Your Europe itinerary: 10 routes to explore the continent

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written by Rough Guides Editors

updated 11.10.2023

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You can’t expect to fit everything Europe has to offer into one trip and we don’t suggest you try. For those taking a big, extended trip around the continent you could join a few countries together. Each of these itineraries could be done in two or three weeks if followed to the letter but don’t push it too hard – with so much to see and do you’re bound to get waylaid somewhere you love or stray off the suggested route.

1. Britain and Ireland

2. france and switzerland, 3. benelux, germany and austria, 4. spain, portugal and morocco, 6. central and eastern europe, 7. scandinavia, 8. mallorca, menorca, ibiza and formentera (balearic islands island hopping), 9. the balkans, 10. greece and turkey.

This article is inspired by our Rough Guides guidebooks — your essential guides for travelling the world.

Where else to begin but London (1) – one of the world’s greatest but most expensive cities. While your wallet is still intact move on to the storied grounds of Oxford (2) before heading to Snowdonia (3), where the Welsh mountains provide excellent hiking.

Soak up some history in the medieval streets of York (4), then make the trip north to stunning Edinburgh (5). Find your inner Braveheart in the Scottish Highlands (6) and fit in an unforgettable hike, climb, or ski while you’re at it.

Pop across the North Channel to Belfast (7), but be sure not to miss the nearby Giant’s Causeway – one of Europe’s great natural wonders. Grab a perfect pint of Guinness in Dublin (8), then wind down on the windswept beaches of Ireland ’s West Coast (9).

Rough Guides tip: For more practical guidance that will help you make the most of your Britain and Ireland trip, have a chat with our local experts , who can help you plan your dream trip.

Start in Paris (1), Europe ’s most elegant capital, then venture off to the châteaux and prime vineyards of the Loire Valley (2). Move south to beautiful Bordeaux (3), which boasts bustling city life and some of Europe’s finest surfing beaches to boot.

Head south of the peaks of the Pyrenees (4) before taking a trip through Southern France to the Côte d’Azur (5). Don’t miss the magic of Corsica (6), a true adventure playground, or traditional cooking in Lyon (7), the country’s gastronomic capital.

Try your luck skiing and climbing in the Alps (8), and end by relaxing riverside in laid-back Zürich (9).

Rough Guides tip: If you're planning a trip to France, our fully customisable French itineraries can help you get the most out of your trip.

Kick-off in Amsterdam (1) before enjoying more atmospheric canals and beautiful buildings in Bruges (2). Cologne ’s (3) spectacular old town is a perfect first stop in Germany , but be sure to head north soon after for the vast port and riotous bars of Hamburg (4).

Few cities can compete with the style and youthful energy of Berlin (5), while Dresden (6) has also become a favourite backpacker hangout. Then head south to Munich (7), where Bavaria ’s capital boasts everything from snowy scenery to beer-fuelled Oktoberfest.

Cross over the border to Austria (8), and conclude this itinerary among the palaces, museums, cafés and boulevards of Vienna (9).

While travelling in Benelux, read our guide to the best things to do in Belgium and you may want to stay in the country longer.

Rough Guides tip: Don't know where to start planning your trip to Germany and Austria? Start planning with our local experts who will help you customise our German itineraries according to your preferences.

Begin in the Basque capital of Bilbao (1), Spain’s friendliest city and home of the Guggenheim . Then it’s on to the city beaches, late-night bars and enchanting old town of Barcelona (2). Ibiza 's (3) nightclubs are famous the world over, but its pockets of peace are worth the trip alone.

Gobble tapas and dance the night away in Madrid (4) before heading west for the countless port lodges of Porto (5). Cruise down the Atlantic coast to the historic Portuguese capital of Lisbon (6), then make for the region of Andalucía (7), stopping in the cities of Seville and Granada as you venture further south.

If you catch a ferry across the Straits of Gibraltar to Morocco and set course for Fez (8), explore the medieval Moroccan city of labyrinth alleys, souks and mosques. Finish up in Marrakesh (9), a colourful city with a stunning backdrop of the Atlas Mountains .

Rough Guide tip: This route may seem a bit intricate. That's why our Spanish , Portuguese and Moroccan itineraries will come in handy, fully customisable they leave room for imagination.

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Porto Ribeira, traditional facades, old multi-colored houses with red roof tiles on the embankment in the city of Porto, Portugal

Start in Milan (1) for a little Prada, Gucci, and Leonardo da Vinci. Veer east to visit the world’s most beautiful city, Venice (2), then south to the foodie nirvana of Bologna (3). Glide onwards to Tuscany (4) where Florence and Siena make excellent bases to explore the region’s hill towns.

You can hardly “do” Europe and not see Rome (5), and there is truly no better place to eat pizza than in the crumbling yet attractive city of Naples (6). Experience a Roman town frozen in time at Pompeii (7), before sleeping in one of Matera ’s (8) hand-carved caves.

Kick back in Sicily (9) on idyllic beaches beneath smouldering volcanoes, or enjoy the hectic pace of Palermo , one of Italy ’s most in-your-face cities.

Rough Guide tip: Planning a trip to a popular tourist destination like Italy can be difficult, as there are so many tempting places to visit. To make it easier, contact our local experts who can help customise our Italy itineraries to suit your preferences and help you have an unforgettable experience.

Get going in Prague (1), a pan-European city with beer that never disappoints. Move east to Warsaw ’s (2) vodka-soaked bar scenes, Old Town, palaces and parks.

Arty and atmospheric Kraków (3) shouldn’t be missed, and neither should a trip to the charming cafés of L'viv (4). Leave cities behind for the majestic wilderness of Slovakia 's Tatra Mountains (4), then head back to civilisation and immerse yourself in Budapest (6) where you'll find two great cities in one.

Finish this itinerary up in Ljubljana (7); Slovenia ’s capital is a perfectly formed pit stop between central Europe and the Adriatic if you’re eager to push on to the Balkans.

Rough Guides tip: Central and Eastern Europe can safely compete with their Western neighbours. Until recently, these regions were off the tourist radar, but that has changed. Contact our local experts and create an itinerary covering the places you want to visit.

Start in the lively lanes of beautiful Copenhagen (1), and head north to Gothenburg ’s (2) elegant architecture, fantastic nightlife and fully-functioning rainforest. A visit to Oslo (3) is worth the expense, but after a while, you'll feel the pull of the Norwegian fjords (4).

The mild climate and wild scenery of the Lofoten Islands (5) should not be skipped, but neither should the reindeer, huskies and elusive Northern Lights of Lapland (6). Of course, no trip to Scandinavia would be complete without a stop in Stockholm (7).

If you’re travelling in summer, get to Gotland (8) – Sweden ’s party island, buzzing with DJs and bronzed bodies on the beach.

Rough Guides tip: In our opinion, each of the Scandinavian countries is worthy of a separate visit. Start with our Norwegian or Swedish itineraries and see how both countries will keep you occupied for a long time. And if you want to cover the whole Scandinavian destination, get in touch with our local guides who will help you create a convenient and complete itinerary.

Start your island hopping trip with Mallorca (1), a Mediterranean gem boasting stunning beaches and vibrant culture. Move east to Menorca (2) with its tranquil coves and untouched beauty. Discover the island's natural wonders, including the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and the ancient megalithic sites that dot the landscape.

In Ibiza (3), embrace the vibrant nightlife and dance your nights away at world-famous clubs. During the day, unwind at the beautiful beaches, explore the picturesque old town of Ibiza Town, and revel in the bohemian vibes that permeate the island.

Formentera (4) beckons with its idyllic beaches and laid-back vibes. Immerse yourself in this island paradise, then head back to (5) Mallorca for the perfect finale - a journey that combines the best of the Balearics!

Rough Guides tip: To make sure you don't miss out on the gems of any of the Balearic Islands - contact our local experts who will create the most comprehensive itinerary for you.

Start with a slew of cheap but delicious wine, watersports, and vitamin D on the Dalmatian coast (1), then move on to Europe’s war-scarred but most welcoming capital, Sarajevo (2).

History-steeped Dubrovnik (3) rivalled Venice in its day and is an easy stop on the way to Budva (4), Montenegro’s star resort with unspoilt beaches and throbbing open-air bars. Head further south to Tirana (5) for charming architecture and urban exploration, before visiting the shimming shores of Ohrid’s (6) mountain-backed lake.

Be sure to check out the chilled vibe of Sofia (7), and the more upbeat buzz of Serbia ’s hip capital: Belgrade (8). End this itinerary by discovering Transylvania (9) – you probably won’t find any vampires, but you will find fairytale villages, colourful festivals, and wolf tracking in the Carpathians.

Rough Guide tip: Discover the riches of Croatia and Romania: each country is a treasure trove of fascinating experiences. Start with our carefully designed Croatia or Romania itineraries and you will be immersed in a world of coastal wonders, ancient legends and delicious cuisine. To fully experience the magic of both destinations, our local guides are ready to create an unforgettable journey through these enchanting countries.

Begin by finding the perfect beach in Kefaloniá (1), and continue to Athens (2) for a sunset over the Parthenon. Sail first to the island of Íos (3) for partying backpackers and hippie-era charm, then on to Crete ’s (4) Samarian Gorge.

Get to the Turkish mainland for a visit to the remarkably preserved temples, mosaics, and baths in Ephesus (5) before mountain biking, paragliding, or diving in Ka ş (6).

Then venture east to Cappadocia ’s (7) volcanic landscape and subterranean city, and wrap up among the bazaars, hammams, and surprisingly hectic nightlife in Istanbul (8).

Rough Guides tip: Choose our Greek or Turkish itineraries for a fascinating journey into ancient history, breathtaking coastlines and tantalising cuisine. For a complete Mediterranean adventure, our local guides will create a seamless and unforgettable journey through both countries.

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Europe by Train: 20 Itinerary Ideas for 10 Days of Travel

There’s no better way to slow travel through Europe than by train. Here are 20 itinerary ideas for 10 days in Europe by rail – with options for every travel style, budget and season.

An epic European train journey through the Swiss Alps.

Europe is experiencing something of a railway renaissance, with old tracks being revived and new rail routes opening up.

Whether you’re looking for a fast-paced, multi-country itinerary or you prefer to explore one country in depth, travelling by train is an easy and affordable way to get around.

Some of these train journeys are among the most beautiful on Earth; others are a convenient way to get from A to B. Whatever you’re looking for, here are 20 of the best Europe 10-day itinerary ideas to get on board with.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission if you make a purchase by clicking a link (at no extra cost to you). Learn more.

10-day itineraries for travelling Europe by train

Each of these Europe train itineraries is perfectly suited to 10 days of travel but can easily be shortened or extended depending on how much time you have.

Depending on your travel plans and just how far you plan to ride the rails, it might be economical to pick up a Eurail Global Pass.

Similar to a Amtrak Rail Pass in the US or the JR Pass in Japan, it can be used for multiple trips across the continent (it covers 33 countries in total). There are no fixed dates, and you have complete flexibility to design your own route.

Learn more about the Eurail Pass and purchase your pass online here through the official website .

Central Europe by Train: Hungary to Slovenia

  • Route: Budapest – Bratislava – Vienna – Ljubljana
  • Editor’s pick

Hungary, Austria and Slovenia.

This route traverses four of Central Europe’s great capitals: Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna and Ljubljana.

Made for travellers who don’t mind moving at a fast pace and want to make the most of their 10 days in Europe, this itinerary hits all the urban highlights of Hungary , Slovakia, Austria and Slovenia with plenty of opportunities for day trips to castles, wineries and hiking areas in between.

Start in Hungary’s enthralling capital and spend a few days experiencing the best of Budapest . Don’t miss a morning wander around the covered market, a soak in the Gellert or Széchenyi Thermal Bath, and sunset at Fisherman’s Bastion.

After the impressive scale of Budapest, Slovakia’s capital (3.5 hours away by train) seems diminutive in comparison – but don’t be fooled, Bratislava has a lot to offer visitors. With one full day in the city you can catch all the highlights, starting with a morning walking tour of the historic Old Town core and culminating with a view from the castle grounds.

For something different, cross the famous UFO Bridge to wander around Petrzalka , a colourful neighbourhood on the opposite side of the river. Then indulge in a day trip on the Danube or through the countryside to visit Slovakia’s amazing castles, wineries and old towns .

Continue to Austria, following the mighty Danube river. For this leg you can choose between a morning train (1.5 hrs) or if the weather is good, the ferry (1.5 hours). Vienna needs no introduction – there are countless things to keep you occupied in this classic European capital for 2-3 days, ranging from historic cafes to museums and churches.

When you’ve had your fill, board the train for a final time for the scenic journey to Ljubljana. This train ride takes the better part of a full day and leads you through some of southern Austria’s and northern Slovenia’s most beautiful countryside. Stopovers in Graz or Maribor (Slovenia’s second-largest city) can easily be arranged if time permits.

Fall in love with petite and pretty Ljubljana by wandering the river’s edge through the Old Town, browsing the produce market and taking the funicular up to the castle. Bled is within easy reach (under 1.5 hours by train or bus) and you won’t regret adding on a half-day trip to visit the region’s most iconic lake .

Northern Italy: Milan to Trieste

  • Route: Milan – Verona – Padua – Venice – Trieste
  • Designed by: Sophie from Just Heading Out

Three cities in Northern Italy.

Italy has more than enough on offer to fill 10 days of travel or more . This route takes you to some of the most popular cities in the north of Italy plus a few underrated places.

Start in Milan, the elegant fashion capital. Spend two nights here to eat, drink, shop and see the highlights: The Duomo, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and the Castello Sforzesco. The next day, take either the regional train (2 hrs) or the fast train (1.25 hrs) to Verona.

Verona’s biggest claim to fame is as the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet , so you must visit Juliet’s balcony and Romeo’s house. But there’s much more to Verona! Climb up to the Castel San Pedro for a great view of the city, visit Castelvecchio, and see an opera performance at the historic Arena.

After two nights in Verona, board an early train to Padua (1 hr). Padua is noticeably less touristy than Verona or Milan. As one of the oldest cities in Italy , it features a beautiful historic city centre. Visit the Cathedral, the Botanical Gardens, and the Prato della Valle.

After dinner, it is time to take a train to Venice (30 mins). When you arrive, check into your hotel and rest up for three days of sightseeing . Aside from the highlights – such as Ponte Rialto, Doge’s Palace and Piazza San Marco – be sure to leave some time to explore the streets and get lost down the alleyways. A day trip to Murano and Burano is certainly worth the effort.

From Venice, it is a 2-hour train ride to Trieste. This underrated city lies close to Italy’s borders with Austria and Slovenia, and both influences can be clearly felt in the food, culture and architecture.

Trieste is the perfect place to slow down and relax for a day at the beach. Finish your trip around Northern Italy by visiting the Castello di San Giusto and Miramare Castle.

Southern Spain’s Andalusia: Madrid to Granada

  • Route: Madrid – Toledo – Cordoba – Seville – Granada

Three cities in Southern Spain.

While a road trip in Spain might be the best way to explore the country from top to bottom, you can still see a lot when travelling on the country’s railway network. This itinerary focuses on the southern part of the country: the culturally distinct and utterly mesmerising Andalusia region.

Spain’s capital is a natural place to begin. If it’s your first visit, pause for a day or two to visit the most important landmarks in Madrid before boarding a train to Toledo. Half an hour later, you’ll find yourself walking the streets of one of Spain’s most magical and history steeped cities . For all the best things to do in the imperial city, see this guide to Toledo .

For the remainder of your Spain train itinerary, divide your time between Cordoba (4 hours from Toledo by train), Seville (40 minutes from Cordoba) and Granada (1.5 hours from Seville). Each of these three Andalusian cities has its particular charms and fair share of awe-inspiring landmarks, most notably the Mezquita in Cordoba, the Alcazar in Seville and the one and only Alhambra in Granada.

If you have more time, finish with a couple of days on the coast or head west to Lisbon to continue travelling around Portugal by train.

Poland & Germany: Krakow to Berlin

  • Route: Krakow – Wroclaw – Dresden – Berlin
  • Designed by: Kami from Kami and The Rest of The World

Poland and Germany.

This train journey takes you through some of the most beautiful and interesting cities of Poland and Germany and allows you to see some lesser-known yet amazing corners of Central Europe.

Featuring historical sites, beautiful nature and hip spots, the itinerary is good for anyone who’s interested in culture and history but also wants to venture beyond the expected.

Start your journey in Krakow, the former capital of Poland and one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. You need at least two days to see all the main sights, starting with the Old Town and the Wawel Castle, the riverside and the Jewish quarter, Kazimierz. Krakow is a perfect base for side trips, the most popular being the UNESCO-listed salt mine in Wieliczka and Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Both are easily reached by train.

From Krakow, continue by direct train to Wroclaw (3 hrs), one of the main cultural capitals of Poland. Set aside a full day to see the city, taking your time to fall in love with the colourful Market Square and to find as many quirky dwarfs as possible. In the evening be sure to find the magical ‘neon yard’.

From Wroclaw, you can easily explore part of the Lower Silesia region – probably the most interesting part of Poland. Easy train trips include beautiful Swidnica , with its spectacular 17th-century Church of Peace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the stunning Ksiaz Castle (the third largest castle in Poland), numerous spa towns, and the Sudety mountains.

From Wroclaw, continue by train toward Dresden but stop on the way in Goerlitz, the city divided by the Polish-German border. It’s one of the prettiest and best-preserved German cities and you’ll surely recognise it from numerous movies, including The Grand Budapest Hotel and Inglourious Basterds . The train trip from Wroclaw to Dresden takes a little over 3 hours and Goerlitz is more or less halfway.

Even though the city was badly destroyed during WWII, Dresden has some of the most impressive Baroque architecture you can find in Europe. You need two days to see it properly, but the main highlights of the city are conveniently located in the centre.

Finish your trip in the cool and vibrant capital of Germany, Berlin (2 hrs by train from Dresden), where you can enjoy a variety of attractions – from historical monuments and mementos of 20th-century world events – and alternative sites such as Kreuzberg.

The Swiss Alps: Geneva to Tirano via the Glacier Express

  • Route: Geneva – Bern – Interlaken – Zermatt – St Moritz – Tirano
  • Designed by: Allan from It’s Sometimes Sunny in Bangor

The Swiss Alps.

This 10-day itinerary is breathtaking all year round – but at the same time it’s winter-inspired as it follows some of the highest peaks in Europe and takes you to some of the most popular destinations for winter sports in the Swiss Alps.

Many of the stops are hard to reach, so the most convenient start is Geneva near the France/Switzerland border.

A day or two is enough time to explore Geneva, the largest city in Switzerland, before forwarding to the charming administrative capital of Bern (2 hrs). You can cover the main attractions of this small but beautiful city in a day – the connecting bridges are a must see – before the next stretch to Interlaken (1 hr), a resort town known as the ‘adventure capital of Switzerland’.

Interlaken is an ideal base to explore the many surrounding mountain peaks including the famous Jungfrau. The 3-Day Jungfrau Travel Pass offers great value for money when exploring this area’s mountains by train and cable car.

This Swiss rail itinerary then takes you high into the alps to visit some of the most beautiful winter resort towns in the world. The first is Zermatt (2.5 hrs), set beneath the majestic Matterhorn (AKA the Toblerone mountain). Cable cars from Zermatt whisk you up towards the peak.

A day is long enough to explore the town before joining the Glacier Express , one of the most scenic train rides in the world. After 7 hours riding the rails through mountainous terrain you’ll finally reach St Moritz where you can connect to yet another breathtaking train, the Bernina Express, to cross into Italy. The trip ends at Tirano (4 hrs). Spend a day in this resort town before continuing on to Milan or Turin for onward travel.

The Balkans by Train: Zagreb to Bar

  • Route: Zagreb – Belgrade – Bar

Zagreb, Montenegro and Belgrade.

Bus is by far the preferred way to travel around the Balkans region – but there is one rail route that should be on every traveller’s radar. The train from Belgrade (Serbia) to Bar ( Montenegro ) is easily one of the most scenic and yet underrated in all of Europe.

With 10 days up your sleeve, you can tackle this full-day journey (the day train is highly recommended) plus add a few days in Croatia’s capital, Zagreb , at the beginning of your trip.

Zagreb is often overlooked in favour of Venetian cities along the Dalmatian Coast – yet Croatia’s capital is easily one of its most beautiful destinations , albeit in a slightly unconventional way. Zagreb is loaded with history, street art and beautiful churches, including the iconic St. Mark’s, with its colourful tiled roof.

After a day in Zagreb, board a train for Serbia’s capital, Belgrade (6 hrs). The former administrative centre of Yugoslavia is a must-visit for those interested in modern history and Brutalist architecture. Spend a morning at Avala Tower , climbing up to the viewing deck for a panorama, cycle around the concrete jungle that is New Belgrade, and wander the old neighbourhood of Zemun. House of Flowers, the final resting place of Josip Broz Tito, is a fascinating visit – but if you only have time for one museum in Belgrade, make it the Tesla Museum.

Completed in 1976 and officially opened by President Tito himself, the Belgrade to Bar train passes over no fewer than 435 bridges on its way to the Adriatic Coast. It’s all about the journey: The part of Montenegro the train traverses is absolutely stunning , especially when the train passes over marshy Lake Skadar.

When you arrive in Bar, make a detour to Stari Bar to explore the ruined old town and the aqueduct before finding a spot to relax on the beach. Pleasant swimming beaches can be found down the coast in Ulcinj – itself a good jumping off point for travelling into Kosovo or Albania .

The Netherlands’ Randstad: Rotterdam to Amsterdam

  • Route: Rotterdam – Den Haag – Amsterdam
  • Designed by: Erin from Pina Travels

The Netherlands by train.

This European train route brings you to three beautiful Dutch cities within a region of the Netherlands known as ‘The Randstad’, the most heavily populated and developed part of the country.

On this route, you’ll get to experience the best of Dutch culture , architecture, history and food. Travel times between cities are short and direct, which makes this an easy train itinerary with maximum time to explore each destination.

The route begins with three days in Rotterdam. During WWII, Rotterdam was completely flattened by bombing. The city has since been rebuilt, and is now a modern metropolis that’s packed with history, art, good food and amazing architecture. While in Rotterdam, check out the city’s famous ‘cube houses’ to walk among the blocks and visit the Show Cube Museum . You’ll also want to check out the Erasmus Bridge, the Van Nelle Factory (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and Market Hall, where you can enjoy Dutch art and food all under one roof.

From Rotterdam, take a quick 25-minute train ride to your next destination, Den Haag (The Hague). Plan to spend three days in this city, which is known for being the seat of the Dutch government since 1588. Den Haag is home to the Gothic-style Binnenhof complex and the 16th-century Noordeinde Palace, which is one of the Dutch Royal Family’s official palaces. You’ll also find plenty of museums, churches, and restaurants that are worth visiting.

Next, take a 45-minute train ride from Den Haag to the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam to witness the artistic heritage, elaborate canal system and iconic narrow houses for yourself. You’ll want to spend four days visiting popular attractions plus experiencing alternative things to do in Amsterdam .

Visit the Rijksmuseum to see the work of the Dutch masters and visit the Anne Frank Museum to learn the story of the Jewish wartime diarist. When you’re hungry, be sure to drop by Upstairs Pannenkoekenhuis to try some classic Dutch pancakes!

Portugal by Train: Lisbon to Santiago de Compostela

  • Route: Lisbon – Coimbra – Porto – Santiago de Compostela
  • Designed by: Or from My Path in the World 

Portugal.

Covering three of the biggest cities in Portugal along with the endpoint of the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, this route is perfect for history and culture lovers, as well as for anyone looking to immerse themselves in Portugal’s laid-back yet lively atmosphere , taste great food and wine, and meet friendly locals.

Lisbon is a contagiously vibrant city and it’s worth dedicating four days to experience the best of it, including its landmarks, museums, enchanting neighbourhoods and culinary and nightlife scenes. Some of the must-sees are Sao Jorge Castle, the National Tile Museum, Belem Tower, and the Santa Luzia Lookout Point – but the bucket list goes on and on.

A 2-hour train ride will take you to Coimbra, a postcard-perfect city on the Mondego River. Coimbra is known for its 13th-century UNESCO-Listed university, one of the oldest in Europe . While touring it, it’s possible to visit the Baroque Joanine Library, the Botanical Garden, gorgeous courtyards, and much more.

Other things to do here include visiting Sé Velha (Coimbra’s cathedral), admiring the Manga Cloister, and watching a Fado de Coimbra concert. This music genre originated in Lisbon but Coimbra has developed its own typical style.

After two days, continue to Porto (1.5 hrs), another must-visit place in Portugal . Spend another two days in this city, a fantastic base to explore the Douro Valley if you feel like hiring a car. Visit Livraria Lello (an astounding bookstore), wander through the Crystal Palace Gardens, visit the Bolsa Palace, and cross the bridge over to Gaia to tour some top port wine cellars.

Lastly, Spain’s train company, Renfe, can take you from Porto to Vigo (2.5 hrs) and from Vigo to Santiago de Compostela (50-90 mins), where you can spend your last day and a half. As the endpoint of the pilgrimage route Camino de Santiago, its highlight is, of course, the impressive UNESCO-Listed cathedral, built in the 11th-13th centuries.

Mainland Greece: Athens to Thessaloniki 

  • Route: Athens – Meteora – Thessaloniki
  • Designed by: Chrysoula from Greece Travel Ideas

Mainland Greece.

This 10-day train journey in Mainland Greece covers the country’s two major cities and the natural wonder of Meteora.

The train ride from Athens to the port city of Thessaloniki via Meteora is dramatic, as it passes through narrow valleys and steep mountainous countryside. The greatest treat is the chance to discover Meteora, with its amazing rock formations and six monasteries perched on high rocky crags.

Athens is rich in archaeological treasures that are easy to visit on foot. Other things to see include the Archaeological Museum, the various markets, and the Changing of the Guard ceremony in Syntagma Square. Four days or longer is required to enjoy all of these attractions.

The train from Athens to Meteora (Kalambaka station) leaves Larissis Athens station in the early morning and takes 4.5 hours. The journey passes through beautiful mountainous countryside with narrow valleys. It’s quite a long walk to the first of the monasteries and they are spread out across a wide area, so it’s best to take a taxi or pre-book a guided Meteora tour.

Most visitors to Meteora stay for two days in nearby Kastraki or the larger town of Kalambaka. All 6 of the monasteries are open to the public and accessible via stone-cut steps, but it’s advisable to limit yourself to 3-4 per day.

The train journey from Kalambaka to Thessaloniki takes 3.5 hours. Thessaloniki is an attractive port city with a rich history and reputation for good food, so it’s ideal to spend at least 2-3 days here. Thessaloniki has several notable Byzantine, Roman, Ottoman, and Sephardic Jewish monuments. In contrast, there are lovely beaches within easy reach, good shopping and a vibrant nightlife.

Czechia & Germany: Prague to Munich

  • Route: Prague – Nuremberg – Munich
  • Designed by: Riana from Teaspoon of Adventure

Germany and Czechia.

This 10-day train journey is all about beautiful buildings, rich history and – if you’re a fan – drinking lots of delicious beer!

Each of these cities has something special to offer and no shortage of things to keep you entertained. They’re also all quite close to one another, so you won’t waste too much time getting from one spot to the next.

The trip starts in Prague , one of the most beautiful capital cities in Europe, where you’ll spend three nights. On day one, walk through some of Prague’s most beautiful neighbourhoods before checking out Vysehrad castle in the afternoon. End your first day trying Czech food classics such as pork, dumplings and of course, beer! 

Start the second day with a walking tour through the Old Town and Wenceslas Square, take photos on the Charles Bridge, then enjoy a river cruise in the evening. On your third and final day in Prague, see the John Lennon Wall, visit the famous Prague Castle, and end with a beautiful view from Letna Beer Garden.

From Prague, head out on a 6-hour train journey to Nuremberg, where you’ll spend three nights. Your first day in Nuremberg should be dedicated to exploring the Old Town. Don’t miss Weissgerbergasse, a street filled with historic timber houses.

Take a guided tour of the Nuremberg Memorial to learn more about the Nuremberg Trials and visit the courtroom where the trials took place. For more history, visit the Nazi Rally Grounds and Documentation Centre on the afternoon of day two. For something lighter, admire the artwork at Albrecht Dürer’s House and visit the Imperial Castle of Nuremberg.

To finish, take a one-hour train ride from Nuremberg to Munich for your final 4 days. Get your beer fix at a local beer hall or garden, tour the beautiful Old Town, including Marienplatz and Frauenkirche, shop the food markets, and visit local museums.

On your last day in Munich, head out on a day trip. Visit Dachau, the oldest and largest concentration camp in Germany for an important tour through history, or head to Neuschwanstein Castle, the inspiration behind Sleeping Beauty .

Ukraine’s Big Three: Kiev to Lviv

  • Route: Kiev – Odessa – Lviv
  • Designed by: Amy from Moonshine and Minibuses

Three great cities to visit in Ukraine by train.

This itinerary hits the three most-visited cities in Ukraine , giving you an eclectic overview of Europe’s biggest country.

While you can take the day train in order to enjoy the views, Ukraine’s night trains are the recommended affordable way to cover a lot of ground quickly. If you’re nostalgic, the overnight trains are often a trip into the past!

Landing in Ukraine’s capital will launch you right into the middle of one of the most dynamic countries in Europe. From colourful medieval legends to stoic Soviet architecture , centuries of history are on display at every corner.

With four days in Kiev, join the pilgrims in the monastery caves of Lavra Pechersk and peek at mummified monks, explore the luxurious private residence of ousted President Yanukovych, and dine at restaurants headed by internationally renowned chefs.

