Five Two-City Options in Northern Europe for a week-long vacation

Doug Keating
5 min readApr 5, 2024


Congratulations — you’re going to Europe this year. Even better news: you have an entire week of vacation for the trip. I’ve identified cities perfect for a long weekend getaway to Europe in the last few blogs and videos. I will extend the time to a week and add another city. This blog will share five two-city northern European options perfect for a weeklong vacation.

Who should read this blog or watch the video?

I’ve designed this content specifically for North Americans planning to spend a week in Northern Europe. If Europe is easy for you to get to or you live there, I don’t think you’ll find this content helpful. The other thing I’ll say is if you’ve never been to Europe, the two-city option is an excellent way to get your feet wet.

The criteria used to create this list

  1. The two cities have to be generally close together. You don’t want to spend an entire day traveling from one city to another.
  2. I am defining northern Europe as Paris and anything north of it.
  3. These cities have to be relatively 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 wonder why you came back. You can easily modify this schedule as much as needed. I followed this plan for previous trips, and it worked well.

Northern Europe Option #1 — Paris and London

This trip is a fantastic fit for anyone who has never been to Europe. Both capital cities are fantastic. The other good news is that they are connected by High-Speed Rail, so getting between the two cities is easy.

Option #2 — Amsterdam and Paris

It is another perfect pairing of cities, especially if you are an art lover. Both cities have world-class museums. The train trip between them is about three and a half hours long.

Northern Europe Option #3 — Edinburgh and London

If you want to explore the UK, this is the perfect option. You can travel between these two cities by either rail, bus, or plane. I have heard the train ride across the UK is picturesque.

Option #4 — Brussels and Amsterdam

These two cities are close together, which makes getting between them easy. There are also many day trip options from both these cities. If you read to the end, I include some day ideas for all of these cities.

Northern Europe Option #5 — London and Brussels

This option is the most underrated one. It is another excellent choice if you have never been to Europe before. Some people are surprised to learn there is high-speed rail between these two cities.

Bonus Option — Dublin and Edinburgh

If you like to drink alcohol, this trip is perfect for you. Both these places are party towns. I don’t know what to tell you if you visit these two cities and do not have a good time. The downside is you must take a plane to get from one to the other.

One thing you may not like about these options — expensive

Visiting these capital cities can be expensive. Accommodations and restaurants can use up all your budget if you’re careless. My recommendation is to take the time to find a suitable hotel. Don’t blow too much money on meals unless you are a huge foodie.

You will not rent a car for any of these options

You do not need a car in any of these cities, nor do you need one to get between the two cities. Public transportation will work fine.

Five ideas for day trips from Northern European cities

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

  1. London — Windsor Castle, a nearby royal residence.
  2. Paris — Versailles Palace, the world-famous palace of Louis the XIV.
  3. Amsterdam — Haarlem is a beautiful small city nearby.
  4. Edinburgh — Scottish Highlands. Get out and explore the countryside.
  5. Brussels — Bruges, a medieval gem of a city.

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



Doug Keating

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