Wondering where to spend one week in Europe? These 20 ideas for your Europe trip will help you decide how to maximize your time.
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How to Choose the Best One Week Itinerary for a Europe Trip: 20 Europe Itinerary Ideas
If you’re like most people and getting time off work or kids out of school is challenging, you may only be able to manage one week of vacation. Europe is a great destination to go for one week, simply because of the cultural diversity in such a small geographic area.
The small size, proximity, and ease of transportation between many of the countries in Europe make it a good choice for a culturally rich one week holiday. If you’ve only got one week in Europe, and really want to maximize your time, but you’re wondering where to go in Europe, here are 20 perfect one-week Europe travel itineraries.
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Before You go to Europe
Europe is an amazing destination, especially if you pick any of these awesome itineraries, but before leaving there are a few things you should consider when planning your Europe trip:
- KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Before you go to Europe, be sure you follow my 50 travel tips for Europe. You can find those here.
- GETTING THERE: Getting to Europe can be very affordable if you know how to find cheap flights. I’ve shared all of my best tips and tricks in this article, which will show you how to find the best times to visit Europe and how to find the most affordable flights.Tickets to Europe are so cheap right now. I’ve seen some for $250 round trip recently, and last year our family flew to Ireland for $60 each! If you’re traveling to Europe for the first time, I recommend flying into one of the more major cities like London, Paris, or Rome, where most people speak English so you can ease yourself into your Europe trip.
- THE BEST TIME TO GO TO EUROPE: Europe, like any other place in the world, can get very crowded during the summer vacation months for the Northern Hemisphere. June, July, and August are generally the busiest time of year in Europe. And the winter months are generally cold in most European countries, especially in the north.That doesn’t mean you should avoid those times, it just depends on your tolerance for crowds and your preference in weather. I love visiting Europe during the shoulder season, just before and just after the summer, in April, May, September, and October. The weather is still decent, especially if you don’t like the sweltering heat, the crowds are fewer, and the prices are cheaper!
- BOOKING ACCOMMODATION IN EUROPE: When planning your Europe trip you have many great options for lodging. Airbnb is quite popular there, and there are lots of options for hotels, especially family-friendly ones.I’ve shared my favorite Airbnbs and hotels from each of these destinations. If this is your first time using Airbnb, you will definitely want to use this coupon to get $40 off your first stay. Plus it helps me out too! Here is a guide I wrote all about the ins and outs of getting the best deal from Airbnb. Once you’ve purchased your flights and decided where to visit in Europe, book your accommodation right away as the costs only get more expensive the closer you get to your travel date.
- WHAT TO PACK FOR EUROPE: What you pack for Europe will highly depend on what time of year you go and where you decide to go. This packing guide for Europe will ensure you have the essentials.
- GETTING AROUND: Getting around Europe can be a little daunting, but if you do some research before you go, you’ll be just fine. Transportation in every country in Europe is a little different. I’ve linked many of my articles with helpful advice below like How to Survive Train Travel in Italy and Driving in Scotland. Some itineraries will require you to go by train, car, plane or boat. Travel around Europe doesn’t have to be scary if you learn what to do ahead of time.
What to do in Europe for One Week:
20 European Vacation Ideas for Your Europe Trip
These are my best one week vacations in Europe. Taking a multi city European vacation can be a great way to experience several different cultures on one continent. I know that one week in Europe isn’t a lot of time, so I’ve picked cities that are either close in proximity or a quick and cheap flight between each other.
I’ve also tried to choose each Europe travel itinerary with a mix of classic sites and unique destinations. There are so many cool places to visit in Europe that are still undiscovered. Hopefully, some of these locations will be new to you and you’ll be able to discover a new European favorite!
Here's a Short Cut
- How to Choose the Best One Week Itinerary for a Europe Trip: 20 Europe Itinerary Ideas
- What to do in Europe for One Week:20 European Vacation Ideas for Your Europe Trip
- 1 | Amalfi Coast + Rome
- 2 | Paris + London
- 3 | Ireland + Iceland
- 4 | Heidelberg, Germany + Strasbourg, France
- 5 | Colmar, France + Basel, Switzerland
- 6 | Interlaken + Lucerne, Switzerland
- 7 | Lake Como, Italy + Zermatt, Switzerland
- 8 | Paris + Normandy
- 9 | Iceland and the Scottish Highlands
- 10 | Venice and Lake Como
- 11 | The Ionian Islands, Greece
- 12 | Ireland + Northern Ireland
- 13 | Edinburgh + Scottish Highlands
- 14 | Colmar + Strasbourg
- 15 | Loire Valley + Paris
- 16 | London + Cotswolds
- 17 | Cinque Terre + Florence
- 18 | Prague + Vienna
- 19 | Budapest + Bratislava
- 20 | Lucca + Sardinia
- 21 | Lisbon + Algarve
- 22 | Vienna + Hallstatt + Salzburg
- 23 | Croatia + Montenegro
- 24 | Budapest + Bratislava + Vienna
- 25 | Berlin + Prague
1 | Amalfi Coast + Rome
This is one of my very favorite European vacation destinations. There are hundreds of choices for stunning history and scenery when you visit Italy, but this Amalfi Coast and Rome itinerary gives you the best of both worlds. Rome is one of the top places to visit in Europe and offers history around every corner…literally, while on the Amalfi Coast you will be overwhelmed by breathtaking ocean views.
