If Europe is at the top of your bucket travel list – you aren’t alone. There’s a reason why this fascinating continent is one of the most visited places in the world. But due to its size, it can be difficult to decide exactly which places to visit in Europe, especially if you only have 2 weeks. Do you want to travel by train through western Europe? Or how about exploring the hidden gems of the Balkans? Perhaps you’d rather just visit the charming towns and rural villages of one particular country instead. Whatever you choose, we’re here to help you plan your once-in-a-lifetime trip with exciting itineraries and useful tips to make your experience as memorable as possible.
Is it Worth Going to Europe for 2 Weeks?
Europe is an amazing place to visit if you only have 2 weeks to spare. However, it’s crucial that you don’t try to squeeze in too many countries (or pick countries that are too far away from each other). When planning your itinerary, take a look at a map (and transportation options) to see if your trip is realistic for 2 weeks.
For example, you should be able to see one city in 2 or 3 different countries during your trip. If the countries are small and close together, it’s possible to add more destinations to your list. But if you’d rather soak in the atmosphere of one particular destination, then you might choose to visit multiple cities in one country.
How Do You Travel to Multiple Countries in One Trip?
How you get around Europe will largely depend on where you are going on your trip. Some countries are close by, which means you can easily hop from one place to the next by car or train.
Other destinations may be further apart, requiring you to take planes or long-distance buses. But for the sake of explanation, we’ll outline a couple of the main means of transportation to help you navigate Europe.
Most western European countries have excellent public transportation systems. Cities in Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, Austria, and France can easily be visited by rail. According to the Boston Consulting Group’s Railway Performance Index, these countries have the highest ratings in terms of safety and quality of service.
Other countries like Spain, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands also have railway systems. However, they may be less reliable or not as well connected to smaller towns or other countries.
Taking the train is an excellent way to experience Europe. Compared to flying, it’s generally less expensive, less stressful, and more rewarding in terms of comfort and breathtaking views.
Short and long-distance bus travel is also very popular in Europe. Taking the bus is also a great option if you’re trying to reach an off-the-beaten-past destination that isn’t connected by the railway system.
The buses in Europe are incredibly affordable and, depending on the company, generally well equipped with bathrooms, Wi-Fi, and comfy seats.
While most countries have their own local bus lines, we recommend checking out FlixBus, a low cost bus company that travels to over 30 countries in Europe.
Renting a car for your 2-week Europe itinerary is another option. However, you probably won’t need a car if you’re sticking to big metropolitan cities. Not only are most major cities well-connected and walkable, but parking fees can also be outrageously expensive for long periods of time.
However, a car might make sense if you want to explore the countryside or the outskirts of a specific destination. However, it’s worth calculating the total cost (rental, insurance, gas) to see if renting a car makes sense for your trip.
If you’re traveling between two places that can’t be easily reached by train, car, or bus, then plane travel might be your best option.
There are dozens of budget airlines in Europe selling one-way tickets for 20 Euros or less. However, the cost can add up once you take into account luggage, seat assignment, and getting your way to and from the airport.
What Countries Can You Visit Together? Great 2-Week Europe Itineraries
Europe is an enormous continent, and the country combinations are seemingly endless. However, we’ve put together a few 2-week itineraries to help inspire you for your trip.
Where Should I Go in Europe for the First Time?
If it’s your first time in Europe, you’ll likely want to tick off a couple of the most popular cities and countries. Here are a few itineraries for first timers:
Trip #1: Bustling Cities
- London, UK
- Paris, France
- Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Trip #2: Iberian Peninsula
- Porto, Portugal
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Madrid, Spain
- Barcelona, Spain
Trip #3: Cultural Capitals
- Paris, France
- Berlin, Germany
- Rome, Italy
Where Should I Go in Europe for History?
Europe is home to some of the oldest civilizations in the world. Therefore, you’ll want to add these places to your bucket list if you’re looking for a fascinating history tour through Europe.
Trip #1: World War II
- Normandy, France
- Berlin, Germany
- Krakow, Poland
Trip #2: Architecture Gems
- Vienna, Austria
- Prague, the Czech Republic
- Dresden, Germany
Trip #3: Historical Monuments
- Paris, France
- Rome, Italy
- Athens, Greece
Where Should I Go in Europe That’s Off-the-Beaten-Path?
Looking to explore the beautiful, undiscovered cities most tourists don’t see? These itineraries are guaranteed to show you a more unique (and more local) side of Europe.
Trip #1: Balkan Highlights
- Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina
- Belgrade, Serbia
- Brasov, Romania
- Sofia, Bulgaria
Trip #2: Underrated Capitals
- Bratislava, Slovakia
- Budapest, Hungary
- Zagreb, Croatia
- Ljubljana, Slovenia
Trip #3: Hidden Western Europe
- Lyon, France
- Bern, Switzerland
- Bologna, Italy
Tips for Planning a 2 Week Europe Itinerary
Whether it’s your first or 100th time in Europe, there are a few tips to keep in mind to help with your trip.
Quality over Quantity
Don’t plan to see more countries than you have time for. You won’t truly get to enjoy a place if you’re only there for one day or night.
Remember, Europe is massive, and traveling between destinations could take an entire day. If you’re trying to squeeze in too many places, you might end up enjoying your whole trip from the train or bus window!
Consider the Airport
Ideally, you’ll want to start and end your trip in cities with a major airport. That way, you’ll already be in one of your bucket list destinations by the time you arrive! Trust us – jet-lagged you will be thankful!
Look for Deals When You Can
There are many ways to save money on your trip. Book a rail pass, take free walking tours, and avoid tourist traps and restaurants. You should also book your flights, train tickets, and accommodation ahead of time to avoid high prices.
Keep an Open Mind!
It’s likely that you’ll encounter a cultural difference or two on your trip. Although you may experience culture shock, remember that you’re a visitor in someone’s home country, and for them, this is normal life. As long as you have an open mind and respect the local people and culture, we know you’ll have an amazing time on your 2 week trip through Europe!