Planning a trip around Europe can feel extremely exhilarating and daunting at the same time. With so many countries residing so close together, it’s tough to decide what to see, where to go, and how much time to spend in each place. With that being said, it’s also incredibly tempting to try and just see it all. One day in each country should do, right?
While the idea of adding 20 or more stamps to your passport is enticing, it won’t be worth it in the end. Instead, choose an itinerary that allows you to fully immerse yourself in your surroundings. Whether you’re a new traveler or a seasoned wanderer, here’s how to get a taste of what every region in Europe has to offer.
Week One: Ireland and United Kingdom
Start in: Dublin, Ireland
The Emerald Isle is the perfect place to begin your adventure. Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland and the largest city in the country, brimming with friendly locals, cozy pubs, and of course, Guinness. For a fun night out on the town, be sure not to miss Temple Bar. Trinity College and Phoenix Park are also must-see spots while you’re in Dublin.
Day Trip from Dublin:
- The Wicklow Mountains. First made popular by the movie, ‘P.S. I Love you’, this mountainous region in Ireland is also the locations where Game of Thrones and Vikings have been filmed. As you can imagine, the scenery certainly does not disappoint.
Fly to: London, England
As one of the number one tourist destinations in Europe, London offers something for everyone. For a quintessentially English experience, be sure to enjoy afternoon tea in one of the most picturesque neighborhoods in the city: Notting Hill, Greenwich, or Primrose Hill are all great places to start. To get a taste of royal life, take a tour of Buckingham or Kensington Palace. Or, simply stroll by and take in the grandeur of the Tower of London.castles.
Day Trips from London:
- Brighton. Less than an hour train ride will land you at what many refer to as ‘London-on-Sea’. This lively beach town boasts a beautiful pier stretching out over the English Channel, a trendy downtown scene, and plenty of live music.
- Bath. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bath is one of England’s most beautiful cities. The Great Bath, which was originally used as an elaborate bathing and steaming area for the Romans, draws thousands of visitors each year.
Week Two: Western Europe
Start in: Paris (Can be reached from London by plane or via the Channel on a bus or train)
There are few cities that live up to the romanticized view we create before arriving, and Paris is one of those cities. There is nothing quite like savoring a picnic under the Eiffel Tower or taking in the view from the Sacré-Coeur.
Day Trips from Paris:
- Versaille. Take a quick, 30-minute train to this enchanting city and get a taste of what royal, French life was like between 1682 and 1789.
- Rouen. Widely known as the city where Joan of Arc was executed, this Medieval city is also home to the beautiful cathedral in Monet’s famous painting. Be sure to climb the clock tower for the best view of the city.
Train to: Munich, Germany
Home to the famous Oktoberfest, this Bavarian city is filled with history, culture, and mouth watering sausages. Munich is home to a multitude of museums, many of which offer free admission on Sundays.
Day Trip from Munich:
- Füssen. This charming town in the Bavarian Alps is home to the 19th-century Neuschwanstein Castle, which Disney made popular by modeling Cinderella’s castle after.
Week Three: Eastern Europe
Start in: Prague (Can be reached from Munich by plane, train, or bus)
Known as the City of a Hundred Spires, the capital of the Czech Republic is widely known for its Gothic architecture and its Medieval astronomical clock. Be sure to check out the sculpture-lined Charles Bridge. The Prague Philharmonic Orchestra is also an astonishing sight to see, often offering excellent student/youth discounts.
Day trip from Prague:
- Podebrady. This quaint, photogenic town is just a 50 minute train ride away. Known for its hot springs, Podebrady is perfect for a quiet getaway from the bustling city.
Train to: Budapest
The capital of Hungary is affordable, eclectic, and has an eventful past, making it the perfect destination to learn more about Eastern European history and culture. Dating back to Roman times, one of the most popular experiences in Budapest is to soak in one of the many bathhouses in the city. For a glimpse into Hungarian architecture, don’t miss the Royal Palace, Parliament, or the Hungarian State Opera House.
Day trip from Budapest:
- Vienna, Austria. Although a three-hour train ride away, Vienna is simply too close not to visit, even if it’s just for an afternoon. Known for its modern architecture and coffee culture, Vienna is also the location where Mozart and many other famous musicians rose to fame.
Week four: Central Europe/Balkans
Start in: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Nestled along the Ljubjanica River, this capital city is slowly gaining recognition in the tourist industry. Its small city vibe combined with its mountainous backdrop make it unique compared to some of its neighboring cities. Be sure to climb to the top of the castle for the best views of the city and mountains. Don’t miss the local markets, they’re are a great place to try out traditional Slovenian food and drink.
Day trip from Ljubljana:
- Lake Bled. This charming, picture-perfect lake is only a couple of hours away from the capital. Home to the oldest castle in Slovenia, Lake Bled is the perfect combination of history and nature. Many opt to hike the perimeter of the entire lake, but if you’re looking for that postcard-perfect photo, head to the top of Ojstrica Mountain.
Train to: Kotor, Montenegro
This medieval town, located on the Gulf of Kotor, is quickly gaining popularity. Its turbulent history has resulted in a myriad of cultural influence over the years. From the cobblestone streets in Old Town to the views at the San Giovanni Castle, you’re bound to be swooning over this off-the-beaten-path destination.
Day trip from Kotor:
- Dubrovnik, Croatia. Known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, this city boasts emerald green water encasing the coast, 10th-century ruins, and even a few Game of Thrones filming locations.
About the Author:
Hannah is a freelance writer and blogger at AllTheRooms who has a deep passion for travel, mindful living and people. Originally from Upstate New York, she’s had the opportunity to live in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia and most currently, Maryland. She recently crossed country number 16 off her bucket list and is always devising a plan to fulfill her perpetual wanderlust. When she’s not busy writing or traveling, you can find her enjoying the great outdoors with her husband and puppy, exploring her local community or honing in on her photography skills.