We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The Tripadvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Two Week Itinerary

Louisville, Kentucky
8 posts
Two Week Itinerary

I am planning a two week trip to Europe (from the U.S., it is my first time leaving the country). My two options are Lisbon -> Madrid -> Barcelona (stay a 3-5 nights in each city and travel by train) or Rome -> Florence -> Venice -> Milan -> Swiss Alps (stay 2-3 nights in each and travel by train). So basically it’s Portugal-Spain versus Italy-Switzerland. Which one would you suggest (I know this is an Italy forum, so please be unbiased)?

My categories of interest are scenery, cuisine, nightlife, architecture, walkability, etc.

United States
Level Contributor
8,100 posts
1 review
2 helpful votes
1. Re: Two Week Itinerary

Your proposed Italy - Switzerland trip has way too many stops. The main sight you are going to see on that trip is train stations and train cars. You either need to extend your 2 week timeframe or drop destinations or pick the Spain / Portugal trip and travel to Italy at a later date when you have more time.

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
15,005 posts
133 reviews
82 helpful votes
2. Re: Two Week Itinerary

2 nights equal to one full day, 3 nights equal to 2 full days. You also must consider the although train service is excellent in each country, it still takes time to move around as it's a challenge.

Are you doing a multi city (land in one and fly out of the final city) which you should to save a day and not have to back track. Multi-city flights are almost if not the same as a return flight.

As to which country, that is up to you, they are both wonderful and very different. You need to read up on each of them and make up your own mind. Here you are asking the opinion from people who don't know you nor you them and have no idea why you are travelling: food, culture, architecture, nature, religious, etc

Akron, Ohio
Level Contributor
2,743 posts
446 reviews
303 helpful votes
3. Re: Two Week Itinerary

We have been familiar with these parts of Europe under totally different circumstances. It is far too many destinations to touch base in given your announced two week long time-table to make your itinerary more of a relay race to get you to the finish line first for either option. Re-align your travel priorities. Train travel will be time consuming especially in the Iberian Peninsula. You might be required to wear a much different wardrobe for adjusting to each destination. Cultural complexities are not identical for more reasons than just geography. Each option brings to center stage different sets of knowledge and travel skills and you might not be equipped for dealing with either package. Formal education for preparation comes into play here. Are you proficient in Portuguese or Spanish or Italian? Ground rules for getting on the playing field as a tourist are different in each case. For the first option if you throw in the Swiss Alps with visits to Florence, Venice and Milan and Rome you are asking for time table problems and related serious obstacles that should be avoidable with more time. Like an extra full week or more depending on your final destinations in the Swiss Alps.. Besides these four cities are four heavy weight destinations that might wear you out before you arrive just in knowing what to do and what to avoid in each city. Getting lost in these cities on purpose is not part of a workable strategy to follow there. You will need what amounts to full time dedication to coming to terms with what these cities will have to offer you and put on display for you to see. In other words preparation and implementation will be a heavy dose of so much that is at the heart of traditional vacation goals for visiting Italy. That effort can be exhausting in such a short time period. Cancel these aspirations or add more time to your time table or reduce the scope of your travel plans for this option. Schedule this option for later when when you will have more time available and make it a viable option when you will have much more time available. As for the second option for Lisbon and Madrid and Barcelona you are taking the playing field under different ground rules equipped with a much different set of skills and wearing a different ward-robe. Moreover this option calls into question distances and time needed for traversing this large segment of Iberian Peninsula at once. Lisbon will be a much different ball game with a different starting line-up placed on the playing field to greet you. A nine inning ball game there might not have extra innings for your score card. Nothing like anything comparable to visiting the Swiss Alps as a extension of your travel time from Spain. Madrid needs far more than three or four days. So so Barcelona. Both Barcelona and Madrid will likely have extra innings for your playing time on the field in these two cities. Whether or not these two cities measure up to being comparable in both importance and cultural diversity as the three cities already mentioned for being at center stage for your sojourn in Italy the answer is no. Not in the same category for either realm of justifying going to the Iberian peninsula as a substitute for Italy. Choosing the one option does not cancel eligibility for visiting the other cities later but by selecting one over the other does put into questIon your selection process for several reasons. Weather is one component. Your many categories of personal interest can be satisfied in both places with a different line up to entertain you. Yes scenery and cuisine and night life and architectural design can be brought to center stage for you to enjoy as you walk to many destinations but know before hand your choice and the ground rules for visiting them. It is not a matter of partiality for one alternative or another one but more probably the likelihood that these alternatives under time constraints will produce the satisfaction or enjoyment under these circumstances today. Time needed to carry out these two alternatives is something to be considered as you put together a workable itinerary. Do make a list of travel tastes or vacation goals or establish a list of preferences that will evolve soon as your priorities and group them according to location and proximity. Personally the geographical extent or distance for travel and negotiated train travel from Lisbon to Barcelona with Madrid thrown in as a large scale intermediary sojourn worth so many days adds up to far too much time to devote to this second option. Iberian Peninsula takes up geographical space and time to deal with. You will need an extra week for sure to undertake such an expedition. Lisbon should not be treated as a side show. Neither should Madrid. Barcelona calls for a much different calling card for its starting line up is not the same. Schedule the second option for another time when you will have more time for the same reasons. Redraw many of your travel goals. Madrid and Barcelona by themselves call for as much time as Rome and Venice and Milan as a conglomerate destination will demand from you for doing justice in coming to terms with them. Milan and Barcelona and Madrid are not easily categorizable as being similar in any sense of the word. Throw in both Lisbon and Venice and Florence then all bets are off at making viable comparisons stand up for scrutiny as far too much substrance comes into question. More than apples and oranges. You will be in different fruit orchards. Swiss Alps are more than easy to justify in going there but it throws more than a large monkey wrench in the preparation for this option as it presents a different set of obstacles and problems. Leave that part of the first option for another voyage. Like wise it might make sense to skip Lisbon too for now..Do not add Rome to the preliminary or final mix of probable destinations as it is in its own category.

