Looking to plan the best 3 weeks in Europe itinerary? I’ve got you covered. I’ve been living in Europe for 20+ years and have traveled extensively throughout the continent. And I’m here to share with you the absolute best Europe travel routes you can take in 21 days.
In this guide, you’ll find 15 incredible itineraries that range from classic tourist routes to off-beat paths that few venture to. These epic 3 week Europe trip ideas cover medieval fairytale towns, golden coastlines, magnificent hikes, fantastical landscapes, and so much more.
This is a long article; I suggest using the table of contents below to help you navigate to the sections you want to read first. Without further ado, here are the 15 best Europe trip routes.
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🔥 Top Travel Tip for Your 3 Weeks in Europe Trip
Be sure to get a Eurail Pass to board any train in Europe without a pre-paid booking.
The Eurail Pass is one big global ticket that allows you to board any intercity train in Europe whenever you want to, without having to buy a ticket ahead of time. You simply show your pass and proceed on your journey.
If you’re visiting Europe for 3 weeks, it’s hard to pre-plan a 21-day itinerary down to the last detail. You’ll want the flexibility of being able to hop on a train whenever you want to. With this pass, you can tour Europe at your own pace and simply go with the flow.
Note that unless you’re European, you must buy your Eurail Pass before entering Europe; this paper ticket has to be mailed to you in advance.
🌟 3 Week Europe Itinerary Ideas: Classic Routes
1. ITALY + FRANCE + SPAIN + PORTUGAL: The Best First-Timers’ Route
Visiting Europe for the first time? Get the best introduction to it in these four incredible countries. Each of them has its own unique charm, history, and artistic flair — allowing you to explore a variety of cultures, cuisines, and historic sites in these 3 weeks.
- Day 1-4: Rome, Italy
- Day 5-7: Venice, Italy
- Day 8-12: Paris, France
- Day 13-17: Barcelona, Spain
- Day 18-21: Porto, Portugal
🏟 Day 1-4: Rome, Italy
Start your 3 week Europe trip in the ancient capital of Italy. Rome is home to endless historical monuments, artsy squares, and scenic lookouts. Learn about the gladiators’ world at the majestic Colosseum, and admire the famous Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.
As touristy as it is, tossing a coin into the Trevi Fountain is a must. Be sure to also walk up the picturesque Spanish Steps and enjoy a gelato in Piazza Navona, where artists and performers hold the spotlight. Immerse yourself in local culture by taking a pasta-cooking class.
🛶 Day 5-7: Venice, Italy
On day 5, take a 3 hr 45 min train from Rome to Venice. Spend the next day and a half exploring the picturesque bridges, canals, and squares of this famous city. See the beautiful design of the Bridge of Sighs and stop by the bakeries, museums, and synagogues of the historic Jewish District.
Enjoy the large flock of pigeons at Piazza San Marco (be careful not to get pooped on, though!), and enjoy an aperitivo (an Italian pre-meal drink) at one of Venice’s scenic rooftop bars. On day 7, take a day trip to Burano, an island known for its brightly colored houses.
🍮 Day 8-12: Paris, France
On day 8, take a 2-hour flight from Venice to Paris. Then, spend the next few days admiring famous landmarks and art museums in the dreamy capital of France. While climbing the Eiffel Tower is on every visitor’s bucket list, don’t miss out on the lesser-known Montparnasse Tower, which offers an even more epic view.
Don’t leave Paris without strolling the artsy Montmartre neighborhood, relaxing in the Jardin des Tuileries (garden), and trying a delicious flan from one of its countless boulangeries. Be sure to also take a day trip to Versailles to see a grandiose former royal palace.
🎡 Day 13-17: Barcelona, Spain
On day 13, take a 1 hr 45 min flight from Paris to Barcelona, which will serve as a great introduction to Spain. Barcelona is known for its fascinating Gaudí architecture, and you can witness it first-hand at the stunning Sagrada Familia, Casa Milà, Park Güell, and Casa Batlló.
Don’t leave Barcelona without admiring the gorgeous view of the city from Tibidabo. For something even more jaw-dropping, stop by the Palau de la Música Catalana to check out its breathtaking interiors. Since you’ll have 4 full days here, a day trip to Montserrat, Sitges, or Girona is always a good idea.
🍷 Day 18-21: Porto, Portugal
On day 18, take a 2-hour flight from Barcelona to Porto, the last stop of this 3 week Europe tour. Porto is one of the most historic cities in Portugal, and one of its defining characteristics is the white and blue azulejo ceramic tiles on its many churches and buildings.
Admire these colorful tiles at Igreja do Carmo, Igreja de Santo Ildefonso, and São Bento Station. Then, take a walk on Luís I Bridge during sunset to see a breathtaking view of the city — one of the best in Europe. Don’t leave Porto without tasting some pastel de nata and enjoying a glass of Port wine.
☀️ When to do this itinerary: In the shoulders months of April, September, and October. The weather is pleasantly warm and the crowds are not as bad as in the summer.
2. HUNGARY + AUSTRIA + CZECHIA + POLAND: The Best of Central Europe
From the medieval magic of Prague and world-class music of Vienna to the modern history of Warsaw, Central Europe is filled with rich cultural heritage baked into every cobblestoned street. Discover the unique gems and cuisines of this beautiful region.
- Day 1-4: Budapest, Hungary
- Day 5-8: Vienna, Austria
- Day 9-12: Prague, Czech Republic
- Day 13-16: Krakow, Poland
- Day 17-21: Warsaw, Poland
🚃 Day 1-4: Budapest, Hungary
Kick off this 3 week European tour in Budapest, Hungary’s historical capital city. Budapest is divided into two halves: Buda and Pest. Each district has its distinct personality. While Buda’s hills offer sweeping panoramic views, Pest is flat but has a vibrant bar scene.
Get a history lesson at the Old Town, the Fisherman’s Bastion, and Buda Castle. Then, cross over the Danube to the Pest side to enjoy bars known for their grunge look and cheap beers. Hop onto tram no. 2 for an easy way to see the city and a scenic ride along the Danube River.
🎨 Day 5-8: Vienna, Austria
On day 5, embark on a 2.5-hour train ride to Vienna, Austria’s capital filled with imperial palaces and sculptured gardens. Stroll the MuseumsQuartier district to admire its many institutions devoted to all kinds of art, including the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere.
For a taste of world-class Viennese pastries, head to Café Central for the traditional sachertorte (an Austrian chocolate cake). Don’t miss the Wiener Riesenrad, which has sweeping views of the city atop its 200-foot high Ferris wheel that has been enthralling visitors since 1897.
🍺 Day 9-12: Prague, Czech Republic
On day 9, take a 4-hour bus or train ride to Prague, Czechia’s stunning medieval capital. Prague is known for its colorful baroque buildings, Gothic architecture, and cheap beer.
Visit Prague Castle for stunning 9th-century Gothic cathedrals and Renaissance churches. The nearby Old Town Square holds the 600-year-old Astronomical Clock, which is still operating today. A stroll on the scenic Charles Bridge is a must; fairytale vibes abound there.
Be sure to grab a drink at Vytopna Railway Restaurant, where your beer will arrive on a little train. Don’t leave Prague without admiring the view of the Old Town from Terasa U Prince, which takes the meal-with-a-view concept to the next level.
🐎 Day 13-16: Krakow, Poland
On day 13, take a 1-hour flight to Krakow, Poland, and land in one of the best-preserved cities in Europe. During WWII, Krakow was one of the administrative cities of the Third Reich. A day trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau is a sobering memorial of the Holocaust.
Main Market Square is tourist central, and a trip up the Gothic tower of St. Mary’s Basilica offers stunning views of the city. 12 feet below the square is the Rynek Underground Museum, which provides an interesting peek into medieval life in Krakow.
🌳 Day 17-21: Warsaw, Poland
On day 17, take a 2.5-hour train ride to Poland’s capital city of Warsaw, which is brimming with artsy vibes, historical significance, and neon signs.
Start your visit in the UNESCO Old Town, home to colorful buildings and a haunting past. During WWII, more than 85% of the monuments there were destroyed. They were impressively rebuilt afterward based on paintings of the square from the 17th & 18th centuries.
In the Praga District, you can taste pierogies in one of the many trendy restaurants, and visit Neon Museum to capture over 100 flashing neon signs. Beautiful outdoor spaces abound in Warsaw, and not to be missed is the promenade of the Vistula River.
☀️ When to do this itinerary: The shoulder months of May, June, and September are optimal for warm weather and for avoiding the tourist crowds of July and August.