Spend several days in Rome, then head south to the Amalfi Coast via Naples and spend a few more relaxing on the beach and driving the coast. It’s one of the best European beach vacations you can take! Amalfi is also one of the most popular Europe vacation spots during the month of August, so you may want to take that into consideration when planning your trip.
Check out these other 5 amazing itineraries for Italy. Italy is one of the best countries to visit in Europe due to its size and variety of landscapes, cultures, and attractions.
GETTING THERE: Fly into Rome
GETTING BETWEEN CITIES: Getting from Rome to Amalfi is easy. Take the train from Rome to Naples, from there take the bus to Sorrento. There are many tour buses that travel along the coast, or you can rent a car and do the driving yourself.
WHERE TO STAY
Rome | Amalfi
How to Spend One Day in Rome
Family Guide to Rome
How to Spend 2 Days in Naples
How to Survive Train Travel in Italy
The Best Places to Visit in Italy
How to Spend 10 Days in Italy
Tips for Renting a Car in Europe
2 | Paris + London
If you’re looking for a European vacation with a lot of history and class, this is it! I can’t even count the number of times that I have done the Paris/London combo. I’ve done it with kids, as a couple, as a girls’ trip, and as a field trip. No joke! And every time I go, it’s like completely different cities. You can follow completely different options for London and Paris itineraries and have an amazing time no matter what you choose. In my opinion, these are two of the best cities to visit in Europe as they offer a huge amount of culture, food, and entertainment bang for your buck!
When I plan our family trip to Europe each year, I make sure to always include both Paris and London. These are two of my favorite places in all of Europe. They are popular for good reason. Both Paris and London are so vast and diverse that you can have a new experience each time you visit. The best part about visiting these two cities is that they are very easy to travel between with the help of the Eurostar. It’s a quick journey from the heart of one city to the next that requires no airports, no flying, and no hassle. Note: You will need a passport or visa to travel between England and France and you will need to go through customs before boarding the Eurostar.
I’ve created an easy-to-use day-by-day itinerary for Paris and London so that you can show up and enjoy your trip.
GETTING THERE: Fly into London or Paris
GETTING BETWEEN CITIES: Take the Eurostar
Paris Walking Guide
Paris with Kids
Foods You Must Try in Paris
Paris Neighborhood Guide
How to Use the Paris Bike System
London Travel Guide
Perfect London Itinerary
London with Kids
Christmas in London
Paddington’s Guide to London
How to Use the Paris Bike System
3 | Ireland + Iceland
If you’re looking for a European vacation with wild nature and rural beauty, this option is a winner. While both of these spectacular islands really deserve their own week (or weeks really), a trip combining the two is possible, thanks to affordable flights between Iceland and Ireland. A good route would be Reykjavik and the Golden Circle, combined with the west of Ireland including Killarney, the Ring of Kerry, and the Cliffs of Moher. These countries are some of the best places to go in Europe if you love majestic natural beauty.
GETTING THERE: Fly into Iceland as its one of the cheapest ways to get to Europe.
GETTING BETWEN COUNTRIES: From Iceland, take a quick flight to Ireland. Dublin, Belfast, Cork, or Shannon Airports are usually where you’ll find the best deals.
4 | Heidelberg, Germany + Strasbourg, France
This one-week European itinerary includes two of my favorite cities in Europe! Heidelberg, Germany, known for its ancient castle and walkable downtown is a perfect companion to Strasbourg, France only an hour and a half away, in the Alsace region of France, known for its impressive cathedral and half-timber houses. These towns are particularly spectacular during the Christmas season and some of the best places to spend Christmas in Europe. This will be the best Europe itinerary for those looking to spend time in provincial looking towns!
