10 One-Week European Itineraries

Song Vibe of this Article: ILYSB (Stripped) by Lany

These days, paid vacation is hard to stumble upon. We've got our day jobs and minimal time to dip out to Europe to explore. If you only have 7 days, what do you see? What do you do? Do you take a cruise so you can see as much as you can in just 7 short days? 

Most countries in Europe are small enough that they have close proximity to other countries, perhaps even just a quick train ride away. Planning your itinerary based on location is crucial, particularly if you're in a crunch for time. So I've compiled a list of 10 one week itineraries for your European holiday. 

If you have more suggestions, please by all means, share them below! 

1.) London + Oxford + Edinburgh 

Obviously, you can never go wrong with the United Kingdom. Each city has a different vibe and feel. Start in London for a few days where you can see Big Ben, visit one of the diverse festivals on the South Bank, and eat street food in Shoreditch. Then head up to Oxford to spend a few days, which is simply accessible by bus and train (and only takes a couple hours). You can wander the campus of one of the world's most prestigious universities, learn about its rich history, and enjoy a pint at the local pub before taking off again to Scotland. Edinburgh itself is a city that needs more than just a few days, and is similar to Oxford in architecture and design. Sip on some whiskey at one of Edinburgh's famous distilleries, see the PANDAS! at the Edinburgh Zoo, and enjoy some traditional Scottish music at Sandy Bells. If you're feeling feisty, you can take a car up into the Scottish Highlands to see if you can spot Loch Ness! 

2.) Madrid + Barcelona

Madrid and Barcelona are both cities that you can easily get lost in for days on end (although living in Madrid gives me slight bias toward the beautiful capital). Get lost in El Prado in Madrid to view stunning Spanish art, nibble on free tapas at El Tigre, and hit the clubs at El Kapital. Shop on Gran Via, do a tapas crawl in Lavapies, and rent a boat in Parque del Buen Retiro (it means, more or less, Park of Good Rest, so it must be good!)  Finish off the week with a few days on the beach and hanging out at La Rambla with Pablo Picasso in the beautiful city of Barca. 

3.) Rome + Pisa + Cinque Terre

It's time to bury our heads in pizza in Italy, and yes, the food is as good as it's made out to be. Literally have no idea how they're all skinny betches. Whatever. There's plenty to see in Rome that will surely take up many days, like the Colosseum, The Sistine Chapel, and The Spanish Steps. Eat at Dar Poeta for some delicious pizza. Then head up to Pisa for a day or two (no more than that) to check out the classic Leaning Tower so you can take some photos pretending to lean on it or hold it up or something like that. After you've had enough gelato in Pisa, hop on the quick 45 minute train ride to Cinque Terre, a beautiful coastal area of 5 towns (that's what Cinque Terre means) where you can hike and view the stunning blue sea. 

4.) Malaga + Sevilla + Granada

If you're on the prowl for a sunny European vacation, the south of Spain is your place. Malaga has a stunning cultural center, beautiful crashing beaches, and a hot night life. Move over to Sevilla to see some of the most flamboyant and charismatic of the Spanish people. Dance flamenco, attend a bullfight, and wander the Alcazar for a true Sevillano experience. Next up in Granada, you can spend hours wandering La Alhambra, enjoying a free tapa for every drink you purchase, and cocktailing your way through the university town with a little botellón, the Spanish tradition of drinking together in public areas. 

5.) Bruges + Brussels + Amsterdam

While you may find yourself in a frozen icy tundra (see: my trip to Amsterdam circa 2013), you can't go wrong visiting these stunning, diverse cities. Bruges is a medieval city, and you'll feel those old town vibes all the way. Picturesque canals wind through the city, famous for its architecture. You can also visit the city's many museums before stopping off for a quick 366-step climb up to the top of the Belfort. The views are worth it. Move on to Brussels to get your waffle on: sweet or savory. I can't say enough about the food in this city, which makes a couple day jaunt through this European capital completely worth it. If you need to walk off all those pommes frites and Belgian beer, head to Amsterdam, where all the walking will slide those extra calories right off of you. If you enjoy elicit activities, Amsterdam is your town. But if not, there's plenty to see and do. Van Gogh is everywhere. Incidentally, so is Anne Frank. Make sure to grab yourself a bicycle, as it's the best way to get around in this city. 