3. FRANCE + BELGIUM + NETHERLANDS + UK + IRELAND: The Classic Northern Route
From the quaint boulangeries of romantic Paris to the friendly charm and excellent ales of Dublin, northern Europe has something for every traveler. Here’s a 3-week itinerary among the scenic canals, majestic palaces, and medieval small towns of Europe.
- Day 1-4: Paris, France
- Day 5-6: Brussels, Belgium
- Day 7-9: Ghent + Bruges, Belgium
- Day 10-13: Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Day 14-17: London, United Kingdom
- Day 18-21: Dublin, Ireland
⛲️ Day 1-4: Paris, France
There’s no better place to start a Europe itinerary than Paris. The French capital is known for its romantic atmosphere, charming streetside cafes, and intricate architecture. Be sure to witness the Eiffel Tower in all its glory and wander down the picturesque Champs Elysees.
The decadent palaces of nearby Versailles are a must-visit. Here, you’ll also find vintage flea markets, old-fashioned street plazas, and local entertainment to spice up any day trip. To enjoy some quiet time, head to the stunning Potager du Roi gardens just 5 minutes from the Palace of Versailles.
🍟 Day 5-6: Brussels, Belgium
On day 5, take a 1.5-hour Eurostar train ride to Brussels. Once you’ve refueled with a Belgian waffle and craft beer from Delirium, explore the sprawling Grand Place. Then, find the Comic Strip Wall and hunt down the infamous Manneken Pis statue before heading to the vibrant African quarter of Ixelles.
Dial things up with the bustling nightlife of Chatelain and enjoy a nightcap at one of Brussels’ famous rooftop bars. Don’t leave the city without visiting the Mont des Arts, Notre Dame Du Sablon, or trying a portion of piping hot fries from one of the many independent stands.
🍫 Day 7-9: Ghent + Bruges, Belgium
On day 7, take a short 40-min train ride to Ghent. You’ll be surrounded by glorious medieval architecture at the city library De Krook, St Bavo’s Cathedral, and the Castle of the Counts. To cover more ground, rent a bike and explore the cobbled streets before heading to the quaint Patershol area for coffee.
After 2 days in Ghent, take a 30-min train ride to Bruges on day 9. Admire the area’s narrow shopping streets, medieval buildings, and rows of luxury chocolatiers. Don’t miss the colorful stores in Market Square, and ascend the Belfry of Bruges for unbeatable views of the city.
🚴🏼♀️ Day 10-13: Amsterdam, Netherlands
On day 10, take a 3.5-hour train from Bruges to Amsterdam. This city is known for its art galleries, scenic canals, and its unique blend of old-school architecture and new-age experiences.
The Van Gogh Museum and Galerie De Appel are both amazing cultural spots that offer a glimpse into the lives of Amsterdam’s finest artists. Hop on a bike and race to Dam Square and the chic De 9 Straatjes district before slowing things down with a canal cruise.
Don’t leave without visiting Anne Frank House for a harrowing look into the German Occupation. Round off your visit with a trip to the infamous Red-Light District.
🎭 Day 14-17: London, United Kingdom
On day 14, take a direct 4-hour Eurostar train or a 1-hour flight to London. The cosmopolitan capital of England is home to fascinating historical sites, museums, and picturesque cafes.
Explore Westminster, where you can tick off Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace. The financial district boasts jaw-dropping skyscrapers like The Shard and The Gherkin, providing a wonderful contrast to the old-school architecture of Tower Bridge.
Don’t leave London without catching a West End show, grabbing fish and chips at a local pub, and enjoying afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason.
🍺 Day 18-21: Dublin, Ireland
On day 18, take a 1.5-hour flight to Dublin. Spend the next 3 days in Dublin enjoying its friendly village-like atmosphere, intellectual history, and picturesque ancient buildings.
Be a bookworm at the Trinity College Library and learn more about Ireland’s turbulent past at Kilmainham Gaol. Spend an evening bar-hopping for the best pint of Guinness and discover local talent at a traditional Irish jig performance.
Be sure to take a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher for breathtaking views of the waters near County Clare. Have your camera ready in case you spot seabirds, wildflowers, or puffins!
☀️ When to do this itinerary: While summer is pleasant and never too hot in any of these countries, the balmy shoulder months of May and September see fewer tourist crowds.
🏝 Europe 3 Weeks Itinerary: Beaches & Fairytales
4. FRANCE + SWITZERLAND + GERMANY + AUSTRIA: A Fairytale Route
Most fairytale stories are plucked straight from the lovely and quaint villages scattered throughout France, Germany, and Austria. This 3 weeks Europe itinerary is just the ticket for a dreamy fairytale trip to see magical castles and enchanting storybook towns.
- Day 1-4: Paris, France
- Day 5-7: Colmar + Riquewihr, France
- Day 8-11: Zurich, Switzerland
- Day 12-14: Bavaria, Germany
- Day 15-17: Salzburg, Austria
- Day 18-21: Hallstatt, Austria
🍷 Day 1-4: Paris, France
Start this 3-week adventure in the ‘City of Love’. Whether it’s atop the Eiffel Tower, a stroll down the Champs-Élysées, or sipping champagne on a Seine River cruise, it’d be hard not to fall in love with Paris.
Wander the charming Montmartre neighborhood and stop by a boulangerie, cheese shop, and wine store to fill a picnic basket and have a meal al fresco. And of course, a visit to the Louvre, Luxembourg Gardens, and Palace of Versailles are necessary for a dose of culture.
🔮 Day 5-7: Colmar + Riquewihr, France
On day 5, take a 2.5-hour train from Paris to the fairytale town of Colmar in the Alsace wine region. Colmar is home to colorful half-timber houses and picturesque canals that look like the setting of a medieval folk tale. You’ll fall in love with the magical cobblestone streets and Petite Venise waterways there.
Then, spend the next two days visiting other nearby fairytale Alsace villages like Ribeauvillé, Eguisheim, and Riquewihr, the magical town that inspired “Beauty and the Beast”. Walk the Sentier Viticole des Grands Crus through vineyards and hills to explore this medieval village.
After you’re done exploring, hop on a 1.5-hour bus ride to Strasbourg.
🍫 Day 8-11: Zurich, Switzerland
On day 8, take a 2.5-hour train from Strasbourg to Zurich, the luxurious Swiss capital. Zurich is home to endless chocolatiers and many watchmaking workshops and museums. Indulge in delicious bonbons and visit the Beyer Watch Museum to get an introduction to the city.
In the summer, the picturesque Lake Zurich is the perfect place to go for a swim or boat ride. No matter when you visit, treat yourself to a relaxing wellness day at Hürlimannbad & Spa Zürich. Here, you’ll also find a rooftop pool with stunning panoramic views of the city!
🏰 Day 12-14: Bavaria, Germany
On day 12, take a 3.5-hour train from Zurich to Munich, the stunning capital of the Bavarian region of Germany. Spend days 12 and 13 in Munich visiting museums, trying Bavarian beer at the endless beer gardens, and admiring stunning neo-Gothic architecture in Marienplatz.
On day 14, take a day trip to the world-famous Neuschwanstein Castle to see the storybook palace that inspired Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. Relish the fairytale with a guided tour of its opulent neogothic halls and head to Queen Mary’s Bridge for the best views.
🎻 Day 15-17: Salzburg, Austria
On day 15, take a 1.5-hour train from Munich to the Austrian musical town of Salzburg, where Mozart hails from. This city is where Broadway’s “The Sound of Music” was set, and a tour of the movie’s locations is actually a great way to see most of the tourist attractions.
Museums abound in Salzburg, and the Toy Museum is a place where both the young and the young at heart can have some fun. Neighborhood markets like Grünmarkt are the best for local food, so make a beeline to any stall for sausage, pretzels, or other delicacies.
🏞 Day 18-21: Hallstatt, Austria
On day 18, take a 2.5-hour bus ride from Salzburg to Hallstatt, a breathtaking Austrian village nestled in the Alps. This colorful medieval town is a real-life fantasy. Spend the last few days of your trip relaxing here and soaking up the stunning lakefront views.
Wander the Old Town of Hallstatt, where you’ll see plenty of colorful gingerbread houses. Then, drop by the 1,150-feet-high World Heritage View Point to get beautiful panoramic views of Lake Hallstatt. Better yet, rent a boat and get out onto the lake for a fun afternoon.
Close the book on this fairytale adventure by heading back to Salzburg (you can fly home from Salzburg Airport).
