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

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 well over a year 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 staying in luxury hotels to playing tour guide for family and friends to finally moving to Portugal!

Kate Storm and Jeremy Storm at Wawel Castle, Krakow on their first 2 week Europe trip.
Snapped this at Wawel Castle in Krakow on our first-ever 2 week trip to Europe!

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.)

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

How to Use This 2 Week Europe Trip Guide

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.

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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 around 53 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.

Kate sitting on a wall next to a canal in Bruges Belgium, with a wooden inn in front of her. Kate is wearing a black coat--by mid-November in Europe, you'll want a coat in many areas!

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.

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!

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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.

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Exciting 2 Week Europe Itinerary Ideas

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!

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I truly struggled to narrow down these ideas–I could name off 10 more excellent 2 week Europe trips in an instant.

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.

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London

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 Tower of London, visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, stop by Piccadilly Circus, ride the London Eye, and tour the British Museum… 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.

Paris

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).

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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.

La Maison Rose on Montmartre next to an empty street--definitely a pretty stop along the way during your 2 days in Paris France!

Rome

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!

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Madrid

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.

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!

Rome

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).

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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.

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.

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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

Prague

Known as the City of a Hundred Spires (and also for the fact that beer is cheaper than water here–true story), Prague is easily in the running for the most beautiful city in Europe.

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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

Vienna

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, 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.

Austria Christmas Market Trip: Christmas Lights in Vienna

Budapest

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! 

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

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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).

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Paris

From the Louvre to the Musee d’Orsay to the Orangerie to the Musee Rodin to the Centre Pompidou, 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!

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Florence

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. 

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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 in the Uffizi.

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

Venice

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!

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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–after 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

Food + History: Athens, Santorini, Istanbul

Feel like heading further east?

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Athens

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 dive into plate after plate of phenomenal Greek food–that alone is worth traveling to Greece for!

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

Santorini

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!

Istanbul

The city of two continents, where thousands of years of history blend together 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 nowhere quite like it.

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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.

Fun Things to Do in Istanbul: Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet

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.

Cologne

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.

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

Amsterdam

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.

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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 during 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

Belgium

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.

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!

How to Get Around During 2 Weeks in Europe

Getting around in each individual 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.

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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

Train travel is our absolute favorite way to travel in Europe: it’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.

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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.

Search train routes and tickets prices in Europe today!

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Bus

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).

Search bus routes in Europe today!

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Plane

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 (seriously: 10 Euro flights are possible, though we’ve never actually managed to pay that since we prefer to check our bags).

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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

Car

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

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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. 

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.

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

Important Tips for Planning a 2 Week Europe Trip

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.

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We recommend an absolute minimum of two full days per major city.

Three or four is 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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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–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?

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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: 3 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. 

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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.

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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.

Temple Bar as seen on a summer day, with flowers over the entrance to the bar--an iconic bar, it's worth at least stopping by during a 2 day Dublin itinerary.

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 absolutely 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.

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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.

And, in 2022, 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!

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

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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.

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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.

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

Don’t expect to use the restroom for free.

Throughout Europe, public restrooms are generally available for a fee (typically either half a Euro or a Euro), so 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 a guarantee in public toilets–we recommend carrying a small pack of tissues with you just in case.

View of Vernazza harbor from above, Cinque Terre

FAQ For Spending 2 Weeks in Europe

Will I need an adaptor?

Most likely, yes!

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

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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 adaptors 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.

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 it comfortable enough to wear and it was an easy way to keep our belongings a bit more secure.

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Today, we just leave our valuables in our Pacsafe and watch our pockets when out and about.

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.

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Is the water safe to drink?

Usually, yes.

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

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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!

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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).

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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.

Teal Vespa parked on the corner of a street in Madrid Spain

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%.

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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

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 central European cities during the Christmas markets, 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

What to Pack for 2 Weeks in Europe

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

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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.

We use and recommend World Nomads for trips to Europe.

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!).

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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 Adaptors for Europe — If you’re coming from outside of Europe, you’ll definitely need adaptors 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.

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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.

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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 almost 5 years now and I absolutely love it!

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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.

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

    1. 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!

      Reply
    2. 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.

      //Akshay

      Reply
      • 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!

        Reply
    3. 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.

      Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
      • 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!

        Reply
    4. 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

      Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
    5. Kate,

      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 🙂

      Reply
    6. 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

      Reply
      • 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!

        Reply
    7. 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.

      Reply
      • 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. 🙂

        Reply
    8. 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?

      Reply
      • 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!

        Reply
    9. Hi Kate,

      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?

      Thanks,

      Steve

      Reply
      • Hi Steve,

        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!

        Reply
    10. 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.

      Thank You

      Reply
      • 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!

        Reply
    11. 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

      Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
    12. 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?

      Reply
      • Hi Maria!

        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!

        Reply
        • 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!

          Reply
    13. 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!

      Reply
    14. 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 :/

      Reply
      • 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! 🙂

        Reply
    15. 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?)

      Reply
      • Hi Hayden!

        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.

        Reply
    16. Hey Kate!

      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.

      Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
    17. 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!

      Reply
      • Hi Aki!

        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. 🙂

        Reply
    18. 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?

      Reply
      • 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!

        Reply
    19. 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 😉

      Reply
      • 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!

        Reply
    20. 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.

      Reply
      • 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: https://www.ourescapeclause.com/travel-europe-by-train/

        Reply

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