20 Perfect One Week European Itineraries
Thinking about going to Europe but haven’t a clue as to where to start? Considering gastronomy, scenery, culture, ease of transit and loads of other factors here are 20 amazing 1 week itineraries for seeing the best of Europe! Pair them together if you have more time (lucky you!).
1 | LISBON + FARO + SEVILLE
One of my favorite cities in Europe, Lisbon, is bursting with culture, great food, incredibly charming streets -the list goes on and on- there’s so much to see and taste within the city you’ll be hard-pressed to pick your favorites. Not far away, the UNESCO town of Sintra is a beautiful and worthy day trip. Take a 3 hour train south to Faro, in the Algarve region world-renowned for it’s food and positively stunning seaside (ranked with some of the best beaches in the world). Carry on by bus to Seville for an immersion into a world of tapas, sangria and flamenco. Don’t miss Giralda Tower and Plaza de Espana.
2 | BUDAPEST + CESKY KRUMLOV + PRAGUE
Budapest has quickly become a favorite destination with travelers worldwide with it’s tangible culture and beautiful architecture. Take a night cruise along the Danube for amazing views of the city bathed in uplighting and be sure to visit the famous Szechenyi baths. Move on to the small UNESCO town of Cesky Krumlov, in the Czech Republic, then move on to the uber-romantic city of Prague. Walking the Charles Bridge at sunset is a memory you’ll cherish forever. Also be sure to feast on a few sugary hot donuts, called trdelniks, sold on the street.
3 | GENEVA + INTERLAKEN + LUCERNE + ZURICH
Arrival in French-styled Geneva, seated on Europe’s largest glacier lake, visitors are immediately struck by the clarity of the crystal clear waters. The lingering Alps reflected brightly off the lake while Geneva vies as one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan cities. Move on to Interlaken and Lucerne for everything from hiking in the Alps, ski diving to chocolate tasting. Ideal for outdoor and photography lovers. By train, Geneva to Interlaken: 4hr 30 min then Interlaken by way of Lucerne to Zurich: 2 hr 46 min.
4 | SANTORINI & CRETE
Mention traveling to Santorini to anyone and you’ll quickly find them green with envy. Rightfully so! This famed Greek island is a stunner with the jaw-dropping caldera, seaside cliffs formed by a volcano, white villages and bright blue med. It’s a photographer’s dream come true (speaking from personal experience here!). Be sure to visit Oia at sunset to get the max wow-factor. Afterwards take the 1.5 hour high speed ferry to nearby Crete for a taste of road-less-traveled island culture in the beautiful seaside towns of Chania and Rethimno.
5 | BERLIN + AMSTERDAM (& DUTCH COUNTRYSIDE)
Offering far more than Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall, Berlin has become an eclectic city full of artists and creatives. Offering everything from partying in an abandon-then-reclaimed train station called Cassiopeia, a vibrant weekend scene at Mauer Park with food vendors and live music, or strolls the gardens of Potsdam. Move on to the canals of Amsterdam for amazing Dutch food, fantastic museums and the always conversation-worthy Red Light District. A day spent biking through the Dutch countryside is one you won’t forget either. Great for history, museum and culture lovers (party goers too, if that’s what you want!). By train: 6 hr 21 min.
6 | FLORENCE + TUSCANY + ROME
Leaping from the pages of a love story, strolling the sepia streets of Florence is a true romantic’s destination. After visiting the towering David and Il Duomo, catch a day trip (or overnight in Sienna) to nearby Tuscany for the world’s best cuisine and picturesque rolling countryside. Hop a 1hr 30 min train south to Rome and feast scenes of the Roman forum, Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. Conclude each day with gelato and you’ve got undoubtedly the most delicious one week trip of your life (or at least that I can think of).