☀️ When to do this itinerary: From late August through October. The weather is still sunny and pleasant, and many popular autumn festivals like Oktoberfest take place.
5. CYPRUS + MALTA + SICILY: A Mediterranean Escape
Mediterranean countries have it all: bustling city nightlife, delicious local flavors, and isolated islands for contemplative nature walks. From the glistening lagoon of Paphos to the bustling squares of Malta, this sunny itinerary promises an unforgettable vacation.
- Day 1-3: Paphos, Cyprus
- Day 4-6: Nicosia, Cyprus
- Day 7-9: Larnaca, Cyprus
- Day 10-12: Valletta + Mdina, Malta
- Day 13-15: Gozo, Maltese Islands
- Day 16-21: Sicily, Italy
🏝 Day 1-3: Paphos, Cyprus
Fly into the ancient city of Paphos in Cyprus to kickstart this 3 weeks in Europe itinerary. Paphos is lauded by beach-lovers for its beautiful sandy coastline. Head to Alykes Beach to soak up the sun, and snorkel or enjoy a boat tour on the azure waters of the Blue Lagoon.
Paphos is also known for its fascinating ancient history. Head to the Tombs of the Kings for a throwback to the Hellenistic period and check out the geometric mosaics at the Kato Paphos Archaeological Park. Don’t leave Paphos without exploring the modern murals and street art adorning the historic Old Town.
🌲 Day 4-6: Nicosia, Cyprus
On day 4, take a 2-hour bus to the city of Nicosia, known for its exquisite cuisine and layers of Byzantine history. Get a dose of culture at the Byzantine Museum and Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre, and perk up with a strong Cypriot coffee and bag of baklava (delicious local sweets).
Explore the winding halls and stairways of St. Hilarion Castle, then plunge into an Ottoman bath at Hamam Omerye. Leave some time to wander through the ethereal Athalassa National Forest Park, and be sure to catch a whirling dervish performance at Selimiye Square!
🍢 Day 7-9: Larnaca, Cyprus
On day 7, take a 45-minute bus to the port city of Larnaca for charming boutiques, coffee shops, and glorious beaches. Fuel yourself with a plate of souvlaki (meat skewers) or sheftalia (an old-school Cypriot sausage) before climbing uphill to Stavrovouni Monastery for expansive views of the region.
Soak up the sun at Kastella Beach, and if you’re feeling adventurous, explore the MS Zenobia Wreck for next-level diving 50-feet below surface. Before leaving town, stroll the Larnaca Promenade and pop into its souvenir shops and restaurants for local flavor.
🎨 Day 10-12: Valletta + Mdina, Malta
On day 10, take a 3-hour flight to Valletta, the historic gateway to Malta. This splendid capital city is known for its UNESCO Sites, splendid local galleries, and stunning coastal views. Its artistic side can be explored at the National Museum of Fine Arts, which displays the work of baroque artist Mattia Preti.
Sip a coffee and enjoy crepes at the Pjazza Regina before strolling down Republic Street, where you’ll find the iconic City Gate. A 15-min taxi ride from Valletta is the city of Mdina, known for its immaculate medieval and baroque buildings (don’t miss the pink balconies!) and spectacular views from the city walls.
🌊 Day 13-15: Gozo, Maltese Islands
On day 13, take a 1.5-hour bus and ferry ride to Gozo. This dreamy island is known for its beautiful waters, scenic hiking trails, and hidden coves. Hit the Ta Cenc Cliffs for luscious trails, take a boat out to the Santa Maria Caves for diving, and don’t miss the signature golden sands of Ramla Bay.
Climb the Bastions of Cittadella for 360° views of Gozo’s steep valleys. When night falls, head to Dwejra for stargazing (extra points for shooting stars!) and a wander through the historic villages for a nightcap. Once you’ve had your fill of nature, catch the ferry back to Valletta.
🌋 Day 16-21: Sicily, Italy
On day 16, take a 45-min flight from Valletta to Catania Airport in Sicily, the final stop on this 3-week trip. Sicily is a vibrant Mediterranean island with a selection of picturesque towns, traditional flavors, and natural wonders. Pick up a rental car to explore this island with ease.
Stop at the magical town of Cefalù for postcard-worthy views and glimmering beaches. Hike Mt. Etna to see the Silvestri craters, and stay for an aperitivo at a mountaintop bar. Don’t miss the ancient Valley of the Temples in Agrigento or Palermo for the most exquisite street food.
☀️ When to do this itinerary: In May, June, September, or October, when the weather is still warm enough for beach lazing, hotel rates are lower, and crowds are fewer.
6. PORTUGAL + SPAIN + GIBRALTAR: Iberian Adventures
Eclectic nightlife, sun-kissed beaches, and breathtaking palaces offer a mere snapshot of what a magical Iberian vacation looks like. Blending snippets of Moorish history with beautiful coastline escapes, these countries are an ideal getaway for culture seekers.
- Day 1-4: Porto, Portugal
- Day 5-7: Lisbon + Sintra, Portugal
- Day 8-11: Algarve, Portugal
- Day 12-14: Seville, Spain
- Day 15-17: Granada, Spain
- Day 18-21: Gibraltar (British Overseas Territory)
💃🏻 Day 1-4: Porto, Portugal
Start this Europe 3 week itinerary in the historic city of Porto in Portugal. Porto offers world-revered wines, unique architecture, and vibrant culture. The top thing to do here is to catch a traditional fado performance (Portuguese folk singing) while sipping Port wine at a bar.
Then, take a photogenic tour of the distinctive azulejo ceramic tiles displayed around town, particularly in popular landmarks like Porto Cathedral, São Bento Station, and Igreja do Carmo. Don’t leave without catching a breathtaking sunset on Luís I Bridge or tasting pastel de nata, the famous Portuguese egg custard tart.
🌿 Day 5-7: Lisbon + Sintra, Portugal
On day 5, take a 3-hour train ride to Lisbon, Portugal’s vibrant capital brimming with history and art. Summit the 6th-century São Jorge Castle for gorgeous views of the city. Then, stroll the atmospheric Alfama district, home to many quaint cafes and colorful tiled homes.
On day 7, take a train to Sintra for a fairytale day trip. Tour Pena Palace, a Romanticist castle that looks straight out of a storybook. Then, climb the ancient defense towers at Castelo Dos Mouros. Don’t leave Sintra without exploring the mystical nature of Quinta da Regaleira.
🏄🏻♀️ Day 8-11: Algarve, Portugal
On day 8, take a 2-hour and 45-minute flight or train to Faro, the capital of Portugal’s Algarve region. Known for its dazzling waters and beaches, Algarve is a surfer’s paradise. Hit the Arrifana Beach or Amado Beach for top-tier waves before visiting Praia da Marinha for hidden coves and breathtaking rock formations.
Descend the famous 200-step wooden staircase to the picturesque Praia do Camilo beach, and check out the iconic arched rock and cave hole tunnel there. Don’t leave Algarve without taking a boat ride to the ‘eye’ of the Benagil Caves to witness the power of nature.
🥘 Day 12-14: Seville, Spain
On day 12, take a 2-hour and 45-minute bus from Faro to Seville, the sunny capital of the Andalucian region of Spain. Seville is considered by many as the birthplace of flamenco, so during your time here, be sure to catch a performance of this traditional folk art.
Tour the remarkable Renaissance and Mudéjar mix of architecture at Plaza de España, Casa de Pilatos, Royal Alcázar, and Seville Cathedral. Then, be sure to taste some tapas at the iconic Espacio Eslava, as Seville is often referred to as the birthplace of tapas.
🎨 Day 15-17: Granada, Spain
On day 15, take a 3-hour bus ride to Granada, another vibrant Andalucian city known for its stunning Moorish architecture, lively atmosphere, incredible tapas, and street art. Get an insightful glimpse into the latter in the artsy district of Realejo.
Admire the unique mix of Islamic and Renaissance architecture inside the glorious Alhambra Palace. Then, wander the winding streets of Albaicín, the buzzing Arabic quarter, where you’ll find endless restaurants, bars, squares, and Arab baths (hammams) to unwind in.
🐒 Day 18-21: Gibraltar (British Overseas Territory)
On day 18, take a 5-hour bus from Granada to Gibraltar (via Malaga). Gibraltar is a headland on Spain’s south coast. Did you know that it also has the only wild monkey population in Europe? You can spot these adorable creatures in several places around town.
