Our do-it-yourself Europe Itinerary

This is a do-it-yourself (semi-backpacking) Europe trip we made. It wasn’t perfect because our trip started on a Wednesday in Rome. Better start this itinerary on a Monday so you won’t miss the Papal audience scheduled on Wednesday mornings.

Rome

Day 1: Ancient Rome Tour

  • Santa Croce in Jerusalem (Relics of the True Cross)
  • St. John Lateran (Seat of the Bishop of Rome, get a relic of Bl. John Paul II at the Offices behind the Church)
  • Scala Santa  (walk up the stairs on your knees that had blood drops of Jesus on the steps)
  • Colosseo (appreciate the geometrical genius behind the making of this structure)
  • Roman Forums (Imagine how the Romans spent their time before the age of technology)

Day 2: Vatican City and Across the Trastevere

  • Vatican Museum (spend 2 hours at least, appreciate the passion of artists to glorify God in their amazing art works – especially Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel)
  • Santa Maria in Trastevere (Oldest Church dedicated to Our Lady)
  • Santa Cecilia (Remains of St. Cecilia, patron saint of Music)
  • Santa Maria in Cosmedin (Bocca Verita)
  • Circus Maximus (Imagine how the races were held)
  • Castel S’ant Angelo

Day 3: Florence (Day trip)

  • San Lorenzo Market (Buy tons of leather goods, murano glass)
  • Basilica of San Lorenzo
  • Duomo/Baptistry (Appreciate the design, the mosaic, sheer human work of art)
  • Basilica di Santa Croce (see tombs of Michelangelo, Rossini, Galileo, Dante)
  • Piazza Della Signora (Statue of Medici on a horse, Fountain of Neptune, Replica of David, Loggia di Lazi, Uffizi Gallery
  • Ponte Vecchio (Classic Florence background)
  • Walk along Via S. Maria for shops
  • Visit Dante Alighieri’s house

Day 4: Revisit/Shopping

Must eat: Pizza, Gelato, Lasagna

Vienna

Day 1: Schonbrunn Palace and Gardens (Relax, unwind, visit the zoo, climb up to see the Victory arc uphill)

Day 2: Heart of Vienna Tour

  • Hofburg Palace (Government palace)
  • Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral, appreciate the roof, the colorful stained glass)
  • Spanish Riding School guided tour (For the equestrians, learn how riders are trained and how they take care of their white horses)
  • Mozarthaus (Learn about the life and works of Mozart)
  • Beethoven’s Memorial (picture-picture!)
  • Dinner at Naschmarket (try a Schnitzel)

Day 3: Tribute to Musicians and a return to the Heart of Vienna

  • “Musiker” group of graves at the Central Cemetery via U3 to Simmering and Tram #6. Enter through the main gate, walk 150 m straight toward the Church. Walk along the left side of the street. Watch out for “Group 32” of graves. You’ll find the graves of great composers in that group. (Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Strauss)
  • Back to Heart of Vienna: St. Peter’s Church (appreciate Baroque architecture, if you’re lucky, watch a free concert)

Must eat: Kasenkreir (yummiest cheese dog!), Sausages, schnitzel, more gelato

Madrid

Day 1: Plaza Mayor and nearby places

  • Plaza Mayor (be entertained by actors)
  • Mercato San Miguel (try artisan foods – pastries, tapas, drinks, fruits, vegetables, wine)
  • Almudena Cathedral (appreciate this newly-renovated Church and be awed by the image of Our Lady of Almudena inside)
  • Palacio Real de Madrid (See the kind of palace the Monarchs of Spain live in during May of each year)
  • Chocolateria de San Gines (Churros con chocolate!)
  • Parque Del Buen Retiro (This is one heck of a Park!)

Day 2: Museum Day

  • Prado Museum (appreciate the works of Spanish artists like Greco, Caravaggio, Velazquez, Murillo, Rubens, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Goya, Dürer, and Brueghel
  • Reina Sofia Museum
  • Thyssen Museum

Day 3: Segovia

  • Roman Aquaduct
  • Alcazar (See a real Castle in the medieval ages)
  • Eat Cochinillo (Spanish version of Lechon) – tastier than Lechon, really!
  • Visit minor churches
  • Segovia Cathedral

Day 4: Shopping (Shop typical Spanish brands)

  • Mango
  • Desigual

Must eat: Churros con chocolate, cochinillo, Paella (Try Cafe e Te), Tapas, more gelato

Paris

Day 1: Shopping Center

  • Champs Elysee
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Eiffel Tower
  • Opera House
  • Pont Alexandre III

Day 2: Museum Day

  • Louvre (see the Mona Lisa, Pyramid, Venus de Milo, Code of Hamurabi, Rameses II, Winged Victory of Samothrace)
  • Jardin de Tulieres (Relax like a native)
  • Musee D’Orsay (Expressionists and Impressionists: Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Cezanne, Degas, Manet, Delacroix, Gauguin, Seurat and avant garde works)

Day 3: Paris Center

  • Saint Chapelle (Attend a concert there)
  • Notre Dame Cathedral
  • Basilique de Sacre Coeur de Montmarte
  • Moulin Rouge (Blanche station)

Day 4: Shopping (or Window shop!)

  • Luis Vuitton
  • Yves Rocher

Must eat: Crepes, Foie gras, French breads, all the French words you can think of!

London

Day 1: Buckingham

  • Buckingham Palace (witness the changing of guards)
  • Churchill (Imperial) War Museum
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Big Ben
  • London Eye
  • Parliament Square
  • Relax at the Park

Day 2: Museum Day

  • Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Science Museum
  • Natural History Museum
  • Kensington Gardens/Princess Diana Memorial
  • Watch a show at the Royal Albert Hall

Day 3: London Bridge

  • Tower Bridge (the real London Bridge)
  • Ride a double-decker to Charing Cross plaza
  • Appreciate the water fountain
  • Admiralty Arch
  • Picadilly Circus (a rotunda) – Ripley’s Believe or not, walk along the “Broadway” Street (West End) of London
  • Oxford Circus (Oxford St. and Regent St.) and start shopping!

Day 4: Musical and Shopping

  • Shop along Regent St. and Oxford St.
  • Watch a musical

Must eat: Fish and chips

This is a summary of all the major places we visited during our 22-day trip. We allotted one day in each trip as allowance for shopping and if we want to revisit some places. I think this is a pretty relaxed itinerary. I’m sure we still missed a lot of places we should have gone to, but we can’t possibly visit all of them unless we want to stress ourselves out on our vacation. 😉

We need not wake up early to catch a tour. We woke up at our pace, and my sister even had time to do her jogging and gym.

Share your thoughts and suggestions on this itinerary. 🙂

Want to know how much this trip costed? Click here.

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