Two Weeks, Three Cities: The Ultimate 14-Day London, Paris, and Rome Adventure
Two Weeks, Three Cities: The Ultimate 14-Day London, Paris, and Rome Adventure - Packing Tips for a Whirlwind European Adventure
Packing for a fast-paced trip through multiple European cities requires strategy. You'll be hopping on and off trains, buses, and planes, so you need to travel light without skimping on necessities. The last thing you want is to schlep bulky luggage across cobblestone streets and metro platforms. Follow these tips from seasoned jet-setters to pack like a pro for your whirlwind Eurotrip.
First, choose a carry-on sized bag or backpack, ideally with hideaway straps and multiple compartments. Aim for a maximum weight of 20-30 pounds since you'll be trekking around metropolises. Rolling carry-ons work, but backpack styles allow you to move quicker.
Next up - clothes. Stick to versatile basics like black pants, dark jeans, neutral tops and a jacket that can be dressed up or down. Plan outfits that mix and match. Pack more socks and underwear than outfits since you likely won't be doing laundry. Shoes get heavy fast, so pack a pair of walking sneakers plus a dressier pair. Ladies can opt for ballet flats.
Now for the fun stuff! Packing cubes, pouches and toiletry bags keep you organized. Use slim organizers for chargers, adapters, earphones and other tech accessories. A small daypack or foldable tote tucks in a bag and gives you room for souvenirs. Add mini toiletries, medication and cash/documents in a clear zip pouch for security checkpoints.
Don't take your entire makeup arsenal - just the essentials. Same for haircare and skin products. You can find drugstores if needed. Refillable bottles help limit liquids. Add hand sanitizer, baby wipes and tissue packs for on-the-go cleanliness. Roll clothes vertically and fill all the nooks. Use packing cubes to separate outfits and limit wrinkling.
What else is in this post?
- Two Weeks, Three Cities: The Ultimate 14-Day London, Paris, and Rome Adventure - Packing Tips for a Whirlwind European Adventure
- Two Weeks, Three Cities: The Ultimate 14-Day London, Paris, and Rome Adventure - Navigating London's Underground: Tube Tips for First-Timers
- Two Weeks, Three Cities: The Ultimate 14-Day London, Paris, and Rome Adventure - Hidden Gems to Discover in Paris Beyond the Eiffel Tower
- Two Weeks, Three Cities: The Ultimate 14-Day London, Paris, and Rome Adventure - Must-See Sights for a Short Stay in Rome
- Two Weeks, Three Cities: The Ultimate 14-Day London, Paris, and Rome Adventure - Budget-Friendly Lodging Options Across Europ
- Two Weeks, Three Cities: The Ultimate 14-Day London, Paris, and Rome Adventure - Indulge in Local Cuisine: Don't Miss These Foodie Spot
- Two Weeks, Three Cities: The Ultimate 14-Day London, Paris, and Rome Adventure - Getting Around on the Cheap: Public Transit Hack
- Two Weeks, Three Cities: The Ultimate 14-Day London, Paris, and Rome Adventure - Extending Your Eurotrip: Nearby Destinations Worth a Visit
Two Weeks, Three Cities: The Ultimate 14-Day London, Paris, and Rome Adventure - Navigating London's Underground: Tube Tips for First-Timers
The London Underground, affectionately called the Tube by locals, is an intricate web of trains and tunnels that can seem daunting for first-time visitors. With 11 color-coded lines and 270 stations, it may appear complicated at first glance. However, the Tube is the fastest and easiest way to jet around London. Mastering the metro system is key for maximizing your limited time in the capital.
When riding the Tube, be aware that some lines share tracks with other lines during certain segments. For example, the Central line and Waterloo & City line are joint lines between Bank and Waterloo stations. This means you can hop on either line to travel this shared part of the route. Consult maps posted in every station to see where lines overlap.
Also note that Tube trains either have drivers or are fully automated. Driverless trains are more common on the newer lines like the Docklands Light Railway. With driverless operation, train doors automatically open and close at each station. So don’t try to hold doors open or wedge anything in them!
When traveling during peak commute hours, expect sardine-can-like crowded trains and stations. Strategize by avoiding the busiest Tube stops if possible. Some central interchange stations see 200+ million entries annually! Time your trip to avoid rush hour if you dislike crowds. Or just accept that crammed trains are part of the experience.
Don’t be alarmed by the incessant escalator etiquette signs everywhere. Simply stand on the right and walk on the left for optimal traffic flow. This keeps impatient fast-walkers happy. Also mind the gap when stepping on and off trains, following warning signs. Watch for tourists who disregard this and dangerous gaps appear.