Take a cable car up to the Rock of Gibraltar for magnificent views of the coast. Greet the troop of Barbery macaque monkeys there, but look out for your belongings — they’re known to steal! Then, wander the Great Siege Tunnels to get a glimpse of the territory’s past.
Gibraltar has a distinctive culture influenced by its traditional cuisine. Before flying out of Gibraltar Airport, try some delicious calentita, a traditional chickpea loaf.
☀️ When to do this itinerary: In April, May, June, September, or October to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather without the massive tourist crowds of July and August.
7. SPAIN + FRANCE + ITALY: Coastal Delights
With picturesque villages, sun-kissed beaches, and artsy vibes, coastal Spain, France, and Italy are the perfect getaway for city slickers. This 3-week Europe travel route offers delicious traditional cuisines, jaw-dropping architecture, and the most relaxing vibes.
- Day 1-4: Barcelona, Spain
- Day 5-7: Nice, France
- Day 8-10: Monaco + Menton, France
- Day 11-13: Milan, Italy
- Day 14-17: Cinque Terre
- Day 18-21: Venice, Italy
🎨 Day 1-4: Barcelona, Spain
Begin this trip through Europe in the cosmopolitan hotspot of Barcelona, known for its marvelous Gaudí architecture, dreamy beaches, and traditional gastronomic delights. Start at Las Ramblas, one of the most famous European streets for shopping and tasting tapas.
Then, admire Gaudí’s art at the iconic Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, and Park Güell. Don’t miss the Gothic Quarter’s narrow medieval streets filled with trendy bars and Catalan restaurants. Before leaving, head to the Boqueria Market for delicious exotic bites.
🏖 Day 5-7: Nice, France
One day 5, take a 1.5-hour flight to Nice. Perched on the French Riviera, this coastal city offers everything from sandy beaches to quaint historical neighborhoods. Visit the Archaeological Museum of Cimiez to uncover Nice’s Roman history, and marvel at the La Belle Époque architecture of the city’s hotels.
Then, take the pressure off by lounging on one of the many dreamy beaches. Le Voilier Beach and Castel Beach are ideal spots for a glass of champagne and sunbathing. Don’t leave Nice without heading to Castle Hill for a picnic or taking in the beauty of the cobbled Old Port.
🃏 Day 8-10: Monaco + Menton, France
After Nice, it’s time to discover more French Riviera gems. On day 8, take a 7-minute train ride to the nearby village of Villefranche-sur-Mer. Wander its colorful Old Town, explore the Baroque churches, and enjoy sunbathing on its intimate, pebbled La Darse Beach.
On day 9, take a 15-minute train onward to Monaco, the elegant jewel of the French Riviera. This luxurious city-state is a playground for the rich and famous, and home to glamorous villas and casinos. Be sure to get amazing city views from the Port de Fontvieille Viewpoint.
On day 10, take a 12-minute train ride to the colorful coastal town of Menton. Stroll the Promenade de la Mer for the most picturesque views, and soak up the sun on Plage des Sablettes beach. In the evening, return to Nice (40 mins by train).
👠 Day 11-13: Milan, Italy
On day 11, take a 5-hour and 45-minute bus ride from Nice to Milan. Expect to see stylish locals, bougie boutiques, and cutting-edge architecture in this fashion capital. Marvel at Da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’ at Santa Maria delle Grazie before trying a piadina at a nearby café.
After your cultural education, head to the gothic Duomo di Milano for unmatched views of the city, and ride a vintage tram for a comprehensive city tour. Don’t leave town without checking out the Italian fashion houses (Valentino and Prada) or catching an opera at La Scala.
🌿 Day 14-17: Cinque Terre
On day 14, take a 3-hour train ride to Monterosso al Mare in Cinque Terre, a string of scenic seaside villages on the Italian Riviera coastline. Each of them is characterized by colorful houses, harbors with fishing boats, and traditional trattorias serving delicious seafood.
The best way to explore Cinque Terre is via the Sentiero Azzurro hiking trail, which offers sweeping cliffside views and links all the villages. Alternatively, take the train to hop between them. Enjoy stunning sunsets, scenic beaches, and the most magnificent coastal views.
🛶 Day 18-21: Venice, Italy
On day 18, take a 5-hour train ride to the iconic city of Venice. Spend the next few days exploring its romantic waterways, Renaissance bridges, and bustling squares. Start your visit at the white-limestoned Bridge of Sighs, one of the most picture-perfect bridges in town.
Then, admire the stunningly gilded St. Mark’s Basilica. Snap a photo at the elgant Rialto Bridge, and take a gondola down the Grand Canal for up-close views of the Gothic architecture around town. Don’t leave Venice without tasting some cicchetti (Italian tapas!).
☀️ When to do this itinerary: In the shoulder months of March, April, September, and October to enjoy lower room rates, mild temperatures, and fewer tourist crowds.
☃️ 3 Week Itinerary Europe: Nordic Adventures
8. FINLAND + SWEDEN + DENMARK + NORWAY: Scenic Scandinavia
From the steamy saunas of Finland to the scenic canals of Sweden and the epic hikes of Norway, Scandinavia has something for everyone. This Europe tour route covers the bustling art districts, majestic palaces, and stunning nature of Northern Europe.
- Day 1-4: Helsinki, Finland
- Day 5-8: Stockholm, Sweden
- Day 9-12: Copenhagen, Denmark
- Day 13-15: Pulpit Rock + Kjeragbolten, Norway
- Day 16-17: Odda + Trolltunga, Norway
- Day 18-21: Bergen, Norway
🌳 Day 1-4: Helsinki, Finland
Begin this three week Europe itinerary by flying into Helsinki. The Finnish capital is culturally diverse and is home to fascinating museums, ornate buildings, and picturesque nature trails.
Start your visit by taking in Art Nouveau architecture at the National Theatre, Kallio Church, and Helsinki Cathedral before hitting the bustling Design District for artsy boutiques. Then, indulge your horticultural side at the Winter Garden, which is home to over 200 unique plants.
Hungry for culture? Try some local grillimakkara (Finnish sausages) and unwind at a traditional Finnish sauna, like the seaside Löyly Helsinki, which also has a glass-walled restaurant and large deck for sweeping views.
⛵️ Day 5-8: Stockholm, Sweden
On day 5, take a 1-hour flight to Stockholm. Famous for its fascinating museums and scenic canals, the Swedish capital combines urbanity with old-school charm.
There are endless interesting things to do in Stockholm. To ease yourself in, wander Gamla Stan, the charming Old Town, and admire the colorful architecture there. Then, head to Monteliusvägen for magnificent views of the city and Lake Mälaren.
Don’t miss the world’s best preserved 17th-century ship at the must-see Vasa Museum, or the world’s oldest open-air museum at Skansen, which showcases traditional homes and farmsteads from every part of Sweden.
🧜🏻♀️ Day 9-12: Copenhagen, Denmark
On day 9, take a 1-hour flight to Denmark’s vibrant capital of Copenhagen. Spend the next few days admiring the stunning gardens, multicolored townhouses, and exciting museums there. Start by strolling the iconic Nyhavn Waterfront, lined with vibrantly colorful buildings.
Then, head to the fairytale-like Tivoli Gardens, a unique blend of an amusement park and manicured gardens. Don’t miss the changing of the guard ceremony at Amalienborg Palace or the famous Little Mermaid statue, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairytale.
🧗🏻♀️ Day 13-15: Pulpit Rock + Kjeragbolten, Norway
On day 13, take a 1.5-hour flight to the quaint city of Stavanger, the gateway to some of the best hikes in Norway. Spend the first day exploring the picture-perfect Gamle Stavanger and enjoying seafood.
On day 14, take an epic day trip to hike the iconic Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen). This steep 604-meter-high cliff has a flat top that offers insanely breathtaking views of Lysefjord.
On day 15, take another day trip to hike to the Kjeragbolten boulder, wedged between a crevice 3,000 feet above the fjord. Daredevils can step out onto this unique boulder for an epic picture! The hike is challenging but rewards you with jaw-dropping views.
🏞 Day 16-17: Odda + Trolltunga, Norway
On day 16, rent a car and embark on a 4-hour scenic drive from Stavanger to the town of Odda. Odda is the gateway to Trolltunga, one of the most spectacular hikes in Norway.
On day 17, hike the Trolltunga, a unique rock with the shape of a tongue, sticking out horizontally from the side of a cliff. You can stand on this rock to gaze at the breathtaking view of the fjord below. It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
This hike takes 10-12 hours roundtrip, and there’s usually a long line for photo ops on the rock. Start hiking as early as you can to avoid it.
