Five Small Countries in Europe that are perfect for a two-week-long vacation — Letter to Sons

Doug Keating
5 min readMay 2, 2024


Congratulations, you are going to Europe this year, 2024. The best news is that you have two weeks to spend there. In my last blog, I wrote about five large European countries perfect for a two-week vacation. This blog will focus on small European countries, which are also ideal for this type of trip.

Who should read this blog or watch the video?

I have designed this content specifically for anyone from North America who wants to spend two weeks in a small European country. In other words, you want to spend eight to fourteen days exploring a single European country.

The criteria used to create this list

  1. I have to have visited the country within the last decade. For example, Switzerland is not on the list, even though I love it. I haven’t been there in over a decade.
  2. The country cannot be a micro-country. Several European micro-countries, like Vatican City and Monaco, are worth visiting, but they’re not on this list.
  3. None of these countries can be in Europe’s top 10 largest countries.

Sample schedule for a two-week-long trip to Europe

Two weeks is a long vacation if you’re American like me. What should your schedule look like? Below is a sample schedule. In week one, you fly from America on Friday night and land in city number one on Saturday. You will spend three days there, including a day trip. Next, you will head to city number two. Once again, spend three days there. On that Friday, you’re going to travel to location number three. During week two, you will pick up the pace to see more of your chosen country. You will spend two days at locations three, four, and five. You will fly back on Friday and then take the weekend to recuperate. Why two days? You’ve been traveling for two weeks. You will be tuckered out. Give yourself a full weekend before going back to work. Recover from your jetlag on Saturday, and spend Sunday editing and posting all your pictures to make your friends jealous.

Small European Country #1 — Portugal

Portugal is listed as #1 because it is awesome. Kim and I took the kids there a few years ago and had a wonderful time in this picturesque country. It has a colorful coastline, beautiful beaches, savory seafood, and excellent sights to see. Portugal has surprisingly good infrastructure. If you’ve never been to Portugal, go. You will not regret it.

Option #2 — Austria

Austria is a beautiful country surrounded by the Alps. Vienna, Salzburg (Mozart’s hometown), and Innsbruck are the three most popular cities. Alpine villages like Hallstatt are scattered throughout the country. Austria is a good place to visit if you enjoy being outside and experiencing natural beauty.

Small European Country #3 — Belgium

This country doesn’t get a fair shake with many Americans. The best place to start a vacation in Belgium is the capital city, Brussels. It is wonderful. About an hour away is Brugge, one of the best medieval towns in Europe. Belgium is a beer lover’s paradise. Add to that waffles, chocolates, and mussels — oh my.

Option #4 — Ireland

Ireland is a popular destination for many Americans since getting to Dublin from the States is easy. It is famous for its beautiful green landscapes, wonderful sites, and, of course, Guinness. I have only been to Dublin, but I hope to explore more of the Emerald Isle soon.

Small European Country #5 — The Netherlands

Many Americans go to Amsterdam and stop there, which is a mistake. I highly recommend exploring the rest of this country. It is beautiful. Kim and I went there and spent a week. We had an easy time getting around exploring other cities besides Amsterdam and were pleasantly surprised by all the sights.

One thing you may not like about these options

Let’s shift gears and discuss one thing you may not like about spending two weeks in a small European country. You may get tired of the culture. A good example is pictured below. Food in the Netherlands is not the best. Pickled herring is fun to eat once, but I would not eat more of that. If you have children with you who do not like the country, you may be stuck in a bad situation. My main recommendation if you plan to commit to two weeks in a single small European country is to go there first for a shorter period to make sure you love it. You could pair any of these options with another country. Spend one week in one of these options and the other week in a different country.

Five small and large country combos for a two-week vacation

Here are five different combinations of a small and a large European country. Each of these countries is geographically next to each other, making getting between them easy.

I am Doug Keating, and this is my letter to my sons.

Originally published at on May 2, 2024.



Doug Keating

Leader and learner. husband and father. Novice blogger,, Founder of All The Way Leadership!