Just when you’re getting into the groove of Ukraine, head to Odessa, the Pearl of the Black Sea, travelling either by intercity or overnight train. Odessa has a reputation for being a party town (that it gleefully lives up to), but in addition to the beach clubs and Gilded Age bars, make sure you take some time to learn about the history of the city. Established under Catherine the Great, it has a diverse and dramatic background.

After two or three days of living life to the fullest in Odessa, head towards Lviv. This city is nearly 800km from Odessa, so it’s best to take the overnight train. Considered a cultural hub, Lviv is a tapestry of idyllic European scenes, from its cobblestone streets to its skyline of church spires. Wander down alleys, pop into coffee shops, and peer into the myriad of churches.

End your trip to Ukraine at an underground bunker-style pub, a craft beer ‘theatre,’ or the regal opera house (or even the cocktail bar below it!).

Transiberian Express: Siberia to St. Petes

  • Route: Irkutsk, Siberia – Moscow – St. Petersburg
  • Designed by: Sinead from Map Made Memories

Siberia and St Petersburg.

This itinerary offers something for everyone as it combines historic sites and the fantastic architecture of the big cities with small-town rural Russia, nature trails and scenic landscapes.

Spend a day exploring Irkutsk on foot following the city’s ‘green line’, a tourist trail painted on the pavement that covers points of interest around the city. Take a full day trip to Lake Baikal 70km away. Shop in the fisherman’s market at tiny Listvyanka, visit the wooden Church of St Nicholas, take a boat trip on the world’s deepest lake, or enjoy a scenic hike in the hills surrounding the lake.

The train from Irkutsk to Moscow takes around three-and-a-half full days following a popular stretch of the Trans-Siberian Railway route.

When you arrive in Moscow, spend 3-4 days visiting the imposing Kremlin, Lenin’s Tomb and the incredible Armoury. Tour opulent churches such as the iconic St Basil’s Cathedral and the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

For an amazing view of sprawling Moscow, head to the deck on the top of the Central Children’s Store, an enormous toy store in the centre. Spend a day riding the elaborately decorated Russian Metro system and make a stop at VDNKh to view the sculptures and to visit the Museum of Cosmonautics.

The journey from Moscow to St. Petersburg takes 4 hours on the fast train or 8 hours on a slower overnight train.

Enjoy a leisurely trip on St. Petersburg’s canals before exploring the elaborate Winter Palace (try to book tickets in advance as there are usually long queues). Make time to visit the ornate Church of the Spilled Blood, decorated from floor to ceiling in tiny, colourful mosaics depicting intricate biblical scenes.

The Best of Britain: London Loop

  • Route: London – Bath – Cardiff – Liverpool – Edinburgh – York – London
  • Designed by: Tracy from UK Travel Planning

Three cities in Great Britain.

This 10 day best of Britain by rail itinerary is the perfect way for first-time visitors to explore some of the most popular cities across Britain’s three nations. In addition to visiting the three capitals, the itinerary also includes a trio of England’s most beautiful and interesting smaller cities.

A round trip itinerary, the journey starts and ends in London. To start, explore the sights, landmarks and attractions of the UK capital . A guided tour may be the best option to make the most of your day.

Departing from London, head to the UNESCO World Heritage Listed city of Bath. Travel time by train between the cities is around 1.5 hours with direct services departing from London Paddington to Bath Spa. The main highlights of Bath include the Roman Baths, Bath Abbey and the Royal Crescent. Sally Lunn’s is a popular cafe for a cake and a cuppa. On your third day, continue exploring Bath or jump on the train to Salisbury and Stonehenge.

After spending two nights in Bath, travel to the Welsh capital Cardiff (1 hr). In Cardiff, visit the castle, stroll the centenary walk or join a Gavin & Stacey or Dr Who themed tour.

Travel from Cardiff to Liverpool (3.5 hrs) and spend an afternoon exploring the main sights of the city including Albert Dock. Another option here is to take a Beatles tour and visit the childhood homes of Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

The Scottish capital, Edinburgh, fills the itinerary for days 6-7. There are plenty of things to do and see over two days, including Edinburgh Castle, walking the Royal Mile, shopping on Princes Street, and enjoying the views from Arthur’s Seat.

Then, travel from Edinburgh along the Northumberland Coast and through the cities of Newcastle and Durham before arriving in York (2.5 hrs). Walk the city walls, visit York Minster, learn about the city’s history at the Jorvik Viking Centre, and shop on the Shambles. For the best afternoon tea, head to the iconic Bettys Tea Rooms before travelling back to London on day 10 (2 hrs) to complete your loop.

To put a festive spin on this UK road trip, consider timing your journey to spend Christmas in London .

Norway by Train: Bergen to Oslo via the Flam Line

  • Route: Bergen – Voss – Myrdal – Flam Fjord – Gudvangen – Laerdal – Flam – Myrdal – Oslo
  • Designed by: Tracy from Tracy’s Travels in Time

Norway's cities, churches and fjords.

This rail itinerary from the coastal city of Bergen to Norway’s capital, Oslo, is perfect for those who want to experience the breathtaking beauty of this Scandinavian country. Train lovers will enjoy travelling on the Flam railway, which is recognised as one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world.

Spend the first couple of days exploring the city of Bergen. Not-to-be-missed highlights include the UNESCO World Heritage Site of old Hanseatic wharf and the buildings at Bryggen, Bergen’s fish market, and a ride on the funicular to Mount Floyen for spectacular views of the city.

On day three, hop on the train to the small resort town of Voss. The journey takes 1.5 hours with beautiful views along the way. If you’re visiting in summer, enjoy the hiking trails around Voss. In winter, make sure you book accommodation in advance as Voss transforms into a popular ski resort.

After spending the night in Voss, take the train to Myrdal (1 hr) where you alight and transfer to the Flamsbana Line. This is one of Norway’s most popular attractions, so book your tickets in advance.

As well as the Flamsbana, there are a few things to do and see in Flam including the museum – but the main attraction is the fjord on which Flam sits. Catch a boat and enjoy a spectacular scenic trip along two of Norway’s most famous fjords to the neighbouring village of Gudvangen.

The next few days offer the perfect opportunity to explore the local area. Stay in Gudvangen overnight before catching a bus to the nearby town of Laerdal via one of the longest road tunnels in the world.

Relax for a few days, enjoy a few hikes or cycle around. Explore the Gamle Laerdalsoyri village in Laerdal, whose wooden houses date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The Borgund Stave Church near Laerdal is the best preserved stave church in Norway and can be reached by bus or bicycle.

On day eight, take the bus to Flam (50 mins) and jump onto the Flam railway back to Myrdal. Trains run from Myrdal to Oslo up to four times a day, but be sure to check connections.

The final two days of this itinerary are spent in Norway’s capital, Oslo. Explore the city’s museums (fans of artist Edvard Munch can experience his works at the new Munch Museum) and enjoy the architecture, cafes and foodie culture .

Northern Spain: Madrid to Barcelona via Basque Country

  • Route: Madrid – Bilbao – San Sebastián – Zaragoza – Barcelona
  • Designed by: Vicki from Vicki Viaja

Beaches and churches in Northern Spain.

While many visitors to Spain only travel back and forth between the most popular destinations, this Spain 10-day itinerary leads you to the north of the country – an area known for its great food and unique culture.

The itinerary starts in the capital of Spain, Madrid. In three days, you can get a good first impression of Spanish culture and visit essential sights such as the Plaza Mayor and the Almudena Cathedral.

The journey continues to the north of Spain. In Bilbao (4-5 hours from Madrid by train), you can experience the unique culture of the Basque Country. Bilbao is also the ideal destination for art lovers. Besides the world-famous Guggenheim Museum, the art museum Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao awaits you.

San Sebastián, also called Donostia, is another example of a great city in the Basque Country. After taking the train from Bilbao (2 hrs), get to know the northern beaches. The most famous in the area is the Playa de la Concha. Don’t miss the sunset .

Continue 3 hours by train to Zaragoza, a beautiful city in Spain that is unfortunately overlooked by most travellers. The city is built in the typical Spanish style and its restaurants allow you to try lots of delicious dishes from the region. Particularly impressive is the Pilar, the city’s basilica, which is located in the center. It’s the largest of its kind in Spain and is considered one of the most important churches in the country.

The last stop is in the Catalan capital Barcelona , 90 minutes by train from Zaragoza. Spend a few days relaxing on the beach, soaking up Catalan culture, and discovering some of the most impressive buildings of the Modernisme movement, including the Sagrada Família, La Pedrera and Casa Batlló.

East Meets West: Istanbul to Bucharest

  • Route: Istanbul – Edirne – Plovdiv – Sofia – Bucharest

Romania, Turkey and Bucharest.

This train journey is unique because it crosses continents, taking you from Istanbul from East to West, Asia to Europe, and through to Bulgaria and Romania. Trains in this part of Europe might be a little slower and less comfortable than what you’re used to, but that’s all part of the fun.

Start your epic rail journey the best way possible by crossing the Bosphorus into Europe. Istanbul is a huge, heaving city. Whatever time of year you visit – winter or summer – and however you choose to explore it – by focusing on the highlights, by wandering the less-touristy neighbourhoods or by letting your stomach guide you between the best restaurants and markets – you really can’t go wrong. Just make sure to set aside time for the Hagia Sophia and Grand Bazaar.

Before leaving Turkey , make an overnight rest stop in the city of Erdine (4 hours from Istanbul by train) to see the stunning 16th-century Selimiye Mosque before crossing the border into Bulgaria. As you continue moving north, you’ll see how the historic Ottoman influence has permeated the Balkans region.

While Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital city, has its draws and is worthy of a day or so of your time, Plovdiv is where you should direct most of your attention. One of the oldest cities in Europe, Plovdiv counts an immaculate Roman Amphitheatre and exquisite Bulgarian Revival architecture among its many virtues. To get there, you’ll need to take a bus or local train from Sofia.

The Sofia to Bucharest leg over the Danube river is another highlight of this itinerary – just be warned that it takes a full day to reach Romania’s capital and in the winter months , you may need to change trains at the border.

Devote some of your time in Bucharest to learning about Romania’s tumultuous recent history and don’t leave without visiting the vibrant Piata Obor market . One of the best things to do in winter is hop between the many cafes and wine bars, an experience that will show you a different side to the city.

Transylvania by Train: Bucharest to Sibiu

  • Route: Bucharest – Brasov – Sighisoara – Sibiu

Colourful houses in Transylvania, Romania.

A perfect extension on the previous itinerary (or a wonderful rail journey all on its own), Transylvania by train is a slow travel experience that will allow you to soak up the magnificent landscapes and wild nature this part of Romania is known for.

This trip is all about the fortified churches, Saxon cities and magnificent castles, with a side of hiking (or skiing) plus plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in Transylvania’s unique culture along the way.

A road trip through this area of the Balkans will give you more flexibility, but the romance and nostalgia of the train can’t be beat. Connections are reasonable, times fast and fares extremely affordable, making this a great choice for budget-conscious travellers.

Departing from Bucharest, take an early morning train (1.5 hrs) to the small city of Sinai to visit the awe-inspiring Peles Castle. As you break through into mountainous territory and enter Transylvania proper, your first stop is Brasov, another hour north by rail. Brasov is the first of three charming cities on this itinerary and warrants at least two full days, with an afternoon set aside for visiting Bran Castle.

The fortified city of Sighisoara (4 hours by train) is smaller than Brasov but even more charming. Walk the old walls, admire the craft guild gates and climb up both the bell and church tower for a view.

Sibiu (3 hrs) is known for its distinctive vernacular architecture and grand main square – there are towers here that you can climb for an aerial view, too. Connections back to Bucharest are easy to find, or you can continue west to Timisoara then cross into Northern Serbia .

Classic Italy: Venice to Rome

  • Route: Venice – Florence – Rome
  • Designed by: Samantha from The Wandering Wanderluster 

Three classic cities in Italy.

Train travel is arguably one of the most romantic ways to travel. So why not travel by train through three of Italy’s most romantic cities?

Venice, Florence and Rome are three of the most-visited cities in Europe and fortunately they are very well connected by Italy’s high speed rail network, which means you can easily visit them all in 10 days.

The beauty of this short Italy itinerary is that it can be done in either direction and thanks to the frequency of train departures, you can pretty much leave and travel onto your next destination anytime you want.

Start your trip in the serene ‘Floating city’ of Venice in the north, known for its charming canals, gondolas and beautiful architecture that lines the main artery through the city, the Grand Canal. There is a lot to see in Venice but for first timers, three days is plenty for the main highlights.

Jump on a 2-hour train and arrive in the heart of the Renaissance city of Florence for another three-day stay. Art lovers will trip over their tongues at the sheer volume of masterpieces to see in the city, while foodies will want to devour their body weight in Bistecca alla Fiorentina and drown themselves in Tuscan wine.

Finally, head to Italy’s magnificent capital city, Rome, where there are as many ancient ruins as there are churches – the main must-visit being St Peter’s Basilica inside Vatican City.

Three Great Capitals: Paris to London

  • Route: Paris – Brussels – London
  • Designed by: Dymphe from Dymabroad

Paris, London and Brussels.

This is the perfect itinerary by train for visiting three of the greatest European capitals.

Start in the French city of Paris where you can glimpse the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum and Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre. To explore the highlights of the city, three days is a good amount of time.

The train journey from Paris to Brussels takes about 1.5 hours. The capital of Belgium houses some of the institutions of the European Union. After two days, continue to London (2.5 hrs) for Big Ben, London Eye, Tower Bridge, and Oxford Street.

There are plenty of Instagrammable places in London to check out. Three days in the city is plenty of time to see the most iconic sights.

Christmas Market Route: Frankfurt to Metz

  • Route: Frankfurt – Cologne – Aachen – Liege – Metz

Three famous Christmas markets in Europe.

This festive-themed train trip around Europe takes you between five of the region’s most atmospheric Christmas Markets in Germany, Belgium and France. Travel times are short, so you can easily accomplish this route while the markets are in full swing.

Frankfurt’s Christmas Market dates back to 1393 and is one of Germany’s largest and most spectacular festive events. While you wait for Römerberg square to transform into an open-air market, spend your days in Frankfurt roaming the riverside and the reconstructed Altstadt Old Town. For more things to do in Frankfurt, see this list .

If you’re looking for something special to buy from the market in Frankfurt, a locally made blue-and-white pitcher jug is a great choice. Save some room in your suitcase, though, because there’s lots more shopping to come.

Cologne (60 minutes from Frankfurt by train) and Aachen (30 minutes from Cologne by train) boast two more gorgeous German-style Christmas Markets.

When your time in Germany draws to a close, cross the border by train to visit Liege (20 mins) where you’ll find yet another classic market, this time with Belgian souvenirs and food . Finish with a scenic train trip through Luxembourg to the French city of Metz (4 hrs), where a special gastronomic market awaits.

More Europe travel inspiration

  • Europe road trip itinerary inspiration : 13 ideas for winter
  • Foodie experiences in Europe
  • Best places to go in Europe in fall
  • Train travel packing list

Awesome information. I am going to use this guide to enhance my travels abilities.

So happy I came across this post! What a great list! I really like the look of the Swiss rail trip.

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Best Route to Travel Through Europe: A Complete Guide

Best Route to Travel Through Europe

So you want to visit Europe , but you’re unsure of which route to take. First of all, we’re not surprised that you have your sights set on the ‘old continent’. Europe has some of the greatest physical and cultural diversity for a peninsula of its size and it’s brimming with lusted vacation spots.

From the rolling countryside and bicycle-choked streets of northern Europe to the winding coastal roads and bustling resorts of the south, not forgetting the heady nightlife and rustic cuisine of the Eastern Block, there’s so much to do and see and each country promises a new experience. 

You can’t fit everything into one trip, but you can cover a lot of ground in a short space of time in Europe. Whether you have three weeks or three months, our guide looks at the best routes to take when traveling around the continent. Let’s get into it. 

Table of Contents

How to Get Around Europe

tourist looking at map

Europe is advanced when it comes to tourist infrastructure. You can easily get around by public transport and travel across borders via high-speed trains, cars, and buses, with many bustling capital cities located within a few hours of each other. We’ll talk about the best transport for different legs of your trip, but it’s up to you whether you want to commit to one mode of transport or switch between them. Check out some of your options below:

Setting off on a road trip around Europe is one of the most freeing ways to get around since you can choose exactly when and where you want your days to take you. You won’t be limited by public transport schedules and are able to make day trips as you please, but you will be limited when it comes to longer distances that are easier to travel by plane, especially if you’ve come in your own car and not a hire vehicle.

Interrailing is one of the best options when it comes to getting around Europe and train travel is famously popular on the continent. Not only are trains fast and efficient, but you can sit back and relax and watch the landscapes unfurl without worrying about traffic and tolls. However, train travel can be expensive in Europe, especially if you don’t book in advance. Interrailing passes can help cut some of these costs. 

Some longer distances are best traveled by plane. Although Europe is well connected, it isn’t convenient to travel from the southwest to anywhere in central or Eastern Europe on the ground, for example, if you wanted to get from Spain to Italy or Italy to Germany. While flying can be a hassle with checked baggage fees and longer waiting times, there is a multitude of budget airlines to choose from in Europe which makes it more economical.  

Europe is served by a vast network of bus routes like the Flixbus and Eurolines services which are surprisingly comfortable and convenient. Busses are less efficient and certainly slower than trains and planes, but they’re definitely the cheapest way to get around and a good choice for shorter distances. A combination of trains, buses, and planes is the best option when traveling around multiple countries in Europe, but a car could come in handy if you want to spend more time in one country. 

Best Route to Travel Through Europe: The North 

Amsterdam

Where else to start your European adventure than the English capital? London is one of the greatest cities in the world, steeped in Roman history but with a modern skyline punctuated with iconic landmarks. You’ll need two to four days to take in its highlights, from Big Ben to Buckingham Palace; Piccadilly Circus to the British Museum; and upbeat Shoreditch to dynamic Brixton. 

Whether you’re coming from across the pond or another European country, London is a bucket list destination but one of the most expensive on this list, so it’s a good option to tick off early and fly into. 

London > Amsterdam

London is served by several major international airports including Heathrow (LHR), Gatwick (LGW), and Stansted (STN). Long-haul flights and arrivals from European budget airlines are plentiful. 

The UK has many other highlights, and if you’ve got the time we recommend visiting the Cotswolds and Devon, as well as Edinburgh in Scotland and Snowdonia in Wales. But London is also conveniently located close to the rest of Northern Europe. Amsterdam in the Netherlands is just one hour by plane and the driving time is less than seven hours. If you’re traveling on a budget, you can get to Amsterdam by bus, crossing the English Channel at Dover, in around 11 hours. 

Amsterdam is known for its artistic heritage, elaborate canal system, narrow houses, and hectic cycle paths. Its museum district is home to the Van Gogh Museum, as well as Rijksmuseum where some landmark Rembrandt and Vermeer works are housed. There’s also the Venustempel Sex Museum if you’re after something a little bit different. 

Three days in Amsterdam is a perfect amount of time to get a feel for the city. Be sure to visit Ann Frank’s house and take a picnic to Vondelpark when you’re there.

Amsterdam > Bruges

From Amsterdam, you could head to Scandinavia if you’re looking to explore Northern Europe to a fuller extent. Cities like Copenhagen and Stockholm are quintessentially Nordic but distinct in cuisine and culture and definitely worth visiting. However, our route encompasses more of the backpacker, road trip, and interrailing-friendly destinations in Europe so that you can cover more of the continent. 

Head to Bruges in Belgium next if you’re skipping Scandinavia. It’s less than three hours by car from the Netherlands’ capital and the high-speed train takes the same amount of time. Bruges is also a city of canals with cobbled streets and medieval buildings. Zeebrugge, the city port, is an important center for European trade and fishing. Two days is the perfect amount of time to spend exploring the old town and checking out sites like the ornate 14th-century city hall, Markt Square, and the Belfort tower.

Bruges > Paris

Next up is Paris. The city of love is one everyone should visit in their lifetime and is usually at the top of the agenda for first-timers to Europe. Stroll the Champs-Élysées, taking in the Arc de Triomphe and Notre-Dame, make a stop-off at the Louvre, and catch the Eiffel Tower twinkling after dusk. 

Bruges and Paris are connected by rail and it takes just 2 hours and 50 minutes on the train with more than 30 services operating daily. Paris is also connected by the Eurostar to London if you’re skipping out any stops. There’s also the option to take the bus that goes through the Channel Tunnel which is much cheaper than the high-speed train. 

From Paris, you have the rest of France on your doorstep. If you want a taste of the châteauxs and prime vineyards of the wine region, head to the Loire Valley. Move south to Bordeaux for bustling city life and great surf and finish in Nice on the French Riviera for fine seafood and white sand beaches.  

Best Route to Travel Through Europe: Spain and Italy 

Barcelona

Nice > Barcelona

If you’re looking to save money, you can get from Nice to Barcelona by hopping on and off trains and busses. There is a direct bus between the cities but it takes around nine hours and costs €40 on average. If you want to get to Spain quicker, the flight is around 1 hour and 20 minutes and there are plenty of budget airlines offering regular services from Nice Cote d’Azur Airport.

Barcelona is the cosmopolitan capital of Catalonia on Spain’s northeastern coast. The vibrant city is known for its incredible architecture and modernist landmarks like the fantastical Sagrada Familia church that towers above the skyline with its Gothic spires. The Picasso Museum and Fundació Joan Miró house collections of modern art by their namesakes, while the palm-lined city beach sprawls the length of the city. 

Be sure to visit the historic Gothic Quarter and its hole-in-the-wall tapas bars and do a spot of shopping on La Rambla too. Barcelona also has great nightlife with backpacker hostels, classy rooftop bars, and raging underground clubs lining the seafront. We recommend at least four days to make the most of all that this energetic city has to offer. 

Barcelona > Madrid

Take a trip over to Spain’s central capital next. Madrid is brimming with elegant boulevards, leafy parks, exciting art museums, and baroque palaces and plazas of Hapsburg Madrid. The city is two and a half hours direct by high-speed rail from Barcelona with departures every hour or so from Barcelona Sants train station. 

Madrid > Costa del Sol

From Madrid, you should also check out some of Spain’s sumptuous coastline. If you’re after more city beaches, head a few hours southeast to Valencia. South of Valencia is the Costa del Sol with its bustling resorts, and Granada is further south still at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains with its grand medieval architecture and Moorish landmarks. 

Costa del Sol > Milan

The best way to get over to Italy from southern Spain is by plane. You’d need to change at least three times and stop over in France if you wanted to travel by train, but this is an option if you fancied a few nights in another French city like Lyon. Milan is 2 and a half hours by plane from Málaga and only 1 hour 55 minutes from Valencia, with several budget airlines operating regular flights every week.  

Milan is Italy’s northern capital of fashion, design, and finance. The city is home to the national stock exchange as well as high-end restaurants and boutique designer stores. Milan’s historical landmarks also testify to the city’s centuries of refined art and culture. The Gothic Duomo is an emblem of Milan and one of the largest cathedrals in Europe while the Santa Maria Delle Graze convent houses Leonard da Vinci’s masterpiece “The Last Supper”. 

Two days is enough to get a taste of Milan. We recommend taking a day trip over to Lake Como if you have any more days to spare in Northern Italy. The glacial waters sit at the foot of the Alps and colorful fishing villages line its shores. In the summer months, Lake Como is alive with water activities and there are pebbly beaches and swimming spots around the water’s edge.  

Milan > Venice

Head east to Venice next, the iconic floating city with its gondola-choked canals, narrow streets, charming squares, and impressive St. Mark’s Basilica. Italy is well-connected by a network of railways and 17 direct trains that travel from Milan to Venice daily, operated by Italo, Trenitalia, and Frecciarossa. Book in advance and the train from Milan to Venice could cost you just €20 for the two-hour journey.

From Venice, you can check out Verona, the historic setting of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, or head to Bologna, the foodie capital of central Italy. However, visiting Rome is a nonnegotiable and the capital has to make your list. 

Venice > Rome   

Rome is full of energy with some of the most visited sites in the world. The city is the product of 3,000 years of urban development and its ancient landmarks live in harmony with its gritty cosmopolitan atmosphere. You need at least three nights to make the most of Rome and make it around the top landmarks from the Pantheon to Vatican City. 

Rome is just two hours by high-speed train from Bologna or four hours if you’re coming straight from Venice. The capital is also served by two international airports, the largest of which is the busiest airport in the country, making Rome a great vantage point for traveling onward to central and eastern Europe. Yet, if you’re after a taste of Italy’s south, head to edgy Naples followed by the Sorrentine Peninsula where you’ll find the lemon groves and winding coastal roads of Amalfi. Sicily is also worth visiting and you can fly from its capital, Palermo, to Berlin in two and a half hours.  

Best Route to Travel Through Europe: Central and Eastern Europe

Krakow square

Palermo > Berlin

Berlin, Germany’s dynamic capital, dates back to the 13th century. But perhaps more relevant is its turbulent 20th-century history of which there a plenty of reminders all over the city from the haunting Holocaust memorial to the graffitied remnants of the Berlin Wall.  

Berlin is also renowned for its heady nightlife with the city’s robust drinking culture and slew of elusive techno clubs. Visit for three to four days to get a taste of it all. 

Berlin > Prague

Prague is less than five hours by train from Berlin and this is a popular route with backpackers. Prague is the largest city in the Czech Republic. The Vltava River bisects Prague and the capital is known as “the city of a hundred spires” thanks to its Gothic churches and towers. The Old Town is the heart of Prague’s historic core and you’ll find colorful baroque buildings and the medieval Astronomical Clock in its tower which gives an animated hourly show.

Prague > Krakow

Prague also has fantastic nightlife with most of the bars and clubs centered around the river and the old town. Don’t miss Charles Bridge and Prague Castle. Next, head to Poland’s Krakow, the second-largest and one of the oldest cities in the country. It’s nestled near the Czech border and seven hours by bus or train from Prague.

Krakow’s charming old town is the center of action in the city and it’s ringed by Planty Park and the city’s walled remains. It’s best known for its well-preserved medieval core and Jewish quarter and is a popular base for day trips to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the former Nazi concentration camp-turned-museum, and memorial. 

Krakow is also brimming with basement bars and beer gardens. You need three days to make the most of the city, and a few more if you want to visit some of the sites outside of Krakow including Auschwitz, the Wieliczka Salt Mine, and Zakrzówek—the limestone quarry which is now a magical wild swimming spot.   

Krakow > Budapest

From Krakow, you can reach Budapest in six hours by crossing through Slovakia. The scenic train journey takes you through rural Hungary and past the Renaissance mansions that line the lakes outside of the capital. Budapest is an exciting cosmopolitan hub known for its thermal baths, unique Ruin Bars, eclectic architecture, and the wide Danube that bisects the city. 

Take in the impressive Parliament building in its Gothic Revival style, the turreted fortress of Fisherman’s Bastion, and its city views, St. Stephen’s Basilica, Buda Castle, and Széchenyi Chain Bridge. You can fit a lot into a few days but we recommend three to four nights in the city to get a real feel for it. 

Budapest > Split

To finish your European adventure and time in the Eastern Block, venture down to Croatia to soak up its perfect blend of western and southeastern European culture. Several trains operate every day between Budapest Keleti Station and Zagreb Central Station. The journey takes around six hours. After exploring the capital, you can head to Split or Hvar Island on the Dalmatian coast by bus or train in another six hours to enjoy some beachside relaxation and dynamic nightlife. 

Some other spots worth checking out in Croatia include the incredible walled city of Dubrovnik, Korcula Island, Plitvice Lakes National Park, and Italianate Pula on the Istrian Peninsula.  

When is the best time to visit Europe?

The summer months are the busiest and most expensive time to visit Europe, but they’re still best suited to a multi-country trip since you’ll find the most favorable weather across the continent. Most of Europe experiences a temperate climate. Western and Northern Europe is characteristically Oceanic with warm summers, cold winters , and frequent rain, while the south is Mediterannean with hotter summers and mild winters. If you want to skip some of the crowds but still get sun, consider visiting in May, June, or September. 

How long do you need to travel around Europe?

How much time you need to travel to Europe depends on how many places you want to visit. If you’re looking to tick a few countries off your list, you could spend 2-5 days in a different capital and visit 5 destinations in two to three weeks. If you want to get a feel for one country, we recommend at least ten days split between two to three destinations, such as one or two cities and one coastal spot. If you’re road-tripping, we recommend at least three weeks for a real European adventure. 

How much should I budget for three weeks in Europe?

Europe isn’t characterized by one ubiquitous economy. Some countries are much more expensive than others and you’ll need three times as much cash to get by in London as you would in Krakow. That said, you should budget around 850 EUR a week in Europe with all your travel and accommodation included in order to live comfortably, which would mean 2,250 EUR for a three-week trip. However, if you’re traveling on a shoestring or sticking to lower-cost destinations in the east, you could get by on 200-300 EUR a week.  

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Reece is the creator and editor of Travel Snippet. He has visited more than 38 countries over a 10-year period. His travels have taken him through the majestic mountains of Italy, into the cities of central Europe, across the islands of Indonesia, and to the beaches of Thailand, where he is currently living. He is passionate about travel and shares his expertise by providing the best travel tips and tricks to help you plan your next adventure.

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7 Things to Know When Planning Your First Trip to Europe

Julie Last updated: January 14, 2024 Itinerary , Travel Advice 203 Comments

First Trip to Europe Itinerary

If you are planning your first trip to Europe, it can be an overwhelming experience. Where should you go? How much will it cost? How many places can you visit?

Does this sound familiar?

We get emails every day from people who want advice planning their first trip to Europe. And we see the same questions over and over again. So we wrote this post to answer your questions and give you some things to think about as you plan your Europe itinerary.

