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2 Weeks - Where to go in Europe? What to do?


My husband and I are planning our third trip to Europe. We're in our late 20s. Our timing is pretty flexible, but we anticipate having about two weeks (give or take a few days). We will be flying from DC and are open to having an open-jaw flight. We are targeting early-mid April for our trip and we don't mind cold. We have no real foreign language skills (I speak Chinese but that won't help us in Europe).

Our first trip was to London and Paris for a whirlwind week. Our second trip was a full week in Florence. We loved both trips for different reasons. We're not sure if we should explore a new area or try London or Paris (or both) again since there were lots of things we didn't get to do. Our favorite things so far about the places we visited have been: the city walks in the Rick Steve's books; local food (especially inexpensive, non-English speaking places); art museums.

My current ideas are: Venice (2 days) + Rome (rest of time); Munich + Bern + Milan + Venice; Amsterdam + Paris; London + English countryside (although weather may be an issue in the UK).

One last thing: although we are not currently expecting a child, we may be by the travel dates. However, we would still like to travel (with necessary precautions).

Any suggestions for places to visit? How would you recommend breaking up the days?

Posted by
1834 posts

There's really no reason to recommend one of your itineraries over another (other than, as you say, weather considerations in April -- I agree that enjoying the English countryside would be better saved for a trip in a warmer season).

If you do Venice and Rome for two weeks, I'd suggest increasing Venice to 4 nights; that still gives you 9 or 10 nights in Rome. And if you wanted to stop in Milan in between, you could do that; or you could add the Amalfi Coast.

Since you've already been to Paris, if you opt for Amsterdam and Paris, I think you are best qualified to decide how many days you want to spend in Paris. Then you might decide to add a few nights in Belgium (Antwerp, Ghent, or Bruges) in between.

I can't comment on your Munich-to-Venice itinerary, because I haven't been to Bern or Milan. But alternatives in an itinerary that starts in Munich and ends in Venice are

  • Salzburg and Innsbruck
  • Zurich and Lucerne

You've got some good options, so it's really more a matter of picking one. I go through this challenge of deciding where to go next every time I travel. It's hard to choose, but it's fun.

Posted by
7175 posts

You seem keen on Venice, so I think it is a must. I think you can combine some of your ideas above.
Amsterdam (3 nts) >> Paris (4 nts) >> Bern (2 nts) >> Milan (2 nts) >> Venice (3 nts)

Best travel times by train ...
Amsterdam >> Paris - 3hr 18min
Paris >> Bern - 4hr 04min (change in Basel)
Bern >> Milan - 3hr 03min
Milan >> Venice - 2hr 23min

Posted by
15679 posts

Since Venice is high on your list - and my favorite city after Paris, start there! It's a great place to relax and soak up the atmosphere riding the vaporetto along the Grand Canal and gliding across the lagoon for a stroll on Burano. Get a little lost wandering the small canals, and make frequent stops for gelato, vino and cappuccino. After you're caught up on sleep and not so jetlagged, spend 2 days sightseeing, then fly to . . . . choose from nearby airports - Venice, Bologna, Verona . . . go to the wiki page for each airport to see a list of airlines and destinations available.

April is a wonderful time to see southern Europe, while weather in the northern regions is still likely to be cold, wet and a little dreary. I have never seen an abundance of wildflowers anywhere like I saw in Sicily last April, while visiting Greek temples, Byzantine churches, a Roman villa with stunning mosaics, and tons more. Great if you are prepared to drive (not difficult). Andalusia is wonderful in spring (I started in Venice, then a night in Ferrara for a flight from Bologna to Seville), combine it with Madrid's superb art museums, and maybe even Barcelona. They are all well-connected by high-speed train.

While there are fewer English speakers in Spain and Sicily than most of Western Europe, I had no trouble on my own there without knowing more than a few polite phrases in Spanish or Italian. Added attraction - both are relatively cheap destinations with great, inexpensive food and good wine (for hubby, at least).

Posted by
6797 posts

"My current ideas are: Venice (2 days) + Rome (rest of time); Munich + Bern + Milan + Venice; Amsterdam + Paris; London + English countryside"

I'd do the 3rd option... return to Paris for a few days... then something new... + Amsterdam for a few days + Cologne and the Middle Rhine Valley in Germany for a few days. That's a nice triangle with lots of variety and only about 3 hours (by train) in between all the points. Fly into whichever has the most appealing flight and price.

Posted by
8238 posts

For young adults, go where the Bohemians are:
Budapest--Vienna--Prague Then fly Prague to Amsterdam on EasyJet cheap and fast.
I'm talking fabulous cities. And the weather's just fine that time of the year.
Amsterdam's a great city to fly home from too.

Posted by
4637 posts

The most Bohemians are in Prague. Prague is not only capital of the Czech Republic but also of Bohemia which is western part of C.R. Eastern part is Moravia, capital is Brno.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for all the responses. We're still trying to figure out what we want to do - mostly because we're still getting over a trip to China from two weeks ago. (Which was a great trip, but it's amazing how canceled flights and crazy airports will dampen the desire to fly .... temporarily.)

We're now thinking Venice(4 days) + Rome OR Amsterdam+Belgium+Paris and saving the other options for another time.

Posted by
14580 posts

"O, to be in England, now that April is there."...