3 Weeks in Europe

September is setting up to be one of the best months of our life, as we will be spending 3 weeks in Europe! We have been to Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, road tripped throughout the United States, went to Africa (me) and the Middle East (Jake) but somehow we haven’t been to Europe until this year.

We did spend a week in Iceland, which is Europe. But since Iceland is more secluded and up in the Arctic it had a much different vibe than I think we will experience elsewhere in Europe. Side note, if you haven’t been to Iceland now is the time to go! It is an amazing country any time of year. Here is our itinerary for a week in Iceland. 

Most of our trips are planned around finding cheap flights. And as I’ve said before there is one resource that you must follow if you are wanting to find cheap airfare. The Flight Deal sends out a daily newsletter with a roundup of the best flight deals from the United States. In spring we saw there was roundtrip flights from New York City to Milan, Italy for $400 per person. We upgraded so we could have more leg room, but all in all ended up spending around $500 per person.

New York City

New York City, USA

Since the flight departs from NYC it was a no-brainer to add on a few days here since neither of us has been. We will be staying in an AirBnB in Brooklyn, which we booked for less than $100/night. That price is unheard of in NYC for accommodations, so we are pretty excited! {click this link for a $35 credit when you book your first AirBNB}

While in NYC we will be using our official  New York CityPASS to spend the next 3 days exploring the Big Apple. I love that with the passes we will be able to explore the attractions at our own pace. You have up to 9 days to see all the sights that are available on the New York CityPASS.

With the pass we are going to see the 9/11 Memorial & Museum (which as a Veteran, Jake is most looking forward to), Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, The Empire State Building, Top of the Rock Observation Deck at Rockefeller Center and the American Museum of Natural History. If we have time we may go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well since I would love to see Washington Cross the Delaware.


While we are in NYC it is also going to be Broadway week, which means 2-for-1 tickets! Neither of us has seen a Broadway play, but there is 1 that has always been at the top of both our lists: The Lion King! Tickets usually start at $130 per person, so I’m glad we will be catching it while it’s on sale. **side note: The Lion King sold out of the 2-for-1 tickets within 2 hours 🙁 We sucked it up and paid full price. 

verona Italy

Verona, Italy

We fly out of JFK and land in Milan in the early morning. Milan is rather expensive, and it would be too early to check into a hotel so we decided to hop on a train and head to Verona for our first day in Italy. We will only be spending one night here, but there’s a few places we definitely hope to see.

Verona dates back to the 1st century B.C. and is a UNESCO heritage site. I would love to just wander around and enjoy the beautiful Renaissance and Medieval architecture, as well as see the Verona Amphitheater and Juliet’s Balcony; famous for the fictional story of Romeo and Juliet.

–> Stay: Hotel Piccolo 

Read more about –> A Day in Verona

venice canals

Venice, Italy

We will then spend the next 2 days exploring Venice. I debated about allowing more time for Venice, but I read that it can be quite crowded. Venice is also the most expensive place we are visiting this trip. We will be sticking to the major sites here; Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal, Saint Mark’s Basilica, Bridge of Sighs and taking a gondola ride. I’m sure we will spend plenty of time getting lost in the city as well, purposefully and accidentally.

–> Stay: Residenza Ca’ San Marco

To read more about our time in Venice, check out:

–> Is 2 Days in Venice Enough? 

–> Venetian Lagoon Islands Day Trip

florence italy

 

Florence, Italy

The next 3 days will be spent in the capital of Tuscany; Florence. We are staying in an AirBnB in the old part of the city. I haven’t worked out yet fully what we will be doing here. I would like to make time for a day trip to Pisa to see the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa. We will also be exploring the Duomo with Walks of Italy on their Extended Florence Duomo tour. The part of the tour I’m most excited about is that we will be able to return to the rooftop of the Duomo again within 24 hours, which means we can return to get evening pictures.

Stay: The Airbnb we stayed at is no longer available. Based on price/location we would recommend checking out this one though: Hotel De La Pace (currently $86/night)

We used Florence as our base to explore nearby areas. Read more about:

–> A Morning in Pisa

–> A Day in Lucca, Italy

colosseum in rome

Rome, Italy

Our longest stay will be when we spend 4 nights in the Eternal City; Rome. I have heard good things and bad things about Rome. Like anywhere, I think it is what you make of it. There’s no denying though that Rome deserves to be visited at least once in a lifetime with all the history there.

