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  • Writer's pictureNick Burgess

The Ultimate 2024 Three Week Europe Itinerary

Are you one of those people that have had Europe on your bucket list? I'm not just talking London or Paris, but all of Europe? Maybe you're a little older and don't want to backpack through the mountains and stay in hostels, but you're looking for the ultimate getaway to check all your boxes?


In this guide, we have you covered on a full three-week Europe itinerary. From north to south and everything in between, the below guide has you covered. But first, some pointers:


When Should You Go to Europe?

As with any trip, you want to avoid "peak season." Does this mean you might miss certain experiences or events that the area is famous for? Sure. Don't visit Amsterdam in December expecting to see tulips. But it also means you're going when the cities are much less crowded and, more importantly, much cheaper.


For pretty much all of Europe, you want to visit during the "shoulder seasons." This means you're avoiding the middle of any given season, and you're in the transitional period. Think June or September as perfect times to visit. Does it make packing harder? Sure. But you'll thank yourself (and your wallet) later. Speaking of which...


Paying for the Trip

If you're at a place in your life where you can just start shelling out cash for these trips, then more power to you. We love to see it. For everyone else, let's talk deals.


The best place to start is Google Flights. If you're not loyal to one airline, you can start to plan your trip out using Google Flights explore tools, which will allow you to track prices over time and to help you book the best deal.


Let's also talk points and miles. I'm a huge proponent of the points and miles game (disclosure here that you should never carry a credit card balance because the value you get in points would be wiped out completely). But using the right credit card at the right time can be invaluable.


Credit Card Rewards

To amass the number of points needed for flights and decent hotel stays over a three-week period, you'll need to spend correctly. To do that, you'll want to maximize sign-up bonuses and plan ahead.


Big foodie? Take a look at the American Express Gold Card, which gives you 4x points back on dining. If you're a travel junkie (welcome!), then you can roll with the American Express Platinum Card (5x points on flights and hotels booked via the Amex Portal), the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred (varied travel multipliers and great "do it all" cards), or the Capital One Venture X Card (10x points on hotels booked through the Capital One Travel Portal).


These cards have spectacular sign-up bonuses, as well as points multipliers on everyday spending that could help you achieve your European dreams faster. Some of them also have statement credits when you book travel in cash, meaning you can reduce the hit on the wallet with an occasional free night's worth of cash back.


Travel Insurance

Look, five years ago I never would have considered this. If I'm paying for a trip, I'm going, come hell or high water. Well, the world is different now. Any number of reasons could cause a trip delay or cancellation, so if you're planning this epic tour across the continent, make sure to consider your options. I'm not telling you to blanket purchase insurance for everything you book, but consider insuring your more expensive items, like flights or upscale hotel stays. You might thank yourself later.


Booking Activities

We're going to mention quite a few activities below that you can (and should) book well ahead of time. For us, our trusted booking partner is GetYourGuide. I've used them in London, Paris, Rome, Florence, Madrid and everywhere in between, and we've had stellar results, so I reached out to them to partner up! Any activity that's linked below is an affiliate link, in which this site earns a commission from your booking at no added cost to you. We really appreciate your support!


OK - now that we've hit the highlights of booking and paying for the trip, let's get into the itinerary:


Week 1: Western Europe Highlights


Day 1-2: London, United Kingdom


Arrival and Buckingham Palace

Start your European adventure with a direct flight to London. You'll find no shortage of airlines flying into one of London's three major airports: Heathrow, Stanstead or Luton, the first of which is one of the biggest and busiest on the planet.

buckingham palace in london
Buckingham Palace

After arrival, take a day to recover from jet lag with a casual wander through one of Europe's most storied cities. For your first full day, visit the iconic Buckingham Palace, the residence of the British monarch. Catch the Changing of the Guard ceremony for a truly British experience before piling into some fish and chips and calling it a night.


Westminster Abbey and Big Ben

Welcome to Day 2. Head to Westminster Abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where many British monarchs have been crowned and...dispatched. Nearby, you’ll find the famous landmarks of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Stroll along the Thames River and take in the panoramic views of the London Eye.


Trafalgar Square and National Gallery

Next, walk to Trafalgar Square, a great place to relax and people-watch. Visit the National Gallery, home to masterpieces by Van Gogh, Monet, and others. End your day with a classic English dinner at a local pub.


