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Do you love to find hidden gems in traditional villages or historic towns? Then Europe is the perfect destination for your next trip. Planning your ideal Europe itinerary takes a lot of time, which is why I have provided you with five tips you ought to consider when planning.

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Tips to Planning Your Europe Itinerary

Which destination will you visit in Europe?

st peters basilica

Start by making a list of places you really want to see in Europe. Avoid the destinations your friends and family recommend which you have no interest in visiting. Just because someone liked it does not mean you will. Stick to your travel style and destination of interest.

Not only will you need to decide on places, but also where you will stay. What kind of accommodation would you like – a charming B&B, a local farmhouse, or a luxury hotel with lots of amenities and a great view?

What’s your timeframe?

Next, decide how many days you will need for the entire trip.   Add a day or two to the start and end of your trip to account for jet lag.

Plan the best route

europe travel planning route

Next, you can look at a map to determine the best routes to take. Focus on making this as efficient as possible to avoid backtracking.  Because of the lack of roads, this can sometimes become inevitable.

Flight & Airport planning

Before booking your flights, consider which airports suit your Europe itinerary best. Flying into one city and out of another may make perfect sense rather than booking a round-trip ticket. Also, this could be more cost-effective.

Check to see if there are smaller airports nearby that you can use to reach the city you want to visit. Also, transportation costs can be cheaper from the airport to the hotel. If you plan to rent a car, keep in mind that picking it up in one place and dropping it off in another location will add to the cost of your trip.

Getting around in Italy

renting a vespa in italy

In Europe, there are many ways to get around. By car, train, or flying. Driving in Italy can be a challenge along the Amalfi Coast with the curvy roads, finding a parking space, and maneuvering into a confined space.  

If you are traveling alone, rail travel between cities could be an option for you. Perhaps renting a Vespa would be a good idea or taking a half-day vintage Vespa tour with a guide.

Does your Europe itinerary include traveling with family in Italy? It may be easier to deal with crowds and parking by hiring a private driver.

Getting around in Portugal

In Portugal, the best options for transportation are renting a car or taking the train. If you plan on traveling by car, make sure to get a Via Verde transponder with your rental.

By taking the toll roads and using the transponder at the toll booths, you can get from Lisbon to Albufeira in about 2 ½ hours. Otherwise, on non-toll roads, it takes about 3 ½ hours.

Plan on taking the train

railway station Faro Portugal

Purchasing train tickets makes traveling in Portugal affordable to some locations like Sintra. You can take a train from Lisbon to Sintra to see the delightful Pena Palace for a few euros each. An additional reason to take the train is that parking at the palace can be difficult and time-consuming, especially during high-season.

Where to stay

Plan out how many days you should stay in each city.   Also, look at how long it takes to get from one place to another. In a city with many things to do, you should stay on location instead of staying outside the city limits.

Have you thought about parking?

You should confirm with your hotel that parking is included in your stay. What type of parking do they have? On-site, a nearby parking garage, parking on the road next to the hotel. All these factors add to the cost, frustration of finding parking, and the chance you might have to parallel park.

Local attractions

Vatican Italy

Check out each of the attractions you plan to visit in detail. Then take note of what days are they open or closed? During your stay, some attractions may be closed on specific days or depending on the season. Check for opening and closing times and jot these down.

Include in your Europe itinerary plans the entrance fees. Buying skip-the-line tickets VIP or hiring a private guide is highly recommended if you hate waiting as I do. These are especially useful in cities like Rome to visit the Colosseum, the Vatican, and the Sistine Chapel. Check availability for Vatican & Sistine Chapel tickets here.

It is impossible to visit all of Europe in a short period, let alone all the cities. I hope you found these tips helpful in your Europe travel planning. Let us know in the comments below!

Maybe you think planning your perfect Europe itinerary is too time-consuming or overwhelming. Imagine having it done for you. When you are ready, contact us to get started.