Five Two-City Options for a perfect week-long European vacation — Letter to Sons

Doug Keating
5 min readApr 2, 2024


Congratulations, you’re going to Europe for the first time in 2024. The even better news is that you have an entire week of vacation to use for your trip. Today, I will share five two-city options for a perfect week-long European vacation. You will not be disappointed with any of these options.

Who should read this blog or watch the video?

I’m designing this content for North Americans who want to spend five to seven days in Europe. Each option will include a city in Northern Europe and another in Southern Europe. If you already live in Europe, or it’s easy to get there, I doubt this content will be helpful.

The criteria used to create this list

  1. I have visited all of these cities within the past decade. I don’t want to put out stale content.
  2. Each city must have a major airport. You’re likely going to have to fly between these cities.
  3. Each city must be easy to get to from the US.

Sample schedule for a week-long trip to Europe

Let me start with a sample schedule (shown below) of how you could spend the week visiting these two cities. You will fly out Friday night from the States. Get to City 1 on Saturday. You’re going to stay there for three days. While there you will take a day trip. Next, you will travel to City 2. Once again, you will remain there for three days and take a day trip. Saturday, you’re flying back to the States. Sunday, You’ll recover, sort through all your pictures, and wish you had stayed longer. You can easily modify this schedule as much as needed. I followed this plan for previous trips, and it worked well.

Week-long European Vacation Option #1 — Rome and London

For each option I will not go into great detail about the individual cities. I have separate videos them. Instead I will talk about the combination and who this might work well. Option 1 is Rome and London. If you love history this trip is perfect for you. It is also an excellent for a first trip to Europe.

Option #2 — Paris and Barcelona

If you love amazing architecture and worldclass art both these cities are in your wheelhouse. Paris and Barcelona are picturesque and best enjoyed strolling around taking it all in.

Option #3 — Munich and Amsterdam

This option is perfect for travelers who are looking to have a good time in Europe. You’ve got the beer halls and beer gardens in Munich and the cafes and coffee houses in Amsterdam. If you visit these two cities and don’t have a good time there’s probably something wrong with you.

Week-long European Vacation Option #4 — Edinburgh and Lisbon

If you want to experience all four seasons during your European vacation, then this option is for you. Spend a few days in Edinburgh. You’re likely to get rained on. Meanwhile, Lisbon Portugal is one of the sunniest capital cities in all of Europe.

Option #5 — Madrid and Dublin

Madrid and Dublin may seem like an odd pairing. I think this would be a fantastic trip. You can enjoy the Guinness in Dublin and the tapas in Madrid, a hedonistic delight.

One thing you may not like about these options

Let’s shift gears and talk about one thing you may not like regarding these options and that is flying. For all of these I would recommend flying between the cities. It will likely be the most efficient way to get from city 1 to City 2. Having said that if you hate flying you may prefer to stay either in the North or the South for the duration of your week-long vacation. Let’s face it though you survived a plane trip to Europe flights already. Flying inside Europe are cheaper and shorter.

Do not take connecting flights during your week-long vacation

Let’s talk about one thing you are not going to do as part of your trip and that is connecting flights when flying within Europe. Definitely fly direct between the two cities even if it means taking a budget carrier.

Five ideas for day trips

Let me finish this blog by listing some ideas for day trips from these places.

  1. Rome — Florence. The train trip is less than two hours.
  2. Barcelona — Tarragona is a wonderful beach town south of Barcelona.
  3. Munich — Salzburg is easy to get to by train.
  4. Edinbrugh — Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland.
  5. Madrid — Toledo is the historical capital of Spain.

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

Originally published at on April 2, 2024.



Doug Keating

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