting excursion in the Canadian wilderness, successfully biking from Dusseldorf to Cologne without a map, and gaining access to a covert pizza speakeasy in New Orleans.

Caroline is an active member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). Her work has appeared on USA Today , the Boston Globe ,,, ABC News, TODAY Travel, and, among other publications.

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Before you can experience authentic Spanish tapas, piazzas in Rome, or rooftop terraces in Prague, an important to-do list stands between you and your European vacation. The logistics involved in planning a trip to Europe may seem tedious or overwhelming, but the more prepared you are, the greater your chances of a successful trip that lives up to your expectations. That’s why it’s important to do a bang-up job creating an itinerary, arranging transportation, and tackling the brass tacks before you’re off to the Continent.

The following guide explains how to plan a trip to Europe in 10 simple steps—so you can spend less time worrying about your travel arrangements and more time staring at pictures of castles and men in kilts.

Four friends sitting in front of the Eiffel Tower

1. Get your documents in order.

If you don’t have a passport, it will take at least four to six weeks from the time of application for you to receive one. Expedited services—either through the State Department or an expeditor such as Travel Visa Pro —can trim the process down to a week or so, but it will cost you an additional fee, so it’s best to take care of this well before your trip.

Already have a passport? Check its expiration date. The last thing you need is to find out your passport has expired while you’re in line at airport check-in. Keep in mind that some countries require your passport to be valid for six months beyond your trip dates.

All car rental companies require drivers to have valid licenses in their home country, so you’ll also want to check the expiration date of your license. Some car rental companies also require an international driving permit for European rentals in addition to a valid driver’s license. For U.S. citizens, these can be obtained through the American Auto Association (AAA); in Canada, try the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA).

Depending on length of stay, some destinations require valid visas in addition to passports; obtaining one is a complicated process that can take weeks even after you have been approved—so start early.

2. Establish a budget.

When planning a trip to Europe, establish a budget as early as possible—even before you know your destination, travel dates, or itinerary. Some destinations are generally cheaper than others, but there are ways to save everywhere: travel in the off-season, pick budget accommodations, plan a shorter trip. For example, London is an expensive city, but many travel providers and airlines offer affordable vacation packages to the city, and it’s not hard to find cheap air deals to London, especially during the winter.

Set your budget early on, and you’ll avoid any disappointment that could come from forging a fabulous itinerary, like two weeks in Switzerland during summer, and then discovering you can’t afford it. Travel budget apps such as TrabeePocket ( iOS | Android ) can help you keep track of your expenses once you start making bookings.

The Most Expensive Cities in the World

3. Pick a destination.

Now that you know how much you can spend, where do you want to go? If you’re like many travelers and you have a humongous list of places in Europe you want to visit, this could be tricky.

One strategy is to pick a particular site that’s on your must-see travel list, and plan your vacation around that. Last year I planned a trip to Ireland centered on an excursion to remote Skellig Michael Island , a UNESCO World Heritage site I’d dreamed of visiting. The excursion turned into an unforgettable two-week Emerald Isle road trip.

Another option is to pick someplace timely. Visit countries’ tourism websites and search for seasonal events like festivals or local holidays (which you may want to either avoid or join, depending on how you feel about crowds). Don’t forget to check the weather before you decide on your destination.

4. Create a rough itinerary.

So you want to go to France, eh? Don’t go ahead and buy a roundtrip flight to Paris and a hotel room—at least, not yet. Planning a European vacation takes a lot of prep work. You’ll want to sketch out a day-by-day itinerary of your perfect trip to France before you book a thing. Research sites and cities you really want to explore, and then figure out which ones you have the time and budget to get to.

Check out alternative ways to travel in Europe. If you want to see multiple countries or cities but are on a tight budget, you may want to consider a cruise (exchange rates are naught for U.S. citizens onboard American ships). If you’d rather not do the work of creating your own itinerary, continue booking a group tour with a company such as Intrepid Travel , G Adventures , Trafalgar , or Rick Steves’ Europe .

Woman standing on wall overlooking the ocean in Santorini, Greece

5. Book your airfare.

Because airfare will probably be the most expensive part of your trip, you’ll want to book it before anything else (car rental, hotel, etc.). This will allow you to be more flexible with your dates, which is a great way to save money on your flight. You can often spend less by flying on international discount airlines like Aer Lingus or Norwegian . Check multiple booking sites , including meta-search sites such as Skyscanner and traditional booking sites such as Expedia , to make sure you’re seeing a wide range of options. You can also set up fare alerts using Airfarewatchdog , SmarterTravel’s sister site, so you’ll be notified when the price of your flight drops.

Consider spicing up your trip with a layover in a different country. Icelandair has a long-running program that allows passengers flying elsewhere in Europe to take a free stopover in Reykjavik for up to seven nights.

Where to Find Premium Airfare Deals on First Class and Business Class

6. Book your accommodations.

It’s time to go back to that rough itinerary you jotted down and fill in some places to sleep. As is the case with pretty much everything you book for your trip, the earlier you make arrangements, the better—especially during summer high season.

Sure, you can just book a room at the local Hilton and be done with it. But do a bit of research and you could discover some funky lodging that’s almost as exciting as the attractions you plan to visit. Keep your eyes open for historic castles, tiny bed and breakfasts, houseboats, eco-friendly hotels, or organic farms. Budget travelers take note: Vacation rentals , homestays, farm stays, and house-swapping are accommodation options that can be shockingly affordable … or even free.

As with airfare, you should shop around on multiple hotel sites to make sure you’re getting the best deal, and read reviews from past guests to see what the experience is like. TripAdvisor , , and are a few good places to start.

7. Consider travel insurance.

There are several kinds of travel insurance: trip cancellation insurance, flight cancellation insurance, medical insurance, etc. The best time to buy insurance is right after you put down the major deposits on your trip, whether that entails airfare, a package, or prepaid hotels. Once you know how much money you’ve paid upfront, you can ensure your trip if you so choose. Many airlines and travel providers sell insurance that you can purchase along with your flight or tour package. Always, always read the fine print in your policy and compare it with other travel insurance policies before you make a purchase.

Check your medical insurance coverage to see if you’re covered overseas. If not, you may want to purchase supplemental medical insurance to cover situations like the cost of transportation back home for emergency care.

Reputable travel insurance companies to consider include Allianz Travel and Seven Corners .

Travel Insurance Coverage: 18 Things Your Policy Won’t Cover

8. Book local transportation and day tours.

When in Rome, ride the Metropolitana. Find out how the locals get around the destination to which you’re traveling and act accordingly. You won’t need a car rental in places like bike-friendly Amsterdam or London with its convenient underground Tube, unless you plan to go outside the city.

A car rental is your best bet if you’re traveling to locales that can’t be easily reached by rail or plane (such as the Irish countryside). Be mentally prepared to drive in a foreign country, which can be a frightening experience when faced with incomprehensible traffic signs, narrow streets, or sheep roadblocks.

To get from city to city or country to country, examine your rail options in comparison to routes and prices offered by European discount airlines like easyJet  or Ryanair . Travelers embarking on extensive travel within Europe may save money by purchasing a rail pass from Rail Europe that permits unlimited train travel within a specified region.

Check out Viator to book day tours, especially if you want to take advantage of skip-the-line options.

Couple sitting next to canal in Copenhagen, Denmark

9. Tackle last-minute logistics.

A few weeks before your departure date is the right time to start taking care of a number of key logistics: money, phone, house-sitter, pet-sitter.

Call your credit card companies to let them know you’ll be traveling abroad. While you’re at it, find out if you’re going to be charged a fee for using your card overseas. Research the locations of ATMs in your destination, especially if you’ll be relying on cash.

Does your cell phone plan allow you to make calls overseas, and if so, how much will it cost you? Many cell phone companies offer temporary international plans that you can purchase for the month you’re traveling. You might also want to consider a mobile hotspot device to keep you connected.

5 Ways to Use Your Phone GPS Without Data

Packing for Europe requires both different items and a different mindset in comparison to some other types of trips. After all, there’s no arguing that Parisians are more stylish than your typical North American tourist. Most of central and western Europe have milder climates throughout the year, but that doesn’t mean you won’t encounter rain or a heatwave. You should pack clothing that’s easy to layer , and always include a packable raincoat or travel umbrella in your suitcase when traveling to Europe. Think about how you’ll be carrying your money —pickpocketing schemes are more common abroad, so it’s important to carry your money and personal belongings securely. When researching your European destination of choice, consider the overall climate and time of year you’ll be traveling. Then, about a week before your trip check out the forecast, mobilize a packing list , and ensure your suitcase is in working condition and meets your airline’s size restrictions.

Pro packing tip: If you’re tight on packing space, invest in a packing cube set . They do wonders, especially if you’re stopping in multiple destinations as they make repacking a breeze.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information. All of the products featured in this story were hand-selected by our travel editors. Some of the links featured in this story are affiliate links, and SmarterTravel may collect a commission (at no cost to you) if you shop through them. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

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How to Plan an Epic 2 Week Europe Trip (+ Europe Itinerary Ideas!)

Ready to plan a 2 week Europe trip but not quite sure where to start?

We want to help!

Whether it’s your first trip to Europe or your tenth, there’s something simultaneously overwhelming and exhilarating about planning a trip through multiple countries that–for us and most of the readers of this blog post–lie across an ocean from home.

I’ll never forget planning our first 2 week Europe itinerary: I pored over flight schedules, bucket lists, budgets, and maps for months, desperate to pull together the ultimate Europe trip.

Kate Storm looking toward San Marco Campanile from Scala Contarini del Bovolo, which is an excellent place to visit during 2 days in Venice

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There were many, many lists involved in planning that first trip, and after months of planning, I emerged with an eclectic but incredible itinerary that kicked our love of travel into high gear.

In the summer of 2015, Jeremy and I spent a little over 2 weeks in Europe exploring Krakow , Budapest , Plitvice Lakes National Park , Zadar , Dublin , and the Cliffs of Moher (I told you it was eclectic!).

We’ve now cumulatively spent years of our lives traveling in Europe, falling in love with world-famous cities and less iconic locations alike, and there’s absolutely nothing we like better than helping people plan their own unforgettable adventures.

Over the years, we’ve explored the continent in almost every way possible, from backpacking Europe on a budget for 2 weeks to checking into luxury hotels to playing tour guide for family and friends to finally spending more than a year living in Lisbon, Portugal !

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm at Wawel Castle, Krakow on their first 2 week Europe trip.

We’ve put together this 2 week Europe itinerary guide to help you plan your trip–here’s what you need to know before you go.

(Also, yes–this is an incredibly long blog post! We recommend using the table of contents right below this paragraph to help you navigate to different sections depending on what you’re hoping to read first.)

Table of Contents

How to Use This 2 Week Europe Trip Guide

Exciting 2 week europe itinerary ideas, how to get around during 2 weeks in europe, important tips for planning a 2 week europe trip, faq for spending 2 weeks in europe, what to pack for 2 weeks in europe, read more about visiting europe.

praia do camilo from above, one of the best things to do in lagos portugal

This 2 week Europe trip guide is designed for someone hoping to see the highlights of a few different European destinations, spread across multiple countries, in only a couple of weeks.

We’ve primarily written it for someone planning their first trip to Europe, but if this is your second trip, third trip, or beyond, hopefully, we have some interesting ideas and tips for you, too!

And, of course, given that Europe is home to more than 50 countries and is roughly the same size as the USA, no 2 weeks in Europe could hope to cover the entire continent or all of its numerous and distinct cultures, languages, and histories.

For ease of communication, we’ll talk in general terms about traveling in Europe here, but once you pick your itinerary, of course, you’ll want to follow up with further research on the specific locations you’ll be visiting.

kate storm jeremy storm and ranger storm overlooking brisighella italy

And, once you’re further along in your planning process, we’d love to help you with some of that planning here on Our Escape Clause, too!

We’ll link to relevant blog posts throughout this travel guide, but given the hundreds of posts we have on the site, we won’t be able to link them all.

You can use our destinations page or the search bar on the top right of the page (on desktop) or at the top of the pop-out menu (on mobile) to find our content about various specific destinations across Europe or general travel tips.

For example, a few of our most popular guides that might come in handy next include our guide to traveling Europe by train , our 75 best Europe travel tips , and our (biased) guide to the best cities in Europe .

Italy Bucket List: View of Orvieto Cathedral

The number of possible 2 week Europe itinerary ideas is truly infinite–just look at the odd itinerary that I cobbled together for us in 2015 as an example !

However, the sample itineraries for Europe outlined below should give you a good idea of what you can accomplish with around 14 days in Europe .

I truly struggled to narrow down these ideas–I could name 10 more excellent 2 week Europe trips in an instant, and still feel like I was leaving so much on the table.

I aimed to keep these mostly focused on destinations that are popular for first-time visitors to Europe, with just a couple of slight curve balls thrown in.

Bike leaning against bridge over a canal in Annecy, France

The Classic: London, Paris, Rome

As three of the world’s most beloved and celebrated cities, you can’t go wrong with splitting your 2 weeks in Europe between London, Paris, and Rome.

As the capital of an English-speaking country and home to an enormous airport hub, London makes logistical sense for a first trip to Europe hailing from North America–and, of course, it’s a truly fascinating city.

Visit Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park, stroll through Notting Hill, snap photos of Big Ben, check out the Tower Bridge and the Tower of London , visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, stop by Piccadilly Circus, ride the London Eye , and tour the British Museum.

… And that’s just to get you started !

Big Ben and Parliament as seen from across the river. London is absolutely one of the best cities to visit in Europe.

The City of Lights is one of our favorite cities in the world and was also the first place we visited on our very first trip to Europe (we spent a week there and then planned our 2 week Europe trip outlined in the introduction of this blog post the following year).

Since then, we haven’t been able to stop going back, and believe that it’s an excellent addition to any 2 week Europe itinerary!

While you’re in Paris , visit the Eiffel Tower, marvel at the beauty of Sainte-Chapelle, tour the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay, stroll the picturesque streets of Montmartre and the Latin Quarter, visit the Palais Garnier, discover hidden passages and tiny cafes, and soak up every minute of that Parisian charm.

Our full guide to planning your first trip to Paris can help you get started!

Kate Storm in a gray dress standing in Rue de l'Universite in Paris with the Eiffel Tower behind her

Ah, Rome –if Paris is the first European city we fell in love with, Rome is probably our deepest love on the continent.

From wonders of Ancient Rome like the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Pantheon to more recent additions like the Vatican Museums , Trevi Fountain, and winding cobblestone streets of Trastevere , exploring Rome is a captivating, engaging experience that we can’t recommend highly enough.

And, of course, you couldn’t ask for a better cuisine to savor during your 2 weeks in Europe: Rome is home to some of the best pasta in all of Italy!

Couple in front of Colosseum: Visiting Rome in Winter

Southern Europe Charm: Madrid, Rome, Amalfi Coast

Want your 2 weeks in Europe to focus on a delightful combination of history, food, and sunshine?

Head directly to Spain and Italy!

While Barcelona gets all the love (and a lot of the crowds), we’re personally smitten with the Spanish capital of Madrid… and excellent flight deals from North America make it almost irresistible on a 2 week Europe itinerary.

With a few days in Madrid , you can admire world-class art in the Prado, soak in Spanish culture with a stroll through Retiro Park, eat all the tapas and churros con chocolate you can get your hands on, tour the Royal Palace , check out an Egyptian temple, and take day trips to fairytale towns like Toledo and Segovia.

Madrid Royal Palace with garden in foreground, a must see during your 3 days in Madrid Itinerary!

I described Rome in the first Europe itinerary on this list, so I won’t repeat myself here, but as I sit typing this Europe travel blog post out in a Rome apartment while dreaming of the carbonara I’ll eat for dinner tonight, all I can say is: you won’t regret coming to Rome (and scroll up for more details).

And, while I detailed some of Rome’s highlights above, let me also say… don’t forget to get off the beaten path in the Eternal City , either!

kate storm in front of a church when traveling in rome italy

Amalfi Coast

The famed Amalfi Coast , with its dramatic cliffs, chic villages like Positano, delicious lemons, and jaw-droppingly beautiful hikes like the Path of the Gods, is a fabulous conclusion to any 2 week Europe trip–where better to relax than one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world?

While you’re there, be sure to make room for plenty of day trips!

Iconic locations like Capri and Pompeii , as well as less-popular but equally amazing spots like Ischia, Herculaneum , and Procida, are all at your fingertips when staying on the Amalfi Coast.

(Also, if you like page-turning novels about friendship and Italy, I highly recommend reading Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend series before coming or while visiting Europe).

Cliffs of Capri with bright blue water and boats visible to the left. Definitely consider a visit here when planning a trip to Italy!

Regal Central Europe: Prague, Vienna, Budapest

Sweeping boulevards, dramatic architecture, beautiful coffeehouses, and tasty comfort food: a trip to Central Europe is an absolute delight.

In my opinion, this region truly shines during the winter months when Christmas markets are in full swing and the hearty cuisine keeps you warm from the inside out.

I’ll try to keep this section quite brief, as I’ve already written a detailed Central Europe itinerary here , but suffice it to say, we love it.

View of Cesky Krumlov from above--one of our top Europe travel tips is to leave the big cities to explore incredible small towns like this during your trip

Known as the City of a Hundred Spires (and also for the fact that beer is cheaper than water here–true story, at least when it comes to pricey bottled water at restaurants), Prague is easily in the running for the most beautiful city in Europe.

The beauty of Prague Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, the famed Charles Bridge, and Prague’s well-known astronomical clock will all draw you in.

If you have enough time, consider adding a day trip to a smaller Czech town like gorgeous Český Krumlov as well!

Best Views in Prague: View from Old Tower Bridge

Regal and beautiful, full of spacious, wide avenues and ornate buildings, Austria’s capital city is the perfect place to come to tour grand palaces ( Schonbrunn is one of the most popular), see a show in one of the world’s premier opera houses, and to enjoy European cafe culture at its finest.

We absolutely adore Vienna’s coffee houses–be sure to try a slice (or several) of Esterhazy Cake while there, as well as Viennese hot chocolate.

The city’s famed Spanish riding school and striking St. Stephen’s Cathedral are also worth adding to your list!

Austria Christmas Market Trip: Christmas Lights in Vienna

As our favorite city in central Europe and one of our top 10 cities in Europe overall, I really can’t say enough about how beautiful Budapest is! 

The city is somehow, simultaneously, both grand and down-to-earth , absolutely gorgeous while also remaining accessible, affordable, and fairly simple to visit and explore.

While in Budapest, go for a soak in the famous thermal baths, tour one of the most beautiful houses of Parliament in Europe, check out a castle, visit grand basilicas, take a boat ride down the Danube, and, if you’re up for a bit of adventure, even go on a cave tour!

Be sure not to miss the great food , either–Budapest’s hearty cuisine is a delight, and one of our all-time favorite wine tastings took place there!

Prague or Budapest: Budapest view of Danube

Europe for Art Lovers: Paris, Florence, Venice

If you’re an art buff at heart, you can’t ask for a better sampling of some of the continent’s most beloved artistic cities than the trifecta of Paris, Florence, and Venice (and it certainly helps that each city is practically an art museum in and of itself).

From the Louvre to the Musee d’Orsay to the Orangerie to the Musee Rodin to the Centre Pompidou to the Cluny Museum, it would probably take a lifetime to enjoy all the art museums in Paris alone.

And of course, the city has so much more to offer once you need a break!

tapestry hanging in the cluny museum in paris

Nicknamed the Cradle of the Renaissance, Florence boasts the finest collection of Renaissance art on the planet–and claims many of its most famous artists as locals. 

Michelangelo, DaVinci, Botticelli, and more all originally hailed from Florence, and their works are scattered about the city.

