Plan the Perfect Europe Trip

Plan the Perfect Europe Trip

Europe Trip

There are so many things to experience and see in Europe it's often difficult to know where to start when planning a Europe trip. Moreover, as time and resources are limited, a well-planned travel itinerary is essential to making the most of your traveling experience in Europe. While figuring out how to plan a Europe trip is a complex process with lots of variables to consider, GoEuro has got you covered with our step-by-step guide to planning a multi-city Europe trip. From finding cheap flights to Europe to providing some Europe trip itinerary suggestions, GoEuro helps you find the cheapest way to travel in Europe.





Popular Europe Trip Itineraries | Eurail Passes | Countries in Europe | Travel Inspiration | Popular Routes


 

How to Plan the Perfect Europe Trip in 10 Easy Steps

Europe is so full of amazing places and experiences that you could travel for years and still feel like you've missed something essential. It is often extremely difficult to decide what it is that you really want to see and do with your limited time and resources while traveling in Europe. As such, it is essential to have a well-planned travel itinerary. Figuring out how to plan a trip to Europe is a complex multi-step process that often requires a lot of trial and error. It is usually easiest to start with your arrival and departure dates and then plan out your European itinerary from there. Planning an itinerary takes a lot of time and effort, but we've got you covered with a 10 step guide for making the most of your Europe trip.


1. What time of year do you want to travel to Europe?

Decide on the time of year you want to travel. There are 3 main seasons for traveling in Europe- High, Low and Shoulder. Each travel season has advantages and disadvantages and will affect your experience traveling in Europe.

High season in Europe is from June to August. Although you’ll enjoy the height of summer and heat at this time you’ll also be stung by inflated seasonal prices and swarms of seasonal travelers at all of the hot spot destinations and attractions. If you’re set on traveling in high season, consider heading to some of the less popular European destinations that still provide you with a unique experience while traveling Europe. Off-the-beaten-path destinations include areas outside of capital cities and destinations in Central Europe such as Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

Pros

  • Nice Weather: Europe often doesn’t get much rain during this time of year. Warm temperatures make eating outside and people-watching highly popular. The nights are often warm enough to make staying outside late a viable option.
  • Long Days: The sun doesn’t set until quite late at night especially in Northern Europe. You can often cram in a lot of sightseeing before taking a late dinner and watching the sunset on a European patio.
  • Open Attractions: Most popular tourist attractions are open throughout high-season.
  • Music Festivals: Europe hosts hundreds of outdoor music festivals during the summer while the weather is nice.

Cons

  • Crowds: Europe is full of tourists during the summer. This means wait times at museums and art galleries and crowded trains. You should prepare to spend significant time waiting in lines during high season. Train reservations may also be required in order to guarantee yourself a seat.
  • Heat: Europe can become very hot in the summer especially in July and August in countries like Spain and Italy. 90°F+ temperatures are not uncommon.
  • High Costs: Prices go up significantly during high season. Expect to pay top price for everything from flights to hostels during peak season.
  • Closed Shops: Since many Europeans often go on vacation during the summer many restaurants and shops will be closed. Specifically, many businesses in Europe are closed for the entire month of August.

Pros

  • Lack of Crowds: There aren’t nearly as many tourists during the winter months making it far easier to see the attractions. You can often visit museums and art galleries without waiting in line at all during low season. This (relative) lack of tourists also makes it a bit easier to meet locals while in Europe.
  • Lower Prices: Both flights and hostels are considerably cheaper during low season.
  • Winter Sports: Europe has a lot of great locations for winter sports and activities. Why not ski or snowboard the Alps while in Europe?
  • (Relatively) Mild Winters: While it can get quite cold, European winters are usually quite mild compared to winter in the northern United States and Canada. Most European cities have average temperatures between 40-60°F during the winter.

