The Best Ways to Travel Europe for a Multi-Destination Vacation

Hop from the Balearic Islands of Spain to the Swiss Alps with this guide.
The Best Ways to Travel Across Europe
Photo: Chris Hellier / Getty Images
Ariel Taranski
Ariel Taranski
Ariel Taranski
Ariel Taranski
The Knot Contributor
  • Ariel writes on a variety of wedding-related topics for The Knot.
  • She has previously worked for Southern Bride Magazine, Miss Design Berry and other woman-owned wedding brands.
  • She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Memphis.
Updated Feb 06, 2024
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If you live in America, a two-hour drive to another state is perfectly feasible. Interestingly enough, Europeans have adopted this mentality for travel from, say, France to Switzerland. Of course, there's more than one best way to travel Europe considering locals and visitors can rely on planes, trains and automobiles (ferries too). It's remarkably easy to hop between countries to explore unbelievable landmarks and historic cities.

With so many romantic cities and exciting spots made for a honeymoon, a European vacation where you experience slow travel (truly getting to know one country or locale over many) is one of our travel trends. So, let's take a look at some unique and unforgettable journeys you can take on your trek across Europe.

The Best Way to Travel Europe

Manarola, Cinque Terre in northern Italy
Photo: Julia Lavrinenko / Getty Images

While only certain train routes are available in the US, Europe has a streamlined rail system, often with beautiful views along the way. Trains are a favorite way to travel for tourists and locals alike because of their convenience, affordability and accessibility. You can book scenic train tours with luxury accommodations, or hop on a last-minute train ride between cities (sometimes, with complimentary views). Psst: believe us when we say many routes are well worth the views, especially if you're planning to visit coastal treasures like Cinque Terre in Italy or the French Riviera.

Easy (and Fun) Ways to Get Around Europe

Sunset over Vis, Croatia
Photo: Anton Petrus / Getty Images

There are plenty of fun ways to get across Europe, and it's all about maximizing your time and seeing as many things as you can.

Europe by Bus

One way to do this is by bus, but beware that some services aren't always reliable in certain countries. You'll want to do your own research and diligently review various services. The editor of this piece once heard a honeymoon horror story of a couple, stranded on the Amalfi Coast, for eight hours after their bus back to Rome chose not to show up.

Europe by Car Rentals

The other way to get around is by car. Some couples will do this by hiring a transportation service to get them around, while others will want to do the driving on their own. Major car rental services (including Hertz, Avis and others) are all available at most major European airports and destination hubs. It's also a preferred mode of slow travel as you're on your own timeline. When you rent your own car, you can make as many detours to cute shops and underrated stops as you'd like.

Europe by Ferry or Boat

Often, what most visitors don't realize is the ferry system is carved out beautifully across some European destinations. In particular, couples will find it favorable to take the ferry across the Cycladic Islands in Greece or across other frequented Mediterranean hot spots. In fact, couples will be thrilled to know that there's even an overnight ferry (complete with sleeping cabins) for the long voyage from Athens to Crete. That said, sometimes due to rough waters, there might be delays or even a bumpy voyage along the way. In the event you prefer to travel on your own, couples can also travel by river cruises or even opt to sail through Croatia on a catamaran.

Europe by Other Modes of Transportation

Depending on the location or destination, some cities also offer Ubers and easy-to-call taxi services depending on the locale. If you're feeling daring, you can also rent a Vespa around cities to really take in the European experience.

Best Routes/Itineraries to See Europe

Honeymoon at sunset over Franciacorta, Italy
Photo: Michele Rossetti / Getty Images

With how varied Europe is from one country to the next, it's all about deciding what are must-sees on your journey. Love wine and good food? Then consider a wine tour around France and Italy. Or maybe you're more into adventure and nature? Then, take a tour of the Alps from country to country. Here are some routes we recommend for creating a memorable vacation that's unlike any other.

The Nordic Getaway

Explore the Nordic countries for breathtaking views and a chance to see the Northern Lights when you book this getaway. First stop is in Reykjavik, Iceland, where we recommend a spa day at their lagoons and then a whale-watching excursion. From there, fly to Copenhagen, Denmark, to see the King's Garden and stroll around colorful Nyhavn. Then, you'll take a train to Stockholm, Sweden, which will provide you with stunning views on the way. Once you're in the city, you've got to visit the ABBA Museum and The Royal Palace and then eat a layer cake. Then, take the overnight ferry to Helsinki, Finland, for views of innovative architecture, the water and gorgeous cathedrals.