Perhaps most famously, Michelangelo’s David is in the Galleria dell’Accademia and Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus is in the Uffizi Gallery .

And of course, no art-focused trip to the Cradle of the Renaissance can overlook Florence’s iconic Duomo , a masterpiece of the era!

View of Florence from above with Duomo in the center--you can't go wrong adding Florence to your 2 week Europe itinerary

Located an easy train ride away from Florence, Venice may be slightly less well-known for its art than the first two cities on this 2 week Europe itinerary, but there’s no doubt that there’s plenty to find!

From the utter masterpiece of St. Mark’s Basilica (don’t miss a chance to go in!) to the incredible Doge’s Palace to the famous Galleria dell’Accademia (not to be confused with the one in Florence!) that focuses mostly on Venetian artists, Venice is an art lover’s dream.

Mix it up by adding a visit to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, which holds modern art, and a gondola ride .

A fter all, Venice itself is no doubt one of the best artistic masterpieces in the city, and it deserves to be seen from all its best angles.

Grand Canal of Venice with a gondola in the center

The Incredible Iberian Peninsula: Lisbon, The Algarve, Andalucia

The Iberian Peninsula is dominated by Spain and Portugal , and while I might be biased after spending more than a year living in Lisbon, it makes for an unforgettable Eurotrip!

(The fact that there are often flight deals from the US to Lisbon and Madrid doesn’t hurt, either).

There are infinite ways to craft southern Europe itineraries out of these two countries, but here’s one great option…

kate storm and jeremy storm sitting on a wall overlooking lisbon portugal

Start your trip with a few days in Lisbon , Portugal’s trendy capital city, soaking up beautiful views from its many miradouros , sampling Portuguese food (starting with pastéis de nata ), touring the incredible Jerónimos Monastery, and taking day trips from Lisbon to nearby gems like the palaces of Sintra and/or the beach resort town of Cascais .

Be prepared to head up and down a lot of hills while you’re there–but Lisbon is worth the climb.

If you’re looking for neighborhoods to wander through, Alfama, Castelo, Chiado, and Bairro Alto are particularly picturesque–keep an eye out for trams, azulejos, and peacocks as you explore!

And, while Lisbon’s top attractions are definitely worth a visit, seeking out some of the many hidden gems in Lisbon will add extra beauty to your trip.

kate storm in a black dress sitting on a ledge at miradouro de santa luzia, one of the best places to visit in lisbon in 3 days

The Algarve

After saying goodbye to Lisbon, head south of Portugal’s Algarve for a dizzying array of whitewashed villages (you’ll find many of the best beach towns in Portugal here) and a picturesque coastline.

Lagos is one of the most popular places to stay, and we can highly recommend it–don’t miss the famous Ponta da Piedade, which photos can’t do justice to.

Nearby attractions (ideally, you’ll want to rent a car in the Algarve) include the famous Benagil Cave and the unmissable Seven Hanging Valleys Trail!

view of algarve coastline from seven hanging valleys trail, a wonderful place to visit as part of a 14 day europe itinerary

For the second week of your trip in Europe, cross the border into southern Spain (note: there’s no direct train access for this journey, but there are buses).

Split your time between any two of Andalucia’s incredible cities, taking nearby day trips from there.

Seville (with its Alcazar and famous Plaza de Espana), Granada (home of the Alhambra ), and Cordoba (home of the Mosque-Cathedral , one of the most unique houses of worship in the world) are all wonderful inland options.

On the coast, options include Cadiz, Malaga, Marbella, Tarifa, and many more.

With a bit more than 2 weeks in Europe or an ambitious schedule, you may be able to squeeze in a day trip to Gibraltar and/or Tangier, Morocco while here!

kate storm jeremy storm and ranger storm in plaza de espana seville spain

Food + History: Athens, Santorini, Istanbul

Feel like heading further east–as far east as you can get during a Europe vacation?

Greece and Turkey pair very well for a 14 day European itinerary–here’s what that might look like.

kate storm in a red dress walking through istanbul grand bazaar, one of the best places to visit in istanbul turkey

Start your trip in Athens, marveling at some of the world’s most remarkable ruins, including the famous Acropolis complex and museum.

Be sure to make time to explore non-ancient aspects of Athens as well, including the trendy Plaka neighborhood, Monastiraki Square (and nearby flea market!), and Syntagma Square.

And of course, one of the absolute best things to do after you touch down in Athens is to dive into plate after plate of phenomenal Greek food –that alone is worth traveling to Greece for ( our Athens food tour remains one of my favorites that we’ve taken in Europe).

Athens Parthenon--this structure tops all kinds of bucket lists, and is a worthy addition to any 2 week Europe trip!

Truly, any one of Greece’s amazing islands would fit nicely into this 2 week Europe itinerary, but where better to choose than Santorini , with its iconic blue-and-white color scheme, fantastic caldera views, and excellent flight connections?

While Santorini isn’t best known for its beaches–you’re better off heading to Crete for those–you sure can’t beat the charming villages or stunning nature.

Kate Storm in a white shirt and blue jeans overlooking the blue domes of Oia in Santorini--this island is incredible and worth visiting as part of your 2 weeks in Europe!

The city of two continents, where thousands of years of history blend seamlessly with modern life, and where you can eat one of the best breakfasts you’ll ever experience in your life: Istanbul tops bucket lists around the world, and there is simply nowhere on the planet quite like it.

Marvel at the Blue Mosque, step inside the Hagia Sophia, eat your weight in Turkish breakfast (seriously, I can’t emphasize enough how tasty it is), admire the views of the Bosphorus, climb the Galata Tower, and shop your way through the Grand Bazaar.

Since this Europe travel blog post focuses on, well, Europe, I won’t sketch out any other possibilities further east in Turkey in detail…

But, if you have time, you could easily add a visit to Cappadocia , complete with a sunrise hot air balloon ride, to your trip, or even a visit to the ruins of Ephesus.

kate storm standing in front of the blue mosque, one of the best things to do in istanbul turkey

Architecture + Culture: Cologne, Amsterdam, Belgium

With this small triangle of destinations, you can easily visit separate countries via train, with very little travel time between them!

And, if you were particularly motivated to add another, you could even squeeze in a day trip to Luxembourg.

If you’re looking for a winter itinerary for Europe that focuses on cities, this is a fantastic option.

jeremy storm at christmas market in cologne germany

Home to a stunning cathedral and what may just be the best Christmas markets on the planet, Cologne is a gorgeous German city that is a delight to explore on foot.

Don’t miss its soaring Gothic Cathedral while you’re there!

… Though honestly, that would be hard to do, considering you can see it right as you step outside the train station.

Cologne German Christmas Market at night as seen from above with red roofs of stalls prominent. Cologne hosts one of the best european christmas markets

As one of the most popular cities to visit in Europe, Amsterdam requires no introduction.

The city of canals, biking, and revelry is somehow even more beautiful in person than in the billions of photos of it.

While you’re there, be sure to take a canal cruise, stroll the 9 Streets, and visit at least a couple of the city’s museums (the Anne Frank House is incredibly moving).

If you visit Amsterdam in winter , you’ll no doubt need to bundle up–but the lack of crowds in this often-packed city is also a treat to experience.

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm wearing winter coats on the edge of a canal in Amsterdam in December, facing each other

Perhaps it may be slightly unfair to list Belgium entirely while the other destinations are split into cities… but considering Belgium’s two most popular cities, Bruges and Ghent , are located less than an hour apart by train, you can cover quite a bit of the country in a few days !

With stunning architecture, canals, and carbs (bring on the waffles and frites), it’s easy to have a blast in Belgium.

Winter in Belgium brings a lack of crowds and plenty of festivities during the Christmas season!

Bruges Main Square with green awnings in front of the buildings--this storybook village is a fun place to add to your 2 weeks in Europe itinerary!

Alpine Escape: Bavaria, Switzerland’s Jungfrau Region, Milan, and Lake Como

If your dream Europe trip involves plenty of Alpine views with a side of cities, this is the itinerary for Europe in 2 weeks for you.

Start your trip in Bavaria, the land of castles, beer, and outdoor delights.

City lovers will enjoy being based in Munich (don’t miss the opulent Munich Residenz or view from St. Peter’s Church and/or the Town Hall Tower while there).

From Munich, you can easily day trip to more mountainous areas, starting with Fussen, home to Germany’s famous Neuschwanstein Castle .

If you get good weather and want to see as many mountains as possible, a day trip to the Zugspite–the highest point in Germany–is also an option.

Really, though, if there’s one thing to prioritize in Munich, it’s to eat and drink all the sausage, pretzels, beer, and beyond you can get your hands on!

view of munich from town hall tower in winter during christmas markets bavaria germany

Switzerland’s Jungfrau Region

I am convinced that Switzerland’s Jungfrau region–located around (literally, above) Interlaken–is paradise on earth in the summer.

If you’re dreaming of the Alps, check into a hotel in Wengen, Murren, or Grindelwald (for the best views) or Interlaken (for a bit more selection) or Lauterbrunnen (to be in the literal center of the action) and have the trip of your dreams.

Switzerland’s legendarily efficient trains and gondolas mean that wherever you stay, the region is at your fingertips.

Hiking from Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidigg, riding the highest train in Europe to Jungfraujoch (aka the “Top of Europe”), eating daily fondue, walking from Murren to Gimmelwald , and riding a historic cogwheel train to Schynige Platte are just a few of the unforgettable experiences you’ll find here.

kate storm and jeremy storm overlooking a balcony in wengen switerland jungfrau region

Milan + Lake Como

End your trip to Milan and Lake Como , two of the most popular destinations in northern Italy!

In Milan , be sure to visit its legendary Duomo, stroll through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, visit Sforzesco Castle, and, if you can get tickets (plan ahead!) see Da Vinci’s The Last Supper .

At Lake Como (just an hour north of Milan by train), take a boat tour around the lake and visit delightfully charming towns like Varenna and Bellagio while admiring magnificent Alpine views.

kate storm and ranger storm sitting on a bench overlooking lake como surrounded by flowering trees

Getting around in each city on your 2 week Europe itinerary is a question better suited to blog posts on that particular city, so this section is designed to address getting in between each destination during your 14 days in Europe.

We recommend checking several solutions for each destination, as you never know what will crop up!

Personally, our first 2 week Europe trip involved an overnight train, a budget plane ride, and a couple of rental cars.

Selfie of couple on Lover's Bridge in Annecy, one of the best places to visit in Annecy

Train travel is our absolute favorite way to travel in Europe!

I t’s much less stressful than traveling by plane, especially once you get the hang of it, far more comfortable, and for those of us hailing from North America, it’s a travel experience in its own right!

We recommend using services like Omio to compare train prices across multiple countries.

It works more or less exactly like a car rental aggregate does, searching multiple companies and generating the best routes and prices for your dates.

Keep in mind that train travel is most useful in western and central Europe–once you head into eastern Europe and especially the Balkans, train travel becomes more limited and bus travel more common (for example, popular Dubrovnik, Croatia doesn’t have a train station).

Shop train routes and tickets prices in Europe today!

Frecciarosa Train in Italy: Florence to Bologna Train

For those traveling on a budget or between two smaller destinations where rail travel isn’t an option, buses can be a very affordable choice.

In addition to standard local buses, companies like Flixbus provide an easy-to-use service, and you can check their prices and availability directly or through Omio as well (that way you can compare train tickets at the same time).

Browse bus routes in Europe today!

Bus in front of Altar to the Fatherland at night: What to Do in Rome at Night

With plenty of budget airlines and plenty of airports to choose from, if you plan wisely, it’s possible to take flights in Europe that are so inexpensive you wonder how the company pays for the fuel.

S eriously: 10 Euro flights are possible, though we’ve never actually managed to pay that since we prefer to check our bags !

When looking for flights within Europe, we recommend using Google Flights in order to search the whole continent at once (you can simply put “Europe” in as the destination, and it’ll pull up a map of prices). 

With a little flexibility on destination (for example, maybe flying into nearby Bologna is cheaper than flying into Florence ?) and even on dates if possible, you just might end up with an excellent flight deal or two during your trip to Europe.

kate storm at ponta da piedade , one of the best lagos attractions

Personally, we recommend avoiding a car rental when possible during your 2 weeks in Europe, especially if you’re following anything resembling a Europe itinerary like the ones I outlined above.

In large cities, rental cars are a hindrance and a liability, not an asset, and they add quite a bit to your bottom line.

That being said, if you’re planning on visiting any rural areas or small towns, road trips in Europe can be a delight!

Y ou could consider renting a car for a couple of days in Tuscany , for example, or to visit the villages of Provence.

If you do choose to rent a car, we recommend searching for the best prices through Discover Cars , which will allow you to search multiple companies at once and come up with a great option. 

jeremy storm's hand on a steering wheel when driving in portugal and renting a car in europe

While major international carriers like Hertz and Enterprise are available in Europe, they’re not always the best deal, and searching for a combination of local and international companies is best.

Personally, we have no loyalty to any one rental car company, and book with whoever is most affordable (and we always buy the extra insurance).

As a result, we’ve rented cars through easily more than 15 or 20 agencies over the years (I’d be hard-pressed even to estimate it), and we’ve never had any issues with surprise charges.

Price out rental cars with Discover Cars now!

Photo of Lake Sainte-Croix as seen while driving in France. You can see Kate holding a camera to her face reflected in the rearview mirror of our rental car on the left side of the photo

Don’t forget boats when it comes to planning a 2 week Europe itinerary, especially over the summer!

While ferries between or to/from islands are obviously the most popular ( Dubrovnik to Hvar , for example, or Barcelona to Mallorca), there are longer ferry options as well!

Last summer, we took a ferry from Barcelona to Rome and loved the experience of drifting along the Mediterranean Sea for 24 hours!

Many ferry routes are seasonal, but not all.

Kate Storm in a yellow raincoat on the ferry from Inisheer to Doolin. You can see the Cliffs of Moher far off in the distance.

Don’t plan to visit too many destinations.

With only around 14 days in Europe, I know it can be incredibly tempting to squeeze in as many destinations as possible (and I have many fevered outlines of ridiculously ambitious trips I planned in my college days to prove it), but your trip will go so much more smoothly if you can resist that temptation.

In most cases, we recommend an absolute minimum of two full days per major city.

By full days, I mean with limited exceptions (like a red-eye flight that lands at 8:00 AM), the day you arrive and the day you depart don’t count as a “day” in a given city–just as a travel day.

Three or four days per city is even better and will allow you to potentially squeeze in a day trip from that city to a smaller city or village if you want to mix things up.

Peach and blue dome with trail on Santorini, 3 days in Santorini itinerary

Start and end in a major airport hub.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be the same hub–more on that below–but there are definitely airports that are cheaper to fly into and out of for intercontinental flights than others.

Budapest may be affordable once you’re there, for example, but flying from the US directly to Budapest can hurt the wallet!

For those of you coming from the USA, London, Dublin , Madrid , Paris , Lisbon , Frankfurt, Amsterdam , and Milan are a few places to check ticket prices for.

That’s not an exhaustive list by any means, but there are often flight deals to and from these cities.

Kate Storm in a red dress in front of La Consulat cafe in Montmartre, one of the most instagrammable places in Paris

If you can, use an open-jaw ticket rather than a return ticket.

This will allow you to begin and end your 2 weeks in Europe in entirely different destinations, and let you avoid doubling back!

While one-way tickets can be pricier than round-trip ones, if you’re flexible on your dates and destinations (so deciding which cities to start and end in partially based on price), you can usually find excellent deals

This is exactly how we ended up flying into Krakow and out of Dublin for our first 2 week Europe trip!

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm standing in front of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland shortly before sunset

You will be exhausted at some point. Plan for it.

Two weeks in Europe may not seem like a ton, but if you’re anything like us or virtually all of the travelers we have talked to, exhaustion will set in during your trip.

Sightseeing in Europe is fabulous, but it’s also tiring.

Add in navigating cultural differences, language barriers, and moving countries every few days, and you’re bound to need a break at some point.

We recommend planning a couple of laid-back days without museum visits, tours, or day trips so that you can catch your breath and avoid burnout.

Fun Things to Do in Dubrovnik Croatia: View of Fort Lovrijenac viewed from city walls

Try to be flexible with where you go.

As you start pricing train, plane, and bus tickets for your trip to Europe, you’ll likely notice dramatic shifts–for example, is it 4x the money to get to London instead of Amsterdam?

Does traveling to Prague require a long flight and 2 layovers but Rome is a quick hop away?

If you can, be flexible when you come upon these challenges: we recommend having 1-2 “must visit” destinations and filling in the rest of your trip based on a combination of logistics and desire.

After all, there’s no way you can see it all on a 2 week Europe trip anyway!

Český Krumlov in Winter: Couple in Cesky Krumlov

Don’t underestimate the time and energy it takes to change destinations.

“Oh, it’s only a 3-hour train ride away! That’s nothing!”

I think we’ve all said that at some point when planning a multi-country trip, but be cautious.

Three hours on the train doesn’t account for packing and unpacking, getting to and from the train station, checking out of and into a hotel… you get the picture.

If you’re looking at a high-level schedule without picking a specific date or time, you may also come to find that sure, there’s one direct 3-hour train between two cities… but it leaves at 10:00 PM or 6:00 AM, and the rest of the trains require layovers.

jeremy and ranger at abrantes portugal train station when traveling europe by train

Or perhaps the direct train only runs 3 days a week.

Or maybe you’re looking at a plane, in which case, be sure to add at least 4 hours to your transit time: getting to and from the airport and security/check-in beforehand.

Long story short, travel days between countries are virtually always more tiring and time-consuming than they look at first glance, so don’t overcommit on those days when planning your ultimate Europe trip!

Photo of Via Krupp and the sea seen from above on a Day Trip to Capri

Big cities are more accessible than small towns and nature areas.

For the first trip to Europe especially, big cities are absolutely the easiest to plan your itinerary for Europe around.

They’re generally easier and cheaper to get into and out of, and there’s far more information available about them online to help plan your trips.

That’s no reason not to visit other places too, of course–but keep in mind that the more rural the area, the more logistically challenging your trip will be.

kate storm visiting parma italy with baptistery in the background and red vespa in the foreground

Skip-the-line tickets are incredibly useful.

I’m sure it comes as absolutely no surprise that the world’s most iconic monuments and museums tend to get a bit crowded… and that makes skip-the-line tickets invaluable, especially with only 2 weeks in Europe to squeeze in as much sightseeing as possible.

In some places (like the Arc de Triomphe ) they’re available without any additional fee, and in other places (like the Colosseum) they cost a bit extra.

Either way, though, it’s 1000% worth the price and effort to get tickets online beforehand for popular spots, especially if you’re traveling during the high season.

kate storm in a striped dress in front of colosseum rome italy

And, in 2024, it’s worth pointing out that given ever-changing capacity limits, it’s a better idea than ever to book in advance–and for some attractions, it’s even required!

When 2020 shook the travel industry to its core, many of the most popular museums and monuments in Europe found that life was easier with reservations and online bookings, and have continued prioritizing that system over traditional lines and ticket booths even as crowds returned to “normal”.

We use skip-the-line tickets all over the continent and book them through Get Your Guide .

selfie of kate storm and jeremy storm after climb the arc de triomphe paris with eiffel tower in the background

Book your hotels and major transportation in advance.

Before kicking off your 2 week Europe itinerary, we recommend having all of your hotels and major transportation (so travel between destinations) booked and ready to go.

This dramatically cuts down on stress levels, makes it easier to budget and plan out your days, and generally helps your trip run more smoothly.

These days, we book virtually all of our lodging (including apartments, farm stays, houses, and more) through .

Smaller things, like metro passes or tickets for getting around cities, can be handled once you arrive.

