Want to travel to Europe, but only have 10 days? With this itinerary, you will get to see 4 European countries in as little as 10 days! Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Austria are all very close together, making it super easy to see them all.
This was my first trip abroad without my family, so I opted in for a tour with EF College Break. What was so nice about this tour was that it was all college students, so I made a ton of friends and we did things my age group would enjoy. On top of all that, it was extremely inexpensive for all that we got to see!
If you want to do a tour, I would definitely recommend looking into EF College Break. If you want to explore Europe on your own time, you can still do this itinerary by yourself.
For all the self-guided travelers out there… I have an epic (yes, EPIC) itinerary to France where you will get to see all the highlights. This itinerary is self-guided where you get to see Paris, the French Riviera, Provence, and go champagne tasting in Champagne! You can read my 10 day France itinerary here!
Okay, you ready to read this amazing 10 day Europe Itinerary?!
When to go to Europe?
This is a tricky question that will completely depend on the type of trip you want.
Want to see the alps covered in snow and eat fondue? Winter will be best!
Want to avoid crowds? Early spring and late fall will be best!
Want to enjoy prime weather and loads of events? Summer will be best!
I traveled to Europe in late May and it was absolutely beautiful. The crowds were minimal in comparison to the high seasons of June-August, and the weather was ranging from 60-80 degrees (depending on the country). The crowds in Europe hot-spots (especially Venice) will be unbearably crowded. Before you book during the prime summer months, just take that into consideration!
Tour v. No Tour?
I think it depends on your budget and if you are traveling with someone. I didn’t feel comfortable driving in Europe at 19 years old, so the only other way to see multiple countries would be to take trains or fly, which can add up quick!
I loved this tour group because it was all college age students, so I made friends from all over the world and we did a lot of excursions people my age group would do. Also, this tour company gave us SO much free time so even if the tour doesn’t see everything you want, you still have the time to see it.
Typically, I prefer to do self-guided travels because I can wake up as early as I want to see sights, mix and match what I want to see, eat when I want, etc. Of course there will be more stress planning your own trip abroad, but I think the benefit outweighs the cost!
What to Pack for Summer in Europe?
I keep a list of all my summer essentials and favorite finds on this guide here. I am constantly updated it after every warm destination – tried, true & tested! Also, I have a list of my 10 travel essentials I can’t live without, you can read those here!
As for specific things to pack for Europe, these are my top 3 must-have’s:
Yes, I know this is a very generic thing for a trip abroad, but this one is AMAZING. It is an all-in-one adapter that works on every country you will ever travel to. This is especially important with this itinerary because Switzerland doesn’t use the same plug as the rest of Europe! Click here for one that includes all of the USA, Europe, Australia and UK!
True story… I was so confused about adapters and converters that I decided to just not buy a converter lol. When I turned on my blow dryer in this little hotel in Switzerland, I shut down the ENTIRE hotel because it burnt the circuits!! If you don’t want to worry about a confusing converter, I would just buy a dual voltage curling iron / blow dryer. This will come in handy on any trip you will ever do! Click here for a dual voltage curling iron.
Guys, this is so important when you are bouncing around between multiple hotels. Packing cubes saved my LIFE when I did my 10 day France trip because I stayed in three different hotels. Here’s a free tip: Pack the clothes you want to wear in each city (AKA hotel), so that way you only need to take out that cube at that hotel. Most hotels in Europe are super tiny, so saving you room will be a total life saver! PLUS, when you are done wearing those dirty clothes, you can stick them back in the packing cube so they don’t touch your clean clothes! Click here for packing cubes!
BONUS: Anytime I travel to abroad, I always get travel insurance so I am covered during my trip. Europe is known for reckless driving and lots of protests, so you want to make sure you have insurance in case of an emergency. Confused on what travel insurance is? I have a lengthy guide that will explain it in great detail!
- Day 1: Overnight Flight
- Day 2: Munich Sight Seeing
- Day 3: Neuschwanstein Castle
- Day 4: Drive to Venice + Lunch in Austria
- Day 5: Explore Venice
- Day 6: Drive to Swizerland + lunch in Verona
- Day 7: Explore Switzerland + Mt. Pilatus
- Day 8: Drive to Frankfurt
- Day 9: Explore Frankfurt
- Day 10: Fly home! 🙁
10 Day Europe Itinerary
Day 1: Overnight Flight
Hopefully your flight won’t be as long as mine, but usually the entire first day is wasted traveling due to the time change + flight length.