While the Tube runs approximately 5am-12:30am, it does shut down overnight. Night tube service is limited to just a few lines. Buses fill in the gaps but require more planning. Always check the TfL website for scheduled closures, especially on weekends when maintenance often requires shutdowns.
Two Weeks, Three Cities: The Ultimate 14-Day London, Paris, and Rome Adventure - Hidden Gems to Discover in Paris Beyond the Eiffel Tower
Paris dazzles with iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame Cathedral. But the City of Light shines bright with lesser-known gems too. Venturing beyond the tourist hotspots rewards travelers with an authentic Parisian experience. Discover intimate cafes, eclectic boutiques and charming neighborhoods most visitors overlook.
One hidden treasure is the Promenade Plantée - an elevated parkway built on a disused 19th century railway viaduct. The nearly 3 mile greenway threads through the 12th arrondissement 30 feet above street level. Lush trees, flowers and lawns line the pedestrian walkway. Benches perch over the city, offering a unique vantage point. Art galleries and shops are tucked under the arches along the way. This slender urban oasis provides a literal breath of fresh air.
For an authentic French market, head to the Marché Bastille on Thursday and Sunday mornings. This open-air bazaar stretches along the Boulevard Richard Lenoir with over 100 vendors. Find fresh produce, cheeses, baked goods and street food as Parisians stock up for the week. Stop for a crepe breakfast or coffee at a sidewalk cafe amidst the commotion. Then peruse clothing, crafts and antiques while practicing your French with the lively merchants.
Soak up village charm in Montmartre, a hilltop neighborhood that feels far from the city bustle below. Narrow cobblestone streets lined with ivy-covered buildings retain old-world character. The Basilica of Sacre-Coeur provides jaw-dropping vistas. Local artists sell their work in Place du Tertre, putting on impromptu shows. Don't miss the whimsical Espace Dali museum featuring the surrealist's sculptures. When you need a break, unwind in the hidden Vineyard of Montmartre - the only one in Paris!
For literary buffs, the arson-scarred Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore is a pilgrimage. The original shop was a gathering place for expatriate writers like Hemingway and Fitzgerald in the 1920s. Today's reincarnation retains that bohemian vibe with author events, crowded maze-like rooms and resident "Tumbleweeds" (aspiring writers working in exchange for lodging). Make a wish at the iconic wishing well while getting lost in over 30,000 titles.
Two Weeks, Three Cities: The Ultimate 14-Day London, Paris, and Rome Adventure - Must-See Sights for a Short Stay in Rome
Rome wasn't built in a day, and you certainly can't see it in one either. But you can still discover the city's cultural treasures with limited time. Focus on must-see ancient sites and Baroque fountains to maximize your Roman holiday.
No first-timer's itinerary is complete without the Colosseum. This mammoth amphitheater staged gladiator battles, animal hunts and mock naval engagements to entertain 50,000 spectators. Though two-thirds of the original structure is gone, what remains inspires awe. Wait out the long lines to explore the belly of the arena and stands. Or admire its imposing facade from outside the walls.
Just across the street sprawls the Roman Forum, once the empire's political and commercial hub. While the tumbled ruins appear confusing at first glance, placards explain the significance of each temple and marketplace. Find a spot on the grass to contemplate the Vestal Virgins' temple and Senate House where Caesar was assassinated.
Art lovers flock to the Vatican Museums to glimpse Michelangelo's famed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. But don't miss his equally stunning Last Judgment behind the altar. Museum maps steer you through a maze of galleries filled with ancient sculptures like the Laocoön. Timed-entry tickets let you skip the hours-long admission line.
The Pantheon transports you back to the Roman Empire with its stately columns and imposing dome. Gaze upward through the circular oculus, open to the sky. Then pay respects at Raphael's tomb inside this ancient temple built to honor the gods.
No Roman holiday is complete without tossing coins into Trevi Fountain, immortalized in La Dolce Vita. Neptune commands center stage, surrounded by tritons and seashells. Find a spot on the crowded rim to take in this Baroque masterpiece. Tradition says those who toss a coin over their shoulder are guaranteed a return trip to Rome.
With over 280 fountains, you'll stumble upon watery wonders around every turn. The turtle-topped Fontana delle Tartarughe cuts a cute figure in a quiet piazza. The powerful Moses of Fontana dell'Acqua Felice awes passersby. Let ornate and whimsical fountains guide your exploration of Rome's charming piazzas and winding lanes.
Since Vatican City gets jam-packed, cross the river to admire St. Peter's Basilica from afar. Michelangelo's dome soars above an elongated piazza flanked by colonnades. Capture the iconic vista through a keyhole in the Knights of Malta gate for the perfect photo memento. Wander the characteristic streets of Trastevere nearby before the sun dips behind St. Peter's historic skyline.