If you're looking for accomodation, the options in London are too varied to express here. Try a bucket list stay at the Shangri-La in The Shard, Western Europe's tallest building, or in the famous Savoy Hotel.


Day 3-4: Paris, France


Travel Day: London to Paris

On your third day, take a high-speed train from London to Paris. The Eurostar (aka, The Chunnel) offers a quick and comfortable journey, allowing you to arrive in the heart of Paris in just over two hours. Once in Paris, check into your hotel (we'd recommend the Hotel Crayola for the more budget conscious, or my personal favorite, the Pullman Tour Eiffel where I had my honeymoon) and explore the neighborhood.


Eiffel Tower and Seine River Cruise

No trip to Paris is complete without visiting the Eiffel Tower. Arrive early to avoid the peak season crowds and enjoy the best views of Paris from the top. In the evening, take a romantic Seine River cruise to see the city's illuminated landmarks, including Notre-Dame Cathedral and the Louvre Museum.


Louvre Museum and Montmartre

Spend your next full day at the Louvre Museum, home to the Mona Lisa and countless other art treasures. Afterward, head to Montmartre, a historic district known for its bohemian atmosphere and artistic heritage. Visit the Sacré-Cœur Basilica for another stunning panoramic view of Paris.

the pyramid at the Louvre
The Louvre Museum

Day 5-6: Brussels, Belgium


Travel Day: Paris to Brussels

Take a short train ride from Paris to Brussels, the capital of Belgium and the European Union. Check into your hotel and take a leisurely stroll through the city's charming streets.


Grand Place and Manneken Pis

Start your full day in Brussels at the Grand Place, one of the most beautiful squares in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Marvel at the ornate guildhalls and the Town Hall. Just a short walk away, you’ll find Manneken Pis, the famous little statue of a boy.


Atomium and Belgian Delicacies

Visit the Atomium, a unique building designed for the 1958 World Expo. Afterward, indulge in some local delicacies such as Belgian waffles, chocolate, and beer. Don’t miss trying moules-frites (mussels with fries) at a traditional Belgian restaurant.

the atomium sculpture
Atomium Sculpture

Day 7: Amsterdam, Netherlands


Travel Day: Brussels to Amsterdam

Hop on another high-speed train (gotta love Europe!) and head to Amsterdam, my personal crown jewel on my bucket list. This city is famous for its picturesque canals, historic sites, and vibrant culture. Once you arrive, check into your hotel and start exploring, Ted Lasso-style.


Van Gogh Museum and Canal Cruise

Begin your visit with the Van Gogh Museum, which houses the largest collection of Van Gogh's works. Afterward, take a canal cruise to see Amsterdam from a different perspective. The canal rings are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and provide a unique view of the city’s architecture.


Anne Frank House and Jordaan District

End your day with a visit to the Anne Frank House, a poignant museum dedicated to the Jewish wartime diarist. Then, explore the Jordaan District, known for its narrow streets, independent boutiques, and cozy cafes.


Tips for Week 1:

Getting Around: Public transportation is the best way to navigate these cities. High-speed trains are a great option for travel between cities, offering both comfort and efficiency.


Local Delicacies: Don't miss trying local foods such as fish and chips in London, croissants in Paris, and stroopwafels in Amsterdam.


Week 2: Central and Northern Europe


Day 8-9: Berlin, Germany


Travel Day: Amsterdam to Berlin

Take a comfortable train ride from Amsterdam to Berlin, the vibrant capital of Germany. Berlin is a city rich in history, culture, and modern attractions. Upon arrival, check into your hotel and take some time to explore the local area.


Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag Building

Start your first full day in Berlin with a visit to the Brandenburg Gate, an iconic landmark and symbol of German unity (and my dad's all-time favorite piece of history). Nearby, you’ll find the Reichstag Building, the seat of the German parliament. Book a tour to visit the glass dome for panoramic views of the city.


Berlin Wall and Museum Island

Next, head to the Berlin Wall Memorial and the East Side Gallery, where you can see the remnants of the wall and vibrant murals painted by artists from around the world. In the afternoon, visit Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to five world-renowned museums, including the Pergamon Museum and the Neues Museum.

berlin at night
Berlin

Checkpoint Charlie and Potsdamer Platz

End your day with a visit to Checkpoint Charlie, the famous Cold War-era crossing point between East and West Berlin. Nearby, Potsdamer Platz offers modern architecture, shopping, and dining options.