GETTING THERE: Fly into Frankfurt, Germany
GETTING BETWEEN COUNTRIES: Drive for 1.5 hours or take the train for 1.5 hours.
5 | Colmar, France + Basel, Switzerland
If you want to spend your Europen vacation wandering charming streets and feeling like you’re in a fairytale, this is it. Basel, Switzerland holds a special place in my heart and is often an overlooked town. Only a quick 45-minute train ride from the popular and iconic Colmar, France, Basel offers a unique culture that only a town on the border of three countries can. Basel is especially fun during Herbstmesse, the local Autumn Fair when the city literally turns into a fair! Combine these two beautiful cities for a one-of-a-kind holiday.
GETTING THERE: Fly into Basel or Zurich
GETTING BETWEEN CITIES: Drive 45 minutes or Train 30 minutes
6 | Interlaken + Lucerne, Switzerland
No European vacation list would be complete without including the unimaginable beauty of the Swiss Alps. Switzerland is a wonderland of natural beauty for the outdoor enthusiast or even anyone who has a remote interest in pretty scenery! It’s one of the best countries in Europe for those who love outdoor activity and natural beauty. It’s just jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
For such a small country, there is so much to see and with two of Switzerland most breathtaking areas just a few hours from each other, it’s worth visiting both of them. These areas offer pristine lakes, ancient gorges, colossal mountains, and a vast array of cultural activities.
GETTING THERE: Fly into Zurich, Switzerland
GETTING BETWEEN CITIES: Train to Lucerne, Train to Interlaken
7 | Lake Como, Italy + Zermatt, Switzerland
If you’d like your Europe trip to have a good mix of beach and mountain time, this is the perfect combination. Lake Como is probably one of my top favorite places on the planet. It is totally magical and peaceful, and I’ve written about it multiple times and helped friends and family plan trips there. Don’t skip Lake Como on your next trip to Italy. One of my favorite parts of Lake Como is its proximity to the Swiss border. You can actually hike over the borer and into Switzerland! But if you’d rather not hike, hop in the car and take a trip to Zermatt, Switzerland, home of the famous towering mountain, Matterhorn.
GETTING THERE: Fly into Milan, Italy
GETTING BETWEEN CITIES: Drive 3 hours to Zermatt or take a 4 hour Train ride from Milan
8 | Paris + Normandy
This is a European vacation full of charm, but also a healthy dose of history and reality. A Paris-Normandy itinerary of Europe combines all the glamor and romance of the city of light with the charm, history, and beauty of Northern France. Spend several days in Paris, taking several day trips, including the impressive floating Mont Saint Michel. This area is one of the best places to visit in Europe for history lovers.
GETTING THERE: Fly into Paris
GETTING BETWEEN CITIES: Drive 3 hours
9 | Iceland and the Scottish Highlands
Two naturally and culturally beautiful countries are just a short and cheap flight apart and a great combination for a one-week European itinerary, although both countries could take weeks to explore on their own. Spend a few days in Iceland, then take a cheap hopper flight and explore the mystical highlands of Scotland.
GETTING THERE: Fly into Reykjavik
GETTING BETWEEN COUNTRIES: Fly into Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, or Aberdeen
10 | Venice and Lake Como
Some of my favorite Italian destinations, Venice and Lake Como, both built on water, are ideal locations for aquatic enthusiasts. Taking a ride on a gondola in Venice is one of the best things to do in Europe! Take the Vaporetto (water bus) in Venice, then take a short drive or train ride to Lake Como and enjoy boating and relaxing on the beach in one of the adorable villages lining the lake.
GETTING THERE: Fly into Venice or Milan
GETTING BETWEEN CITIES: 3.5 hours by car or 10 hours by train
11 | The Ionian Islands, Greece
If you’re interested in cheap Europe trips, the gorgeous Ionian islands of Greece are one of the best-kept secrets in Europe. Naturally and culturally diverse, affordable, and downright beautiful, Kefalonia and Corfu make great choices for one week in Europe.
Explore ancient ruins, relax on pristine beaches with locals, and dine, affordably, like a Greek god. If you’re travelling Europe on a budget, this is a great option and Greece is one of the best places to visit in Europe in summer if you’re looking for gorgeous beaches at affordable prices.
GETTING THERE: Fly into Kefalonia from London on Ryanair
GETTING BETWEEN ISLANDS: Take a ferry between the Ionian Islands from Greek Ferries
12 | Ireland + Northern Ireland
Two countries on one island? Yep! Take a visit to Ireland AND Northern Ireland. Two countries that are very similar, but also very different. Explore the entire island with this perfect itinerary.