Edited: 1 year ago
New York City, New...
1 post
4. Re: Two Week Itinerary

All of those cities are easily walkable where you start will easily depend on where you are flying from and the ease of finding the best ticket options to reduce pointless layovers so you can start from any of those cities. The beauty of Europe is that transportation is pretty cheap to get around by train, even flying actually as there are cheap airlines. As far as itinerary we used this girls Italy itinerary https://www.itsallbee.com/2020/02/italy-rome-florence-venice-itinerary/ which allowed for flexibility as we if we wanted to check out other towns in Italy and has lots of tips on getting around by train in Italy too. Milan has great links to Switzerland too as far as access but I would reconsider how many countries you are able to do in 2 weeks because you will also need to factor in journey times between cities. Have a look at how itinerary as she also goes into detail of the journey times and the best way to get around to be the most of your time.

Level Contributor
55 posts
67 reviews
62 helpful votes
5. Re: Two Week Itinerary

Italy trip 2018, a few days longer than yours. All cities very walkable. Flew into Rome, 4 nights; train to Florence, 3 nights; train to Cinque Terre, 3 nights; train to Venice, 3 nights; train to Assisi, 2 nights; train back to Rome, 1 night. Did we see everything, probably not, but we tried and had a heck of a good time doing it! Get the city passes, skip the ticket lines, watch the dates and times places are open, and try something you weren’t planning on doing (Venice has a great little natural history museum...who knew?)

Level Contributor
15,503 posts
6. Re: Two Week Itinerary

"My categories of interest are scenery, cuisine, nightlife, architecture, walkability, etc."

Either or? Outside of the problem with too many stops in Italy you're looking at mainly subjective things.

Cuisine? Neither is right or wrong. Madrid is different than Barcelona which is different than Rome which is different than Milan.

Architecture? Modern? Ancient? what are you looking for? Obviously more ancient Roman ruins in Rome but you can find some in Barcelona if you try.

In all cases you should be staying in the city centre so walking isn't an issue.

Night life maybe depending on your age I'd lean Madrid/Barcelona.

The other thing is you don't need to limit yourself. It's a two hour flight from Barcelona to Rome. Cheap. Frequent.

Depending on your interests you could pair Barcelona and Rome with one other city. Try to keep it to three or four stops

When is this supposed to be? Time of year/weather might change things a little.

7. Re: Two Week Itinerary

-:- Message from Tripadvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the Tripadvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 24 July 2021, 16:41
© 2021 TripAdvisor LLC All rights reserved.

This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in New Zealand. If you are a resident of another country or region, please select the appropriate version of Tripadvisor for your country or region in the drop-down menu.