Table of Contents

How to Plan Your First Trip to Europe

Don’t try to see everything on your first visit.

I can’t tell you how many times we get emails that go something like this: “I have 10 days in Europe and I am planning to visit Rome, Venice, Paris, London and Switzerland. Do you think that’s too rushed?”

It’s just like saying “I have 10 days in the United States. I would like to visit Boston, New York City, Washington DC, Miami, and Los Angeles. Do you think that’s too rushed?”

We get it. Europe is huge and it’s loaded with “must-see” spots. Paris, Rome, Barcelona, London, Amsterdam, and Venice all make the must-see list for many first time travelers Europe. They are all amazing places to visit. And with so many fantastic sites to see, it can be very difficult to narrow your list down to just a few destinations.

You will have a much better time if you don’t try to get to a new city every day. The longer you spend in each place, the more you get to know it. There are some cities, like London, Paris, and Rome, which literally could keep you very busy and very entertained for a good five or more days.

Here are some basic guidelines for how many places you can visit depending on how much time you have:

  • With 7 days: 2 cities OR one city with day trips
  • With 10 days: 3 cities OR 2 cities with day trips
  • With 14 days: 4 cities OR a road/train trip through one or two countries

Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain

If you look at your itinerary and you wonder if you are moving too fast or you are trying to squeeze too much in, odds are, you probably are.

If you have 10 days and you plan to visit 4 major cities, it can be done, but it will be a rushed, exhausting experience. And you will be spending most of that time on trains and planes. Don’t forget that you will have to spend time traveling between destinations as well as packing, unpacking, and checking into hotels.

Here is a sample itinerary through London, Amsterdam, and Paris:

  • Day 1: Arrive in London
  • Day 2: London
  • Day 3: London
  • Day 4: London
  • Day 5: Morning train to Amsterdam, sightseeing in the afternoon
  • Day 6: Amsterdam
  • Day 7: Morning train to Paris, sightseeing in the afternoon
  • Day 8: Paris
  • Day 9: Paris
  • Day 10: Fly home

On this itinerary you get to three major cities. And even this itinerary is a bit rushed. You could really use an extra day in each city simply because there is so much to see and do in each of them.

For some more examples on how to plan 10 days in Europe, check out these itineraries:

Examples of visiting 3 cities:

  • 10 Days in Central Europe: Budapest, Vienna & Prague
  • 10 Days in Poland: Gdansk, Warsaw & Krakow

Examples of exploring one region:

  • 10 Day Bavaria Itinerary
  • 10 Days in Norway: The Ultimate Road Trip through the Fjord Region

Amsterdam at Twilight

Don’t Forget to Factor in Travel Time

So let’s say that you have 10 days in Europe and you’ve narrowed down your itinerary to 3 cities. How do you get around?

That depends on where you are going.

For cities that are close to one another, say Barcelona, Madrid, and Seville, the train would be your best option. If you are visiting Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Amsterdam, then you will use a combination of planes and trains to get around.

Getting from city to city takes time, of course. And you need to factor this in, not only when planning your itinerary but also choosing where to go.

Just as a rough estimate, it will take about 4 hours, or half of a day, to get between two cities. This time can go up if the cities are far apart. So, if you are visiting three cities, you will lose about one day in total just traveling from place to place.

We usually plan to transfer between cities first thing in the morning. By taking an early train, we can usually check into our hotel by noon and have the entire afternoon for sightseeing. Occasionally, we will take an evening train if we want to have a little extra time in our departure city.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: What about luggage? Let’s say you arrive by train to Florence at 11 am. It’s too early to check into your hotel, so what should you do with your luggage? You have two options. You can either store your luggage at the luggage storage area in the train station (and retrieve it at the end of the day) or have your hotel hold your luggage for you. We email our hotel ahead of time just to make sure they can hold our luggage for us (but so far no one has told us no).

Dubrovnik Croatia

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Using Trains versus Planes

In some scenarios, you might have the option to fly or to take a train to get from one city to another. When looking at travel times, a one hour flight may look a lot more time efficient than a 3 hour high speed train, but that is not always the case.

There is much longer check-in process for flights (we usually check in two hours before our flight). For train travel, in most cases you can arrive just before your departure time, although some high-speed trains request that you arrive 30 minutes before departure time.

Train stations are located in city centers. From the station, it might be just a short walk or metro ride to get you to your hotel. Airports are located outside of the cities and it can take 15 to 30 minutes (or even longer in some cities) to get into the city center. You’ll have to do this twice and this could tack on another hour to your travel time if you plan to fly.

We tend to lean towards train travel whenever possible. It’s fast, it’s cheap, and it’s much more eco-friendly than plane travel.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: You can save time (and money on a hotel room) by booking an overnight train. It might also be worth getting a rail pass if you plan to hop from city to city.

Use Open Jaw Flights to Maximize Your Time

Open jaw flights arrive in one city and depart from a different city (for example, you arrive in London and depart from Paris).

You can save a lot of time by booking different arrival and departure cities.

Let’s say you want to visit Rome, Florence and Venice (who wouldn’t?!). If you fly to Rome and then fly home from Venice, you save about half of a day, the time it would take to backtrack to Rome.

In many cases, it is not more expensive to do this. We have flown open jaw many times for the same price as a round trip flight.

In some cases, it may be more expensive to fly open jaw. If it is, then you have to decide if it is worth spending a little extra money to save some time. Maybe it’s worth spending a little more money for extra time in Venice than to take the train back to Rome (and don’t forget to figure that train cost into the decision to take an open jaw flight).

Hallstatt Austria

Hallstatt, Austria

What about Jet Lag?

Jet lag is the feeling of fatigue you get from crossing multiple time zones. Some lucky people have minimal symptoms while others can feel exhausted for several days.

If you are flying to Europe from the USA, most likely you will be on an overnight flight, arriving in the morning or midday. There is a very good chance that you will feel tired on your first day but if you had trouble sleeping on the airplane, you may feel more like a zombie.

To get over jet lag quickly, it’s usually best to stay awake that first day and go to bed early. I will admit that there have been a few times where we took a midday nap because we desperately needed it.

With this being said, it is usually best not to schedule a busy list of things to do on the first day of your itinerary. Sure, you will be excited to be in a new place and that can be energizing, but it will still be difficult for most people to function at 100% on that first day.

Should You Rent a Car?

There are some spots in Europe that are simply perfect for a road trip. Norway, Ireland, Slovenia and the Balkan Peninsula are all some of our favorite spots to explore with the freedom that a rental car provides. But before you rent a car there are some things you should know before you go.

If you are considering renting a car for your European trip, we have an article all about exciting things like International Drivers Licenses, how to choose a rental car company, vignettes and more. Read it here:  

10 Things to Know Before Renting a Car in Europe

Colmar France

Colmar, France

How Do We Plan Our Itineraries?

Before you plan out your itinerary you need to do some research first. Flight costs, time of year, hotel availability, and tour availability all need to be factored into your decision-making.

Let’s say you decide to spend 10 days in Ireland. What do you need to know before you start making reservations?

We start off by researching flight costs. If you can be flexible with your dates you might be able to save money by flying mid-week versus the weekend.

Once we have our flight dates, we plan out our itinerary within those specific dates.

If you are planning a tour or a visit to a major attraction, make sure those dates align and work with your itinerary.

You can also do a quick hotel search to make sure that there are no surprises with hotel costs or availability. If you are booking your trip well in advance (4 months or earlier) this will be less of an issue. But at destinations like the Isle of Skye, the Lofoten Islands, the Cinque Terre, the islands in Croatia, and the south coast of Iceland, hotels can sell out many months in advance, leaving either no availability or dreadful places that you normally wouldn’t consider.

Once everything looks like it works out, we book our flights and then book the hotels, the rental car (if necessary) and activities.

Nowadays, with the increase in tourism, it also helps to research the main sights you are visiting and then book your tickets in advance. Tickets for the Colosseum, Eiffel Tower, and the Vatican can all easily sell out in advance.

In our articles, we let you know what you need to reserve ahead of time to avoid disappointment. It may be extra work to book your tickets ahead of time, but in today’s world it has become a necessity in order to see some of the world’s most popular sites.

Have fun planning your first trip to Europe! And if you still have questions about your itinerary, feel free to comment below.

For more travel ideas and inspiration, take a look at our Itineraries page. We have lots of sample itineraries for Europe as well as Asia, Africa, South America, Oceania, and the USA.

More Information to Help You Plan your First Trip to Europe

LONDON TRAVEL ADVICE: Here are 12 important things to know if it will be your first time in London.

EUROPE TRAVEL INSPIRATION: For more great ideas on where to go in Europe, check out our article 30 Beautiful Places to Visit in Europe and the 20 Best Hikes in Europe.

EUROPE ITINERARY IDEAS: Let us take the guesswork out of planning your next trip to Europe. Check out our articles 10 Ways to Spend 10 Days in Europe and One Week in Europe: 25 Amazing Itineraries.

TRAVEL GUIDES: For more travel inspiration, check out our travel guides for Italy , France , Norway , Switzerland , and Iceland . Visit our Destinations page for links to all of our content about Europe.

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY: For more information about the camera gear we carry, check out our Travel Photography Gear Guide. And tips and tricks for taking great photos in our article How to Take Better Photos while Traveling.

First Trip to Europe Itinerary

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10 Days in Europe Itinerary

Comments 203

Avatar for Carolyn Pickens

Hey! We are from TN and want to take our granddaughter to southern Italy in June 2025. We will be celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary, our 80th birthdays and our granddaughter’s high school graduation. I have looked at your itineraries and they look amazing. We would like to hire a driver vs renting a car to get around and would like your recommendations. This is our first trip to Italy. Thank you Carolyn

Avatar for Julie

Hello Carolyn. That’s quite a few exciting milestones you will be celebrating! Getting around southern Italy is rather straightforward if you rent a car. Google Maps works well for navigation (make sure you have data on your phone). Parking can be a little tricky in small towns so it helps to flag parking lots (parcheggios) before your trip. We found that drivers were rather erratic in southern Italy and we had a few close calls with car accidents, more so than central or northern Italy, so that is something to be aware of. If you are not comfortable with all of this, especially on a first trip to Europe, you could look into hiring a driver. I don’t have any to recommend, but more online searching or getting advice from a travel agent could be helpful. Cheers, Julie

Avatar for Amy Fruetel

Hey! FIRST, I want to tell you how much I LOVE your website! Your adventurous family has inspired ALL of our best family vacations. We are from TN and have traveled to almost all the major cities and National Parks. I have used your itineraries on ALL of our trips and they are AMAZING!! Truly a gift to all who read them. My kids are in college and we are winding down on the opportunities to travel with them before they become adults with jobs. We want to take our first trip to Europe in August and need help narrowing it down! My son is going to Italy so that is out and the Olympics are while we are there so probably not thinking London/Paris trip this year, I would love any suggestions on your favorite places for us!! We love to learn but also love to hike and be outdoors. THANK YOU

Hello Amy. That’s very exciting that you are planning your first trip to Europe! I recommend you get started with our 10 Days in Europe post, which has 10 itineraries. If you like the outdoors, are favorite places to go are Norway , the Dolomites of Italy, and Iceland . All would be good first trips to Europe. If you want a mix of cities and some hiking, I recommend Scotland or Switzerland . Those are good starting points and narrow down the continent, at least a little bit. As you plan your trip, let us know if you have any other questions. Cheers, Julie

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European road trips: 15 of the best journeys across the continent

Sep 13, 2022 • 13 min read

Driving with red convertible car in the Dolomites mountains during autumn season

Coasting through Italy's Dolomites Mountains © Artur Debat / Getty

In light of the recent travel chaos at airports across Europe, there has never been a better time to buckle up and explore Europe’s legendary landscapes by road.

Lonely Planet's new Epic Road Trips of Europe book  is the perfect inspiration to get out there and explore Europe by road. The new book offers a gorgeous collection of routes, gathered from contributors around the world. Enjoy the unique freedom a road trip allows while exploring Europe's wondrous landscapes, delicious regional food and drink and fascinating local culture and history. 

From ancient ruins to some of the world's best wine, here's a first look at the new essential European road trip companion guide.  

Ancient ruins and coastal views

The picture-perfect coast of Gythio in Peloponnese, Greece

The Peloponnese, Greece

Start: Ancient Corinth End: Nemea Distance: 395 miles (635km)

History and legend collide on this mountainous peninsula where you’ll find classical temples, Mycenaean palaces, Byzantine cities and Venetian fortresses. Combined with dramatic peaks and deep gorges that give way to turquoise seas and deserted beaches, it makes a glorious spot for a road trip. In the northeast corner of the peninsula sits Ancient Corinth, a mostly Roman city, home to Jason of the Argonauts, stealer of the Golden Fleece. From here, you can take a route that combines historic, fortified cities with beaches and some of Greece’s most interesting wineries. Head for the sanctuary of Zeus at Nemea, hilltop Mycenae or coastal Epidavros with its 4th-century-BC theatre, one of the best preserved ancient Greek structures in the country. Then loop by the mountaintop Byzantine city of Mystras, ancient Olympia, home to the original games, and the Lousios Gorge where you’ll find the cliffside Prodromou Monastery.

The best sustainable tourism experiences in Greece

The Costa Brava, Spain

Start: Girona End: Girona Distance: 118 miles (190km)

Mixing Greek and Roman ruins with medieval towns, the eccentricities of Salvador Dalí and a wild and rugged coast, Spain’s Costa Brava makes a fascinating, eclectic destination for a road trip. Begin   by exploring Girona’s hilly medieval core with its web of alleys and Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque churches. From here it’s an easy trip to Besalú, its strikingly well-preserved medieval streets fanning out around the handsome 11th-century Pont Fortificat (Fortified Bridge). Heading east to Figueres things get decidedly more bizarre at the Teatre-Museu Dalí , a fittingly trippy tribute to the local hero and Surrealist artist. Dalí spent his later life nearby in Port Lligat near Cadaqués , a whitewashed village with a pretty harbor and bohemian vibe. South along the coast are the extensive ruins of the Greek city Empúries and its later Roman neighbor, while inland is Castell de Púbol, a 14th-century castle that was Dalí’s gift to his wife and muse, Gala.

5 spectacular road trips around Spain

Taking a pit stop in Havr Town, Dalmatia, Croatia

Hvar, Croatia

Start: Hvar Town End: Jelsa Distance: 22 miles (35km)

Fought over by the Illyrians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Venetians, Hvar has long been a sought-after destination. Medieval walls topped by an imposing Spanish fortress enclose the Old Town, whose marble streets are lined with elaborate Gothic and Renaissance palaces. In high summer, Hvar attracts a party-hard international jet set, but outside the peak it’s a magical place that acts as the perfect gateway to crystalline waters and quiet villages. Head for Stari Grad on the north coast, a quieter town set on a horseshoe bay, to visit Stari Grad Plain , a Unesco Cultural Landscape whose stone walls and terraces of olives and grapes were laid out by the ancient Greeks. Drive backcountry roads through a patchwork of lavender and rosemary to discover isolated beaches and hidden coves, colorful former fishing villages such as Vrboska or Jelsa, and some of Croatia’s best wineries.

The 7 best road trips in Croatia for fans of history and epic coastlines

Captivating lakeside drives

Sveti (Saint) Jovan Kaneo Church on Lake Ohrid, Macedonia

Lake Ohrid to Lake Prespa, North Macedonia

Start: Ohrid End: Oteshevo Distance: 34 miles (55km)

Lake Ohrid is one of the oldest and deepest lakes in the world, straddling the border between North Macedonia and Albania . Despite its Unesco status and being home to a multitude of endemic species, it remains remarkably unvisited. Begin in the ancient, picturesque city of Ohrid, continuously occupied since Neolithic times. Its Grecian theatre, recently rediscovered and restored, hosts an arts festival each summer. As you drive south you pass fortresses and monasteries, teetering dramatically above the water. Leave Lake Ohrid on a series of switchbacks climbing up through Galičica National Park, where at the road’s highest point a trail leading farther up offers a view across both lakes. Descend to the tranquil Lake Prespa in time for dinner, stopping at one of the many small restaurants in Oteshevo that serve fish landed straight from the lake.

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Annecy, France

Start: Annecy End: Annecy Distance: 25 miles (40km)

Lake Annecy found fame in Paul Cézanne’s Le Lac d’Annecy painting, a post-Impressionist masterpiece that captures all the beauty, grandeur and violence of the landscape here. But nothing beats seeking out that drama yourself. It takes just a lazy day’s driving to travel its circumference, along glimmering blue water with snowcapped Alps behind. Base yourself   in Annecy and explore the gorgeous Old Town and lively markets before setting off. Impressive Château Menthon is well worth visiting and has guided tours throughout the summer months. Stop at Talloires for lunch – it has a fine selection of restaurants and good swimming beaches – and then,   if you’ve still got the energy, hike one of the many trails that wind up to the peaks that surround the lake. Finish back in Annecy for a sunset drink with panoramic views across the water at the Hotel Belvédère.

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Finnish Lakeland

Start: Varkaus End: Anttola Distance: 86 miles (138km)

A quarter of the Finnish Lakeland region is water – there are at least 55,000 lakes here, making it the largest lake district in Europe. To drive in this area is to lose all distinction between the water and the road. From Varkaus, it’s less than an hour’s drive to the Järvisydän spa , offering every type of soaking and sweating you can imagine. It’s not all about relaxing though – as you drive across this watery landscape there is ample opportunity for swimming and canoeing, fishing and boat trips, or, in winter, skating and snowshoeing. Finland’s ‘Right to Roam’ means that camping is permitted just about anywhere, but the hotels might still tempt you. The Ollinmäki Wine Farm, just outside Anttola, has villas, fabulous food, homemade wine and nearby lakes for a final road trip dip.

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Drives around Mediterranean islands

Traditional fishing boats in Gozo, Malta

North Coast Gozo, Malta

Start: Ramla Bay End: Dwejra Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Gozo is the second-billed island in the Maltese archipelago, but for scenic appeal it easily rivals Malta proper. A drive along Gozo’s north coast reveals one of the country’s least built-up corners. Begin with a dip at Ramla Bay , a wide and largely wild beach not to be confused with the resort of the same name on the main island. Once you’ve brushed off its characteristic orange sand, take a coastal drive through the small harbor of Marsalforn, beyond which the route passes a surreal landscape of seaside salt pans. The road gets gravelly after it ducks round the inlet of Wied il-Għasri , but stick with it if you can along the clifftops to reach Wied il-Mielaħ, a natural sea arch to replace the famous Azure Window that collapsed in 2017. The location of the latter still makes a fitting trip finale, with sunset views beside the Dwejra Inland Sea.

Malta’s best diverse and delicious eating and drinking experiences

Mount Pantokrator Circuit, Corfu, Greece

Start: Pyrgi End: Pyrgi Distance: 41 miles (66km)

Mount Pantokrator is the highest point in Corfu (2972 ft/906m), and a lap of its flanks brings generous mountain and coastal views as you round the northeast corner of the island. Start in Pyrgi village and proceed north and clockwise if you want to get the climbing done early. From Pyrgi the road zigzags up past olive groves through the villages of Spartylas and Strinylas. Here you can drive east on a road up to the summit of Pantokrator itself (a car with a nimble turning circle is an advantage) where there’s a small but richly decorated monastery under a rather unfortunate communications mast. Return to the coast at the resort town of Acharavi, and head east as the road snakes round lushly wooded bays and charming villages such as c and Kalami, with views towards Albania just two miles across   the water.

10 incredible Greek hiking trails you can tackle right now

Lipari Loop, Italy

Start: Lipari Town End: San Salvatore Distance: 17 miles (28km)

Lipari is the middlemost of the Aeolian Islands , and as you drive the encircling main road, each of the other volcanic islands puts in an appearance on the horizon. Lipari Town is reached by car ferries and faster hydrofoils from Sicily , and heading out north the route is a palm-lined corniche running along a yacht-filled bay. From the road skirting the shingle beach at Canneto , you’ll have views towards the islands of Panarea and – half-concealed behind it – the ever-smoking cone of Stromboli. Past the pumice quarries at Lipari’s northeast corner, twin-peaked Salina lumbers into view, and after that, more distant Filicudi and Alicudi, if summer haze doesn’t obscure them. Last to appear as you turn the southwest corner is Vulcano. It’s visible from the main road, but for a close-up, end your drive at the viewpoint beside the Geophysical Observatory in San Salvatore, at Lipari’s southern tip.

Planning your first trip to Italy

Europe's best vineyard drives

The vineyards of Douro Valley near Peso da Regua, Portugal

Douro Valley, Portugal

Start: Porto End: Miranda do Douro Distance: 222 miles (358km)

Portugal kept this one up its sleeve for a long time, but oenophiles have finally clocked on to the romance – and increasingly outstanding wines – of the Douro Valley . The world’s oldest demarcated wine region (in 1756, for the record) is a real beauty, with mile after mile of twisting, terraced vineyards that rise sharply from the Douro River. Its true heart is the Alto Douro (Upper Douro), a Unesco World Heritage Site. The drive kicks off in the grand port lodges of Porto , gradually inching east to the Spanish border. En route expect to find an abundance of historic wine estates – Quinta Nova and Quinta do Crasto are names to remember. And you’ll want to linger at the Casal de Loivos lookout, where the gasp-eliciting view over the vines is the Douro reduced to postcard format. Allow five days to a week to do the drive justice.

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Lavaux Vineyards, Switzerland

Start: Lausanne End: Château de Chillon Distance: 25 miles (40km)

Easily doable in a day trip from Geneva , this short but sublime drive takes in the Unesco World Heritage-protected Lavaux vineyards , which stagger up from the northern shores of Lake Geneva in a series of sheer, stone-walled terraces that beggar belief. The road trip along Rte 9 begins in the higgledy-piggledy French-speaking city of Lausanne and takes in pretty lakeside towns like Vevey before swinging southeast to Montreux (of summer jazz festival fame) and Château   de Chillon , an extraordinary 13th-century fortress, brought to world attention in 1816 in Lord Byron’s poem ‘The Prisoner of Chillon’. Painters William Turner and Gustave Courbet subsequently immortalized the castle on canvas. In the vineyards, pause at a cave to taste beautiful Chasselas white wines that are crisp, minerally and usually only produced on a small, artisanal scale. Lavaux Vinorama in lakeside Rivaz whisks you through the region’s 300 wines and offers insightful tastings.

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Chianti Road, Italy

Start: Florence End: Siena Distance: 44 miles (71km)

Toscana simply doesn’t get more bella than this classic drive on the SR222 through Chianti country. Linking two great medieval cities, the road meanders languorously through gently rolling countryside striped with cypress trees, olive groves and vines. After an art and architectural feast in Florence , it’s time to head south to Siena , crowned by its magnificent cathedral   and 12th-century Piazza del Campo . In between are honey-colored hill towns, where life revolves around the town square, and is punctuated by the chiming of the campanile. Stop by enotecas (wine shops), open for tastings of the region’s revered red wines, including Chianti Classico, a sangiovese-dominated drop. The road   is technically drivable year-round but is perhaps at its most photogenic during the late springtime eruption of poppies and other wildflowers.

The art of the Italian meal

On tap at the source: the best European beer routes

A parade through Belgium celebrating Belgian Beer Weekend, Brussels

Trappist beers of Belgium

Start: Westmalle End: Vleteren Distance: 347 miles (558km)

Explore Belgium while tasting beers from Trappist breweries, where monks have been creating flavourful beers for centuries before the contemporary focus on craft beer. Begin northeast of Antwerp at Café Trappisten , where Westmalle beers are matched with cheeses also made by monks from the adjacent Westmalle Abbey . Heading south through Brussels , beers from the Rochefort Brewery are partnered at local cafés with venison from the nearby Ardennes region. It’s then a 50 mile (80km) drive further south to Orval for their bottle-conditioned beer, a favorite of many craft brewers around the world. To the northwest, a quick spin of the wheels through France brings you to Scourmont Abbey , the base for Chimay. At the Poteaupré Inn at the Espace Chimay visitor center, try the Chimay 150, originally brewed in 2012 to celebrate the brewery’s 150-year anniversary. From here, it’s then a two-hour drive north to Vleteren, to end the trip with some excellent beers from Westvleteren.

Is Belgium the best destination in Europe for road trips? These 7 drives suggest so

Southeast Ireland suds explorer

Start: Dublin End: Cork Distance: 236 miles (380km)

Guinness in Dublin and Murphy’s in Cork are two of Ireland’s most renowned breweries, and linking these heavyweights is this itinerary visiting up-and-coming craft breweries in between. After touring Guinness’ historic St James’s Gate brewery, continue south for a hoppy Wildfire red ale from Wicklow Wolf Brewery , before making the 20-minute drive along the Irish Sea to the Wicklow Brewery. Sunday roast for lunch is always a good time to visit the brewery’s Mickey Finn’s pub. Continue through a patchwork of farmland to YellowBelly Beer in County Wexford . YellowBelly’s seasonal brews include unusual sours and farmhouse ales, while the Gallow’s Hill barley wine, found west at the Dungarvan Brewing Company, is ideal in cooler months. Complete a hop-fuelled Irish journey with a pint of Murphy’s stout at the Shandon Arms in Cork.

20 of the best pubs in Ireland for pints, music and the time of your life

The Düsseldorf, Germany skyline from across the Rhine River

German beer loop

Start: Cologne End: Düsseldorf Distance: 1130 miles (1818km)

Beer has been brewed in Germany for three millennia. It’s a major part of the country’s culture, with many regional styles. Begin with a delicate straw-colored kölsch in the shadow of Cologne Cathedral before heading southeast to Bamberg , home of interesting rauchbiers made with smoked malt. South, near the border with Austria , Munich is famous for its golden Helles lagers and the annual Oktoberfest beer festival, while to the north, in former East Germany, the traditional beer style of Leipzig is gose, a tart beer flavored with salt and coriander. Nearby, Berlin is famous for Berliner Weisse beers, refreshingly low in alcohol, and often spiked with berry syrup. To the southwest, via Hanover and Saxony , Düsseldorf is the heartland of copper-colored altbiers – the name translates to ‘old beer’, as this is one of Germany’s most historic brews.

6 must-do hikes in Germany's picturesque countryside

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Epic Europe road trip across 47 countries

Europe road trip feature

Have you ever wondered what is the most efficient way to visit all the countries in Europe by road? The answer is this epic European road trip that takes you to 47 countries in geographical Europe , and almost all of the European Union, whoa! 

Unfortunately, it skips the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Iceland which you can easily do on a roadtrip either on a group tour , or independently.

If you were to drive this amazing road trip across Europe in one go, without stopping and without sleeping, it would take about 364 hours or 16 days to cover the route, and you would drive almost 27,000 kilometers.

But you wouldn’t go on this once in a lifetime European road trip and just drive through, you would want to stop, probably several times every day, to explore some of the most beautiful, heritage-rich, fascinating and delicious parts of the continent. You may even consider hiring a motorhome for your journey so that you can really take your time. 

Realistically, we would recommend completing this epic European road trip in probably a year, but 6 months would be enough to do justice to most of the key highlights.

We planned this road trip with a very cool and addictive app (yep, we stayed up till 2am playing with it!) called Roadtrippers which not only lets you plan a road trip but also shows you all the points of interest, accommodation & restaurants, photo spots, attractions, and more on the map. Use our bonus coupon code BTR5QTP for $5 off. Check out this list of gifts for road trippers to get all the gadgets you need.

Epic European road trip by the numbers

travel routes in europe

  • Almost 27,000km of roads.
  • Approximately 364h of driving time without stops.
  • Over $1,600 in fuel spent.
  • 47 countries, including 25 European Union members, Kosovo (which we count as an independent country despite the lack of recognition by the UN), the 3 countries in the Caucasus, Turkey and Russia, both of which are partially in Europe and mostly in Asia. Only 3 island countries would be missing, Malta, Cyprus and Iceland.
  • More than 200 UNESCO sites would be within 50km of the itinerary.

In this unforgettable European road trip you will explore well-known but no less amazing cities such as Barcelona , Prague, London and Rome , and other up and coming ones such as Ljubljana, Bruges, Girona , Kiev, Tirana or Tbilisi. 

Of the 400 UNESCO listed sites in Europe , this road trip will get you within 50km to more than half of the continent’s most fascinating heritage, from Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia to Switzerland’s stunning mountain train journeys such as the Glacier Express or lesser known spots in tiny countries such as Andorra .

More standouts include medieval Kotor , Salzburg and Dubrovnik, the Vatican City, Santiago de Compostela’s Cathedral, Brussels’ Grand Place, Budapest Castle, Mostar Old City, Casa Batllo , Lake Ohrid, and many more.

You could add about 100 more UNESCO sites if you take a detour to explore southern Italy and Sicily , central Spain or Germany , a country that is only bordered on this itinerary. 

It is also a great road trip for foodie lovers with stops in San Sebastian for pinchos and tapas, in Bologna for parmesan cheese and mortadella, in Lyon for refined French food, Copenhagen for forward-looking Nordic food and in Porto for seafood and codfish.

The route does not just cover mainstream destinations but will also take you to the lesser known parts of the continent such as the tiny country of Liechtenstein (one of the least visited countries in the world despite being located in the middle of Europe), Croatia’s Istria, Romania’s Transilvannia, and historical sites such as Chernobyl. 