Cons

  • Short Days: It will start getting dark quite early (often around 4:00 p.m. in northern Europe) so make sure to plan your day and sightseeing accordingly.
  • Bad Weather: While European winters are usually mild, they are also quite rainy, gray and dreary. Be sure to pack accordingly for both rain and cold if you intend on visiting Europe during low season.
  • Reduced Hours of Attractions: Many European attractions have reduced hours during the low season. Some may even be closed during the winter due to the lack of tourists. Be sure to check ahead to avoid disappointment.
Some the best months to travel in Europe are from April to June when spring is in full swing and the onslaught of seasonal travelers haven’t arrived yet, or between September to November when the weather is cooling a little along with the number of tourists at the most popular European attractions.

Pros

  • (Generally) Nice Weather: Europe’s weather during shoulder season is usually quite temperate and nice.
  • Relatively Few Tourists: While lines will likely be longer than in winter, travelers can still visit many attractions without having to wait at all. Similarly, hostels are usually not completely booked or completely empty during shoulder season.
  • Gardens & Parks: Many parks and gardens in Europe will be in bloom during spring shoulder season or full of colorful leaves during fall shoulders season.
  • Lower Prices: Prices often remain low during shoulder season.

Cons

  • Some Attractions Closed/Shortened Hours: The vast majority of attractions will be open; however, some may still be maintaining winter hours of operation.
  • Inconsistent Weather: The weather in Europe can be quite variable during shoulder season. Make sure you pack layers and a rain jacket/umbrella to be prepared for anything.



2. Decide on trip length and travel dates

Travel dates are usually determined by a combination of available vacation time and budget. Usually, shorter trips require more planning than long trips.


“Decide on your budget for the trip- do you want to live it up in five star hotels for two weeks, or hostels for two months? Make sure you save time for that cheeky impromptu bottle of wine on the beach. Budget and time frame are linked, but how much fun you can have depends on you!” - Colleen, globalgals.com


3. Start by planning your itinerary around unmovable dates/events

List any events that have dates that can’t be changed. For example, maybe you’re attending a music festival while in Europe or meeting up with friends somewhere on a specific date. You’ll have to plan the rest of your travel itinerary around these events and their dates- so be sure to keep them in mind as you select a route.


4. Get inspired!

Start brainstorming what you’d like to see while in Europe. What does your ideal Europe trip look like? Are you more interested in historical sights or the best cities to party in? Would you rather spend your time in nature or in art galleries and museums? Be sure to check out some travel guides and look at some travel blogs before you write down everything you’re interested in seeing or doing.


“I check what the transportation costs and journey times are like between destinations and then reference Lonely Planet for information on specific cities or Pinterest for articles and photographs. How much there is to see or do in a particular location and how much accommodation costs determines how many nights I factor into my itinerary.”
- Kiara, galloparoundtheglobe.com



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5. Start refining your list

Now for the hard part. It’s time to start narrowing down your ideal Europe trip list. It’s often a good idea to triage your original list- 1) Places you absolutely NEED to see, 2) Places you really want to see, 3) things that would be nice but you can live without. This is just a way of refining your thinking and desires to find out what you care most about seeing while in Europe.

Budgeting Tip: You’ll have a wish list of popular European destinations ready before you leave but don’t shy away from the cheaper countries in Eastern Europe. Countries like Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic feature some of the best historical sites, nature, and cultural experiences in Europe while being considerably cheaper than most countries in Western Europe. You can potentially extend the length of your Europe trip by spending a fraction of what you normally would while in France, the United Kingdom, and Scandinavia.


6. Figure out how many days you want to spend in each location

Start thinking about how much time you’d like to spend in each city on your itinerary. We recommend at least 3 days to see major European cities like London, Paris, and Rome. You could easily spend a week in any of these locations without getting bored. Remember there are also tons of interesting day trips from major cities in Europe.

Protip #1: Slow down! By trying to see everything a lot of travelers fail to enjoy anything. Remember that traveling is stressful and nothing increases this stress like trying to do too much in too little time. Taking shorter regional trips while traveling around Europe also costs less, plus you get to see more of your destination. Make sure you give yourself enough time to relax, enjoy Europe, and avoid travel burn out!

Protip #2: Remember to account for travel time between European cities! Think about how much you’re actually going to want to see or do in a new city after traveling all day or night between destinations on your Europe trip itinerary.