7 | MUNICH + VERONA + VENICE
Arriving in Munich, allot at least a few days to enjoy beer at the famous Hofbrahaus, see the surfers in the English Gardens and a tour of the beautiful Residenz. Add in a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle and you’ve got Bavaria in a nutshell. An easy train connection south to Romeo and Juliet’s Verona and the surrounding vineyards. Wrap up the trip in impossibly-beautiful Venice, bar none one of the world’s most beautiful destinations. Tip: Avoid Venice June-August and you’ll love it, otherwise you’ll be battling other tourists for rides in the gondolas. Total train travel time, Munich to Venice: 8hr 35min.
8 | Western Ireland Road Trip
Start your road trip with a pint in Killarney – go for a a morning kayak tour on Lake Killarney or hop on the famous scenic Ring of Kerry loop. Afterwards head north to my favorite little village in Europe: Dingle for a few days of sea breezes, trad music and extra fresh and tasty mussels. (Say hi to the local dolphin, Fungie, for me!) Continue north to the Cliffs of Moher and vibrant city of Galway. Great for active travelers and anyone who had a taste for Guinness.
9 | Lake Como + Swiss Alps
Fly into Milan and hop the train towards George Clooney’s stunning stomping grounds – Lake Como. Not much beats the picture perfect scene of the bright blue lake with pastel lake villages below the snow-capped Alps. For easy train connections, stay in Varenna for a few days but be sure to take the ferry to nearby Bellagio. After gorging on pasta and wine, head north into the Alps to St. Moritz for fantastic hiking in the summer or world-class skiing in the winter.
welp, news to no one: bellagio is a gem and I want to live here forever ? A photo posted by Margo (@margo.paige) on
10 | Costa Del Sol + Cordoba
Settle into the good life on the Costa Del Sol at the absolutely charming beach town of Nerja. Expect drool-worthy tapas and sangria, lots of sunshine and a beautiful walkable old town. Move on to the famous city of Cordoba with the beautiful Mezquita, winding streets and peaceful plazas. If you’re up for a quicker pace, throw in a visit to Granada’s Alhambra!
11 | PARIS + BRUGES + AMSTERDAM
Easy train connections connect the romantic city of lights, a charming Belgian village with endless varieties of brew, and a beautiful canalled city on water. Beaming with museums, great food and nightlife this itinerary is ideal for culture-lovers and foodies and ideal any time of the year. Remember to pack your camera to capture that quintessential European architecture and comfortable shoes for long strolls through winding narrow streets.
Grab my full day by day itinerary to Paris, Bruges & Amsterdam here: Punchy Escape
12 | LOIRE VALLEY + PARIS
Wine, castles and Parisian delights are photographer’s and foodie’s dreams come true. A one hour bullet train connects the joys of Paris (Mona, Moulin Rouge, Eiffel) with rolling, fertile fields riddled with chateaus and rivers. Make Amboise your base for convenience to all the sights in the Loire Valley while Chateaux East of Tours is sighted as being the best. Plan a visit in early fall to catch the peak of the wine harvest otherwise shoot for outdoor-appropriate weather the majority of the year.
13 | NICE + PROVENCE + MONACO
Imagine sweeping views of provencal lavender fields, the most picturesque Instagram-worthy villages and touring one of the world’s most luxurious cities. Sigh. A trip for those that like to be on the go, the French Riviera is filled with too many destinations to name and delightfully convenient to the beaches (and airport!) of Nice. Navigate to your favorite destinations, like Eze, by train or rent a car to find your way into sleepy, romantic French villages.
Grab my full day by day itinerary to the French Riviera here: Lavish Escape
14 | MUNICH + SALZBURG + HALSTATT
Munich isn’t just the capital of Oktoberfest, Germany’s famed beer-infused funfest, but is perhaps one Europe’s most beautiful cities, filled with history, culture and that quintessential German architecture. Hop the train south to Mozart’s Salzburg, recounting the steps of The Sound of Music. Take a day trip from pastels of the charming old town to perhaps the charming little lake village of Hallstatt. (So beautiful, in fact, that a fake Hallstatt, replicating every last building and street, was built in China!)