Day 10-11: Prague, Czech Republic


Travel Day: Berlin to Prague

Take a train from Berlin to Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. Prague is known for its stunning medieval architecture, historical sites, and vibrant cultural scene. Upon arrival, settle into your hotel and explore the charming streets of the city.


Old Town Square and Astronomical Clock

Begin your day in Prague at the Old Town Square, where you’ll find the Astronomical Clock, one of the city's most famous landmarks. Watch the clock's hourly show and explore the surrounding area, filled with historic buildings and churches.

Charles Bridge and Prague Castle

Walk across the Charles Bridge, adorned with statues of saints, and enjoy the beautiful views of the Vltava River. On the other side, climb up to Prague Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the largest ancient castles in the world. Don’t miss the Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral within the castle complex.


Jewish Quarter and Evening Stroll

In the afternoon, visit the Jewish Quarter (Josefov) to learn about the rich history and culture of the Jewish community in Prague. End your day with an evening stroll along the Vltava River, taking in the illuminated cityscape.


Day 12-13: Vienna, Austria


Travel Day: Prague to Vienna

Take a scenic train ride from Prague to Vienna, the capital of Austria. Vienna is known for its imperial history, classical music, and stunning architecture. Check into your hotel and start exploring the city's elegant streets.


Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens

Spend your first full day in Vienna at Schönbrunn Palace, the former summer residence of the Habsburg monarchy. Tour the opulent rooms and stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens. Don’t forget to visit the Gloriette for the best views of the palace grounds.


St. Stephen’s Cathedral and Ringstrasse

In the afternoon, head to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, an iconic Gothic structure in the heart of Vienna. Climb the South Tower for panoramic views of the city. Afterward, take a walk along the Ringstrasse, a grand boulevard encircling the city center, lined with impressive buildings, parks, and monuments.


Vienna State Opera and Coffeehouse Culture

End your day with a visit to the Vienna State Opera, one of the world’s leading opera houses. If time permits, catch an evening performance. Don’t forget to experience Vienna’s famous coffeehouse culture by enjoying a coffee and a slice of Sachertorte at a traditional café.

Day 14: Salzburg, Austria


Travel Day: Vienna to Salzburg

Take a train from Vienna to Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart and a city known for its baroque architecture and beautiful alpine setting. Check into your hotel and start exploring the old town.


Hohensalzburg Fortress and Mirabell Palace

Visit the Hohensalzburg Fortress, one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Europe, perched on a hill overlooking the city. The fortress offers incredible views and an interesting look into Salzburg's history. Afterward, stroll through the Mirabell Palace and Gardens, famous for their beautiful design and use in the film "The Sound of Music."


Mozart’s Birthplace and Getreidegasse

In the afternoon, visit Mozart’s Birthplace, now a museum dedicated to the life and works of the great composer. Wander along Getreidegasse, a charming shopping street lined with traditional shops and boutiques. 


Day 15: Munich, Germany


Travel Day: Salzburg to Munich

Take a short train ride from Salzburg to Munich, the capital of Bavaria. Munich is known for its beer gardens, historic sites, world famous football team and vibrant culture. Check into your hotel and take a leisurely walk through the city center.


Marienplatz and Viktualienmarkt

Start your exploration of Munich at Marienplatz, the central square, where you can see the famous Glockenspiel show at the New Town Hall. Nearby, visit Viktualienmarkt, an open-air market offering a variety of fresh produce, local delicacies, and traditional Bavarian food.


English Garden and Hofbräuhaus

Spend the afternoon in the English Garden, one of the largest urban parks in the world. Relax by the Chinese Tower beer garden or watch the surfers on the Eisbach River. In the evening, visit Hofbräuhaus, Munich’s most famous beer hall, for a traditional Bavarian meal and a pint of beer.


Sports Culture

If you're in Munich between August and May, chances are that Bayern Munich, Munich's local football team and the crown jewel of German sports, is playing at the state-of-the-art Allianz Arena. Swing by and support Die Roten with some of the most reasonably priced sports tickets in the world.

allianz arena in munich
Allianz Arena, home of Bayern Munich

Day 16-17: Zurich and Lucerne, Switzerland


Travel Day: Munich to Zurich

Take a train from Munich to Zurich, a city known for its financial district, lakeside beauty, and proximity to the Swiss Alps. Upon arrival, check into your hotel and explore the city's old town, known as Altstadt.


