BIG, VIVID, DIVIDED AND CULTURAL EUROPA QUICKLY COMES TO MIND AMONGST TRAVELERS. For first time visitors it is hard to pick a place where to start, but even for second time, third time visitors and so one it stays hard to find an itinerary.. or to choose an itinerary. We don’t all have the money and time to become world travelers, and as much as we dislike it, we are bound to travel within the time we’ve got given.
Europe is pretty, and with so many countries, cultures and villages to discover it can be quite hard to choose an itinerary for a short time visit. Because, if you are like me you want to see everything.
So where to start and what to see when you finally travel to Europe for such a short period of time? In todays article I am going to write about 5 possible seven-day itineraries for your trip to Europe. Now I know you probably aren’t going to Europe for just a week, but it is up to you how to combine these itineraries in your actual travel plans!
Riga – Tallinn – Helsinki
UNUSUAL, LESS CROWDED AND RUSSIAN INFLUENCES. If you are looking for a different Europe experience and itinerary I would suggest Riga and Tallinn to you, and since they are easy to combine with a visit to Helsinki, why not do that? These three relatively small cities are easy to combine and to visit in one week. The thing I love the most about Riga and Tallinn is how incomparable it is with other European cities, you can definitely see the Russian influences in these cities and that is what makes them two perfect cities to visit. And of course Helsinki: a very modern Scandinavian city that has a completely different vibe.
HOW I would advise you to stay around two days in every city. Start in Riga, and take the bus to Tallinn afterwards. Which takes about three hours, the bus is pretty comfortable and has Wifi, so you’ll be good to go. The bus ride costed me about 16 Euros, so it is really cheap! From out Tallinn you can take the boat to Helsinki.
WHEN All three cities are pretty touristic during summer period. Since Riga and Tallinn are close to the beach, it makes for a great holiday in summer. However, I would definitely suggest you to go during winter, as snow here is guaranteed.
Amsterdam – Antwerp – Brussels
FUN, FRIENDLY AND HISTORICAL. One of the things I love about living in the Netherlands is that the train connections overall are pretty good. If you take the train from Amsterdam it is one direct connection to Paris, with stops in Antwerp and Brussels. I would definitely love to advice you to also go to Paris with this itinerary, but since Paris is big, there is no way you can combine these cities in just a seven day trip. Of course, if you’d like you could take the train from Amsterdam to Paris without stopping in Antwerp and Brussels.
Starting in Amsterdam you’ll get to experience the canals in the city, the lovely canal houses, the history of the city and the World Wars and you’ll experience Dutch people, which I’ve been told, are some of the most friendliest people in Europe – I mean.. of course they are;-). After this you’ll travel to Antwerp and Brussels. Which are cities that are mostly forgotten by the large audience as they aren’t quite big. However, both cities are lovely and really pretty.
HOW As I just said: go by train. You’ll take the Thalys from out Amsterdam. It takes about one hour to go to Antwerp from out Amsterdam and about half an hour to Brussels from out Antwerp. If you got more time be sure to take the Thalys to Paris afterwards. Be sure to search for flexible dates when booking your Thalys (always book in advance) – some dates and times can get quite pricey.
WHEN All three cities are busiest during summer (June – August) when most people have their vacation. While these are lovely months to visit they can get pricey because of high season. I would advice you to book in the quieter and cheaper months (January and February) or go in Oktober/November when it’s Autumn – the canals in Amsterdam look absolutely lovely during this season.
Barcelona – Madrid – Valencia
VIBRANT, DYNAMIC, OLD. This June I visited these three cities in one combined citytrip. These were all cities I wanted to see, but for some reason never had before. So when I finally got the chance to visit Madrid, I figured.. why not all three cities? Turns out it is a pretty easy combined city trip, and since it will safe you a lot of money to combine these trips, you can just as well! Barcelona is big. There is lots going on in this city and it is pretty damn crowded as well. Barcelona has become a must visit for a lot of travelers and you’ll meet tons of backpackers here that are traveling through Europe, just as you are.
Madrid has a completely different vibe. It is smaller and more intimate. It is a city you learn to love through discovering every little alley. Of the three Valencia is my favorite. Valencia has all the perks of a Spanish city. The center is old, with high, narrow streets, a lot of tapas bars and restaurants and a beautiful beach and boulevard. One of the things I loved about Valencia is that it is a enormous student-city. With loads of expats that have temporarily moved into the city, which makes the city feel very vivid and young!
HOW Start in Barcelona and fly to Madrid with a cheap airline like Vueling. From out Madrid you can take the bus to Valencia, which takes about 3 hours. You can also do it the other way around: take the bus from Valencia to Barcelona (about three hours as well) and then fly to Madrid.
WHEN I visited Spain during summer and I really feel like should do too. Even though it gets pretty crowded in summer, this is the time of the year when you can experience the culture and country at her best. Drink Sangria until the sunsets and enjoy midnight tapas on the terrace after spending your day at the beach.
Bratislava – Vienna – Budapest
HISTORICAL, CULTURAL, BEAUTIFUL. While this somewhat is a very challenging one-week itinerary it also is a very easy one, since the cities are so close to one another. Bratislava is relatively small, but a beautiful, underestimated city in Europe that definitely earns your attention. Vienna is a gem, a gem with a lot of beautiful, cultural history and the most amazing architecture all through the city. Budapest is a mind-blowing city, but big, with lots to discover within just three days. However, it’s worth seeing it, as there are so many incredible aspects to the city. I think Budapest is the number one destination of Europe that surprises tourists the most – including me!
HOW The connection between Bratislava and Vienna is fairly easy, as the cities are so close to each other. You can either take the boat or the bus. I’m sure there are more options, however these are the most convenient and quickest ones – if not the cheapest. From Vienna you can take the high-speed train to Budapest, which takes about three hours, or again, you can take the bus.
WHEN You can visit these cities all year round – pretty much. However, prices in Vienna can get really high during high season. And since Vienna is quite expensive already you might want to avoid high season. I would prefer traveling to these cities around Christmas period. The Christmas markets in Vienna and Budapest are two of the best ones in Europe, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on them!
Edinburgh – Glasgow – Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park
CHARMING, AUTHENTIC, MYTHICAL. While I’ve never made it to this part of Europe before, I am dying to travel here. This part of Schotland gives you a beautiful impression of the history of Europe. Discover countless castles, old buildings and one of the most beautiful cities of Europe: Edinburgh. Of course, when you are in the area you can’t miss out on a visit to the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. You definitely heard of the Monster of Lochness before. Well, guess where to find this mythical beast? Of course, you have to be extremely lucky to spot this creature around the lakes, but it still makes for a pretty good trip.
HOW After flying into Edinburgh you can travel to Glasgow by train or by coach. If you want to spend more time around the National Park you can rent a car to travel around the area. Otherwise you can book an organized tour (for one day or a couple of days) to the national park to get shown around by a local guide.
WHEN The weather in Schotland is unpredictable. To say the least. The weather prediction in May and September mostly is the best. But I guess that the weather is generally nicer in high season too. I would advice you to avoid traveling around Scotland in Autumn or in the beginning of the year. Due to a lot of fog and rain.