If you’re going to invest the time and money to fly “across the pond”, it makes sense to visit more than one place, experience more than one culture, and add variety to your adventure! But which cities and countries work well together for a multi-destination adventure? We always like to pair destinations that are easy to travel between, complement each other or contrast nicely. Choosing the right pair will obviously depend on your personal travel style and the experiences you crave, but there are some always-popular pairings that we think go together like peanut butter and jelly. Here are our top five European destination pairs:
Paris & Brussels – For Romantic Foodies
Combining romance and amazing food, these two cities are close enough to make a perfect city-break multi-destination trip. They offer some similar experiences, but are just different enough to inspire passionate discussions about which one was better!
Paris is energetic, cosmopolitan, fashionable and, above all, full of bucket-list attractions. You’ll have no shortage of museums, galleries, and luxury shopping arcades. Wander the narrow medieval streets and wide elegant boulevards as you marvel at the architecture. Stop along the way to enjoy an incredible pastry, crepe, or glass of wine. Paris will capture your heart and tire your feet as you explore all it has to offer.
[Photo Credit: Annette & Mike via Shared Adventures — read all about her 50th celebration in Paris here!]
Once you’ve thoroughly enjoyed the city of lights, it’s a quick and easy 1 ½ hour train ride up to Brussels! Brussels has a more relaxed attitude so you can slow down a little here.
Brussels encourages you to enjoy award-winning food, art, and shopping as you stroll the city. Here too, you’ll get to explore incredible museums and luxury shopping, but it also has innovative sculptures and huge antique markets. Like Paris, Brussels is a foodie heaven with gorgeous chocolatiers around every corner and the highest density of fine dining in Europe! (144 Michelin-starred restaurants.) Sip local beers instead of wines, and enjoy taking things at a bit of a slower place, wandering around the street art, and soaking up the sun in one of the beautiful parks.
[Photo credit: Christina & Chris via Shared Adventures — read all about their epic multi-destination European Adventure here!]
Switzerland & Northern Italy – For Natural Beauty
If you’re searching for breathtaking natural beauty, this is the perfect pair. Incredible mountains, crystal clear lakes, and plenty of fresh air await. In short, they form the right combination for a luxurious outdoor adventure.
Switzerland offers imposing alps, chocolate treats, and world-famous cheese, plus modern cities, charming villages, and cozy chalets. Switzerland is a perfect playground for outdoor enthusiasts and photographers who love a gourmet meal. Delightful to visit in summer or winter, the outdoor adventures are never-ending. Switzerland is one of those once-in-a-lifetime places. A place where you can be introspective while being mesmerized by the surrounding beauty. It provides the perfect environment to reset, revive and restore.
[Photo Credit: Usha & Mark via Shared Adventures — read all about their Swiss Rail adventure here!]
The journey between these two destinations is almost as jaw-dropping as the places themselves. As you travel by train to Italy, you’ll marvel at the nearly untouched landscape of the glistening mountains and deep gorges.
Once you arrive in Italy the possibilities are endless. A stop in Milan or Venice would allow you to cross a few things off your bucket list. If you’re craving even more nature the Dolomites are a stunning UNESCO Heritage site. Here you’ll find a strong Austrian influence, incredible skiing, and delicious food in cute mountain villages. Pairing the picturesque mountains of Switzerland with the luxurious lakes of Italy – Lake Como or Lake Garda- will have you feeling like a movie star. On the other hand, traveling west you’ll contrast the cool alpine air with the warm breezes of the Mediterranean on the Italian Riviera. Enjoy the vivid blue sea, luxury shopping, delicious cuisine, and endless wines. Wherever you decide to adventure in Northern Italy, you’ll be delighted by what you find.
[Photo Credit: Shannon & Lou via Shared Adventures — read all about their Winter Honeymoon in Northern Italy here! ]
Budapest & Prague – For Unique Architecture
If you’re ready for something a bit different, a bit unique, and incredibly impressive – look no further than Budapest and Prague. Stunning buildings, a history that’s felt in every corner of the city, innovative music scenes, and thermal baths greet you on your Eastern European adventure!