Two Weeks, Three Cities: The Ultimate 14-Day London, Paris, and Rome Adventure - Budget-Friendly Lodging Options Across Europ
Lodging costs can quickly bust your European vacation budget. Hotel prices in popular destinations like Paris, London and Rome regularly top $250 or more per night. Even bare-bones hostel dorm beds can run $50-60 nightly in peak season. But savvy travelers know there are plenty of ways to bed down affordably across the continent. You just need insider tricks to unlock deals.
Instead of defaulting to big hotel chains, look to home shares. Local hosts rent out private or shared rooms through services like Airbnb and Vrbo. Opt for a private room in an apartment versus an entire home for maximum value. Peruse listings outside the main tourist zones to find better nightly rates and discounts for weekly stays. Host ratings help identify great properties and hosts.
If you don’t mind roommates, renting a bed in a shared hostel dorm drops prices precipitously. Hostelworld and Booking.com offer the widest selection. Read reviews carefully to choose locations with enhanced amenities like bars, shared kitchens and lounges versus basic crash pads. Female-only dorms score points with solo ladies. You’ll get €10-35 beds nearly everywhere, with plentiful choices under €20 in Eastern European and Southern cities.
Hospitality exchange networks like Couchsurfing connect travelers with hosts providing free crash space. Create a detailed profile showcasing your interests and travel style. Personal references vouch for you. Be an ambassador by hosting visitors in your hometown too. Give back by bringing small gifts, helping with chores, or cooking meals. Experienced couchsurfers view this cultural exchange as the highlight of their trips.
Pillows and breakfast are included when you stay in European homes via programs like TrustedHousesitters. Homeowners heading out of town seek animal lovers to care for pets, plants or properties in exchange for free housing (plus related perks like WiFi, laundry or bicycles). Retirees wanting long summer vacations offer the most sits. Competition is fierce so apply well in advance after acquiring reviews.
Before booking, research city tourist taxes in places like Amsterdam, Berlin, Venice and Barcelona. These daily fees ranging €1-10 per person aren’t included in rates. Weigh them when comparing total trip costs. Also factor in the monetary value of lodging perks like free breakfast, airport shuttles and fitness rooms when choosing.
Two Weeks, Three Cities: The Ultimate 14-Day London, Paris, and Rome Adventure - Indulge in Local Cuisine: Don't Miss These Foodie Spot
Indulging in local cuisine stands as one of the greatest joys of European travel. In London, Paris and Rome, every neighborhood brims with markets, cafes, bakeries and restaurants offering tempting bites reflecting regional flavors. Exploring these foodie spots provides the perfect excuse to wander off the beaten path and immerse yourself in local life. But with so many options, where should you begin your edible adventures?
In London, heads straight to Borough Market to graze on artisanal offerings from across Britain. Located under Victorian wrought-iron railway arches near London Bridge, it's one of the largest and oldest food markets in the city. From Scottish smoked salmon and cave-aged cheddar to steaming street food like jerk chicken and Thai curries, every stall highlights a specialty. Don't miss the mushroom man's funghi bounty and Turkish delight confections. Grab a takeaway meat or vegan pie to sustain more market wandering.
Paris dazzles with sidewalk crêperies, cellar cocktail haunts and Instagram-famous cafes. For an only-in-Paris experience, pop into unique concept shops like the Experimental Cocktail Club. This speakeasy-style bar hidden on a Chinatown side street only seats 25 lucky guests. Their innovative libations riff on classics, often featuring local herbs and liqueurs. With its hushed vibe and vintage decor, it feels like an insider secret despite media accolades.
In the Latin Quarter, Shakespeare and Company's Tumbleweed Café draws bohemian book lovers with sweet and savory crepes, tartines and desserts accompanied by tea and coffee. Expect a wait at peak times, but it's a cozy haunt rain or shine. Nearby Berthillon ice cream stands attract queues for their exquisite frozen flavors using milk and cream from Normandy cows. It's worth the line for a lick of salted caramel or rose.
When in the Eternal City, dine as the Romans do on fresh pasta, silky carbonara and slow-simmered bucatini all’amatriciana sauce brightened with guanciale and pecorino cheese. For authentic yet affordable trattorias where daily specials depend on what's fresh at the market, traverse the atmospheric Trastevere neighborhood. Look for chalkboard menus, crowded communal tables, pizza al taglio by the slice and carafes of house vino rosso. Follow the locals and skip the overpriced tourist trap restaurants near major landmarks.