Not being able to sleep on planes makes it feel extra long too. Is anyone else as dorky as me and get too excited to sleep before a vacation?
TIP: Bring Melatonin on your flight to help you sleep! It’s an all-natural vitamin that doesn’t make you feel groggy when you wake up. This also will help you sleep the first few nights you arrive.
Day 2: Arrive in Munich
We arrived at 7am in the morning.. yes. 7am. It was a rough first day because the time zone difference from Las Vegas was a whopping NINE HOURS. The entire day will be spent keeping yourself as busy as possible to fight that jet lag!
Spend your free day in Munich seeing street performers, watching surfing competitions at The Eisbachwelle, strolling through the cities English Garden, and enjoy lunch and German beer at the Hofbrauhaus!
As you can imagine, the Hofbrauhaus is extremely touristy and always busy! It is a HUGE restaurant, but you still might need to wait to be seated. If you do, just spend some time exploring the nearby shops to start your souvenir shopping early 🙂
End your first day in Germany with a Biergarten dinner at Zum Flaucher. There are SO many beirgartens in Germany that have outdoor seating, twinkly lights, picnic style seating and a relaxed atmosphere. Going to these for dinner was one of my favorite memories in Germany, so I would definitely make it a priority to go to one of them!
Day 3: Neuschwanstein Castle
By far my favorite day out of the entire trip! This castle is unbelievably breathtaking. The Neuschwanstein (say that ten times fast) Castle is located less than 2 hours from Munich in a town called Hohenschwangau (now say that 20 times fast). You can either drive if you have a rental car, or there is a train that will take you from Munich to the castle in 2.5 hours. Click here to look at train times and prices! Or if navigating the trains terrifies you, you can sign up for a day trip with a tour company, click here for tour options.
Everything about Hohenschwangau just screams Disneyland. The adorable German Cottages (that people actually live in, oh my gosh!), glistening blue lake, horse and carriage rides, and a real life sleeping beauty castle nestled up on the mountain. Look at the view of the town from above:
Seriously though, this castle is the real life inspiration of the Disney movie, Sleeping Beauty. When you either walk or take your horse carriage ride to the top, you can take a tour of the castle and walk along the bridge to the castle viewpoint. From the viewpoint you are hanging on a bridge over a river that looks right at the castle and valley behind it. I have no words to explain how beautiful this place was.
Like this photo? Edit like me using my one-click Lightroom Presets!
After your castle tour, rent a paddle boat and enjoy the rest of the day on the lake! You can rent these for fairly inexpensive on the lake, no reservation needed. If you’re going with your significant other, grab picnic items from a local store and have lunch on your private boat. Or if you don’t have a significant other, a bff date will do just fine!
If you’re not too jet-lagged, end your night going out to German clubs – which if your from Las Vegas like me, will find hilarious! They’re all like little disco bars where everyone is dancing the night away to old American music. Here are the tops clubs in Munich:
Day 4: Drive to Venice
There’s no sugar-coating that the drive from Munich to Venice is long and brutal. But, the scenery is out of this world and will make the 6 hour drive go by a lot faster! If you are not driving, there are direct trains that will take you from Munich to Venice at around 7 hours. Click here to search for train times!
If you are driving to Venice, that perfect pit-stop is Salzburg, Austria. You can see this colorful town filled with cobblestone streets, that is located along a river in the middle of the Austrian Alps! There are endless restaurants to choose from, so I would recommend walking around until you find somewhere that looks welcoming 🙂
We stayed in a small beach town outside of the actual island of Venice. I would highly recommend this because you get away from the touristy side of Venice to experience local restaurants and beaches. Doing this will make you feel like you are staying in an authentic Italian town with few tourists!
End your night indulging in pasta and pizza from the smallest hole in the wall you can find! And don’t forget about Italian gelato on the beach for dessert, because you’re in Italy! You’ve GOT TO have gelato everyday!
Day 5: Venice
The city that’s on everyone’s bucket list, Venice! I’ve dreamed about riding a gondola down the grand canal since, well, forever. Once you take the brief ferry ride to Venice island, you’ll take a tour of Saint Mark’s Basilica and the Murano Glass Museum before getting lost in the winding streets and canals of the city.
