A trip to Western Europe is a great idea for first-time travelers. This part of the world has a well-developed tourist trail with reliable transportation links, plenty of accommodation choices, and numerous activities and entertainment options to suit a variety of travelers. Western Europe offers just enough challenges to keep the trip fun and adventurous without being overwhelming for those traveling for the first time. All it takes is a little bit of research, some planning, and a big sense of adventure!

Over the last eight years we’ve visited many of Europe’s top cities, so it’s no surprise that when it comes to the ultimate European trip itinerary for first-time visitors, we have a few recommendations. Here’s a roundup of our favourite cities that we think are worth a visit on your first trip to Europe.


Whether you’re flying to Europe from North America or Oceania, London will most likely offer the cheapest flights in and out of the region. Take advantage of these great deals and make London the first stop on your itinerary. London offers a plethora of activities to satisfy even the pickiest traveler.

Don’t miss the big attractions, like Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and St Paul’s Cathedral. London is also filled with tons of great little pockets of culture, which you’ll find in areas like Nottingham, Camden Town, and Brick Lane. Culture vultures will love London’s selection of world-class museums and art galleries, shopaholics will enjoy checking out London’s amazing markets, and foodies will go crazy for the city’s multicultural restaurants and street food finds.

London, England

London Eye, one of London’s major tourist attractions

Time needed: Three to five days, although you can easily spend an entire week in London and feel like you didn’t get a chance to see everything

Stay in: West End or Bloomsbury if you want to be near attractions and entertainment options. Kings Cross, Euston, and Camden are more popular with backpackers exploring the alternative side of London. We recommend: St. Christopher’s Camden and Generator Hostel London.


Located a quick 2.5-hour train ride from London, Paris offers visitors some of the most iconic sights in the word, like the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Élysées, the Louvre, and the Arc de Triomphe. This city of high fashion, glamour, and arts is also known for amazing food, wine, shopping, and entertainment options.

We recommend exploring Paris on foot, getting lost on its streets and losing track of time while people watching in cafés along the way. Don’t miss the Sacré-Coeur and a chance to check out the Montmartre District, home of the Moulin Rouge, street artists and performers, bohemian apartments, and tiny cobblestone streets.

The Louvre. Paris. France. Europe

The Louvre. Paris.

Time needed: two to four days, or longer if you love art, high fashion, and glamour

Get there: Fly for under $60, take a 2.5-hour train for $85, or take an overnight bus for $60.

Stay in: Montmartre District, if you want to be in close proximity to entertainment options. The 19th and 13th arrondissements offer lots of great options, too. We recommend: St Christopher’s Inn Paris – Canal and Hotel Montmartre Clignancourt.


While many backpackers associate Amsterdam with a great party and smoky coffee shops, there’s a lot more to the Netherlands’ capital than that. The city is full of museums, architecture, and art. It’s also a beautiful place to explore on foot or to enjoy on two wheels. In our opinion, the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House are a must, as is the Leidseplein, which is the center of Amsterdam’s entertainment scene and home to night clubs, movie theaters, concert venues, casinos, and the ubiquitous coffee shops.

Time needed: Two to four days

Get there: Take a 1.5-hour flight from Paris for under $40, or take an even cheaper overnight bus.

Stay in: The Old Centre and the surrounding areas, so you can be a short walk away from the main sights and shopping and entertainment areas. We recommend: ClinkNOORD Hostel, or for something a bit more rowdy, St. Christophers Inn at The Winston.


Best known for its historical associations, lively nightlife, street art, and an abundance of museums, Berlin is a fascinating city to visit on your first trip to Europe. This historical hotspot is famous for the Berlin Wall, offers great nightlife, and is easy on the wallet.

Neue Kirche, Berlin

Neue Kirche, Berlin

Time needed: Two to four days

Get there: From Amsterdam, take an overnight bus for under $40, a 6.5-hour train for $50, or a two-hour flight for around $70.

Stay in: Mitte to be close to major sights and attractions or the artsy areas of Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg if you want to experience the best of Berlin’s nightlife. We recommend: St. Christopher’s Berlin in Mitte or the Cat’s Pajamas Hostel in Kreuzberg.


For a taste of true Bavarian culture, check out Munich. Visit the English Garden, hang out in the Marienplatz, and see the Old Town square alive with street performers. You can also check out München’s Viktualienmarkt, climb to the top of St. Peter’s Church for amazing views of Munich, and take part in the world-famous Oktoberfest in September.

Around Marienplatz, Münich

Around Marienplatz, Münich

Time needed: Two to four days

Get there: From Berlin, take an overnight bus for under $40, a 6-hour train for under $25, or a one-hour flight for $60.

Stay in: The city centre to be within walking distance from Marienplatz and the Viktualienmarkt food market. We recommend: MEININGER Hotel Munich City Center in Schwanthalerhöhe or Hotel Achterbahn in Ludwigsvorstadt.


Prague is considered to be one of the most unique, romantic, and beautiful cities in all of Europe. Famous for its unique medieval architecture, the historic city centre is home to famous attractions like Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, the Old Town Hall, and the famed Astronomical Clock.

View of Prague from Petrin Hill

View of Prague from Petrin Hill

Time needed: Two to four days

Get there: From Munich, take a five-hour train for just $20.

Stay in: City centre or in the Lesser Town (Mala Strana), the historical centre of the city. We recommend: Little Quarter Hostel in Mala Strana.


Rome is one of the most important centers for art and history in the world, and it’s chock-full of bucket list sights and attractions. Its historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the city is famous for its millennia-old churches, grand ruins, lavish monuments, elaborate statues, and graceful fountains. At night, Rome also offers great entertainment options and vibrant nightlife.

Rome, Italy

Time needed: Two to four days

Get there: From Prague, take a five-hour flight for $40.

Stay in: Near the Termini train station to make it easy to get in and around Rome during your time there. We recommend Four Seasons Hostel or Legends Hostel.


Barcelona is full of culture, incredible food, markets, museums, rich history, and great nightlife. It makes for a great last stop on your whirlwind European itinerary. Soak up the sun on Barcelona’s beaches, enjoy street performers and cafés on La Rambla, shop at the markets, admire Gaudí’s modernist architecture, and spend the nights enjoying Barcelona’s lively nightlife.

Time needed: Two to four days

Get there: From Rome, take a $30 flight.

Stay in: The old city to be in close proximity to sights and attractions or along La Rambla. We recommend St, Christopher’s Barcelona or Barcelona’s oldest and most well-known hostel, Kabul Party Hostel.

Follow our recommendations above for a three to five-week itinerary. Plan your route ahead of time, but give yourself a little bit of flexibility when it comes to the number of days in each city. You never know which one of these amazing European cities will steal your heart, making you linger for a few extra days.

Krakow, Poland

Krakow, Poland

If time permits and you’re looking to extend your stay in Europe, consider going off the beaten path and paying a visit to any of these 10 essential non-capital cities in Europe. While they might not get as much attention from travelers as the capital cities do, they pack a punch and offer some unique experiences that will make your Europe trip that much more exciting.

Disclaimer: This post was brought to you in collaboration with GoEuro