“While it’s great to be able to have more time and really immerse yourself in a destination, sometimes it’s better to sample first and go back later. See the top attractions, start to get a feel for the city, and then decide which city you’d love to go back and explore more in-depth some day. It’s really about finding the right fit for you, and shorter stays before a longer visit if you have limited vacation time can help you figure that out.” - Gina, onedayinacity.com


7. Research flights to Europe

After roughly figuring out where you want to visit, it’s time to start planning your flights to/from Europe. There are generally 2 options when it comes to purchasing flights to Europe:

  1. Standard Round-Trip Flight: These flights arrive and depart from the same airport. These flights are perfect if your itinerary forms a loop allowing you to start and finish your Europe trip in the same city.
  2. One-Way Flights: Buying 2 one-way flights will be more expensive but also allow you more flexibility in planning an itinerary since you won’t need to travel back to the city you arrived in.
Purchasing a flight from a discount airline within Europe back to your arrival city for your return flight to North America is often cheaper than purchasing 2 one-way tickets to/from different European cities. There are no absolute rules, so make sure to do some research to guarantee yourself the best price. Check out GoEuro's guide for finding cheap flights to Europe!



8. Figure out the best route for your Europe trip itinerary

Once you’ve decided on the destinations you want to visit and where you’re starting and ending your Europe trip, you can determine the best route for your itinerary. Look at a map of Europe to avoid backtracking on your route- it wastes both time and money.

Your itinerary may change after deciding on a particular route. For example, you may decide that one of your destinations is too far out of the way or that there is an interesting city to visit between distant locations that can break up the required travel time.


“Focus on visiting countries which are near the other, this way you save time and money. Always think about how you are going to get around cities and get from one place to the other, this way you optimize your time and get to see as much as you can in each place.” - Allane, packingmysuitcase.com


9. Figure out how to travel between the cities on your Europe trip route

Price out the cost of traveling between cities in Europe to get a rough idea of its impact on your travel budget. If the costs are too high you may want to reduce the number of cities you visit on your trip. Using GoEuro, you can compare the cost and travel time of trains, buses and flights all on a single page. If you’re really organized and know the exact dates you’ll be traveling between cities you can book your tickets up to 3 months in advance. Based on this research you can determine if it is cheaper to buy point-to-point tickets for your route or if makes more sense to purchase a Eurail Pass.

Budget Airlines: Budget airlines allow people to travel around Europe both quickly and cheaply. Budget airlines have become incredibly popular in Europe with airlines like RyanAir, EasyJet, and Eurowings offering flights to hundreds of cities in Europe. The cost of flying with a budget airline increases significantly if you need to check any baggage as this is not factored into the ticket price on budget airlines. Learn more about flights in Europe.

Traveling by Bus: Buses in Europe are experiencing something of a Renaissance currently, with many companies offering luxury services. Traveling by bus is usually by far the cheapest way to travel in Europe, plus extra leg room and WiFi are becoming standard amenities for most bus companies.

Ridesharing: Ridesharing, the new and improved version of hitchhiking, is an easy, safe, and cheap way to travel across Europe. BlaBlaCar is the most trusted rideshare company in Europe. You can jump in a car with a driver and pay pennies to travel between European destinations while meeting other travelers on the trip.

Budgeting Tip: Taking a night train or bus is a good way to save money while avoiding paying for accommodation. Night trains and buses are usually cheaper than traveling during the day and provide you with a night’s sleep that has you rested and ready to explore upon arriving at your new destination.


“Always give yourself more time than you think you will need. People tend to underestimate the amount of time they will take to travel from point A to B, and if you plan everything down to the minute, a slight delay could cause a major disruption in your plans. To minimize the effects of delays give yourself a buffer when planning your itinerary.”
- Michelle, michwanderlust.wordpress.com


10. Revisit the first 9 steps as needed to iron out your itinerary and travel plans

Your priorities, mind and budget may change throughout this process. These steps are just a guideline to get you thinking about things to consider while making travel plans. Planning the ultimate Europe trip is a lot of work but you’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration if you do some research before you arrive!


