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11 Best European Cities to Visit in February

Colder temperatures means way fewer crowds, making February a fantastic time to do some traveling! Whether you’re looking for a winter wonderland where you can relax by a cozy fire or experience the snow, or you’re looking for a sunny destination to beat the winter gloom, there’s an option for everyone on this list.

While many people don’t think of February as the ideal time to travel, there a lot of perks that come with traveling this time of year. You don’t have to worry about your hotel not having air conditioning (which we Americans usually find essential in the warm months!) and you have way fewer crowds and shorter lines to the sights.

Not sure where to go? From the dreamy Swiss alps to the Med, here are the top 10 best European cities to visit in February! 

READ: Where to Go in Europe in the Winter

1. Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is magical any time of year, but it gets especially appealing in February with way fewer tourists competing for tickets to the sights and hogging the best photo spots! With temperatures in the mid 50’s (Farenheit), you can still walk around pretty comfortably. Just don’t forget a jacket and an umbrella, as this can be a rainy time of year.

There are also a number of cultural events happening in Barcelona in February, including concerts, theater performances, and exhibitions which can offer a more unique experience than other times of the year. 

June through August are Barcelona’s peak months, meaning you’re going to have some serious crowds that time of year. Take advantage of the slower season and see all of beautiful Barcelona, including iconic sights like La Sagrada Familia  without fighting the crowds!

2. Florence, Italy

Ultra-romantic and packed full of beautiful art and architecture, Florence is truly an amazing place to visit and experience. While it’s a fabulous destination any time of year, February is an especially great time to visit this Italian gem. Experience the city’s most iconic works of art by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Botticelli, without the crowds and hot weather!

Explore the city on foot, taking in all of its stunning Renaissance and Gothic design, then venture out to nearby vineyards for wine tastings and tours that are unlike any other.

3. Prague, Czech Republic

Winter in Prague is like something out of a fairy-tale. The iconic skyline of spires and the majestic Prague Castle are dusted with a layer of snow, creating a picturesque scene that can’t be missed.

Normally packed full of tourists in the summer months, you’ll have Prague mostly to yourself in February. This makes it the perfect time to bundle up and explore the winding streets of the city’s Old Town, before snapping a picture in front of the famed atomic clock – likely without a hundred people crowding your picture!

Warm up by visiting one of the city’s museums, like Prague Jewish Museum, the National Museum, or the Museum of Beer, before grabbing a pint at a local haunt. After all, you’re bound to enjoy a one (or a few!) beers when they’re notoriously cheaper than water here!

4. Edinburgh, Scotland

Emerging as an incredibly popular destination in 2023, Edinburgh has been seeing some major crowds during peak months. Explore this charming city during the slower months of November through March to really savor this charming city.

Enjoy misty mornings and quaint cobblestone streets as you visit Scottish pubs and show stopping Edinburgh Castle. It sounds like a dream doesn’t it?!

When you’re done exploring the beautiful downtown area of Edinburgh, rent a car to venture into the Scottish countryside. 

5. Porto, Portugal

Visiting Porto, Portugal in the winter is a magical experience that showcases the city’s unique charm in a whole different light. The city’s iconic landmarks, such as the Dom Luís I Bridge and the historic Ribeira district, are adorned with a subtle festive glow, creating a picturesque scene against the backdrop of the Douro River. 

Winter in Porto brings an opportunity to savor the city’s renowned port wine in the warmth of traditional wine cellars, providing a perfect respite from the crisp air outside – talk about a truly unique experience! 

Visit a local cafe for a delightful array of seasonal dishes that showcase the rich flavors of Portuguese cuisine after strolling through the vibrant Mercado do Bolhão or enjoying panoramic views from the Clerigos Tower.

6. Zurich, Switzerland

Another snow-dusted setting straight from a storybook, Zurich should be at the top of your list for a winter visit to Europe. 

The picturesque setting along the shores of Lake Zurich and the surrounding Alps creates a winter wonderland, that feels romantic and completely unique to the city. 

Zurich’s winter cultural scene flourishes with art exhibitions, music performances, and theater productions, providing indoor entertainment amidst the winter chill. Cozy cafes and fondue restaurants invite visitors to savor Swiss delicacies and warm up with a cup of hot chocolate. Zurich in the winter is a perfect blend of sophistication, winter magic, and outdoor adventures.

If you’re looking for a truly one of a kind mountain experience, or want to hit the slopes, we suggest you move on to the next stop on our list: Zermatt.

7. Zermatt, Switzerland

Of course, there’s more than one stop to make in Switzerland in the winter! Get your fill of the Swiss Alps with a visit to Zermatt, one of Switzerland’s most beautiful mountain towns.

Just a three hour train ride away from Zurich, Zermatt offers winter visitors a completely dreamy experience. Nestled beneath the iconic Matterhorn, the city transforms into a snow-covered paradise, offering a haven for winter sports enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. 

The village exudes a cozy Alpine charm with its wooden chalets and cobblestone streets, adorned with twinkling lights. Skiers and snowboarders can explore the extensive network of slopes, including the renowned Gornergrat and Schwarzsee, while non-skiers can embark on scenic hikes or take the Gornergrat Railway for breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding peaks. No matter your daily activities, end it with a stop to traditional Swiss restaurants serving hearty cuisine, including the famous fondue. 

Zermatt’s car-free policy enhances the tranquility of the snowy landscape, allowing visitors to enjoy the crisp mountain air and pristine winter scenery. Whether taking a horse-drawn carriage ride through the snow-draped streets or sipping hot cocoa by a roaring fireplace, Zermatt in the winter offers an idyllic retreat for those seeking a truly magical mountain escape.

8. Paris, France

We’d be remiss to mention the City of Love during a February trip – doesn’t it seem like the most dreamy place for a Valentine’s Day vacation? Known for being the most romantic city int he world, you absolutely won’t regret a visit to this European city in February. 

With off-season pricing at local hotels, and no lines to the city’s most iconic landmarks, a winter visit is a win-win. With fewer crowds, you’re free to spend more time exploring and less time waiting, while soaking in all of the snowy magic Paris has to offer!

Climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe for fabulous views of the city, and don’t forget to visit the Eiffel Tower lit up and glittering every hour on the hour after dusk for an incredible experience.

As a bonus, February tends to be the least expensive month to fly to Paris! 

9. Kyrenia, Cyprus

Looking for a destination sans snow? We don’t blame you! If you’re coming from a gloomy, snowy place yourself, we’re sure you’re more in the mood for a little sun. 