Kate Storm in a brown coat in the Alsace village of Riquewihr with a clock tower in the background

If you can, we recommend taking at least one food tour during your 2 weeks in Europe.

Food tours are one of our favorite ways to get our bearings in a new city while learning about the culture, history, and neighborhood through something we can all appreciate: a tasty meal.

We’ve taken food tours in several countries around the world, including many in Europe, and have never walked away unsatisfied!

Plate of Grilled Meat at Tanjga Family Restaurant in Kotor, shot from above. Fun Things to Do in Kotor Montenegro

You do need to pay to use the restroom… sometimes.

Throughout Europe, public restrooms are generally available for a fee (typically either half a Euro or a Euro).

If you’d like to avoid those costs, be sure to take advantage of available restrooms in restaurants and museums as you sightsee !

Also, toilet paper is far from guaranteed in public toilets on the street.

We recommend carrying a small pack of tissues with you just in case.

View of Vernazza harbor from above, Cinque Terre

Will I need an adapter?

Most likely, yes!

Luckily, adapters are cheap to buy and easy to carry–we recommend picking these up before you go.

Keep in mind that the UK and a few other countries ( Ireland , Malta ) use a separate plug from the bulk of the continent.

If you’re heading to a place that uses UK plugs, you’ll want these adapters as well.

Jeremy in a blue shirt and black jacket, holding a beer while eating lunch in a square of Aix-en-Provence

Is a money belt a good idea?

It depends, honestly.

We used a money belt for our first trip to Europe and for a couple after that.

Back then, we weren’t used to life in bustling big cities, and though we knew that thieves knew about them (because they definitely do), Jeremy found them comfortable enough to wear and it was an easy way to keep our belongings a bit more secure.

trip planning europe

If you’re not used to traveling in a big city or watching for pickpockets, I don’t think it’s a terrible idea to use one– this is the one we used and we had no complaints–but I also don’t think it’s necessary, especially if you’re comfortable in large cities.

vertical photo of the spanish steps rome with fountain in the foreground, part of a one day rome itinerary

Is the water safe to drink?

Usually, yes.

We drink out of the tap just about anywhere in Europe.

In rare cases where the water is not safe to drink (usually in remote areas of southern and eastern Europe, or in very old buildings with iffy pipes), there will generally be large and obvious signs stating so.

If you’re worried about it, though, you can always ask your hotel concierge or host about it!

2 Weeks in Italy Itinerary: View of Siena

Is it worth going to Europe for 2 weeks?

This is a pretty common question, and honestly, I get it: with long and expensive flights, it’s easy to wonder if flying to Europe for “only” 2 weeks is worth it.

But yes, it absolutely is!

Two weeks in Europe is long enough that you’ll have plenty of time to get past jetlag, visit several destinations, and have a wonderful trip packed with memories.

Now whether or not it’s worth flying to Europe for just one week is a bit more controversial… but we love to travel Europe so much that we still say yes (for some people).

jeremy storm and ranger storm eating breakfast in venice italy--it's fun to be able to order in italian during your first trip to europe

How extreme is the language barrier?

It varies significantly, of course, but generally, it’s not nearly as difficult as first-time visitors to Europe worry before they arrive (ourselves included).

We recommend learning basic phrases in the language of the countries you are visiting during your 2 week Europe itinerary, but this is usually more for good manners than out of necessity.

While you can absolutely find monolingual Europeans in virtually any country, especially in smaller cities and towns, the people employed in customer service roles and in the tourism industry in major cities–in other words, where most or all of your 2 weeks in Europe will likely take place–generally speak some English.

kate storm in a yellow jacket in front of seljalandsfoss fun stop plan a trip to iceland

How many European countries should you visit in 2 weeks?

For most travelers, we recommend roughly 3 “base” destinations for a 2 week Europe trip, plus a couple of day trips from there to mix things up.

These can all be in one country (for example, here’s how we recommend spending 2 weeks in Italy ), or they can be in 3 separate countries!

There are plenty of exceptions to this standard layout, of course, but it’s a doable but exciting number of destinations to work with for most 14 day Europe itineraries.

kate storm standing in the doorway to the unfinished chapels at batalha monastery portugal

When should I tip?

While this is very country and industry-dependent, generally speaking, tipping is not nearly as prominent in Europe as it is in the USA, and you’ll virtually never need to tip over 10%.

In some countries, you may also tip 5-10% at restaurants, while in others, you might round up the bill or leave nothing at all.

Frequently, a “service charge” will be automatically supplied to the bill which serves the purpose of a tip.

For tour guides, a 10% tip is common.

Fun Things to Do in Dubrovnik Croatia: view of Old Town from Minceta Fortress

What’s the best month to visit Europe?

All of them, except August.

I kid–somewhat–but honestly, every single month in Europe has its perks!

For a concise answer, the late spring (April-May) and early fall (September-October) are considered ideal by most travelers.

August is specifically difficult because it’s not only very hot in many of Europe’s most popular destinations, but most Europeans take vacations then, so many places (especially in the mountains and on the coast) are at their priciest.

If we absolutely had to visit Europe only during one month for the rest of our lives, we’d pick September, though October is a very close second.

kate storm in a black dress at the top of the bell tower, one of the top activities saint emilion france

What’s the cheapest month to visit Europe?

It depends–trying to spot the northern lights in Tromso would be one exception to this, for example–but for standard first time Europe itineraries like the ones I outlined in this blog post, January and February are often the cheapest months to visit.

When the Christmas markets are over and the gray weather settles in, you can score great deals on vacations in Europe (and have plenty of room to stretch out at iconic monuments).

kate storm jeremy storm and ranger storm on vila nova de gaia riverfront in porto portugal

How far in advance should I book my trip?

For plane tickets, as soon as you can commit to dates!

Not only will this allow you to have more time to plan and budget with a bit of structure, but it will also spread out your costs a bit more.

During peak seasons, like coastal locations in the summer or popular destinations during the Christmas season in Europe , you’ll want to book your hotels as far in advance as you can commit to them as well.

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm in the Greek Theatre of Taormina Sicily

Can you do Europe for $100/day?

This depends a lot on the traveler, group size, etc, but my initial, instinctive answer is:

If you don’t include plane tickets to and from Europe, yes, absolutely, without a doubt–we’ve done it many, many, many times (as a couple).

The key is to shop for deals, visit during the off-season, not shy away from less common destinations (especially in Eastern Europe and the Balkans), and travel slowly.

The fewer destinations you visit, the cheaper a trip generally is!

If you want to stick to Western Europe, southern Spain , southern Portugal, and southern Italy can all be bargains (as compared to places like Paris and London) as well.

Here’s how we manage our travel budget.

kate storm and jeremy storm standing at an overlooking slovakia hiking high tatras

We’ve put together detailed packing lists for various seasons in Europe, so be sure to check out our complete suggestions for spring , summer , fall , and winter before you head off on your 2 weeks in Europe.

We go into far more detail on what to wear in Europe there !

To get you started, though, here are a few essentials that should definitely be at the top of your list .

Travel Insurance — We don’t ever suggest traveling without travel insurance–anything can happen, and it’s better to be safe than sorry during your 2 weeks in Europe.

Check travel insurance policy inclusions and prices for your trip here.

Trip to Italy Cost: View of Mount Vesuvius from Naples

Pacsafe — We can’t recommend our Pacsafe enough!

This travel safe is affordable, sturdy, easy to pack, and will help keep your valuables safe in your hotel room (not that you should need to worry much about theft from your hotel room during your trip to Europe, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!).

Comfortable Day Bag  — We currently use  Pacsafe’s sleek anti-theft backpack  and love it, but if you don’t want to shell out the cash for this trip, that’s totally understandable.

Just aim for something comfortable to wear, not flashy, and medium-sized–we used a  Northface Jester backpack  for years and loved it as well.

Kate Storm in a red dress at Hore Abbey. She's sitting on a stone wall looking out at a field of cows. Her boots are recommended for your packing list for Ireland!

Travel Adapters for Europe — If you’re coming from outside of Europe, you’ll definitely need adapters for your electronics.

Be sure to check the requirements for any particular countries you visit–the United Kingdom, for example, is well-known for using different plugs than most of the continent.

Portable USB Charger — Don’t stress about your phone dying while you’re sightseeing!

Add a portable charger to your 2 weeks in Europe packing list.

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm standing in front of a waterfall when visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park Croatia

Hand Sanitizer — We carry this everywhere, and never been sorry to have it floating around in our day bag.

Travel Journal — If you want to keep a travel journal during your 2 week Europe trip but can’t commit to a huge amount of writing each night, I can’t recommend the One Line a Day Journal enough.

I’ve been using it for more than 5 years now (I’m on my second volume!) and I absolutely love it.

kate storm kneeling amongst tulips in the netherlands in april

In the process of booking your Europe trip and eager to keep planning?

We’d love to help!

You can browse all of our general Europe blog posts here , find articles about specific places through our destinations page , or check out these guides:

  • Your 13-Step Guide to Traveling to Europe for the First Time
  • The Perfect 2 Week Spain and Portugal Itinerary (+ Essential Tips!)
  • How to Travel Europe By Train: The Ultimate Guide (+ Tips!)
  • 11 Quick Tips for Finding + Using Toilets in Europe
  • Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Beyond: Epic Central Europe Itinerary

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4 images from top left: Eiffel Tower, Venice Grand Canal, blue domes in Santorini, Cliffs of Moher. Black text on a white background reads "How to plan an epic 2 weeks in Europe itinerary ideas + travel guide"

About Kate Storm

Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

58 thoughts on “How to Plan an Epic 2 Week Europe Trip (+ Europe Itinerary Ideas!)”

Great post! I’m actually working on my own 2 week itineraries through Europe post, but I might wait to publish until next year, when I’ve visited a few more spots. I totally agree that the key is to slow down and not switch cities every day or two. Three nights is perfect and sometimes more for the big cities. And yes, multi-city flights are so helpful so you don’t have to backtrack!

Thanks, Riana! We definitely love to slow down whenever we can. 🙂

Hi Kate! This is the BEST post related to Europe Itinerary out of the 1000 other posts that I have checked.

I am from India and I am planning for a trip in February end.

I definitely want to visit FINLAND (so that’s definitely in my list). From there, I am planning for Bupadest,Croatia OR Budapest, Prague OR Budapest/ Vienna.

Do you think this will be good for 2 weeks?

Waiting for your reply. And thanks a ton for such a beautiful detailed post.

Thank you so much, Akshay, that’s wonderful to hear!

That sounds like a wonderful itinerary. Croatia is a bit further out of the way than the other places, but it’s peaceful and beautiful during the winter and fairly simple to get to via a budget flight.

Hope you have an incredible trip to Europe!

Oh my goodness Kate, thank you so much for this post! This is exactly what I needed for my boyfriend and I to plan our trip to Europe in 2020. We want to visit Italy, Spain, France, and England but Greece and Croatia look amazing too! It’s so hard to decide.

Thank you, Jessica! So glad you found our blog helpful.

It is SO hard to decide, and honestly, it never gets any easier in my experience! All of those places are absolutely amazing, so no matter what you decide I’m sure you guys will have an incredible trip.

Italy, France, and Spain are really easy to pair together if you want to keep logistics simple, but really any combination of those would work.

What about panning around the seasons? Isn’t the Amalfi coast and Italy in general super hot during August?

It’s always nice to plan around the seasons when you can, but it depends on your availability!

Italy can be hot in August but it depends very much on where you go. It averages around 85 F / 30 C on the Amalfi Coast in August, which I have to admit isn’t enough to bother us, but it depends on where you’re coming from. It is high season there, though–very, very generally speaking, August is an expensive and crowded time to visit beaches in Europe because it’s when many Europeans tend to take their vacations and head to the coast!

Planning a trip in 2023-24 for my daughter’s graduation present. I was thinking maybe 2-3 weeks. On this trip, how much did you spend in total? I might end up being more because I usually pay for more luxurious than most, but will help with a little expectation of costs plus COLA increases obviously over the years. I figured I should start planning and saving now. lol

Hi Steven! We put this together based on years of traveling in Europe, so unfortunately I don’t have a specific figure to offer. So much varies, and can be impacted by where you go, how fast you travel (ie, how many times you change destinations), of course luxury as you mentioned, etc, etc. Generally speaking, for two people, I would say that $100/person/day is a good lower-midrange figure to calculate (excluding airfare), $200/person/day starts edging toward luxury territory, and of course, the sky is the limit.

That’s INCREDIBLY general, though. You’d be better off narrowing down which countries you plan to visit and calculating based on how long you plan to spend in each of them.

A few things to look at to give you an idea: price of hotels, price of day tours, projected cost of moving between destinations, and average cost of a meal. Those figures should give you a backbone to estimate a budget from.

What brand are the boots you are wearing in the photo “Comfortable Day Bag.” My wife loves them. Gift idea for when we go to Europe 🙂

Those are Ugg Kesey Motorcycle boots, and I love them too! Just got them out again for fall last week. 🙂

Hi kate I am planning to visit europe sometime in 2023(may/june) with my wife and son. Could you please guide me with an itinerary for 15 days Or so?? Swiss, italy, France, spain. After that we will go to a friend in England. If possible, the expenses involved as well. Thanks

Hi Abhijit! I’m not a travel agent, so that’s a bit beyond my scope. 🙂 Generally speaking, though, I’d recommend parring your itinerary down to 2 countries, or 3 at the absolute maximum. 4 countries in 15 days is a lot of travel! Luckily, all of those destinations pair well together, so you can mix and match fairly easily. Also very generally speaking, Italy and Spain will be the most affordable, and Switzerland by far the most expensive–but that depends a lot on where you go and what you do!

Hey Kate, All your pictures are amazing! What kind of cameras do you bring with you? And do you edit your photos? If so what do you use for that, they are all really bright, great pictures.

Hi Stefanie! Thank you so much! We’ve used different cameras over the years, but our main camera these days is a Sony A7 rIII. We love it, and yes, all the photos taken with it are edited in Lightroom. 🙂

Hi Kate, THANK YOU for the great article! I have booked my flights for a 2 week trip next spring, into London and out of Paris. I’ve been to both cities before, but do hope to get a few days in paris again. It’s stolen my heart.

What do you recommend in terms of getting from London to Rome, fairly quickly, and cheaply? I arrive into London mid-day and had hoped to just figure it out at the airport (Gatwick). Do you think that’s possible?

Thank you so much, Sarah! Your trip sounds fantastic.

I’d definitely plan on flying between London and Rome–it’ll be fastest and most likely cheapest, too. Check budget carriers like Ryanair, etc.

If you’re planning on flying out to Rome the same day you arrive in Gatwick, I’d absolutely recommend booking before you arrive. Be sure to double-check and make sure you’re flying out of Gatwick, too, or have time to change airports.

Hope you have an amazing time!

Oh wow I’m doing the same trip with my 3 sons. And unfortunately is the month that she said it’s the worst to go August…oh well🤷🏽‍♀️ can’t do anything about it how but I am worried about the expense tho..

Love your information. I’m planning a trip to Italy and then we want to go to Salzburg as well in the summer of 2023. Our first time to Europe. We will be 60 in 2023 and we think we can plan this without going through a company. After reading your information, I feel comfortable. Two questions about hotels and transportation. What would you recommend for safe places for hotels in those two countries? We don’t need luxury but just comfort and clean. Would you recommend using rail between cities in Italy and it looks like you can travel from Venice to Salzburg by rail? Thoughts?

That’s great to hear, glad we could help!

Venice to Salzburg by rail is very doable in a day and a scenic journey. You’ll probably have to make a change, but that’s workable. Personally, we’d opt for it over flying in a heartbeat.

For hotels, I have several recommendations in our specific Venice and Salzburg posts (you can use the search bar to pull up everything we have on both cities). The centers of both places are quite safe, I wouldn’t worry much about that in a well-reviewed hotel.

Hope you guys have an unforgettable trip!

AWESOME Post!!!!

Please let me know if you have posted anything similar in 2020 or 2021. My wife and I are bringing our three teenagers and we will likely choose the Food & History trip. We both would like to speak with you if possible as we are planning our trip for December.

Hi guys! We don’t run tours ourselves, just provide information for independent travelers, but we’re always happy to answer a few questions about possible itineraries!

Hi Kate, THANK YOU for the amazing Pic ,for now i’m in South Africa Cape Town I’m planning a trip to Italy , France & Austria next year 2022 for 2weeks , Would you recommend using rail or Via Road way .

Thank you in advance & best Regards En vous remerciant d’avance et cordialement

Sounds like a fabulous trip!

Rail vs car depends entirely on where you’re going. If you’re sticking to cities, I’d recommend going by train. If you want to enjoy the countryside, a car could be helpful.

You can also mix-and-match, and rent a car for only part of your trip if you’re going to be in the countryside only part of the time.

Thank you for this awesome post, Kate! My husband and I are wanting to take our first international trip to Central Europe early spring 2022 and have reviewed your Central Europe post. What type of difficulties have you faced with international travel during COVID-19? Any issues with a country on your itinerary going into lock-down or no longer allowing tourists from the US?

We haven’t personally run into any issues with lockdowns interrupting our plans but of course, it’s always possible and things are changing constantly.

Most, if not all, countries in Europe are accepting vaccinated and/or tested US visitors now and haven’t shut their borders to US citizens again since the initial reopening. All of the countries included on our Central Europe itinerary are currently among them.

In addition to entry, some countries are requiring proof of vaccination in order to do certain things like eat in restaurants or check into hotels. Portugal, where we are now, is among them. It’s a very simple process as long as you have the paperwork in order!

Generally, if you plan to visit Europe from the US in 2022, we recommend arriving with proof of vaccination, a negative COVID test (check regularly for specifications as your flight gets closer), flexibility, and the expectation that you’ll wear a mask indoors and potentially in crowded outdoor areas.

I am not a public health expert, of course, and European countries all set their own restrictions, but in the early stages of planning, that’s what I’d keep in mind!

The reaction that we’ve seen from readers who visited in the second half of 2022 has generally been that it’s easier than they expected, but as we’ve all learned way too much in the last 2 years, none of us can predict the future!

Thanks so much, Kate! It definitely seems like flexibility is key as well as continuously monitoring each country’s individual rules for a multi-country trip. I think right now Hungary isn’t accepting tourists but fingers crossed that will change soon so we can replicate your trip. 🙂 Cheers to more adventures for you in 2022!

Hi Kate, my family is in the beginning phase of planning our first international trip and have decided on Europe! I really liked your recommendation of arriving and departing from different airports and I think departing from London would make sense (we’ll probably want to spend the most time there). All we’ve decided is to vacation for somewhere between 2-3 weeks, and we want to see London and Ireland (oh and I want to stay at least one night in a castle hotel!). Would you have any recommendations on destinations or experiences to share? Thanks!

How exciting–nothing like your first trip abroad. 🙂

We actually still haven’t been to London, which is a huge shame! Fingers crossed that 2022 is the year.

Ireland, on the other hand, is one of our absolute favorites! If you search “Ireland” on the top right corner of the blog (or on the pop out menu on mobile), all of our blog posts will come up, but this is a great one to start with:

We spent a night in this castle (slash manor house) and had a fantastic time:

Ireland is one of our favorite places for road trips on the planet. You’ll love it!

Great post, thanks!

Need your advice here 🙂 We will be landing in London, staying there 3 days, then train to Paris (staying in Paris for 3 days). We fly back home from Lisbon and have 3 options: night train to Nice (spend some time there and then a few days in Lisbon), fly to Napoli (spend some time there and then fly to Lisbon) or fly to Lisbon and discover a bit more of Portugal… What would you recommend?

Oh and we are travelling with two teens who have never been to Europe… I’m trying to pack as much stuff, but wonder what would be too much :/

That’s a lot of hard choices! Each and every one of those destinations is a delight (and we’re living in Lisbon right now).