Things to keep in mind:


Jet lag: Most flights from North America are red-eyes departing at night and arriving in Europe in the morning. You’ll want to get started and make the most of your first day in Europe but beware of jet lag tiring you out if you push yourself too hard.

Language/culture shock: Consider starting your trip in London/the UK if it is your first time visiting Europe. The United Kingdom is still way different from North America but you won’t need to worry about navigating a new country in a new language at the very beginning of your Europe trip.


“When planning a Europe trip most people (especially those coming from other continents) want to pack in as much as they can. However, I always recommend to stay in each place as long as possible to experience the local culture and see more than just the tourist attractions.... If time is limited, then I recommend focusing on less places and exploring them without stress.” - Allane, packingmysuitcase.com



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When You Arrive in Europe:

What to Pack for a Europe Trip


Accommodation during a Europe Trip


Money in Europe


Eating and Drinking during a Europe Trip


Things to do while on a Europe Trip



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Popular Europe Trip Itineraries

Whether you're looking to get the most out of your Europe trip or are just looking for some travel itinerary ideas, GoEuro's got you covered with a variety of itineraries and tours. From the month-long odyssey of 'The Grand Tour' which combines 13 European destinations in 7 countries, to the more focused 2-week routes in Italy and Spain, GoEuro has a route for every type of European traveler.

In addition to providing more flexibility in your travel arrangements, buying point-to-point tickets during your Europe trip is often cheaper than buying a rail pass ahead of time. Additionally, ticket re-sellers like RailEurope often only offer specific fares and routes, while also requiring paper tickets that you must receive by mail. With the GoEuro App, you can find the best transport option, at the cheapest prices, at the click of a button. No paper tickets or mailing address required.

No matter whether you're taking the train, bus or flying, GoEuro helps you plan the perfect Europe trip.



Grand-Tour

The Grand Tour →

Baguettes, boisterous nightlife, and breath-taking mountainous terrain are all highlights on GoEuro's 'Grand Tour', the ideal Europe trip if you're a first-timer looking for the full European experience. Visit 13 cities in 7 countries over 3-4 weeks with GoEuro while picking up lifelong memories along the way.

Flights Arrive at: Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport
Schedule: 3-4 Weeks
GoEuro Trip Cost: $350




5 Countries

5 Country European Tour →

From Paris' art and cuisine to Copenhagen's relaxed lifestyle, GoEuro's 5 country European tour offers the most cultural variety in the shortest amount of time. After walking up the Arc de Triomphe in Paris relax and enjoy some fine Belgian beer in one of Brussels' world-famous bars. Travelers can see Rembrandt's finest paintings in Amsterdam before relaxing on the beach in Hamburg. Experience 5 different countries with GoEuro's 5-city European tour.

Flights Arrive at: Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport
Schedule: 1-2 Weeks
GoEuro Trip Cost: $132



Tour Italy

Tour Italy →

Art and culture combine seamlessly to create la bella vita in Italy- from the Prada and Valentino fashion houses to the immaculate espresso culture, everything in Italy is designed for maximum substance, style, and beauty. While the Roman Empire and the Renaissance have furnished Italy with an embarrassment of cultural artifacts and architectural wonders, Italian cuisine is possibly more world famous. From creamy gelato to robust ravioli al ragù, Italian cooking will be sure to scintillate your taste buds with every bite. Experience everything Italy has to offer with GoEuro's 5 city tour.

Flights Arrive at: Milan Malpensa Airport
Schedule: 1-2 Weeks
GoEuro Trip Cost: $74



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Using a Eurail pass on your Europe trip


Europe's train network is quite complex and difficult to navigate, which makes purchasing a Eurail pass often seem like the best way to travel around while on a Europe trip. However, purchasing multiple point-to-point train tickets is often the cheaper option for traveling in Europe. So how can you guarantee you're selecting the best option? How should you decide which Eurail pass to buy? How can you tell when multiple train tickets are cheaper than a rail pass? GoEuro's ultimate guide to European rail passes has got you covered with a step-by-step plan for deciding how to travel around Europe.