European road trip essentials 1. Roadtrippers : Create the itinerary and navigate with points of interest marked along the way with Roadtrippers , such a cool app. Get it, it’s a no brainer. 2. Visas : We highly recommend iVisa , they are prompt and professional and offer lots of services. A Schengen visa gives you access to 25 countries, others have their own system, Russia will be the trickiest. 3. Car rental : Our choice is Rentalcars.com which aggregates car rental companies across the world. Make sure you can take the car across the border and check additional insurance and permits. Or buy a car and sell it at the end. 4. Travel insurance : Do not leave the house without, really, don’t. We recommend World Nomads or SafetyWing who include coverage for COVID-19 since August 2020. 5. Accommodation : Use Booking.com they offer free cancellation charge if your plans change. 6. Tours : An efficient way to see cities in a short period of time is to get a day tour. We love and use Getyourguide which allows you to cancel tours up to 24h in advance.

So where does this incredible road trip across all of Europe and the Caucasus take you? Let’s explore the main stops.

1. Dublin, Ireland

travel routes in europe

Your journey starts in the capital of Ireland, beautiful Dublin. Being the birthplace of Guinness beer, you’ll definitely need to taste the dark stout in one of Dublin’s 1,000 pubs like Temple Bar or The Brazen Head , Ireland’s oldest pub. 

If you plan on driving after your visit, just go to the Guinness Storehouse where you can dive into the 250+ year history and have a bite to eat. Jameson Whiskey also has its home in Dublin. 

Peer into Ireland’s Emigration history at World Travel Awards winner EPIC to see what it means to be Irish beyond the border. If you have some time left over pop into Dublin Castle which dates back to 1204 and has guided tours.  Ireland is also home to many great thinkers such as Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker and Samuel Beckett and is even one of UNESCO’s Cities of Literature . Visit Trinity College where they all got their start.

2. London, United Kingdom

travel routes in europe

Next on your European road trip is the capital of the UK, London! With a rich history and loads of activities to take part in, you can experience art at museums like the Tate Modern or The National Gallery , have fun on the London Eye , learn something new at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park , have a pub lunch overlooking the river Thames, or try and see the Queen at Buckingham Palace . 

If you aren’t for visiting tourist sites like Big Ben , the Tower of London , Westminster Abbey or the bohemian Soho district, you can always try something a little different and experience one of these unique things to do in London like eating jellied eel or take a somber stroll around Highgate Cemetery. Make sure to make a stop at Borough Market for a super good vibe with loads of fresh produce and delicious meals!

3. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Streets and canals of Amsterdam

Leaving the island and riding north-east, you’ll soon get to friendly Amsterdan in the Netherlands. This bustling city is so much more than hash brownies, tulips and windmills as you’ll experience on a bike after parking your car. 

Cruise along the canals at your own pace and visit the best tourist attractions in Amsterdam like Rijksmuseum , Van Gogh Museum , the artsy district of Jordaan, or dine way up high at A’dam Lookout .

A must-visit is Ann Frank’s House , where you will learn how this brave soul lived through a treacherous time. Apart from the multitude of historic sights, Amsterdam is also home to hip and up-and-coming neighbourhoods like gentrified Westergas and creative Zaandam’s Hembrugterrein. Walk the cobbled streets of De Negen Straatjes (‘The Nine Streets’) for some boutique retail therapy. 

4. Brussels, Belgium

Grand Place in Brussels

As the administerial centre of the EU, Belgium’s capital can be viewed as quite a stringent place. Yet when you pass the iconic little boy peeing into the fountain at the Manneken Pis, you get a sense for the city’s lightheartedness. It’s this mix that makes it a fascinating place for all types of tourists. 

There is spectacular architecture like the Grand Place , Notre Dame Du Sablon , or the Instagrammable Atomium . See arts and culture at the Musee des Beaux-Arts d’Ixelles or Musee Constantin Meunier and gorgeous nature at Park Malou, Parc Georges Henri or Parc Du Cinquantenaire. 

But you cannot leave Brussels without going on a beer tasting tour while diving mouth-first into their famous fries and mussels. 

5. Luxembourg

Vianden Castle in Luxembourg

Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in the world and most of the top places to visit in Luxembourg are all concentrated in the city center. This makes it a great day stop for your European road trip. Start slow by perusing the Old Quarter in Luxembourg City which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site , as the night nears, take in a show at the legendary Philharmonic of Luxembourg .

Then make your way to any of the multitude of castles in the country (there are 130 in total) from Luxembourg Fortress to Vianden Castle . The castles you choose to explore will depend on the amount of time you have and whether you’d like to include a bit of nature on your visit or not. 

For nature we suggest the Mullerthal region where you’ll find Schiessentümpel Waterfall. You can even camp there for the night along the river Sûre in your car or spa at Mondorf-les-Bains if that’s more your style.

6. Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein

While an unlikely candidate, Liechtenstein is actually one of the least visited countries in the world . The main reason is because it’s a landlocked country, sandwiched between Switzerland and Austria, without an airport. This means it’s perfectly reachable by car, great for your European road trip!

A fun fact about Liechtenstein is that it hasn’t had a murder since 2014 and is therefore one of the safest countries in the world. As it’s so small, you can see the entire country in a day from castles like Vaduz , Burg Gutenberg or Obere Burg to jaw-dropping nature (400km network of hiking trails!) and even eat at a Michelin-awarded traditional Restaurant Torkel . This is a popular winter Europe road trip pit stop for ski fanatics.

7. Bern, Switzerland

Old Town Bern

The city where Einstein started dabbling in physics and the older enclave being awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1983, Bern is a thriving city with a deep history and stunning sites. In fact you can visit Einstein’s former residence or the museum constructed in his name . 

If you’re a fan of treasure hunts, you could try to find all 11 Renaissance fountains in the centre of Old Bern. Saunter around the Rosengarten , take in the views at Gurten mountain, or see the symbol of Bern (and Toblerone ) at Bärengraben (Bear Pit) or BärenPark (Bear Park). 

With a rich culture, Bern has loads of great artsy festivals to take part in year round from the Summer and Winter Jazz Festivals to the Buskers Festival to July’s Gurtenfestival . If you miss the festivals, don’t worry, there’s more art at the Kunstmuseum (Museum of Art) which contains 51,000 pieces! The fascinating Zytglogge , a medieval clock tower with moving puppets, is always a fun stop over. 

If you’d like to go beyond the capital and are a fan of skiing or being pampered, I would suggest making a stop at either Andermatt or St. Moritz (stay for the night at Chedi, Andermatt ). Or change your mode of transportation and hop on the Glacier Express which connects St. Moritz with Zermatt and is a truly once in a lifetime experience.  

8. Central France

Evening Bordeaux France

Traveling south from Switzerland (with a possible stop in Geneva before crossing the border), you’ll be cruising the central part of France passing by two exquisite regions: Lyon and Bordeaux. 

Lyon is steeped in a 2,000 year history and is the capital of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. It is also considered the foodie capital of France so you should make sure to eat your way around the city. 

Witness the Roman Amphithéâtre des Trois Gaules and venture into Vieux (Old) Lyon with the largest renaissance old quarters in Europe. But don’t miss the modern Confluence district on the Presqu’île peninsula with its elegant bistros and upscale apartments.

There are museums of all kinds from fine art at Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon to the Institut Lumière , an ode to the famed brothers who spearheaded the modern cinema. The architecture will leave your jaw agape, so be sure to pass by the Fourvière Basilica and Lyon Cathedral. 

Making your way toward the Bay of Biscay you’ll end up in one of the most praised wine regions in the world, Bordeaux. Wine enthusiasts better get a designated driver, because this stretch of your Europe road trip is bound to be the most fueled by alcohol. 

La Cité du Vin

The choices of wineries to visit can be a bit overwhelming, so it’s best to first visit the spectacular ode to wine, La Cité du Vin. This is a mammoth 3,000sqm building with a 55m tower that looks like a giant decanter. It has around 10 hours of audiovisual info all about the history and future of the grape. You’ll also be able to get help picking which wineries to visit. 

Beyond wine, there are open spaces (Quais de Bordeaux, Jardin Public), shopping streets (Rue Sainte-Catherine), ancient architecture (La Grosse Cloche, Porte Cailhau, Bordeaux Cathedral) and so much more!

Those wanting to stop by Paris should do so after Luxembourg, as this is the quickest route to the capital and you will only be venturing further south from here. Read our Parisian articles to get more insight about the City of Love:

  • Best Paris Bistros
  • Autumn In Paris, A Perfect Weekend For Two
  • Rooftop Bars In Paris With The Ultimate Best Views Of The City
  • 5 Markets In Paris To Bargain-hunt
  • Adorable Places For A Beautiful Picnic In Paris From Rivers To Gardens
  • Secret Gardens In Paris To Find Romance And Nature

9. Northern Spain

Playa de la Concha, San Sebastian

Reaching the Bay of Biscay with a possible hangover, you’ll surely just want to take it easy on the beach. This is where San Sebastián comes in. Also known as Donostia, San Sebastián is a resort town hidden in Spain’s mountainous Basque Country and is known for Playa de la Concha and Playa de Ondarreta. 

Playa means beach, and beach is what you will get, although not the kind of warm beach you find on the Mediteranean! Bring a sweater, even in the summer months San Sebastian can be pretty chilly.

Not only will you find beautifully soft sand, but also picturesque bayfront promenades, cobblestone roads of old town (Parte Vieja), upscale shopping, vibrant pintxo bars and world-class restaurants. 

San Sebastian is one of Spain’s foodie capitals along with Barcelona and Madrid and the Basque Country where it is located, has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other part of the country.

Think three-starred Arzak and Akelarre , one-starred Kokotxa and Mirador de Ulía or famous Nerua in the Guggenheim Bilbao. Or just have a picnic at Miramar Royal Palace ( Palacio de Miramar ) if your wallet is feeling a bit light. 

Santiago de Compostela

Taking the most epic coastal drive, you’ll enter one of Spain’s most spiritual centres at Santiago de Compostela. This is the end of the famed Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route as well as the capital of northwest Spain’s Galicia region. Legend has it that the apostle St. James was buried in what is today the UNESCO-listed old town. 

Even if you aren’t religious, you’ll find a spiritual resonance in the idyllic Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque buildings, particularly the remarkable Pórtico de la Gloria . The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela , Praza do Obradoiro and Monastery of San Martiño Pinario are all epic and within walking distance. 

10. Coastal Portugal

Sintra in Coastal Portugal

Grab your surfboards because you are entering a country with some of the best waves in the world. Even if you don’t know how, Portugal is a great place to learn how to surf. It’s also a burgeoning place for digital nomads so you’re sure to bump into other European road trippers here on your journey. 

The three standout places you’re going to pass on the coastal route are Porto in the north, Coimbra in the center and Lisbon at the south. Porto is known for its dessert wine which you will know as Port. But beyond the sweet aperitif Porto offers stately bridges, the medieval Ribeira (riverside) district with cobbled streets and cafes, and grand designs from baroque São Francisco Church to the palatial Palácio de Bolsa .

Travel down to the coast and you’ll end up at the riverfront city of Coimbra. It is famous for its historic University of Coimbra that houses a baroque library, the Biblioteca Joanina with a gorgeous 18th-century bell tower. You can set foot around the city’s old town to take in the calm atmosphere and visit the 12th-century Romanesque cathedral Sé Velha.

Lisbon’s colorful streets

Drive south from the old capital (Coimbra) to the new one, Lisbon. This hilly coastal city has some spectacularly romantic views, particularly at sunset from São Jorge Castle where the pastel-colored buildings blend with the pink and purple hues of the setting sun. 

Nature blends seamlessly with historic buildings in Lisbon, so make sure to pass along the Torre de Belém , the Golden Gate-like Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge, and the Padrão dos Descobrimentos . Try to take a day trip to the protected Tagus Estuary. You can ride trams throughout the city and then relax on the beaches of Cascais, Costa da Caparica, or Estoril. 

11. Southern Spain

La Alhambra at night

Now it’s back into Spain where you’ll witness a very different vibe and even peer over into Africa. The south of Spain is spectacular as you travel through Seville, Gibraltar, Granada, Valencia and finishing in Barcelona.

Seville is the capital of Andalusia and has a rich Moorish heritage which is evident in the colourful tiles, the lobed arches and the iconic Giralda tower . 

This is the place to experience the stereotypically Spanish cultural activities – flamenco, tapas and toros (although we strongly oppose bullfighting and you should too). Spring is a particularly festive time to visit with Semana Santa (Holy Week) and the lively Feria de Abril ( Seville Fair ). Or just to stroll along the banks of the Guadalquivir. 

Before you leave the area, consider a day trip to Morocco which you can take from Tarifa . Go on a guided tour which is usually cheaper than buying a ferry ticket, and add a new continent, just for the day. 

Gibraltar

Gibraltar may be geographically located in Spain, but it was actually ceded to Britain in 1713 and remains a British Overseas Territory. This means that while Euros are accepted, the main currency is the British Sterling. 

Moorish architecture and the Rock of Gibraltar are the two most famous sites. Europa Point at the most southern tip of Gibraltar is where you can glance into Morocco, an entirely different continent. Try not to visit on a Sunday as most places on Main Street will be closed. 

Laying at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains is Granada, best known for its pristine examples of medieval architecture, particularly the Alhambra from the Nasrid dynasty . UNESCO-listed La Alhambra is massive and needs a full day to explore properly, especially to see the Generalife gardens . 

Valencia

From past to future, you’ll then venture forth to Valencia, known for its City of Arts and Sciences . This futuristic structure, reminiscent of Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Center in Azerbaijan or Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul , Contains a planetarium, oceanarium and interactive museum. 

As Valencia is a coastal city, you can also set your towel down in one of its beaches including those in the Albufera Park, which is actually a wetlands reserve with a lake and walking trails. This is also a fantastic place to try out authentic paella. 

Your last stop over in Spain will be the capital of Catalunya, Barcelona. There is too much to do in Barcelona and we have written about it extensively as it is our Editor-in-Chief’s home. 

If you’re looking for things to do in Barcelona on this leg of your European road trip, here is a massive list of articles you can save, from the best of Gaudi to the top wineries to some brilliant ideas for day trips…

The stunning views from Bunkers del Carmel

Barcelona guides:

  • A local’s guide to one day in Barcelona
  • Barcelona itinerary – Where a Barcelonian would take you in 4 days
  • Epic and fabulous, the best things to do in Barcelona
  • The most unusual things to do in Barcelona – unique activities to cool places
  • Where to stay in Barcelona – Best areas and luxury boutique hotels
  • The Best Rooftop Terraces in Barcelona to watch the sunset
  • Gaudi Barcelona most incredible sights
  • Guide with Sagrada Familia tickets, sights, history and other info
  • A local’s guide to seeing Casa Batlló inside and out
  • A local’s guide to La Casa de les Punxes
  • Tips to Prepare for your Camp Nou Tour
  • A local’s tips for visiting Barcelona Bunkers del Carmel

Wineries near Barcelona & Food:

  • Weekend wine escape from Barcelona – includes full itinerary
  • Top wineries near Barcelona to visit – Best wine and cava tours
  • Poblet Monastery in Conca de Barbera: How the church brought back wine
  • How to make the most of your Familia Torres Winery visit
  • Visiting Cava Codorniu Spain’s oldest family-run business
  • Albet i Noya – the pioneer in organic winemaking in Spain
  • A day out of Barcelona taking the Cava Llopart 1887 Gran Reserva Tour
  • Learning about Kosher wines at Celler de Capcanes
  • Disfrutar Restaurant, elBulli’s legacy freshly carried on
  • Review of Lasarte, Barcelona’s first 3 Michelin star restaurant
  • Review of ABaC Restaurant Barcelona
  • Gaig Restaurant Barcelona: Traditional Catalan fine-dining since 1869
  • The Proximity Food Movement in Barcelona – Beyond Organic 

Day trips from Barcelona:

  • Perfect day trips from Barcelona for everyone as told by a local
  • Things to do in Sitges where to eat and best beaches
  • How to get from Barcelona Airport to Sitges? (and from Sitges to Barcelona Airport)
  • Guide to Siurana, a legendary village on Priorat’s mountains
  • Day trip to Montserrat from Barcelona by a local
  • Things to do in Girona + 1 day itinerary

12. Andorra

Andorra La Vella

Just like Luxembourg and Liechtenstein, Andorra is another one of the smallest countries on the planet. Landlocked between Spain and France, it’s a hidden secret that will add some spice to your Europe road trip. The “country in the Pyrenees mountains” is all about beautiful nature in any season. 

There are ski slopes to hit in winter, gorgeous hiking trails in summer and a variety of activities for everything in between. Topping the list is the Caldea spa complex that leverages the natural hot springs in the area to provide an entertainment destination with hydrotherapy and wellness in mind. 

We have written a complete guide to Andorra where you can explore all of the best things to do from savoring rustic food to a list of all the museums to the best places to go shopping and the top hotels to stay at. 

13. Southern France

Canal du Midi Toulouse

Crossing the border, you’ll again venture into France, this time exploring the coastal cities along the Gulf of Lion from Languedoc to Provence all the way into Italy. 

Start at Montpellier, an underrated city with a rich history, beautiful architecture and bustling boutiques and sidewalk cafés among magnificent squares. It even has its own Arc de Triomphe . 

Montpellier’s lively vibe is attributed to some 60,000 students that call it home. Sip some Languedoc-Roussillon wines with delicious Mediterranean-inspired cuisine or climb the 658m Pic Saint-Loup. You may want to explore Toulouse, known as “The Pink City” due to its terra-cotta bricks, as it is another lively and gorgeous destination for a European road trip. 

After Montpellier, you can choose to explore the more popular port city of Marseille and Nice along the French Riviera, both in the Provence region, if you like more touristy and cosmopolitan destinations. The former is hailed for the epic Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde and the latter pays homage to native artists Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall . 

Monaco Blue Hour

It’s time to join the rich and famous in another one of the smallest countries in the world, Monaco. In fact, Monaco is the second smallest country after the Vatican and is only 2sqkm. Like Andorra and Liechtenstein, Monaco is a principality, meaning that a monarchy governs, currently ruled by Prince Albert II of the Grimaldi family.

The most well-known area in Monaco is its capital city, Monte-Carlo, synonymous with James Bond, Casinos, F1 and the rich and famous (because of its tax status). Expect a multitude of yachts docked at the ports along this country in the French Riviera housing all the beautiful people of the world. 

For more, check out our guide to Monaco . 

15. The Vatican

The Vatican

From the second smallest to indeed the smallest country in the world and the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church which is home to the Pope. 

Like Lesotho in South Africa , the Vatican is surrounded by the Italian capital, Rome. So if you’re visiting Rome, the Vatican is a must. Your time at the Vatican will be spent viewing ancient buildings, seeing historic art pieces and taking in the spirituality of Catholicism. 

Standouts include Michelangelo’s work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel , St. Peter’s Basilica which is the world’s largest basilica of Christianity, Renaissance art treasures at the Vatican Museums , Castel Sant’Angelo , Saint Peter’s Square and Gardens of Vatican City .

16. Rome, Italy

Rome at sunset

Buongiorno, you’ve reached the “beautiful country”! You’ve explored the Vatican and had your spiritual fix, so now it’s time to venture into the capital of Italy, Rome. While it wasn’t built in a day, you can try to see it all in 24 hours but we recommend spending much longer, Rome needs to be enjoyed not rushed. 

Ancient landmarks like the Colosseum , the Pantheon , the Roman Forum and the Arch of Constantine should all leave you speechless. 

Gaze at the famed Trevi Fountain as you pay homage to Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita or “take a little time for yourself…live dangerously” at the Spanish Steps like Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck did in Roman Holiday . Then support the local artists and street vendors at Piazza Navona. 

What next? 

Eat, eat and eat some more by exploring all the Michelin-starred restaurants of Rome (there are around 20!). 

You can then ride directly up into San Marino, which we explore next, or you have the option for going south into Naples and then Sicily to take a detour around the Italian coast and see some of the most famous parts of the country which have recently reached Instagram stardom (Amalfi Coast, Capri, etc.). 

The beaches in Favignana, off Sicily

The beaches in Favignana, off Sicily

In Sicily you can hike up an active volcano at Mount Etna , explore the best Sicilian food , visit the Godfather filming locations like Savoca , or relax in the quaint towns of Syracuse or Taormina and its Ancient Greek Theater . Here’s an extensive travel guide to Sicily for those who want to set out into the island. 

17. San Marino

San Marino

San Marino is a hilly microstate on and around Mount Titano that’s completely surrounded by north-central Italy. It’s as if time has stood still in this ancient republic, with much of its historic architecture still intact. 

The capital, sharing the same name as the microstate, is most well known for its medieval walled old town and narrow cobblestone streets. Once a year in July there’s even a Medieval Days festival which is a spectacle as the entire town dresses up and celebrates their history. 

At the top of Titano’s peaks sits The Three Towers which date back to the 11th century and are great viewpoints. If you have a drone, this would be the place to fly it! 

You may want to pop into foodie heaven Emilia-Romagna or Venice to see the iconic canals and the colorful glass island of Murano before moving onto Slovenia. 

18. Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana at sunset

Well done, you’ve made it into central Europe! 

Start in Slovenia, a really beautiful country known for its mountains, ski resorts and lakes. Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana (say “loo-blee-ana”) is a university city with epic green spaces. Tivoli Park is the first of these spaces that you’ll want to explore. It’s a well manicured park where you can take a break and wander to your heart’s content. 

Cross over the iconic Tromostovje (Triple Bridge) and visit a few of the outdoor cafes that dot the Ljubljanica River. Then get cultured at one of the many museums like the National Museum of Slovenia or the Museum of Modern Art .

55km north-west from the capital is the epic Lake Bled, the iconic blue lake with Bled island at its center that houses the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary (Cerkev Marijinega vnebovzetja). This is closer to the Austrian border though, so you may want to visit it later in your journey as you’re now going down to Croatia. 

19. Zagreb & Split, Croatia

Zagreb Croatia

While Croatia is quite large, you’ll be sticking to the south-west so that you can easily make it into Bosnia & Herzegovina and then Montenegro. This area is also the most well-catered for tourists due to its gorgeous beaches. 

Starting in the capital of Zagreb, you’ll get to stretch your feet as you explore the quaint Tkalčićeva Street with its outdoor cafes and car-free Jelačić Square in Lower Town which also has museums, shops and parks. Upper Town is more focused on Austro-Hungarian architecture like Zagreb Cathedral and St. Mark’s Church.

Quirkier travelers can visit the Museum of Broken Relationships which is dedicated to breakups. Make sure to get a licitar, a traditional honey dough cookie in the shape of a heart and is Zagreb’s symbol. There’s no real to-do in Zagreb so let your feet guide you.

Split

Moving onto the more touristy sites, you’ll venture on down to the coastal cities of Zadar and Split. Zadar, on the Dalmatian coast, is most well known for its Roman and Venetian ruins such as St. Anastasia’s Cathedral and the Church of St. Donatus. 

Split on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea has some really beautiful beaches that get super packed in summer. The entire city center is like visiting a giant Roman palace, still going strong after 1700 years with additions and restorations. Game of Thrones fans will know all about Diocletian’s Palace, which is also UNESCO listed . 

20. Mostar & Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Mostar Bosnia & Herzegovina

Moving onto your next country in the Balkans, Bosnia & Herzegovina came into the public eye in the 90s due to the Bosnian War. Today it’s a lively off-the-beaten track destination that is safe for visitors to soak in the diverse culture. 

Unlike tourist-heavy Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina is yet to have a tourist boom and therefore makes for a great destination for those who like a more intimate experience. 

You can start your journey in Mostar before heading into the capital of Sarajevo. Mostar is a quaint city that’s known for its iconic UNESCO-listed Stari Most (Old Bridge) surrounded by mountains and greenery. Explore the alleyways on foot and find some hidden gems before walking up the hills for some panoramic views. 

Sarajevo Bosnia & Herzegovina

Previously war-torn Sarajevo is now completely restored to its former glory where east meets west – think Vienna paired up with Istanbul. While not too touristy, it still caters for foreigners with information booths and guides to the many churches, mosques, museums, amazing cafes and vibrant nightlife. 

Stroll through the cobbled streets of Baščaršija and look out for the 100 “Sarajevo Roses” which commemorate those who lost their lives in the war. A walking tour is a must! And you should definitely educate yourself on the Bosnian War before heading into the country. Read up more about it here . 

21. Kotor, Montenegro

The view on the way up to Kotor fortress

Back to the coast, you’ll head to the south of gorgeous Montenegro . This is the best place to go in the Balkans for sun, sand and sea as it’s way less packed than neighbouring Croatia. 

The quaint UNESCO-listed fortified city of Kotor is a great place to have a moment of respite as you wander through the cobblestone roads or perhaps walk up to St. George Fortress for a spectacular view of the idyllic bay below.

Sveti Stefan

You could also choose to explore some of the many picture perfect beaches of Montenegro , take a day trip to the uber luxurious and iconic Aman Sveti Stefan , or make your way to the humble oceanside towns of Rose, Perast or Ulcinj. Montenegro also has a very unique local cuisine which is always fresh and super delicious.

22. Tirana, Albania

Skanderbeg Square in Tirana

Similar to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania has a difficult and tumultuous past. After the fall of long term and extremely paranoid dictator, Enver Hoxha, the country has tried to rebuild itself as a center for arts and the freedom of expression. 

You’ll see graffiti all around the country, particularly in the capital of Tirana, where it is encouraged to turn the dreary blocklike buildings into a sign of hope for the future. 

The Bunk’Art museums in Tirana are a perfect example of this change, where underground bunkers built by the Hoxha regime were converted into exhibition and learning spaces. 

Beyond the beautiful Tirana, there is so much to see in Albania, from idyllic Albanian beaches to gorgeous castles (look for Rozafa, Prezë and Kruje Castles), or ancient architecture in Berat , Durres and the Greek ruins at Archeological Park of Apollonia – a UNESCO heritage site .

The other end of Mirror Beach in Albania

Need some more help? I have written articles on fun facts about Albania , the best food in Albania , as well as a complete travel guide to Albania and things to do in Tirana . 

23. Ohrid, North Macedonia

St. John the Theologian Church on Lake Ohrid

Before venturing into the Land of the Gods, you’ll be making a stop at the sleepy resort city of Ohrid, Macedonia. You’ll come back to the capital of Macedonia, Skopje, a bit later in the journey. 

This is your chance to completely relax from the frantic sightseeing and driving – wine glass in hand, platter of cheese and cold cuts in front of you, while gazing deep into the vast expanse of UNESCO-listed Lake Ohrid . 

If you can get off the view, take a stroll in Old Town, a boat tour around the lake or walk along the ancient Somoil’s Fortress and picturesque St. John the Theologian Church for more epic views. 

24. Thessaloniki, Greece

Thessaloniki Ekklisia Agios Pavlos Church

Cruising into Greece, you’re going to stay in the north, stopping halfway at Thessaloniki. This port city, straddling the Thermaic Gulf of the Aegean Sea, is a glimpse into the country’s past. 

You can see Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman remains, particularly if you venture into the upper town of Ano Poli . While parts of the city were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1917 , some ruins remain like Roman Emperor Galerius’ 4th-century palace. Munch on local street food koulouri Thessalonikis and pop open a local wine from the nearby Naousa appellation .

25.  Istanbul & Ankara, Turkey

Istanbul and Hagia Sophia at sunset

You’re now on one of the longest stretches on your trip which is from Greece through Turkey and onto Georgia. You can space out your long drive by stopping first at energetic Istanbul and then in Ankara, the cosmopolitan capital. 

Istanbul is the confluence of East meets West, of Europe and Asia, all in one. The fantastically fascinating Old City will give you a glimpse into the past. 

Explore the Sultanahmet district which houses the Roman-era Hippodrome (think chariot races), Egyptian obelisks, the epic Blue Mosque and the jaw-droppingly beautiful Byzantine Hagia Sophia . Don’t miss the Grand Bazar for some local delights. 

Ankara is more about the present and has a thriving performing arts scene. This is your chance to dress up and go to the Opera, Ballet or see a show at the Presidential Symphony Orchestra . Before the show make sure to visit the grand Anıtkabir , the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the first President of the Republic of Turkey.

26. Tbilisi, Georgia

Tbilisi

After a very long drive through the Turkish countryside, you’ll finally cross the border to Georgia, which was once part of the Soviet republic. Today, due to providing 365-day visas on arrival, Georgia has become a digital nomad hotspot if you need to get some work done or meet like-minded travelers. 

Georgia is famous for its black sand beaches, the quaint Caucasus Mountain villages and Vardzia, a sprawling cave monastery dating to the 12th century. 

Yet you’ll be stopping in the capital landlocked city of Tbilisi where you can wander through the maze-like cobblestoned roads of old town or hike up the scenic Narikala Fortress to see the blend of art nouveau buildings, Soviet Modernist structures and Eastern Orthodox churches. 

27. Sheki & Baku, Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, known as the Land of Fire and the birthplace of crude oil, is a place where East meets West, where Asia and Europe are both present but do not dominate, at once modern and a well-preserved history. 

Shirvan Shahs

Make a culinary pitstop in Sheki, a small but gorgeous historic town on the ancient Silk Road route. You can taste some of the best local Azerbaijani food like piti and halva in a Caravanserai before moving onto the capital. 

In Baku you will experience some of the most luxurious hotels in Azerbaijan like the Fairmont Baku Flame Towers , modern architecture like Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Center , and ancient natural wonders like the volcanoes. 

Little known fact about Azerbaijan , it has 45% of the world’s mud volcanoes! For a closer look, read my article on the top things to do in Baku and Azerbaijan . 

28. Yerevan, Armenia

Yerevan at sunset

Yerevan, Armenia’s capital, is your next stop on this epic European road trip. The imposing Soviet-era architecture will astound you and its history will amaze. Make a stop at the Matenadaran library , where you will find thousands of ancient Greek and Armenian manuscripts. 

Then head over to the vibrant Republic Square to watch the musical water fountains. Learn a bit more about Armenia’s past at the History Museum of Armenia with artefacts dating back to 3500 BC.