I’d opt for Nice if you’re looking for coastal views, picturesque villages, and something logistically simple. Nice is a delightful city and the day trips to nearby villages like Eze as well as Monaco are phenomenal. It is the most formal and pricey of the 3 cities and will have a resort feel near the coast in the summer.

Naples is a much less manicured city, it’s a love-it-or-hate-it place (we love it). I’d argue that it has the best food of the 3 options, but those are fighting words and many would disagree. The day trips are equally stunning but very different. If you or your family has an interest in ancient ruins, Pompeii and Herculaneum are unmatched. Visiting the Amalfi Coast or nearby islands is also doable, but it’s a trek if you’re staying in the city center. Keep in mind that there’s no train service to the Amalfi Coast proper, you will need a bus, car, or ferry to get beyond Sorrento.

Lisbon is delightful but honestly, our favorite parts of Portugal lie outside the city. Porto, in the north, has a much more regal feel while Lisbon is fairly spread out. The Duoro Valley (also in the north) is magnificent for port tastings and views, Sintra’s palaces located just outside of Lisbon are must-sees, and if you want to head to the south, the Algarve is incredibly striking.

Logistically speaking, I’d make sure you have at least 2-3 days in Portugal at the end of your trip before flying out, regardless. With 3 full days, you can spend 2 in Lisbon and take one day trip (probably to Sintra but the coastal town of Cascais is also easy and lovely).

If you have time to do that and add another stop for 3 full days, I would check detailed flight and train schedules and let that guide you–the logistics alone may make the choice for you.

That got a bit long, but I hope it helps! 🙂

Thanks a lot for the precious information!

Hi Kate! I know you said you are not a travel agent but are open to a few itinerary questions! We have recently done a European Cruise which hit almost all of Italy! We are wanting to go back independently. I am highly interested in Ireland, but would also like to see Paris. My husband is interested in Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland. With a 14 day trip wanted, what areas do you think we should do (based on best places to see, with allotted time?)

& Austria! 🙂

That is a lot of very different places, but you’ll definitely be able to pull together a great trip! I’d recommend narrowing it down to around 3 destinations, 4 if you’re comfortable moving quite fast and two of them are close together.

Ireland is definitely the odd one out geographically, but if you use two one-way tickets instead of flying in and out of the same airport, it can work (it’s what we did on our first multi-country Europe trip many years ago).

Since you’ll likely have 1-2 flights in this itinerary regardless, which destinations you pick can come down to a combination of your absolute favorites and what makes logistical sense. Paris is a very popular place to fly in and out of, so it’ll likely be easy to work in.

I’m not sure which parts of Germany your husband is interested in, but parts of western Germany have simple train access to The Netherlands and/or France.

As far as what places I’d personally visit, Ireland and Paris are two of my favorite places on the planet, so I’m biased! Switzerland’s mountain landscapes are truly beyond belief, so if you’re looking for nature (and aren’t concerned about the budget), it’s a winner.

Germany is also gorgeous, both its nature and many of its cities, though it’s quite big and varied–with a big trip like this, you’ll want to choose one small corner of it (Bavaria is a popular first stop, but you can also look at places along the Rhine, which makes more sense if you’re hoping to visit Paris or The Netherlands by train before or after).

The only part of The Netherlands we’ve had a chance to visit so far is Amsterdam, which is visually stunning but will be extremely crowded–probably more so than anywhere else you’ve listed, as there’s less room to spread out there than in, say, Paris.

When it comes to your itinerary, I’d recommend that each of you pick one place that is your absolute first choice, plan on a trip to those, and then fill in the 3rd and possible 4th destination based on what makes logistical sense as far as what planes/trains/buses are available to the spots on your shortlist.

Also, if you do need to book high-speed train tickets, book them ASAP, as prices increase as your trip gets closer.

What a wonderful blog, just when I feel like I’ve read them all I find another really helpful article. Heading to Europe for 1 month in May. Keen on Spain, definitely Italy, and probably 2 days in London and Paris respectively (arrival and departure). Feel like we have space for one more place and can’t figure out which is the better option (Portugal, Croatia or Greece) for potentially 5 days? Any recommendations?

Thank you for sharing all your wonderful insights.

That’s tough, because all 3 are fantastic but very different!

I’d probably recommend (if I had to choose), Greece for beaches/swimming and small towns, Portugal for cities, and Croatia for a combination of all. But we adore each and every one of them, so hard to go wrong!

Portugal fits nicely into your Spain section geographically, so there is that to consider.

Hi, Kate! Super love your blog. I just booked a trip to Europe for August, was thinking of going to France, Spain, and Italy in 2 weeks. Or should I cut it down to 2 countries? Hope to hear from you!

Less relevant than the countries are the destinations within them–I wouldn’t go more than 4 places in 2 weeks, max.

So if you’re hitting up Paris, Barcelona, and Rome, for example, your plan is fine. If you want to go to 2-3 places within each country, it’s time to cut it down. 🙂

HI! Thanks for the fantastic blog! My husband and I are planning our first trip to Europe from Canada and are feeling quite overwhelmed by all the choices! His family is from Holland, so we are spending one week touring with them for the first week of May, and then will stay an additional 2 weeks after that. What would you recommend? We are not keen on France but everything else looks so great, and it was good to read that you don’t recommend trying to fit everything else in, which is what we might otherwise be trying to do. Any suggestions for the 2 weeks after Holland?

Hi Michele,

That’s so exciting! You guys are going to have an amazing time.

Without knowing your tastes or the season you’re traveling, the sky is truly the limit when planning your itinerary! Anywhere that sounds exciting to you is going to be worth it. With 2 weeks, I’d opt for 1-2 countries and no more than 4 base destinations (3 would be even better).

I started trying to make a list of some of our favorite countries in Europe for you, but just backspaced the sentence because I was ending up just listing every country, LOL. But Italy is one of our special favorites that we would recommend to just about anyone!

We will be in Holland for the first week of May so we could do the other two weeks either before or after that (or split one before and one after). The suggestion to cut down to less rather than more is helpful – it’s our first time to Europe and everything looks like something we should see! We are 50 and really like most things – some scenery, some castles, etc. Do you think it would be do-able to do Germany and Italy on top of Holland? Any specifics on what you love in Italy? I am really NOT a crowd person, so we’re really going to try and avoid huge crowds or I’ll lose my mind 😉

A week in Germany followed by a week in Italy is definitely doable!

Personally I’d opt for either southwest Germany (Black Forest, Heidelberg, Burg Eltz) or Bavaria.

We love virtually all of Italy, but if you want something somewhat more offbeat that’s in the top half of the country (for geography reasons), I’d recommend looking into Emilia-Romagna.

It’s the region east of Tuscany, and has similar appeal with far fewer tourists. It’s also gorgeous and a culinary dream–Emilia-Romagna is the origin of many iconic foods like parmigiano-reggiano and traditional balsamic vinegar.

A few destinations in the region to poke into as you research: Bologna, Parma, Ravenna, Ferrara, Modena. The micronationa of San Marino is also accessible from there!

Kate-what a remarkably comprehensive, detailed and resourceful blog! I love the considerations offered from different perspectives. My family of 4 (including 2 kids ages 10 and 6) will be traveling to Paris for the second half of August for 2 weeks to visit family. We have already been to Paris a few times so this time around, I would like us to explore more of Europe for some of the time, ideally via trains. I am thinking of staying in Air B&B’s as we have been enjoying that accommodation when we travel locally within the US but would love your perspective on this (vs hotels) considering the cultural and language differences in certain destinations as well as any recommendations for either you may have. Based on some research, some destinations I came cross purely based on travel distance via train from Paris are Switzerland (3 hrs), Barcelona (6.5 hours! would probably have to be an overnight train for the kids), London (2 hrs, have family we can see), and Greece (2 hours), Belgium (1.5 hrs, also some family we can see). My goal is to show my kids/family different cultures, ways of living and experience foods, interesting architecture, beautiful cafe’s etc. Also curios if any of these can be “day trips”. I do not have specific destinations yet to see at these locations and would love your input. From your article, it sounds like limiting to 2 destinations maybe best (outside of Paris) and your thoughts may help me narrow down where to focus. Thanks so much and look forward to reading your insights on this.

So glad you found it helpful, Tez! Sounds like you guys have an amazing trip planned.

I’m sure you already know this, but August is the height of peak season for European travelers visiting the coast and mountains, so some destinations will be quite crowded and expensive (book your hotels and train tickets ASAP, especially in a group of four).

I’m assuming Greece is a typo, so I’ll pass over that one–pretty sure it’s much further than 2 hours even by plane. 🙂

Luckily Paris is a huge train hub for getting across Europe, so you have plenty of options! Most of them will take longer than it looks on the map once you navigate connections, train times, etc. We highly recommend using Omio to search exact routes and dates, and keep in mind tickets will increase in price as you get closer. With kids, you’ll probably want to search by the fastest available routes.

London, Belgium, and Switzerland all jump out at me from your list–simple to access and incredible. The Jungfrau region in Switzerland is pure paradise, though a bit further away.

You may also want to look into Amsterdam, it’s only 3.5 hours from Paris by train.

With the right schedule, you can get as far as Venice in a day from Paris (we’ve done this), so Italy is an option for you as well, as is Germany.

Essentially, the more you stick to major cities, the easier it will be to navigate solely by train. Smaller towns and cities are often connected, but you’ll virtually always need to pass back through the main city of a region to make your way back to Paris.

You may want to take a look at this post as well, we talk a lot more about train travel here:

Hi Kate Love your blog, lots of useful information. My husband and I are planning a 10 day trip to Europe end of April to early May. At the moment we are looking at flying from the US RT to Paris. We’re thinking of possibly going to Amsterdam and Belgium as well. this will be our second trip to Paris. We are open to other suggestions. Do you have any other recommendations?

Happy to be able to help, Daisy!

Paris + Amsterdam + Belgium is an excellent itinerary and doable in 10 days. It’s actually a route we recommend ourselves. We have posts on all those places, but here are our suggestions on spending 3 days in Belgium to give you an idea of what you can cover in a short time frame:

Paris is extremely well-connected by rail (you can be in Venice in 9 hours or Munich in under 6, for example), so as far as ideas for other destinations go, the sky is the limit!

If you choose to extend your original itinerary, a few additional places that you might consider along that route are Strasbourg/Alsace, Heidelberg, and Cologne.

Thank you for your blog.. We are travelling to Europe for 14 days the end of May. Flying Calgary to Dublin, doing a couple days at the Isle of Man races then hopefully, London, Paris, Rome. Your blog shares what to pack for clothing in Summer, Fall and Winter, what would you recommend for spring? We are trying to decide if we take the trains or flights from London, Paris and Rome. We aren’t planning any beach time. Also, what do you recommend for luggage? I’m leaning towards a rolly carryon but have every size hard shell case and multiple back country camping packs.

So happy you find it helpful!

Funny you mention spring packing ideas–I’m actually working on a post for that right now. It will hopefully be up next week. But off the top of my head, you’ll definitely want a travel umbrella and to pack in layers. The end of May is a beautiful time to be in much of Europe but the weather could be unpredictable–you may want sundresses on some days and light jackets on some evenings!

As far as luggage, either is completely fine. There are advantages to both backpacks and suitcases, but as long as you’re comfortable carrying your bag up and down staircases, carrying (or rolling) it down the street for 10+ minutes, and loading it into and out of trains and/or cars, you’re good.

As far as trains vs planes–London to Paris can definitely be a train, but do a time and cost-benefit analysis between that and a plane (depending on the dates, your travel style, etc, you may choose either). Paris to Rome is better done as a flight!

Thank you very much for sharing your wisdom. We are really excited.

Hi Kate, Thank you so very much. You have provided an AMAZING amount of helpful information. Can you pretty please help me with the best location to travel to 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th and the best way to get to the locations? (We will NOT be doing any driving).I’m a 55 years old woman. I live in USA. I’m planning the 1st International trip for me and my husband for either the 1st or 2nd week of September 2023. My biggest challenge is knowing where to start and end the trip, based on logistically traveling to the different destinations, as well as, the best way to get to each destination.Here are the the things I have planned. I know you mentioned you’ve never been to London but i’m hoping you can assist based on me providing the area I want to be in. *LONDON-7 NIGHTS I’m a theatre/adrenaline junkie person so Theatreland West End of London near (North of the River Thames. 3-Plays (evening events) 2-Hour Sherlock Holmes museum (near West End) 1-Hour Ghost Bus tour (nearest tube stations are Embankment and Charing Cross) 4-Hours-day walking tasting tour (near London Bridge Station) 1-day Harry Potter Studio Tour (Leavesden London) 2 -Nights Theme park “Alton Towers” located Alton, Staffordshire near Manchester and Birmingham. (stay onsite at the parks resort)*PARIS-3 NIGHTS Moulin Rouge (BD de Clichy area) L’ATELIER DES LUMINERES -DIGITAL ART MUSEUM I would like to visit just one of the haunted castles in Paris (depending on recommendation) Château de Puymartin Château de Brissac Château Lagorce Château de Chambord Château de Versailles* GERMANY 3 NIGHTS-Phantasialand Theme park (located Bruhl Germany) Stay onsite at the parks resortThank you for any advice or suggestions you can provide.

Hi Melvina,

I definitely can’t speak to getting around London in detail, though a combination of the tube and buses will likely be doable! You can add cabs as needed as well.

In Paris, the metro is so dense you should have no issue getting around. Assuming you are planning to do the usual Paris sights (Eiffel Tower, Louvre, etc), our Paris itinerary might be able to help you out (and has hotel recommendations):

For the chateaus, Versailles is by far the closest to Paris and you can get there by RER train. Château de Chambord in the Loire Valley is doable via an organized day trip like this:

The others are way too far from Paris for day trips, so I’d focus on Versailles and/or Chambord this time.

Hope you have a wonderful time! 🙂

Thank you so very much.

Hi, thank you for this comprehensive post! We are planning a trip this summer and will be going to Paris, Rome, Florence and Amsterdam. My question is about changing money. We were in Iceland last year and used Apple Pay or credit card everywhere, never needed cash and didn’t get any. Is that possible in either France, Italy or Netherlands? Should I plan on getting cash for taxis, tips, etc?

Happy to help!

I’d definitely recommend having some cash with you as you travel, especially for small purchases like coffee, gelato, etc. Most hotels in Italy will require the city’s tourist tax in cash, too. Some taxis and tips will be best done in cash as well, and occasionally very small, offbeat tourist attractions.

While cash-only restaurants definitely aren’t the norm in any of those cities, they’re not unheard of, either.

Overall, I’d say you’re most likely to avoid cash entirely in Amsterdam and most likely to use some of it in Rome and Florence, but that’s not a hard and fast rule by any means (I used some cash on my trip to the Netherlands last spring, for example).

We find that the easiest way to get cash, by far, is to withdraw Euros from any bank’s ATM once you’re already in Europe (avoid Euronet–use an ATM branded by an actual bank). Luckily, since all the places you’re visiting use the Euro, you won’t need to worry about changing currency beyond that. 🙂

Hi Kate, thank you for this great, and helpful post! We’re are planning a trip to Europe for the first time in September for next year in 2024. My plan is to visit Spain, Italy and I’m still undecided on the third country to visit. What country would you suggest or advised that we can visit that has beautiful scenery, mountains, lakes, etc. We like the city, but we also want something where we can hike out in nature like Iceland maybe, Switzerland. Any tips on that? Also, is it cheaper to stay in hotels, Airbnb’s? Thank you!

Spain and Italy–two of our favorites! You guys are going to have a great time. 🙂

The hardest part about picking a third country with your criteria will be narrowing it down between many excellent choices–you really can’t go wrong.

Switzerland is absolutely spectacular, if the Alps are what you’re looking for, it’s iconic and hard to beat in every category except the price tag.

Germany and Austria also offer beautiful mountains and lakes and are a more budget-friendly than Switzerland.

The French Alps are also wonderful–towns like Chamonix and Annecy offer plenty of mountains, lakes, etc.

And, for a a wild card, you don’t necessarily need a third country at all: the Dolomites in Italy have everything you’re looking for.

Any of those that appeal to you and fit your budget will be a great addition to your trip. They’re well-connected to Italy and each other by train, the travel times aren’t too far, and they’re all phenomenal places to visit.

One small thing to keep in mind if you’re planning to travel by train a bunch is that Spain isn’t very well connected to the rest of the places you’re considering by rail–you may want to consider flying in and out of there.

Iceland is definitely far out of the way, but assuming you’re traveling to and from North America, look into the Icelandair stopover program if you want to add it on! I will say that while it does offer mountains, lakes, and beautiful scenery, it’s a very different vibe than Switzerland or any of the surrounding Alpine countries, so take a close look at the specific destinations and see if it’s what you’re looking for. It’s a stunning place, just very different than the others. Here’s one of our Iceland posts if you want to get a feel for it:

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20 one-week europe trip itinerary ideas.

One Week Europe Itinerary Ideas

Wondering where to spend one week in Europe? These 20 ideas for your Europe trip will help you decide how to maximize your time.

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How to Choose the Best One Week Itinerary for a Europe Trip: 20 Europe Itinerary Ideas

If you’re like most people and getting time off work or kids out of school is challenging, you may only be able to manage one week of vacation. Europe is a great destination to go for one week, simply because of the cultural diversity in such a small geographic area.

The small size, proximity, and ease of transportation between many of the countries in Europe make it a good choice for a culturally rich one week holiday. If you’ve only got one week in Europe, and really want to maximize your time, but you’re wondering where to go in Europe, here are 20 perfect one-week Europe travel itineraries.

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If you're heading to Europe and only have one week to enjoy it, try one of these 20 one week European itineraries that will help you make the most of your time. #Europe #Itinerary #Vacation

  • Before You go to Europe

Europe is an amazing destination, especially if you pick any of these awesome itineraries, but before leaving there are a few things you should consider when planning your Europe trip:

  • KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Before you go to Europe, be sure you follow my 50 travel tips for Europe. You can find those here. 

And the winter months are generally cold in most European countries, especially in the north.That doesn’t mean you should avoid those times, it just depends on your tolerance for crowds and your preference in weather.

  • WHAT TO PACK FOR EUROPE: What you pack for Europe will highly depend on what time of year you go and where you decide to go. This  packing guide for Europe will ensure you have the essentials.
  • GETTING AROUND: Getting around Europe can be a little daunting, but if you do some research before you go, you’ll be just fine. Transportation in every country in Europe is a little different. I’ve linked many of my articles with helpful advice below like   How to Survive Train Travel in Italy   and   Driving in Scotland . Some itineraries will require you to go by train, car, plane or boat. Travel around Europe doesn’t have to be scary if you learn what to do ahead of time.

If you’re renting a car, there are two companies we prefer to use: Rental Cars and Expedia Cars. We have had no issues with them and have been able to find the best prices available.

What to do in Europe for One Week: 20 European Vacation Ideas for Your Europe Trip

These are my best one week vacations in Europe. Taking a multi city European vacation can be a great way to experience several different cultures on one continent. I know that one week in Europe isn’t a lot of time, so I’ve picked cities that are either close in proximity or a quick and cheap flight between each other.

I’ve also tried to choose each Europe travel itinerary with a mix of classic sites and unique destinations. There are so many cool places to visit in Europe that are still undiscovered. Hopefully, some of these locations will be new to you and you’ll be able to discover a new European favorite!