15 | LONDON + OXFORD
One of Europe’s most vibrant cities, home of the Kate and Fish & Chips, London is an all around favorite. The list of sights ranges from sipping high tea to exploring offbeat Camden Town. Don’t let the rumors fool you, food here is fantastic, especially Indian (really!). Later, hop a train to one of the world’s oldest universities, Oxford. Touring scenes from Harry Potter and enjoy strolling the narrow alleys in the pedestrian friendly town center. An ideal trip for fans of history, culture and food and perfect year-round.
16 | ROME + AMALFI COAST
The chaotic mess of the most historic city of Europe combined with the coastal destination of the stars, this ying-yang duo is a favorite for history-lovers, foodies, photographers, and those looking for brag-worthy stories and pictures. Watch your wallet as you visit the Colosseum, Vatican and gorge at the home of pasta, then take the train south to the jagged cliffs of Amalfi for leisurely seaside lunches, hiking and swimming in the bright blue Med. Aim for early or late summer for picture perfect weather and to avoid other tourists.
Grab my full day by day itinerary to Positano, Capri & Rome here: Darling Escape
17 | SEVILLE + RONDA + GRANADA
Vibrant culture, Spanish gastronomy, natural beauty, and stunning architecture, Andalusia has it all, plus some. Starting in Sevilla, home of Europe’s 3rd largest old town, get lost in the narrow streets and seek refuge in a giant pitcher of sangria. Moving on to the cliffside white village of Ronda, a summer escape for Hemingway, enjoy hiking through the gorge or wander to a cafe for traditional churros and chocolate. Granada, home to UNESCO-protected Alhambra, was home to royalty for centuries and is now considered one of the most spectacular structures in the entire world. Culture-lovers, foodies, photographers should visit in Spring or Fall to avoid the summertime heat. Here are the exact details for the itinerary. Considering visiting in May to enjoy the fun of La Feria seen below!
18 | FLORENCE + PISA + CINQUE TERRE
If you’re in search of the world’s best gelato, famed artwork, an infamous lean and jaw dropping seaside villages then this is it! Enjoy sights like the David and the Birth of Venus in the midst of the cobbled stone, savoring gelato and culture in one big gulp. Then head west for a quick visit to Pisa’s Leaning Tower so you can capture a few of those delightfully cheesy hold-up-the-tower shots, finally continue on to the five seaside villages that make Cinque Terre. Here you’ll have the choice of visiting each along a challenging but beautiful footpath or via train. Each village has it’s own delectable personality so good luck choosing your favorite! Great spring to fall for those that like to be active and enjoy photography and culture.
19 | PRAGUE + VIENNA
Let’s be honest, Prague may very well be the prettiest of all European cities. In the Old Town, an enchanting maze of pedestrian alleys through historic baroque buildings unfolds on to the river and famous Charles Bridge. Across the way Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral stand proudly. Taking the train south, Vienna, in it’s proud Habsburg history, continues the beautiful scene. The sprawling pedestrian-only city center is filled with elegant plazas and classical music. Great year-round for history, culture, music and photography lovers. Consider a visit in December to experience Europe’s favorite Christmas markets.
20 | BARCELONA + MONTSERRAT + COSTA BRAVA
Kick off the visit with Gaudi’s pride and the most popular tourist sight in all of Spain, La Sagrada Familia then get lost in the alleys and nightlife of El Born. Barcelona is enjoyable year-round, famed for sunshine and tasty tapas. Take a day trip to nearby Montserrat, a monastery nestled in the scenic mountainside inland then head north towards Costa Brava to Salvador Dali’s hometown, the picturesque village of Cadaques. Great for food and cultures lovers. If you want to take advantage of the beach scope out a trip from late spring to mid fall.
Grab my full day by day itinerary to Barcelona, Toledo & Madrid here: Vibrant Escape
My sources? Rick Steves’ Guides, Trip Advisor forums, Eurorail & my personal travels!
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