Note on feasibility : The itinerary considers that you return to Georgia from Armenia and then enter Russia by crossing the disputed territory of Abkhazia, however, at the time of writing, that is not possible. Instead, you should leave Georgia to the north at Kazbegi and enter Russia at Vladikavkaz and then retake the route. Thank you to Alastair Gill for pointing this out.

29. Sochi, Russia

Sochi Port

As you may know, Russia is absolutely massive. In fact, at 17 million sqkm it’s the largest country in the world , by far. 

To put it in perspective, the 2nd largest country, Canada, stands at just under 10 million sqkm. In order to fit Russia into your road trip of Europe, you can travel to Sochi, along the Black Sea and far from the capital Moscow . Sochi is around the same distance between Armenia and the Ukraine. 

You may know Sochi best as the home to the 2014 Winter Olympics, but in summer it’s also a popular beach resort destination. The 1,937sqkm Forested Sochi National Park is a must for nature lovers. Interested in ditching the car and catching the train? I’d definitely recommend either the Golden Eagle on a once in a lifetime trans-Siberian journey .  

Note on safety and feasibility of this portion : At the time of writing, the itinerary passes through the disputed territory of Crimea. Entering Crimea from Russia is possible but, if you plan to continue driving into Ukraine, as shown in this itinerary, you would be entering Ukraine illegally. Likewise, crossing from Russia into Ukraine is currently difficult given the security situation. The safest and easiest way to drive from Russia into Ukraine involves driving farther north on the border between the two, possibly near Kharkiv or Sunny and then driving down to Odessa to continue with the itinerary. Thank you to Alastair Gill, Igor Gakalo and Justin Golden for share their experience.

30. Odessa & Kiev, Ukraine

Saint Andrew's Church Kiev

Traveling along the Black Sea, you’ll cross the border over into the port city of Odessa. You’ll get to relax on one of the many beaches or watch a performance at the Odessa Opera and Ballet Theater. 

Film fanatics will tick an activity off their bucket list as they climb the iconic Potemkin Stairs, immortalized in The Battleship Potemkin . Saunter along Primorsky Boulevard with monuments and mansions.

Next up is Kiev, an important industrial, scientific, educational and cultural center of Eastern Europe. It’s a pedestrian-friendly city with amazing public transport and a metro. So you can visit all the most beautiful monuments quite easily. 

Marvel at Eastern Orthodox Christianity’s most important landmark Pechersk Lavra , which is a complex of churches, bell towers and subterranean caves and contains a host of UNESCO heritage sites . Look up to see notable monuments like Maidan Nezalezhnosti or The Motherland Monument and then finish with a stroll in Hryshko National Botanical Garden .

Chernobyl

Before crossing the border to Minsk, you should make a stop in Chernobyl, an historical destination where you can learn about humanity’s flaws, particularly the nuclear power plant accident from 1986 . 

You will need to go on a tour of the abandoned city in a hazmat suit, but it is safe due to stringent precautions. It is a sobering experience and definitely one that will stay with you. Learn more about Chernobyl from the recent HBO docuseries.  

31. Chișinău, Moldova

Chisinau

Adding Moldova to your European road trip will have you taking a bit of a detour. Instead of going straight from Odessa in the south to Kiev up north, you can make a pit stop in Chișinău between the two. 

The capital of Moldova is an up and coming destination, but still one of the least visited in Europe . It’s a pedestrian-friendly city where you can soak up the local culture at Piata Centrala, Stephan the Great Central Park or Valea Morilor Park. There are also a few landmarks to spot like the neoclassical Nativity Cathedral or the dome-topped Chișinău’s Cathedral Park.

32. Minsk, Belarus

Minsk

Belarus is definitely not one of the most sought after European road trip destinations, but it surely has its own charm. At first it may seem like there is not much to do in the capital city of Minsk, but the attractions could keep you busy for about 2-3 days. 

Like most post Soviet Union countries, one of the top things to do in Minsk is to admire the Soviet architecture, particularly walking along Independence Avenue. 

Main structures include the Central Post Office , Palace of the Republic , Nyamiha Shopping Center, the National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre and even an incredible Soviet bas-relief above a KFC. 

There’s also a quaint Old Town, shopping at a GUM (department) store, visiting Mir and Nesvizh Castles , and checking out the hip cafes and street art near trendy Kastrychnitskaya street. 

33. Vilnius, Lithuania

Vilnius, Lithuania

Another city where you can find astounding architecture is Lithuania’s capital Vilnius , a UNESCO heritage center . Architectural styles from all periods can be found here. And did you know you can go on a hot air balloon ride over the city? Amazing.

Strolling along the cobblestoned streets of Old Town you’ll come across the beautiful baroque Gate of Dawn and Basilian Monastery, neoclassical Vilnius Cathedral and Gothic St. Anne’s Church (and so so much more!). 

Get your green fix at Bernardine Park , open air museum Europos Parkas or atop the Hill of Three Crosses for panoramic views. Shop local at Hall Market and explore the multitude of museums.

34. Riga, Latvia

Riga at night

From one capital to the next, this time you’ll be visiting Latvia’s Riga, the largest city in the three Baltic states. 

You may be a bit tired of perusing all the amazing buildings of Vilnius, and Riga is just the right place as it’s a youthful city with a pumping nightlife, hipster eateries and thriving alternative scene. Maybe you’ll take home a bottle of Riga Black Balsam , a bitter but slightly sweet liqueur made in oak barrels.

Before partying it up, take in the old centre of Vecrīga, with its maze-like streets filled with restaurants, museums and nightspots, Medieval churches and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site . 

But of course, there is more than enough architecture too to keep you happy from the vibrant House of the Blackheads to the world’s largest collection of Art Nouveau buildings, particularly those by “Riga’s Gaudí”, Mikhail Eisenstein . 

35. Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn, Estonia

Your final Baltic State before crossing over to Northern Europe is another cultural hub right on the Black Sea. Tallinn is for creatives. 

Starting at Telliskivi Loomelinnak (Creative City) where you’ll find Fotografiska (home to fine-art photography), venture onto PROTO Invention Factory for a look into the history of inventions and then end off at Kumu Art Museum which won European Museum of the Year in 2008. 

Cafe hop as you pass ancient monuments like Kiek in de Kök , Gothic-structured Town Hall or 13th-century St. Nicholas Church.

36. Helsinki & Rovaniemi, Finland 

Helsinki

Take the 2 hour ferry ride across the Gulf of Finland where you’ll end up in its capital, Helsinki. You can continue your cultural adventure by taking a walk along the Mannerheimintie, with its multitude of institutions like the National Museum , grand Parliament House and Kiasma contemporary art museum. 

Temppeliaukio Church is out of this world (think Auroville in Pondicherry or Iglesia El Rosario in El Salvador ) and Suomenlinna , a giant maritime fortress spread across seven islands, is man-made marvel. Red-bricked Uspenski Cathedral is also stunning.

In Helsinki, take the option of a ferry ride to St. Petersburg and avail of the 3 day free visa option to explore Russia’s grandest city. 

You wouldn’t want to leave Finland without making a trip to Rovaniemi. Why? Because it’s the official home of Santa Claus! 

Lapland Northern Lights

That’s right, the capital of Lapland is also home to one of the most beloved figures. There’s Santa Claus Village , SantaPark , Santa Claus Office and even Santa Claus Reindeer where you can meet the friendly helpers. Beyond all things Santa there is also lots to do from Arktikum Science Museum , Rovaniemi Art Museum , and of course Angry Birds Park !

Rovaniemi is also your chance to experience an authentic Finnish sauna, munch of some pulla (Finnish cardamom bread), and glimpse the Northern Lights. 

37. Stockholm, Sweden

Royal Palace Stockholm

Journey down the coast of Sweden along the Gulf of Bothnia all the way down to the Baltic Sea where you’ll find the capital, Stockholm. What many travelers to Stockholm might not know is that the capital city actually encompasses 14 islands with over 50 bridges. So the best way to see it all is to hop on the various ferries or sightseeing boats between the islands. 

Like most large European cities, Stockholm has its own old town called Gamla Stan which stands out for its cobblestone streets and ochre-colored buildings. 

Notable sites here include the 13th-century Storkyrkan Cathedral (make sure to go inside), the Swedish monarch abode Kungliga Slottet Royal Palace and the Nobel Museum (about the history of the Nobel Prize ). 

Get your Mama Mia on at the ABBA Museum , learn about all things nautical at the acclaimed Vasa Museum , or be more contemporary at Moderna Museet . Fashionista’s shouldn’t miss a visit to Södermalm (home to Greta Garbo) for “fika” (Swedish coffee break), boutique shopping, and massive photography gallery, Fotografiska . 

38. Oslo, Norway

Oslo

Take in the gorgeous scenic landscapes of Swedish as you travel across the country into Norway. Shortly after crossing the border, you’ll arrive at the capital of Oslo. 

Here you’ll find vast green spaces and plenty of museums to explore. Nature is a key part of life in Oslo, so this is a great chance to get out and moving as you won’t want to miss the epic scenery of the forests, walking trails and mountains – all easily accessible by public transport if you want to take a break from driving. 

Take a coastal stroll on the Bygdøy Peninsula which has, apart from astounding natural scenery, 5 national museums including the Viking Museum . Saunter around Frogner Park which has some 212 sculptures from artist Gustav Vigeland (as well as an eponymous museum ). 

Another major artist with a dedicated museum is Edvard Munch . Learn all about sliding down snow at the Holmenkollen Ski Museum & Tower or see a show at Oslo Opera House . Make your journey complete with a tranquil trip around the Oslofjord.

We would also recommend you add 3 more weeks to your trip and explore the rest of Norway. Check out this website with 18 scenic routes in Norway .

39. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen canals

Your epic European road trip continues back into Sweden with an extensive leg of the journey down into Malmö (where you should try their famed kebabs), crossing the epic Øresund Bridge and ending up in Denmark’s capital of Copenhagen. One glimpse at this beautiful city and you’ll see where famed fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen got his inspiration. 

Copenhagen has something for literally anyone from amusement parks ( Tivoli Gardens ) to trendy pedestrian streets (Strøget) to Michelin-starred cuisine (23 stars to 16 restaurants in 2020) to arts and culture galore. A short 10km ride to Lyngby-Taarbæk Kommune you’ll find the oldest amusement park in the world called Dyrehavsbakken (“The Deer Pasture’s Hill”), also known as Bakken (“The Hill”).

Rent a bike and do as locals do, explore different areas from Christiania, an old commune, the historic waterfront of Nyhavn and of course the Little Mermaid statue. 

If you can, leave your car in Copenhagen and traverse the waters into the tiny island territory of the Faroe Islands – where the roofs are covered in grass , the sheep outnumber the people and the views are epic. This might inspire you to take a trip…

40. North and East Germany

Berlin

Catch another ferry from Lolland in Denmark to Fehmarn in Germany. The Fehmarn Belt connecting these two destinations through an 18km underwater tunnel has also been approved , so keep on the lookout for its opening. 

You will be traveling the North of Germany through such cities as Hamberg, Bremen, Münster, Dortmund, down to the tip of the Rhine, then onward through several states from Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg which encompasses the capital of Berlin.

Here is where startup owners mingle with vegans, artists and hipsters, Berlin is the center of art and creativity in Germany and well worth a couple of days. 

While we only border Germany, you can feel free to venture into the country and explore as much or as little as you would like. Cruise straight through as fast as you can on the Autobahn blaring Kraftwerk ,enjoy sausages and beer and just take it all in.

41. Warsaw & Wrocław, Poland

Warsaw Poland

After speeding on the Autobahn and living it up in hedonistic Berlin, it’s time to take it a bit slow as you enter Poland’s capital of Warsaw. 

Warsaw is a city to reflect on the atrocities of the Nazi invasion and the aftermath of World War II by visiting the many monuments dedicated to the mass destruction of the city and the people in it. Yet, like a flower through the cracks, the city has been restored to its former glory – a far cry from the rubble of the 1940s. 

Old Town and Łazienki Park are particularly beautiful and the many museums will keep you intrigued, like POLIN , Warsaw Uprising Museum or the Copernicus Science Centre (Poland is the birthplace of the famed mathematician who found the sun to be the centre of our universe). Make a pit stop at Wrocław on the Oder River, particularly the Market Square for some more culture, art and elegant architecture.

42. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague’s famous Charles Bridge

Crossing over to the center of the Czech Republic, Prague is a beautiful city to go around on foot while exploring the unique baroque buildings, Gothic churches and the stunning medieval Astronomical Clock. 

It’s a place where art and creativity is thriving from puppetry to jazz, and was also home to writer Franz Kafka (he used to live in Golden Lane) and father of modern psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud . There’s even a statue of him hanging from a pole in Old Town.  

Sip some world famous Czech pivo (beer) while gazing at the Vltava river or go the full nine yards by taking a tour of the Czech Beer Museum Tour where you can bottle your own beer. Don’t forget to taste some pork knuckle and pickled cheese before exploring the thriving nightlife. 

43. Salzburg & Vienna, Austria

Salzburg

Cross yet another border and you’ll be in the birthplace of Mozart , Salzburg. It is known for having the best-preserved baroque architecture in the old town centre in Europe, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site . If you have time visit The Eagles Nest in nearby Berchtesgaden, Germany for an amazing hike and epic views of the Bavarian Alps. 

Vienna is the next stop on your epic road trip of Europe, home to the United Nations and the cultural, economic and political center of Austria. It’s known as one of the most livable cities in the world and has a rich history of artists, intellectuals, culture and music. So there will be more than enough to keep you busy for a few days.  

44. Bratislava, Slovakia

Bratislava

Right on the border of both Austria and Hungary is Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava. So it’s an easy choice to stop here between the two countries. 

Get your hiking shoes because this beautiful city has many nature trails on offer through vineyards, the Little Carpathian mountains, and overlooking the breathtaking Danube river. From fairytale castles ( Bratislava & Devin) to sky blue cathedrals to the revitalised Eurovea district , there is surprisingly a lot to take in when visiting Bratislava. 

45. Budapest, Hungary

Budapest Castle

Roll along the north of Hungary until you reach the Danube, which bisects Hungary’s capital Budapest. Interesting fact about Budapest is that it’s actually not one, but rather 3 unified cities. 

They are Buda and Óbuda on the west bank of the Danube and Pest on the east bank. Many consider Budapest to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and will be a surprising standout of your Europe road trip. 

If you don’t know where to start in this gem, try the UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue. Peruse the gorgeous Parliament Building along the banks of the Danube, or Heroes’ Square and St. Stephen’s Basilica before descending into the infamous Faust Wine Cellars under Buda Castle. Then relax your muscles with a dip in the Széchenyi Thermal Baths or the Gellért Baths . 

46. Transylvania and Bucharest, Romania

Bram Stoker Castle

While Transylvania is usually associated with Dracula, Gothic fortresses and churches and baroque buildings, it’s not as spooky as Bram Stoker makes it out to be. 

Most of your Transylvania itinerary will be centred around the castles like Bran , Peleș and Corvin , the UNESCO World Heritage Site of colorful Sighișoara and exploring the Turda Salt Mine are equally impressive. 

But it is a rather large region of around 102,834 sqkm, so there’s a lot to cover. Hop over to the trendy student area of Cluj-Napoca for a taste of Romanian cool, explore the medieval walls and towers of Sibiu on foot or ski at Poiană Brașov.

Keep going south-east until you reach the capital of Bucharest. Once home to Vlad the Impaler and communist despot Nicolae Ceaușescu , it’s now in a boom with highrise towers and sleek glass facades. 

There is still a glimpse of the past among the newer lofty towers. Bucharest has the world’s biggest parliamentary building Palace of Parliament standing at 365,000 sqm and 1,100 rooms. Take a romantic stroll at Cișmigiu Gardens, the cobblestone streets of Lipscani (Old Town) and glimpse a replica of Paris’s Arcul de Triumf, an ode to its former nickname “Paris of the East”. 

47. Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia, Bulgaria

Walking through the capital of the Balkan nation of Bulgaria is like taking a time machine back to almost 2,000 years ago. 

Witness Sofia’s history of outside occupation through the Greek, Roman, Ottoman and Soviet landmarks. The city’s history is deep and complicated where mosques have been converted into churches and monolithic soviet structures overshadow newly formed boulevards. 

While you can’t dip in, the Central Mineral Baths is a very photogenic spot with an informative museum. Adventurous travelers can ascend the 2,200m Vitosha Mountain. 

48. Skopje, North Macedonia

Skopje North Macedonia

Coming back into North Macedonia, this time you’ll be visiting Skopje, the country’s capital and largest city. 

While being the center of politics, culture, economics, and academics, it is an ancient city dating back to 4000 BC with Neolithic remains at the old Kale Fortress. Probably the best thing to do in Skopje is to stroll along the Vardar river and do some quirky architecture and statue spotting (trust us there is a lot of that!). 

After all the walking, get some fuel at the old bazaar where you can also delve more into the culture of Skopje and visit the fort at the top of the hill. Then continue on to find some really quirky brutalist architecture and sip some thick coffee at the hipster Debar Maalo area. 

49. Pristina, Kosovo

National Library of Kosovo Wiki Arben Llapashtica (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Pristina might not be the most popular or well-known city in Europe, but once you start strategizing a trip here, you’ll notice that there is indeed a lot to do. 

One unique fact about Albania concerns Kosovo where 92.9% of the population is actually ethnic Albanian and Muslim. 

This ethnic differentiation between Muslim Kosovar people and the rest of Orthodox Serbia, the official UN country Kosovo belongs to has been the focus of tension for decades and tragically ended in the terrible Kosovo War . 

Sadly, because Kosovo has not been recognised as an independent country by the UN, these tensions continue and mean that parts of the country are under the supervision of the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces . But fret not, traveling in Kosovo is very safe and attacks are rare.

Back to pristina, many of the things to do in the capital are interlinked with Albanian culture.  For example, you can taste some Albanian Rakia , see sculptures of Skanderbeg like the ones in Tirana , and pay homage to the devout spiritual leader at the Cathedral of Saint Mother Teresa (who was ethnically Albanian). 

You can socialise over a thick Turkish coffee, witness the medieval UNESCO Site in Gračanica or see one of the world’s ugliest buildings – the Kosovo National Library . 

To truly enjoy the most beautiful parts of Kosovo, take a detour to Peje and Prizren, two beautiful mountain villages where traditional architecture and rich Ottoman heritage have been preserved, they are real gems.

50. Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade in winter

You’ve been around the continent and visited almost every country and your final epic European road trip destination is Serbia’s capital, Belgrade. 

Belgrade is one of the oldest cities in Europe and has a tumultuous past of war and upheaval. It’s possibly this turbulent past that’s created it’s free-spirited present, particularly on the Bohemian avenue of Skardarlija and in the frequent splavovi (party boats) along the Danube and Sava.  You can end your monumental road trip of Europe with a bang in Belgrade by partying the night away. After sobering up, take in your final views from the Beogradska Tvrđava fortress , stroll around in deep thought at what you’ve accomplished at Kalemegdan Park and then jump into the water at Ada Ciganlija island.

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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.

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The tourist train connecting Villefranche-de-Conflent to Latour-de-Carol, passing over the Bridge of Cassagne, in the Pyrenees.

10 of the best train journeys in Europe, chosen by Lonely Planet

A new book on rail travel across the continent showcases gorgeous scenery, historic routes and adventures at a slower pace

R ailways in Europe are many things. With their grand stations, history and evocative destinations, they evoke a timelessness that is absent from the uniform experience of flying. In recent decades, high-speed services have complemented classic routes, while the demand for more climate-friendly travel has grown and new options have sprung up, including a recent wave of night trains.

Lonely Planet, which for nearly 50 years has championed a down-to-earth, connected style of travel, has produced a new Guide to Train Travel in Europe aimed at unlocking adventures by rail from any starting point on the continent. Here the authors pick fantastic journeys from the book.

Paris to Berlin – fast or slow

Liège-Guillemins station in Belgium, created by the architect Santiago Calatrava.

A well-established network of high-speed trains and a huge choice of slower options connects two of Europe’s great cities. A glorious three-country tour would allow you to head from Paris to Brussels, travelling on to Cologne via the space-age architecture of Liège-Guillemins station. Cologne’s cathedral is so close to the station you can hardly miss popping in before boarding an onward ICE German fast service to the capital, which takes less than five hours. To see more than the immediate surroundings of the station buildings in each city, book separate tickets for each leg at trainline.com , or add in a stop of a few hours or an overnight booking via Deutsche Bahn ( bahn.de ). A high-speed connection from Paris via Frankfurt is also possible.

Amsterdam to Vienna on the Nightjet

Passengers look outside the window of a Nightjet train at Vienna station.

One of several recent additions to Europe’s sleeper train scene, the Nightjet service operated by Austrian Railways ( oebb.at ) departs every evening at 7pm or 7.30pm from Amsterdam. As you doze off, the train will trundle alongside the Rhine, passing Cologne and Koblenz, then continuing south-east through Germany and entering Austria at Passau. A 9.19am arrival in Vienna ensures time for a lie-in and breakfast. This train can easily be combined with the Eurostar service from London or a ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam , or from Harwich to Hoek van Holland .

Loop the loop in North Wales

A steam train on the Ffestiniog Railway, in Snowdonia.

Some of the world’s most beautiful narrow-gauge railways can be found in Wales and two of the best can be combined in a loop that takes in the mountains and coastal scenery of Snowdonia. Catch a service from Llandudno Junction – which has main line connections – down the Conwy valley to Blaenau Ffestiniog . Change for the celebrated Ffestiniog Railway , a distinctive steam-hauled service that winds 13 miles down to the coast at Porthmadog. Return via the sublime steam service of the Welsh Highland Railway under the summit of Snowdon to Caernarfon, where you can catch a bus to Bangor and main line services.

From Bastia to Ajaccio through the Corsican interior

Train passing a derelict station at Lumio, Corsica, with snow-covered mountains in the distance under a deep blue sky.

The Chemins de Fer de la Corse ( Corsican Railways ) is a narrow-gauge railway centred on Ponte Leccia – from where three main lines head to Ajaccio, Bastia and Calvi, all providing incredible views of beautiful and rugged terrain. The route linking Ajaccio and Bastia is the longest and most celebrated, taking three and a half hours, so is best done with an overnight stop, rather than attempted as a day trip. Corsica is well served by ferries from mainland France such as Toulon, Marseille and Nice, opening up a tempting train-and-ferry route from the UK.

Dublin to Madrid by train and ferry

View from the cliff walk between Bray and Greystones, with  grassy cliffs and sea, in Co Wicklow, Ireland.

It is possible to head from Dublin direct to mainland Europe. A largely single-track line skirts the Irish Sea heading south as far as Wicklow before veering inland and stopping in the appealing county town of Wexford, set on the estuary of the River Slaney. It’s a short hop along the tracks from there to the port of Rosslare for the twice-weekly ferries to Bilbao , which take about 30 hours. Then it’s a five-hour rail journey on to Madrid. Recommended stops take in Burgos’s treasured cathedral, the former Spanish capital of Valladolid and Segovia’s Roman aqueduct and Alcázar fortress.

Venice to Palermo – across the water in Italy

The statue of Garibaldi outside Palermo train station, Sicily.

Heading from top to toe in Italy, this dramatic journey’s potential stopping points need no introduction. Fast Frecciarossa trains connect Venice to the gastronomic centre of Bologna in 90 minutes, with Florence 40 minutes down the line. An hour and a half further on you’re in Rome. From here the south of Italy opens up. For one of Europe’s most unusual rail experiences take a train service all the way to Sicily. At Villa San Giovanni in Calabria, you and your carriage board a dedicated ferry to Messina, in Sicily, from where the hectic fun of Palermo is a slow-rolling four and a half hours’ ride away along the coast. There are several daily intercity and night services that run from the mainland, via the ferry, through to the Sicilian capital including sleepers direct from Milan, Genoa and Pisa.

From coast to coast, via a mountain high – Oslo to Bergen

A Flåm Railway train running through a valley, in Norway.

A contender for Europe’s best train trip, the Bergen Line ( Bergensbanen ) thunders past southern Norway’s mountains and lakes between Oslo and Bergen, reaching 1,222m at Finse station, where a snowball fight is generally on offer. The trip takes nearly seven hours, which passes quickly in a blur of incredible scenery on a comfortable intercity service. There’s scope to do a longer version of this route taking the Norway in a Nutshell tour, which includes the Flåm Railway – possibly the world’s most scenic branch line – and a boat journey through Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord.

Paris to Barcelona on the slow train

The Petit Train Jaune (little yellow train), crossing the Pont Séjourné viaduct in the French Pyrenees.

These cities are linked by a fast train , but there’s a leisurely route south through France to the Pyrenees via Limoges, Toulouse and through magnificent rural and mountain scenery to Latour-de-Carol. While it’s possible to reach Latour-de-Carol by direct night train from Paris, you would miss the slowly unfolding views you can enjoy when doing this journey in daylight. From Latour-de-Carol a commuter line runs all the way to Barcelona and takes just over three hours. Possible stops along the way include fortified Ribes de Freser and Ripoll, home to an ancient monastery and a good starting point for hiking trails.

Budapest to Split on a sleeper

Old Hungarian train at Lake Balaton, in a beautiful landscape, with Tihany in the background.

During the summer there’s a tempting night service between Hungary’s capital and the Adriatic. In recent years the train has left Budapest at midnight, getting into Split after lunch. En route it passes the Hungarian holiday playground of Lake Balaton and Zagreb, Croatia’s capital. Once on the Adriatic coast, buses head south to Dubrovnik, while ferries and catamarans radiate out to nearby islands.

Locarno to Domodossola through the Swiss Alps

View of snowy peaks out the window of a restaurant near Titlis mountain, Switzerland.

Pretty much any journey in Switzerland promises jaw-dropping scenery, and on several routes trains run slowly specifically to show off the mountains, rivers and lakes that can be seen from the window. Travelling between Locarno in Switzerland to Domodossola in the Piedmont region of Italy, the Centovalli (Hundred Valleys) Railway is a short but scenic service past 52km of waterfalls, chestnut groves, church-topped villages, deep ravines and vineyards. Highlights include the Isorno Bridge near the village of Intragna and Intragna’s gorge.

These routes, plus tips on rail travel, are featured in Lonely Planet’s Guide to Train Travel in Europe by Tom Hall, Imogen Hall and Oliver Smith (£19.99), available at shop.lonelyplanet.com

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The scene route between Oslo and Bergen runs through the mountains of Norway

The 14 most scenic train journeys in Europe

Pack a book, hop on board and enjoy the most scenic train journeys in Europe, from west to east and north to south

John Bills

From glaciers and fjords to deserts and plains,   Europe ’s home to some of the world’s most mind-blowing natural landscapes. And so, logically, it makes a heck of a lot of sense that the finest scenic rail journeys in Europe – train routes which are specifically designed to show off those spectacular landscapes – are amongst   the best in the entire world .

The European continent’s finest scenic rail journeys also double up as pilgrimages to sites of incredible feats of engineering. These trains scale dramatic mountains, plunge through ginormous tunnels and span vast distances. You won’t just be gob-smacked by the view: you’ll wonder how on earth you’re able to experience it from the comfort of a locomotive.

And, before you say anything, no, scenic rail routes certainly aren’t just for rail geeks. Oh no. They’re also amongst the most comfortable and supremely romantic ways of getting around. As well as being much better for the planet than cars and planes, train travel is a destination in itself – and that’s even more the case with scenic routes. So, without further ado, here are our top 14 scenic railways in Europe right now.

RECOMMENDED: 🚂  The best train journeys in the world 🚅  The best train journeys in Asia 🚉  The world’s most spectacular train stations

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Best train journeys in Europe

Oslo to Bergen, Norway

1.  Oslo to Bergen, Norway

Connecting Oslo and Bergen is the fairytale Bergen Line. Take it in spring or autumn, and the voyage plays out like a living painting of all four seasons, as blustery flower meadows and lush valleys fade into icy forests of pine and glittering lakes. It’s a journey that’s quite possibly up there with the best in the world. It makes little difference which way you travel – views are equally OTT in both directions, on both sides of the tracks – but start in the morning to ensure you get a full day of views on the seven-hour trip. Ticket prices are generally quite affordable, but onboard food will set you back, so pack snacks.

Belgrade to Bar, Serbia and Montenegro

2.  Belgrade to Bar, Serbia and Montenegro

Often referred to as ‘the Balkan Express’, the 11-hour (on a good day) jaunt from Belgrade to Bar celebrates civil engineering and natural majesty. A whopping 435 bridges are traversed as the train trundles from the Serbian capital to Montenegro’s largest port, working as a time machine through the twentieth century in these parts. That means socialist architecture in Užice, modern ski resorts in Kolašin and the rapidly developing tourism of Montenegro’s southern coast. The last stretch is particularly stunning.

Palma to Sóller, Majorca

3.  Palma to Sóller, Majorca

The electric train line that links Majorca’s capital, Palma, with the northern town of Sóller was originally built to ship oranges across the island. Its vintage wooden carriages rattle out of central Palma, through the city’s hinterlands and across the great dry plains of southern Majorca. After a stop in Bunyola, it’s a steady climb into the foothills – followed by the sudden pitch black of the Sóller tunnel. And then comes the best bit: a winding route through the lush peaks of the Serra de Tramuntana, with incredible views over Sóller’s distant church, before the final descent. The whole trip only takes an hour, leaving plenty of time to catch the heritage tram down to Port de Sóller and cool off in the sea before the return leg.

Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog, Wales

4.  Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog, Wales

The small mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog has fallen on tough times with the demise of the slate mining industry, but the little steam railway that connects it with Porthmadog harbour is a gorgeous route showing Wales at its most magnificent. Most of the journey snakes through Snowdonia National Park, with plenty of stop-off options for travellers with time on their hands. The Ffestiniog Railway Company is also the oldest independent railway company on the planet, another layer of awesome to this gorgeous experience. 

Zermatt to St. Moritz, Switzerland

5.  Zermatt to St. Moritz, Switzerland

If you’ve high expectations of an experience named ‘The Glacier Express’, get ready for them to be exceeded and then some. This mountain marvel connects the resorts of Zermatt and St. Moritz, and the panoramic views make this one of the best ways to embrace all this dramatic landscape offers. The seven-and-a-half-hour journey traverses 291 bridges, 91 tunnels and a whole lot of beauty. 

The Brocken, Germany

6.  The Brocken, Germany

Another gorgeous journey from base to summit, The Brocken Railway picks wide-eyed passengers up from the settlement on the edge of Harz National Park called Drei Annen-Hohne. When the ride is over, those passengers find themselves on top of the world, or at least on top of the Brocken, the highest peak in Northern Germany. The journey is all tight turns, dramatic valleys, snowy vistas and lose-yourself imagery at a maximum speed of 40km/h. 

Barcelona to Montserrat, Spain

7.  Barcelona to Montserrat, Spain

There are plenty of ways to travel from Barcelona to the base of Montserrat mountain, but we’re putting our eggs firmly in the basket marked ‘train’. Actually, that would be ‘tren’ in Catalan, but you get the idea. There is a wide range of tickets available for the journey, though we recommend getting one that covers not just your train from Barcelona and then either the cable car or rack railway up the mountain itself, but also entry into the Montserrat Museum.

Fort William to Mallaig, Scotland

8.  Fort William to Mallaig, Scotland

A constant on lists of the world’s most beautiful train journeys, Scotland’s Jacobite Steam Train is an 84-mile stunner traversing the magic of Scotland from Fort William to Mallaig. Booking ahead is an absolute must but totally worth it, as the journey transports visitors across a landscape that takes the term ‘rugged’ and redefines it in that inimitable Scottish way. Some call it the Hogwarts Express after its turn in the Harry Potter films, and you can insert your own magical comment here.

Myrdal to Flåm, Norway

9.  Myrdal to Flåm, Norway

Another frequent face on lists of the world’s best train journeys, the line between Myrdal and Flåm in Norway bridges the divide between impossibly cute and absolutely monolithic. That’s Norway in a nutshell, right? The small things are all quaint and idyllic, while the big ones bluster through stunning cliffs, jagged mountains and awe-inspiring scenery. The Flåm Railway climbs a whopping 867 metres into the sky and back, with a short shop at the Kjosfossen waterfall as the cherry on top. 

Chur to Poschiavo, Switzerland

10.  Chur to Poschiavo, Switzerland

Switzerland is every bit as spectacular as its reputation suggests it might be. Actually, this place is woefully undersold and the rail route between Chur and Poschiavo is further proof, a jaw-dropping run that takes lucky passengers through the heart of the Swiss Alps. The famous mountains unravel on either side of the train, scenery that tends to see passengers put their cameras down and stare at the wonders at hand. The Bernina Express continues toward Tirano in Italy for those who need even more scenery. 

La Rhune, France

11.  La Rhune, France

What an absolute stunner of a ride. From the foot of the Pyrenees to the top via an early 1900s cog railway, the quaintest of quaint trains scaling a mighty height. It can be a little jarring, but the cobwebs are soon blown away by the stunning vistas and the majesty that awaits at the summit. The train only runs from April to September, round-trip tickets cost €20 (an absolute bargain), and it begins its journey in the town of Sare, some 10km or so from Saint-Jean-de-Luz.

12.  Prague to Bratislava, Czech Republic and Slovakia

Okay, the scenery outside the window between Prague and Bratislava is nothing to write home about. Is it pretty? Sure, we’d expect nothing less from this part of the world, but the real fun of this route is found inside. A train journey spent in a Central European restaurant car is one of those most eccentric travel experiences, so make an immediate beeline for that part of the train when boarding. Line up some excellent Czech  pivo  and enjoy the conveyor belt of characters who will invariably make their way through the car. 

Málaga to El Chorro, Spain

13.  Málaga to El Chorro, Spain

While you can’t get a train across the thrilling and terrifying Caminito del Rey walkway, you can still experience a great journey on the way. The train from Malaga to El Chorro is a stunner, a fast route that takes less than 45 minutes and will set you back less than a tenner. That gives you just under 45 minutes to enjoy the stunning scenery and dredge up the courage to traverse the famous walkway. 

14.  Mostar to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina doesn’t have many trains, but it remains an absolute must for lovers of rail travel. Why? Well, the stretch of track between Mostar and Jablanica quickly answers that question. It offers a jaw-dropping array of twists and turns that hug the cerulean blue of the ice-cold Neretva river, as jagged cliffs hem everything in from all sides. Sure, you need to get up early to catch the train, but it is worth that sunrise alarm. The route continues to Sarajevo, passing through charming Konjic and several satellite towns along the way.

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ZigZagonEarth

Plan unforgettable road trips!

2 weeks in Europe Itinerary by Train – 4 detailed options (+ Tips)

Last updated on March 2, 2023 by Claire Robinson - this article contains affiliate links. If you purchase through them, I get a small commission ( more )

Planning a trip to Europe? Want to get a great snapshot in a limited time? In this article I share my top tips to plan your 2 weeks in Europe as well as 4 detailed Europe itineraries by train : Latin, Eastern, Western and Central. Discover some of the most beautiful treasures of the continent.

Travel Europe trip itinerary 2 weeks

// In this article, no ads, no sponsored posts. Just some affiliate links. If you purchase through them, I get a commission at no extra cost to you ( Disclosure ).

Things to consider when planning 2 weeks in Europe

Want to discover as much as possible of Europe during your 2 week trip? Here are a few points to consider when planning your itinerary:

  • SIZE OF EUROPE - the European continent is as big as the USA 
  • VARIETY OF CULTURES - In theory, if you were flying every evening or morning you could change countries everyday and still have a full day to explore. But Europe is full of different fascinating cultures. There is much to see everywhere. So I recommend selecting a portion of Europe and visit only a few countries, to better appreciate each place.
  • SIMPLE TRAVEL - Traveling between large cities is relatively easy in Europe, but once you decide to reach smaller cities, it means more connections and modes of transportation. Considering you "only" have 2 weeks, I recommend sticking to major cities

2 weeks in Europe Itinerary 2 weeks

Best way to travel Europe in 2 weeks - Europe by train

  • BY TRAIN   - easy access from cities, direct trains connect most major cities, plus you can see the landscapes changing, spot small villages and appreciate more of each country. CHOICE I RECOMMEND Book you train tickets with the SNCF Connect platform!
  • BY CAR - If you want to cover several different countries, I don't recommend renting a car, because distances are significant and parking in major cities is a pain. Rent a car only if you want to do regions that are close to each other i.e. North of France, South of Belgium and Luxembourg My favorite platform for renting cars around the world is Discovercars .
  • BY PLANE - between the time to get out of the city to the airport, being early and waiting for flight, the time to get luggage, time to get inside the next city... it may seems faster, but it is often not Plus train you can see landscapes changing, spot small villages
  • BY COACH  - For those with smaller budget, this is a good alternative to train. But you need to plan more time for transportation

Europe by train - best way to travel Europe in 2 weeks

2 weeks in Europe itinerary - My 4 proposals

Based on all that, I have created 4 possible 2 week Europe itineraries by Train for you to consider depending on your interests. Below is a map that shows you which parts of Europe are covered with those 4 suggestions:

Map Europe itinerary 2 weeks by trains

OPTION 1 - LATIN EUROPE

  • Barcelona (Spain) + Paris (France) + Venice (Italy) + Rome (Italy + Vatican)
  • Go directly to itinerary

OPTION 2 - EASTERN EUROPE

  • European Elegance
  • Prague (Czech Republic) + Vienna (Austria) + Bratislava (Slovakia) + Budapest (Hungary)

OPTION 3 - WESTERN EUROPE

  • London (UK) + Paris (France) + Brussels (Belgium) + Amsterdam (The Netherlands) + Berlin (Germany)

OPTION 4 - CENTRAL WEST EUROPE

  • Especially good at Christmas, away from the capital cities
  • Luxembourg + Strasbourg (France) + Munich (Germany) + Salzburg (Austria)

Don't make the same mistake I did!

VPN mistake

During one of my last trips, I used an open hotel wifi and got my credit card details stolen. So, my travels started with a phone call telling me I could not use my card anymore! What a mess...

Learn from my mistake, make a small investment for worry-free surfing. Get a VPN tool to turn on once you are outside your home!

LATIN EUROPE

LATIN EUROPE trip Itinerary 2 weeks

Trip overview.

Latin Europe trip itinerary two weeks

Day 1 to 3 - BARCELONA (Spain)

Highlights / Classics

  • Visit the magnificent Sagrada Familia - it is massive with a unique style. Considered the absolute must-see in Barcelona
  • Admire the architectural work of Gaudi with his emphasis on natural curves and patterns, creating the catalan modernism movement
  • Enjoy the light and music show at the Magic Fountain
  • Go to the top of the Tibidabo Mountain to admire Barcelona from above
  • Visit the Joan Miro Foundation to discover some of the artist's most iconic work

Barcelona stop on Europe itinerary by train

Where to Stay

Below are some suggestions of places to stay in Barcelona on your 2 weeks in Europe itinerary:

  • Best areas to stay in Barcelona - Old town (El Born), Barceloneta Las Ramblas and Placa Catalunya
  • LUXURY - El palace Hotel in the old town, modern decor in old charm with a fantastic location - Check out photos and latest prices
  • MY FAVORITE - Duquesa Suites Barcelona, great light and views, fantastic terrace  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • VALUE FOR MONEY - Room Mate Pau has amazing design, friendly staff and a great location - Check out photos and latest prices
  • HOSTEL - Hostel one Ramblas: clean, good atmosphere, free diner and a roof top terrace  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • Or Find your ideal accommodation within the best customer-rated accommodations in Barcelona

Food Suggestions

  • Try as many tapas as possible. I love this way of eating, to be able to enjoy so many flavors!!!
  • Tortilla, the traditional Spanish Omelette
  • Paella - a good fresh paella cooked in a giant dish Miam!!!
  • And for desert, the Catalan Creme with its cinnamon custard

what to eat in Barcelona Pix-1578965_640

Barcelona Like a local

  • Enjoy a Sunday picnic at Parc de la Ciutadella to enjoy a little bit of greenery, especially on hot summer days
  • Watch sunset at Bunkers del Carmel
  • Chill at the Mar Bella Beach
  • Go for a run at Parc Natural de Collserola
  • Explore the specialty shops in the Gracia district 

Useful words in Catalan

  • Good morning : Bon Dia
  • Hello - Hola
  • Thank you - Merci (similar to French with with emphasis on e)
  • Please - Por Favor
  • Currency - Euros
  • Plug - 2 rounds
  • Emergency - 112

Activity ideas

Check out some of the best rated activities :

Day 4 - TRAIN Barcelona to Paris

  • Path - Barcelona Sants to Paris Gare de Lyon station
  • Time on train - 6h30
  • Type of train - Choose the "directs" with High speed trains
  • Suggested time - Morning departure for arrival mid afternoon or beginning of afternoon departure for arrival in the evening
  • Check availability and Book you train tickets with the SNCF Connect platform! Book your seat and Purchase Train Ticket

Day 5 to 8 - PARIS (France)

  • Admire the iconic Eiffel tower and its impressive structure
  • Visit the Notre Dame Cathedral and travel back in time
  • Visit the underground world at the Catacombs
  • Admire the stained glass windows at Sainte-Chapelle
  • Get up to the Sacré-Coeur to look over Paris
  • Watch a show at one of the cabarets
  • Enjoy an evening cruise on the River Seine to see the lights of Paris
  • Feel royal at the Versailles Castle
  • You can check out my article about spending 3 days in Paris

Paris stop on Europe trip itinerary by train

Below are some suggestions of places to stay in Paris on your 2 weeks in Europe itinerary:

  • Best areas to stay in Paris - The Marais, near the Pantheon, the 6th arrondissement, Ile Saint Louis... Check out my complete article on where to to stay in Paris
  • LEGENDARY - Le Meurice is a palace in the 1st with great views of Paris (some rooms see the Eiffel Tower), a perfect location and a renowned restaurant  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • LUXURY - Le Narcisse Blanc & Spa in the 7th, classic Parisian chic and great facilities - Check out photos and latest prices
  • MY FAVORITE - Hotel La Lanterne in the 5th - love the style and the swimming pool area! - Check out photos and latest prices
  • VALUE FOR MONEY - Hotel du Vieux Saule is in the heart of the Marais, yet has quiet rooms - Clean and practical for a good price - Check out photos and latest prices
  • HOSTEL - Generator Paris in the 10th, close to Metro station Colonel Fabien (Line 2) - Check out photos and latest prices
  • Or Find your ideal accommodation within the best customer-rated accommodations in Paris

Since I am French, I could list pages and pages of great food to try. So delicious! But I have to limit myself here...

  • For breakfast croissant and pain au chocolat or some fresh baguette from the bakery
  • Cheese, cheese and cheese 🙂 we even have restaurants that only serve cheese dishes. LOL
  • Find a great bakery to try delicious cakes. The good ones melt and crisp in your mouth and are very light
  • And while you are there, taste the Macarons. They exist with many flavors and will make you gasp.
  • Enjoy the wine too

Food tours Paris

Experience Paris like a local

  • Relax along Canal Saint-Martin, especially in the evening in Summer
  • Sit at a terrace, drink coffee and do people watching
  • Enjoy a weekend picnic in Parc des Buttes Chaumont (with baguettes and wine!)
  • Just go for a walk, take side streets and see where they lead you

Useful words in French

  • Good morning : Bonjour
  • Hello - Salut
  • Thank you - Merci 
  • Please - S'il vous plait

Check out the best tours and activities in Paris 

Overnight Day 8 to Day 9 - Travel to Venice 

  • Path - Paris Gare de Lyon to Venecia Santa Luzia
  • Time on train - 14 hours 25 minutes
  • Type of train - Thello Night Train to get a train without connection
  • Suggested time - 7:10pm departure
  • Check availability and Book you train tickets with the SNCF Connect platform! Book your seat and Purchase train ticket

Day 9 and 10 - VENICE (Italy)

  • Marvel at Saint Mark's Basilica
  • Enjoy a Gondola ride on the canals
  • Get up the Campanile di San Marco
  • For more ideas about things to do in Venice, check out this guide by Suitcase and Wanderlust

Venice stop on itinerary Europe travel by train

Below are some suggestions of places to stay in Venice on your 2 weeks in Europe itinerary:

  • LUXURY - Hotel Londra Palace: fantastic location and some great views - Check out photos and latest prices
  • MY FAVORITE - Hotel l'Orologio because it is modern, instead of going with heavy traditional decors, to avoid overload during your visit   - Check out photos and latest prices
  • VALUE FOR MONEY - Alla Vite Dorata: welcoming, good location but calm, small option at great price  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • HOSTEL - Located within a historic monastery, We_Crociferi has a great ambience, romantic and modern   - Check out photos and latest prices
  • Or Find your ideal accommodation within the best customer-rated accommodations in Venice
  • Baicoli, historical biscuits that could last long for sailors on ships
  • Sarde in saor - a sweet and sour dish with fried sardine fillets
  • Fritole during the carnival period, a sweet fried pastry
  • The many delicious risottos with seafood

Useful words in Italian

  • Good morning - BuonGiorno
  • Hello - Ciao
  • Thank you - Grazie
  • Please - Per favore

Check out the best tours and activities in Venice 

Day 11 Venice + Travel to Rome 

  • Path - Venezia S Lucia to Roma Termini (the most central of the 2 stations)
  • Time on train - 3h45
  • Type of train - Regional Train
  • Suggested time - Morning or afternoon depending on if you want to see more of Venice or Rome
  • Check availability and Book you train tickets with the SNCF Connect platform! Purchase Train Ticket and Book your seat

Day 12 to 14 - ROME (Italy)

  • Imagine ancient games at the Colosseum
  • Imagine how life was as you explore the Roman forum
  • Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain
  • Admire the many historical buildings, especially the pantheon
  • Visit another country: the Vatican

Rome stop on itinerary Europe trip by train

Below are some suggestions of places to stay in Rome on your 2 weeks in Europe itinerary:

  • Best areas to stay in Rome - around the Pantheon, Around Trevi in the northern part of the historic center or in the South near the Colosseum
  • LUXURY - Hassler Roma where some of the rooms have exceptional views  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • MY FAVORITE - The Inn at the Roman Forum: small hotel, great rooms, charm, luxury and history  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • VALUE FOR MONEY - Hotel Condotti with great location, nice staff and good soundproofing  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • HOSTEL - Generator Rome with well designed clean rooms  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • Or Find your ideal accommodation within the best customer-rated accommodations in Rome
  • The essentials - Pizza, Pasta and ice cream
  • Suppli - fried rice ball

food in rome - pizza

Experience Rome like a local

  • Relax in the park of Villa Borghese
  • Speak with your hands
  • Watch sunset from the Giancolo
  • Take a cooking class

Check out the best tours and activities in Rome 

Is the railpass worth it?

This itinerary enters inside a Eurail Select Pass 3 countries (5 days of travel within 2 months) - see the railpass options and click on "Pass" tab

According to my calculations, the total of separate tickets is cheaper than the pass for adults. However if you are traveling with families, it could be interesting. And if you plan on taking side trips from the cities, it could be as well.

I don't drink coffee

But I like other drinks and foods! Do you enjoy the free content you find on my blog? All my tips and practical information, without intrusive advertising...

Claire ZigZag

EASTERN  EUROPE

EASTERN EUROPE Itinerary in 2 weeks

Eastern Europe itinerary 2 weeks

Day 1 to 3 - PRAGUE (Czek Republic)

  • Watch time pass at the astronomical tower
  • Visit the castle
  • Feel dizzy looking at the dancing house
  • Wander in the old town
  • Admire the lights at night

Praque stop on itinerary Eastern Europe by train

Below are some suggestions of places to stay in Prague on your Europe 2 week trip:

  • ROYAL - The Grand Mark Prague inside a palace  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • LUXURY - Augustine With spacious rooms, interior garden and beautiful architecture - Check out photos and latest prices
  • MY FAVORITE traditional - Hotel Pod Vezi close to the Charles Bridge with large elegant rooms  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • MY FAVORITE modern - MeetMe23 and its fun unique decor!  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • VALUE FOR MONEY - Josephine Old Town Hotel: fantastic location and spacious rooms for the price - Check out photos and latest prices
  • HOSTEL - Post Hostel Prague with great organization and ambience  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • Or Find your ideal accommodation within the best customer-rated accommodations in Prague
  • For those not afraid of raw meat, the Beef steak tartare
  • Kulajda, the traditional soup
  • Wiener sausages
  • Dishes with lots of sauce

Useful words in Czech

  • Good morning -  Dobré ráno
  • Hello - Ahoj
  • Thank you -  Děkuji
  • Please -  Prosím
  • Currency - Czek Koruna

Check out the best tours and activities in Prague 

Day 4 morning - TRAIN Prague to Vienna

  • Path - Praha Hlavni NADR to Wien HBF
  • Time on train - 4h
  • Type of train - Railjet
  • Suggested time - Morning ride to start visiting Vienna in the afternoon

Day 4 afternoon to 7 - VIENNA (Austria)

  • Feel royal while visiting the Hofburg or the Schönbrunn Palace or the Belvedere Palace
  • Visit the historical center of Vienna around St Stephen's Cathedral
  • Admire the equestrian arts at the Spanish riding school
  • Feel small in front of Vienna's city hall

Vienna stop on itinerary 2 weeks in Europe by train

Below are some suggestions of places to stay in Vienna on your Europe trip:

  • Best areas to stay in Vienna - old town (Innere Stadt), on the island Leopoldstadt and Landstrasse
  • LUXURY - Hotel Sans Souci Wien is a palace with beautiful decor mix of old and new  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • MY FAVORITE - Hotel Am Parkring because I love open views  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • VALUE FOR MONEY - Motel one Wien-Staatsoper with great location, decor and breakfast  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • HOSTEL - Vienna Hostel Ruthersteiner with great quality accommodation for a good price  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • Or Find your ideal accommodations within the best customer-rated accommodations in Vienna
  • Wiener schnitzel (thin breaded pan fried veal cutlet)
  • Sweet apfelstrudel
  • Classic Wiener Sausage
  • The shredded pancake called Kaiserschmarrn
  • Sachertorte (rich chocolate sponge cake)

Useful words in German (Autrian)

  • Good morning - Guten Morgen or Guten Tag
  • Hello - Hallo
  • Thank you - Danke
  • Please - Bitte
  • Currency - Euro

Check out the best tours and activities in Vienna

Day 8 - TRAIN Vienna to Bratislava

  • Path - Wien HBF to Brastislava Hl. St.
  • Time on train - 1h
  • Suggested time - Depending if you want more time to spend in one of the cities

Day 8 afternoon to 10 - BRATISLAVA (Slovakia)

  • Wander in the old town around Michael's gate - pay attention to the colors and details in the facades
  • Visit the Bratislava Castle and the Grassalkovich Palace
  • Hunt the Bronze statues throughout the city

Bratislava stop on itinerary 2 weeks around Europe by train

Below are some suggestions of places to stay in Vienna on your 2-week trip around Europe:

  • LUXURY - Arcadia hotel with great traditional decor and a fantastic spa - Check out photos and latest prices
  • MY FAVORITE - LOFT Hotel Bratislava with beautiful common areas and spacious rooms  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • VALUE FOR MONEY - Aplend City hotel Perugia: comfortable, good location, delicious breakfast  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • HOSTEL - Wild Elephants Hostel is perfectly located  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • Or Find your ideal accommodation within the best customer-rated accommodations in Bratislava
  • Halusky the traditional Slovakian meal (potato dumplings in creamy sauce)
  • The Pressburg cuisine : spicy Hungarian stew

Useful words in Slovak

  • Thank you -  Ďakujem
  • Please -  prosím

Check out the best tours and activities in Bratislava 

Day 11 - TRAIN Bratislava to Budapest

  • Path - Bratislava HL S. to Budapest Nyuga PU
  • Time on train - 2h26
  • Type of train - Cross-border regional train - Eurocity

Day 12 to 14 - BUDAPEST (Hungary)

  • Stroll along the Danube and admire the buildings
  • Explore Castle Hill and visit the Buda Castle
  • Marvel at the architectural details of the Parliament buildings
  • Climb to the dome of St Stephen's Basilica
  • Visit the Fisherman's Bastion and its amazing architecture
  • Marvel at Matthias Church of our Lady and learn about its long history
  • Learn more about the war and go underground in the Hospital bunker

Budapest stop on 2 weeks around Europe itinerary by train

Below are some suggestions of places to stay in Budapest on your 2 week trip around Europe:

  • LUXURY - Boscolo Budapest: amazing common areas and pools, spacious rooms, beautiful architecture  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • MY FAVORITE - Hotel Moments Budapest with intriguing interior design - Check out photos and latest prices
  • VALUE FOR MONEY - BP design Hotel and Apartman with a perfect location in the old town - Check out photos and latest prices
  • HOSTEL - Flow hostel, with bright decor and space  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • Or Find your ideal accommodation within the best customer-rated accommodations in Budapest
  • Goulash (Fulyas), the traditional dish in Hungaria
  • Stuffed paprikas
  • Many soups such as the Jokai Bean Soup (vinegar, sour cream, pork, carrots, beans...) or Lesco (red peppers, tomatoes, onions, lard, paprika)

Useful words in Hungarian

  • Good morning -  Jó reggelt
  • Hello -  Helló
  • Thank you -  Köszönöm
  • Please - Kérem
  • Currency - Hungarian Forint

Check out the best tours and activities in Budapest 

This itinerary enters inside a Eurail Select Pass 4 countries (you can reduce its price by choosing the right option for how many days of travel within how many months) - see the railpass options and click on "Pass" tab

According to my calculations, the total of separate tickets is cheaper than the pass for adults. However if you are traveling with families, it could be interesting. And price may change if some of you travel on weekends.

WESTERN EUROPE

WESTERN EUROPE Trip Itinerary 2 weeks

travel routes in europe

Day 1 to 4 - LONDON (United Kingdom)

  • Watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace
  • Admire the crown jewels at the Tower of London
  • Visit the many free museums
  • Marvel at Big Ben and the parliament
  • Feel royal at Westminster Abbey Have a stroll in Hyde Park
  • Get a bird eye view of London from the London Eye

London stop on itinerary Europe travel by train

Below are some suggestions of places to stay in London on your 2 week trip in Western Europe:

  • Best areas to stay in London - The West end with Soho, Covent Garden, Leicester square, Oxford street... or Kensington on the Piccadilly line
  • LUXURY - Rosewood London with elegant design and grandiose architecture - Check out photos and latest prices
  • LUXURY Boutique - The Mandrake Hotel has lots of personnality - Check out photos and latest prices
  • MY FAVORITE - Apex Temple Court Hotel wiht amazing views from some of the rooms - Check out photos and latest prices
  • MY FAVORITE Funky - Mondrian London by the Tamise river has a unique design. Have a look!  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • VALUE FOR MONEY - CitizenM London Bankside with beautiful design   - Check out photos and latest prices
  • HOSTEL - Astor Hyde park Hostel in a beautiful Victorian building - Check out photos and latest prices
  • Or Find your ideal accommodations within the best customer-rated accommodations in London
  • Fish and chips late at night
  • A good traditional roast
  • Pie and mashed potatoes with gravy
  • And, of course, the full English breakfast
  • Afternoon tea

Useful words in London

I think you can manage with English LOL

  • Currency - British pound
  • Plug - 3 rectangles (type G)

Check out the best tours and activities in London 

Day 4 - TRAIN London to Paris

  • Path - London St-Pancras to Paris Nord
  • Time on train - 2h25
  • Type of train - Eurostar under the sea
  • Suggested time - Your choice, depending if you want an extra half day in Paris or in London

Day 5 to 7 - Paris (France)

  • Enjoy and evening cruise on the Seine River to see the lights of Paris
  • Or Find your ideal accommodations within the best customer-rated accommodations in Paris
  • Find a great bakery to try delicious cake. The good ones melt and crisp in your mouth and are very light

Visit Paris like a local on your 2 week in Europe itinerary

  • Just go for a walk, take side streets and see where it leads you

Day 8 Morning - TRAIN Paris to Brussels

  • Path - Paris Nord to Bruxelles Midi
  • Time on train - 1h22
  • Type of train - Thalys high speed train
  • Suggested time - Morning to have the afternoon in Brussels
  • Check availability and Book you train tickets with the SNCF Connect platform!

Day 8 afternoon and 9 - BRUSSELS (Belgium)

  • Stand in the middle of the Grand Place (Grote Markt)
  • Laugh at how small the Mannekin Pis is
  • Feel small in front of the Cathedral
  • Admire the buildings around the Place Royale (Koningsplein)

Brussels stop on Europe in 2 weeks itinerary by train

Below are some suggestions of places to stay in Brussels on your 2 week trip in Western Europe:

  • LUXURY - Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo with comfortable rooms and welcoming staff  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • MY FAVORITE - Aloft Brussels Schuman EU hotel for its funky style  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • VALUE FOR MONEY - Hotel Made in Louise with clean bright decor and not far from all attractions  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • HOSTEL - 2GO4 Quality Hostel Brussels grand place has a fantastic location - Check out photos and latest prices
  • Or Find your ideal accommodation within the best customer-rated accommodations in Brussels
  • A delicious freshly cooked waffel
  • Mussels and french fries
  • Meatballs, often a mixture of 2 meats
  • Flemish stew (Carbonnade à la flamande)
  • Grey shrimps, traditionally fished along the coast

Useful words

Belgium has 3 official languages. As you don't know which one the person in front of you speaks, better to use English...

Check out the best tours and activities in Brussels 

Day 10 Morning - TRAIN Brussels to Amsterdam

  • Path - Bruxelles Midi to Amsterdam Zuid WT
  • Time on train - 1h50
  • Type of train - Take the Thalys to have a no change train

Day 10 afternoon and 11 - AMSTERDAM (The Netherlands)

  • Stroll the city center and appreciate the its unique style
  • Get flooded by art at the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum
  • Travel back in history at the Anne Frank Museum
  • Visit the Royal palace

Amsterdam stop on Europe Tour in 2 weeks itinerary by train

  • LUXURY - Waldorf Astoria: a breath of fresh air  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • EXTRAVAGANT LUXURY - Hotel Twenty Seven: for a stay you will never forget - Check out photos and latest prices
  • MY FAVORITE - Hotel IX Nine Streets: what I imagine when I think of Amsterdam - Check out photos and latest prices
  • DIFFERENT - HotelBoat Fiep, sleep on a boat!  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • HOSTEL - Generator Amsterdam right by a huge park  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • Or Find your ideal accommodations within the best customer-rated accommodations in Amsterdam
  • Bitterballe, deep fried meatballs
  • Stroopwafel: 2 small thin waffles stuck together with syrup
  • Dutch fries with crazy condiments mixture
  • Oliebollen, deep fried sweet dumplings
  • The traditional ginger Cake: Ontbijtkoek

Useful words in Dutch

  • Good morning -  Goedemorgen
  • Thank you - Dank je
  • Please -  alsjeblieft

Check out the best tours and activities in Amsterdam 

Day 12 - TRAIN Amsterdam to Berlin

  • Path - Amsterdam Centraal to Berlin HBF
  • Time on train - 6h22 direct or 6h07 with one connection
  • Type of train - Intercity / Regional trains

Day 12 to 14 - BERLIN (Germany)

  • Feel peace in front of the Brandenburg Gate
  • Climb in circles to the top of the Parliament dome (book in advance)
  • Remember history at the Berlin wall
  • Forget the city when wandering through the Tiergarten
  • Visit the many museums

Berlin stop on 2 week Europe Tour itinerary by train

Below are some suggestions of places to stay in Berlin on your 2 week trip in Western Europe:

  • Best areas to stay in Berlin - Spandauer Vorstadt in the downtown area or Prenzlauer berg for a less touristy option
  • LUXURY - Rocco Forte Hotel de Rome: what a pool!!!  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • MY FAVORITE - 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin: fun and with a fantastic view over the trees of the zoos  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • VALUE FOR MONEY - Hotel Q! Berlin elegant modern decor et près des transports  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • HOSTEL - The Circus Hostels in the city center  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • Or Find your ideal accommodation within the best customer-rated accommodations in Berlin
  • Pretzels - I love them! 
  • Kartoffelpuffer - grated potatoes, flour, eggs and onions
  • Currywurst - pork sausage with curry powder
  • Apfelstrudel for dessert
  • Berliner Pfannkuche (similar to a doughnut)

Useful words in German

Check out the best tours and activities in Berlin 

Is a pass worth it?