Here's a Short Cut

1 | Amalfi Coast + Rome

2 | paris + london, 3 | ireland + iceland, 4 | heidelberg, germany + strasbourg, france, 5 | colmar, france + basel, switzerland, 6 | interlaken + lucerne, switzerland, 7 | lake como, italy + zermatt, switzerland, 8 | paris + normandy, 9 | iceland and the scottish highlands, 10 | venice and lake como, 11 | the ionian islands, greece, 12 | ireland + northern ireland, 13 | edinburgh + scottish highlands, 14 | colmar + strasbourg, 15 | loire valley + paris, 16 | london + cotswolds, 17 | cinque terre + florence, 18 | prague + vienna, 19 | budapest + bratislava, 20 | lucca + sardinia, 21 | lisbon + algarve, 22 | vienna + hallstatt + salzburg , 23 | croatia + montenegro, 24 | budapest + bratislava + vienna, practical tips for booking your trip.

Europe Itinerary- 20 Europe Trip Ideas

This is one of my very favorite European vacation destinations. There are hundreds of choices for stunning history and scenery when you visit Italy, but this Amalfi Coast and Rome itinerary gives you the best of both worlds. Rome is one of the top places to visit in Europe and offers history around every corner…literally, while on the Amalfi Coast you will be overwhelmed by breathtaking ocean views.

Spend several days in Rome, then head south to the Amalfi Coast via Naples and spend a few more relaxing on the beach and driving the coast. It’s one of the best European beach vacations you can take! Amalfi is also one of the most popular Europe vacation spots during the month of August, so you may want to take that into consideration when planning your trip.

Check out these other 5 amazing itineraries for Italy.  Italy is one of the best countries to visit in Europe due to its size and variety of landscapes, cultures, and attractions.

GETTING THERE: Fly into Rome

GETTING BETWEEN CITIES: Getting from Rome to Amalfi is easy. Take the train from Rome to Naples, from there take the bus to Sorrento. There are many tour buses that travel along the coast, or you can rent a car and do the driving yourself.

WHERE TO STAY Rome | Amalfi RESOURCES How to Spend One Day in Rome Family Guide to Rome How to Spend 2 Days in Naples How to Survive Train Travel in Italy The Best Places to Visit in Italy How to Spend 10 Days in Italy Tips for Renting a Car in Europe i Heart Italy

Europe Trip Itinerary

If you’re looking for a European vacation with a lot of history and class, this is it! I can’t even count the number of times that I have done the Paris/London combo. I’ve done it with kids, as a couple, as a girls’ trip, and as a field trip. No joke! And every time I go, it’s like completely different cities. You can follow completely different options for London and Paris itineraries and have an amazing time no matter what you choose. In my opinion, these are two of the best cities to visit in Europe as they offer a huge amount of culture, food, and entertainment bang for your buck!

When I plan our family trip to Europe each year, I make sure to always include both Paris and London. These are two of my favorite places in all of Europe. They are popular for good reason. Both Paris and London are so vast and diverse that you can have a new experience each time you visit. The best part about visiting these two cities is that they are very easy to travel between with the help of the Eurostar. It’s a quick journey from the heart of one city to the next that requires no airports, no flying, and no hassle. Note: You will need a   passport or visa   to travel between England and France and you will need to go through customs before boarding the Eurostar.

I’ve created an easy-to-use day-by-day itinerary for Paris and London so that you can show up and enjoy your trip. 

trip planning europe

GETTING THERE: Fly into London or Paris GETTING BETWEEN CITIES: Take the Eurostar

WHERE TO STAY Paris | London

RESOURCES Paris Walking Guide Paris with Kids Foods You Must Try in Paris Paris Neighborhood Guide How to Use the Paris Bike System London Travel Guide Perfect London Itinerary London with Kids Christmas in London Paddington’s Guide to London How to Use the Paris Bike System

Europe Trip Itinerary Ideas

If you’re looking for a European vacation with wild nature and rural beauty, this option is a winner. While both of these spectacular islands really deserve their own week (or weeks really), a trip combining the two is possible, thanks to affordable flights between Iceland and Ireland. A good route would be Reykjavik and the Golden Circle, combined with the west of Ireland including Killarney, the Ring of Kerry, and the Cliffs of Moher. These countries are some of the best places to go in Europe if you love majestic natural beauty.

GETTING THERE:  Fly into Iceland as its one of the cheapest ways to get to Europe. GETTING BETWEN COUNTRIES:  From Iceland , take a quick flight to Ireland. Dublin , Belfast , Cork, or Shannon Airports are usually where you’ll find the best deals.

WHERE TO STAY Ireland | Iceland

RESOURCES Iceland on a Budget Bucket List Things to do in Iceland Iconic Things to do in Dublin Day Trips from Dublin What to do in Killarney Perfect Ireland Itinerary Ireland with Kids Ireland Packing List

Europe Trip Itinerary Ideas

This one-week European itinerary includes two of my favorite cities in Europe! Heidelberg, Germany, known for its ancient castle and walkable downtown is a perfect companion to Strasbourg, France only an hour and a half away, in the Alsace region of France, known for its impressive cathedral and half-timber houses. These towns are particularly spectacular during the Christmas season and some of the best places to spend Christmas in Europe. This will be the best Europe itinerary for those looking to spend time in provincial looking towns!

GETTING THERE:  Fly into Frankfurt, Germany GETTING BETWEEN COUNTRIES:  Drive for 1.5 hours or take the train for 1.5 hours.

WHERE TO STAY Heidelberg | Strasbourg

RESOURCES Best European Christmas Markets European Christmas Market Treats What to do in Strasbourg What to do in Heidelberg, Germany What to do in Strasbourg, France

Europe Trip Itinerary Ideas

If you want to spend your Europen vacation wandering charming streets and feeling like you’re in a fairytale, this is it. Basel, Switzerland holds a special place in my heart and is often an overlooked town. Only a quick 45-minute train ride from the popular and iconic Colmar, France, Basel offers a unique culture that only a town on the border of three countries can. Basel is especially fun during Herbstmesse, the local Autumn Fair when the city literally turns into a fair! Combine these two beautiful cities for a one-of-a-kind holiday.

GETTING THERE: Fly into Basel or Zurich GETTING BETWEEN CITIES:  Drive 45 minutes or Train 30 minutes

WHERE TO STAY Colmar |  Basel

RESOURCES What to do in Basel Guide to Colmar, France

Europe Trip Itinerary Ideas

No European vacation list would be complete without including the unimaginable beauty of the Swiss Alps. Switzerland is a wonderland of natural beauty for the outdoor enthusiast or even anyone who has a remote interest in pretty scenery! It’s one of the best countries in Europe for those who love outdoor activity and natural beauty. It’s just jaw-droppingly gorgeous.

For such a small country, there is so much to see and with two of Switzerland most breathtaking areas just a few hours from each other, it’s worth visiting both of them. These areas offer pristine lakes, ancient gorges, colossal mountains, and a vast array of cultural activities.

GETTING THERE: Fly into Zurich, Switzerland GETTING BETWEEN CITIES: Train to Lucerne, Train to Interlaken

WHERE TO STAY Interlaken | Lucerne

RESOURCES Switzerland Itinerary Swiss Food Guide Switzerland Packing List 24 Hours in Zurich What to do in Interlaken What to do in Lucerne

One Week Europe Itinerary

If you’d like your Europe trip to have a good mix of beach and mountain time, this is the perfect combination. Lake Como is probably one of my top favorite places on the planet. It is totally magical and peaceful, and I’ve written about it multiple times and helped friends and family plan trips there. Don’t skip Lake Como on your next trip to Italy. One of my favorite parts of Lake Como is its proximity to the Swiss border. You can actually hike over the borer and into Switzerland! But if you’d rather not hike, hop in the car and take a trip to Zermatt, Switzerland, home of the famous towering mountain, Matterhorn.

GETTING THERE: Fly into Milan, Italy GETTING BETWEEN CITIES: Drive 3 hours to Zermatt or take a 4 hour Train ride from Milan

WHERE TO STAY Lake Como | Zermatt

RESOURCES Guide to Lake Como Boating Lake Como Guide to Zermatt Best Places to Visit in Italy How to Spend 10 Days in Italy i Heart Italy

Europe Trip Itinerary Ideas

This is a European vacation full of charm, but also a healthy dose of history and reality. A Paris-Normandy itinerary of Europe combines all the glamor and romance of the city of light with the charm, history, and beauty of Northern France. Spend several days in Paris, taking several day trips, including the impressive floating Mont Saint Michel. This area is one of the best places to visit in Europe for history lovers.


WHERE TO STAY Paris | Normandy

RESOURCES Paris Itinerary Paris Walking Guide Paris with Kids Foods You Must Try in Paris Paris Neighbgorhood Guide Guide to Normandy Guide to Visiting Mont Saint Michel France with Kids

Europe Trip Itinerary Ideas

Two naturally and culturally beautiful countries are just a short and cheap flight apart and a great combination for a one-week European itinerary, although both countries could take weeks to explore on their own.  Spend a few days in Iceland, then take a cheap hopper flight and explore the mystical highlands of Scotland.

GETTING THERE: Fly into Reykjavik GETTING BETWEEN COUNTRIES: Fly into Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, or Aberdeen

WHERE TO STAY Iceland | Scotland

RESOURCES Iceland on a Budget Scotland Itinerary What to do in Inverness What to do on the Isle of Skye Scotland Packing List

Europe Trip Itinerary Ideas

Some of my favorite Italian destinations, Venice and Lake Como, both built on water, are ideal locations for aquatic enthusiasts. Taking a ride on a gondola in Venice is one of the best things to do in Europe! Take the Vaporetto (water bus) in Venice, then take a short drive or train ride to Lake Como and enjoy boating and relaxing on the beach in one of the adorable villages lining the lake.

GETTING THERE: Fly into Venice or Milan GETTING BETWEEN CITIES: 3.5 hours by car or 10 hours by train

WHERE TO STAY Venice | Lake Como

RESOURCES Guide to Lake Como Boating Lake Como Surviving Train Travel in Italy Guide to Venice Best Places to Visit in Italy How to Spend 10 Days in Italy i Heart Italy

Europe Trip Itinerary Ideas

If you’re interested in cheap Europe trips, the gorgeous Ionian islands of Greece are one of the best-kept secrets in Europe. Naturally and culturally diverse, affordable, and downright beautiful, Kefalonia and Corfu make great choices for one week in Europe.

Explore ancient ruins, relax on pristine beaches with locals, and dine, affordably, like a Greek god. If you’re travelling Europe on a budget, this is a great option and Greece is one of the best places to visit in Europe in summer if you’re looking for gorgeous beaches at affordable prices.

GETTING THERE: Fly into Kefalonia from London on Ryanair GETTING BETWEEN ISLANDS: Take a ferry between the Ionian Islands from Greek Ferries

WHERE TO STAY Kefalonia | Corfu

RESOURCES Guide to Kefalonia Greece The Ionian Islands The Best Beaches on Corfu What to Wear in Greece Guide to Athens

Europe Trip Itinerary Ideas

Two countries on one island? Yep! Take a visit to Ireland AND Northern Ireland. Two countries that are very similar, but also very different. Explore the entire island with this perfect itinerary.

GETTING THERE: Fly into Dublin or any airport in Ireland GETTING BETWEEN COUNTRIES: Rent a Car. Driving in Ireland can be tricky and slow, but worth the views and the adventure.

WHERE TO STAY Ireland | Northern Ireland

RESOURCES The Best Places to Visit in Ireland Perfect Ireland Itinerary Ireland with Kids What to do in Killarney Scotland and Ireland Itinerary Ireland Packing List

Europe Trip Itinerary Ideas

Scotland is one country that should really be given an entire week. You could definitely say that about any destination, but for a relatively small country, but it has so much to offer that you could spend years here and not see it all.

For one week in Scotland, I recommend visiting Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands, including the Isle of Skye. Read here for an entire Scotland Itinerary, here for Edinburgh , here for Inverness and the Highlands , and here for the Isle of Skye.

GETTING THERE:  Flying into Edinburgh is usually the cheapest option. GETTING BETWEN AREAS:  It’s best to rent a car or hire a driver or tour company. Be sure to read my guide to driving in Scotland.  

WHERE TO STAY Ediburgh | Inverness | Isle of Skye

RESOURCES Perfect Scotland Itinerary What to do in Edinburgh What to do in Inverness What to do on the Isle of Skye Scotland Packing List

Europe Trip Itinerary Ideas

What could be more charming than a week spent in these “poor provincial towns.” Ok, so they’re definitely not poor or provincial, but you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into Belle’s hometown from Beauty and the Beast .

The ancient half-timber homes built along scenic rivers provide a feast for the eyes, while the patisseries, boulangeries, shops, and restaurants provide a feast for the tongue. Split your time between these two idyllic towns and enjoy a peaceful trip back in time.

If you visit Colmar or Strasbourg during Christmas, these towns will be even more magical! Strasbourg is known as “The Capital of Christmas” and both towns have incredible Christmas markets and decorations!

GETTING THERE:  Fly into Zurich GETTING BETWEEN COUNTRIES:  30 minutes by train or 1 hour by car

WHERE TO STAY Colmar | Strasbourg

RESOURCES 24 Hours in Zurich Guide to Colmar Guide to Strasbourg The Most Magical European Christmas Markets Must-Have European Christmas Market Treats 

One Week Europe Trip Itinerary

Divide your time between the ancient and modern city of light and the historic Loire Valley , home to magnificent palaces, stunning gardens, and green pastures. This one-week itinerary is the perfect balance between city and country life and will provide you with a mix of excitement, peace, and romance. It can be hard to squeeze everything you want into one week European itineraries, but this is a must!

Be sure to map out the castles and palaces you want to see along the way. Our favorite is Chenonceau ! Don’t miss it!

GETTING THERE: Fly into Paris GETTING AROUND:  Rent a car and drive two hours to the Loire Valley

WHERE TO STAY Loire Valley | Paris

RESOURCES Walking Guide to Paris Paris with Kids Day Trips from Paris Foods You Must Try in Paris Guide to the Loire Valley 15 Affordable Castles You Can Stay In

Europe Trip Itinerary Ideas

This London and Cotswolds Itinerary provides the best of both British worlds, encompassing both the hustle and bustle of one of the world’s oldest and largest cities and the peace and tranquility of the quaint cottage speckled Cotswolds.

As much as I love London (it’s my favorite city), I do get tired of the crowds and the constant noise. It is so refreshing to get into the countryside and have a change of scenery during your time in London. The Cotswolds are a fairytale-like dream trip. Be sure to grab cream tea every chance you get!

GETTING THERE: Fly into one of three London Airports GETTING AROUND: Rent a car and explore the whole Cotswolds area

WHERE TO STAY London | Cotswolds

RESOURCES London Travel Guide Complete Guide to London Perfect London Itinerary London with Kids Paddington’s Guide to London Christmas in London Guide to the Cotswolds

Europe Trip Itinerary Ideas

I call this itinerary the best of Northern Italy. Italy is huge and has so much to offer geographically and culturally, but one of my favorite parts of Italy is the train system. The trains in Italy allow for easy access to most major sites, but it can be slightly confusing, so be sure to read this guide to train travel in Italy before you go. Getting between Florence and Cinque Terre is simple with the right knowledge.

The great thing about this itinerary is that you will get to see a big city full of culture, history, and art, and also spend time swimming at the beach and on a boat soaking up rays in in the Liguerian Sea. Read here for Florence, here for Cinque Terre, here for Trains in Italy.

GETTING THERE: Fly into Florence GETTING BETWEEN CITIES: Two hours by train

WHERE TO STAY Cinque Terre | Florence

RESOURCES Guide to Cinque Terre Guide to Florence How to Survive Train Travel in Italy Best Places to Visit in Italy How to Spend 10 Days in Italy

Europe Itinerary

I think Prague and Vienna might be some of the most underrated cities in Europe, and they are worth dedicating an entire week to. Stunning architecture, delicious cuisine, and cultural activities abound in these cities that are just a few hours apart.

GETTING THERE: Fly into Vienna or Prague GETTING BETWEEN CITIES: 3-hour drive or 4-hour train ride

WHERE TO STAY Prague | Vienna

RESOURCES One Day in Prague What to do in Vienna

One Week European Itinerary

If you’re looking for cheap European vacations, the farther east you go, the cheaper it generally gets. These are two cities that had never really been on my bucket list, and to be honest, I had never even heard of Bratislava, which is in Slovakia by the way! Both cities are charming and culturally rich. They are especially festive and beautiful around Christmas time.

Bratislava is on the way between Budapest and Vienna (you can even cycle between Budapest and Vienna ) and Budapest and Prague, so if you’re thinking of doing a combination of any of those cities, it’s a great stop.

GETTING THERE: Fly into Budapest GETTING BETWEEN CITIES: 2 hours by car, 2.5 hours by train

WHERE TO STAY Budapest | Bratislava

RESOURCES What to do in Budapest European Christmas Markets What to do in Bratislava

Europe Trip Itinerary Ideas

These incredible destinations in Italy are not well known, but that is part of the appeal. I would say they are a good option for a cheaper and less crowded alternative to the  Florence and Cinque Terre itinerary.

Lucca is a walled city in Tuscany offering stunning architecture and culture with great family fun activities such as riding bikes along the top of the medieval wall around the city. Sardinia is a heavenly island, just a ferry ride away full of breathtaking beaches, delicious food, and friendly locals. Known as one of the five blue zones in the world- places in the world where people live longer and healthier than anywhere else on earth-Sardinia will make you feel younger and more alive just by visiting.

GETTING THERE: Fly into Rome or Florence GETTING BETWEEN DESTINATIONS: Take a Ferry from Civitavecchia to Olbia

WHERE TO STAY Lucca | Sardinia

RESOURCES One Day in Rome What to do in Lucca Sardinia Best Places to Visit in Italy How to Spend 10 Days in Italy What to Wear in Italy

trip planning europe

Portugal is a beautiful country full of diverse landscapes, amazing beaches, and cultural city centers. Lisbon is a stunning city and the Algarve region in the south of Portugal offers sunny beaches with world-famous surfing. There are some really cheap flights to Lisbon from the US right now and you can either drive, train, bus, or fly to the Algarve easily. As a southern European country, Portugal is a great choice for a winter destination. We were there last January and could still get in the water. There are many towns to choose from in the Algarve and they are all equally unique and beautiful. 

GETTING THERE: Fly into Lisbon GETTING BETWEEN DESTINATIONS: Take a plane, car, or bus to the Algarve.

The Perfect Portugal Itinerary

trip planning europe

This one week in Europe spent in Austria is a dream. Combining the culture of Vienna and Salzburg with the picturesque feel of Hallstatt, it’s sure to satisfy any traveler. In my opinion, this is a great winter destination if you don’t mind the cold. Vienna and Salzburg have several amazing Christmas markets and Hallstatt is simply a dream to see in the snow! 

GETTING THERE: Fly into Vienna GETTING BETWEEN DESTINATIONS: Take a train to Salzburg (2.5 hours). A great way to see Hallstatt is to take a day trip from Salzburg.

Hallstatt Day Trip

European Christmas Markets

Christmas Market Treats

trip planning europe

If you’re into coastal towns, walled cities, and breathtaking scenery, this combination is for you. The Dalmation Coast is absolutely stunning. The bordering country of Montenegro is really the hidden gem of Europe, offering the same draw as Croatia, but with far fewer tourists. I recommend going during shoulder season (April-May or September-October) to be able to enjoy warmer weather with fewer crowds. 

GETTING THERE: Fly into Dubrovnik, Croatia  GETTING BETWEEN DESTINATIONS:  Take a Day Trip to Montenegro

trip planning europe

Two of the most underrated cities in Europe if you ask me, Budapest and Bratislava are both cities that offer an amazing array of culture and also incredible food. If you’re up for the cold weather, these cities all have incredible Christmas markets and stunning decorations around the holidays. These cities are also all connected by rail so you can easily navigate between them. 

GETTING THERE: Fly into Vienna or Budapest GETTING BETWEEN DESTINATIONS: Take the train between each city. Bratislava would be a good day trip from Vienna.

