You’ve got two weeks in Europe and want to see it all. How can you do it? The simple answer is: you can’t. Before embarking or planning a whirlwind tour through European capitals, it’s important to realize that there is simply no way you can experience ALL of Europe in that amount of time. But that doesn't mean you can't see a ton of amazing sights! You just have to plan ahead.
Here are four things to consider before you begin planning:
• Which cities or experiences are most important to you?
• Do you like to go at your own pace and be in charge of your itinerary?
• What is your budget?
• What time of year will you be traveling?
To begin, make sure your flight to Europe lands in one of the places you want to visit. Alternately, if you find a great fare to a specific city, begin planning from that point. This initial flight is likely to be one of the biggest expenses.
Planning Your Trip
Then, begin sketching out your plan. If the thought of planning makes you want to scream, call a professional. There are hundreds of highly qualified tour operators and planners that specialize in building an itinerary and taking care of all the details. You just need to supply them with the when, where, budget, and how many people will be visiting. They also can present options you might not have found on your own.
On the contrary, if the thought of an organized tour makes you sweat, make a rough plan and go with the flow. You can choose to either hit the big cities and highlights in 2 – 3 countries or you can select one country and visit it more thoroughly without needing to rush around.
Time spent in transit is likely to also eat up much of your vacation. Europe does have a great rail system, but it is pricy. Night trains to get you between two destinations are a good option for transit, and they have an added bonus of covering two costs in one. Be sure to consider Europe’s low cost airlines as well. You can get almost anywhere (big and small) in Europe for very affordable rates – often for less than taking the trains. Whereas visiting London and Rome once meant hours and hours on a train, you can now take a short flight and be there in a few hours.
The time of year you are traveling also will make a big difference. Visiting Europe in the summer means you’ll be paying premium prices and be competing with millions of tourists. Instead of hitting the capital cities, consider secondary cities or rural destinations where you’ll find fewer tourists. Likewise if you’re visiting in winter, the Amalfi Coast or Cinque Terre likely won’t hold the same appeal.
No matter what you decide, taking the time to focus on a few special and meaningful experiences during your vacation to Europe will have a more long lasting memory than whizzing by dozens of buildings and sites in the top of a tourist bus!
Have you ever taken a trip to Europe or do you plan to in the future? What do you hope to see there?