First up, can I just say how exciting it is that you’re planning a European adventure!
At least I hope you’re planning to travel Europe, because otherwise you’ve probably landed on the wrong post!
And that’s because this article contains the top 10 Europe itineraries you need to take, alongside the best time and reason (or excuse!) to indulge in them.
From winter wanderlusting to summertime sojourns, first-time forays to Balkan bonanzas, I’ve got the ideal European itinerary for each and every scenario.
All you need to do is read through this list of 10, select the one that appeals most and then start planning!
And when it comes to planning, I’ve decided to help you out there too, so right at the end of this guide you’ll find a handy list of planning tools and tips that will be ideal for assisting you with the next stage of your adventure.
This means no matter whether you’re seeking Europe itinerary inspiration, or some preliminary advice about how to plan your adventure, this is the article for you.
Let’s get stuck in…
- Top 50 Things to Do in Western Europe
- 3 Best Eastern Europe Itineraries
- 15 Easy Steps to Planning the Perfect Trip
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#1 Perfect for Spring (March through May)
Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, Seville, Granada
Time: 10-14 Days
Heading to Spain in the spring is probably the best idea you can ever have!
We all know this glorious Mediterranean country gets scorching in the summer, but visit between March and May and you’ll enjoy delightful temperatures that are perfect for sightseeing and hitting the beach.
If this is your first visit to Spain, then this itinerary is ideal for seeing the best of this country.
Classic coastal cities such as Barcelona and Valencia provide plenty of great museums and history (along with food and beach opps), and you can’t visit Spain and not spend at least a day or 2 in its capital Madrid.
Check out this 2 day Madrid itinerary for more info.
Then it’s time to head down to the southernmost region of the mainland to savour the delights of Seville and Granada – 2 of Andalucia’s most fabulous destinations.
Don’t miss the mighty Alhambra in Granada (learn about how to get your tickets here), or the delightfully refined centre of Seville (discover my top things to do in this city here), both are shining jewels in Spain’s crown you can’t miss.
And with any extra time, why not consider some time at the nearby coast too?
Hitting one of these top 12 beaches in southern Spain, would make the perfect relaxing end to this Europe itinerary.
#2 Perfect for Summer (June through August)
Munich, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest
Time: 10 Days
This central European itinerary is ideal for the summer months – yes you may have to battle a few crowds, but the glorious weather you’ll get at this time of year will definitely help you see the best of this region.
Travelling from west to east, I recommend starting in Munich, where a couple of days will allow you to wander this beautiful Bavarian city, as well as enjoy at least 1 day trip to some of the fabulous castles around.
Afterwards, train or fly across Germany to the country’s vibrant capital, Berlin, where you can soak in the great atmosphere this city boasts during the summer months.
Ideal for budget travellers, Berlin is amazingly cheap for a European capital – learn more about how to see this city for less here.
From Berlin, it’s then just a short hop, skip and jump across to Prague in the Czech Republic.
Check out my list of the top 21 things to do in this Medieval capital for more ideas about how to spend an amazing couple of days here.
Spoiler alert, don’t miss the UNESCO-listed centre, the famous castle, National Museum or the beer!
Next, it’s on to Vienna – the grand and glorious Austrian capital.
Chock-full of cultural delights, including the famous Opera House, and some pretty iconic museums and galleries, sampling at least a few of the quintessential Viennese cafes here is also a must.
And finally it’s on to Budapest, the magnificent capital of Hungary, where ruin bars and public baths can (and should!) be enjoyed to the max!
Check out my ideal 3 day Budapest itinerary for more inspiration.
#3 Perfect for Autumn (September through November)
Porto, Lisbon, Algarve
Time: 7 Days
If you’re looking for the ideal warm weather escape, then Portugal is a great option for a Europe itinerary at this time of year.
I suggest starting your time in the north of the country, in the city of Porto, which has a convenient international airport for easy access.
The city centre can be explored in a day, but I highly recommend allowing 2 days for trips out of the city as well, including to the famous wine region of the Douro Valley – learn how to get there from Porto in this post.
It’s then time to catch a train, bus or drive to Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, where the sights of Belem, Sintra and this coastal capital itself await you.
Here’s my pick of the top 21 things to do in Lisbon.
And finally, catch the last of the season’s rays down in the Algarve – this dramatic, cliff-backed coastline in southern Portugal should not be missed!
#4 Perfect for Winter (December through February)
Helsinki, Lapland, Bergen, Oslo
Time: 7-10 Days
And with winter now lapping at your heels, heading to Scandinavia to really take in the cold weather, is the perfect Europe itinerary option.
