12 Perfect One Week Europe Trips, Part II

Ask and you shall receive, my friends!  My first post on 12 Perfect Itineraries for One Week in Europe was so well received that I hurried along on round two for ya.  If you are wondering where to spend one week (or more - combine a few!) in Europe, you have come to the right place.  Here are 12 (more) perfect one week itineraries!

 

1. Copenhagen + Stockholm

Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, is a lively, fun, and colorful city worth checking out!  There is delicious (healthy!) food, great shopping, and a lot to see and do.  Plus it is consistently ranked as one of the happiest cities in the world - how can you say no to that?  Make sure to rent a bike and do as the locals do!  From Copenhagen, Stockholm is an excellent second stop.  It too is full of healthy, delicious food, and beautiful sights.  Don't miss colorful Gamla Stan (their old town).

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Copenhagen

HOW TO GET FROM COPENHAGEN TO STOCKHOLM: The easiest way to get from Copenhagen to Stockholm is via train, which takes around 5 hours.  There are an average of 5 trains per day, leaving around every 3 hours.

WHERE TO STAY:

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

 

2. The Croatian Islands

Croatia, an Eastern European country on the Adriatic Sea, has over 1,000 islands of varying size and popularity.  If you have dreams of beautiful blue waters, ancient towns, and island-hopping, Croatia is a fabulous option especially if you are a seafood fan! While there are so many different islands worth visiting, a few of my favorites that I would recommend include: Hvar, Vis (Komiza, Milna), Palmizana. And don't miss the blue cave on Biševo! 

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Split and take off from there by ferry or boat

GETTING AROUND THE CROATIAN ISLANDS: By ferry or boat

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

 

3. Reykjavik + Vik (ICELAND ROAD TRIP)

Thanks to Iceland-based budget airline WOW air, flights there are now cheaper than ever!  While you can easily spend more than one week road tripping around Iceland, I am told, you can still see a fair amount if you only have one week to spare.  Start your trip in Reykjavik, the country's capital and largest city (also where you'll fly into).  It is home to the colorful buildings you see above and that magical Blue Lagoon spa you see all over Instagram.  And do not miss Vik, home of that black sand beach you likely also see all over Instagram ;)

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Reykjavik

HOW TO GET FROM REYKJAVIK TO VIK: Road trip!

WHERE TO STAY:

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

 

4. PUGLIA, ITALY

Puglia is a beautiful region full of many picturesque towns in the southern region of Italy's "boot".  It is very low key so a week here might be too long for some people but if you are looking for a relaxing week in a unique place this is a great option.  In fact Puglia local Manuela of pensierinviaggio.it recommends at least 10 days!  Driving from one town to the next you will be likely be shocked at how different they are from each other - from Alberobello's trulli stone huts to colorful Gallipoli.  Don't miss Cisternino and the famous white town, Ostuni, either!

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Bari

HOW TO GET AROUND: You gotta rent a car.  Don't be scared, though, the roads are totally fine.  The only not-so-fun part is parking so try to get the smallest car you can!

WHERE TO STAY:

  • I would recommend calling Polignano a Mare home base.  Airbnb was wonderful and there were many central options for very cheap! Get $40 off your first booking HERE

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

 

5. Salzburg + Hallstatt + Vienna

Salzburg, Austria is most widely known for being the birthplace of Mozart and the setting for the Sound of Music. If that's not reason enough to check it out, it's stunning old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it's photogenic streets look out of a fairytale.  And speaking of fairytales, Hallstatt is a jaw dropping village that you will without a doubt want to take a thousand pictures of.  It sits alongside a lake lined with shops and cafes and has - my favorite - a funicular leading to a viewpoint above the lake.  From there head to Vienna, Austria's capital and largest city. It offers tons of history including numerous imperial palaces and is known as the City of Music!    

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Salzburg or arrive via train

HOW TO GET FROM SALZBURG TO VIENNA: The easiest way to get from Salzburg to Vienna is via train, which takes around 2.5 hours.  It is a popular route with around 39 trains traveling between the two per day.  Get a ticket

WHERE TO STAY:

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

 

6. Antwerp + Brussels + Paris

Antwerp is the second largest city in Belgium and is a picturesque gem!  Known for it's diamonds, fashion, and historic city center, I read it described at Belgium's capital of cool on countless blogs while researching this. From Antwerp head to beautiful Brussels, capital of Belgium and also often referred to as the capital of Europe.  Offering many museums, great shopping, and excellent restaurants, Brussels is a wonderful addition to any itinerary.  It is split into several districts, each with their own unique characteristics and charm.  Of course do not miss the Grand Place, one of the most beautiful city squares in all of Europe.  If you happen to be there in August, every other year there is a "flower carpet" setup in the square.  What's a flower carpet? Millions of flowers setup in patterns to make a 19,000 square ft carpet. And less than an hour and a half from Brussels lies Paris, making it the perfect last stop!  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. 