You won’t find any snow in Kyrenia in February, with temperatures sticking around 60 degrees. Located on the northern side of this Mediterannean island, you’ll find white sand beaches famous for their turtles and scuba diving opportunities galore. 

Explore the cobblestone waterfront before grabbing a bite of seafood at one of the local restaurants here, then check out the famous Kyrenia Castle and the Shipwreck Museum.

10. Reykjavik, Iceland

If experiencing an Arctic winter or seeing the incredible Northern Lights is on your bucket list, a visit to Reykjavik in February is an absolute must.

The city, draped in a blanket of snow, takes on an ethereal beauty against the backdrop of the rugged Icelandic landscape. February is an ideal time for witnessing the mesmerizing Northern Lights, and Reykjavik’s surrounding areas provide ample opportunities for aurora hunting. 

The city itself is alive with a unique winter energy, as locals and visitors alike partake in the annual Winter Lights Festival, celebrating the interplay of light and darkness. The geothermal pools, such as the iconic Blue Lagoon, offer a soothing contrast to the chilly air, allowing for a relaxing, rejuvenating, and truly one-of-a-kind experience. 

11. Valetta, Malta

Another warm weather destination, Valletta, Malta in February is a unique and enchanting experience. The UNESCO World Heritage site, with its stunning Baroque architecture and fortified walls, creates a picturesque setting for exploration. 

Explore cobbled streets and charming squares, such as St. George’s Square, or take a walk to the waterfront. With its panoramic views of the Grand Harbour, it remains a captivating spot to take a stroll or people watch. 

February in Valletta also coincides with the colorful Carnival season, infusing the city with a burst of energy as lively parades and vibrant festivities take over the streets. Whether wandering through the Upper Barrakka Gardens or exploring the city’s numerous museums and cathedrals, Valletta in February offers a tranquil and culturally immersive experience against the backdrop of Malta’s timeless beauty.

READ: Should I Visit Paris or Rome?

Europe Travel, Italy

1 Day in Rome Itinerary

Planning one day in Rome? As one of Italy’s most popular tourist destinations, you can probably imagine there’s a lot to see (and do) in the Eternal City! Here you’ll find ancient architecture, history around every corner, timeless beauty, and more fountains than anywhere else in the world.

From famous landmarks like the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain, to the iconic Vatican City, you’ll have more than enough to keep you busy. With something beautiful and historic around every corner, i’s often regarded as just one giant outdoor museum!

While many people spend 2-4 days in Rome – after all, there is so much to see – you can absolutely see the highlights in one day. So if you’re looking to see all the best sights in Rome in one day, read on to see our favorite spots, a couple hidden gems, and even see our self-guided walking tour to make sure you don’t miss a single thing!

READ: The Ultimate Rome Travel Guide & Bucket List

Jump To:
The Best Things to See in Rome
1 Day in Rome Itinerary
Rome Travel Tips


The Best Things to See in Rome

The Colosseum

As one of the seven wonders of the world, the Colosseum is one stop you don’t want to miss during your visit to Rome! Construction started on the Colosseum all the way back in 72 AD, making it over 1,900 years old.

Formerly an amphitheater that hosted epic gladiatorial battles, the Colosseum is full of incredible history. Tour the amphitheater, or join a guided tour for access to the underground areas and stage where the gladiators once stood!

You’ll want to arrive early to beat the crowds, or (even better) purchase tickets in advance so you don’t spend half your day waiting in line to see the Colosseum. Check out these priority entrance + sightseeing bus tour tickets, or join a guided tour of the Colosseum (we recommend this one) to really maximize your time there!

The Roman Forum

While you’re by the Colosseum, you’ll absolutely want to check out the Roman Forum as it’s right next door. This sprawling archaeological site that was the heart of ancient Rome. Wander through the ruins of temples, basilicas, and arches, imagining the vibrant life that once thrived in this bustling center of politics and commerce.

Built at the end of the 7th century BC, the Roman Forum served as the center of public life in Rome for more than a millennium. As centuries went on, more and more buildings were built at the Forum, including those for political, religious, economic and judicial activities – it really was the hub for everything!

Stroll through the ruins on your own, or join a guided tour (like this one!) to really understand all of the history that took place here.

The Vatican

As the smallest independent state in the world, Vatican City has a history deeply intertwined with the Catholic Church and the papacy. The origins of the Vatican can be traced to the first Christian emperor, Constantine the Great, who, in the early 4th century, constructed a basilica over what was believed to be the burial place of St. Peter. 

This original St. Peter’s Basilica laid the foundation for the Vatican we know today. The current St. Peter’s Basilica, designed by architects including Michelangelo and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, stands as a testament to the Vatican’s artistic and architectural magnificence.

The sheer beauty of the buildings and the cobblestone streets in Vatican City are enough for anyone to appreciate, and you can wander through the city without needing a ticket. Soak it all in, it’s one of the most important and iconic religious sites in the world!

If you want to tour the Vatican or its museums, you’ll need a ticket or to join a guided tour. It’s imperative that you get these booked ahead of time as queues here can take hours. When we went in the beginning of November (low season), tickets were still sold out a couple of weeks in advance and the line to go inside was a couple hundred people long!

Check out these skip-the-line tickets to see the Vatican, its museums, and the Sistine Chapel.

The Trevi Fountain

As one of Rome’s most iconic landmarks, the Trevi Fountain boasts a rich history that spans centuries. Its origins can be traced back to the 18th century when it was designed as a grand fountain as a part of the newly reconstructed Aqua Virgo aqueduct. 

Completed in 1762, the Trevi Fountain stands at the junction of three roads, or “tre vie,” giving it its name. The legend of tossing a coin over the left shoulder into the fountain to ensure a return to Rome became popularized in the mid-20th century, adding a whimsical tradition to this awe-inspiring monument. 

Today, the Trevi Fountain continues to enchant visitors with its Baroque magnificence and remains a symbol of beauty, art, and the eternal charm of the city of Rome. And as a bonus, it’s totally free to see, no ticket required! Snap a few pictures, then sit on the benches in front of it to really admire and appreciate the most famous fountain in the world.

The Pantheon

The Pantheon, a marvel of ancient Roman engineering and architecture, stands as a testament to the enduring brilliance of Roman civilization. Originally commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD) and later rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian around 126 AD, the Pantheon has weathered the ages remarkably well. 

The building’s most distinctive (and famed) feature is its massive dome, an engineering feat that remained unrivaled for centuries. The oculus, a central opening in the dome, serves both as a source of natural light and a symbolic connection to the divine. 