If you want to see more during your time in Venice, here are some recommendations:
- Sign up for a food tour
- See the colorful streets of Burano
- Take a private gondola ride through the smaller canals
- Have lunch on the Grand Canal at De Pesis!
- Take a day trip to Prosecco Hills for wine tasting
I spent the day just wandering the streets of Venice with no plan and it was amazing! I carelessly roamed the streets, ate WAY too much food, took a gondola ride (or two), got gelato from every shop I saw, & got too many souvenirs!
TIP: Dress appropriately for the churches or else you’ll be forced to buy paper ponchos and skirts to wear inside. You need to cover your shoulders and wear and appropriate length bottom to enter.
Day 6: Drive to Switzerland
Another long drive, but it doesn’t count as a drive when you are winding through the Swiss Alps. The drive from Venice to Lucerne is a little over 5 hours and the train is roughly 6.5 hours.
The good thing about driving is there are so many towns you can stop in to break up the drive and see more sights! I would recommend stopping in either Verona or Milan (or both!) before heading to Switzerland.
Verona is a small, quaint town that is home to Romeo & Juliette’s famous balcony! While you are there, stop at a farmers market or grab some street food to enjoy under their balcony.
From Verona to Lucerne, it will be about 4 1/2 hours of pure beauty! You will wind up the mountains passing through tunnels carved into mountains. After every tunnel pass, the scenery will be completely different and even more beautiful.
Check into your hotel and head into town for some dinner. We spent an actual hour hunting down fondue for dinner, apparently fondue isn’t a thing in the summer!? People were making fun of us but who cares! WERE TOURISTS AND WERE PROUD! We eventually found a fondue spot and it was amazing to say the least.
Day 7: Switzerland
Today you’ll be getting a little bit of everything. From adventure to beautiful scenery! Take the ferry over lake Lucerne to the gondola entrance for Mt. Pilatus. You’ll take the gondola up 7,000 ft (2132 meters) to get expansive views of the Swiss alps and Lake Lucerne.
I know the weather is unpredictable, but really try to do this on a clear day so you can get unobstructed views from the top! Once you are up there, there will be walking and hiking trails, a souvenir shop and food stands for you to grab a bight to eat.
On the way down comes the fun part… the steepest railroad in the world has a seat with your name on it. I promise it doesn’t go too fast and doesn’t feel too old. You can also take the gondola down if the train terrifies you, but traveling is all about pushing you out of your comfort zone 🙂
TIP: Don’t wear sandals to Mt. Pilatus because at the halfway point, there’s a type of “adventure park” with an alpine slide down the mountain, zip line and rope park. They are very strict at the zip line/rope park and will not let you on if you don’t have closed toe shoes!
Spend the afternoon hunting down some Swiss Chocolate for your loved ones back home, which is also very hard to find. I learned that everything I thought was stereotypical to Switzerland was just that, a stereotype.
Day 8: Drive to Frankfurt
Another day of driving and today’s pit stop will be the charming German village, Heidelberg. Are you all castled-out yet? Of course not! You’ll get to visit another older castle that is home to the world’s largest wine barrel!
The drive & train from Lucerne to Frankfurt is around 4 hours, but if you make a pit stop in Heidelberg for lunch, you will drive 3 hours and then 1 hour!
Once you arrive in Frankfurt you’ll soon see that it is a BIG city with lots of nightlife! Spend your night going out the local bars and enjoy one of your last nights in Europe.
Day 9: Frankfurt
We had a free day before our farewell dinner home, so some fun things to do in Frankfurt would be the Museumsufer (a cluster of 12 museums), Frankfurt Cathedral, Romerburg (a square with medieval homes), Palmengarten, and getting some last minute souvenirs!
Day 10: Fly Home
I can never sleep on planes mostly because I’m always too excited for the destination. I slept the entire 12 hour flight home, so that’s saying something about how “excited” I was to be going home!
Until next time Europe!
Before you go…. Want some more guides on Europe? I think you will love these!
- 10 Day France Itinerary
- Champagne Tasting in Champagne, France
- Ultimate Guide to the Louvre Museum
- Ultimate Guide to the Gorges du Verdon
- 6 Day Iceland Road Trip
Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂
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