Bahnhofstrasse and Lake Zurich

Start your full day in Zurich with a stroll down Bahnhofstrasse, one of the world's most exclusive shopping streets. From luxury boutiques to Swiss chocolate shops, there's plenty to see. And if you're a luxury watch person (and have any cash left after booking all of these activities!), this is the place to grab them. No export tariffs, coupled with VAT, means you can grab a luxury watch for much less than you could in the U.S.

Lake Zurich, Switzerland
Lake Zurich

Then, head to Lake Zurich for a relaxing boat trip or a leisurely walk along the lake’s promenade.


Day Trip to Lucerne

On your second day, take a short train ride to Lucerne, a picturesque city surrounded by mountains. Walk across the Chapel Bridge, one of the oldest wooden bridges in Europe, and visit the Lion Monument, a poignant sculpture commemorating Swiss Guards who died during the French Revolution. End your visit with a trip up to Mount Pilatus or Mount Rigi for breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps.


Tips for Week 2:


Getting Around: Train travel is the best way to explore this region. High-speed and scenic train routes connect major cities efficiently.


Local Delicacies: Try local foods such as bratwurst and pretzels in Germany, Wiener Schnitzel in Austria, and Swiss fondue and chocolate in Switzerland.


Week 3: Southern and Eastern Europe


Day 18-19: Venice and Cinque Terre, Italy


Travel Day: Zurich to Venice

Take a scenic train ride from Zurich to Venice, the romantic city of canals and gondolas. Upon arrival, check into your hotel and begin exploring the enchanting streets and waterways of Venice. Just keep in mind that, beginning in 2024, Venice has enacted a tourist tax on anyone staying overnight in the city!

a venice waterway
A Venice Waterway

St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace

Start your full day in Venice with a visit to St. Mark’s Basilica, a stunning example of Byzantine architecture. Next, explore the Doge’s Palace, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture that was once the residence of the Doge of Venice. Don’t forget to walk across the Bridge of Sighs, a famous landmark with a poignant history.


Gondola Ride and Rialto Bridge 

No visit to Venice is complete without a gondola ride through its iconic canals. Afterward, head to the Rialto Bridge, the oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal, for beautiful views and great photo opportunities.


Travel Day: Venice to Cinque Terre

Take a train from Venice to Cinque Terre, a stunning coastal region composed of five picturesque villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Check into your accommodation in one of these charming villages.


Exploring Cinque Terre

Spend your second day in Cinque Terre hiking the scenic trails that connect the villages, offering breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. Enjoy local seafood delicacies and relax on the beautiful beaches. Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Italy’s most popular destinations for its natural beauty and well-preserved historic villages.


Day 20-21: Florence and Tuscany, Italy


Travel Day: Cinque Terre to Florence

Take a train from Cinque Terre to Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance. Florence is renowned for its art, history, and architecture. Check into your hotel and start exploring the city, which has rapidly become a top-three city in the world for me personally.

Florence, Italy
Florence, Italy

Uffizi Gallery and Duomo

Begin your full day in Florence with a visit to the Uffizi Gallery, home to masterpieces by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Botticelli. Afterward, visit the Duomo, Florence’s iconic cathedral, and climb to the top of the dome for panoramic views of the city.


Ponte Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti

Walk across the Ponte Vecchio, a medieval stone bridge lined with jewelry shops, to reach the Palazzo Pitti. This vast Renaissance palace once belonged to the powerful Medici family and now houses several important museums. And if you're a shopper, don't forget to drop by a leather shop, Florence's most famous export (currently). Our personal favorite was Papini, right on the river.


Day Trip to Tuscany

On your second day, take a rental car or join a guided tour for a day trip through the rolling hills of Tuscany. Visit the charming towns of Siena and San Gimignano, known for their medieval architecture and historical sites. Enjoy wine tasting in the Chianti region and savor local Tuscan cuisine.


Day 22: Rome, Italy


Travel Day: Florence to Rome

Take a high-speed train from Florence to Rome, the Eternal City. Check into your hotel and start your Roman adventure.