Overlooking on the Danube river, Budapest is bursting with culture. There is a vibrant music scene, trendy bars and nightclubs, warm comfort food, local wine, ballet, and festivals to enjoy. Admire the lavish opera house, an iconic parliament building, and a few castles as you explore the city. Overall, this grand city has a vibrant art scene and café culture that invites you to explore every corner. Once you’ve had enough walking, enjoy a spa day in one of the famous thermal baths.
[Photo Credit: Ann via Shared Adventures — read about her Danube Birthday Celebration here!]
Taking a flight or a train to Prague is an easy choice. Like Budapest, Prague has a unique history. Architecture lovers will revel in the textbook Gothic cathedrals, baroque palaces, and art nouveau buildings. Thirty scenic bridges cross the Vltava river and connect the city center to the castle, encouraging you to take a stroll along the river. Take time to visit celebrated cafes, historic gardens, and cool boutiques as you walk the city. Fans of both classical music and modern rock will find events to enjoy in Prague. This is the perfect place to slow down and soak up the culture, history, and music.
[Photo Credit: Martin Krchnacek via Unsplash]
Iceland and Spain – For Dramatic Contrasts
Sometimes the perfect pair is a pair of opposites. Combining these two dramatically different countries will help you feel like you’ve seen it all on your European adventure. If you’re traveling with a group and having trouble deciding between two types of trips- this is a perfect compromise.
The dramatic volcanic landscapes of Iceland contrast perfectly with Spain’s colorful beach scenes, and you can take advantage of Iceland Air’s stopover policy to spend a few days in the country on your way to Spain! No matter what season you choose, Iceland offers drama. In spring and summer, you can stay up all night with the midnight sun, go whale watching, and marvel at the black-sand beaches. Traverse the dark volcanic landscape as you enjoy the incredible natural beauty. In fall and winter, you can spot the northern lights, soak in thermal baths surrounded by snow, explore an ice cave or hike up a glacier. Iceland offers staggering natural beauty and unique outdoor adventures.
[Photo Credit: Ann via Shared Adventures — read about her Icelandic Adventure here!]
After exploring the land of fire and ice head into the sun with near-perfect weather year round! Spain compliments the nature of Iceland with its incredible history, architecture, food, and culture. Brightly colorful buildings catch your eye as you head to the soft-sand beaches or the impressive churches. Enjoy luxury shopping in intriguing buildings. The cuisine is incredible and with tapas and wine flowing you’ll love this quintessential city break. Spain offers vibrancy and sophistication with a unique cultural history that is always a delight to experience.
[Photo Credit: Damien & Sarah via Shared Adventures — read about their Adventure to Southern Spain here! ]
Croatia & Greece – For soaking up the sun
Beautiful lakes, seaside views, lovely beaches, and gorgeous weather nearly year-round! Soak up the sun, history, and culture in two stunning countries, and you’ll get two very distinctive beachy and cultural experiences, each iconic in its own way.
Croatia offers the ideal combination of nature and culture in one place. You can visit beautiful lakes, waterfalls, and nature reserves. Go on adrenaline adventures like ziplining and scuba diving. Visit the diverse islands to get a sense of the unique local culture. Combine all this natural greenery with historic cities. Often pedestrian-only, the city centers feature medieval streets, delightful cafes, shopping, and a maze of cobblestone alleyways.
[Photo Credit: Corinne & Ryan via Shared Adventures – read about their Anniversary Adventure in Croatia here!]
Just a short 2hr flight away is Greece! Full of ancient history and interesting culture Greece is a perfect addition to medieval Croatia. While Croatia’s nature is vibrantly green, Greece features rugged mountains, exotic beaches, blue waters, and olive trees. Explore the ancient ruins and long history of the ancient world. Visit the islands for their charm and picturesque villages, and indulge in delicious cuisine. You’ll continue to soak up lots of sunshine as you round out your trip with a few famous, bucket-list experiences.
[Photo Credit: Andrea & Eric via Shared Adventures- read about their Greek Adventure here!]
So which perfect pair fits your travel style? If this post has you ready to start planning a multi-destination trip let us know! We love being logistical masters and helping our clients with complex travel.