GETTING THERE: Fly into Dublin or any airport in Ireland
GETTING BETWEEN COUNTRIES: Rent a Car. Driving in Ireland can be tricky and slow, but worth the views and the adventure.
13 | Edinburgh + Scottish Highlands
Scotland is one country that should really be given an entire week. You could definitely say that about any destination, but for a relatively small country, but it has so much to offer that you could spend years here and not see it all.
For one week in Scotland, I recommend visiting Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands, including the Isle of Skye. Read here for an entire Scotland Itinerary, here for Edinburgh, here for Inverness and the Highlands, and here for the Isle of Skye.
GETTING THERE: Flying into Edinburgh is usually the cheapest option.
GETTING BETWEN AREAS: It’s best to rent a car or hire a driver or tour company. Be sure to read my guide to driving in Scotland.
14 | Colmar + Strasbourg
What could be more charming than a week spent in these “poor provincial towns.” Ok, so they’re definitely not poor or provincial, but you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into Belle’s hometown from Beauty and the Beast.
The ancient half-timber homes built along scenic rivers provide a feast for the eyes, while the patisseries, boulangeries, shops, and restaurants provide a feast for the tongue. Split your time between these two idyllic towns and enjoy a peaceful trip back in time.
If you visit Colmar or Strasbourg during Christmas, these towns will be even more magical! Strasbourg is known as “The Capital of Christmas” and both towns have incredible Christmas markets and decorations!
GETTING THERE: Fly into Zurich
GETTING BETWEEN COUNTRIES: 30 minutes by train or 1 hour by car
15 | Loire Valley + Paris
Divide your time between the ancient and modern city of light and the historic Loire Valley, home to magnificent palaces, stunning gardens, and green pastures. This one-week itinerary is the perfect balance between city and country life and will provide you with a mix of excitement, peace, and romance. It can be hard to squeeze everything you want into one week European itineraries, but this is a must!
Be sure to map out the castles and palaces you want to see along the way. Our favorite is Chenonceau! Don’t miss it!
GETTING THERE: Fly into Paris
GETTING AROUND: Rent a car and drive two hours to the Loire Valley
16 | London + Cotswolds
This London and Cotswolds Itinerary provides the best of both British worlds, encompassing both the hustle and bustle of one of the world’s oldest and largest cities and the peace and tranquility of the quaint cottage speckled Cotswolds.
As much as I love London (it’s my favorite city), I do get tired of the crowds and the constant noise. It is so refreshing to get into the countryside and have a change of scenery during your time in London. The Cotswolds are a fairytale-like dream trip. Be sure to grab cream tea every chance you get!
GETTING THERE: Fly into one of three London Airports
GETTING AROUND: Rent a car and explore the whole Cotswolds area
17 | Cinque Terre + Florence
I call this itinerary the best of Northern Italy. Italy is huge and has so much to offer geographically and culturally, but one of my favorite parts of Italy is the train system. The trains in Italy allow for easy access to most major sites, but it can be slightly confusing, so be sure to read this guide to train travel in Italy before you go. Getting between Florence and Cinque Terre is simple with the right knowledge.
The great thing about this itinerary is that you will get to see a big city full of culture, history, and art, and also spend time swimming at the beach and on a boat soaking up rays in in the Liguerian Sea. Read here for Florence, here for Cinque Terre, here for Trains in Italy.
GETTING THERE: Fly into Florence
GETTING BETWEEN CITIES: Two hours by train
18 | Prague + Vienna
I think Prague and Vienna might be some of the most underrated cities in Europe, and they are worth dedicating an entire week to. Stunning architecture, delicious cuisine, and cultural activities abound in these cities that are just a few hours apart.
GETTING THERE: Fly into Vienna or Prague
GETTING BETWEEN CITIES: 3-hour drive or 4-hour train ride
19 | Budapest + Bratislava
If you’re looking for cheap European vacations, the farther east you go, the cheaper it generally gets. These are two cities that had never really been on my bucket list, and to be honest, I had never even heard of Bratislava, which is in Slovakia by the way! Both cities are charming and culturally rich. They are especially festive and beautiful around Christmas time.
Bratislava is on the way between Budapest and Vienna (you can even cycle between Budapest and Vienna) and Budapest and Prague, so if you’re thinking of doing a combination of any of those cities, it’s a great stop.
GETTING THERE: Fly into Budapest
GETTING BETWEEN CITIES: 2 hours by car, 2.5 hours by train
20 | Lucca + Sardinia
These incredible destinations in Italy are not well known, but that is part of the appeal. I would say they are a good option for a cheaper and less crowded alternative to the Florence and Cinque Terre itinerary.