You would need the Eurail Global Pass to cover 5 countries (you can reduce price by choosing the right option for how many days of travel within how many months) - see the railpass options and click on "Pass" tab

According to my calculations, there is a chance that the pass can be cheaper than the individual tickets depending on the days of your travels. To be calculated.

CENTRAL WEST  EUROPE

CENTRAL WEST EUROPE Itinerary 2 weeks

2 weeks in Europe Itinerary central

Day 1 to 3 - LUXEMBOURG

  • Stroll through the old town and admire the views from Chemin de la Corniche
  • Visit the underground tunnels (under the Bock Castle)
  • Explore the Palace of the Grand Duke

Luxembourg stop on 2 week Europe Tour itinerary by train

  • LUXURY - Le Place d'Armes: perfect location, charming decor, space  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • VALUE FOR MONEY - Grand Hotel Cravat, lots of space for price  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • HOSTEL - Youth Hostel Luxembourg city only 10 min from one of the main squares  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • Or Find your ideal accommodation within the best customer-rated accommodations in Luxembourg
  • Bouneschlupp - thick soup with green beans, potatoes and bacon
  • Friture de la Moselle - fried freshwater fish from La Moselle region
  • Gromperekichelcher - mixture of grated potatoes, chopped onions, parsley, egg, flour
  • Stews during game season 

Useful words in Luxembourgish

  • Good morning -  Gudde Moien
  • Thank you - Merci
  • Please -  Wann ech glift

Check out the best tours and activities in Luxembourg 

Day 4 morning - TRAIN Luxembourg to Strasbourg

  • Path - Luxembourg LUX to Strasbourg via Metz or Lorraine TGV stations
  • Time on train - 4h (one connection)
  • Type of train - Regional Trains
  • Suggested time - morning

Day 4 afternoon to 6 - STRASBOURG (France)

  • Take the time to admire the facade of the cathedral before entering
  • Stroll through la Petite France, the old neighborhood and its typical houses
  • Enjoy a boat ride through this area for different perspectives

Strasbourg stop on 2 week Europe Tour itinerary by train

  • LUXURY - Hotel Régent Petite France in the heart of the old town  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • MY FAVORITE - Hotel Graffalgar with unique decors made by artists in each room. I visited several of them and they are fun! - Check out photos and latest prices
  • VALUE FOR MONEY - Le Kleber Hotel, very central  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • Or Find your ideal accommodation within the best customer-rated accommodations in Strasbourg
  • Pretzels - I love them!  Twisted bread with salt
  • Flammenkuche (tarte flambée) - thin base with cream, onions and various toppings
  • Sausages and Sauerkraut (pickled cabbage)
  • Riesling wine (white)
  • Good morning - Bonjour

Check out the best tours and activities in Strasbourg 

Day 7 - TRAIN Strasbourg to Munich

  • Path - Strasbourg to Muenchen Pasing (via Stuttgart or Mannheim)
  • Time on train - 3h30 to 5hours (1 connection)
  • Type of train - High speed trains (TGV - ICE)

Day 8 to 10 - MUNICH (Germany)

  • Explore the museums and buildings of the Residenz
  • Enjoy the modern and historical vibe of Munich at Marienplatz
  • Be surprised by the architecture of the Cathedral Frauenkirche
  • Breathe in the English Garden (and maybe spot some people surfing on a small river)
  • Feel Royal at the Nymphenberg Palace
  • Take an excursion to the famous Neuschwanstein Palace

Munich stop on 2 week Europe Tour itinerary by train

  • LUXURY - Rocco Forte The Charles: stunning decor and a great pool  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • MY FAVORITE - Hotel Schlicker for the history - Check out photos and latest prices
  • VALUE FOR MONEY - Hotel Bayer's with good location and spacious rooms for price - Check out photos and latest prices
  • HOSTEL - CVJM Jugendhotel Munchen  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • Or Find your ideal accommodation within the best customer-rated accommodations in Munich
  • Sausages, Schnitzel and Pretzels
  • Sauerkraut (pickled cabbage)
  • Apfelstrudel

Check out the best tours and activities in Munich 

Day 11 morning - TRAIN Munich to Salzburg

  • Path - Muenchen HBF to Salzburg HBF
  • Time on train - 2h
  • Suggested time - Morning 

Day 11 afternoon to 14 - SALZBURG (Austria)

  • Admire the architectural masterpieces from a river cruise
  • Visit the Fortress
  • Stroll the narrow streets of the old town
  • Have fun at the toy museum

Salzburg stop on 2 week Europe Tour itinerary by train

  • LUXURY - Hotel Sacher Salzburg, royal feel and royal views  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • MY FAVORITE - Hotel Schloss Mönchstein, luxury as well as amazing views!!! - Check out photos and latest prices
  • VALUE FOR MONEY - Star Inn Hotel Premium Gablerbrau: great location and fantastic rooms for price - Check out photos and latest prices
  • HOSTEL - Yoho International Youth Hostel: clean, comfortable and not too far from the attractions  - Check out photos and latest prices
  • Or Find your ideal accommodations within the best customer-rated accommodations in Salzburg
  • The essential - Wiener-Schnitzel
  • Tafelspitz - boiled beef
  • Strudel for dessert as well, or Sachertorte (rich chocolate sponge cake)
  • Mozart balls - pistachio marzipan, nougat and chocolate

Check out the best tours and activities in Salzburg 

Is a rail pass worth it?

This itinerary enters inside a Eurail Select Pass 4 countries (you can reduce price by choosing the right option  for how many days of travel within how many months) - see the railpass options and click on "Pass" tab

According to my calculations, the total of separate tickets is cheaper than the pass for adults. However if you are traveling with families, it could be interesting. And separate ticket prices may change if some of your travels are on weekends.

2 weeks in Europe by car alternative - intro

You can also visit Europe by car. However remember that distance are quite important for example:

  • Paris to Zurich = 7h
  • Paris to Munich = 8h30
  • Paris ot Barcelona = 10h
  • Paris to Milan = 9h
  • Paris to Luxembourg = 4h
  • Paris to Brussels = 4h

When renting a car, always check the condition and if crossing a border is allowed! See my favorite platform  Discovercars .

And check out all my tips:

  • Best car rental companies: how to choose
  • What to check when renting a car
  • Renting a car in Spain
  • Renting a car in Portugal , and especially in Faro
  • Renting a car in Slovenia
  • Renting a car in Scotland
  • Renting a car in Mallorca
  • Renting a car in Madeira
  • Renting a car in Crete
  • Renting a car in Iceland
  • Renting a car in Santorini
  • Renting a car in France

TIPS for your City Tour of Europe in 14 days

Tip 1. choose central hotels.

If hesitating between hotels with only a 5 or 10 dollars difference, choose one that is centrally located (even if more expensive) in order to save time and transportation costs.

Internet while in Europe

TIP 2. Don't book round trip flight

We often think that round trip flights are the cheaper option, but sometimes multi-city tickets are not much more expensive and you will save a day of travel between your end point and your original point as well as travel cost.

TIP 3. Travel with a universal adapter

Sadly, countries are not able to agree on one electrical standard. Most of the countries listed here  use the 2 round plug, but the UK for example uses a different one. Better to travel with a universal adapter 

travel routes in europe

TIP 4. Be ready for all kinds of weather

This is Europe... You can have all four seasons even in Summer. So make sure you travel with layers of clothes to be able to vary from stinking hot to rainy to windy and to cold.

TIP 5. Travel with insurance

Be reasonable and travel worry-free. Purchase a travel insurance. I personally use World Nomads.  Get a quote online here .

TIP 6. Wear sensible shoes

In all these old town centers there are a lot of cobbled streets. So wear sensible shoes to avoid twisting your ankles.

TIP 7. Don't bring a huge luggage

Be reasonable when packing. There will be a lot of walking with luggage inside train stations and between train stations and hotels so pack light and reduce the size of your backpack or suitcase. 

TIP 8. Use my Checklists

I will not re-list here all the things to think about - Check out my Travel preparation and packing Checklists

Typical Scams in Europe

Don't worry, there are not scammers at every corner, but it is better to be aware of what they typically do to avoid them altogether. I once fell for one when I was younger and traveling in Asia, even though it was a very common one, but I was not aware and very trusting back then 🙂

So here are the typical scams you could encounter on your 2 week trip around Europe:

SCAM 1 - The Bracelet

They make a special bracelet just for you and aggressively (and very fast) attach one to your wristt. Once it is attached on your wrist, you don't have the scissors to cut it and they want you to pay. This is very frequent at the bottom of Butte Montmartre in Paris for example (before climbing to the Sacré-Coeur. So cross your arms and keep walking

SCAM 2 - The Found ring

Someone picks up a ring in front of you and asks if you dropped it. You say no. They look at it and pretend it is pure gold and offer to sell it to you.

SCAM 3 - The petition

One of the women distracts you with explaining the cause behind the petition, while the others try opening your bag

There are a few more listed on Rick Steves 's website here , but as a general rule you can still trust people 🙂

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Travel Europe Itinerary 2 weeks

Reader Interactions

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July 3, 2018 at 8:09 PM

please email me the total cost of this particular tour

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May 30, 2019 at 8:51 PM

She’s not a travel agent. You’ll have to do the math yourself.

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February 13, 2019 at 11:44 PM

What’s the total cost. For. The Latin. Europe. Trip?

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February 14, 2019 at 12:05 AM

Hi Sorry I am not a travel agent so I don’t have package prices. And your total cost will depend on the period you travel around, the level of accommodations you will choose, the activities you will book… this is why I don’t mention prices. There are many ways to travel. I wish you wonderful travels!

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February 18, 2019 at 3:13 AM

Hello Claire,

If we went on the 2 week Western European vacation this summer, do you have like an approximate of what you think it might cost? I’m thinking like $10k? Am I crazy😜

February 18, 2019 at 8:31 AM

Hi Erin That is totally impossible to say. Between staying in a Hostel dorm or at a luxury 5 star hotels, eating out or not, going on tours, visiting paying attractions or not. The price can vary to extremes… You have to see what you have in mind (looking at hotel and tour prices) and do the rough calculation.

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March 18, 2019 at 6:13 PM

it was mentioned that : “choose the more central one (even if more expensive) in order to save time and transportation costs.” what will be the transportation from ..more central hotel to train station ? and how far is it from central one to the station ?

March 18, 2019 at 6:38 PM

What I mean is to choose a more centrally located hotel in each city, because even if you pay more you will save time and money in term of transportation to all the main points of interest.

March 18, 2019 at 6:41 PM

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April 7, 2019 at 11:12 AM

Hi there, if I travel Western Europe based on your suggested itineraries, do you think how many days Europe rail pass should I take? Please advise & many thanks!

April 9, 2019 at 2:55 PM

Dear Jayson, As I have written, I believe separate tickets might be cheaper than a pass. As passes only include 4 countries, you need to do different tests based on your dates to see what is the most interesting. I wish you wonderful travels!

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April 12, 2019 at 6:34 PM

Good day Thank you very much for such detailed info. With regards to the train for the Latin Europe tour, is it the Eurorail? If yes, are there short trips to tourist destinations in each country with the Eurorail as well? We are a family of 5, so I’m trying to calculate if it’s a good option to purchase the full 1 month family ticket or to purchase individual tickets for the long trips between countries and then utilize Uber to the tourist sites. What’s your suggestion please?

April 13, 2019 at 5:30 PM

Yes the passes are the Eurail passes. They have changed the system. Now it is one country or all of them. You can go to side cities. The price depends on the number of days you take trains. If you only travel 2 weeks as per the itinerary, I don’t recommend trying to get out of those cities. There is already a lot to see. I am confused by your suggestion of Train vs Uber. Uber rides to other towns would cost you a lot of money. They can only replace suburban trains not intercity trips. And I don’t think the Eurail cover suburban trains (such as the RER in Paris). The best is to define exactly were you want to go and identify the days you would take the train and test the price given online by the Eurail system. I wish you wonderful travels!

May 13, 2019 at 1:30 PM

Good day Your guide is a great help. Thank you very much for all the information supplied. If I’m planning to travel from Rome to Sorrento to Florence to Venice to Switzerland to Paris, is the Eurorail the best option or are there better fast trains, especially in Italy? I’m doing my tour privately. Thank you

May 13, 2019 at 3:30 PM

Hi I do believe that you can book high speed trains with some of the Eurail passes. But I am sorry I can’t tell you which is the best option. It depends on who travels (age, discount…), when (prices of trains change depending on the months and the days of travel…), on which trains… You have to play with the booking tools to be able to compare. Have a great trip!

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August 5, 2019 at 7:36 AM

Mad respect for your travel itinerary. So well organized and correct with all that I’ve been reading so I trust your judgement. Hubby and I are first time travelers & have never been to Europe. We are going for 2 weeks and leave in a few days and still haven’t figured out the exact itinerary! Here’s what we were thinking: We land in Amsterdam first. swing over to Belgium, over to Nuremberg Germany to Prague, then over to Salzburg Austria to Venice to Florence to Rome to Strasbourgh France to Paris then back to Amsterdam. I told my husband tonight I think we may be trying to bite off more than we can chew. Could you actually hit all of these places, enjoy them for a day or two by train? Thoughts?

August 5, 2019 at 8:46 PM

Hi Lisa, That does seem like a lot, especially with Amsterdam and Rome being at 2 opposite ends. You are listing 10 towns for 2 weeks! You should plan at least 2 or 3 days per town, to really be able to get the vibe of them + traveling times. I wish you wonderful travels. Claire

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September 30, 2019 at 6:03 PM

Amazing post! We are interested in Western Europe and wondering if you think Milan or other cities in Northern Italy would be manageable too? Where do you think you would sneak it in?

September 30, 2019 at 11:04 PM

Thanks Lauren, I am sorry but within the 2 week-timeframe, 5 cities is already a lot. And Italy is not close by. I would not try to fit it in. I wish you wonderful travels! Claire

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November 11, 2019 at 7:43 AM

Re: Eastern and Central West

We are already staying in Prague for 10 days. We would like to visit the surrounding Countries after Prague for 9-10 days. We have been tossing around taking one day trips from Prague. or attempting it on our own via air or train. We realize air can waste a lot of time.

Thankfully we found your train suggestions.

The Eastern is the 1st choice, since we will be in Prague already. Then some of the Central West areas are the Next most appealing. Such as Strasbourg, France and Salzburg, Austria.

We would be most thankful if you can provide further direction on what would be most realistic.

Sincerely Sonia

November 11, 2019 at 7:20 PM

Hi Sonia I am sorry but I don’t have the time to create personalized itineraries. I recommend not shortening the days in each city. It will create frustration and be very tiring. Better to do less cities but well, rather than jump from one to the other every day. I wish you wonderful travels! Claire

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January 13, 2020 at 2:58 PM

Came across your website whilst researching train travel to Europe. I am planning to visit Amsterdam (3 days), Belgium (3 days), Switzerland (2 days), Munich (2 days), Salzburg (2days), Vienna (2 days), Prague (3 days) and finally Berlin (3 days). Is the order of travel suitable. Is this itinerary a bit rushed? We are a couple in our 60s.

Secondly, do i need a eurail pass. How does it work? Can I use this pass on local trains.

I am open to suggestions..

Many thanks for your help. Terry Moodley

January 13, 2020 at 6:08 PM

Hi Terry Big trip! A few pieces of advice: 1. That will all depend on the days you are traveling – the more complicated part of the trip are Belgium to the east and Vienna to go back North. So check those first to make sure you find travel plans that are not too complicated (all the others trips you have listed have shorter and frequent lines so you will always be able to make it fit your itinerary). 2. I would skip Switzerland. With only 2 days and the long trip to get there, you won’t have time to explore the best of Switzerland. It will give you one day to travel between Brussels and Munich and one day between Vienna and Prague 3. You can use local trains with the pass. I am not an expert but every time I did calculation for itineraries, I have found it was cheaper to buy train tickets directly than to take the pass. It depends on who is traveling and when… you have to calculate to see what is more interesting – I recommend you read their descriptions https://www.eurail.com/en/get-inspired/everything-you-need-know-about-eurail I wish you a wonderful trip! Claire

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20 Most Walkable Cities in Europe – Have You Tried These Routes?

Posted: November 18, 2023 | Last updated: November 18, 2023

<p>Europe can’t be beaten for its plethora of thrilling cities. There are medieval old towns, pedestrian-friendly shopping streets and contemporary attractions to check out, but how do you best fit them all into one visit? Rather conveniently, <a href="http://www.motel-one.com/en/corporate/press/walkable-cities-study/">MotelOne</a> has compiled the most walkable cities in Europe. We've listed its top 20 destinations with a recommended walk for each; after all, going by foot can be a better on-the-ground-experience than by car or public transport. Read on to discover exactly which places made the list.</p>

Walk this way

Europe can’t be beaten for its plethora of thrilling cities. There are medieval old towns, pedestrian-friendly shopping streets and contemporary attractions to check out, but how do you best fit them all into one visit? Rather conveniently,  MotelOne  has compiled the most walkable cities in Europe. We've listed its top 20 destinations with a recommended walk for each; after all, going by foot can be a better on-the-ground-experience than by car or public transport. Read on to discover exactly which places made the list.

<p>Kicking us off at number 20 is Irish capital Dublin. From the Jameson Distillery on Bow Street, amble along the riverside, crossing at O’Connell Bridge to the National Wax Museum. Then it’s onto Dublin Castle followed by the Guinness Storehouse, which is the quintessential place to sink a pint of the good stuff. Continue onto the Teeling Whiskey Distillery before winding through St Stephen’s Park and ending at the Little Museum of Dublin for a fascinating insight into Dubliners’ lives over the past 100 years. This route takes just under an hour and a half covering 4.2 miles (6.7km) in 8,792 steps.</p>

20. Dublin, Ireland

Kicking us off at number 20 is Irish capital Dublin. From the Jameson Distillery on Bow Street, amble along the riverside, crossing at O’Connell Bridge to the National Wax Museum. Then it’s onto Dublin Castle followed by the Guinness Storehouse, which is the quintessential place to sink a pint of the good stuff. Continue onto the Teeling Whiskey Distillery before winding through St Stephen’s Park and ending at the Little Museum of Dublin for a fascinating insight into Dubliners’ lives over the past 100 years. This route takes just under an hour and a half covering 4.2 miles (6.7km) in 8,792 steps.

<p>This city stroll through Barcelona can be steep at points, but it's well worth the effort. Start at Ciutadella Park and head down the iconic La Rambla with its wide boulevards flanked by looming trees. You’ll soon reach Casa Milà, an architectural gem with its funky curved rooftop, before reaching the famous landmark that is Gaudí's La Sagrada Familia. You could stop off here but otherwise continue onto the mesmerizing Park Güell. Spread out on one of the mosaic-clad winding benches after completing this route totaling 4.10 miles (6.6km), resulting in approximately 8,661 steps.</p>  <p><strong><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/guides/107837/spains-best-rural-escapes-picos-de-europa-rias-baixas-alpujarras">Discover under-the-radar Spain</a></strong></p>

19. Barcelona, Spain

This city stroll through Barcelona can be steep at points, but it's well worth the effort. Start at Ciutadella Park and head down the iconic La Rambla with its wide boulevards flanked by looming trees. You’ll soon reach Casa Milà, an architectural gem with its funky curved rooftop, before reaching the famous landmark that is Gaudí's La Sagrada Familia. You could stop off here but otherwise continue onto the mesmerizing Park Güell. Spread out on one of the mosaic-clad winding benches after completing this route totaling 4.10 miles (6.6km), resulting in approximately 8,661 steps.

Discover under-the-radar Spain

<p>What better place to start a walk through London than at Buckingham Palace? Stroll through St James’s Park opposite, keeping an eye out for pesky pelicans and parakeets, and emerge to face Big Ben. Cross Westminster Bridge and hug the riverside passing the London Eye and Southbank Centre before crossing Blackfriars Bridge. You're not far from St Paul’s Cathedral but push onto Tower Bridge to complete this riverside route. At 4.10 miles (6.6km), this capital-city walk takes just under an hour and a half in 8,661 steps (the same as Barcelona).</p>  <p><strong><a href="http://bit.ly/3roL4wv">Love this? Follow our Facebook page for more travel inspiration</a></strong></p>

18. London, England

What better place to start a walk through London than at Buckingham Palace? Stroll through St James’s Park opposite, keeping an eye out for pesky pelicans and parakeets, and emerge to face Big Ben. Cross Westminster Bridge and hug the riverside passing the London Eye and Southbank Centre before crossing Blackfriars Bridge. You're not far from St Paul’s Cathedral but push onto Tower Bridge to complete this riverside route. At 4.10 miles (6.6km), this capital-city walk takes just under an hour and a half in 8,661 steps (the same as Barcelona).

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<p>All roads lead to Rome, but this four-mile (6.5km) walk winds through the very best parts in 8,530 steps. The superlative Sistine Chapel is your starting point and after St Peter’s Basilica pass Castel Sant’Angelo and cross St Angelo Bridge, taking in beautiful views of the River Tiber as you go. Enjoy the bustling Piazza Navona, the famed Pantheon and ogle at the Trevi Fountain. After passing more ancient gems – including none other than the Colosseum – end at the 5th-century Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore. Reward yourself for the hour-long walk by tucking into a tub of gelato.</p>

17. Rome, Italy

All roads lead to Rome, but this four-mile (6.5km) walk winds through the very best parts in 8,530 steps. The superlative Sistine Chapel is your starting point and after St Peter’s Basilica pass Castel Sant’Angelo and cross St Angelo Bridge, taking in beautiful views of the River Tiber as you go. Enjoy the bustling Piazza Navona, the famed Pantheon and ogle at the Trevi Fountain. After passing more ancient gems – including none other than the Colosseum – end at the 5th-century Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore. Reward yourself for the hour-long walk by tucking into a tub of gelato.

<p>This walk takes one hour and 20 minutes and covers nearly four miles (6.3km) in 8,268 steps. Start at the impressive Berlin Cathedral or the neighboring antiquarian Pergamonmuseum and leave the River Spree behind you as you inch closer to Brandenburg Gate and into the fringes of Großer Tiergarten. Stop off at the Reichstag, home to the German parliament, before entering the sprawling park which includes a zoo and aquarium in its southern section. Round off this route at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church for a moment of reflection amid the hustle and bustle of the city.</p>

16. Berlin, Germany

This walk takes one hour and 20 minutes and covers nearly four miles (6.3km) in 8,268 steps. Start at the impressive Berlin Cathedral or the neighboring antiquarian Pergamonmuseum and leave the River Spree behind you as you inch closer to Brandenburg Gate and into the fringes of Großer Tiergarten. Stop off at the Reichstag, home to the German parliament, before entering the sprawling park which includes a zoo and aquarium in its southern section. Round off this route at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church for a moment of reflection amid the hustle and bustle of the city.

<p>Arguably the best part of this walk is its starting point; from the Chocolate Museum, cross the canal to reach the Grand Place, easily one of Europe’s most beautiful market squares. Continue onto the Gothic-style St Michael and St Gudula Cathedral and zip through leafy Brussels Park to the Royal Palace of Brussels (head inside for a tour of the place). Finish at the landscaped 19th-century gardens of Parc du Cinquantenaire whose surrounding bakeries make for a tempting reward of this 3.8-mile (6.2km) route, covering 8,136 steps in one hour and 20 minutes.</p>  <p><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/galleries/101539/inside-the-worlds-most-luxurious-palaces?page=1"><strong>Go inside more of the world's luxurious palaces here</strong></a></p>

15. Brussels, Belgium

Arguably the best part of this walk is its starting point; from the Chocolate Museum, cross the canal to reach the Grand Place, easily one of Europe’s most beautiful market squares. Continue onto the Gothic-style St Michael and St Gudula Cathedral and zip through leafy Brussels Park to the Royal Palace of Brussels (head inside for a tour of the place). Finish at the landscaped 19th-century gardens of Parc du Cinquantenaire whose surrounding bakeries make for a tempting reward of this 3.8-mile (6.2km) route, covering 8,136 steps in one hour and 20 minutes.

Go inside more of the world's luxurious palaces here

<p>Warsaw is a big city but that means there’s plenty of walking options. One of the best starts at the Multimedia Fountain Park (a lit-up spectacle at night) and stroll past the reconstructed 14th-century Royal Castle, stopping off for a guided tour if it takes your fancy. Slightly further along is the Palace of Culture and Science, fulfilling any Soviet-era curiosity, along with an awesome observation deck on the 30th floor. Finally, you’ll reach <a href="https://www.1944.pl/en">Warsaw Uprising Museum</a>, which details Poland’s battle for independence in 1944. This route covers 3.2 miles (5.2km) in 6,824 steps and should take you just over an hour.</p>  <p><strong><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/galleries/104228/breathtaking-bridges-you-can-walk-across?page=1">Walk across these breathtaking bridges</a></strong></p>

14. Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw is a big city but that means there’s plenty of walking options. One of the best starts at the Multimedia Fountain Park (a lit-up spectacle at night) and stroll past the reconstructed 14th-century Royal Castle, stopping off for a guided tour if it takes your fancy. Slightly further along is the Palace of Culture and Science, fulfilling any Soviet-era curiosity, along with an awesome observation deck on the 30th floor. Finally, you’ll reach Warsaw Uprising Museum , which details Poland’s battle for independence in 1944. This route covers 3.2 miles (5.2km) in 6,824 steps and should take you just over an hour.

Walk across these breathtaking bridges

<p>Wander through the Spanish capital and you won’t be disappointed. This one-hour-long route covers 3.2 miles (5.1km) in 6,692 steps. Admire the glimmering Palacio de Cristal as you walk through El Retiro Park and continue past the central lake and onto Puerta de Alcalá. Art lovers can break off at the Museo Nacional del Prado, otherwise continue onto Plaza Mayor, passing cathedrals, Moorish walls and lush gardens en route. End this walk at Plaza de España, where you can finally relax and watch the world go by.</p>

13. Madrid, Spain

Wander through the Spanish capital and you won’t be disappointed. This one-hour-long route covers 3.2 miles (5.1km) in 6,692 steps. Admire the glimmering Palacio de Cristal as you walk through El Retiro Park and continue past the central lake and onto Puerta de Alcalá. Art lovers can break off at the Museo Nacional del Prado, otherwise continue onto Plaza Mayor, passing cathedrals, Moorish walls and lush gardens en route. End this walk at Plaza de España, where you can finally relax and watch the world go by.

<p>Explore the best ancient Athens has to offer on this 3.10-mile (5km) route that takes just over an hour in 6,561 steps. Start from the Temple of Hephaestus in the ancient Agora and follow the path that takes you past the National Observatory – even if you don’t visit it’s worth stopping here simply to rest your calf muscles – and continue up to the mighty Acropolis. This ancient outcrop is home to the bedazzling Parthenon among smaller temples and crumbling ruins mostly dedicated to the goddess Athena, who the city is named after.</p>

12. Athens, Greece

Explore the best ancient Athens has to offer on this 3.10-mile (5km) route that takes just over an hour in 6,561 steps. Start from the Temple of Hephaestus in the ancient Agora and follow the path that takes you past the National Observatory – even if you don’t visit it’s worth stopping here simply to rest your calf muscles – and continue up to the mighty Acropolis. This ancient outcrop is home to the bedazzling Parthenon among smaller temples and crumbling ruins mostly dedicated to the goddess Athena, who the city is named after.

<p>Saunter from landmark to landmark on this 3.10-mile (5km) route that covers 6,430 steps in just over an hour. Take in the city views from Arthur’s Seat, an ancient volcano, before heading back to ground level and past the 16th-century Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s official residence in the city. Enjoy a stroll along the Royal Mile with a pit stop at the National Museum around the corner or continue onto the crowning landmark of the city, <a href="https://www.edinburghcastle.scot/">Edinburgh Castle</a>. If time permits, pay a visit to the Gothic-style Scott Monument or the wonderful National Gallery nearby.</p>

11. Edinburgh, Scotland

Saunter from landmark to landmark on this 3.10-mile (5km) route that covers 6,430 steps in just over an hour. Take in the city views from Arthur’s Seat, an ancient volcano, before heading back to ground level and past the 16th-century Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s official residence in the city. Enjoy a stroll along the Royal Mile with a pit stop at the National Museum around the corner or continue onto the crowning landmark of the city, Edinburgh Castle . If time permits, pay a visit to the Gothic-style Scott Monument or the wonderful National Gallery nearby.