Don’t miss the Finnish capital of Helsinki, or Lapland further north in this country, where snowmobiling, husky sledding, santa visiting, glass igloo sleeping and reindeer spotting all await you.
Learn how to plan your perfect festive Lapland trip here.
From there, it’s then time to head to Norway, to check out more winter wonderland action in the cute historic town of Bergen and the wonderful capital of Oslo.
#5 Perfect All Year Round
Amsterdam, Paris, Strasbourg, Venice, Rome
Time: 14 Days
But what if you’re looking for a top Europe itinerary that’s brilliant all year round?
Well, look no further than this fantastic 14 day route that will take you through some of the continent’s best cities.
Start in the canal-laden capital of Amsterdam and explore the fantastic array of museums and districts in this lively city – get your ideal 3 day itinerary here.
The Noord area just north of Centraal Station is ideal if you want to escape the crowds, otherwise, the Anne Frank house and the Van Gogh Museum are must-dos too.
Moving on, the French capital of Paris is just a short train ride and this iconic city is one that you can easily visit time and time again and not get bored of!
Check out my list of the top 10 free things to do in Paris here.
From the city of love, it’s then time to head east towards the Alsace region and the city of Strasbourg.
Famous for its vineyards and picture-postcard towns, getting out around Strasbourg to nearby towns and villages, such as Colmar, is a must.
Learn more in this article I wrote about my time in the Alsace wine region.
And then it’s time to motor southwards to Italy.
First up is the chance to visit dreamy Venice (restrict your stay here to 1-2 nights if on a budget!), before heading south to the living museum that is Rome, where treats such as the Colosseum and the Pantheon, not to mention the gelato, pizza and pasta, will make a decent dent in your bucket list!
#6 Perfect for First Timers
London, Paris, Ghent, Amsterdam
Time: 10 Days
First time in Europe?
Then this itinerary is for you!
Hitting many of the top cities in the northwest of the region, it’s also easy to connect between all these destinations using the Eurostar and trains – perfect if you want to keep your carbon footprint low.
Start off in London, my home and a freaking marvellous city if I do say so myself!
There’s simply too much to do in this city to list out all the highlights here, but no matter whether you’re into history, shopping, street art, food, galleries, theatre, comedy, music, iconic views, parks or The Royals – London has something for you!
My list of the top 25 most famous buildings in London you should see is a good place to start.
Next, it’s on to Paris, another monolith metropolis.
The area around Pigalle is my fav, although the highlights of the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Musee d’Orsay can’t be missed either if it’s your first time here.
Next, hop on the train and head to Belgium.
Personally, I’d give Brussels a miss, but the lovely city of Ghent, just half an hour away, is a beautiful historic spot that’s wonderful to visit at any time of year.
And last but not least, it’s time to head to the final city of Amsterdam.
The Dutch capital is great fun and deserves a stay of at least 2 nights in my opinion.
If you’re visiting in the summer and can extend to 3 nights, then a day or overnight trip to the nearby Amsterdam coast is also worthwhile.
Learn why I loved this area so much here.
#7 Perfect for Budget Travellers
Sibiu, Brasov, Bucharest, Veliko Tarnovo, Plovdiv, Sofia
Time: 12 Days
A great tip for budget travellers in Europe… the key to keeping things cheap when travelling in this region is generally to head east!
And that’s just what this itinerary does.
Taking in Romania and Bulgaria, these 2 beautiful countries will give you the chance to soak up dramatic mountains and historic cities aplenty.
I’d start by flying into Sibiu in the north of Romania, which boasts an international airport, and then taking at least 3 days to explore the wonderful villages, castles and hiking opps of the Transylvanian region – it’s definitely one of the top places to visit in Romania.
Then continue the fun in the city of Brasov, where nearby Bran and Peles Castles are must-sees.
From here, head to the Romanian capital of Bucharest for a day, before crossing into Bulgaria and hitting up the historic and pretty town of Veliko Tarnovo, which is just a few hours from the border.
Don’t miss some of the day trips around this city, including to the Seven Lakes and Rila Monastery.
If you have extra time, then a trip to Bulgaria’s sandy coastline shouldn’t be missed either, especially during the summer months.
Learn more in this post I wrote about the best Bulgaria itinerary.
#8 Perfect for Mountain Lovers
Annecy, Interlaken, Trento, Innsbruck, Salzburg
Time: 10-14 Days
Another European travel itinerary perfect for the mountains is this route, which will take you across the Alps in France, Switzerland, Italy and into Austria – ticking off some of the best destinations along the way.
