Summer in Europe: Two Week Itinerary
The idea of a summer in Europe – visiting the sparkling Mediterranean sea, historic Rome, beautiful Barcelona and most recently, the hidden gems of Eastern Europe – has captured imaginations for centuries.
Whether it be travelling by horse and carriage on a ‘Grand Tour’ or (as is perhaps more common today), travelling by train, touring Europe has always been a ‘rite of passage’ sort of trip.
But, what if you don’t have the luxury of those long summer months to spend floating around Europe? What if, like most of us, you only have time for a 2 week Europe trip? Is that enough time to see all that this diverse collection of countries has to offer?
We definitely believe that it’s possible to see at least half of Europe’s main sites in just two weeks. To prove it, we’ve put together an itinerary for a (short) summer in Europe, to help you plan your dream trip.
This two week itinerary for summer in Europe will take you through some of the world’s most beautiful and historic cities. Packed with architecture, art, delicious food, beautiful beaches, romantic waterways and historic sites, you’ll be spoilt for choice for what to do.
However, be warned – this really is just a taster of what Europe has to offer. We guarantee that once your two weeks is up, you’ll be left wanting to see much more.
The Easiest Way to Travel Around Europe
Using Europe’s extensive railway networks, you can easily hop from one country to the other (this also includes discounted bus and ferry services). There are two different ticket options available: a Global Pass (Global Pass for Eurail can be bought here), which allows you to visit up to 30 different countries, or a One Country Pass (One Country Pass for Eurail can be bought here), if you fancy exploring just one place.
We’d highly recommend the global pass: it offers incredible value for money (if you are between the ages of 12-27, a month’s pass costs €510) and allows you to be as footloose-and-fancy-free as you like.
So, where to begin your 2 week trip to Europe?
Below is our suggested itinerary for summer in Europe, with links to many more destinations throughout, for those with a little more time on their hands.
1. Paris, France (3 days, 2 nights)
As everyone knows, Paris is always a good idea and it’s the perfect place to start your trip. Furthermore, with France’s super fast TGV trains, connecting to countries across Europe is super easy from here.
Top Tip: Visit Sacre Couer at dawn, for undisturbed hazy morning views across the city.
Once you’ve filled up on macaroons and soaked up Paris’ je ne sais quoi, it’s time to grab a bottle of water, your favourite book and settle down for a beautiful train journey south. Sangria and Spain awaits.
If you have longer in Europe and want to head North from France, we’d highly recommend a few days in the Netherlands, visiting The Hague (which boasts sandy beaches), Amsterdam and trendy Rotterdam (all well connected by train).
2. Barcelona, Spain (3 days, 2 nights)
Paris – Barcelona (by train): 6 hours, 33 minutes
Step off into ‘Barcelona Sants’ – Barcelona’s busy central station and begin immersing yourself in Gaudi buildings and delicious seafood. This really is one of our favourite European cities; relaxed yet quirky (like its buildings), you might find it hard to leave.
Top tip: If you want to enjoy a lazy beach afternoon, avoid Barceloneta beach and instead head to Sitges town, which boasts 17 beaches (including two nudist beaches). This is around a 45 minute journey by train.
Once you’ve experienced beautiful Catalonia, it’s time to move south to experience a different kind of Spain altogether – where North African and European cultures collide.
3. Seville, Spain (3 days, 2 nights)
Barcelona – Seville (by train): 5 hours, 30 minutes
Seville, the land of tapas and flamenco, is one of Analucia’s gems. Bursting with Moorish inspired buildings such as Alcázar and Seville Cathedral, this small city is a perfect place to enjoy by foot. Take a few days to enjoy its surprisingly cheap, but delicious, tapas and vibrant history.
Where to stay: Corral del Rey, located down the narrow streets of old Seville is achingly beautiful. Enjoy the rooftop pool when the heat gets too much.
Top Tip: Getting a little weary of all the walking? Take a soak in the exquisite Baños Árabes underground baths. These sunken baths, lit only by candlelight, are the perfect place to unwind. The only problem you’ll face is deciding which sumptuous pool to unwind in. Our favourite was the floating salt pool.
Once you’ve had your Moroccan inspired fix of southern Spain, it’s time to head for its closely related, yet entirely different, neighbour: Portugal.
4. Porto, Portugal (3 days, 2 nights)
Take a bus from Seville to Faro (you can get a discounted ticket with your interrail pass) and then catch the train to Porto, via Lisbon.
Porto, Portugal’s largest city after Lisbon, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. With traces of medieval architecture, brightly coloured houses littering sweeping hillsides and towering churches, Porto is a beautiful introduction to the country.
Where to stay: if you want to keep to a budget, try Hospedaria Boavista, or ‘Grandma’s House’. It’s clean, friendly and homely, and has its very own little vegetable garden. If you’re looking to splash the cash a little more, book Rosa Et Al Townhouse.
Top tip: No visit to Portugal would be complete without a wine tasting tour. Try the Douro Valley tour for a day’s trip outside of the city and a gentle cruise down a river. All whilst sipping on endless glasses of wine.
Looking to settle into life in Portugal a little more? Catch the train down the coast to Lisbon to enjoy traditional custard tarts, bright yellow trams and the magical pink castle of Sintra.
5. Stop over of your choice: France or Spain (1 – 2 nights)
Before heading to our next destination, Italy, you’ll need to stop over in France or Spain. Our suggested stop overs would be Marseille or Nice. You may even want to factor in a few extra days here, to explore France’s infamous French Riviera before you move on.
Stopping further north? Try the beautiful city of Lille.
6. Venice (3 days, 2 nights)
From Nice: 7 hours 40 (changing at Milan)
Summer in Europe just wouldn’t be complete without a visit to romantic, beautiful Venice.
Walking alongside its busy waterways is pretty much everything you’d expect it to be and worth every euro (we will warn you now, this is not a cheap city). Enjoy a few days getting lost amongst the canals and hidden alleyways.
Where to stay: Hotels in Venice can be on the expensive side. We used OwnersDirect instead to book a beautiful apartment in the heart of the city, at the third of the price of a hotel. Alternatively, for true luxury, stay at Palazzo Venart.
Top tip: jump on a ferry and head out to Burano Island for a day. This colourful island is the perfect place to unwind in the sun with a seafood lunch.
If you have time and fancy squeezing in another Italian city, we highly recommend jumping on a train to Verona. This small, but perfectly formed, city can be seen in a day (including the famous Juliet balcony), so you can be back in Venice for bedtime.
7. Rome (3 days, 2 nights)
Venice to Rome (by train): 3 hours 35 minutes via Florence
Where better to end your summer in Europe than in Rome? One of Europe’s most exciting and impressive cities, Rome is dominated by its history, with the infamous Colosseum taking centre stage.
Where to stay: Similar to Venice, hotels in Rome are expensive. Save your money and look at sites like AirBnB for an apartment instead. Alternatively, if you’re looking to splash out, take a look at Villa Spalletti Trivelli. I stayed here for two nights on my honeymoon and can highly recommend it.
Top tip: if the summer heat of Rome is too much during the day (it was for us) then explore Rome by night. There’s something magical about walking this city when the air is cooler and the famous monuments glow around you.