25 | Berlin + Prague

trip planning europe

If you love history and architecture, then these two cities will captivate you! Split your time between the two, rent a car and take a road trip between them to enjoy some beautiful scenery. 

GETTING THERE: Fly into either Berlin or Prague, whichever airport is cheaper.  GETTING BETWEEN DESTINATIONS: Rent a car and take a road trip between Berlin and Prague.

Whichever Europe Itinerary you choose, you’re guaranteed to love it. You can definitely see so much of Europe in a week and you really can’t go wrong with any of these choices. Just remember to relax and enjoy and also remember that this probably won’t be the last Europe trip of your lifetime.

Not the Trip You Need?

Not exactly the trip you’re looking for? Don’t worry, I also offer custom trip planning by request for many destinations! Learn more here.

Book Your Flight s and Car Find a budget airlines by using  Skyscanner . This is my favorite way to search for flights because they crawl websites and airlines around the globe, so you always know you’re getting the best deal. Learn more tips for finding the best flight deals here. For cars, I like to use Rental Cars because they have good filters and its easy to search for multiple companies.

Book Your Accommodation My preferred way to stay around the world is VRBO . I find it usually gives you a unique local experience in any destination. If you want to stay in a hotel, use  Booking , as it consistently gives the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels. I use them both all the time.

Always Get Travel Insurance Travel insurance protects you and your family against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s peace of mind in case anything goes wrong. I never travel without it. I’ve been using World Nomads for the last few years and love how easy it is to use. I have also used Allianz . Compare rates to see which is best for the coverage you need.

Looking for ways to save money on travel? Check out my  resource page  for the companies I use for traveling! I share everything I use to save me time and money.

trip planning europe

Wanderlust Crew

9 thoughts on “ 20 one-week europe trip itinerary ideas ”.

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Hi there, My husband and I will be celebrating our 20th anniversary next March and would love to go somewhere in Europe for a week. I have only been to Italy (over 20 years ago) and he’s never been. I’m a bit overwhelmed by even trying to figure out where to go. Can you help? Thanks! Hannah

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Hi Hannah. I can definitely help! I’ve got several Italy Itinerary ideas for Italy here: I also do custom trip planning, specifically for Italy, if you’re interested in that, you can find more info here: Italy will be so much fun! One of my favorite places on earth! xo Vanessa

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Very helpful! Thank you. We are planning a one year stay & this helped with our itinerary tremendously.

Oh that sounds amazing! You’ll see so much!

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Great ideas! We hope we’ll be able to travel to Europe again soon!

Thanks so much! Me too! Going as soon as it’s safe!!

Pingback: Backpacking around Italy with kids - Travel Mad Mum tips

Pingback: How to Find the Best Gelato in Italy! | I Heart Italy

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Very good these tips I was even thinking about taking a vacation for a few days, thank you

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How to Plan a Trip to Europe (2-Week Europe Itinerary)

If you’ve been wanting to visit Europe for a while, you’re probably super excited to begin planning your trip and building your Europe itinerary. In this post, we’re going to show you how to plan a trip to Europe that you’ll never forget!

We know from experience that planning a trip to Europe can be quite overwhelming because there are so many places to go and things to see. You want to make sure you add everything possible to your Europe itinerary. Believe me, we understand how important travel planning is!

Venice canal

We’ve been traveling around Europe for more than 10 years. We now spend at least 2 weekends per month traveling in Europe. That’s why we’ve prepared this Europe trip planner for you.

If you have at least 10 days to spend in Europe, this itinerary will cover all the top spots you must see. Do keep in mind that traveling in Europe can be expensive. You also have to be very wise in your planning to make everything fit together perfectly.

You can fly between cities cheaply if you plan it right. Or you can plan to travel with the Eurail Pass, though this option will take longer.

Let’s get your dream European vacation started. Here’s how to plan a trip to Europe, and see as much as humanly possible in 10-14 days.

Quick. Check these necessities off your prep list!

  • Travel insurance : Travelex has reliable coverage at a reasonable price. You can search for the insurance you need on their website, and filing a claim is easy.
  • The right luggage can make or break your trip. These hard-sided suitcases come in all different sizes, with spinner wheels and TSA-approved lock.
  • Renting a car? Discover Cars helps you search and compare offers from all the top companies. Don’t forget to check if you need an International Drivers License.

Table of Contents

Where to Go in Europe

Europe is full of history, bustling cities, incredible sights, unique places to stay , and – my favorite – amazing food! There are a good number of tourist destinations that just about anyone planning a trip to Europe would want to include in the itinerary.

But, obviously, with just 10-14 days in Europe, there’s no way you can cover them all. We’ve chosen the top destinations that we feel you can fit comfortably into 10+ days.

Planning for Europe? Here’s more…

  • How to Plan a 2-Week Trip to Europe

Ultimate Summer Europe Packing Guide

  • 11 Charming Small Towns & Cities in Europe

The Louvre in Paris

Here are the top destinations we recommend visiting in 10+ days in Western Europe: London (I’m still considering this Europe even if it’s no longer in the EU), Paris , Venice , Rome , Berlin , and Amsterdam .

We love all of these cities for different reasons as you’ll see below, but if you can’t fit them all in, you might need to decide between them. For instance, if you’re wondering if should I visit Paris or Rome , consider aspects like cost, activities, and your own personal interest in those activities.

If you have additional time, you could add Munich , Barcelona , Dublin , and/or Edinburgh . We also suggest checking out some of the more charming and small towns in Europe . Or maybe you’re into history – there are so many great medieval towns to visit .

You might want to take a look at this post with 50 of the best street food destinations in Europe before you decide where to go. There are quite a few that would persuade me.

How to Spend 2 Weeks in Western Europe

There are really two perfectly acceptable ways to take a vacation in Europe. Either way can be quite rewarding, but it depends greatly on your travel style how much time you want to put into planning, and what trips you are looking to book for.

Option 1: Book a pre-planned guided tour

A guided tour is the easiest option, by far. While Europe is very easy to get around for travelers, it can be difficult to figure out how to get from place to place, and very tedious trying to decide what to do in each location.

A pre-planned tour won’t give you the same freedom to do what you want, but it is completely planned out for you and you will always have a guide along to help you with anything you need.

Option 2: Plan your own trip

Planning your own self-guided tour of Europe gives you ultimate freedom to choose what you want to do and when. You can go to the places you want, without a group to tag along with.

The drawbacks are that you have to plan it all out yourself, which can be daunting.  Check out these additional Europe travel tips to help with your planning.

We will give you the options for both below, including a pre-planned tour we highly recommend and a 14-day self-guided itinerary to follow.

Paris France Eiffel Tower

Guided Tour of Europe

If you want to try a guided tour, I recommend a Classic Europe 14-day tour.

This tour is run by Expat Explore Travel and includes everything except International airfare, extra excursions that aren’t in the tour itinerary, and personal incidentals.

» See more information about the Classic Europe tour .

The 14-day itinerary includes:

  • Start in Amsterdam
  • Drive through Brussels for a quick stop en route to Paris
  • Visit Burgundy and the breath-taking Swiss Alps
  • In Italy , see Pisa, Tuscany, Florence, Rome, and Venice
  • Travel into Munich and Bavaria in Germany , then to Nuremberg and Berlin
  • Head back to Amsterdam

There are other Europe tour options with varying destinations. Check out the website to see all options with this tour operator .

Self-Guided Tour of Europe – Plan Your Own Travel Itinerary

With a good plan of action, your 2-week Europe trip will run smoothly and provide you with a comprehensive overview including some of the main countries in Western Europe.

If this schedule seems too ambitious for just a 10 day Europe trip, you can always extend your stay in the cities that interest you most and decide not to visit others.

There’s no right or wrong way to do it. It’s entirely up to you.

Day 1-2: London

Arrive in London . Take the Heathrow Express from the airport to your hotel.

You’ll want to stay in West London for easy access to all the top sights. London is very walkable. To get around to all the sights in a day or two, you’ll want to get your walking shoes on.

You can take a hop-on-hop-off bus tour if you’re not up for the walking. For foodies, we highly recommend spending some time doing any of these fun foodie activities in London .

The city is one of the best for restaurants in the world. If you want to take a day trip from London, we suggest Stonehenge , Bath , or Windsor . They’re all very close by and offer a fantastic experience.

London city and Thames view

In London, be sure to see these sights:

(You can purchase tickets in advance for these activities. These links are affiliate links to activities we’ve done and recommend.)

  • Tower of London (with the Crown Jewels)
  • Tower Bridge Experience
  • Shakespeare Globe
  • Churchill War Rooms
  • Westminster Abbey & Big Ben
  • View from the Shard
  • Kensington Palace
  • Kew Gardens

Tower Bridge

How to Spend One Day in London

Windsor England

Things to Do in Windsor: A Perfect Day Trip From London

borough market

21 Fun Foodie Things to Do in London

Where to Stay in London: We recommend the Trafalgar St James by Hilton . It’s in a historic building in a really prime location. The hotel and rooms are designed in art deco and the rooms are really spacious and bright. ⇒  Read reviews on Trip Advisor .

Day 3-5: Paris

Travel to Paris on the Eurostar train . The journey takes just 2 hours from St. Pancras Train Station.

Don’t forget to take a picnic lunch and a bottle of wine with you to enjoy on the train. There are so many things to do in Paris . In only two days, you can cover a lot of ground. You can do a few of these great foodie activities , see the top sights on a walking tour, or join this fun gourmet bus tour for a multi-course meal on a double decker tour bus.

You’ll want to either plan on walking a lot, or acquaint yourself with the Paris Metro map and take short trips in between sights. You can also take the Paris hop of hop off bus to get between sights.

Check out our 3-day Paris itinerary that will help you plan what to see.

paris eiffel tower

In Paris, be sure to see these sights:

  • Eiffel Tower
  • Notre Dame (closed for renovations)
  • Seine River Cruise
  • Luxembourg Gardens
  • Arch d’Triomphe
  • The Avenue des Champs-Élysées
  • Louvre Museum
  • Sacre Coeur & Montmartre

Paris Eiffel Tower

How to Spend One Day in Paris

Paris bridge

3-Day Paris Itinerary for First Timers

wine and croissants at the eiffel tower

9 Fun Foodie Things to Do in Paris

Where to Stay in Paris: The best location to stay in Paris is 6th Arrondissement. It is the Latin Quarter. The heart of Paris. And it’s the best location for tourist who are planning to see everything. Here are 8 top hotels with an Eiffel Tower view . We recommend the boutique 4-star  Hotel Parc Saint Severin . The rooms are larger than most in Paris and they’re nicely refurbished. Plus it’s a really great location. The metro is really close.  ⇒ Read reviews on Trip Advisor.

Day 5-7: Venice

Venice gondolas

Venice is just one of those places you have to visit at least once in your life. It’s an incredibly enchanting city, with so much character that you feel a little like you’re floating around in a Disney movie.

The views across the Grand Canal are so beautiful, and the narrow alleys can lead you to get lost in a city of charm. Everywhere you turn is another incredible view, and a gondola floating by in the distance. It’s one of a kind.

With so many great things to do in Venice, you really need to set up a good itinerary before you leave, to make sure you fit everything in. 

Check out our shortcut guide to all the best parts of Venice, which will help you plan. Definitely make time for a Venice food tour .

The food in Venice is great, if you know where to look. And you can check out our YouTube video for the top 10 things to do in Venice , if you need more ideas.

Venice waterway at sunset

You can pre-book some of the activities. I would definitely pre-book the activities below, so you don’t miss out.

  • Venice Gondola Ride and Serenade
  • Eat Like a Local: 3-hour Venice Small-Group Food Tasting Walking Tour
  • Legendary Venice St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace

Venice waterway at sunset

Essential Travel Guide to Venice, Italy [Infographic]

Restaurant in St. Mark's Square

Top Foods to Try on a Venice Food Tour

wine corks forming Italy

Guide to the Best Wine Regions in Italy

Where to Stay in Venice:

Ai Patrizi di Venezia   If you’re staying for 3+ nights, I highly recommend this apartment. It’s in the perfect location, is incredibly comfortable and clean, and has a kitchenette. We sometimes prefer an apartment to a hotel so we’re not being bothered by housekeeping. This place is a gem. | Read Reviews or Book a Stay Hotel Londra Palace   If you’d rather stay in a hotel because you like the extra amenities, then Hotel Londra Palace is a great choice. It’s in a very good location, only 5 min walk from St. Mark’s Square, with free wifi and a restaurant. Some rooms have a balcony and an incredible view. | Read Reviews or Book a Stay

Day 8-10: Rome

Coliseum in Rome - how to plan a trip to europe

Rome is a city that will capture your heart the moment you arrive. It’s amazing to see so much history packed into one place, and so much of it is scattered right in the middle of a modern city. There’s really no where else like it. Plus the food. You have to go on a food tour and witness it first hand.

If you’re planning a trip, we’ve got you covered with our shortcut travel guide to Rome : an informative and helpful infographic that will give you a quick peek at all the top things you should plan to do in Rome. Here’s our 3-day itinerary to help plan it all out.

Top things to put on your itinerary:

  • The Colosseum : This monumental amphitheater is one of the most recognized symbols of Rome, offering a peek into the world of ancient Roman gladiators. Try to book a guided tour to get the full historical context.
  • Roman Forum & Palatine Hill : Located near the Colosseum, the Roman Forum was the political, commercial, and judicial center of ancient Rome. The Palatine Hill, according to Roman mythology, is where the city was founded by Romulus.
  • Pantheon : This best-preserved monument from the Roman Empire is a marvel of architectural design, with its impressive dome and the oculus at its center.
  • Vatican City : Here, you can visit St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel, with Michelangelo’s renowned frescoes. Be sure to dress modestly as a sign of respect.
  • Trevi Fountain : Throw a coin into this iconic fountain to ensure your return to Rome. It’s beautiful during the day, but consider a visit at night when it’s lit up.
  • Piazza Navona : This square is home to Bernini’s famous Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers), as well as various artists, musicians, and street performers.
  • Spanish Steps : Climbing these steps from Piazza di Spagna to Piazza Trinità dei Monti offers a wonderful view. The nearby shopping district is a must for fashion enthusiasts.

PRO TIP: Skip the line tickets are necessary in Rome, especially during high season. You won’t waste time waiting in huge lines.

  • Eating Europe’s Twilight Trastevere Tour  (We loved this tour! Read about it here .)
  • Faster Than Skip-the-Line: Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica Tour (definitely worth it)
  • Colosseum and Ancient Rome Small-Group Tour


What To Do in Rome in 3 Days

Rome Coliseum

Essential Travel Guide to Rome, Italy [+Infographic]

Rome food tour

Eat Like a Local on a Rome Food Tour

Where to Stay in Rome

The best location in Rome depends on what you want to accomplish during your stay, but it’s always best to be centrally located so you can walk to all of the main attractions. 

Two great choices in the affordable luxury range are  The Inn at the Spanish Steps  (with a gorgeous roof-top pool) and  Il Palazzetto . We also really enjoyed staying at  Nerva Boutique Hotel  in the popular Rione i Monti area.

Day 10-12: Berlin

Berlin, Germany

Berlin is a very modern city with a good art scene, many museums, great food options, and cultural/historical things to see and do. It’s a sprawling city so you’ll want to be ready for public transportation. 

There are a few Berlin attractions and sights you don’t want to miss like these we’ve listed here:

  • Brandenburg Gate : This iconic symbol of Berlin was once a symbol of division during the Cold War, but now stands for German unity and is a must-see.
  • Berlin Wall Memorial and Checkpoint Charlie : No visit to Berlin is complete without learning about its Cold War history. The Memorial provides an insightful look into the era of the city’s division.
  • Reichstag Building : The seat of the German Parliament, the building’s glass dome offers a panoramic view of the city. It’s a good idea to register in advance for a visit.
  • Museum Island : Home to five world-class museums, including the Pergamon Museum and the Neues Museum. The latter houses the bust of Nefertiti, an ancient Egyptian queen.
  • Alexanderplatz and TV Tower : A large public square and transport hub in the central Mitte district, featuring the iconic TV Tower (Fernsehturm) which provides excellent views over the city.
  • Holocaust Memorial (Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe) : A poignant, powerful monument to one of history’s darkest times.

The best way to see all of these sights is on this Discover Berlin half-day walking tour . The tour is really inexpensive and is the best way to learn the historical and cultural past of Germany, while see the top sights.

Foodies will also want to check out Markethalle Neun , an indoor market with international food vendors, especially on Street Food Thursdays! Also plan for a beer tour and a Berlin food tour in order to taste the best parts of the city!


Essential Travel Guide to Berlin, Germany [Updated 2024]

Berlin is a city that holds a certain mystery, due to its interesting history that forever changed the world. ...

Where to Stay in Berlin

One of my favorite hotels is the  Hotel am Steinplatz, Autograph Collection . It’s located right in the center of the city, conveniently located for transportation, so you can easily get around to the top sights. There’s a bar, restaurant, and really comfortable rooms. ⇒ Read reviews on  Trip Advisor .

Day 12-14: Amsterdam

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

As a tourist, you’ll likely find Amsterdam to be a very welcoming and fun place to explore. The canals and old cobblestone streets make it the quintessential European city, and it’s just so easy to get around. Read our full guide to 3-days in Amsterdam for the full rundown.

The many activities in Amsterdam include history, art and food. I think a good plan to tackle the city includes a bit of walking tour, interspersed with stops to try the local food and drinks.

Be sure to try bitterballen, poffertjes, and frites (which you can get with dozens of different sauces), along with all the cheese. There are dozens of different canal cruises you can take that are often paired with cheese, beer, wine or even pizza.

For drinks, we recommend stopping at some of the beer bars , like Proeflokaal Arendsnest and Beer Temple, as well as the top cocktail bars like Tales & Spirits and Flying Dutchman. And don’t forget to sample the genever at Proeflokaal ‘t Kelkje, one of the best places in Amsterdam to taste genever!

Here are a few links to our favorite tours and activities in Amsterdam so you can purchase your tickets in advance:

  • Amsterdam Canal Cruise in Classic River Boat
  • Skip-the-line Rijksmuseum & Van Gogh Museum Guided Combo Tour – Private Tour

Eat like a local in Amsterdam with Eating Europe Food Tours – there are 5 tours available:

  • Jordaan Food Tour
  • Jordaan Food & Canals Tour
  • Amsterdam at Twilight Food Tour
  • Food Tour in Haarlem
  • A Taste of Life in Haarlem

Amsterdam waterway and buildings

Essential Travel Guide to Amsterdam [Updated for 2024]

Places to drink beer in Amsterdam

Where to Find the Best Beer in Amsterdam

Where to stay in Amsterdam

We like staying near Dam Square in central Amsterdam. It’s fun and lively, close to or within easy walking distance of many of the top attractions, and easily accessible for public transportation. 

Radisson Blu – This is a nicely-decorated 4-star hotel located directly on a canal near Rembrandt Square. Great place to stay.  Read Reviews on Trip Advisor

Tips for Planning a Trip to Europe

Best time to go to europe.

When you decide to go to Europe should be based on what type of experience you want to have. A lot of people make it a priority to go to Europe in the summer because that’s when they take vacation, or when the kids are out of school. 

However, everyone else is doing the same thing. That means July-August is high season and there are a lot of visitors. Attractions are packed, lines are long, prices are high, and it can be really hot outside.

The best weather in Europe can be found from late March to early June and from late September to early December. This is considered the shoulder season in Europe and there will be less people and lower prices.

We prefer to travel during these times because it’s just so much easier. And the nicer weather makes all the difference.

We especially caution against traveling in Italy in August. It is one of the hottest months and the weather can be a real hindrance to your happiness.