Hit Annecy in France to begin your journey, before heading across to Interlaken in Switzerland (preferably by train) for some mind-blowing scenery.
Switzerland really is a jewel, but it’s also very pricey, so don’t stay too long if budgets are tight.
Next, it’s time to move to the Italian Dolomites, where Trento is the main hub of the region and the perfect place to start some incredible hiking adventures.
And finally, move up to Austria where the destinations of Innsbruck and Salzburg are filled with epic views, Alpine charm and a good dollop of Sound of Music enthusiasm, if that’s your thing!
#9 Perfect for Coast Lovers
Nice, Naples, Amalfi, Palermo
Time: 10 Days
So after the mountains have had their turn, I thought it only fair to write a European itinerary centred around the coast too!
Of course, I love the lofty peaks as much as the next traveller but, if you read this blog a lot, you’ll know that my heart really always lies at the beach (it’s that growing up on a small island thing!)
For coastal lovers, I thought it best to begin this Europe itinerary in the southern French city of Nice – a pricey but charming destination that’s worth at least a couple of days.
From here, it’s then time to make your way to Italy, stopping at the northern city of Genoa for a night if you have the time, before motoring down to Naples and the Amalfi Coast.
The beaches here, like many in Italy, are stony and sit below steep cliffs, but the magnificence of the Italian towns in this area, coupled with some glorious coastal views and a few Aperols, really is hard to beat!
And after this, it’s time to hop on a train down to the southern island of Sicily for your sandy beach fix.
I suggest heading to Palermo, the buzzing island capital, which is a foodie’s paradise. These are my top 13 things to do in and around this city.
From here, you can then day trip or overnight to the glorious sandy stretch at San Vito de Lo Capo. Learn how to make the journey here from Palermo in this article.
Alternatively, head to the east of Sicily instead and make a beeline for the southern city of Siracusa.
Its coastal location is unparalleled in my opinion and, if you want an easy day trip from here, you can simply hop on a 15 minute train to the lovely free beach of Fontaine Bianche.
Check my list of the top Sicily beaches for more info.
#10 Perfect for Balkan Beginners
Belgrade, Sarajevo, Mostar, Dubrovnik, Kotor
Time: 10 Days
And last but not least, we come to the 10th Europe itinerary on this list and for it, we’re heading to the southeast of the region because it’s time to explore the amazing Balkans.
Start your time in the Serbian capital of Belgrade, where I recommend a stay of 1-2 nights and these 12 great things to do.
From here, hop on a bus to the wonderful Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, where taking a tour (and a couple of days) to learn more about the fascinating history of this city is a must. Check out this guide to Sarajevo I wrote.
Then it’s time to move another couple of hours south where Mostar deserves another 1-2 days of your itinerary.
Don’t miss the famous bridge of course (it’s an Instagram must!) and a great day trip to the beautiful nature and waterfalls around the city – learn why I loved it so much here.
Continue on to Croatia and the famous walled city of Dubrovnik, which is so high on Adriatic amazingness it’s hard not to fall in love with it like everyone else! Game of Thrones fans will be particularly enchanted!
And finally, finish up in the Montenegro coastal spot of Kotor.
Boasting a super cute harbour area, backed by a cobbled old town and a castle that looms over it, spending a couple of days exploring Kotor and the cute towns around it, such as Perast, is best done on foot and by bike.
Check out this guide I write to the city to learn all you need to know.
Europe Trip Planning Mini Guide
How to Travel to and Around Europe
If you’re flying into or around Europe, then check out budget airlines such as RyanAir, EasyJet and WizzAir for the best prices.
Using a comparison tool like Skyscanner will also help you find the best prices.
If you’re planning to use trains instead, then I highly recommend using Trainline who make booking and comparing rail journeys across Europe super easy.
And finally, when it comes to bus journeys, look no further than the fantastic Flixbus, whose rates are hard to beat!
Travel Money in Europe
When it comes to paying for things in Europe, you want to ensure you’re not being charged overseas transaction fees or getting poor exchange rates when using your card abroad, which is why I always take my Wise card with me.
The easy way to spend when travelling, with real exchange rates, no markups, no sneaky transaction fees and a free Euros account, you can use your Wise card just like a debit card in Europe… and it links easily with Google and Apple pay – sold! Grab yours here.
Travel Insurance for Europe
World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.
Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.
SAVE IT TO PINTEREST!
And there you have it, my guide to the top 10 Europe itineraries.
With something for every one, every season and every budget, you’re bound to find the perfect travel route through this region.
Have you tried any of these itineraries out already?
Which is your fav?
Do let me know in the comments box below…