Over the years, the Pantheon has served various purposes, transitioning from a pagan temple to a Christian church dedicated to St. Mary and the Martyrs in the 7th century. Its well-preserved state and architectural grandeur make the Pantheon a timeless symbol of Rome’s rich history and a must-visit destination for those seeking to connect with the ancient world.

You can enter the Pantheon for 5 euros, but you’ll want to be mindful about what time you go as there can be quite a line. It’s probably a good idea to go first thing in the morning, or wait until the evening when people are heading to dinner and less likely to still be the sights.

Spanish Steps

Completed in the 18th century, these 135 breathtaking steps, designed by architects Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi, connect the Piazza di Spagna below with the Trinità dei Monti church at the top. 

Beyond being a monumental staircase, the Spanish Steps have evolved into a lively gathering spot and iconic photo opp, perfect for savoring the vibrant atmosphere of the Eternal City. Whether you find yourself basking in the sun on the steps, indulging in a gelato from one of the nearby vendors, or window shopping in the adjacent luxury boutiques, a visit to the Spanish Steps promises an unforgettable experience that captures the essence of Rome’s timeless allure.

Just note – you cannot eat on the steps! Doing so will result in a hefty fine, save your snacks and gelato savoring for when you’re in the piazza below.

1 Day in Rome Itinerary

While a day in Rome may seem too short, it’s entirely possible to capture the essence of this enchanting city by prioritizing key landmarks and experiences.  Embrace the history, savor the flavors, and let the eternal city leave a mark on your heart!

Morning:

Tour the Colosseum

First thing’s first, check the Colosseum off your list! Hit the ticket office first thing in the morning (as of writing, it opens at 9:00 AM), before the lines form, or be wise and plan ahead with pre-purchased skip-the-line tickets or by joining a guided tour (we love this one!)

You can spend an hour here, or several, depending on how long you explore this iconic landmark or if you do a longer tour, like the highly-rated guided Underground tour.

Explore the Roman Forum

As we mentioned above in the previous section, the Roman Forum is right next to the Colosseum. These incredible ruins are truly something to see and explore, you don’t want to miss it! Join a guided tour to understand all of the rich history behind the Forum, when it was the heartbeat of the city of Rome.

Visit the Pantheon

Next, make your way to the Pantheon, a marvel of ancient engineering and architecture. The dome of this well-preserved temple is a testament to Roman ingenuity. Take a moment to appreciate the oculus – a circular opening in the dome that allows sunlight to illuminate the interior.

Afternoon:

Have Lunch Near the Trevi

Before visiting the magnificent Trevi Fountain, grab lunch at one of the many nearby restaurants. There are loads to choose from in this area, and you really can’t go wrong! We had some of our favorite meals here in Rome, and particularly liked Il Chianti Osteria Toscana.

Throw a Coin in the Trevi Fountain

No visit to Rome is complete without tossing a coin into the Trevi Fountain. Legend has it that doing so ensures a return to the eternal city, or that you’ll find love in Roma. Join the crowds, make your wish, and marvel at the Baroque masterpiece designed by Nicola Salvi. It truly is so beautiful in person – we went to see it 4 times during our 2 days there!

Stroll Through Piazza Navona

Wander over to Piazza Navona, a lively square surrounded by elegant Baroque buildings. Admire the stunning Fountain of the Four Rivers and soak in the vibrant atmosphere. Street performers, artists, and gelato vendors add to the charm of this picturesque square. There are also a few restaurants around perfect for grabbing an afternoon glass of wine or Aperol Spritz and people-watching!

Climb the Spanish Steps

Walk to the Spanish Steps and climb to the very top to the Trinità dei Monti church! Here you’ll have a beautiful view of the Piazza di Spagna below. You won’t want to miss this iconic spot in Rome, and be sure to snap a few pictures at the bottom!

Evening:

Grab Dinner in Trastevere

Head across the Tiber River to the charming neighborhood of Trastevere. This area is known for its narrow cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and a plethora of authentic Italian eateries. Enjoy a delicious dinner at a local restaurant, savoring traditional Roman dishes and of course, wine!

Stroll Through Roma + Get Gelato

With beauty around every corner, spend the rest of your free time in Rome by wandering through the cobblestone streets and admiring all of the architecture, monuments, and other stunning sights you see. Rome was specifically designed so there was always something beautiful at the end of each street, whether it’s a gorgeous building, an intricate fountain, or an ancient statue. 

And as you explore, you’ll likely find a few gelato shops along the way!

READ: 2 Days in Rome Itinerary

Rome Travel Tips

Rome is a very popular tourist destination, and as such, there are a few things to plan for so you can have as smooth of a trip as possible!

Plan Ahead and Prioritize

Rome is a city with a wealth of historical and cultural sites, so planning your itinerary in advance is crucial. Prioritize the must-see attractions based on your interests, and consider booking tickets in advance online to skip long lines (and to avoid not being able to get tickets at all – they do sell out!) Rome is absolutely somewhere that you’ll benefit from planning ahead and booking any tours or experiences you want to have well in advance.

Comfortable Shoes

Rome is a city best explored on foot, we can attest to that. We found beauty around every corner, and I feel like we would’ve missed so many charming streets and beautiful details had we not been walking everywhere.

Because Rome is a larger city and the landmarks/popular sights are pretty spaced out, you’ll likely cover a significant amount of ground. Because of this, ensure you wear comfortable footwear. This is also so important because you’ll be navigating cobbled streets and walking through historical sites, not to mention all of the uneven sidewalks! Stay comfy with all that walking by wearing cushy athletic shoes, or whatever else you’re comfortable doing all that walking in. Your feet will thank you!

Time Your Visits Wisely

To avoid the crowds and make the most of your time, plan your visits to popular attractions early in the morning or later in the afternoon. This is particularly true for landmarks like the Colosseum, Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel. You’ll not only experience shorter lines but also enjoy a more relaxed and immersive atmosphere. This is especially true during the high season, going during non-peak hours will be much less stressful! 

Public Transport and Walking

While walking is an excellent way to explore Rome (and our preferred way to explore the city), we realize that’s not going to work for everyone. The city also has a comprehensive public transport system, including buses and the metro. Purchase a Roma Pass for unlimited access to public transportation and discounted entry to museums and attractions. Walking, however, allows you to stumble upon charming alleyways and unexpected treasures, so strike a balance between the two modes of exploration.

READ: Should I Visit Paris or Rome?

