12 Perfect Itineraries for One Week in Europe

I, like many people, find myself spending a lot of time researching and planning trips - the first step of which is of course deciding where to go. Countless times I found myself with the same question: where to spend one week in Europe?   Here are 12 perfect one week itineraries!

 

1. Positano + Rome

If you know me personally or follow me on Instagram then you know that there is nothing I love more than Positano on the Amalfi Coast.  John Steinbeck was once quoted saying “Positano bites deep.  It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.” and I really could not agree more.  It is a place you have to see to believe and even then you will hardly believe it is real.  If there’s one place that I recommend you visit, it’s this.  Roma, the lively capital of Italy, is full of rich history and a vibrant social scene and a logical stop after the Amalfi Coast.  Home of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Michelango’s Sistine Chapel and so much more, you will more likely run out of time than of things to do here.

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Rome 

GETTING FROM ROME TO POSITANO: To get to Positano you will need to take a train to either Naples or Salerno and then take a cab or ferry to Positano.  More specific details can be found on my Positano post here.

WHERE TO STAY:

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

 

2. Lisbon + Lagos

If you've been to San Francisco and enjoyed it, odds are you'll love Lisbon as well.  Often called the San Francisco of Europe, it's known for having delicious food, many hills, and even it's own Golden Gate Bridge look-a-like! It has become extremely popular in recent years and is a must see.  South of Lisbon by about 300 km lies the beautiful beach town of Lagos in Portugal's Algarve region.  If you have ever been on Pinterest before then you have likely seen a photo or two of it's well-known cove, Praia do Camilo.  Lagos offers amazing beaches, a charming (but small) historic center, and a bit of a wild nightlife.  

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Lisbon

GETTING FROM LISBON TO LAGOS: Take a train from Lisbon to Lagos, duration ~4 hours, or drive for around ~2 hours 45 mins.

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

 

3. Paris + London

There’s a famous saying “Paris is always a good idea” and for good reason - it’s absolutely magical year-round.  It is one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world and a place full of endless things to see and do.  If you are looking for history, culture, art, fashion, and amazing food, Paris is for you. Similarly, London also offers all of the above and is also a major transportation hub, making it very easy (and often cheap-ish) to get to.  If you want to visit two great places while minimizing travel time, this itinerary is a wonderful option!

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Paris (or London)

GETTING FROM PARIS TO LONDON: The easiest way to get from Paris to London is by train which takes ~2.5 hours.  There are an average of 16 trains per day, leaving once per hour.

WHERE TO STAY:

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

 

4. Prague + Budapest

Located in Eastern Europe, Prague and Budapest offer a great introduction to the eastern side of the continent if it is new and of interest to you. Prague is beautiful with it's red roof tops and is often compared to Paris for it's stunning beauty.  It's also said to have the best beer in all of Europe! Don't miss it's magnificent Old Town Square and make sure to go up the Astronomical Clock for the best views in the city.  Hungary's capital, Budapest, is another Eastern Europe hot-spot and was even ranked the world's second best city in 2013 by Conde Nast.  It offers a little bit of everything and is a great second stop on a visit to Prague.  Don't miss the thermal baths and if you're up for an adventure, try it at night!

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Prague or Budapest

GETTING FROM PRAGUE TO BUDAPEST: My recommendation would be to take the overnight train from Prague to Budapest. That way you travel while sleeping, it's your hotel for the night, and it's fun!

WHERE TO STAY:

 

5. Lucerne + Interlaken

Switzerland is without a doubt one of the most beautiful countries in the world.  It has history, beautiful lakes, jaw-dropping mountains, charming villages, and chocolate and cheese!  How can you say no to that? Lucerne is a beautiful city located on Lake Lucerne, just south of Zurich.  Known for it's well preserved medieval architecture, colorful old town, and flower-covered Chapel Bridge.  After Lucerne head to one of my favorite places of all time (really!).  Interlaken, a resort town situated between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, is known as being the outdoor sports capital of Europe and is one of the most beautiful places I have ever laid my eyes on.  It’s also the gateway to two additional bucket list-worthy villages - Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald.  Don't miss a day trip to Jungfrau, known as "The Top of Europe", either!

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Zurich then take a train to Lucerne

GETTING FROM LUCERNE TO INTERLAKEN: The train ride between Lucerne and Interlaken is one of the prettiest in the world and therefore there's no better way to travel between the two.  There are approximately 10 trains per day on average.

WHERE TO STAY:

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

 

6. Amsterdam + Haarlem + Utrecht

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is an undeniably beautiful town built on an elaborate canal system like you have never seen before. Per square meter, it is home to more museums than any other city in the world! In addition to museums and canals it offers history, beauty, waffles, the infamous Red-light District, and a city full of bike paths if you are brave enough to give cycling a go.  A day trip away, beautiful Haarlem is a medieval town full of cobblestone streets, famous for its tulip fields.  Utrecht, a lesser known town in the Netherlands, is a city in the central part of the country.  It has a popular medieval old town, canals, and was once named one of the world's most overlooked places by Lonely Planet.

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Amsterdam

GETTING FROM AMSTERDAM TO UTRECHT: Travel by train which takes ~30 minutes.  There is an average of 46 trains a day between Utrecht and Amsterdam, leaving approximately every 41 minutes.

