Jeslie Does Europe: The Itinerary

They say that planning a trip makes you happier than actually taking it. I don’t know that I necessarily agree—I mean, there were definitely some unforeseen frustrations on the trip, but I still loved it. However, I definitely concur that planning the trip brought a great sense of joy and satisfaction. The minutes spent organizing our European itinerary were a welcome break from writing my dissertation, and they gave me something to look forward to as I dealt with the sadness of ending my year abroad and leaving the country I had grown to love.

While there are things that I would change about our itinerary if I were to do it again, I don’t regret one minute of that trip. We saw so many incredible things, met some amazing people, and made memories that we’ll cherish forever. Always the filmmaker, I put together this video recap of many of the things we saw (Leslie gets credit for the cute walking montage idea).

When Leslie and I first started planning our trip, we wanted to come up with a silly name like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure[1]. We tried a couple of different things and settled on a portmanteau of our names, “Jeslie Does Europe.” Cheesy? Definitely. But it was fun to have a name for our adventure, and it made it easy to find emails in our crowded inboxes.

Our Six-Week European Itinerary

For the curious (and those of you trying to plan your own European itinerary), here’s how we spent six crazy weeks traveling through 10 countries in Western Europe.

Note: On the maps, stops marked with a red icon were ones we actually visited/paid to enter, those marked with a blue icon were ones that we enjoyed from the outside, and those marked with a gray icon were those we had planned to visit but couldn’t for one reason or another. Those are not listed on the “What We Saw” lists for each day.

Day 1 – Dublin, Ireland


Where We Started:
Me: Newcastle, England
Leslie: Arizona


Transportation:
Flew to Dublin
Bus to hostel
Walked around city


Where We Ended:
Dublin, Ireland

What We Saw:
Ha’Penny Bridge
Temple Bar District
Christ Church Cathedral
St.Patrick’s Cathedral

Read about our time in Dublin here

Day 2 – Irish Castles


Where We Started:
Dublin, Ireland


Transportation:
Rental Car


Where We Ended:
Killarney, Ireland

What We Saw:
Rock of Cashel
Blarney Castle
Killarney National Park

Read about the Rock of Cashel here

Read about Blarney Castle and Killarney National Park here

Day 3 – Dinglehopping


Where We Started:
Killarney, Ireland


Transportation:
Rental Car


Where We Ended:
Ennis, Ireland

What We Saw:
Dingle Peninsula
Conor Pass
Blennervill Windmill
Ennis

Read about our time on the Dingle Peninsula here

Day 4 – The Cliffs of Insanity Moher


Where We Started:
Ennis, Ireland


Transportation:
Rental Car


Where We Ended:
Letterfrack, Ireland

What We Saw:
The Cliffs of Moher
Connemara National Park
Kylemore Abbey

Read about our time at the Cliffs of Moher here

Read about our time at Connemara NP and Kylemore Abbey here

Day 5 – Travel Day


Where We Started:
Letterfrack, Ireland


Transportation:
Drove to Dublin
Flew to London


Where We Ended:
London, England

Day 6, 7, and 8 – London


Where We Started:
London, England


Transportation:
Metro, Walking, and driving with a friend


Where We Ended:
London, England

What We Saw:

Day 6

Leslie and I are both LDS and we made sure to plan our trip so that we would be able to attend church every Sunday. We also tried to keep our activities appropriate for the Sabbath.

The Albert Memorial
Hyde Park
Kensington Palace


Day 7

King’s Cross Station (Platform 9 3/4)
St. Pancras Station
British Museum
Picadilly Circus
Buckingham Palace
The Guards Museum
Trafalgar Square
Big Ben
Houses of Parliament
Attended Evensong at Westminster
Millennium Bridge


Day 8

St. Paul’s Cathedral
Tower of London
Tower Bridge
Watched at play at the Globe
Borough Market
Windsor Castle


Day 9 – Portsmouth


Where We Started:
London, England


Transportation:
Train to Portsmouth


Where We Ended:
Ferry bound for France

What We Saw:
Portsmouth Historic Dockyards

Read about our time in Portsmouth here

Day 10 – Mont Saint-Michel


Where We Started:
Ferry Port at St. Malo, France


Transportation:
Taxi to Saint-Marcan
Hosts provided transportation to and from Mont Saint-Michel


Where We Ended:
Saint-Marcan, France

What We Saw:
Mont Saint-Michel

Read about our time at Mont Saint-Michel here

Days 11 & 12 – Paris


Where We Started:
Saint-Marcan, France


Transportation:
Hosts provided transportation to train station in Pontorson
Train to Paris