Europe Travel, Italy

4 Days in Tuscany | 4 Day Tuscany Itineraries

Ah, Tuscany. Italy’s spectacular (and wildly popular) region, home to medieval towns and stunning vineyards. When visiting this beautiful country, Tuscany is a must-see spot on your list!

From the leaning tower of Pisa to the beautiful architecture in Florence, to the medieval city of Siena and the many stunning vineyards sprinkled throughout the Tuscany region, there’s something for everyone here. And it’s a trip you won’t soon forget.

In this post, we’ll be sharing with you our exact 4 day Tuscany itinerary, tips on where to stay, all of the must-see sights, and the best way to travel between cities. 

Let’s start planning your trip to Tuscany!

READ MORE: Should You Visit Rome or Paris?

Jump To:
How to Travel to & Around Tuscany
Tuscany 4 Day Itinerary: Day 1 – Florence
Tuscany 4 Day Itinerary: Day 2 – Siena
Tuscany 4 Day Itinerary: Day 3 – San Gimignano
Tuscany 4 Day Itinerary: Day 4 – Pisa

How to Travel to & Around Tuscany

Both Florence and Pisa have international airports that you can fly into. You’ll then be able to take a train, bus or car to the other cities on this list (or anywhere else you’d like to visit). If you’re used to not taking any public transportation like many of us Americans are, you’ll find that train and bus travel is very common here and if you’re not renting a car, you’re likely to need to take one of them at some point during your trip.

If you’re planning on exploring the small towns of Tuscany or want to spend time in the countryside, you’d likely be better off renting a car so you’re free to see everything you want to see with ease!

READ MORE: The Ultimate Guide to Rome, Italy

Tuscany 4 Day Itinerary: Day 1 – Florence

Florence (Firenze in Italian), is the most populated city in Tuscany and the capital of the region. This iconic Italian city is home to painting masterpieces, incredible Renaissance architecture, and even the famed “David” sculpture by Michelangelo. 

With lots of ground to cover, you may find this is your busiest stop on your trip in Tuscany, and you may even want to spend two days here instead of just one. With historical statues and monuments everywhere, It’s like walking through a giant open-air museum!

Start your day off at the Galleria dell’Accademia where you can see incredible works of art by Botticelli and Da Vinci, as well as the famous David sculpture. Lines can get long here, even though it’s a small museum, so grab skip-the-line tickets in advance to avoid wasting time on your day in Florence! If you’re a major art fan, you might want to grab this tour ticket to see both the Academia and the larger museum, Uffizi.

Walk the city’s main streets and side streets, soaking up all of the Tuscan atmosphere and architecture. Then take a stroll through Mercato Centrale to shop for authentic olive or truffle oil, local cheese, or hand-made sweets to ship home. 

Next up, you’ll want to go see the Piazza del Duomo, home of the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral. This is one of the most iconic spots in all of Italy! Enter the cathedral (you can enter for free) and marvel at the incredible architecture. Or grab a ticket to climb to the top of Giotto’s Bell Tower or Brunelleschi’s Dome for amazing views of the city. Get your tickets in advance, especially during high season – we recommend this one!

From the Piazza del Duomo, you can do a quick 3-minute walk to the Piazza della Repubblica. This piazza is the site of the former Roman Forum of Florence, and it was the city center during the Roman Empire. Snap a picture of the beautiful carousel in this square, then continue walking to the Fontana del Porcellino. 

Stick a coin in the mouth of this bronze pig fountain and make a wish as it drops into the grate, if it falls through, your wish is said to come true! Then, as legend has it, if you rub the pig’s nose, you’re guaranteed to return to Florence one day!

Next, we have another piazza! Piazza della Signoria is close by and is home to the Palazzo Vecchio, a beautiful open-air museum showcasing stunning statues, Neptune’s Fountain, and the Uffizi Gallery.

Stroll across the Ponte Vecchio Bridge, one of the most iconic sights of Florence. This pedestrian bridge offers beautiful views of the Arno River, but keep in mind that it can get a little crowded.

Finish the day by watching the sunset from Piazza Michelangelo, back where you started. This is one of the best viewpoints of all of Florence, and an amazing way to end your day in the city. 

Where to Stay in Florence:

Golden Tower Hotel & Spa, new boutique hotel in the heart of Florence, this luxury hotel is the perfect place to rest your head after a busy day out in Florence. Enjoy being walking distance to the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella at the Ambasciatori Hotel Florence. Guests love the historic and convenient location!

HOT TIP: See all of Florence’s top sights with the Florence City Pass! You can check it out here.

Tuscany 4 Day Itinerary: Day 2 – Siena

Centrally located in Tuscany, Siena is famous for its medieval brick buildings and surrounding 1,000-year old wall. As a UNESCO-listed history center, this beautiful city should definitely be at the top of your list when adventuring through Tuscany.

In the summer, they also hold the Palio di Siena, a legendary horse racing competition and one of Italy’s most popular sporting events. Even without the horse races, you can still enjoy seeing the central Piazza del Campo di Siena. This 13th-century square has an iconic shell shape that’s split into 9 downward sloping sections that meet in the center for water drainage. This unique slope also creates a beautiful view of Siena from any angle! 

Next, head to the Pubblico Palace and climb the 400 steps to the top of the Torre del Mangia for panoramic views of the city and its surrounding countryside. This building also houses the city’s civic museum and you can enjoy beautiful works of art here.

Walk to the Piazza del Duomo where you’ll find the Siena Cathedral (or Duomo di Siena). This stunning Roman Catholic Church was built all the way back in 1215 and is the perfect place to admire the city’s ancient architecture. 

When you’re done wandering the beautiful streets of Siena and exploring all of its stunning buildings and squares, go to the Porta Camollia (Camollia Gate) at the north end of the city. Siena is one of the few cities in the world still surrounded by a totally intact medieval wall, and it’s so grand it’s definitely worth seeing!

Next, check out Palazzo Salimbeni, the world’s oldest bank. This 15th century Gothic-style palace overlooks a square that was designed by architect Partini that wanted to create something medieval and renaissance-style for the space. With hundreds of lights filling the interior and square, it’s truly something special to see at night.

Where to Stay in Siena

Stay right near the famed Duomo di Siena at the Il Battistero Siena, with some rooms even having lovely city views.  Just a 5-minute walk from the Torre del Mangia and the Piazza del Campo, the Villa del Sole Siena is another guest-favorite with a great location.