WHERE TO STAY:

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

 

7. Venice + Burano + Lake Como

You cannot ever go wrong with Italy and Lake Como and Venice are no exception!  The floating city is one of the most unique cities in the world and a place that should not be missed.  It has no roads and is instead made up of canals full of boats and gondolas taking lovers and friends on scenic rides through the almost-unreal landscape.  It's also rumored to be sinking, so you better get there before it's gone!  From Venice you can also easily visit Burano, the most colorful town in Europe.  Lake Como is a lake located in northern Italy, very close to the border of Switzerland, and just 3 hours from Venice by train.  It is a popular upscale area, known for its dramatic beauty and being the home of George Clooney.  The lake is home to many towns including Bellagio, Como, Tremezzo, Varenna, and Lecco to name a few.  It is beautiful, glamorous, relaxing, and I find it to be very unique to the rest of Italy.  

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Venice

GETTING FROM VENICE TO LAKE COMO: Travel by train from Venice to Varenna, duration ~3.5 hours

WHERE TO STAY:

HELPFUL RESOURCES

 

8. Munich + Rothenburg + Heidelberg

Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is most famous for it’s annual Oktoberfest celebration but is actually much more than that.  It has beautiful parks, interesting (and often horribly sad) history, and lively beer halls and outdoor beer gardens which are a blast even outside Oktoberfest.  Don't miss Neuschwanstein Castle!  Rothenburg, also in Bavaria, is an absolutely charming German village most famously known as being the inspiration behind the village in Disney’s Pinocchio.  It is a well-preserved medieval town perfect for a day of exploring and photo taking. From Rothenburg head to Heidelberg, another beautiful German town filled with cobblestone streets, adorable restaurants and cafes, and the magnificent Heidelberg Castle.

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Munich

GETTING FROM MUNICH TO ROTHENBURG TO HEIDELBERG: It's possible to get from Munich to Rothenburg via train but it requires many stops (2-3) and therefore a car is likely your best bet.  Same goes for Rothenburg to Heidelberg.

WHERE TO STAY:

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

 

9. The Greek Islands

The Greek islands are such a popular destination that I'd be more surprised if you hadn't already considered this as an option.  Although Mykonos and Santorini are beautiful, I would actually recommend venturing off the beaten path to some of the smaller, less touristy islands.  Milos is very up and coming yet still mainly untouched.  Get to it before all of the tourists do!  Hydra, which is completely wheeled-vehicle free, is a true gem.  Wander the beautiful streets, shop in the dozens of stores lining the port, try a Greek iced coffee while people watching, eat dinner at Sunset Restaurant, and then grab a drink at Omilos.  Porto Heli is worth a visit even if just to spend a day relaxing at the glamorous Nikki Beach.  And Ermioni, although incredibly small, is a nice place to spend a few hours exploring.  Do not miss a drink at Cavo Bianco!

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Athens then take a ferry or boat

GETTING AROUND THE GREEK ISLANDS: By ferry or boat.  In rare cases during peak season and to only certain islands you can also fly.

WHERE TO STAY:

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

 

10. Dublin + COBH + Dingle + Galway

Dublin, the capital and largest city in Ireland, is a great place to start your week long Irish road trip.  From there drive to Cobh, famous for being the Titanic's last port of call in 1912.  Even more famous to Instagrammers for having a row of rainbow houses right in front of a beautiful cathedral ;) Next don't miss Dingle, a small but charming and photogenic port town with a famous dolphin named Fungie (ha).   The picture above should speak for itself, I'd hope. Last but not least, head towards Galway, stopping by the Cliffs of Moher on the way.  Galway is famous for being where the woman Ed Sheeran has his eye on is from in the song Galway Girl. Just kidding (kind of) - it's another small but charming town with lively restaurants, bars, and independent stores.  The resource below from my friend Grace covers a 7 day Ireland road trip itinerary in great detail, don't miss it!

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Dublin

GETTING AROUND IRELAND: Travel by car

WHERE TO STAY (as recommended by Fashion Edible!):

HELPFUL RESOURCES

 

11. Gothenburg + West Sweden

If you are a fan of the outdoors, fresh seafood, culture, and road trips, then Gothenburg and West Sweden is where you should go.  Gothenburg is Sweden’s second-largest city, located on Sweden’s west coast just south of Norway, north of Denmark, and a few hours from Stockholm.  It is known for being the birthplace of Volvo, founded in Gothenburg in 1927, as well as for it’s gastronomy and for being one of the centers of music, art, and literature in Sweden.  The area known as West Sweden surprisingly does not include the entire west coast of Sweden, but is instead the area from just outside Gothenburg all the way up to the Norwegian border.  It includes thousands of islands (over 8,000 I believe!) and is known for having some of the best seafood in the world and being an outdoor enthusiast’s dream.  I really cannot rave about them enough nor can I recommend a more beautiful spot for a road trip.

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Gothenburg

GETTING AROUND WEST SWEDEN: By car (Volvo, preferably, since it was born in Gothenburg!)

WHERE TO STAY:

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

 

12. Colmar + Strasbourg

If you have ever wanted to hop right into a fairytale, then Colmar, France is for you.   Think colorful medieval buildings and cobblestone streets lined on a beautiful canal.  It's also part of the Alsatian Wine Route which is a road connecting the main Alsace wine producing regions.  From Colmar head to Strasbourg, another French town in the Alsace region.  Since it's located very close to the German border, it is in unique in that it has both French and German influences.  Although it has cold and snowy winters, it seems magical even in December during the Christmas markets!

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Strasbourg or take a train from Paris or Zurich

GETTING FROM COLMAR TO STRASBOURG: Drive (~53 minutes) or take a train (~25 minutes).  Colmar to Strasbourg is a very common train route with an average of 29 trains a day, leaving approximately every 36 minutes.

WHERE TO STAY:

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

Booking.com
 

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