Lucca is a walled city in Tuscany offering stunning architecture and culture with great family fun activities such as riding bikes along the top of the medieval wall around the city. Sardinia is a heavenly island, just a ferry ride away full of breathtaking beaches, delicious food, and friendly locals. Known as one of the five blue zones in the world- places in the world where people live longer and healthier than anywhere else on earth-Sardinia will make you feel younger and more alive just by visiting.
GETTING THERE: Fly into Rome or Florence
GETTING BETWEEN DESTINATIONS: Take a Ferry from Civitavecchia to Olbia
21 | Lisbon + Algarve
Portugal is a beautiful country full of diverse landscapes, amazing beaches, and cultural city centers. Lisbon is a stunning city and the Algarve region in the south of Portugal offers sunny beaches with world-famous surfing. There are some really cheap flights to Lisbon from the US right now and you can either drive, train, bus, or fly to the Algarve easily. As a southern European country, Portugal is a great choice for a winter destination. We were there last January and could still get in the water. There are many towns to choose from in the Algarve and they are all equally unique and beautiful.
GETTING THERE: Fly into Lisbon
GETTING BETWEEN DESTINATIONS: Take a plane, car, or bus to the Algarve.
22 | Vienna + Hallstatt + Salzburg
This one week in Europe spent in Austria is a dream. Combining the culture of Vienna and Salzburg with the picturesque feel of Hallstatt, it’s sure to satisfy any traveler. In my opinion, this is a great winter destination if you don’t mind the cold. Vienna and Salzburg have several amazing Christmas markets and Hallstatt is simply a dream to see in the snow!
GETTING THERE: Fly into Vienna
GETTING BETWEEN DESTINATIONS: Take a train to Salzburg (2.5 hours). A great way to see Hallstatt is to take a day trip from Salzburg.
23 | Croatia + Montenegro
If you’re into coastal towns, walled cities, and breathtaking scenery, this combination is for you. The Dalmation Coast is absolutely stunning. The bordering country of Montenegro is really the hidden gem of Europe, offering the same draw as Croatia, but with far fewer tourists. I recommend going during shoulder season (April-May or September-October) to be able to enjoy warmer weather with fewer crowds.
GETTING THERE: Fly into Dubrovnik, Croatia
GETTING BETWEEN DESTINATIONS: Take a Day Trip to Montenegro
24 | Budapest + Bratislava + Vienna
Two of the most underrated cities in Europe if you ask me, Budapest and Bratislava are both cities that offer an amazing array of culture and also incredible food. If you’re up for the cold weather, these cities all have incredible Christmas markets and stunning decorations around the holidays. These cities are also all connected by rail so you can easily navigate between them.
GETTING THERE: Fly into Vienna or Budapest
GETTING BETWEEN DESTINATIONS: Take the train between each city. Bratislava would be a good day trip from Vienna.
25 | Berlin + Prague
If you love history and architecture, then these two cities will captivate you! Split your time between the two, rent a car and take a road trip between them to enjoy some beautiful scenery.
GETTING THERE: Fly into either Berlin or Prague, whichever airport is cheaper.
GETTING BETWEEN DESTINATIONS: Rent a car and take a road trip between Berlin and Prague.
Whichever Europe Itinerary you choose, you’re guaranteed to love it. You can definitely see so much of Europe in a week and you really can’t go wrong with any of these choices. Just remember to relax and enjoy and also remember that this probably won’t be the last Europe trip of your lifetime.
Not the Trip You Need?
Not exactly the trip you’re looking for? Don’t worry, I also offer custom trip planning by request for many destinations! Learn more here.
Practical Tips for Booking your Trip
Book Your Flights
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner. This is my favorite way to search for flights because they crawl websites and airlines around the globe, so you always know you’re getting the best deal. Learn more tips for finding the best flight deals here.
Book Your Accommodation
My preferred way to stay around the world is Airbnb. I find it usually gives you a unique local experience in any destination. Read my guide to choosing an authentic Airbnb before you book. And use my $55 coupon for your first stay. If you want to stay elsewhere, use Booking.com, as it consistently gives the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels. I use them both all the time.
Always Get Travel Insurance
Travel insurance protects you and your family against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s peace of mind in case anything goes wrong. I never travel without it. I’ve been using World Nomads for the last few years and love how easy it is to use. I have also used Allianz. Compare rates to see which is best for the coverage you need.
Looking for ways to save money on travel?
Check out my resource page for the companies I use for traveling! I share everything I use to save me time and money.