🚡 Day 18-21: Bergen, Norway
On day 18, take a 3-hour scenic drive from Odda to Bergen. Touted as a ‘European City of Culture’, Bergen is home to colorful wooden architecture and exquisite seafood. For spectacular sky-views of the city, ride the Fløibanen funicular to the top of Mount Fløyen.
Appreciate the city’s maritime heritage with some fiskesuppe (creamy fish soup) at the Fish Market before learning about the city’s Viking roots at Fantoft Stave Church. Then, take a cruise down Mostraumen Fjord, and enjoy bar hopping in the vibrant Vågsbunnen district.
☀️ When to do this itinerary: Between mid-June and early September for the best weather and to take advantage of the long daylight hours necessary for hiking. Note that from October through May, snow and ice may make hiking in Norway difficult.
9. ICELAND + FAROE ISLANDS + SCOTLAND: Fantastical Landscapes
Home to some of the most enchanting landscapes on earth, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and Scotland are brimming with natural beauty. From massive geysers to basalt beaches, there are so many mystical places to discover on this back-to-basics itinerary.
- Day 1-2: The Golden Circle, Iceland
- Day 3-4: Jokursalon + Eastern Fjords, Iceland
- Day 5-7: Northern Iceland + Kirkjufell, Iceland
- Day 8-10: Blue Lagoon & Reykjavik, Iceland
- Day 11-16: Sørvágsvatn to Kvívík, Faroe Islands
- Day 17-21: Isle of Skye, Scotland
💦 Day 1-2: The Golden Circle, Iceland
Fly into Reykjavik and rent a car to start your drive along the Golden Circle. This area is known for its explosive geysers, powerful waterfalls, and breathtaking landscapes. Start your tour at the magical Thingvellir National Park for mighty geysers and the iconic Silfra Glacier.
Then, move on to the mindblowing Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss, and Skogafoss waterfalls for sweeping landscape views. Don’t miss the incredible photo opportunity at the small cave behind Seljalandsfoss.
Afterward, head to Reynisfjara, a popular black sand beach on Iceland’s Southern Coast. Characterized by its black basalt structures, it’s one of the most unique beaches in the world.
🐧 Day 3-4: Jokursalon + Eastern Fjords, Iceland
On day 3, drive to Skaftafell for immaculate ice caves, waterfalls, and glacier hiking. Pack your binoculars for birdwatching! Then, move on to Jökulsárlón, a picturesque glacial lagoon. Take a boat tour to see the massive ice chunks floating throughout this deep, blue lake.
Afterwards, drive to the Eastern Fjords stretching from Berufjörður to Borgarfjörður Eystri, where you can meet adorable puffins. On your way there, wander the gorgeous fishing village of Seyðisfjörður, and take a serene walk in Hallormsstaðaskógur, Iceland’s biggest forest.
🌋 Day 5-7: Northern Iceland + Kirkjufell, Iceland
On day 5, stop first at Dettifoss, one of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe. Then, move on to the volcanic Lake Mývatn to bathe in the natural hot springs of Mývatn Nature Baths.
On day 6, head over to the picturesque Godafoss, a wide, panoramic waterfall. From there, Akureyri is a quick 30-minute drive. This charming port town has beautiful stained-glass churches and contemporary art museums.
On day 7, move on to Kirkjufell, a uniquely shaped 1520 ft (463 m) high mountain. It is the most photographed mountain in Iceland; jutting out into the sea, there are waterfalls next to it, which make it incredibly picturesque. Try to catch the Northern Lights here!
🐳 Day 8-10: Blue Lagoon & Reykjavik, Iceland
On day 8, head to the famous Blue Lagoon to take a dip in this geothermal spa. Surrounded by rocky landscapes, this hot mineral pool is the perfect place to pamper yourself. Then, head to the capital of Reykjavik for museums, traditional Icelandic food, and intricate architecture.
Spend the next two days exploring Reykjavik. See the Old Town’s colorful houses, admire local artwork at the National Gallery of Iceland, and enjoy whale-watching on the Atlantic Ocean. Don’t leave without visiting Hallgrimskirkja Church for sweeping city views.
🏞 Day 11-16: Sørvágsvatn to Kvívík, Faroe Islands
On day 11, take a 5-hour flight from Reykjavik to Sorvagur in the Faroe Islands. Spend the next five days exploring this otherworldly destination characterized by jaw-dropping landscapes.
Start your trip by visiting the picturesque Múlafossur Waterfall and fantastical Sørvágsvatn Lake. For more dramatic cliff views, head to the island of Kalsoy and hike to its quaint lighthouse. Don’t miss the unspoiled island of Mykines and its colony of adorable puffins.
For hipster eateries, head to Tórshavn, the cute capital of the Faroe Islands. End your trip in Kvívík, where you can soak up centuries of Viking history. Drive back to Sorvagur to fly out.
🦖 Day 17-21: Isle of Skye, Scotland
On day 17, take a 1.5-hour flight from Sorvagur to Edinburgh in Scotland. From there, rent a car and take a 5.5-hour scenic road trip to the mystical Isle of Skye. Skye is known for its incredibly dramatic landscapes, picturesque fishing villages, and medieval castles.
Be sure to visit the enchanting Fairy Pools and hike the Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing. For more fantastical sceneries and dramatic landscapes, head to the mystical Fairy Glen. Want to see 170-million-year-old dinosaur footprints? Don’t miss Staffin Bay or Brother’s Point!
☀️ When to do this itinerary: June through August for long daylight hours, warmth, and summer festivals; November through March for catching the Northern Lights.
10. LITHUANIA + LATVIA + ESTONIA + RUSSIA: Baltic & Russian Wonders
Breathtaking architecture, immersive history, and gastronomic delights — experience all three and more on a 3-week trip to the Baltics and Russia. Each of these countries boasts incredible nature, distinctive architecture, friendly vibes, and vibrant nightlife.
- Day 1-3: Vilnius, Lithuania
- Day 4-7: Riga, Latvia
- Day 8-11: Tallinn, Estonia
- Day 12-16: St. Petersburg, Russia
- Day 17-21: Moscow, Russia
🌳 Day 1-3: Vilnius, Lithuania
Start your Baltic excursion in Vilnius. Lithuania’s artistic capital is small but is home to stunning historical sites, unique architecture, and has a distinctive, laidback atmosphere.
Uncover centuries of history at the gothic Trakai Island Castle, and check out the mind-bending Vilnius Museum of Illusions. Hales Market is a great stop for an easygoing lunch and a taste of cepelinai, the local potato dumplings.
Don’t leave Vilnius without visiting the famous Gate of Dawn shrine, the Vilnius University Botanical Garden for bewitching greenery and blooms, and the aesthetic Green Lakes.
🌈 Day 4-7: Riga, Latvia
On day 4, take a 4-hour bus ride from Vilnius to Riga, the capital city of Latvia. An architectural panacea, you’ll be met with incredible Art Nouveau buildings with signature curved lines, charming avenues of boutique shops, and plenty of green space.
Experience Riga’s gastronomy with a plate of smoked eel before heading to the Central Market and museum district. Indulge your creativity with a ballet show at the Latvian National Opera before exploring the artisan shops in the Old Town for handcrafted souvenirs.
Don’t miss the picturesque House of the Blackheads and the mythical Roland Statue. On day 7, take a day trip to Jurmala for soft white beaches and spa treatments.
🎨 Day 8-11: Tallinn, Estonia
On day 8, take a 4.5-hour bus ride or catch a 2.5-hour flight to Tallinn. The Estonian capital is known for its untouched architecture, but it’s the distinctive dishes and artsy museums that will steal your heart. Don’t miss the delightful eats from the Town Hall Square vendors!
Explore beautiful Baroque architecture at the Kadriorg Palace and visit the many quirky museums that outline the city’s history. Then, take a day trip to Laheema National Park for an outdoor escape, or gaze at the grand architecture on offer in nearby Helsinki and Tartu.
🌸 Day 12-16: St. Petersburg, Russia
On day 12, take a direct 6-hour bus ride or flight to St. Petersburg. For the next few days, admire the ornate palaces and royal gardens of the overthrown Tsars in this city.
Visit the city’s many fascinating museums, then soar above them all in the Aerolift balloon for epic views. The neoclassical and baroque architecture of Palace Square is another must-see, along with the reconstructed cathedrals of the Orthodox period.
Stroll the State Hermitage Museum for artistic education, and don’t leave the city without sampling pyshki (traditional Russian crumpets) at one of many curbside cafés.