We will be exploring again with Walks of Italy on their VIP Ancient Rome Tour. We will see the home of Augustus Caesar, the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

We of course plan on spending a day exploring the Vatican City as well. If time permits we may make a day trip down to Naples to taste some Neopolitan pizza and to see the old ruins of Pompeii.

Stay: We staid at this affordable Airbnb. To save $40 on your first Airbnb stay you can use this link

We went on 2 tours with Walks of Italy and would whole-heartedly recommend them! The guides were so informative and made the history come alive!

**note: we were provided with 2 free tours with Walks of Italy on the Rome tour in exchange for a review. Our review is honest and not influenced by this though. We enjoyed our time with Walks of Italy so much that we booked the Vatican tour on our own***

eiffel tower night

Paris, France

We have an early morning flight from Rome to Paris, where we will spend 3 nights. We are staying at an AirBnB in Paris, which we booked for $218 for 3 nights! Paris can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be.

We have already booked our tickets to ascend the Eiffel Tower, which will save us some time from waiting in line. Note that we booked them over a month out and some of the times were already fully booked (the latest we could get was 4 PM). Plan on booking ahead if you want to to experience the sunset or see the city lights from the Eiffel Tower.

We will also be exploring some of Paris’ most iconic monuments and museums with our Paris Museum Pass. We plan on visiting The Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Towers of Notre Dame, Musée D’Orsay and Châteaux de Versailles. There are over 50 sites that can be accessed with the Paris Museum Pass so it has been difficult with narrowing it down on what to see! We are pretty much sticking to the most well known sites this trip.

Stay: We stayed at this affordable Airbnb. It was adorable and in an excellent location! 

Paris –> Munich:

We flew Air France for the first time & had a great flight. It was one of the most affordable airlines and one of the only direct flights to Munich at a reasonable hour of the day. To find the best prices, we booked directly through the airline and paid £75 per person, including checked luggage.

munich

Munich, Germany

We will be flying to Munich for the next 3 days to experience Oktoberfest!! I am not a big beer drinker, but I love a good celebration and German food so I am so excited! Jake likes beer so he is quite excited as well. It’s freaking Oktoberfest. Ahh!

Accommodations were CRAZY expensive. I expected they would be, but we when we started looking in May at accommodations we struggled to find anything less than $250/night. In the end we somehow found an AirBnB in a Munich suburb for $397 for 3 nights. We decided that 3 nights would probably be enough for us, and we would rather not deal with the weekend crowds.

While in Munich though we plan on taking some time away from the party to experience one of the more somber site around southern Germany. Dachau Concentration Camp was the first Nazi concentration camp in Germany and had over 188,000 prisoners during World War II.

We will be picking up our Auto Europe rental car and will spend the next 3 nights making our way down to Milan, where we fly out. We could have taken an over night train, but road tripping has always been our favorite way of traveling. I love being able to pull off wherever we want and seeing places that most people miss by flying or traveling by train.

Stay: We stayed in the suburb of Planegg, due to the high prices of lodging during Oktoberfest. We stayed at this amazing Airbnb listing, which normally rents out for $44/night

Rental Car: Auto Europe by far had the best rates, especially if you are dropping the car off in a different location. We paid $122 for 3 days, which included insurance. The additional 1 way fee was about £150. 

innsbruck austria

Innsbruck, Austria

We will stop at Neuschwanstein Castle (the ‘Disney castle’) in southern Bavaria and then continue on to Innsbruck, Austria. If we had one more day on this trip we would spend it here. I wish we could spend more than a night, this lovely town in the Austrian Alps certainly deserves more by the looks of it. We will take the cable car/funicular to the top of Nordkettenbahnen mountain for some awesome views. Otherwise, I don’t think we have much time to do much in Innsbruck, other than wander the city by foot.

Stay: Pension Stoi budget guesthouse (£72/night). It was a great price for Austria & excellent location

vaduz Liechtenstein

Vaduz, Liechtenstein

We will be passing through the tiny country of Liechtenstein on our road trip and plan on spending a few hours in the capital city of Vaduz. We will explore Vaduz Castle and the Main Square. Otherwise, I’m not sure what else there is to do or see here. Any recommendations?

lugano switzerland

Lugano, Switzerland

I had not heard of Lugano before I started researching this trip. When I was trying to figure out the logistics of renting a car in Europe and dropping it off in another country I kept seeing ridiculous ‘one way fees’ of over $1,200! I was looking at a map of larger cities that were along our route and Lugano, which is located near the Switzerland-Italy border was perfect. And with the ‘one way fee’ coming out nearly $1,000 LESS than other destinations, we had to add it to our itinerary!

