I am always shocked to see that my Two Weeks in Europe Itinerary is still such a hit. It’s probably one of my top posts and that makes me excited because I LOVE EUROPE and I know you will too. It’s an entire continent and there’s so much to see. Too much in one brief trip, so from time to time when I stop there, I’m going to drop my itinerary and let you have some fun with it. Without further ado, here’s my sample itinerary for one week in Europe.
My first European itinerary was uber Euro with places like London and Amsterdam. This time I wanted to stay west and I believe everybody should see both Portugal and Spain:
Flight: For the first time ever I got to book a flight with points! Unfortunately it turned out to be at the same time everyone else was able to book a similar flight for around $300. But I got to keep my $300 in my pockets and use about 64,000 miles to book a JFK->LIS->MAD->JFK flight. According to Chase that flight was worth $800+, but if I could’ve been more flexible (or didn’t mind waiting around hoping for a cheap flight) I could’ve snatched up the flight sale that came around months later. I liked having the peace of mind and freedom knowing my two city itinerary was taken care of.
Lodging: I went with both an airbnb and a hostel this go round. Both allowed me to be as central to everything as possible. In Lisbon my airbnb for 3 nights was $84. I repeat, $84. I was able to walk and meet everyone no matter where they were in the location I was in, which was also a short walk from a castle. Yes, a castle. When it came to Madrid I opted for a hostel simply because of the dope, minimalist decor. Oh and the rooftop bar/bar and seating area in the lobby were additional selling points. I tell everybody I booked this place just because of how it looked. Nobody’s house would’ve been as cool. Total cost for those 3 nights was about $75 usd but the good thing about booking hostels is that you can pay a small deposit online and the rest upon arrival.
Transportation: In Lisbon my only paid transportation was to and from the airport. I was overcharged for the short airport taxi before even thinking that I could’ve used uber. Not only was uber the preferred mode of transport for everyone that I met, it was actually cheaper than taxi’s. This was pre uber strike though and now I don’t even have the app anymore. When it came to Madrid a taxi from the airport would’ve been a flat 30 euros I believe, so I opted to take the train. It took three just to get to my hostel and I navigated the subway system like the badass I am, per usual. I know the entire ride was less than 10 euros so that beats 30 any day.
Food: It’s very easy to spend 20+ euros per meal and because I try to be frugal, I wouldn’t be surprised if people are spending 100 euros per day. Breakfast is usually cheaper and I try to get it at 10 euros or less no matter where I go. I’m a croissant and tea ind girl but I remember having a smoked salmon sandwich and tea one morning and it fit right into my budget. The only annoying thing was that I try to use a credit card when abroad and this place was cash only. I like to limit my atm uses to that one time when I leave the airport but everything worked out just fine. Although I like to eat locally, when I’m hungry in between meals, or late at night when I don’t want a full meal, you can catch me stopping at McDonalds for a happy meal or something.
Day 1-3: Lisboa, Portugal
I think Lisbon is the perfect starting point to visiting Portugal. For your first day you should already know I recommend doing a food tour. Here’s a great option. This is great if you’re into food or simply into eating like the locals, you’ll know what and where to eat. It’s also a great way to get a history crash course on the area.
Day 2 I recommend seeing both Sintra and Cascais in one day. They’re literally right next to each other and although I keep hearing that people think you need more than one day in Sintra, you don’t have that time. Honestly, having a great tour guide or stealing someones itinerary to navigate the city may be your best bet so you’ll hit the hot spots and be able to move onto Cascais in a reasonable amount of time. There’s no need to rush.
Day 3 hop on that train to Porto. Unfortunately I didn’t get to make it there as my days were jam packed, but when I return to Portugal I will definitely give it a visit. Take a walking tour, photograph the many bridges, head to museum, do literally anything…just do it in Porto.
Day 4-7: España
When it comes to Spain you can take your pick of places to go. Madrid, Barcelona, Ibiza, or another city that people rarely mention. In my opinion this isn’t the place to take too many day trips, but if you can manage a train trip to Seville or somewhere similar, then go for it. However, I’m sure you’ll want to spend your three full days in the city of your choice.
People found out I went to Madrid and kept saying I should’ve went to Barcelona or things of that nature. Thanks for the recommendation, but I actually loved Madrid. I would definitely return, but first I’d check out parts of Spain I’ve never been to first. I did a lot of walking around the city which usually adds to my love for it. A city being walkable and having beautiful, historical architecture usually takes the cake. My only activity while in Madrid was a food tour but don’t hesitate to take in a flamenco show or take a dance class. Or you could simply spend your entire time eating paella and calamari. Who am I to judge?
I really hope you consider making these two countries your Eurotrip or simply adding them to the itinerary if you have more time. I think when people talk about spending a week or two (or more) in Europe we rarely think about the western parts, and they are undoubtedly some of the most beautiful.