🎭 Day 17-21: Moscow, Russia
On day 17, take a 3.5-hour train ride to Moscow, the final stop on this 3 week trip to Europe. Moscow is one of the most vibrant cities in Russia, which is reflected in the iconic architecture of the Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral, and the political heart of the city — the Kremlin.
Catch an opera or ballet performance at the Bolshoi Theater and admire the stunning interiors of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Be sure to tick off a few contemporary galleries before letting loose at a local ice bar.
☀️ When to do this itinerary: Between May and September for long sunny days, balmy weather, and festivals. Summertime is the most comfortable and lively season here.
💎 Best Europe Itinerary 3 Weeks: Hidden Gems
11. AZERBAIJAN + ARMENIA + GEORGIA: Caucasus Wonders
Cultural landmarks, traditional Turkish baths, and blended architecture — experience all three and more on an epic journey to the Caucasus. Each country here has a distinctive ‘East meets West’ vibe that’s reflected in its unique history and Silk Road remnants.
- Day 1-4: Baku, Azerbaijan
- Day 5-7: Sheki, Azerbaijan
- Day 8-9: Kakheti, Georgia
- Day 10-13: Tbilisi, Georgia
- Day 14: Gori + Uplistsikhe + Mtskheta, Georgia
- Day 15-16: Dilijan + Lake Sevan, Armenia
- Day 17-21: Yerevan, Armenia
🏙 Day 1-4: Baku, Azerbaijan
This itinerary for Europe in 3 weeks starts with a flight to the Azerbaijani capital of Baku. Take in the ancient sites of the Old City, such as Palace of Shirvanshahs and Maiden Tower. Then, head to Highland Park to get the most breathtaking views of Baku and the Caspian Sea.
From this park, you can also get an incredible up-close view of the futuristic Flame Towers. Don’t leave Baku without getting a fascinating history lesson at Heydar Aliyev Center. There, centuries of history are broken down into engaging and easy-to-follow visual exhibitions.
On day 4, take a day trip to the Gobustan Rock Art reserve and museum. See fascinating rock art made by ancient Neolithic peoples before exploring unique mud volcanoes nearby.
🍲 Day 5-7: Sheki, Azerbaijan
On day 5, rent a car and drive for 4 hours to the city of Sheki, famed for its quaint cobbled streets, old stone architecture, and remains of the ancient Silk Road. Lose yourself in the beautiful brickwork of the Old Town and marvel at the colorful stained-glass windows of the Summer Palace.
Then, go back in time in the city’s classic Silk Road Caravanserai before learning more about traditional silk production at the Sheki Silk Factory. Don’t leave town without trying an ample serving of Piti (a traditional stew) and Sheki Halva, a popular local dessert.
🍷 Day 8-9: Kakheti, Georgia
Next, it’s time to venture into Kakheti, Georgia’s premier wine-producing region. Here, you’ll find the charming town of Sighnaghi (a 2.5-hour drive from Sheki). Start your visit there by going wine tasting at one of the several wineries in town, such as Okro’s Wines.
Then, climb the Sighnaghi City Walls to take in gorgeous views of the Caucasus Mountains and visit the picturesque Bodbe Convent for immaculate gardens. Kakheti is also home to the elegant city of Telavi, home to stylish Neoclassical buildings and a bustling bazaar.
🎨 Day 10-13: Tbilisi, Georgia
On day 10, drive for 1 hour and 45 mins to Tbilisi, the quirky capital city of Georgia. Start your visit at the picturesque Old Town to admire colorful architecture and urban street art. Don’t miss the playful and bizarre Leaning Tower of Tbilisi attached to a puppet theater.
Then, see the gorgeous colorful stained-glass windows of Gallery 27, and stroll the lush green gardens of Holy Trinity Cathedral, the largest Orthodox Cathedral in Georgia.
To refuel, unwind in one of the many Tbilisi Sulfur Baths, such as Orbeliani Bath House. Don’t leave without tasting a delicious khachapuri (a local cheese bread).
🏛 Day 14: Gori + Uplistsikhe + Mtskheta, Georgia
On day 14, take an epic day trip to see three stunning sites near Tbilisi. First, head to Mtskheta, one of Georgia’s oldest cities. Absorb its religious history at Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and Jvari Monastery. Then, hike up to the ruins of Armazi Tsikhe to explore an abandoned citadel.
The next stop is the unique cave town of Uplistsikhe. Admire the fascinating Bronze Age rock-cut structures and the Christian stone basilica there before driving on to the historic city of Gori. There, get a history lesson at the Stalin Museum and climb the 7th-century fortress for sweeping vistas.
🌲 Day 15-16: Dilijan + Lake Sevan, Armenia
On day 15, drive for 3.5 hours to the town of Dilijan in northern Armenia. This medieval wonderland is known for its traditional craft workshops and natural beauty. Work up a sweat hiking through the forests of Dilijan National Park before enjoying some hearty Armenian fare along Myasnikyan Street.
On day 16, head to the nearby Lake Sevan for magnificent views and ancient monasteries. Immerse in local legends at the lakeside Sevanavank Monastery before taking a dip in the lake itself. Finish your day at the picturesque Hayravank Monastery for an unbeatable sunset and stargazing.
⛲️ Day 17-21: Yerevan, Armenia
On day 17, drive 1.5 hours to the Armenian capital of Yerevan, known for its Soviet-era buildings, museums, and easygoing café culture. Summit the immaculate Yerevan Cascade for stunning views of the city, and admire the dancing fountains of Republic Square.
Head to the pedestrian Northern Avenue for luxury shopping, restaurants, and a vibrant night scene. Then, explore the art exhibitions and gardens inside the UNESCO Blue Mosque. Pad your remaining time with a trip to the mystical Symphony Of Stones in the Garni Gorge.
☀️ When to do this itinerary: In April, May, June, September, or October to avoid the high heat of July and August and the sub-zero winters, when many hiking trails are closed.
12. SLOVENIA + CROATIA + BOSNIA + MONTENEGRO: The Magical Balkans
Experience the Balkans’ immersive history, enchanting architecture, and breathtaking coastlines on this 3 week tour of Europe’s best hidden gems. These countries offer fairytale old towns, lush mountains, and plenty of sunny Adriatic Sea adventures.
- Day 1-3: Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Day 4-5: Lake Bled + Lake Bohinj, Slovenia
- Day 6-8: Zagreb, Croatia
- Day 9-11: Split, Croatia
- Day 12-14: Dubrovnik, Croatia
- Day 15-16: Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Day 17-19: Kotor + Perast, Montenegro
- Day 20-21: Podgorica, Montenegro
🚢 Day 1-3: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Kick off this itinerary by flying into the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana. This stunning city is characterized by fairytale-like buildings, bustling riverbanks, and charming bridges. Start your visit with a stroll on Dragon Bridge, which is appropriately adorned with dragon statues.
Then, take a stroll along the scenic Ljubljana River and enjoy a signature cocktail at one of the riverbank bars. You can also take a scenic cruise down the river! Don’t leave without visiting the Ljubljana Castle for unbeatable views of the city and surrounding mountains.
🏞 Day 4-5: Lake Bled + Lake Bohinj, Slovenia
On day 4, take an epic day trip to the crown jewel of Slovenia: Lake Bled. Explore the gorgeous hiking trails and swim (or paddleboard) in the deep blue water. Be sure to take a boat to see the fairytale Lake Bled Castle, and don’t leave without indulging in a slice of Bled cream cake!
On day 5, take another day trip from Ljubljana to explore Lake Bohinj. There, you can hike, bike, and paraglide to your heart’s content. Stop by the quaint St. John the Baptist Church for a touch of culture, and don’t leave without riding the Vogel Cable Car for magnificent Julian Alps views.
🍰 Day 6-8: Zagreb, Croatia
On day 6, take a 2-hour train from Ljubljana to Zagreb, Croatia’s vibrant capital. The city is home to stunning garden squares and striking medieval architecture. Look out for the impressive tiled roof of St. Mark’s Church, and settle in for a slice of cake at the ever-popular Vincek Slasticarnica.
Bask in the romantic atmosphere at the Botanical Garden before admiring elegant Baroque architecture in Lower Town. Stop by the medieval Stone Gate to see a well-preserved painting of Baby Jesus, and the bizarre Museum of Broken Relationships for a fascinating glimpse into the human condition.
