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3 Month Western Europe Itinerary

Hi, everybody! Originally as you might recall I was going to go backpacking through Western Europe with my boyfriend next summer. However, I decided to push my trip back a year to 2010 so we could go after graduation and stay twice as long! I've really appreciated your help in the past and have tried to take all previous advice into consideration. So, without further adieu, here it is:

Mid / late May: Fly to Lisbon
Lisbon (4 nights) - 1 jet lag day, day trip to Sintra
Lagos (3 nights) - Day trip to Ponta da Piedade
Seville (2 nights)
Granada (2 nights) - Day trip to the Alhambra
Madrid (4 nights) - Day trips to Toledo and Segovia
Barcelona (2 nights)
Montpelier (2 nights) - ** Suggestions here? I need a little town in France to visit in-between Barcelona and the Riviera to break up the long train ride
Nice (3 nights) - Day trip to Monaco
Cinque Terre - Monterosso (3 nights)
Florence (4 nights) - Day trips to Pisa, Lucca, Siena
Rome (5 nights) - Day trip to Pompeii
Venice (3 nights)
Gimmelwald / Swiss Alps (5 nights)
Salzburg (3 nights)
Hallstatt (2 nights)
Vienna (4 nights) - Day trip to Melk / Danube Region
Munich (4 nights) - Day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle
Rothenburg ob der Tauber (1 night)
Bacharach / Rhine Valley (3 nights) - Day trips to castles
Amsterdam (3 nights)
Bruges (3 nights) - Day trip to Damme
Paris (4 nights) - Day trip to Versailles or Giverny
London (5 nights) - Day trip to Windsor
Bath (2 nights) - Day trip to Stonehenge / Avebury / Cotswolds
York (2 nights)
Edinburgh (2 nights) - In-between 3 day / 2 night Loch Ness, Scottish Highlands, and Isle of Skye bus tour
Ireland (2 weeks) - Dublin, Kilkenny, Kinsale, Kenmare, Dingle, Galway, among others - we will rent a car here
Early / mid August: Fly out of Dublin

= ~ 96 days, 12 countries


Posted by
68 posts


Money and time should not be a problem in case some cities need to be added, elongated or removed.

This will not be either of our first trips to Europe (he's traveled extensively in Ireland and Great Britain, and I would have spent 4 months in France studying abroad), but it will be our first visits to many of the countries on the itinerary.

My boyfriend's main interests are Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Ireland whereas mine are France, Germany, Austria, and England, so I've tried to include as much as possible within each of those countries without sacrificing time in the others.

Our goals are to get a taste (or hopefully a larger portion) of the majority of the countries in Western Europe so we'll know what to come back to the next time we visit.

I've tried to include a nice mixture of relaxing and low sight-seeing towns as well as big, activity-filled cities in order to maximize our experience and not get too overwhelmed.

I have also calculated travel times between each of the cities (we will be using trains and buses as our main modes of transportation) and have made sure that I have nothing major planned on any of the arrival days in order to get checked into lodging and to get our feet wet in each town.
Okay, I think that about covers it! Thanks in advance for your help!

Posted by
13 posts

Hey caroline,

I havent gone backpacking yet, so I cant really comment on your itinerary, though at first glance it looks pretty good.

However I can recommend a site called that will probably help you a lot more than this site. They have a forum as well, and the people are really helpful. Not that I have anything against this forum, it's really good for info about sites and stuff, but most of the people here have higher budgets than you and I probably have. Plus you'll get better help figuring our your itinerary and stuff !!

Anyways, just a suggestion.

Posted by
68 posts

Jenufa - Thanks for your reply! Oh trust me, he's not complaining. The original trip was only for 1 month, and who can get upset at 2 extra months in Europe! Plus it gives us an extra year to save up some more money.

Posted by
2091 posts

Caroline, this looks like a great trip and you logically have included travel time. Since you'll be in the EU longer than 90 days, have you looked into getting a visa? To me it seems like a bit of a hassle for just 6 extra days, but I definitely understand wanting to stay every minute possible and to not cut anything out of a trip.

For a town in France to visit in-between Barcelona and the French Riviera, I would suggest Arles or Avignon.
I would add more days to Florence if I wanted to do so many day trips; there's so much to see right in Florence. Siena is good for a couple of nights even. With a trip like this I also would fit in Orvieto and Civita. Just some ideas for you to think about. Enjoy your planning and dreaming!

Posted by
4132 posts

What a great trip! The longest I've ever taken was five weeks.

My only general comment is that with all that time, you don't stay in any one place for very long. Your pace is hardly killing, but three months gives you the luxury of spending a whole week in one place, kicking back a little and getting to know the neighborhood. That's not something most travelers get to do.

A week that is Sunday-to-Saturday also might let you rent an apartment or other place with a kitchen and other amenities. Also it would vary the rhythm of your trip.

Aside from that, I have only a few specific suggestions, for whatever they are worth. First, in Granada if you can, consider a night visit to the Alhambra as well as by day. You only get to see the Nasrim Palace at night, but it is really magical.

Second, you are spending 3 days in Nice and none in Provence. Have you been there before? If not I'd stop in Nimes or Arles rather than Montpelier (which I am sure is also a charming town), and perhaps spend a few days.

Posted by
68 posts

Thank you all for your suggestions!

Nickol - Thank you for the advice about the site! I'll definitely check it out.

Darcy - I've looked into the Schengen Agreement and although I will be in Europe for 90+ days, the last 30 or so will be in the UK and Ireland, which are not part of the Schengen countries. So I shouldn't be in danger of overstaying my tourist visa. But just in case I'll speak with my trip advisor at school and see what he recommends. Better safe than sorry!

Thank you for your Provence suggestions; I'll have to do some research and see which towns have the most efficient train connections with Spain. As for Florence, I have roughly 2 1/2 days in the city as I will be visiting Pisa and Lucca on the way to Florence from the Cinque Terre. However, I'll think about adding an extra day as well as visiting the other cities you mentioned as well!

Posted by
68 posts

Adam - I'm considering adding a few open travel days in case I want to stay an extra day or two in a particular city or stumble upon a place that I fall in love with. That way I'll have 4-5 days of cushion before my flight home that I can use as I see fit during my travels. Since I'm considering taking a year off before grad school and I'm not in a big hurry to begin my life in the real world, so to speak, I'll luckily have the luxury of time on my side!

As for visiting the Alhambra during both times of day, I'm definitely planning on doing that with all major attractions as well. I'm a hobby photographer who wants to get all the great night and day shots!

During the Fall Semester before my trip, I will be studying in Pau, France which is at the foot of the Pyrenees. I will definitely be doing some extensive traveling through the southern part of France during the weekends, so I expect I will become familiar with the Provence region. I guess it'll come down to which town I enjoyed the most (or didn't get to see during the semester), and that will be the one that I visit in-between Spain and the Riviera. Thank you for the suggestions!

Posted by
286 posts

No worries about the 90 day Schengen rules because the UK and Ireland are not signed up to it.

He must be one extra special boyfriend to postpone your trip.

Itinerary looks good.

Posted by
1 posts

Hi Caroline! I know that you made your trip in '08, but I'm wondering how much you budgeted for your 3 month eurotrip. I have a pretty similar itinerary, so I'd love to know how much you brought with you so that I can have some insight into whether or not I have enough (I'm planning on about 4500 USD) to do the same. Thanks!