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

HOW TO GET FROM BRUSSELS TO PARIS: You can quickly and conveniently get to Paris from Brussels via train.  The journey takes around 1.5 hours and there are an average of 27 trains per day between the two.  

WHERE TO STAY:

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

 

7. Cologne + Luxembourg

If you are looking for something more off the beaten path in Germany, look no further than Cologne.  It is one of the oldest cities in Germany so it offers a ton of history and is located on the beautiful Rhine.  Try a sightseeing tour on the river and do not miss the colorful Fish Market Square!  From Cologne head to Luxembourg City, capital of Luxembourg (yup, that's a country) and second smallest country capital of the European Union. It is, according to their tourism site, "a lively and bustling capital with a lot of great touristic attractions to visit and a multitude of things to do".  It is a beautiful and often overlooked city, perfect for wandering without being constantly surrounded by a gaggle of tourists.

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Cologne

HOW TO GET FROM COLOGNE TO LUXEMBOURG: You can easily get from Cologne to Luxembourg via train.  The trip takes about 3.5 hours.

WHERE TO STAY:

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

 

8. Manchester + London

If you are a regular reader of mine then you know how much I love both of these spots.  Manchester, often overlooked although I'm not sure why, is a city just 2 hours north of London.  It is lively and full of character, offering something for everyone from sports and music to art and history.  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.

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Manchester (Virgin Atlantic offers direct flights from a handful of American cities now!)

HOW TO GET FROM MANCHESTER TO LONDON: Manchester is located just 2 hours from London via train.  The route is very popular, with 36 trains between the two per day.

WHERE TO STAY:

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

 

 

9. Dubrovnik + Kotor

The walled city of Dubrovnik, also known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, is located in southern Croatia and is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.  It is stunningly beautiful with lots of beaches, a delicious food scene, and a world famous Old Town dating back to the 11th century yet surprisingly still intact.  From there head south to Kotor, a popular coastal town in Montenegro.  It too has a magnificent old town as well as many museums, cathedrals, and winding streets perfect for getting lost in. 

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Dubrovnik

HOW TO GET FROM DUBROVNIK TO KOTOR: You can get from Dubrovnik to Kotor by driving which takes around 1 hour.  There is also a bus option which takes a fair amount longer, around 3 hours.

WHERE TO STAY:

 

10. THE FRENCH RIVIERA (the Côte d’Azur)

The French Riviera is located on the southern part of France along the Mediterranean.  It is known for it's pristine beaches and upscale, glamorous resorts.  But the French Riviera is not just Saint Tropez and Cannes!  There are so many towns to choose from, you may find yourself running out of time before you run out of options.  Don't miss colorful Menton, Eze, Verdon Gorge, and Aix-en-Provence.

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Nice

HOW TO GET AROUND: There are some buses and trains between the major towns but the easiest way is likely by car, either via a rental or by taxi.

WHERE TO STAY:

  • Depending on which town(s) you want to call home base, there are many different options - especially some beautiful Airbnbs. Get $40 off your first booking HERE! 

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

 

11. Geneva + Zermatt

Geneva sits on the southern part of Switzerland very close to the France border.  It's got watches, Swiss chocolate, and all the outdoor sports you could ever want!  Oh and cheese - there's a fondue cruise (ha).  From there head to Zermatt, a charming mountain resort town most widely known for it's skiing, climbing and hiking as well as for it's iconic views of the famous Matterhorn.  The entire village is car free, making it great for walking around and shopping at the many boutiques.  It is small but memorable - I went in 1996 and still dream of returning someday.

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Geneva or take a train in

HOW TO GET FROM GENEVA TO ZERMATT: The easiest way to get from Geneva to Zermatt is by train. The trip takes up to 4 hours and there are 16 trains per day between the two.

WHERE TO STAY:

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

 

12. Cinque Terre + Florence + Tuscany

Cinque Terre, a string of five towns on the Italian Riviera, is known for it's colorful seaside houses and rewarding hikes. As if that alone is not enough, it is also the birthplace of pesto and the seafood is as fresh as can be.  If you like hiking and/or are looking for good photo opps, this is your spot!  Florence, capital of the Tuscany region, is home to many famous museums, incredible architecture, and a vibrant nightlife. Often called the birthplace of the Renaissance, it is a popular destination for those interested in art and culture.

HOW TO GET THERE: Fly into Florence

GETTING AROUND: Travel by train from Monterosso to Florence, duration ~2.5 hours

WHERE TO STAY:

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

 

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