Where We Ended:
Paris, France

What We Saw:
The Louvre
Notre Dame
Eiffel Tower
Arc de Triomphe
Sacre Coeur

Read about our time in Paris here

Day 12 part II – Travel


Where We Started:
Paris, France


Transportation:
Metro


Where We Ended:
Lisbon, Portugal

Day 13 – Sunday in Belém


Where We Started:
Lisbon, Portugal


Transportation:
Bus and Walking


Where We Ended:
Lisbon, Portugal

What We Saw:
Padrão dos Descobrimentos (the Monument to the Discoveries)
Torre de Belém (Tower of Belém)
Palácio Foz
25 de Abril Bridge
Sanctuary of Christ the King
Jerónimos Monastery

Read about our time in Belém here

Day 14 – Day Trip to Sintra


Where We Started:
Lisbon, Portugal


Transportation:
Train


Where We Ended:
Lisbon, Portugal

What We Saw:
Pena Palace
Quinta de Regaleira
Palácio Nacional de Sintra
Palácio de Queluz

Read about our time in Sintra here

Day 15 – Lisbon


Where We Started:
Lisbon, Portugal


Transportation:
Metro and Tram


Where We Ended:
Night train to Madrid

What We Saw:
Castelo de São Jorge
Alfama district
Igreja de Santa Catarina
Igreja de São Roque
Livraria Bertrand

Read about our time in Lisbon here

Day 16 – Madrid


Where We Started:
Chamartín train station, Madrid


Transportation:
Walking


Where We Ended:
Madrid, Spain

What We Saw:
Madrid Atocha train station
Palacio Real

Read about our time in Madrid here

Day 17 – The Alhambra


Where We Started:
Madrid, Spain


Transportation:
Train and Bus


Where We Ended:
Granada, Spain

What We Saw:
The Alhambra

Read about our time at The Alhambra here

Day 18 – Travel Day


Where We Started:
Granada, Spain


Transportation:
Train


Where We Ended:
Barcelona, Spain

Day 19 – Barcelona


Where We Started:
Barcelona, Spain


Transportation:
Metro


Where We Ended:
Barcelona, Spain

What We Saw:
La Boqueria
Sagrada Familia
Park Güell

Read about our time in Barcelona here

Day 20 – Church and Travel


Where We Started:
Barcelona, Spain


Transportation:
Bus


Where We Ended:
Carcassonne, France

Day 21 – Carcassonne


Where We Started:
Carcassonne, France


Transportation:
Walking


Where We Ended:
Carcassonne, France

What We Saw:
The Medieval City of Carcassonne

Read about our time in Carcassonne here

Day 22 – Avignon


Where We Started:
Carcassonne, France


Transportation:
Train


Where We Ended:
Avignon, France

What We Saw:
Le Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes)
Had plans to visit two churches, but both were closed

Read about our time in Avignon here

Day 23 – Travel


Where We Started:
Avignon, France


Transportation:
Train


Where We Ended:
Milan, Italy

Day 24 – Milan


Where We Started:
Milan, Italy


Transportation:
Metro


Where We Ended:
Milan, Italy

What We Saw:
Duomo di Milano
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
La Scala Theatre
Sforza Castle

Read about our time in Milan here

Day 25 – Venice


Where We Started:
Milan, Italy


Transportation:
Train


Where We Ended:
Venice, Italy

What We Saw:
The Grand Canal
Basilica di San Marco
La Fenice Theatre
The Doge’s Palace
The Bridge of Sighs

Read about our time in Venice here

Days 26 & 27 – Florence


Where We Started:
Venice, Italy


Transportation:
Taxi, Train, and Bus


Where We Ended:
Florence, Italy

What We Saw:

Day 26

Markets
Da Vinci Museum
Florence Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore)
Palazzo della Signoria
Il Porcellino
Ponte Vecchio

Day 27

Church
Piazzale Michelangelo

 

Read about our time in Florence here

Day 28 – Rome


Where We Started:
Florence, Italy


Transportation:
Train and Metro


Where We Ended:
Rome, Italy

What We Saw:
Colosseum
Palatine Hill
The Roman Forum
The Altar of the Fatherland
Foro Traiano
Mercati di Traiano
The Pantheon
The Trevi Fountain
Giolitti