READ MORE: Rome Bucket List + Self-Guided Walking Tour of Rome

Tuscany 4 Day Itinerary: Day 3 – San Gimignano

While a small town in Tuscany, this hilly Italian town just southwest of Florence has a lot to offer! Surrounded by 13th-century walls, this medieval town has a beautiful triangular square lined with ancient houses at its center, called the Piazza della Cisterna. Explore the old-world streets and take in the views of medieval towers – there are 14 of them – including the famous stone Torre Grossa, the tallest tower that still remains here. 

Known as Italy’s Medieval Manhattan, you can make your way through the city on foot or by vespa. From Torre Grossa in the Piazza delle Erbe, you can walk up the hill to La Rocca di Montestaffoli. This is the ruins of the 14th century fortress situated above the town. Here, you’ll find shady olive groves and beautiful views  of the rolling Tuscan hills. In the summer, there’s even an outdoor cinema here where you can watch movies!

Next, for wine lovers, you’ll want to learn about Tuscany’s best white wines at the Vernaccia di San Gimignano Wine Experience, the local wine museum. Or you can book a wine tour at one of the local wineries to have the full Tuscan wine experience!

READ MORE: 2 Days in Rome Itinerary

Where to Stay in San Gimignano

Set in a former monastery, Hotel La Collegiatais a stunning and unique property in the heart of Siena. You may also want to check out Hotel L’Antico Pozzo, a 17th-century convent situated on a narrow pedestrian street just a 4 minute walk from the city center, Piazza della Cisterna – a location that’s very popular with first-time visitors and seasoned travelers alike. 

Tuscany 4 Day Itinerary: Day 4 – Pisa

It might be an obviously touristy spot, but if you’re here, you have to go see the Leaning Tower of Pisa! This iconic tower built in 1372, was already leaning when it was completed. As a bonus, you can climb to the top for beautiful views over the rooftops of Pisa.

While you’re there, wander around the Piazza Dei Miracoli, which is the square where the Leaning Tower is.  

Here you’ll see beautiful architecture, the Pisa Cathedral and Camposanto Monumentale. All of the buildings are open to the public so you can check out the interiors as well. 

Explore the Camposanto, a massive cemetery built in 1277 next to the cathedral. It’s even said that the soil here came from Jesus’s place of crucifixion! Be sure to check out its stunning interior courtyard with regal columns and arches that feel like a step back in time.

Then, explore the charming cobbled streets of Pisa, do some shopping and walk along the River Arno. 

Don’t forget to enjoy all of the traditional Tuscan food to really soak up your experience in Pisa!

Where to Stay in Pisa

With it not being a huge city, most of the sights are concentrated in the Santa Maria area near the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This is where you’ll also find charming cobblestone streets, cute boutiques for shopping, and great restaurants.  If you want to explore on foot, or just be near the sights so you don’t have to take buses around, the Santa Maria area is an excellent choice. Check out The Rif luxury hotel for a relaxing, high-end experience or the Grand Hotel Duomo for stunning rooftop views and the AC Marriott Hotel Pisa for fantastic yet affordable accommodations.

READ MORE: 1 Day in Venice Itinerary

Europe Travel, Featured

Should I Visit Paris or Rome? | Paris vs Rome, Choosing the City That’s Right For You

Choosing between Paris and Rome for your European vacation? It’s quite the task trying to decide which of these two iconic videos you should visit! 

Paris and Rome are both beautiful cities with world-class sights, amazing wine, great food, tons of history, and plenty to do. 

While you can’t really go wrong between the two, there are a few things to consider when deciding if Paris or Rome is the right choice for you.

After visiting both, you’ve come to the right place for some guidance on making your selection. Read on to help you make your decision!

Jump To:
Paris vs Rome: Which City Is Right For You?
What to Do in Paris
What to Do in Rome
Where to Stay in Rome
Where to Stay in Paris
Our Final Recommendation

Paris vs Rome: Which City Is Right For You?

Choosing between Paris and Rome is so difficult, and the answer is going to majorly depend on who you ask! Having visited both, we can absolutely see the appeal each city has and all it has to offer. 

With night time champagne and watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle,  Paris is without a doubt the more romantic destination and might be more attractive to couples. Here, you’ll also find some of the most incredible art in the world, housed in the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay. Art galleries and street artists are sprinkled throughout the city, making it the ideal location for art lovers or those looking for a little romance!

Paris also features one of the densest metro systems in the world so you can easily get all over the city. And it does feel like just that, a city. Probably more so than Rome, Paris feels like a metropolitan beast full of dense neighborhoods, and yes, a lot of traffic! While you can walk most places (averaging 20,000 steps a day, we did), you’ll more than likely want to take advantage of the metro or bus system as the city is quite sprawling.

Rome on the other hand, is a bit smaller in size and infinitely more walkable. From the Vatican to the Colosseum, the two furthest points you’d likely be visiting, is just a 2.5 mile walk. All of the other landmarks are, for the most part, clustered together in the center of this route. Now while 2.5 miles may seem like a lot (and you can definitely take the bus, there’s a lot of them!), it pales in comparison to all the walking you’ll do in Paris with all of the landmarks more spread out through the city. 

While Rome doesn’t have the glittering Eiffel Tower, its landmarks are still lit up and quite magical at night! From the Colosseum to the Trevi Fountain, the sights of Rome are stunning any time of day and dripping in history.

Rome may not seem as romantic right off the bat as Paris, but it sure is an exciting city and a history-lover’s paradise. With world-class landmarks, stunning churches sprinkled throughout the city (that you can go in and explore!), and ancient, intricate fountains and monuments hidden throughout the city, there’s something gorgeous around every corner. It’s like the most amazing scavenger hunt you can imagine!

All in all, Paris may be what you’re looking for if you love art and romance. But Rome has more sights and rich history to offer its visitors.

What to Do in Paris

READ: 12 Things to Do in Paris for First-Time Visitors

When visiting Paris, immerse yourself in the City of Love by exploring its iconic landmarks, world-class museums, and charming neighborhoods. Begin your journey at the Eiffel Tower, an iconic symbol of Paris and a must-visit for breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Stroll along the Seine River and admire the architecture of Notre-Dame Cathedral and Musee d’Orsay, before making your way to the Arc de Triomphe, another legendary Parisian site. 

Wander through the historic streets of Le Marais or Montmartre, where you’ll find trendy boutiques, art galleries, and cozy cafes. Indulge in the culinary delights of French cuisine by sampling pastries at a local patisserie, enjoying a leisurely meal at a traditional bistro, or picnicking in the beautiful Luxembourg Gardens. 