Colosseum and Roman Forum

Begin your exploration of Rome with a visit to the Colosseum, one of the most iconic landmarks of ancient Rome. Afterward, explore the nearby Roman Forum, the center of public life in ancient Rome, filled with ruins of important government buildings and temples. This day is a LOT of walking, so make sure to pack your comfortable shoes!

the roman colosseum
The Roman Colosseum

Pantheon and Trevi Fountain

Visit the Pantheon, a marvel of ancient engineering with its impressive dome and oculus. Then, make your way to the Trevi Fountain, where you can toss a coin to ensure your return to Rome.


Roman Food Tour

Looking for a late night and a unique experience? The highlight of my visit to Rome was our guided food tour of the city. From ancient cooking methods to 30-year aged balsamic, and even modern takes on Roman pizza, this four-hour food tour across the city was one you cannot miss.


Day 23-24: Vatican City and Amalfi Coast, Italy


Vatican City

Look, I get it. Time is precious on this whirlwind tour, but trust us, this is worth it. Spend a full day exploring Vatican City, the smallest independent state in the world and the spiritual center of the Roman Catholic Church. Visit St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world, and climb to the top of the dome for stunning views of Rome. Then, explore the Vatican Museums, home to an extensive collection of art and historical artifacts, including the Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo’s famous ceiling frescoes.


Added bonus: if you're an early bird, you can actually book a tour where you eat breakfast on the Vatican grounds! This was another huge highlight for me and my wife.


Travel Day: Rome to Amalfi Coast

Take a train from Rome to Naples, followed by a scenic drive along the coast to the Amalfi Coast. Check into your hotel in one of the charming towns along the coast, such as Positano, Amalfi, or Ravello.


Exploring the Amalfi Coast

Spend your second day on the Amalfi Coast exploring its picturesque towns, beautiful beaches, and stunning cliffs. Enjoy a boat trip to Capri, known for its glamorous vibe and the famous Blue Grotto. Hike the Path of the Gods for breathtaking views of the coastline and savor the local seafood and limoncello.

amalfi coast
Amalfi Coast

Day 25-26: Athens and Santorini, Greece


Travel Day: Amalfi Coast to Athens

Take a direct flight from Naples to Athens, the historic capital of Greece. Check into your hotel and start exploring the city.


Acropolis and Ancient Agora

Begin your full day in Athens with a visit to the Acropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important ancient monuments in the world. Explore the Parthenon, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike. Afterward, visit the Ancient Agora, the heart of ancient Athens and a great place to learn about Greek history.


Plaka and Syntagma Square

Stroll through the Plaka neighborhood, known for its charming streets, traditional tavernas, and shops. End your day at Syntagma Square, where you can watch the Changing of the Guard at the Hellenic Parliament.


Travel Day: Athens to Santorini

Take a short flight or ferry ride from Athens to Santorini, one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Check into your hotel and enjoy the breathtaking views of the caldera and the Aegean Sea.


Exploring Santorini

Spend your day exploring Santorini’s picturesque villages, such as Fira and Oia, known for their whitewashed buildings and blue-domed churches. Relax on the island’s unique black sand beaches and take a boat trip to the volcanic islands. Enjoy a sunset dinner overlooking the caldera for a perfect end to your European adventure.

Santorini, Greece
Santorini, Greece

Day 27: Departure


Return Home

On your final day, take a direct flight from Santorini to your home country. Reflect on the amazing experiences and unforgettable memories you’ve made during your three-week European itinerary.


Tips for Week 3:


Getting Around: Train travel and short flights are the best options for getting around Southern and Eastern Europe. Consider renting a car for day trips in Tuscany, or book one of the myriad of private bus tours.


Local Delicacies: Try local foods such as pasta and gelato in Italy, moussaka and souvlaki in Greece, and fresh seafood along the Amalfi Coast. I cannot stress this enough - do the Roman food tour. Just do it.


Conclusion

We made it! You can now officially say you've "done Europe." You've now covered a wide range of iconic landmarks, historic sites, and beautiful landscapes across Western, Central, Northern, Southern, and Eastern Europe, soaking in as much culture as possible on your trip. However, we did skip a few important countries (Iberian peninsula, anyone?), so it looks like you'll have to come back...


Enjoy your travels!


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