6.) Prague + Vienna + Bratislava + Budapest 

Time to cram a lot into a 7-day vacation, but worth it to see some of my favorite cities in Europe. Visit Prague for a jaunt across The Charles Bridge, a brush with trdelnik, the most crispy, beautiful piece of cinnamon bread (that looks like a paper towel tube) that you'll ever have, and to scribble on the ever so cliche but wonderful John Lennon Wall. Dash over to Vienna for a day of Mozart, sausages, shopping, and wandering the grounds of the Schönbrunn Palace. Then hit Bratislava for a day or two on the Danube. It's a pedestrian city in the Old Town, so bring those walking shoes. Don't miss Bratislava Castle and be sure to do a pub crawl in the city's lively bar scene. Cruise down the Danube toward Budapest, one of my favorite cities to date. Take a river tour for sweeping views of the Parliament Building (seen pictured above), visit the city's many ruin bars for a night out on the town, and take advantage of the cheap prices!

7.) Munich + Salzburg + Hallstatt

The hills are alive! You can't miss the countryside and smaller cities in Austria if you enjoy sweeping views and picturesque villages (and who doesn't!?) Start in Munich for a big day out. Drink at Hofbrauhaus and try to finish one of their giant steins of beer. Hope you can stomach it! Make your way to the top of the Rathaus in the middle of Marienplatz for beautiful views of this Bavarian city, and hope to catch the world famous Oktoberfest (but plan ahead if you are!). Hop on a train to Salzburg, famous for being the filming site for The Sound of Music. Take the Official Sound of Music Tour of Salzburg and the surrounding areas, where you'll find yourself shouting the words to "Doe a Deer" at the top of your lungs and laughing for hours. Don't miss out on Salzburg's Old Town, which is full of artisan shops, restaurant, and Mozart's birth house. Not too far away is Hallstatt, a village in Austria's Salzkammergut region. If you're up for a little skiing in the winter, or hiking in the summer, Hallstatt is your village. This picturesque town with a rich history that spans over 7000 years is meant for relaxing, enjoying the views, and the good vibes it has to offer. 

8.) Dublin + Kilkenny + Belfast (East Coast of Ireland)

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Ireland is small enough that it is road trip accessible, so rent a car and get moving! You can start in Dublin, where you'll likely fly into, drive down the coast into County Wexford, and then over to Kilkenny, which is gorgeous. You can drive back up the coast, stop off in Dublin again if you want, and then continue up into Northern Ireland where you can visit Belfast, a city with a surprisingly rich history and culture. If you keep going north, you can visit the Giant's Causeway, cross the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, and see a few castle ruins along the way. 

9.) Berlin + Amsterdam 

Berlin is arguably Europe's culture capital, with a city more diverse and underground than any other city in Europe. Not only was it the home to severe tension during World War II, but it exudes a vibe of carelessness. Nothing really matters in Berlin. Check out the famous Brandenburg Gate before making your way to the Berlin Wall, where you can see remnants of the city's harsh tensions and history. If you're into clubbing, the city has a noteable underground scene, with sex clubs, all night parties that last till 12pm the next day, and as much korn & kola as you can get your hands on. I've already told you the benefits to Amsterdam, but for those who love art, history, and unabashed wandering, Amsterdam is unmatched. See Van Gogh's renowned pieces, visit the home of Anne Frank, and visit the city's sex museum if you're feeling saucy. 

10.)  Geneva + Interlaken + Lucerne 

Chocolate haters, stay away! Because we're going to Switzerland, home of the United Nations, sky high prices, and the Swiss Alps. Geneva houses CERN, which has something to do with nuclear energy or something or other, and is supposedly a pretty big deal. It's also got some dope shopping (if you can fork out that sort of cash on that exchange rate), beautiful mountains, and Rolexes. Take a swim in Lake Geneva (and not the one in Wisconsin) just to say you did it. Interlaken is a dream destination for many, with a crystal clear lake reflecting the views of the mountains above. It's a resort town, AKA perfect for skiing. If you're not a skiier, maybe try base jumpingskydiving, or any other extreme activity that may tickle your fancy. Next up, nip over to Lucerne to walk along the 14th century city walls, dip your toes in Lake Lucerne, and see the candy colored houses. 

Got anywhere you'd love to see in a week? Want to know if it's possible? Anything is possible! Discuss below :) x