And you won’t want to miss the Louvre Museum, home to thousands of works of art, including the world-famous Mona Lisa. Paris is such a charming city that is rich in history and vibrant culture. Take the time to savor its enchanting ambiance and create lasting memories while touring the City of Light!

You May Also Like: 2 Days in Paris Itinerary

What to Do in Rome

READ: An Epic 2 Days in Rome Itinerary

A visit to the Eternal City is one you won’t soon forget! Begin your journey at the Colosseum, Rome’s most famous landmarks nd one of the 7 Wonders of the World. Explore the Roman Forum nearby, a captivating archaeological site that offers a glimpse into the city’s old-world political and social life. 

Wander through the historic neighborhoods of Trastevere and the charming streets around the Pantheon, stopping at local cafes and trattorias to savor authentic Italian cuisine (or do a food tour!) Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain and experience the grandeur of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican City, home to priceless art collections, including Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel ceiling. 

Rome’s streets are living museums, with something beautiful around every corner. Embrace the opportunity to discover ancient ruins, Renaissance architecture, and the warm hospitality of the Roman people.

You May Also Like: 11 Best Things to Do in Rome for First-Time Visitors

Where to Stay in Rome

When visiting Rome, you really can’t go wrong with where you stay! While price points vary greatly throughout the city, there are a lot of great areas that are safe, clean, and central to the sights.

While we stayed in Prati, we would definitely choose to stay near the Trevi Fountain or the Pantheon when we visit again. This area was much more central (since we liked to walk everywhere), had tons of great shopping and restaurants, and of course, made it easy to see all of the stunning architecture and landmarks in Rome.

You May Also Like: The Ultimate Guide to Rome

Where to Stay in Paris

Choosing where to stay in Paris depends on your preferences, budget, and the experience you’re looking for. The central districts, such as the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th arrondissements, offer proximity to major attractions like the Louvre, Notre-Dame, and the vibrant Marais district. 

For a more artistic atmosphere (and often, better prices), Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement, with its charming streets and the iconic Sacré-Cœur Basilica, is a great choice. 

The Saint-Germain-des-Prés area in the 6th arrondissement is known for its intellectual and literary history, offering quaint cafes and a more local-feeling scene. This is where stayed and in November, it was very quiet while still feeling relatively central to the sights. 

If luxury and high-end shopping are priorities, the 8th arrondissement, around the Champs-Élysées, may be ideal. 

Alternatively, the Latin Quarter (5th and 6th arrondissements) is known for its academic feel, historical landmarks, and diverse dining options. Regardless of your choice, Paris has a wide range of hotels, boutique accommodations, and charming apartments to suit different tastes and budgets, ensuring a delightful stay in the City of Lights.

Our Final Recommendation

Our final recommendation in the great debate between visiting Paris or Rome is….

Rome. 

With so many landmarks and beauty around every corner, there’s so much to do in the Eternal City. When we think back to the one we most enjoyed on our trip, and which we would more readily go back to, Rome wins every time. It was absolutely one of the most amazing places we’ve ever been!

Read our Ultimate Guide to Rome to plan the best trip ever – and prepare for your adventure with these mistakes tourists always make in Rome

Europe Travel, Featured

2 Days in Paris Itinerary

Ready to explore Paris in 2 days? If you’re planning a quick trip, two days is absolutely enough time to see all of the top sights in Paris! When we visited at the beginning of November, we stayed for two full days (with the other two being travel days) and felt like this was the perfect amount of time.

Any longer than two days and you’re going to want to start planning a day trip or two to experience the countryside and vineyards or a nearby country. Check out our post on the 15 best day trips from Paris, including some hidden gems you may not have heard of!

So if you’re planning your two days in Paris and aren’t sure where to start, read on to see our jam-packed itinerary for your Paris visit!

2 Days in Paris Itinerary

Day 1:

For the first day of your two day Paris visit, you’ll want a taste of quintessential Paris. That means seeing the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, before exploring hip Montmartre.

Eiffel Tower

Start your day at the Eiffel Tower. It’s only going to get busier, so getting there first thing will make for the most pleasant experience and best pictures. Admire this iconic landmark from the grassy area below, then take the elevator to the top for an incredible view of Paris!

Les Invalides

Another wonderful stop on this side of Paris is Les Invalides, situated on the left bank of the Seine. First built by King Louis XIV as a hospital for wounded war veterans, it eventually became the Army Museum it is today. It’s also, famously, home to the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte, who was the leader of the French Republic and French Empire before being exiled. 

Get tickets or join a guided tour for entry into Napoleon’s Tomb and the Army Museum here.

Arc de Triomphe

Built by Napoleon (yes, the one from our last stop) as a symbol of French power, the Arc was once the largest building of its kind in the entire world. It’s still one of the most iconic sights in Paris to this day and honestly, the most entertaining roundabout you’ve ever seen. There seem to be no rules whatsoever and we stood there for 20 minutes just watching all of the insane driving!

Grab a ticket and climb your way to the top for a fantastic view of Paris, or walk beneath it to find the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Walk Down the Champs Elysees

If you’re in Paris to shop, then the Champs Elysees is going to be your favorite spot in the city! This is arguably the most famous shopping street in Europe and it’s filled with everything from designer brands to chic boutiques selling Parisian clothes and accessories you won’t find anywhere else. Bonus: if you’re visiting on a Sunday, the busy Champs Elysees is closed to motorized traffic, so you can wander down the middle of the road and capture the perfect shot of the Arc de Triomphe without being run over on this typically chaotic street.

Sacre Coeur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart)

This Parisian landmark is the perfect place to watch the sun set and end your sightseeing for the day. Both locals and tourists gather on the church’s steps to watch the sun set over Paris before continuing on with their evening.

Dinner in Montmartre

Montmartre has become extremely popular in Paris, and it’s no wonder why: it’s just so charming. Home to Sacre Coeur, this neighborhood (or arrondissement as they call it there), has fabulous restaurants and transforms from day to night. In the daylight, it’s a little more peaceful than the hustle and bustle of central Paris, but at night time, it’s eccentric and buzzing and the perfect place to grab dinner and drinks at one of the local cocktail bars.

Day 2: 

Explore trendy neighborhoods and see iconic places in Paris, with an ending to your day that really makes for an unforgettable visit!

Pont Neuf

Crossing the Seine river, this is the oldest and most iconic bridge in Paris. This intricate bridge is super cool to look at, and take fabulous photos from!

Notre Dame

While you can’t tour the Notre Dame because of the fire and subsequent reconstruction that is still going on, you can still admire this 12th century Gothic Cathedral from outside! 