Two Weeks, Three Cities: The Ultimate 14-Day London, Paris, and Rome Adventure - Getting Around on the Cheap: Public Transit Hack
Hopping cities and countries on a European adventure doesn't have to drain your wallet, thanks to extensive and economical public transportation options. Trains, metros, trams, buses - the transit networks linking major hubs and small villages alike offer the most cost-effective and environmentally-friendly transport. Tourists paying out of pocket can still ride the rails like a local using key insider tricks.
For inter-city travel, snag advance-purchase train fares starting around 60 days before departure. Sites like Loco2 scan European providers to pinpoint the cheapest tickets. DeutscheBahn, Eurostar, TrenItalia and more slash fares when booked ahead. Don't let train line names deceive you - a Paris to Amsterdam Thalys ticket could be much pricier than booking the same route as ICE International via Cologne or Brussels. Pay attention to fine print on refundability, changes, routes and blackout windows.
Within metro areas, calculate the break-even point for a multi-day visitor pass versus pay-as-you-go single fares. In London, the payback period is just two daily Tube rides. In Berlin, you'll need at least four rides per day to justify a WelcomeCard. For weekends exploring only one city, stick to single tickets. Be sure to validate paper tickets or tap your fare card at readers upon entering and transferring to avoid hefty fines.
Taking overnight budget trains provides sightseeing en route while saving a night's lodging cost. But don't expect Orient Express opulence - it's no-frills transport with reclining seats. Pack snacks, entertainment and layers to maximize comfort. For sleeping berths, book months ahead as space is limited. Night trains connecting Paris, Venice, Vienna, Prague and Budapest traverse stunning landscapes by day.
Discount passes aimed at youth and seniors offer the biggest travel bargains. The InterRail Global Pass provides unlimited train travel across 30 European countries, available only for European residents or those living there 6+ months. The Eurail Pass mimics it for non-European citizens. Both slash up to 25% off for travelers under 28 or over 60. BritRail, ItaliaRail and country-specific railcards provide regional savings.
When requesting student, youth or senior fares, carry documentation like current enrollment verification or ID displaying birthdate. Don't be shy mentioning eligibility when booking; the discounts won't be offered automatically. Student Advantage, ISE Card and European Youth Card cards also unlock deals across the continent.
Travel hacking starts at home by earning points and miles through credit card bonuses and loyalty programs. Transfer those rewards to airline and hotel partners of issuers like Chase, Amex or Citi to unlock free flights and hotel nights in Europe. Sign-up bonuses alone can cover a round-trip ticket, so apply strategically.
Two Weeks, Three Cities: The Ultimate 14-Day London, Paris, and Rome Adventure - Extending Your Eurotrip: Nearby Destinations Worth a Visit
Hopping between iconic hubs like London, Paris and Rome already makes for an epic Eurotrip. But the allure of this diverse continent lies in digging deeper to uncover captivating small cities and regions orbiting the heavyweights. Extending your journey to include stops in nearby destinations proves tremendously rewarding. Venture off the crowded tourist conveyor belt to savor these European gems.
Stonehenge stands as one of the UK’s most mystical attractions, with its towering neolithic monoliths spanning millennia. Yet few visitors also explore the striking ruins of sister site Avebury just 25 miles north, home to three stone circles. Avebury’s free access and sleepy village vibes contrast the crowds and ticket queues at its famous counterpart. Rent a bike to peddle between the intriguing megalithic monuments scattered around this region of Wiltshire.
Leaving Paris, Avignon charms visitors with its intact 14th century ramparts corseting a lively town laced with leafy squares and satiny canals. The lavish Papal Palace dominates panoramas, with the famed Pont d’Avignon stretching half-built across the Rhône. Even in peak summer, Avignon exudes small-town tranquility seemingly worlds away from the French capital. Meander atmospheric alleys before joining locals unwinding at streetside cafés.
Tuscany tempts Italy adventurers with its picture-perfect hill towns, Cyprus trees and velvety vineyards. Base yourself at a countryside agriturismo farm stay to slow down and savor rustic life. Tour medieval towers and cathedrals before lingering over long lunches of pasta pomodoro and Chianti Classico. Wander emerald fields and poppies kissing crumbling farmhouses. Let days unfold at an unhurried pace far removed from Rome’s bustle. This bucolic detour recharges travelers’ souls.
When London calls, answer by venturing beyond England’s capital to embraces Wales’ wild beauty. The mood shifts as you journey into craggy Snowdonia National Park, trading urbane streets for windswept hills. Challenge yourself ascending Mt. Snowdon or surfing the crashing waves of Anglesey’s coastline. In contrast, drift through burbling canals or delve underground at the Big Pit mining museum in the valleys. Absorb Wales’ heritage and soaring scenery on trains, bikes or foot.