Planning a vacation can be extremely stressful, especially if you have no idea where you want to go or how you’re going to get there. I have found that the best way to make the most out of your time is to fit as many cities as you can into the time you have. It can definitely get hectic traveling all around Europe, but when you look back at your trip you’re going to be glad that you didn’t waste a second of your day! Here are my two methods of grouping cities, and the pros and cons of each traveling style.
Option 1 – Less cities, more time
The first method is to travel to two cities, one week in each (assuming your trip is two weeks long), and see everything there is in each one. This was the method we used a few years ago when we traveled to Paris and London, and we got to know and explore each city pretty well. This option is definitely more relaxing and less hectic, and it would be better to choose two cities that are more dense in sightseeing locations because you’ll have more time (Paris and London would be a good pair). With this method, I would recommend taking a few day trips to more remote, hidden cities to escape the bustling town centers; it would also be a nice way to avoid getting bored or used-to the city you’re staying in.
Option 2 – More cities, less time
Another option is to group more cities and spend less time in each. For example, you can spend four days in three cities, or vise versa (with a few days set aside for traveling). This is the method my family and I usually go for because we get to experience so many more cultures and cities in the same amount of time. Obviously we can’t get too deep into the sightseeing of each city, but we manage to check off the top items on our bucket-lists with time to spare, which we often spend wandering around the city and exploring. But you also need to keep in mind that train rides between cities can take up a lot of time, and that should be taken into account before booking four different hotels! Despite this, I do believe that this is the best way to make the most out of your time. Here are some groupings we made on our vacations that worked out perfectly:
- Venice – Florence – Rome
- Barcelona – Malaga – Seville – Madrid
- Amsterdam – Brussels – Cologne – Munich
- Nice – Milan – Zurich
For each of these trips, we traveled on high-speed trains from city to city to save time, even though these train rides can be very relaxing and I honestly love them – wish we had more trains in California! Treasure this recharging time because you don’t really have much of it when you’re city hopping! It can get very crazy when you only have a few days in a city, which is why you have to prioritize what you genuinely cannot leave the city without doing. For me, the two most important things are to see the most famous museums, churches, or landmarks, and also to just see the less crowded parts of the city for myself, even if that means walking around for hours and digging a hole through my sandal (which has actually happened before)..
Overall, I have loved both of these methods and I think they’re great ways to save time as well as money. Here are a couple links to train tickets around Europe that you can use for inspiration!
- Rail Europe (for finding locations and booking tickets)
- Rick Steve’s Europe (learn more about how and where to buy tickets)
Traveling to Europe can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so it’s important to make the most of it!
Thank you so much for reading this post and I hope I could help and inspire you for your next European vacation!
Make sure to check out my blog to read travel guides to any of the destinations I mentioned above (and more!)
< 3 Pauline