St Paul's Cathedral, London

Getting to Europe

Many top airlines from around the world have direct flights into London. It’s probably one of the easiest cities to get into.

Check Skyscanner for great deals on airfare. We prefer to fly into London for the ease of it all, but you can skip London and fly directly into Paris, if you wish.

Also keep in mind that airfare is lower on the shoulder and off season than it is during the summer. (See this article for more on how to find great airfare ).

We also recommend flying into one city and out of another, so you don’t waste some of your holiday time flying back to the starting point. Using the multi-city option on Skyscanner , you should be able to find this option without the fares getting to high.

Getting Around Europe

When planning your Europe itinerary, keep in mind the distance between each destination. Europe seems small, but it takes a while to get between destinations. In most cases, you’ll need at least a half day to get between locations, more if taking the train.

Once you arrive in Europe, you can either fly or take the train between cities. We prefer to take early morning or late night flights, to avoid burning active hours in our destination.

Flying is relatively cheap on budget airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet . We fly with them all the time.

There are fees for any extras you add, and checking luggage can be expensive, so do be mindful of that.

See here for an idea of what it costs and the flight times for each of the legs in our itinerary:

  • London to Paris: $50
  • Paris to Venice: $85
  • Venice to Rome: $70
  • Rome to Berlin: $95
  • Berlin to Amsterdam: $70

train station in Europe

Via Train – Eurail Pass

Another way to travel around Europe in by train. You can purchase individual train tickets for each journey you wish to take. That will help you mix and match, if you want to fly between some cities and take the train between others.

However, a more economical way to go by train is with a Eurail Pass. The price of the Eurail Pass varies depending on your needs. They range from $250 to over $1000. For the itinerary we laid out in this post, you would need a 5 days within 1 month pass, which costs $326 (updated 2019).

This allows you to travel on any 5 days over a period of a month. There’s also a 7 days in one month pass for $388, if you think you’d like to tack on another destination. These passes entitle you to travel on specific trains only.

You can’t just show up and get on any train, but you don’t need reservations except for the high-speed and overnight trains (which also require an extra fee). They’re only for non-European travelers. And they can only be used for the class of service booked.

Travel Documents – Schengen Area

Always verify the entry requirements and travel documents needed for each specific country you are trip planning for as requirements can vary. You can check with the embassies or consulates of the countries you’ll be visiting or use official government travel websites for the most accurate and current information.

Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned return date. Some countries may have different requirements, so it’s always a good idea to check the specific entry requirements for the countries you plan to visit.

Depending on your nationality and the specific European countries you plan to visit, you may or may not need a visa. Citizens of the United States can generally enter the Schengen Area (a group of 26 European countries that have abolished passport control at their mutual borders) for short stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. However, if you plan to stay longer or visit countries outside the Schengen Area, you may need additional visas.

Tipping in Europe

Yes, you do need to tip in Europe. However, it’s not at the custom level of the U.S. There are some key differences.

First of all, 10% is the norm for tipping in a nice restaurant. You can give more if you had a stellar experience, but that’s more like 12%. Not 20%. In a cafe or deli, just round up your bill to the nearest dollar. If it was €3.80, leave the .20 cents as a tip.

In pubs in London and bars in Europe, tipping isn’t expected on small amounts.

Whatever you do, always check the bill for a service charge. There are MANY places throughout Europe now that charge a set service fee and include it in the bill. This is often 10 or 12%. If this fee has been added to your bill, there is no need to tip.

Eating in Europe

cacio e pepe pasta

Since you’ll be visiting many different countries while in Europe, the food will be very diverse. You will have the best overall experience if you’re willing to try all the foods you come across and have an open mind that you mind really like something you’ve never tried before.

  • In London, you should have a Sunday roast , Fish and Chips , a Steak & Ale pie . See our foodie guide to London for more.
  • In Paris, are you daring enough to try frog’s legs or escargot ? Definitely make room for crepes and a Croque Monsieur . See our foodie guide to Paris for more.
  • In Italy, you’ll find an unimaginable array of pasta dishes , pizza, dried meats, and cheeses. Berlin has a very international food scene. It’s not just Schnitzel and sausage anymore.
  • And in Amsterdam, you must try the frites , the bitterballen and the  Poffertjes (pancakes).

In every city, there is now a food tour taking place. We always recommend going on a food tour first thing when you arrive because it gives you a very good overview of the foods you should look out for and where to find them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is $5000 enough for a trip to europe.

With careful planning and budgeting, $5000 can allow you to have an enjoyable and fulfilling trip to Europe. However, the amount of money you need for a trip to Europe can vary widely depending on several factors, including the duration of your trip, the countries you plan to visit, your travel style, and the activities you want to experience.

How early should I plan my Europe trip?

Starting to plan your Europe trip 6 months in advance is a good timeframe, especially if your trip involves multiple destinations, is during the peak season, or requires visas. This allows you to also get your accommodation booked in advance. However, if your trip is relatively simple and during the off-peak season, you might be able to start planning 3 months before your travel dates.

What’s the best time to visit Italy?

Italy is a year-round destination, but many people prefer the spring (April to June) and fall (September to October) when the weather is pleasant, and tourist crowds in Italy are generally smaller at this time of year.


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Now you know how to plan a trip to Europe, and we’ve given you a 2-week itinerary to follow. What are you waiting for? Whether you take a guided tour or do this Europe 2-week itinerary on your own, I am certain you will find it to be the most exciting and rewarding trip you’ll ever take.

Europe is fascinating and full of surprises. Let us know how your trip to Europe turns out!

Be Prepared For Travel Planning is the most important part of any successful trip. Do it the easy way:

🧳 Travel Packing List | ✔️ Why You Need Travel Insurance | ✈️ What to Do Before You Leave Home

  • Find and book the best hotel (our favorite booking site is Expedia)
  • Research flight options (our favorite tool is Skyscanner )
  • Book a tour (we always use Viator to find the best tours)
  • Rent a car through Discover Cars (they search the best deals for you!)

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Like this post? Why not save it to your Pinterest board ?


Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited over 75 countries. Her work has been published in numerous guidebooks, websites, and magazines.

15 thoughts on “ How to Plan a Trip to Europe (2-Week Europe Itinerary) ”

A great two-week itinerary for those looking to see the capital cities of Europe Laura – and totally agree with the London food choices! We are heading to the UK early next month and the Sunday roast and fish and chips ( with curry sauce) are high on our agenda;) Also an afternoon tea with clotted cream! 🙂 Thanks for sharing this thorough article. Shelley x

I always love a good cream tea!

I am planning on visiting Europe – more like a backpacking trip. And believe, I probably have read all the possible articles about “How to Self Organize Europe Trip” and this is the first article which covered everything I needed to know in a simple and minimal way. I couldn’t thank you enough, Laura. Really helpful!!!!!

Glad you found it useful, Sneha. Enjoy your trip.

This is awesome, thank you ❤️

Thank you for ALL of this great information. I’m in the beginning stages of planning a vacation for my family of 6. We will fly out of JFK – probably late June 2023 and we would like to visit: London, Paris, Venice, (Rome maybe) and Barcelona. Does the order of countries make sense? And know we would do train from Paris to Venice – but what would you suggest for the rest of the trip as far as traveling between countries? Thank you!

Hi Jill. That trip route sounds good. You can actually do all trains, if you don’t mind overnight travel, to save time. I would likely take the Eurostar from London to Paris, fly to Venice, train to Rome, and flight to Barcelona. You can easily get low-cost airline flights between all of those places.

Hi Laura, do you know whether the flight from Paris to Venice would be very busy? We definitely want to hit up London, Amsterdam, Paris and Italy (Venice/Florence/Rome) but felt that 14 days was ambitious for us. We also were hoping to avoid flights as much as possible due to the mass flying and worry it might take forever at the airport during August/September.

Hi Linda. The flight from Paris to Venice is likely always full, but it’s not a bad experience. We fly these routes all the time. You could also take the train! If you want to take a slower journey and actually cover it well, I would recommend 3 weeks for that trip. It is quite ambitious to do it in 2 weeks, but most people don’t have that much vacation time.

Hi and thank you so much for sharing all of this information! I am planning a summer trip for next year and am just researching to get a jump start on things and saving up!

I have a question…is there a way to add in the Almafi coast in this itinerary easily? What would you suggest as far as when you would add that? Before or after Venice…etc. and how many days would you recommend there? I was planning to do a boat day there.

Hi Cassandra. We were just in the Amalfi coast! You’ll love it. If you have time, I would suggest doing this itinerary the opposite way – starting in London and ending in Naples. Then you can visit the Amalfi coast and travel home from Naples.

Thanks so much for the in-depth wonderful article you turned out here .God Bless You

Hi there! This is really helpful!! I’m just confused, and trying to follow the map you post at the top. Just underneath your header “Self-Guided Tour of Europe – Plan Your Own Travel Itinerary”, there’s a map with a travel route posted. But that map does not match up with the route that is detailed below. The map appears to start in London and go to Paris, and them double-back to Amsterdam. But in the written itinerary, you talk about going from Paris to Venice, but this is not shown as the route on the map, and there’s no mention of how to get from Paris to Venice. Just trying to figure out if I follow what’s posted on the map, or what is outline in the written itinerary?? THANK YOU!!!

Hi Sherry. It looks like Amsterdam just got inserted in the wrong place on the map. I’ve updated it to be last instead of 3rd. Although if you wanted to fly into London and out of Rome, you could still put Amsterdam 3rd in the itinerary.

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Dream of Europe and so many of the iconic experiences are found on this first-timers tour to Spain, France, and Italy. Visit Gaudi’s Barcelona, Michelangelo’s Florence, El Greco’s Toledo, the canals of Venice. Walk along the Parisian neighborhoods, eat tapas in Madrid plazas, and learn about history in Ancient Rome and Vatican City. Handcrafted to minimize travel time and maximize time spent in legendary destinations, this luxury tour shows you the sights and immerses you in all the ambiance.

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When you look back on your introduction to Europe tour, you will take out photos filled with panoramic views, sensational monuments, and energetic smiles. You see yourself standing in a verdant field beneath a looming alpine summit. The Spanish Steps in Rome glow with marble elegance. Eltz Castle peeks out of the encompassing forest with storybook character. Your custom tailored tour creates a collage of Europe, where you discover the majesty of landscapes and cityscapes connecting various countries and simultaneously setting each city apart. When you look back on your vacation, you will find more than photos, but experiences across the continent.

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Dresden Old Town over Elbe river, Germany

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A rich heritage with vibrant contemporary culture is found across Central Europe. Some stories are vivid and easily discovered as you explore cities and palaces from forgotten times. Others are hidden, but will be uncovered alongside your private guide and through immersive experiences. On this 10-day trip across Europe, you will find centuries of enthralling history as you explore three countries and five cities. Warsaw is wonderfully cultural, Krakow is pure charm, Prague brings artistic indulgence, Dresden brings a complicated legacy, and Berlin brings a new beginning as every city looks to the future while appreciating their pasts.

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Happy to Wander

The FREE Europe Trip Planner You Need to Steal (Printable + Digital Workbook!)

Last Updated: April 21, 2023

*FYI - this post may contain affiliate links, which means we earn a commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase from them. Also, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Check out our Privacy Policy and Disclosure. for more info.

Planning a trip to Europe? Stressed out about all the things you need to get done?

Don’t worry – my free 30 page Europe trip planner / workbook is here to help.

If you want a free resource that will guide you through the Europe trip planning process from start to finish, then keep scrolling. I have exactly what you need!

trip planning europe

Save this Free Europe Trip Planner for Later!

You’ll be very glad you did.

How to Use My Free Europe Trip Planning Workbook

While I think the workbook itself is fairly self-explanatory, I think you’ll get the most value out of it if you first watch the accompanying video guide here, or read the written version of the guide in my How to Plan a Trip to Europe (Step by Step) post.

In short, the workbook contains 30 pages of helpful information and worksheets designed to guide you through the research and planning process for your Europe trip!

With it, you’ll go through all the following steps:

  • Understanding the Schengen Area
  • Choosing how much time to spend in Europe
  • Choosing where/when to go to Europe
  • Figuring out your visas/documents
  • Booking your flights
  • Booking your accommodation
  • Figuring out what to do in each destination
  • Deciding what to pack

trip planning europe

Sound good? Then whoo – all my hours hunched over the computer were not in fact in vain. Take that, mom!

I’ve prepared two versions of this free Europe trip planner – a fillable PDF version that you can use and complete online, as well as a printable PDF version.

NOTE: There are some pages in the workbook that are intended to be used multiple times (e.g. one template/worksheet that can be used for every city or destination on your trip). In these cases, simply use your preferred PDF Reader to duplicate the pages as needed. This guide should help with that.

trip planning europe

My Free Europe Trip Planning Workbook: Fillable PDF Version

This digital version is a fillable PDF with links to helpful resources and also interactive elements like checkboxes so you can have everything done online from your computer!

You can download it here.

trip planning europe

My Free Europe Trip Planning Workbook: Printable Version

The printable version of my free Europe trip planner can be found here.

It’s basically the same as the digital copy, just with less emphasis on the clickable links and also a fun printable map that you can use to star your potential destinations.

NOTE: There are some pages in the workbook that are intended to be used multiple times (e.g. one template/worksheet that can be used for every city or destination on your trip). In these cases, simply print additional copies of those pages as needed.

I Hope You Enjoy Using My Free Europe Trip Planner!

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or suggestions for additional pages to be added. I’d love to continue improving this free Eurotrip planner for the future, so I’m all ears!

My Go-To Travel Favourites:

🧳 Eagle Creek: My favourite packing cubes

💳 Wise: For FREE travel friendly credit cards

🍯 Airalo: My go-to eSIM

🏨 For searching hotels

📷 Sony A7IV: My (amazing) camera

✈️ Google Flights : For finding flight deals

🌎 WorldNomads: For travel insurance

🎉 GetYourGuide: For booking activities

1 thought on “The FREE Europe Trip Planner You Need to Steal (Printable + Digital Workbook!)”

Christina, what a wonderful resource! Thanks so much and glad to see you back.

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This Is the Sunniest City in Europe — and It's the Birthplace of Pablo Picasso

Here's what you need to know to plan a perfect trip to Málaga, Spain.

trip planning europe

  • Best Hotels & Resorts

Best Things to Do

Neighborhoods to visit, best time to visit, how to get there.

  • Getting Around

Alberto Manuel Urosa Toledano/Getty Images

Málaga, Spain is a sun-seeker's paradise. The city along the nation's southern coast is the sunniest place in Europe , getting more than 280 sunshine hours a month, which works out to more than 3,000 hours of sunshine a year. Málaga sits on the aptly named Costa del Sol, or the "sun coast," but this city has a lot more going for it than just the sun. It's also a cultural paradise and the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. 

"Málaga is a fantastic destination because it has a Mediterranean climate. Its winters are mild, and the summers are nice and warm. It has a sometimes-overlooked history rich in Roman history and Moorish influence. There are many cultural activities to do, such as the Picasso Museum and flamenco shows," Kristin Espinar, founder of Must See Spain , shared. And, as with the rest of Spain,  Espinar added, "Málaga has fantastic cuisine — especially fresh local seafood and tapas. Don't miss local chiringuitos , which are seaside seafood restaurants that locals flock to." 

Ready to explore this fantastic city? Here's what you need to know about visiting Málaga, Spain. 

Top 5 Can’t Miss

  • Stay at Finca Cortesín, voted the top hotel in Spain and Portugal by our readers. 
  • Pablo Picasso was born here — visit the Picasso Museum to learn more about the artist’s life.
  • Spend a day on beautiful La Malagueta Beach. 
  • Stroll around the historic center of the city. 
  • Visit during the spring or fall to enjoy pleasant weather with fewer crowds. 

Courtesy of Finca Cortesi­n Hotel, Golf & Spa

Best Hotels & Resorts

Gran hotel miramar.

Spend a few days in the lap of luxury with a stay at the Gran Hotel Miramar . The historic palace has been turned into a five-star hotel that looks out onto the Mediterranean. Each of its rooms is decked out with plush furnishings in a soothing natural palette, making the panoramic views the star of the show. The hotel's spa is equally alluring and uses local ingredients for a unique Andalusian touch. 

Finca Cortesín

In 2023, Finca Cortesín was named the top hotel in Spain and Portugal by Travel + Leisure readers in the World's Best Awards . Readers fell hard for its white-washed walls, colorful rooms, and gorgeous sea views — not to mention its fantastic Cabell B. Robinson–designed golf course. Here, guests can play a full 18 and then unwind in the spa, which comes with science-forward treatments like oxygenated facials. 

Palacio Solecio

Have one more regal stay at the Palacio Solecio , an 18th-century palace-turned-hotel. The hotel is as glamorous as you'd imagine, with four-poster beds, floor-to-ceiling windows and doors that open to spacious patios, and deep soaking tubs in the bathrooms. The hotel's central location makes for easy access to some of the city's most sought-after sites, including Santiago Church, just a few feet away. 

Rory Fuller/Travel + Leisure

Picasso Museum

Explore Pablo Picasso's past and his artistic genius, and discover a few other fantastic artists, at the Picasso Museum inside the Buenavista Palace. Here, guests can explore Picasso's life through his 144 works on rotation and check out the museum's exhibitions, including works by María Blanchard and Joel Meyerowitz. 

Alcazaba and Gibralfaro Castle

Surround yourself with Málaga's history during a visit to the Alcazaba and Gibralfaro Castle . The historic castle is a Moorish fortress that takes up an astonishing 21,310 square meters.  "Must-see attractions really come down to the preferences of the visitors, but the Alcazaba — and nearby Gibralfaro Castle and Roman Theatre — are some of the most highly visited attractions for good reason," Jess Rodley, the bookings director at Andorra Escapes who also travels to Málaga for her summer vacations, shared. "Filled with history, these sites are exceptionally well-preserved."

Mercado Central de Atarazanas

Sample some of Málaga's best flavors with a visit to the Mercado Central de Atarazanas . The market, now located inside a 19th-century building, dates back to the 14th century. Here, travelers and locals alike can mix and mingle over the local meats, cheeses, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. The market is open every Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Carmen Thyssen Museum

Málaga is absolutely spoiled with culture, so make sure to visit at least two museums. Once you hit the Picasso Museum, make your way to the Carmen Thyssen Museum , housed in a restored 16th-century palace. Here, guests can gaze upon 19th-century Spanish paintings, with a special focus on Andalusian art.

La Malagueta Beach

After looking at all the gorgeous human-made art, it's time to look at some created by Mother Nature with a visit to La Malagueta Beach . The beach is just 10 minutes from the city center, making it easy to stop by or spend an entire day. There are also plenty of beachside bars and restaurants to enjoy while you're there.

Centro Histórico

Centro Histórico is the heart of the city. Here, travelers can weave their way through the bustling, narrow streets, check out the historic plazas, and shop in local stores. It's also where you'll find the Málaga Cathedral, the Picasso Museum, and the Carmen Thyssen Museum — all within a few blocks. 

La Malagueta

Make your way to La Malagueta, the city’s beachside neighborhood, for a little surf and sand with a splash of culture. While here, visit the Pompidou Centre for a colorful afternoon filled with modern art.

La Victoria

Get a local perspective with a visit to La Victoria , one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. Located just north of the city center at the foot of Mount Gibralfaro, this area is well-known for its beauty, traditional homes, local tapas bars, and street art. 

The best time to visit Málaga is over the summer season. However, here, the summer extends from late spring into autumn (from May through October). This is when the weather is at its prime and when everyone is out and about enjoying all that fantastic sun. Travelers can also expect plenty of fun summer festivals too, including the Málaga Fair in August, a week-long party that honors all the best parts of Andalusian culture. That said, even if you can't come during the summer, there are plenty of other times worth a visit. 