We will be spending 2 nights relaxing and unwinding from our whirlwind trip, along the coast of the glacial Lake Lugano. This will be our sixth Airbnb of our trip! I have been open to staying in hotels or hostels, but I kept arriving to the same conclusion that Airbnb’s are the best value for your money and are almost always cheaper than a hotel.

Lugano is an Italian speaking region of Switzerland, and the culture is said to be pretty similar to that of northern Italy. I look forward to trying the food in the area, since it is suppose to be pretty good. We will be visiting the market town of Bellinzona, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The site has 3 medieval castles with fortified walls and it dates back to the 15th century.

Stay: Our Airbnb cancelled when we were in Europe. We managed to find this off-grid rustico in the mountains though and had the most amazing time! It did require some hiking in/out, but it was worth it for the views. 

Milan, Italy (photo credit: Wikipedia)

Milan, Italy (photo credit: Wikipedia)

Milan, Italy

We will catch a morning train from Lugano and make the hour journey back to where this European journey started; in Milan, Italy. We will spend our final day and night in Milan, where we have booked a hotel in the city centre. Of course the gothic Duomo di Milano cathedral is at the top of my ‘must see’ list. Otherwise, I don’t have much planned for this final day since we will just be relaxing and getting our bags straightened for the long journey home.

Stay: We chose Canova Hotel (£89) since it was located so close to the train station. It was a nice hotel & they let us check in a few hours early!

I know this itinerary sounds rushed to some, and perhaps too slow to others. At this point we both know how we like to travel. We have tried to keep most destinations around 3 nights, since any faster we start to get travel fatigue. The travel itinerary is pretty well ironed out at this point, but we would love recommendations for what to do in the various destinations.

**Note: there are affiliative links in this post. Which means if you book an accommodation or make a purchase using these links we will receive a small commission, while you pay the same price you would have elsewhere***

3 weeks in europe


Let us know your favorite European Destination in the comments below! 

13 thoughts on “3 Weeks in Europe

  1. That is quite the trip you are planning and I am so excited for you! I am so jealous you get to see the Lion King. I always wanted to see it and I am sure it will be spectacular.
    When you are in Florence, make sure to walk through the old Palace and into the gardens and all the way up. The view is stunning!! Just so you know: I was pretty disappointed with Pisa. There really isn’t much there except the tower and the surrounding buildings. Just make a small stop there or go and see Siena instead.
    Cannot wait to see how your trip turns out! Especially curious to hear about your Oktoberfest experience. I have never been (and I am from Germany) but I didn’t feel comfortable to do it as a solo female traveller especially (and I don’t like beer either…).
    I wish you lots of fun!

  2. Looks like a great itinerary. Have fun! We are about to embark on a 2 month road trip through Italy and the Balkans, so it looks like we both have a fun upcoming adventure!

  3. Fantastic travel plans. Looks like it will be a great adventure. Hope you have built in time to rest and really soak up the new places you’ll be visiting. I’ve been to most of the places you will be visiting. Although never Lugano, Switzerland or Liechtenstein. Looking forward to reading about your experiences there! Travel safe!

  4. What an incredible trip you have planned! Definitely not bad for $500 round trip! I’m rather jealous… I’ve never spent less than $700 on a flight to Europe, and I’ve always flown economy class! You’ve picked really great places in Italy. You’ll love Verona! They have some really amazing artisan gelato shops there near the marketplace. Buon viaggo!
    francesca recently posted…How Study Abroad Changed My Life (and Why Everyone Should Do It!)My Profile

  5. You’re going to have an amazing time! I like that you’re not trying to pack like 17 countries into 3 weeks like a lot of people do. Europe has so much to offer and you’re picking great places to visit!

  6. Loved your site! I’m planning a three week trip to Europe this summer. I was freaking out at first when I started thinking now I have to figure where we will stay. You’re page was so helpful thank you!

  7. I am planning a very similar trip in August of 2018 with my adult daughter. Can you give me a ballpark figure of the total budget I should prepare for? (Each person or for two sharing accommodations).

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