Despite growing up in Europe and traveling to a good number of European cities I’ve never really written much on touring Europe. So, I’ve decided to change that and to focus a little more on creating some handy guides to traveling in Europe. In this blog post I’m going to cover everything you need to know about how to plan a European tour.
Why tour Europe?
I think every traveler needs to visit Europe at least once in their life. There really is nowhere quite like it. The culture, the food, the landscape, and of course the history! Architecturally Europe is stunning. From quaint cottages in rural France to medieval castles in Vienna Europe is magical.
The biggest problem you are going to face when planning your European tour is where you are going to go. The continent is vast and if you are limited by time then you are going to have to plan your route carefully so you can ensure you are able to fit in as much as possible.
Do it yourself or guided European tour
This should be your first question before you go any further. Do you prefer to take a guided European tour? Or do you want to tour Europe alone? Each option has positives and negatives and what it is going to come down to is personal preference and of course budget.
Booking an organized tour takes the pressure and stress of planning your route and organizing hotels and transport as it is all done for you. You simply choose a European tour you like, pay a deposit and get packing. Yes, you will likely pay a little more money than if you booked it yourself. But you are paying for the convenience.
If you decide to plan and book everything yourself then I sugest you take a read of my planning guide to help get you started, all of my favorite planning resources you will find on this resources page. If you are a solo female traveler you can also read my book here.
What kind of European tour
When touring Europe there are so many different angles you could take. GOT fan? Then go crazy and plan out your own tour around as many of the filming locations as you can. Obsessed with castles? Pick the top 10 European castles and plan your trip around seeing them. Or maybe you want to do something a bit more physical like booking one of the many European hiking tours.
The beauty of touring Europe is it’s cheap and easy to get around. The best ways of traveling from city to city in Europe are the train, bus/ coach, self-drive (car or caravan), or bike (European biking tours are a great idea for cycle enthusiasts).
Important things to think about before deciding your European tour
Before you commit to anything there are a few important things you need to consider on your European vacation.
How much time do you have?
This really is going to be the thing that has the biggest impact. If you only have 7 days to tour Europe you are going to be seriously limited and might be better off just picking 1 or 2 countries that are close together. For example, in 7 days you might want to consider touring Germany and Belgium rather than trying to see 7 countries in 7 days!
The more time you have, the more you can see.
If you want to really see the best of Europe then a 21-day European tour would be ideal and you could really cover a lot of ground during that time.
What do you want to see
Once you have decided how much time you have it’s time to decide what you want to see in Europe. So take some time to make a list of the places you really want to see and put it into order. This could be more general, for example, listing the countries you want to see. Or you could list the landmarks you want to see or even experiences you want to have.
For example, if you are a foodie you might want to plan a culinary European tour:
- Eat pasta in Italy
- Drink wine in Bordeaux
- Eat chocolate in Switzerland
- Eat goulash in Hungary
The possibilities really are endless!
Budget or Luxury European tour?
Now you have decided how long to visit Europe for, and what you want to see an do there, it’s time to think about your budget for Europe. European cities aren’t cheap, especially the more popular and cosmopolitan ones like Paris and Rome so this could have a big impact on your trip.
In general, if you want your money to go further then consider spending more time in Eastern Europe and a bit less time in Western Europe. However, if you are planning on a luxury European tour then you can easily live the highlife in Milan, Barcelona, and Paris.
For many people, a European tour is a once in a lifetime trip, so it’s worth doing it properly. If you don’t have much time to spare (one month or less) I would strongly advise booking an organized tour so it will take the pressure off having to work out your own route and book everything.
If you have more time, say 3 months or more, book yourself a Eurail pass, pick your starting destination, and book your flight. There are so many amazing European itineraries you can find online you won’t be short on inspiration.
Wondering what to pack for Europe? Check out my ultimate packing guide here.