Read about our time in Rome here

Day 29 – Day trip to Pompeii


Where We Started:
Rome, Italy


Transportation:
Tour Bus, but we did a self-guided tour


Where We Ended:
Rome, Italy

What We Saw:
Pompeii

Read about our time in Pompeii here

Day 30 – The Vatican City and Rome Part II


Where We Started:
Rome, Italy


Transportation:
Metro


Where We Ended:
Rome, Italy

What We Saw:
The Vatican Museums
Sistine Chapel
St. Peter’s Square
Castel Sant’Angelo
The Spanish Steps
Borghese Gardens
Giolitti again

Read about our time in The Vatican City here

Day 31 – Travel


Where We Started:
Rome, Italy


Transportation:
Flew


Where We Ended:
Vienna, Austria

Day 32 – Vienna


Where We Started:
Vienna, Austria


Transportation:
Metro


Where We Ended:
Vienna, Austria

What We Saw:
Schönbrunn Palace
Stephensplatz Church
Museum Quarter
Austrian Parliament Building
Rathaus
The Spanish Riding School of Vienna (Me)
Hofburg Palace (Leslie)
Donnerbrunnen Fountain

Read about our time in Vienna here

Days 33 & 34 – Salzburg


Where We Started:
Vienna, Austria


Transportation:
Train


Where We Ended:
Salzburg, Austria

What We Saw:
Schloss Mirabel
Dwarf Garden
Holy Trinity Church
Mozart’s Birthplace
Dom zu Salzburg
Horse Fountains
Hohensalzburg Fortress
Stift Nonnberg (Nonnberg Abbey)
Sebastianfriedhof

Read about our time in Salzburg here

Day 35 – Neuschwanstein Castle


Where We Started:
Salzburg, Austria


Transportation:
Bus and Train and Bus again


Where We Ended:
Hohenschwangau, Germany

What We Saw:
Füssen, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle
Hohenschwangau Castle
Alpsee

Read about our time at Neuschwanstein here

Days 36 & 37 – Munich


Where We Started:
Hohenschwangau, Germany


Transportation:
Bus, Train, and Metro


Where We Ended:
Munich, Germany

What We Saw:
Rathaus Cuckoo Clock
The Munich Residencz (including the Royal Theater and the Treasury)
King’s Square
Wittelsbach Fountain
Feldherrnhalle
Frauenkirche
Altes Rathaus
St. Peter’s Church
Heiliggeistkirche
Viktuals Market
The Deutsches Museum

Read about our time in Munich here

Day Day 38 – Geneva


Where We Started:
Munich, Germany


Transportation:
Train


Where We Ended:
Geneva, Switzerland

What We Saw:
Jet d’Eau
L’horloge fleurie
St Pierre Cathedral
The Arsenal
Reformation Wall
Promenade des Bastions
Skatepark of Plainpalais

Read about our time in Geneva here

Day 39 – Day trip to Gruyères


Where We Started:
Geneva, Switzerland


Transportation:
Host drove


Where We Ended:
Geneva, Switzerland

What We Saw:
Maison Cailler Chocolate Factory
La Maison du Gruyère
Gruyères Castle

Read about our time in Gruyères here

Day 40 – Day trip to Montreux and the Chateau de Chillon


Where We Started:
Geneva, Switzerland


Transportation:
Train


Where We Ended:
Geneva, Switzerland

What We Saw:
Montreux, Switzerland
The Chateau de Chillon

Read about our time in Montreux here

Day 41 – Flying Back to the US


Where We Started:
Geneva, Switzerland


Transportation:
Flights


Where We Ended:
Solvang, CA

Day 42 – Solvang, CA


Where We Started:
Solvang, CA


Transportation:
Walking and Driving


Where We Ended:
Solvang, CA

What We Saw:
Solvang, CA
Jalama Beach
Santa Barbara, CA

Read about our time in Solvang here

After that, we both headed home, her to Arizona and me to Idaho. It was a whirlwind trip for sure and there are certainly lots of things we missed. But I feel like we did a pretty good job of seeing as much as we could while we were in Europe.

Stay tuned for next week, when I’ll have a post about how to tackle the often overwhelming task of planning a European itinerary of your own. See you then!

If you found this post helpful, please share it! Thanks!

A Six-Week European Itinerary | Jest Kept Secret

[1] Which I’ve never seen, so please don’t take this as an endorsement…

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I’m a quirky Canadian-American who’s always ready for the next adventure. I always return my shopping carts to the cart corral, I fold gum wrappers into origami cranes, and I polish my nerd badge daily. I am passionate about helping women intentionally make space for the things that bring them true joy. Read more about me and my mission here.

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