Saint Germain Neighborhood

This trendy neighborhood near the Notre Dame has become increasingly popular with tourists and chic Parisians alike. Dotted with cute cafes and eateries, this is the perfect place to grab lunch before you continue your journey through the French capital.

Jardin du Luxembourg

This beautiful garden is a must-see when in this neck of the woods in Paris. Commissioned by royal widow Marie de Medici, who dreamed of bringing a little bit of her hometown of Florence to her new home in Paris, this garden is stunningly beautiful and a great spot to see some greenery in an otherwise concrete-filled city.

Panthéon

Located in the Latin Quarter, this unmissable building looks like it should be in Rome rather than Paris. Modeled after its Roman counterpart, this facade features a gigantic spired dome, thanks to its French architects. It was initially a church before becoming a place to honor those that passed away fighting in the French Revolution. Take tour of this fascinating building to view its amazing gothic architecture and impressive paintings and mosaics throughout.

Wander Around Le Merais

Another trendy neighborhood in Paris, this is the perfect place to take a stroll and admire the architecture and charm of this area. Or the perfect place to grab an afternoon glass of wine and bite to eat before dinner. You’ll also want to visit the Place des Vosges in this area, it’s the oldest planned square in Paris and lined with stunning aristocratic residences that date back to the 17th century.

Visit the Louvre

Whether you’re looking to admire the Louvre from outside, or take a tour of the amazing art collection within, the Louvre is a must-see spot on your Paris list. Beginning as a fortress back in 1190, the Louvre later became a royal residence and was modified over the centuries according to changing styles and preferences of the royals who lived there. It is now a public museum that houses one of the richest artwork and artifact collections in the entire world, including the famed Mona Lisa. 

Delicious Dinner

When it’s time for dinner, you can’t go wrong with most restaurants in Paris! We enjoyed Poni in the 9th Arrondissement and La Maison de l’Aubrac in the Champs-Élysées area.

See the Eiffel Tower Sparkle

For the last night of your 2-day visit in Paris, you have to see the Eiffel Tower lit up and glittering! While you already saw this beautiful landmark during the day, seeing it at night is a completely different experience.

Take a moonlit dinner cruise to sip champagne and admire the view, or walk to the Eiffel Tower like we did and see it from across the river! It sparkles on the hour for about 5 minutes, every hour after dusk until 11:45 PM. After two busy days in Paris, we did not feel like going all the way back to the Eiffel Tower from where we were staying, but I am SO glad that we did. It was my absolute favorite moment of our Paris trip.

Europe Travel, Featured

10 Things to Know Before Visiting Paris in the Fall

Paris is a hot destination year round, but Paris in the fall is particularly stunning! With all of the colors of the changing leaves, more temperate weather, and slightly smaller crowds, it’s easy to fall head over heels for the City of Love!

So whether you’re visiting Paris for the first time, or just visiting for the first time in the autumn season, there are 10 things you’re going to want to know before you go. 

You May Also Like: 12 Best Things to Do in Paris For First-Time Visitors

Bring an Umbrella (Or a Raincoat)

No matter which month you’re going in the fall, be prepared with an umbrella! It’s not uncommon to see everyone walking around with an umbrella in hand in October and November, as rain showers tend to rush in without much warning and then quickly move back out. 

When we visited Paris at the very beginning of November, we weren’t shocked at the chilly weather but rather the speed and intensity of the rain showers! It would be completely temperate one minute, then the next a complete down pour, just to be gone again 10 minutes later. 

Be prepared and have an umbrella or a trusty raincoat with a hood, as I tend to opt for – though it’s a little less chic than the rest of the women wearing cute coats in Paris! They dress so gosh darn classy!

Bring a Warm Jacket

News flash: Paris is chilly in the fall. Bring a warm jacket, and even better, layers to wear with your jacket. Between the wind that whips through this city’s winding roads, or the cold rain showers you’ll find frequently happening in the fall, it’s best to err on the side of warmth. Paris was beautiful in the fall, but I have to say that if I didn’t have my down jacket and was nice and toasty warm, I would’ve been an unhappy camper!

Bring a Scarf

Just like with a warm jacket, you can’t go wrong packing a scarf. Not only does it add a little visual intrigue to your outfit, it can also help keep you warm. There was one day in Paris on our November trip that was so windy and chilly that my warm coat was barely cutting it. I threw on my flannel scarf, felt very trendy for fall, and actually managed to feel warm that day. Thank you scarf!

I wore this one from Amazon. Nothing fancy but it was super cute and the perfect warm, cozy outfit addition I needed.

Guided Tours Are Your Friend

While there may be a few less tourists in the fall, there’s still going to be quite a lot of people visiting and exploring the city. You should still expect lines (albeit probably not as long as you’d find in the summer).

That’s where guided tours come in! Most guided tours have skip-the-line access or enter through another door entirely, saving you tons of time and giving you a great experience. We made the mistake of not doing guided tours on some of our stops in Europe and while it was cool to go at our own pace, it was hard to really understand what we were seeing and I don’t feel like we got the most of our sightseeing activities.

Tour iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Palace of Versailles, or do a full guided tour of the city via boat and bus to soak up all of your time in Paris!

Be Prepared to Walk A Lot

Paris is a big city with a lot of walking in between each landmark. If you’re not doing a guided bus tour, and don’t want to shell out for expensive Ubers, be prepared to walk quite a bit here. It wasn’t a big deal, and it was much easier walking than places like Rome where there are a lot of cobblestones, but definitely wear a good pair of shoes! There’s a reason why you’ll see everyone here dressed nicely but wearing sneakers.

To give you a frame of reference, we walked everywhere from where we stayed near the Opera and we were consistently doing 20,000-25,000 steps per day. Though it probably wasn’t the most efficient routes we were taking as ew got off track here and there!

Enjoy All the Food (Including Dessert!)

Of all the places we visited in Europe, I’d have to say Paris had the best food by far. I’m not a foodie by any means, but I know good food when I taste it! And while I think most meals we’ve had and Europe are a little bland compared to what I’m used to at home in the US (Ok, maybe I just over-season everything), Paris had some excellent dishes. 

After spending 8 days in Italy, we were so sick of carbs and anything pasta or pizza related – we pretty much had steak and burgers for every meal! And it. Was. Amazing. 

So enjoy the culinary experience, and definitely get the creme brûlée after dinner, at least one of the nights. You won’t regret it!

Don’t Skip On Enjoying the Fall Colors!