<p>Nobody regrets taking their time in Prague and this is exactly what this hour-long walk demands. During the 2.9-mile (4.7km) trail, head from hilltop Petrin Tower, past the Museum of Miniatures and towards mighty Prague Castle. As you make your way downhill, stop off for hearty food before crossing the ever-captivating Charles Bridge. Cross the road and weave through the old town to the square, whose most unmissable sight is the Astronomical Clock. Make sure your final 6,168th step is on the hour when a selection of figures perform around the clock; the parade includes apostles and, erm, a skeleton. </p>

10. Prague, Czechia

Nobody regrets taking their time in Prague and this is exactly what this hour-long walk demands. During the 2.9-mile (4.7km) trail, head from hilltop Petrin Tower, past the Museum of Miniatures and towards mighty Prague Castle. As you make your way downhill, stop off for hearty food before crossing the ever-captivating Charles Bridge. Cross the road and weave through the old town to the square, whose most unmissable sight is the Astronomical Clock. Make sure your final 6,168th step is on the hour when a selection of figures perform around the clock; the parade includes apostles and, erm, a skeleton. 

<p>Put your best foot forward with this walk through Italy’s most fashionable city. Head from the Fontana di Piazza Castello through elegant Zona Magenta to the Santa Maria delle Grazie where you can take in all its beautiful brickwork. Then it’s onto the Science Museum which, dedicated to Leonardo di Vinci, is more interesting than it sounds. Classical architecture beckons you with the likes of the Duomo di Milano – be sure to carve out as much time as possible to take in the intricate details on this colossal cathedral. This route takes just under an hour, covering 2.9 miles (4.7km) in 6,168 steps.</p>  <p><strong><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/galleries/108696/italys-most-beautiful-towns-and-villages">These are Italy's most beautiful towns and villages</a></strong></p>

9. Milan, Italy

Put your best foot forward with this walk through Italy’s most fashionable city. Head from the Fontana di Piazza Castello through elegant Zona Magenta to the Santa Maria delle Grazie where you can take in all its beautiful brickwork. Then it’s onto the Science Museum which, dedicated to Leonardo di Vinci, is more interesting than it sounds. Classical architecture beckons you with the likes of the Duomo di Milano – be sure to carve out as much time as possible to take in the intricate details on this colossal cathedral. This route takes just under an hour, covering 2.9 miles (4.7km) in 6,168 steps.

These are Italy's most beautiful towns and villages

<p>Another water-inspired walk can be found in Amsterdam; this route takes 55 minutes covering 2.7 miles (4.4km) in 5,774 steps. Starting from the Anne Frank House, cross the canals to reach Oude Church, where you can marvel at the oldest building in the city. Pick through the streets and bridges, taking in the distinctive Dutch architecture as you go. Continue onto the Rembrandt House Museum and end this art-and-architecture-fueled walk at the impressive <a href="https://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/en">Van Gogh Museum</a>.</p>

8. Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Another water-inspired walk can be found in Amsterdam; this route takes 55 minutes covering 2.7 miles (4.4km) in 5,774 steps. Starting from the Anne Frank House, cross the canals to reach Oude Church, where you can marvel at the oldest building in the city. Pick through the streets and bridges, taking in the distinctive Dutch architecture as you go. Continue onto the Rembrandt House Museum and end this art-and-architecture-fueled walk at the impressive Van Gogh Museum .

<p>Fall in love with the dreamy waterworld of Venice on this 2.7-mile (4.3km) walk that takes just under an hour in 5,643 steps. From the Ca’ Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art, wind along the canals and through narrow alleyways to the simplistic beauty of Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. Then loop back onto the famous Rialto Bridge but save your break for Ponte dei Bareteri, where you can watch gondolas glide beneath. Finish up at Punta della Dogana and stop for a bite to eat for flavors and views to savor alike.</p>

7. Venice, Italy

Fall in love with the dreamy waterworld of Venice on this 2.7-mile (4.3km) walk that takes just under an hour in 5,643 steps. From the Ca’ Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art, wind along the canals and through narrow alleyways to the simplistic beauty of Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. Then loop back onto the famous Rialto Bridge but save your break for Ponte dei Bareteri, where you can watch gondolas glide beneath. Finish up at Punta della Dogana and stop for a bite to eat for flavors and views to savor alike.

<p>This epic walking route should take just under an hour, covering 2.4 miles (3.9km) in 5,118 steps. The modern, French country house-style Le Corbusier House leads towards the Zürich Opera House; along the way take in sweeping views of the eponymous lake. You’ll cross Münster Bridge to reach the stained-glass beauty of Fraumünster Church and it’s around here you can either stop for a respite or charge onto the <a href="https://www.fifamuseum.com/en/">FIFA World Football Museum</a>. A little further on brings you to Rieter Park, which is a worthy place to kick back and relax.</p>

6. Zürich, Switzerland

This epic walking route should take just under an hour, covering 2.4 miles (3.9km) in 5,118 steps. The modern, French country house-style Le Corbusier House leads towards the Zürich Opera House; along the way take in sweeping views of the eponymous lake. You’ll cross Münster Bridge to reach the stained-glass beauty of Fraumünster Church and it’s around here you can either stop for a respite or charge onto the FIFA World Football Museum . A little further on brings you to Rieter Park, which is a worthy place to kick back and relax.

<p><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/news/86740/a-weekend-in-leipzig-the-german-masterpiece">Leipzig</a> easily commands a place on this top 20 list. The heavily populated city has a thousand-year-old history which is certainly the theme on this recommended walking route. Start at the botanical gardens and stroll past a roster of sights including the New Town Hall, Bach Museum, Marktplatz and the Stadtgeschichtliches Museum, culminating with a visit to Leipzig Zoo. This 45-minute walk covers 2.2 miles (3.6km) in 4,724 steps, but you could set aside a full day to give the city justice.</p>

5. Leipzig, Germany

Leipzig easily commands a place on this top 20 list. The heavily populated city has a thousand-year-old history which is certainly the theme on this recommended walking route. Start at the botanical gardens and stroll past a roster of sights including the New Town Hall, Bach Museum, Marktplatz and the Stadtgeschichtliches Museum, culminating with a visit to Leipzig Zoo. This 45-minute walk covers 2.2 miles (3.6km) in 4,724 steps, but you could set aside a full day to give the city justice.

<p>Make sure you pack a sturdy pair of shoes for this bumpy route; with Dubrovnik’s steep elevations, it’s worth remembering what goes down must come up. This scenic walking route starts at the historic walls and descends to the rocky outcrop that is Danče Beach. Soak up the glittering Adriatic seaviews before seeking out more historic sights, like Pile Gate. Covering almost two miles (3.2km) in 4,199 steps, this mildly challenging walk takes roughly 43 minutes.</p>

4. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Make sure you pack a sturdy pair of shoes for this bumpy route; with Dubrovnik’s steep elevations, it’s worth remembering what goes down must come up. This scenic walking route starts at the historic walls and descends to the rocky outcrop that is Danče Beach. Soak up the glittering Adriatic seaviews before seeking out more historic sights, like Pile Gate. Covering almost two miles (3.2km) in 4,199 steps, this mildly challenging walk takes roughly 43 minutes.

<p>Stretch your legs in 3,543 steps with this 1.7-mile (2.7km) route that takes 35 minutes. Your starting point is the Städel Museum from where you’ll stroll along the River Main, cross the Iron Footbridge (and admire the views) before arriving at the well-preserved Römer buildings. After a quick stop at one of the many cafés, continue towards the Main Tower and end at the <a href="https://www.alteoper.de/en/">Alte Oper concert hall</a>, where you can rest easy at a thrilling jazz, contemporary or world music performance.</p>

3. Frankfurt, Germany

Stretch your legs in 3,543 steps with this 1.7-mile (2.7km) route that takes 35 minutes. Your starting point is the Städel Museum from where you’ll stroll along the River Main, cross the Iron Footbridge (and admire the views) before arriving at the well-preserved Römer buildings. After a quick stop at one of the many cafés, continue towards the Main Tower and end at the Alte Oper concert hall , where you can rest easy at a thrilling jazz, contemporary or world music performance.

<p>In a classic tale of north versus south, Manchester beat London as the second most walkable city in Europe. An attraction-fueled walk starts at the 15th-century Chetham’s Library, the oldest public library in the English-speaking world, and onto the National Football Museum. Continue past the river, cathedral and buzzing Corn Exchange before reaching the heart of the city. Here you’ll find the People's History Museum and the fascinating <a href="https://www.scienceandindustrymuseum.org.uk/">Manchester Science and Industry Museum</a>. This attraction-clad route takes roughly half an hour and covers 1.5 miles (2.4km) in 3,149 steps.</p>

2. Manchester, England, UK

In a classic tale of north versus south, Manchester beat London as the second most walkable city in Europe. An attraction-fueled walk starts at the 15th-century Chetham’s Library, the oldest public library in the English-speaking world, and onto the National Football Museum. Continue past the river, cathedral and buzzing Corn Exchange before reaching the heart of the city. Here you’ll find the People's History Museum and the fascinating Manchester Science and Industry Museum . This attraction-clad route takes roughly half an hour and covers 1.5 miles (2.4km) in 3,149 steps.

<p>Bruges pipped Manchester to the post as Europe’s most walkable city. This medieval gem is filled with 14th-century architecture and scenic canal views. The recommended walking route starts at the cylindrical Powder Tower, through the quaint old town via Begijnhof Bridge and passing the informative Groeninge Museum along the way. Next you’ll reach the lively market square before ending at either the Choco-Story Museum or the <a href="http://frietmuseum.be/en/home-en/">Frietsmusem</a> (a museum dedicated to, yep, you guessed it, fries). This short-but-sweet route takes roughly half an hour and covers 1.4 miles (2.3km) in 3,018 steps.</p>  <p><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/galleries/103704/the-worlds-most-beautiful-medieval-cities?page=1"><strong>Discover more of the world's most beautiful medieval cities</strong></a></p>

1. Bruges, Belgium

Bruges pipped Manchester to the post as Europe’s most walkable city. This medieval gem is filled with 14th-century architecture and scenic canal views. The recommended walking route starts at the cylindrical Powder Tower, through the quaint old town via Begijnhof Bridge and passing the informative Groeninge Museum along the way. Next you’ll reach the lively market square before ending at either the Choco-Story Museum or the Frietsmusem (a museum dedicated to, yep, you guessed it, fries). This short-but-sweet route takes roughly half an hour and covers 1.4 miles (2.3km) in 3,018 steps.

Discover more of the world's most beautiful medieval cities

<p>This list is by no means capped at 20 – there are plenty more European cities well worth a wander. Valletta’s more strenuous walk covers 4.7 miles (7.6km) from the National War Museum along the waterfront to Fort Manoel in 9,973 steps, or you can go for a longer five-mile (8.1km) jaunt through Stockholm from Skinnarviksberget, past the Royal Palace and to the ABBA Museum in 10,629 steps. After a cooler climate? Reykjavík (pictured) in Iceland offers a 4.2-mile (6.8km) stroll from Þúfa (the 26-foot/8m tall grassy mound) past the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church to Perlan covers 8,923 steps.</p>  <p><strong><a href="https://www.loveexploring.com/galleries/76059/unexplored-capitals-underrated-european-cities?page=1">Now discover these European cities you (probably) haven't visited</a></strong></p>

And there's more...

This list is by no means capped at 20 – there are plenty more European cities well worth a wander. Valletta’s more strenuous walk covers 4.7 miles (7.6km) from the National War Museum along the waterfront to Fort Manoel in 9,973 steps, or you can go for a longer five-mile (8.1km) jaunt through Stockholm from Skinnarviksberget, past the Royal Palace and to the ABBA Museum in 10,629 steps. After a cooler climate? Reykjavík (pictured) in Iceland offers a 4.2-mile (6.8km) stroll from Þúfa (the 26-foot/8m tall grassy mound) past the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church to Perlan covers 8,923 steps.

Now discover these European cities you (probably) haven't visited

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Americans are traveling to Europe in record numbers but they’re not always welcome. Here’s what cities are doing to staunch overtourism

Tourists are seen eating and drinking at an outdoors terrace

A new requirement for American travelers bound for Europe — an online travel authorization via the  European Travel Information and Authorisation System  (ETIAS) — has been delayed until 2025.

The requirement restricts travelers from non-EU countries like the United States to  30 European nations , including France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. Applications would have brought in €7 apiece, adding up to considerable money.

As popular European cities continue to confront the challenges of overtourism in 2024, they choose to move beyond the financial solutions provided by tourist taxes.

These destinations are now deploying unprecedented innovative strategies aimed not only at managing crowds, but also at preserving their cultural heritage, protecting the environment, and maintaining the quality of life for their residents.

Multiple New Anti-Tourism Measures in Amsterdam

Amsterdam raises its tourist tax  to 12.5% of the accommodation cost in 2024. Up from the current 7%, that’s the highest rate in Europe. The increase applies to all establishments, from hotels and bed-and-breakfasts to campgrounds.

January 2024 also means  further measures  to combat overtourism in Amsterdam. The city banned buses weighing over 7.5 tons from entering the city center except those granted special exemptions and increased the tax for  cruise ship  passengers visiting the city for a day from €8 to €14 per person.

Amsterdam also  prohibited opening new B&Bs  within certain central districts to help with its increasing housing problem.

Paris Imposes Unprecedented Rise in Tourist Tax

The  tourist tax  in Paris increases by 200% in 2024. According to  France24 , the increase is part of the government’s plan to fund enhancements in public transportation.

The city hosts the 2024 Olympics from July 26 to Aug. 11, drawing global attention. Hotels in Paris already raised their rates for the event’s duration. The tax increase will further elevate the cost of staying in Paris. But will it combat overtourism?

Instead of restrictions, limitations, and bans, France plans to take a positive approach. “If we want to decongest overcrowded sites, we must bring out other destinations and other tourist routes,” observes Olivia Grégoire, the Minister Delegate for SMEs, Trade, Crafts and Tourism of France, in an  interview with Le Figaro .

France adopts a novel approach to address overtourism in 2024. By  engaging social media influencers  to highlight less-visited areas, they hope to decrease interest in more well-known destinatrions. Understanding the significant influence these individuals wield, the French government is keen on using its extensive networks to direct tourists toward unique, off-the-beaten-path experiences like  French eco-lodges  or  glamping sites .

Venice Tightens Group Tour Regulations

As one of the  UNESCO World Heritage Sites , Venice still feels the pressure of overtourism despite banning large cruise ships in 2021.

To combat the influx of daily visitors,  Venice is testing a new access tax  for tourists who visit the city without staying overnight. Each visitor pays €5 per day from 8:30 to 16:00. The city will test this tax for twenty days in May, June, and July 2024. Based on the results, the city hopes to implement changes in 2025.

Venice also announced on its official website that it will limit tourist walking groups to 25 people and ban loudspeakers since the latter cause disturbance. It will likely take effect on June 1, which fits with its  Detourism campaign  to promote a lesser-known Venice for visitors.

Venice may join Rome and Florence in restricting the number of short-term rental properties, which aligns with broader national efforts in Italy. In June 2023, the Italian Ministry of Tourism unveiled the first draft of a proposed legislation to regulate short-term tourist rentals across Italy, including Airbnb listings.

New Daily Cap for Visitors in Athens

Lina Mendoni, the culture minister of Greece, announced in an interview with Greek radio station Real FM, the implementation of a new policy. Starting in September 2023, the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece, will cap daily visitor numbers at 20,000. The previous average was 23,000 visitors per day. The new program will have a trial run until April 1, 2024.

It follows the example of many other European locations that introduced daily tourist caps in previous years, like the Louvre in Paris, France, Calanques National Park in Marseille, France, Villa de Balbianello near Lake Como, Italy, or the Old Town in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Portugal Contemplates Further Actions for Non-Compliant Cruise Lines

At the end of December 2023, Carlos Moedas, the Mayor of Lisbon,  announced  a new tourist tax of €2 per person for all cruise ship passengers, the same fee each guest at a hotel pays.

He added that the income from this tax “will be used to clean the city, to have green spaces and represents a strategy for the future of the city.”

The new fees hit Jan. 1, 2024.

Portugal News  reports that the mayor indicated that if cruise operators fail to comply, he is prepared to use his authority to make their entry more challenging. This could mean further measures in 2024, including restrictions on the mobility of their buses.

It aligns with the  year-end announcement of the Turismo de Portugal  (the Portugal Tourism Board), which placed sustainability and authenticity at the forefront of its 2024 promotion strategy. This approach includes highlighting  eco-lodges in Portugal  and many other sustainable and authentic travel experiences. Additionally, they will also utilize TikTok for the first time, aiming to inspire people across multiple channels to explore the diverse regions of Portugal beyond the urban allure of Lisbon.

Dublin Is Eager To Boost Its Tourist Numbers

While certain European cities continue to be popular travel destinations, it’s worth considering other cities that offer equally stunning but less crowded experiences. These alternative destinations provide unique opportunities to explore and enjoy without the challenges of overtourism. They even took measures to attract more tourists in 2024.

In December 2023, Dublin Airport took a significant step toward expanding its capacity to accommodate the growing number of travelers.  The airport submitted an application  to increase its annual passenger capacity cap from 32 million to 40 million. This move is indicative of Dublin’s expectation to increase the  number of visitors  to the Emerald Isle.

This article was produced by  Media Decision  and Syndicated by  Wealth of Geeks .

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Ukraine latest: Ukraine sinks Russian warship in drone attack; Kremlin forced to deny Putin offered ceasefire

Ukrainian forces have destroyed a Russian landing ship off the occupied peninsula of Crimea in the Black Sea, Kyiv's military reports. Meanwhile, the Kremlin has denied a report that Vladimir Putin proposed a ceasefire in Ukraine to the US via intermediaries.

Wednesday 14 February 2024 19:07, UK

A still from a video released by Ukraine&#39;s military intelligence that appears to show the attack on the Caesar Kunikov warship. Pic: Ukraine military intelligence

  • Kremlin denies Putin offered ceasefire in Ukraine  
  • Sea drones sink Russian warship off Crimea, Kyiv says | Watch moment of attack
  • Hospital hit in strike that killed three in Donetsk
  • Deborah Haynes: UK to send tanks to NATO war games amid fears of full-scale Russian conflict
  • Dominic Waghorn: Chutzpah of Putin's UK ambassador exposes brutal truth

We're bringing our live coverage to a close for today.

Before you go, here is a recap of today's main developments:

  • A Russian landing ship was sunk and destroyed in the Black Sea by Ukrainian naval drones, with most crewmembers thought to have died;
  • US national security adviser Jake Sullivan reiterated the need for the proposed $95bn aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan to pass in the House of Representatives, saying: "Every day comes at a cost to the people of Ukraine";
  • The Kremlin denied a report that Vladimir Putin proposed a ceasefire in Ukraine;
  • The only evacuation route from the embattled city of Avdiivka is "completely shut by the Russians" the head of the region said.

After a short break away from the frontline, Ukrainian servicemen have been pictured saying goodbye to family, friends and loved ones.

These pictures were taken at the train station in Kramatorsk a city in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. 

The troops will return to the frontline, where the battle for Avdiivka – a city just outside Russian-occupied Donetsk - continues. 

Within the past hour US national security adviser Jake Sullivan has given a news conference in Washington at which he outlined the importance of the House of Representatives passing the $95bn bill containing aid for Ukraine - as well as Israel and Taiwan. 

Here is everything Mr Sullivan said about how the bill would support Ukraine... 

He reiterated that the legislation would allow the US to continue to support the country in their "fight for freedom" and provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance to the millions "displaced by Russian’s brutal invasion".

In another part of the speech, he said the US had been getting an increasing number of reports that Ukrainian troops are rationing or running out of ammunition on the front lines, meaning investment in US weapon production lines is needed.

"As the president said we cannot afford to wait any longer, every day comes at a cost to the people of Ukraine and the national security interest of America," he said.

"The stakes are getting higher and the costs of inaction are also getting higher, especially in Ukraine."

He finished by saying Joe Biden is "determined" to get the bill through the House on a bipartisan basis and "get aid out the door" so the US can continue helping "friends, partners and ourselves". 

Britain has said it will send more than 50 tanks to Eastern Europe to take part in the largest NATO war games in a generation as warnings grow about the threat of all-out conflict with Russia.

A majority of the ageing Challenger 2 main battle tanks will be transported by rail via the Channel Tunnel from the UK, but 12 tanks will be brought out of storage in Germany - where they are based - to join the exercise, it is understood.

The 51 tanks will join the war games in May, marking the biggest training deployment of British armoured and mechanised forces since 1984.

The games will involve around 90,000 soldiers, sailors and aviators from across the 31-member alliance, operating from the land, sea, and air as well as using cyber and space operations.

The four-month exercise will take place in a number of countries including Finland, the Baltic states and Poland.

Read more from our security and defence editor  Deborah Haynes  here...

Most crewmembers of Russia's Caesar Kunikov large landing ship died after it was targeted and sunk by multiple Ukrainian naval drones, according to sources. 

"According to available information, there was ammunition there, and most of the crew did not manage to escape," Andriy Yusov, Ukraine's military intelligence spokesperson, told Ukrainian news agency, Ukrinform.

The 12.5-metre landing ship was hit various times on the port side earlier today.

Footage filmed on at least four drones showed the area heavily damaged and partially alight. 

'Big blow to aggressor's fleet'

Providing more details on the operation, Mr Yusov said preparations were extensive and involved tracking the routes of the ship and collecting data, Ukrinform reported.

"The frequency with which relevant operations are carried out shows that the Ukrainians are learning, improving their tactics and strategy, and, of course, such measures will be continued," Mr Yusov was quoted as saying.

"Today's destruction of the large landing ship is a big blow to the capabilities of the aggressor's fleet. 

"They will not be able to conduct amphibious operations against Ukraine for a long time."

According to the Ukrainian armed forces, this operation was carried out by Group 13, a specialised unit within Ukraine's intelligence directorate.

At least two people have died after a Russian missile struck a block of flats in Ukraine's Kharkiv region, police have said. 

Three men and a woman are among those injured, the force said, adding more people might be buried under rubble.  

Police said the S-300 missile system was likely used during the strike on the village of Velykyi Burluk, destroying eight of 16 flats in the building. 

The northern region of Kharkiv is a frequent target of Russian attacks. 

Images from the site showed rescuers sorting through a huge pile of debris where part of the two-storey building had been destroyed.

As we've been reporting, the US Senate passed a $95bn aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan yesterday.

The measure will now be sent to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives - where its chances of passing are substantially lower.

Doubts are growing about the legislation's fate in the House, where it must be approved before it can be signed into law.

This afternoon, Republican House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson indicated again that he has no immediate plans to allow the chamber to vote on the $95bn package.

"We're not going to be forced into action by the Senate," Mr Johnson said.

He reiterated his insistence that any package of international military and humanitarian assistance must also include measures to address security at the US border with Mexico.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said Germany will be spending the required 2% of GDP on defence this year and in the coming decades.

In a message on X, the German leader said: "This means we will have the highest defense budget in Europe. That's right - for safety and reliability."

Earlier, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Europe had increased its spending on defence and the US needed allies.

The comments came days after Donald Trump suggested that Washington might not protect countries that did not spend enough.

Addressing journalists' questions linked to the controversy around Mr Trump's comments, Mr Stoltenberg said the US knew how important the defence alliance was for its own security.

The German government is allocating $76.8bn for defence spending in the current year through regular and special budget outlays.

However, the sum of its total defence spending is classified.

Three Baltic nations have launched diplomatic protests after Russian police put leading politicians on a wanted list. 

Officials from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are accused of "destroying monuments to Soviet soldiers", an act punishable by a five-year prison term under the Russian criminal code.

The list includes Estonia's Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and state secretary Taimar Peterkop, Lithuanian culture minister Simonas Kairys and some 60 current and former members of Latvia's parliament, according to Russia.

In reaction, Lithuania demanded that its politicians be removed from the list, while Latvia's foreign ministry said it was working with the EU and NATO against "the issue of Russia's politically motivated cases and extraterritorial targeting".

Estonia said it wanted an explanation from the Kremlin, adding: "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also notified the representative of Russia that these steps by the Russian state will not stop us from doing the right thing and Estonia will not change its resolute support for Ukraine."

The three Baltic states were once ruled by Moscow but are now members of the EU and NATO and since the Russian invasion in Ukraine have vocally criticised Vladimir Putin. 

The only evacuation route from Avdiivka is "completely shut by the Russians", the region's head has said.

In an update on  Telegram , Vadym Filashkin, the head of the Donetsk regional administration, said three to four people a day were leaving the city and only 926 remained.

Russian troops are tightening their grip around the embattled town of Avdiivka where Ukrainian troops are dug in.

Elsewhere on the eastern front, Moscow's troops are building offensive pressure.

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    Day 3: London. Day 4: London. Day 5: Morning train to Amsterdam, sightseeing in the afternoon. Day 6: Amsterdam. Day 7: Morning train to Paris, sightseeing in the afternoon. Day 8: Paris. Day 9: Paris. Day 10: Fly home. On this itinerary you get to three major cities.

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    Start: Girona End: Girona Distance: 118 miles (190km) Mixing Greek and Roman ruins with medieval towns, the eccentricities of Salvador Dalí and a wild and rugged coast, Spain's Costa Brava makes a fascinating, eclectic destination for a road trip.

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    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.

  14. European Railway Map

    Check out some examples of spectacular European itineraries you can experience with a Eurail Pass. Follow one or more of our itineraries, or use parts of them to create your own. Planning your trip is half the fun, and with these itineraries, you get to see the very best of Europe! Get inspired Choose the right Pass

  15. 10 of the best train journeys in Europe, chosen by Lonely Planet

    Paris to Berlin - fast or slow Liège-Guillemins station in Belgium, created by the architect Santiago Calatrava. Photograph: Reinhard Tiburzy/Alamy A well-established network of high-speed trains...

  16. Travel Itineraries in Europe

    English $ USD Suggested Itineraries Trip suggestions from our travel experts It's never too early to start planning your next big trip to Europe! Get your Eurail Pass now and start dreaming of all the destinations you want to tick off your list. Check out our suggested rail itineraries and start creating your own. Find the best suggestions for you.

  17. 14 Best Train Journeys in Europe

    The train from Malaga to El Chorro is a stunner, a fast route that takes less than 45 minutes and will set you back less than a tenner. That gives you just under 45 minutes to enjoy the stunning ...

  18. 2 weeks in Europe Itinerary by Train

    In this article I share my top tips to plan your 2 weeks in Europe as well as 4 detailed Europe itineraries by train : Latin, Eastern, Western and Central. Discover some of the most beautiful treasures of the continent. Table Of Contents. Things to consider when planning 2 weeks in Europe. Best way to travel Europe in 2 weeks - Europe by train.

  19. Popular Train Routes in Europe

    Trip ideas English $ USD Popular Train Routes in Europe Follow these popular train routes and the chances are you'll meet other Eurail travelers along the way. These routes are popular for a reason, taking in world-class cities and amazing scenery. From Rome to Florence, from Paris to Barcelona and from Amsterdam to Berlin - see it all with Eurail!

  20. Perfect Europe Train Itinerary: 19 Exciting Routes (Up to 10 Days

    what is the best route to travel Europe by train? What we came up with is an exciting list of 19 European train routes to choose from: 6 scenic train trips in Italy and Switzerland. 7 train itineraries throughout Northern Europe. 4 routes that criss-cross Central and Eastern Europe. and 2 train itineraries for Spain and Portugal. We've even included 2 seasonal European train itineraries for ...

  21. The 20 Best European Destinations To Visit In 2024

    13. Ponza Island, Italy. Ponza Island, Italy, European Best Destinations 2024. EBD. This small Italian island with an area of only seven square kilometers and just a few thousand inhabitants is ...

  22. Europe Train Map

    Our interactive train map of Europe highlights some of the most popular rail routes across Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany and Italy. Click on each of the routes in our map below to find journey times and where to book your tickets. *Routes are subject to change throughout the year.

  23. 20 Most Walkable Cities in Europe

    This short-but-sweet route takes roughly half an hour and covers 1.4 miles (2.3km) in 3,018 steps. Discover more of the world's most beautiful medieval cities RUBEN M RAMOS/Shutterstock

  24. It's a brand new route on the world's most famous train

    In travel news this week, a European airline is weighing passengers before takeoff, the new luxury train trip that costs $8,500 one way, and how Ukraine keeps its railways running, two years into ...

  25. Eastern Europe Itinerary

    Eastern Europe Itinerary. Eastern Europe travel is ideal for people with a curious mind in search of a fascinating Eurail train vacation! Visit Vienna's (Austria) splendid Hofburg Palace, wander around Prague's (Czech Republic) fairytale castle district and relax on Croatia's pristine islands off the coast of Split.

  26. Americans are traveling to Europe in record numbers but they're not

    A new requirement for American travelers bound for Europe — an online travel authorization via the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) — has been delayed until 2025 ...

  27. Ukraine latest: Ukraine sinks Russian warship in drone attack; Kremlin

    Britain has said it will send more than 50 tanks to Eastern Europe to take part in the largest NATO war games in a generation as warnings grow about the threat of all-out conflict with Russia.

  28. Europe Train Routes Threatened By Climate Change, But Resilience Is

    Climate Change Threatens Europe's Trains, But Resilience Is Expensive. Increasing train travel is critical to decarbonizing transportation. As extreme heat, flooding and erosion pose risks to ...

  29. Fast High Speed Trains across Europe

    Eurostar (Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany) Travel between London and the rest of Europe on the Eurostar high-speed train. Transport and convenience are covered with our affordable Eurail Pass! ICE High-Speed Trains The ICE (InterCity Express) is a high-speed train that connects all major cities in Germany.