Here’s the scenario: You’re traveling around Europe. Naturally, you want to make the most of your time! So, in the planning process, you get a little Euro-crazy and end up with 5 countries in 2 weeks. That gives you about 2-3 days in each country.
Now, here’s the pickle: How in the WORLD do you truly experience a city in a mere 48 hours?? No fear; there are ways to maximize your short n’ sweet time. I’ve picked up these nifty little tricks throughout my travels and want to share them with you! Ready to make the most of your whirlwind Europe travel?
1.) Rent a city bike
Most European cities are super bike friendly, not to mention you cover 3X as much ground as you would on foot! In fact, there’s an app called Donkey Bikes that allows you to rent a bike in a European city through your phone, find the bike nearest to you, and unlock/lock it with your oh-so-powerful iPhone – 24/7. If you’re curious to test it out right here in Spain, there’s a bike hire in Madrid!
2.) Join the Free Walking Tour
Now, usually I prefer exploring a city on my own. HOWEVER! The first morning in a new city, I’ve found free walking tours to be an excellent resource to get a lay of the land, find out some cool neighborhoods, hidden spots, and points of interest you might wanna re-visit. My advice? Pick the brain of your tour guide! Then, 30-minutes in, if you’re over the tour, strike off on your own. Leaving early is ok but DON’T FORGET to be nice, thank the tour guide, and give them a nice tip 🙂
3.) Get lost
Now that you’ve got a semi lay-of-the-land, put down that map and branch off from those main tourist-plazas and grand avenues. Getting lost in a city leads to the best discoveries! Don’t hesitate to ask for directions from a friendly-looking local; it might just lead to some insider-tips!
4.) Go to a Market
Wanna get an authentic taste of the local cuisine? European food markets have the best samplings of local, fresh cuisine. You’ll often be ordering right next to a bunch of locals, from university kids on a budget to grannies! Go crazy and get some local cheese, cured meats, fresh baked goods… then eat it right then and there, or have a ballin’ picnic in a city park.
5.) Do your homework
As if momma hasn’t told you enough! Use that train/ plane/ bus time going from one city to the next to read up on some stuff about the city. Always be prepared!
BONUS TIP: Let go of that “I need to see everything” mentality
You may find yourself having anxiety upon arrival to a new city; sometimes we feel like we must see absolutely everything and GO, GO, GO. But remember, the ultimate goal is for you to enjoy. You’ll see and experience what you have time for, and what you don’t…well, the city won’t be going anywhere! Sit back, relax and soak it all in. It’s better to do a few things well than rush through a packed itinerary. After all, you’re on vacation!