Eurail Global Pass →


Eurail's Global pass allows you to travel between 28 European countries and simplifies the planning a multi-city Europe trip requires. Prices vary depending on the number of days you wish to travel. The Eurail Global pass is perfect for travelers who don't want to plan out their itinerary in minute detail or intend to journey between a number of European cities in a short amount of time. The flexibility of a Eurail Global pass allows you to follow your inspiration and travel anywhere in Europe.

Buy Eurail Global Passes Here
City Country
1 Lisbon Portugal
2 Madrid Spain
3 Barcelona Spain
4 Paris France
5 Brussels Belgium
6 Amsterdam Netherlands
7 Berlin Germany


Europe Trip Suggestion: 2 Weeks in Europe


Planning on traveling Europe this summer but running low on time? Europe has so many things to see and do, it is often difficult to decide how to spend your valuable time and money. We've come up with some suggestions for the ultimate 2-week Europe trip. From Lisbon's relaxed cafe culture to Berlin's nightlife and clubbing scene, this travel itinerary allows you to explore a variety of European cultures. It is highly recommended to take your time while traveling in Europe; consider spending 2-3 days in each city in order to really experience everything each destination has to offer. You should end your trip on the weekend so you can visit some of Berlin's legendary nightclubs.

Visit 7 cities while traveling across 6 European countries for as little as $431 with Eurail's Global pass. Doing this itinerary with the Eurail Global pass will save you 9% over purchasing the equivalent set of point-to-point train tickets.


Eurail Select Pass →


Eurail Select Passes let you travel between 2, 3 or 4 bordering countries in Europe. Prices vary based upon both the specific countries selected and number of days you intend to travel. The Eurail Select pass is perfect for exploring multiple countries in a particular part of Europe. The Eurail Select pass allows you the flexibility to plan your Europe trip itinerary whether you're traveling through Eastern Europe or exploring the most popular cities in France and Italy.

Buy Eurail Select Passes Here
City Country
1 Paris France
2 Nice France
3 Venice Italy
4 Rome Italy
5 Palermo Italy


Europe Trip Suggestion: France & Italy


A Europe trip through France and Italy is a dream come true for travelers looking for majestic sights and delicious food. Paris is a popular destination for American airlines, making it a perfect city to start your tour. After Paris you'll take in beaches of Nice, the canals of Venice and Rome's Colosseum before ending your trip in Sicily. You'll probably need to take a cheap flight on a budget airline from Palermo to Paris or Rome in order to fly back to the United States.

Visit 5 cities while traveling through France and Italy for as little as $246. Doing this itinerary with Eurail's Select pass will save you 26% over purchasing the equivalent set of point-to-point tickets.


Eurail One-Country Pass →


The Eurail One-Country pass lets you travel by train within a single European country. One-Country passes range in cost between $70 to $500 depending on both the country selected and the number of travel days included in the pass. Eurail's One-Country pass is perfect for travelers looking to explore a country in greater depth beyond the capital city. Choose to travel in one of 20 different European countries with the Eurail One-Country pass!

Buy One-Country Passes Here
City Country
1 Barcelona Spain
2 Madrid Spain
3 Valencia Spain
4 Malaga Spain
5 Seville Spain


Europe Trip Suggestion: 2 Weeks in Spain


From Gaudi's architecture to Goya's art, Spain's culture and history make it a popular destination for all European travelers. Spain is world-famous for its sandy beaches and relaxed lifestyle, while history buffs will marvel at the geometric perfection of Moorish mosques and the decadence of Catholic cathedrals. No matter if your interests are artistic, architectural, culinary or cultural, Spain offers the perfect blend of modernity and tradition for travelers to discover.

Travel between 5 Spanish cities with Eurail's One-Country pass for as little as $179.


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Countries to visit on your Europe trip


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Travel inspiration for planning a Europe trip

Get some travel inspiration for your Europe trip! No matter if you're interested in artistic masterpieces and museums or Europe's best places to party, there are unique sights, sounds and experiences in Europe for all types of travelers. Follow your passion and let GoEuro take you there!


Check out our blog!


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