The Romantic Cities Tour

Take a tour of the most romantic places in Europe when you visit these cities. The first stop is the Dutch capital and the third most romantic city: Amsterdam, a spot with more canals than Venice and some seriously jaw-dropping tulip fields. From Amsterdam, you can take a bullet train to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and other historic sites that this City of Love is known for. Once you've had your fill of French cuisine, you can take an overnight train to Rome to make a wish at the Trevi Fountain and take a carriage ride through the city. Then, you can fly to Zurich from Rome to enjoy a cruise down the Limmat and indulge in Swiss chocolate.

The Central Europe Tour

See central Europe like never before on this exciting journey. Travel from Munich to Venice on the Brenner Railway, a scenic route through Germany, Austria and Italy that offers incredible views of the Alps and vineyards. In Venice, take a ride through the canals and have a lunch of Baccalà Mantecato and some Venetian red wines. From Venice, you can fly to Cologne to visit the Lindt Chocolate Museum and the Zoological Garden. A train from Cologne to Brussels means even more indulgent chocolate, along with a visit to the Grand Palace before trying some moules-frites.

From the French Riviera to Tuscany

Explore the French Riviera before taking a trip to Tuscany with this unique journey. Take the Baroque Royal Route in Nice to journey through the Alps for a day before strolling down Promenade des Anglais and enjoying some French street food. Then, you can hop on a bus to Monaco for some fun at the casinos and a visit to the Princess Grace Japanese Garden. Enjoy an overnight train ride to Florence, Italy, for some pasta before taking in a view of the city from Piazzale Michelangelo. Rent a car for a day or two to journey to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower and Piazza del Duomo. (Editor's Tip: If you plan to travel from Nice across the French Riviera, a train is well-recommended option as the views of the Cote d'Azure are hard to beat, especially when you're reclining with a book.)

The Iberian Adventure

Explore just about every major city in Spain and Portugal when you take advantage of their train stops. The storied Eurail (European rail) can take you to Granada, Lisbon and other coastal spots for an unforgettable trip. Consider enjoying fresh seafood and museums in Vigo, Spain, or the medieval district in Porto, Portugal, during your excursions. You can also learn flamenco dancing in Seville or just relax on the sandy beaches of Faro.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Europe Trip

Highway through Ontinyent, Valencia in Spain
Photo: Jose A. Bernat Bacete / Getty Images

Whether this is your first or fiftieth time in Europe, there's no doubt you want to make the most of this holiday. We've got some tips to ensure you're traveling smart during your Europe trip.

Plan Ahead for Must-See Stops

Even if you're someone who likes to fly by the seat of your pants, knowing what you want to get out of this trip is key. Jot down some places you've always wanted to visit, like seeing the Mona Lisa in person at the Louvre or checking out Roman ruins. This can help plan your itinerary while still leaving room for you to be spontaneous. Companies like Go Ahead Tours can even do the planning for you so you can enjoy your trip without any stress.

Check for Deals

Many booking sites, like, Expedia or TripAdvisor, can save you big during your travels. You can even try other accommodations outside of typical hotels to make your trip unique, like with Airbnb, Vrbo or Marriott Homes & Villas. Signing up for travel deals from airlines and even taking advantage of credit card points can be just what you need to afford a once-in-a-lifetime trip like this, so you can spend more money on souvenirs and experiences.

Utilize Public Transportation

Nothing beats European public transportation, and it can help you save while you're traveling. Check out public transportation passes for trains, buses and metro railways so you can hop on whenever you want, especially if you feel like making a last-minute trip to a special landmark or event. And depending on how long your stay is, these can be a cost-effective purchase for your whole getaway.

Pack Smart

Always make sure to have enough money on you, and keep photocopies of your passport in case of emergency. Pack light so you're not lugging around a ton of baggage during your trip, and consider functional luggage, like Béis or Samsara, that can make your whole experience even easier. Some staple pieces can really take you far during your journey while leaving you enough room in your suitcase to bring back souvenirs.

To plan your special trip, find a travel specialist who can make your vacation truly unforgettable.

–Esther Lee contributed to the reporting of this article.

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