🌴 Day 9-11: Split, Croatia
On day 9, take a 5-hour bus ride to Split, a glorious city on the Dalmatian Coast. This eclectic port is known for its ancient monuments, laidback atmosphere, and sweeping views. Start your visit by exploring the impressively well-preserved Roman ruins of Diocletian’s Palace.
Stop at a cafe in the Old Town to take in the local kava (coffee) culture. For sweeping views of the city and its coastline, climb up the bell tower of Cathedral of St. Domnius. To unwind, soak up the sun on Bacvice Beach and stroll the laidback Riva Promenade for palm trees and calming sea views.
🌅 Day 12-14: Dubrovnik, Croatia
On day 12, take a 4-hour bus to Dubrovnik, the pearl of Croatia. This enchanting city is known for its picturesque views, ancient city walls, and delicious seafood. Start by exploring the impressive Walls of Dubrovnik that encircle the city and stop by Fortress Lovrijenac for unbeatable waterfront views.
Looking for a real slice of culture and history? Head for Old Town, home to chic shops, delicious seafood restaurants, and the 14th century Old Pharmacy in Franciscan Monastery. Don’t leave without taking the Dubrovnik Cable Car for a magnificent sunset over the city.
🕌 Day 15-16: Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
On day 15, take a 4-hour bus to Mostar, a fairytale Bosnian town cradled by lush mountains. The arched Stari Most Bridge crossing over the Neretva River is the most iconic and dreamy landmark in town. In the summer, you can even catch a fun bridge jump competition there!
Navigate the bustling bazaars of the Old Town and get unique aerial views from the historic Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque. A short drive from Mostar lies the picturesque Blagaj Tekija (or Dervish House), a 600-year-old monastery built into a mountain overlooking the sea.
⛵️ Day 17-19: Kotor + Perast, Montenegro
On day 17, take a 5.5-hour bus to the magical Montenegrin town of Kotor. Step back in time in the Old Town, with its endless shops, cafes, and atmospheric squares. Then, climb up the City Walls to enjoy stunning views of the coastline, and see Kotor’s most impressive architecture at St. Tryphon Cathedral.
To unwind, enjoy a cocktail on the lush sands of Kotor Beach, and hop on a boat at the scenic Bay of Kotor for prime views of the glistening waters. Don’t forget to take a short taxi ride to the coastal town of Perast for immense mountain views and ornate waterfront villas.
⛲️ Day 20-21: Podgorica, Montenegro
On day 20, take a 2.5-hour bus ride to the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica, which offers sprawling green spaces and a unique cityscape that marries old-fashioned architecture with modern flair. Start your visit by meandering through the ancient streets of the Old Town.
Admire a universe of gorgeous icons and golden frescoes at the impressive Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ. Then, head to the scenic Ribnica Bridge to immerse yourself in ancient history. Don’t leave without visiting the gorgeous Cijevna — Montenegro’s Niagara Falls — just a 10-minute drive from Podgorica.
☀️ When to do this itinerary: In May, June, September, and October to enjoy the beaches and water in warm weather, and to avoid the tourist crowds of July and August.
13. BULGARIA + ROMANIA: Black Sea Cultural Gems
Looking for colorful medieval towns, rugged mountains, and fairytale castles? Enjoy all that and more in Bulgaria and Romania’s Transylvania region. These destinations boast vibrant harbor towns, gorgeous natural landscapes, and even the birthplace of Dracula.
- Day 1-3: Sofia, Bulgaria
- Day 4-6: Varna, Bulgaria
- Day 7-9: Constanta, Romania
- Day 10-11: Bucharest + Bran Castle, Romania
- Day 12-13: Brasov, Romania
- Day 14-16: Sibiu, Romania
- Day 17-19: Sighisoara + Biertan, Romania
- Day 20-21: Salina Turda + Cluj Napoca, Romania
🎭 Day 1-3: Sofia, Bulgaria
Start this trip by flying into Bulgaria’s multi-cultural capital of Sofia. Admire the gorgeous gold-plated interiors of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the city’s most iconic landmark. Then, enjoy a picnic in City Garden before visiting the upscale shops along Vitosha Boulevard.
Don’t miss the Sofia Central Mineral Baths, a former bathhouse that today, houses the Sofia History Museum with many interesting exhibitions. For a slice of culture, catch a concert at the Ivan Vazov National Theater and sample a plate of traditional Bulgarian moussaka.
🌊 Day 4-6: Varna, Bulgaria
On day 4, take a 2-hour flight or a 7.5-hour train to Varna, a charming seaside resort on Bulgaria’s Black Sea. This city is home to impressive rock formations and natural beauty, which you can witness first-hand at the Wonderful Rocks, Stone Forest, and Ecopark Varna.
Varna is also home to the oldest gold treasure in the world; its 6,000-year-old gold is displayed inside the Archaeological Museum. Don’t miss the breathtaking interiors of the iconic Varna Cathedral. To unwind, go sunbathing on the golden sands of Nirvana Beach.
🏖 Day 7-9: Constanta, Romania
On day 7, take a 3-hour bus to Constanta, a historic Romanian city situated along the Black Sea, perfect for exploring ancient ruins and enjoying beach leisure. Start at the Museum of National History and Archeology for an overview of the area’s historical significance.
Then, see the glorious architecture of the Grand Mosque, and head to Mamaia Resorts to enjoy swimming in the Black Sea. Looking for adventure? Hope on a sailing boat at Life Harbour Marina for alternative views of the water.
For a slice of culture, sample a bowl of ciorba de burta (tripe soup — better than it sounds!).
🏰 Day 10-11: Bucharest + Bran Castle, Romania
On day 10, take a 2.5-hour train ride to the Romanian capital of Bucharest, where you’ll rent a car to begin your drive towards Transylvania. Bucharest is known for its iconic communist-era and stunning Orthodox landmarks, such as the Palace of Parliament and the Stavropoleos Monastery.
On day 11, rent a car and drive to Peles Castle, a picturesque fortress in the Carpathian Mountains. Tour its stylish rooms, then head on to Bran Castle, aka “Dracula’s Castle”. See its digital exhibitions and medieval torture chamber before heading to Brasov to stay the night.
🌿 Day 12-13: Brasov, Romania
For the next two days, you’ll be discovering the stunning city of Brasov in Transylvania. Surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains, Brasov offers plenty of gorgeous hiking trails, starting with the one to the peak of Tampa Mountain, which sits next to the city center.
Be sure to stroll the cobbled streets of Piaţa Sfatului, the main square in town. It is surrounded by colorful baroque buildings, restaurants, and cafes. Head to Turnul Negru for a stunning view of the city, and don’t miss Strada Sforii, one of the narrowest streets in all of Europe.
👁️ Day 14-16: Sibiu, Romania
On day 14, drive for 2.5 hours to the city of Sibiu, another Transylvanian gem. Sibiu is particularly known for its colorful “houses with eyes”, which literally gives the illusion that someone is watching you. It may be creepy, but also very fascinating and unique.
Be sure to walk the romantic Bridge of Lies to see awesome views of the city, and to shop for souvenirs at Piata Mica, a charming small square next to the bridge. Most of the action happens in Piata Mare, the main Old Town square, surrounded by churches and cafes.
🧛🏼 Day 17-19: Sighisoara + Biertan, Romania
On day 17, drive for 1.5 hours to Sighisoara, one of the most colorful medieval towns you will ever step foot in. This town is also the birthplace of Dracula, and you can learn all about his life at the Mystical Transylvania museum (avoid the tourist trap of Vlad Dracul House!).
Be sure to walk down Strada Tamplarilor to see a row of rainbow-colored houses. Then, enjoy a delicious meal at Casa Georgius Krauss. An easy half-day trip to take from Sighisoara is Biertan, a Saxon village home to a very picturesque fortified church.
🎡 Day 20-21: Salina Turda + Cluj Napoca, Romania
On day 20, drive for 2 hours to Salina Turda, a spectacular underground salt mine and amusement park. This unique attraction gives off sci-fi movie vibes. You’ll find massage chairs, ping pong tables, a large Ferris wheel, and more — all surrounded by surreal underground formations.
After exploring Salina Turda, drive 40 mins to the city of Cluj Napoca. Explore its Gothic churches and vibrant night scene before flying home from Cluj International Airport.
☀️ When to do this itinerary: In June, July, and August for the perfect weather to explore and sunbathe, or in May and September for fewer crowds and milder temperatures. Alternatively, head to Romania in winter for skiing and winter wonderland sceneries.