"The shoulder seasons are a great time to visit Málaga. I recommend traveling in the spring (March to May) or fall (September to November)," Espinar said. "The temperatures will be mild, you’ll find smaller crowds, and you’ll have more energy for exploring the city and sights."

Rodley also advocates for the shoulder seasons in April and May and late September: "Visiting during the springtime, you can catch the gorgeous blossoms and flowering jacarandas of the parks and gardens while enjoying the moderate temperatures and fewer crowds when exploring the city and surrounding areas," Rodley explained. "Align your trip with Easter and you'll be able to experience the color, culture, and festivities of Holy Week parades. A visit in September is perfect for wine tours and sightseeing with fewer tourists. At this time of year, it may still be warm enough to enjoy the beach without having to contend for a space on the sand." And, as Espinar added, "If you choose to go in the winter (December to February), you’ll find the benefits of having milder and warmer weather than the rest of Spain. There will be fewer tourists and you’ll enjoy the city. Málaga also has stunning Christmas lights displays, which makes it a great December destination." 

Darren Robb/Getty Images

To visit this sunny destination, you can fly into Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport , one of the largest airports in Spain. The airport offers plenty of direct flights to cities around Europe and connections to cities around the world via airlines like LATAM, Air France, Easy Jet, and Emirates. The airport is also just a few miles outside of the city center, making it a convenient jumping-off point. 

Visitors coming from spots like Madrid and Barcelona may decide to drive — and that's a fantastic idea, as you can drive along the Mediterranean on the AP-7 for a scenic journey. 

Travelers can also get to Málaga by taking the train to the María Zambrano station . Trains run regularly from Madrid; the trip takes about three hours and costs around $75. 

Getting Around 

Renting a car is a great option for those who want to get out and explore beyond the city's bounds and see more of the Costa del Sol region. Car rentals are available at the airport and numerous locations in the city with major operators like Avis, Budget, and Dollar Car Rental. 

Málaga also has a robust public transit system that guests can take advantage of during their stay, including both buses and a metro line, which covers most of the city. Travelers can get a single ticket or travel passes, which are easy to recharge online . There are plentiful taxis and Ubers available throughout Málaga, too.

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Rachel Schnalzer

Senior Writer

May 15, 2024

Swimming in pristine lakes. Strolling through vineyards. Exploring a delicious and imaginative “Ice Cream Trail.”

Summer is a magical time to explore Europe’s hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path destinations. Not sure where to begin? We compiled a list of our favorite train routes to take during the warmer months. 

Grab your Pass , book any necessary seat reservations and pack your bags – adventure awaits.

Vineyards outside Villany, Hungary

1. From the city to the vineyards

Pécs to Osijek

Go from a glamorous, artistic city to rolling vineyards on the train journey from Pécs to Villány in Hungary . 

Pécs, a 2,000-year-old city situated 200 kilometers south of Budapest, has no shortage of historical and cultural highlights for travellers to experience. In addition to strolling Pécs’ ancient downtown, be sure to visit sites such as the Mosque of Pasha Qasim and the Early Christian Necropolis, as well as the Zsolnay Cultural Quarter to catch the city’s latest art exhibitions. 

From Pécs, take the regional train towards Villány, a Hungarian town known for its vineyards. Take it slow and spend an afternoon walking through the vineyards as well as Villány’s charming streets. 

Finish your adventure with a regional train ride to Osijek, a riverside city in eastern Croatia many travelers miss out on in favor of the country’s tourism hotspots. Don’t miss the ferry ride along the Drava River, which offers travelers a refreshing way to cool off in the summer heat.

Lienz, Austria

2. A relaxing alternative to the Brenner Route

Villach to Brenner

The Brenner Pass train journey from Munich to Italy is spectacularly scenic – and frequently traveled, particularly during the summer.

The good news: it’s possible to experience the region’s beauty with an alternative route through some of Austria’s loveliest small towns. Begin in Villach, a laid-back city on the Drau River. After exploring Villach and the plentiful nature around the city, take a regional train to Lienz.

Lienz, surrounded by the Dolomites, is home to a stately castle and ample hiking trails that travelers can take to reach stunning meadows, lakes and waterfalls. 

After you experience Lienz, it’s time to make your way to Brenner – along the way, enjoy the view of the Val Pusteria, one of the longest valleys in the Alps.

Nature outside Poprad, Slovakia

3. A summer-only mountain adventure

Poprad to Nowy Sącz

Searching for another ultra-scenic train journey? Make a beeline to Poprad, a Slovakian city that makes a convenient jumping off point for exploring the High Tatras Mountains . 

On weekends from June until September, travelers can take a direct train from Poprad-Tatry over the Polish border to Muszyna, a picture-perfect spa town. After kicking back and relaxing in Muszyna, take another train ride through the lush, rugged Poprad River Valley to Nowy Sącz. 

Nowy Sącz has plenty of charms to tempty summer travelers – but perhaps most unique is its official “Ice Cream Trail.” By following the trail, travelers will experience a taste of local life in Nowy Sącz, one mouth-watering scoop at a time.

The Danube Delta in Romania

4. A journey to the Danube Delta

Bucharest to Tulcea

Nature lovers, you’re in for a treat. On a train journey from Bucharest to Tulcea in Romania , you’ll pass the Danube River twice, ending your journey at the mighty Danube Delta. 

The Danube Delta, which feeds into the Black Sea, is the biggest and best preserved delta in Europe. It’s an important natural destination, home to over 300 bird species and 45 species of freshwater fish. 

Begin your trip with a few days of sightseeing in Bucharest, and then take a six-hour train journey to Tulcea, switching trains halfway in Medgidia. From Tulcea, travelers can join sightseeing tours of the delta and other excursions into nature.

An aerial photo of Szklarska Poreba

5. Adventure in the Giant Mountains

Liberec to Wroclaw

Travelers can find adventure all year round in the Giant Mountains, a destination beloved among skiers and hikers. To reach the trails with ease, begin your journey in the Czech city of Liberec, situated in the foothills of the mountains. 

Then, take a winding rail journey to towns such as Tanvald and Harrachov, known as starting points for outdoor activities. After experiencing the nature outside each town, continue on to ​​Szklarska Poreba, crossing the border into Poland . Located near one of the mountains’ highest peaks, Szklarska Poreba is home to about 100 kilometers of hiking trails.

Wrap up the adventure with a visit to Wroclaw, accessible by direct regional train from Szklarska Poreba. In addition to strolling along Wroclaw’s historic streets and bridges, treat yourself to the city’s famous gingerbread, a beloved local specialty for the past 800 years. 

Raichle Palace in Subotica

6. A brand-new international train route

Szeged to Novi Sad

Good news for European train travelers: international rail travel is once again possible between Hungary and Serbia. 

This summer, you can easily travel Szeged in Hungary to Subotica in Serbia, with trains departing multiple times per day. Spend time walking the streets of Szeged, marveling at the city’s Art Nouveau architecture, before continuing on your journey to Subotica . 

Travelers should make sure to spend a day or two exploring the city, another Art Nouveau gem. Don’t leave town without a visit to Raichle’s Palace, a lavish, colorful building that is now home to the Gallery of Modern Art Subotica. 

From Subotica, travel south by train to Novi Sad, a lively city famous for its mighty fortress and the Exit Festival, a music festival held at the fortress each summer. 

Riga's main square

7. Cross-border connections in the Baltics

Riga to Suwalki

Speaking of new international connections, trains running between Vilnius in Lithuania and Riga in Latvia began last December. This summer is an ideal time to experience the highlights and hidden gems of both Baltic capitals.

Begin by wandering through Riga’s Old Town and, afterwards, take a stroll down Miera Iela, an artistic street with plenty of cafes, shops and other delights. Then, take a four-and-a-half hour train ride to Vilnius, home to another fascinating Old Town that travelers can easily spend a few days discovering. 

Wrap up your journey with a train ride over the border to Poland.  Take a few days to relax and unwind at the lakes located around ​Augustow and Suwalki in northeast Poland. They offer a peaceful place to reflect on your train journeys and start dreaming of your next adventure.

Ready to experience summer in Europe? With Eurail, you can: 

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See Europe as the Europeans do this summer with these pro tips | Cruising Altitude

trip planning europe

Americans are heading to Europe for vacation as much as ever these days, and that means the typical tourist spots like Venice, Paris and London are sure to be crowded this year. But, because this is Cruising Altitude, we’ll look at the aviation angle first.

First and foremost: If you’re really determined to go to Europe this summer and haven’t booked yet, stop reading now and get on it. 

“I’ve never seen a year like this … We’re at the point where there’s no more availability,” Brigitte Armand, president of Eurobound , a tour organizer that specializes in European packages, told me. “Book as quickly as possible.” 

How to get around

According to Armand, trains are generally a great way to get from place to place within Europe, but for farther-flung stops, the continent’s network of low-cost airlines offers travelers a reliable alternative.

Learn more: Best travel insurance

“Don’t think of one airline as being your network and entry point within Europe,” Laura Lindsay, public relations director at online booking platform Skyscanner told me.

She said if you’re flying to Europe from the U.S., you may well rely on a large network carrier like British Airways, KLM, or Lufthansa to get across the Atlantic and then book your intra-European flights separately.

“You’re suddenly opening up Europe in a different way if you search for different airports and multiple airlines,” Lindsay said. “It’s pretty straightforward to get around, so don’t feel put off by jumping through a few different countries or trying a few different destinations.” 

Tips for European airlines

According to Lindsay, European low-cost carriers like Ryanair, Easyjet and Wizz Air often have stricter baggage policies like American ULCCs Spirit and Frontier.

“(The) top tip would be always make sure you understand the luggage allowance that is part of your ticket,” she said. “More often than not, don’t book the basic fare without checking.”

It’s also a good idea to be flexible with your airports and dates of travel if you want to get the best deals on those shorter flights.

“You’ll get a number of places that have more than one airport,” Lindsay said, noting that Skyscanner has a tool that allows travelers to search for flights to or from nearby airports when choosing a destination. “Just getting a map out and actually looking at where exactly you want to travel and where the nearby airports are.” 

Armand added that if you take the train instead, you may need to secure a reservation in advance, particularly for some of the more tourist-heavy routes like panoramic trains in Switzerland. 

Last week's Cruising Altitude: There was no Golden Age of flying. We're in it now.

Where to go

If you really want to summer like a European, you should consider places a little more off the radar for most Americans.

“Albania is somewhere that broke through a couple of years ago as somewhere that people recognized as offering a huge value for money,” Lindsay said. “Sarajevo is reporting its busiest April on record for travelers.”

Armand said it can also be a good idea to try different parts of countries that are already popular if you want a more authentic, less crowded experience.

“We recently arranged a whole trip for some clients in the Abruzzo region of Italy,” she said. “The Abruzzo region, it’s on the Adriatic, people don’t know this region, and I think this is the first time ever we put together a package to get to that region.” 

Data from Skyscanner shows that some destinations in Europe are picking up in popularity with travelers on the continent. Here are some trends bubbling up year over year from 2023 to 2024:

◾ Ljubljana, Slovenia, saw a 188% increase in searches from Spanish travelers

◾ Tromso, Norway, saw a 130% increase in interest from Italian holidaymakers

◾ Dusseldorf, Germany, had a 122% spike in interest from Brits

According to Armand, the best last-minute availability seems to be in Eastern Europe, like Bulgaria and Poland.

“There are some good deals there perhaps, even the Czech Republic I’m finding some decent space,” she said.

So go on, get packing.

Zach Wichter is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in New York. You can reach him at [email protected].

trip planning europe

Wondering How Much a Trip to Europe Costs? Find Out What to Expect in 2024

W hen I first starting taking my family to Europe, I got a lot of side eye from other parents. You could almost see the thought bubble that says, “you must be rich.” There were also a lot of off-hand comments about how they couldn’t afford to go to Europe (from families that frequently dropped a few thousand dollars on trips to Disney.) TL;DR, we aren’t rich, but we do prioritize spending money on travel. The fact is, there are some misconceptions around how much a trip to Europe costs.

There were actually times when we decided to go to Europe because the flight was cheaper than getting to Florida! Of course, when, where, and how you travel can greatly impact your European trip budget. But after visiting 14 European countries, many multiple times, I’ve learned a lot about how much a trip to Europe costs.

Now I won’t lie, it can get REALLY expensive, especially if you are traveling with a family and need two or more rooms (this is why we have used Airbnb ), prefer private tours (worth it with kids!), or if you can only travel during the expensive summer months.

But, I have some tips to help you lower those costs and choose more affordable destinations. I’ll also walk you through average costs for a European vacation , including airfare, accommodations, activities, food, and transportation .

First, if you are interested in a specific country, I have very detailed cost breakdowns for:

  • Iceland trip cost
  • Ireland trip cost
  • Scotland trip cost
  • London trip cost
  • Amsterdam trip cost
  • Paris trip cost
  • Portugal trip cost
  • Italy trip cost
  • Greece trip cost

Ways to Save on Your European Trip Cost

f you are looking for ways to save some money on your trip to Europe cost, here are some ideas;

Visit Less Expensive Countries

If you want to go to Iceland or Scandinavia, you are going to need a healthy budget. Even places that used to be considered budget-friendly, such as Portugal, have gotten pricier in the last few years as tourism has increased (although it is still cheaper than other Western European countries.).

However, if you go the bit off-the-beaten path, you can find great deals, it may just be a bit trickier to find direct flights. Look at destinations like Scotland , Wales , and Eastern European countries like Hungary or Slovenia.

Avoid Big Cities

Everyone wants to visit Paris , London , and Rome , but the less time you spend in these large European capitals, the better it is for your budget. Sevilla is going to be cheaper than Barcelona, and so on.

You can also stay in less-popular countryside destinations, like Piedmont or Umbria instead of Tuscany in Italy or Languedoc instead of Provence in France. We have stayed in gorgeous chateaus in the Languedoc region of France for half the cost of our hotel in Paris.

Stay in Rentals

If you are visiting Europe with kids , one way to save money is to find an apartment or villa rental through Airbnb, vrbo, or other vacation rental alternatives . Since it is hard to find family rooms in Europe that sleep four or more, often the cost of a two or three-bedroom apartment is cheaper than renting two hotel rooms or an expensive hotel suite.

Even couples will benefit from staying in agriturismos, which are farms that offer accommodations on-site in Italy, or something similar.

Travel Outside of Peak Season

I know it is hard to travel during shoulder season or low season if you have kids, but remember that Europe has different holidays and school schedules. You can find great deals around our U.S. Thanksgiving. And, if your kids get out of school early, you can still find better deals and availability in June than July or August, when European schools have summer break.

If you have more flexibility, traveling in late October through May (outside of holiday weeks) will save you some money. Just do some research about half-term or school break weeks.

Use Points and Miles or Low-Cost Carriers

There are a lot of ways to hack your way to free flights to Europe using sign up bonuses and flexible points transfers if you can easily meet the minimum spend amounts with your current spending. However, even if that isn’t an option, you can often find great deals on flights to Europe.

We have flown to London and Vienna for under $500 each. I highly recommend signing up for a  flight deal subscription service such as Going . With the premium level you can set up your preferred airports and dream destinations and receive alerts on airfare sales and even points deals.

There are also a number of low cost carriers that offer flights from the United States including Norse Atlantic Airways, Condor, and French Bee. You can also use Play Airlines, which connects through Iceland.

Fly to a Hub and Then Use a Low Cost Carrier

If you find a great flight deal to a major European city, you can then use a low-cost carrier such as Ryan Air, EasyJet, Vueling, or others to connect to your final destination. These flights are typically under $100 per person, but make sure you are aware of the luggage restrictions on weight and size, which are different from U.S. carriers.

Trains are also another option, but don’t assume they will be cheap, especially if you book first class with assigned seats and luggage storage. Be sure to research your options before you book.

How Much Does a Trip to Europe Cost

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you.

Now let’s look at some average costs for a trip to Europe. I’ve based these on two people traveling to Europe from the United States for a one week (7 night) trip.

Airfare to Europe Cost

Airfare from the United States to Europe can range from $500 per person (if you find a great deal) to over $2,000 (if you book late and travel during high season on a standard carrier.) As I mentioned above, you can save money by looking for flight deals, traveling off-season, or using low-cost carriers or connecting flights.

However, you can assume an average cost of $1,000 per person.

Total Airfare Cost = $2,000 ($1,000 x 2 people)

European Accommodations Cost

Accommodation costs can vary greatly depending on if you are staying in a big city or elsewhere, or if you are in a luxury hotel or a rustic rental. You will usually want to split your trip between a city and somewhere in the countryside. If you only have a week, I’d suggest three nights in the city and four nights elsewhere. Think Rome or Florence + Tuscany, Milan + Piedmont, Paris + Burgundy, Edinburgh + Highlands, London + Wales, etc.

In the city, expect to spend $250-500 per night and $150-350 per night in another location. Remember, you can refer to each of my detailed cost breakdowns for specific hotel and itinerary recommendations for those various destinations.

Total Accommodations Cost = $2,050 ($350 x 3 nights + $250 x 4 nights)

European Transportation Cost

Even if you plan to stay in one city for your entire trip to Europe, you will still need to spend some money on transportation. For example, when we went to Amsterdam for three days, we walked all over the city but we still took a transfer to and from the airport. So whether it is Uber, taxis, public transportation, or private transfers, you will need to budget for transportation expenses.

More likely, you will need to also either rent a car or take a train between destinations. If you are renting a car, be sure to book it early as the prices go up the closer you get to your arrival. Automatic transmission cars are also more expensive than manual transmission. Try to pack in carry on suitcases if possible so that you can rent a small to mid-size car. Driving in some countries (especially Ireland, the UK, and parts of Italy) can be challenging on small roads so you will appreciate it for more than the price point! Also keep in mind that gas is more expensive in Europe than the United States.

Total transportation cost = $800 (estimated)

European Activities Cost

Your activity costs vary greatly depending on where you go in Europe. For example, if you are visiting Scotland or Wales and you just want to spend a lot of time in the outdoors and maybe visit a few castles, your expenses will be minimal. But if you are going to Paris or Rome and you want to explore historic sites and museums and get the most of the experience, you will want to take a tour.

When in Greece, you can spend your days by the pool or the beach, but you will probably want to at least take a sunset sail and maybe a food or wine tour. I know it can get expensive, but don’t skimp on your activities. This is what you will remember most about your trip. More than your hotel. More than your airplane ride. It is also what matters the most when visiting a foreign country. After all, you want to experience the local culture. You want to learn more about the destination’s history. And you will want to see what makes a place unique.

Total Activities Cost = $1000

European Food Costs

It used to be that food in Europe was more expensive than in the United States but in the last couple of years, I have not found that to be the case. You can still spend a bundle on food if you elect for hotel breakfasts or fancy chef’s tasting menus. But in general, you can find affordable meals especially in destinations like Scotland, Wales, Portugal, and Italy.

You can also save money by preparing some of your own meals if you rent an apartment or stay in an aparthotel with a kitchenette. Remember, you don’t need to tip as much in Europe (or sometimes at all) and the alcohol is usually a lot cheaper because it isn’t marked up as much. These factors can make a big difference in your bottom line.

As a rule of thumb, plan to spend:

  • $10 per person for breakfast (stop at a bakery for pastry and coffee or juice)
  • $15-20 per person for lunch (think pizza, sandwiches, or street food)
  • $25-50 per person for dinner (maybe plan for one splurge dinner too of up to $100 pp)

Total Food Cost = $1150

You may also want to budget some money for souvenirs and travel insurance.

Total Trip to Europe Cost

A seven-night trip to Europe for two people will cost an average of $7,900, or $564 per person, per day.

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How much does a trip to Europe cost? Be sure to read this when planning your vacation to create your European trip budget.


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