14. NORTH MACEDONIA + ALBANIA + GREECE: The Southern Balkans
Venture to where the Balkan meets the sea in this sun-kissed 3 week Europe itinerary. Get lost in the history of ancient cities, enjoy exquisite cuisines, and marvel at the beauty of the Mediterranean as you explore the best of North Macedonia, Albania, and Greece.
- Day 1-3: Skopje, North Macedonia
- Day 4-6: Lake Ohrid, North Macedonia
- Day 7-10: Tirana + Berat, Albania
- Day 11-14: Athens, Greece
- Day 15-18: Santorini, Greece
- Day 19-21: Mykonos, Greece
🎨 Day 1-3: Skopje, North Macedonia
Begin this trip by flying into Skopje, and get ready to travel back to the age of the Ottoman and Byzantine empires. Skopje has been reconstructed to mirror the grandeur of times past, with ornate neoclassical buildings, towering marble statues, and dignified museums.
Get lost in the winding streets, museums, markets, and mosques of Old Town Carsija. Then, order a famous kebab from Destan, and make your way to the National Gallery of Macedonia to gander over the unique placement of an art gallery inside an ancient Turkish bathhouse.
🏞 Day 4-6: Lake Ohrid, North Macedonia
On day 4, take a 3.5-hour bus ride to Lake Ohrid, one of the oldest lakes in Europe (around 3 million years) and one of the most ancient human settlements on the continent. Here, you’ll find a mix of cultural sites and prehistoric, naturally-occurring flora and fauna.
Then, admire impressive views from the 11th-century Samuel’s Fortress, and marvel over the recovered Bronze and Iron Age artifacts at the Bay of Bones Museum. Looking for a different perspective? Spend a day on the water and voyage across Lake Ohrid by boat.
🌳 Day 7-10: Tirana + Berat, Albania
On day 7, take a 2.5-hour bus to Tirana in Albania. This once greyscale capital city now hosts buzzing nightlife and incredible local hospitality. Explore its beautiful parks, electric social scene, and historical sites, such as the stunning Et’hem Bej Mosque and unique Piramida.
On day 10, take a day trip from Tirana to Berat. This UNESCO city is characterized by steep hillsides covered in white stone houses and offers a unique perspective into the Ottoman past. Shop in the medieval bazaar, explore the inhabited Berat Castle, and taste some wine from the nearby wineries.
🏛 Day 11-14: Athens, Greece
On day 11, take a 1.5-hour flight to the Greek capital of Athens, home to some of the most recognized history in the world. Known for the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and the site of the first Olympic Games, it is the perfect first stop to get familiar with Greek culture and cuisine.
Head to the bustling neighborhood of Monastiraki for shops, restaurants, flea markets, and famous historical sites like the Roman Forum and Hadrian’s Library. Of course, be sure to wander through the iconic Acropolis ruins and to sample some authentic Greek gyro.
🌅 Day 15-18: Santorini, Greece
On day 15, take a 2.5-hour flight to Santorini and experience the best of the Greek islands. Prepare for the incredible sights of white buildings with blue-domed roofs, dreamy ocean views, and quaint cobbled alleys in this serene Mediterranean paradise.
There are plenty of unique things to do in Santorini. Stroll the Red Beach — imagine red cliffs met with shimmering blue water; a truly unique sight. Book a sunset dinner in Oia with romantic sea views, watch a film at the Open Air Cinema Kamari, and enjoy wine tasting at the beautiful Venetsanos Winery.
🎉 Day 19-21: Mykonos, Greece
On day 19, take a 2-3 hour ferry from Santorini to Mykonos. This famous Greek island is known for some of the best nightlife in Europe and quaint picturesque villages along the seafront. Take a trip to Paradise Beach to enjoy the white sand beaches met by turquoise waters.
Don’t miss the picturesque Mykonos Town (Chora). Characterized by windmills, pedestrian-only streets, and rustic taverns along the water’s edge, this town is also where the biggest bars and clubs are. Once you’re done exploring, you can fly home from Mykonos Airport.
☀️ When to do this itinerary: In May, June, September, and October to enjoy warm weather and to avoid the tourist crowds of July and August, especially at the beaches.
15. CZECHIA + AUSTRIA + SLOVAKIA + HUNGARY: Central Europe Hidden Gems
Want to explore popular and underrated areas of Europe? Get an enriching introduction to Central Europe’s hidden gems. Journey through destinations packed with UNESCO Heritage wonders, culinary delights, timeless architecture, and breathtaking landscapes.
- Day 1-4: Prague, Czech Republic
- Day 5-7: Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
- Day 8-11: Vienna, Austria
- Day 12: Bratislava, Slovakia
- Day 13-16: Bojnice Castle + High Tatras, Slovakia
- Day 17-21: Budapest, Hungary
🍺 Day 1-4: Prague, Czech Republic
Kick off your trip by flying into Prague, the medieval Czech capital. Start your visit by admiring Gothic and Renaissance architecture inside the 9th-century Prague Castle. Then, take a stroll on the scenic Charles Bridge; head back there at sunrise for some real magic.
Don’t miss Prague’s iconic 600-year-old Astronomical Clock (which still operates today). For stunning views of the city, head to Terasa U Prince or climb up the tower of St. Vitus Cathedral. Don’t leave town without trying a unique glass of beer ice cream at U Medvidku!
🎨 Day 5-7: Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
On day 5, take a 2.5-hour bus ride to the fairytale town of Český Krumlov. This Czech hidden gem is covered with colorful medieval buildings and bohemian street art. Start your visit by roaming the atmospheric Old Town, where you’ll find several art galleries and museums.
Don’t miss the Castle Tower, which offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Want a different perspective? Float down the Vltava River on a historical wooden raft while admiring gorgeous views of the Old Town. To learn about local culture, head to the Regional Museum.
🎻 Day 8-11: Vienna, Austria
On day 8, take a 3.5-hour bus to the marvelous Austrian capital of Vienna, which seamlessly blends natural beauty with metropolitan life. Start your visit by touring the beautiful Imperial rooms and gardens of Schönbrunn Palace, the most important historical landmark in town.
Head to MuseumsQuartier for a vast selection of world-class museums, such as the Natural History Museum. Escape the city crowds at the enchanting Vienna Woods, where you can bike or hike. For a slice of culture, catch an opera or ballet at the splendid Vienna State Opera.
🏰 Day 12: Bratislava, Slovakia
On day 12, take a 1-hour train ride to Bratislava, the charming capital of Slovakia. One day is enough to explore this small laid-back town. Be sure to admire the Art Nouveau architecture of the unique Blue Church, and indulge your inner history buff at the Bratislava Castle.
Soak up the lively atmosphere of the Main Square, which is home to the Old Town Hall — be sure to climb up to its clock tower for a panoramic view. Finally, don’t miss the bizarre UFO Bridge, which has an Observation Deck that offers more incredible views of the city.
🏞 Day 13-16: Bojnice Castle + High Tatras, Slovakia
On day 13, take a 3-hour train to the breathtaking Bojnice Castle, a true hidden gem. Admire its remarkable facade and enjoy a picnic in the stunning castle park. Don’t miss the nearby village of Čičmany, characterized by its iconic black timber houses and traditional folk art.
On day 14, take a 3-hour train from Čičmany to Poprad, a city at the foot of the stunning High Tatras Mountains. Spend the next few days in the mountains hiking (Zelené Pleso and Mount Rysy are great trails), skiing, and relaxing at the gorgeous spa of the Grand Hotel Kempinski.
🛀 Day 17-21: Budapest, Hungary
On day 17, take a 5.5-hour bus ride from Poprad to Budapest, the captivating capital of Hungary. Spend the last days of your trip exploring this city’s enriching history and culture. Head to the magnificent lookout towers of Fisherman’s Bastion for a fairytale scenery.
Then, admire the remarkable architecture of the Hungarian Parliament Building, and take a scenic cruise down the Danube River to see the city from a different perspective. Enjoy eclectic nightlife in the Pest district, and don’t forget to treat yourself to a relaxing treatment at Szechenyi Thermal Bath.
☀️ When to do this itinerary: In May or June, when the weather is warm and flowers bloom across the region’s stunning landscapes. September is also enjoyable.
🌸 Europe Trip 3 Weeks: Final Thoughts
I hope this guide has given you inspiration and helped you plan a trip to Europe for 3 weeks. If you’re curious to discover more dream destinations on this continent, don’t miss the best hidden gems in Europe, which include secret spots you’ve probably never heard of before.
If you’re planning to visit this continent in the winter, don’t forget that there are plenty of beautiful warm places in Europe in January as well.