While you’ll see beautiful leaves throughout the city, it’s particularly fun to take a walk through Jardin du Luxembourg and Jardin des Tuileries to really enjoy all of the fall colors. 

Do a Day Trip

While we enjoyed Paris, after we saw the big sights, we were ready to experience something different. Not to hate on Paris, but it felt like it was getting a little monotonous! If you’re staying for more than a couple of days, definitely plan on doing a day trip that helps you to experience something totally different close by. Check out our post on the 15 most amazing day trips from Paris to find the perfect destination for you!

Give Yourself Extra Time At the Airport

I wouldn’t say we’re the best at getting to the airport with loads of time to spare… I loathe having to hang around airports when I could’ve been sleeping longer or seeing more of the city! And while flying in November, we got to the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport 2 hours before our flight back to the states, right when their baggage check opened.

We walked all over the terminal trying to find the right place to drop our luggage. The “helpful” workers told us this desk, then that one way over there, and then finally, the right one… right in the middle. And while I’m not complaining, it didn’t take a ton of time. It’s important that you plan for little things like this that can eat up your time.

Once we got the bags dropped, we headed towards the security checkpoint. The line to security looked short enough… until we realized that wasn’t actually the line to security. We waited in line for almost half an hour to have our passports checked by machines, that then didn’t work. And we had to wait in another line to have them checked by people. Before getting on a train to go through actual security.

I’ll just say, we were thankful for the extra time! So plan ahead for instances like this, especially during busier travel months as it would’ve taken much longer to get through all of that had it not been November!

Double Check Your Baggage Weight & Dimensions

If you’re hopping around, country to country in Europe, make sure you’re careful about your baggage weight and dimensions! Different carriers have different requirements. When we went from Manchester to Venice, we flew Ryan Air which differed in their baggage rules from EasyJet which we took from Rome to Paris. 

It’s a lot to keep track of, write it down if you need to. But if you’re going to be doing any shopping (or just cutting it close on that baggage weight), it’s important you bring a baggage scale to check the weight so you’re not frantically moving stuff from bag to bag or into your carry-on at the airport!

Europe Travel, Featured

9 Reasons to Visit Paris in November

Paris in November has it all! Smaller crowds, cooler temperatures, and beautiful fall foliage colors across the city, you really can’t beat Fall in Paris.

November also marks the kickoff of festive preparations, with enchanting Christmas lights beginning to twinkle across the city. It’s also the perfect time to indulge in Parisian culinary delights without the long restaurant queues or having to make reservations if you want to get in anywhere.  

You May Also Like: 12 Things to Do in Paris For First-Time Visitors

Savor croissants and hot chocolate in cozy cafés (likely, without having to wait for a table) in between exploring the city’s most iconic sights and charming neighborhoods. Enjoy quieter museums and art galleries, and actually be able to get some good pictures of the many Paris landmarks without having 10000000000 people in the background. 

Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply seeking a romantic escape, Paris in November promises an unforgettable adventure! Here are the 9 reasons why visiting Paris in November is the best time to go.

1. Shorter Lines

Who wants to stand in a queue for half a day to just get into the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower, never mind having to wait around for people to clear so you can see the views or the art work inside. In November, there are still quite a few people in Paris but nowhere near the crowds you’ll find in the summer months. If you want to see the sights and probably be able to enjoy them a little bit more, November is ideal for your visit!

2. Fall Foliage

Everywhere looks better in a blanketing of fall colors, and Paris is no different! The otherwise picturesque city gets even more charming with orange and red hues that line roads, fill gardens, and further enhance sights like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe.

3. No Waits or Reservations at Restaurants

We didn’t have to wait a minute at a single restaurant in Paris, whether it was for lunch or dinner, near the most popular sights or out in the local areas. It was fabulous! We got right to a table, ordered, and had our food within 15 minutes at most establishments – which was perfect because by the time we actually went anywhere to eat, we’d be ravenous! I couldn’t imagine standing around and waiting for an hour just to get a table.

We even went to the TikTok-famous Poni restaurant for dinner one night (no wait) and drinks the next day (no wait) and it was definitely worth the hype (the steak is fantastic)!

4. Fewer Crowds

Similarly to point number one on the list (shorter lines), you’ll find that there are almost no crowds in Paris this time of year. Whether you’re trying to get the perfect picture in front of the Louvre or at the top of the Eiffel Tower, you’ll be able to snap a few perfect pictures without feeling rushed and may even have a moment to soak it all in without being engulfed in a sea of people. It made for a much more pleasant experience!

5. Cozy Weather

If you love cozy weather and dressing in layers, then Paris in the fall is perfect for you. Sport your chicest coat, throw on a warm scarf, and take on the city, or warm up with a cup of hot cocoa or coffee in a neighborhood cafe. The cozy fall vibes in Paris are immaculate!

6. Holiday Lights

The Eiffel Tower isn’t the only thing that sparkles in Paris this time of year! The city transforms with shimmering lights mid-November and through the holiday season. See the Champs Elysées in all its glittering glory, and enjoy the lights at the Tuileries Gardens and Place Vendôme.

7. Off-Peak Pricing

With fewer tourists, you’re likely to find more reasonable prices for accommodations and activities. Take advantage of off-peak deals and discounts, allowing you to experience Paris without breaking the bank.

8. Romantic Atmosphere

Paris is known for its romance, and November adds a cozy touch to the city. Enjoy romantic walks along the Seine, take in the view from Montmartre, and revel in the quiet charm of the city with your special someone. With so few tourists, we were able to sit at one of the benches right in front of the Eiffel Tower at night with virtually no one around, seeing it sparkle and feeling like we had it all to ourselves was such an amazing memory that I’ll always cherish!

9. Wine Tasting

Fall is harvest season for French vineyards. Take advantage of the opportunity to savor exquisite wines and perhaps attend a wine tasting event, or tour one of the close-ish vineyards on a day-trip out of the city. For more day trip ideas (including the best areas for wine tasting), see our recent post on 15 Amazing Day Trips Out of Paris.

Europe Travel, Featured, Home Page, Uncategorized

12 Things to Do in Paris For First-Time Visitors

If you’re visiting Paris for the first time, there are a few sights you absolutely must see. From the Eiffel Tower to the trendiest Parisian neighborhoods, we’ve compiled the 12 things to do in Paris for first time visitors to help you plan the best trip possible to the City of Light!

Paris is such a dreamy city. The Eiffel Tower in the distance, charming cobblestone streets and picturesque shops and eateries lining the streets, Paris has so much to offer.

With iconic landmarks sprinkled throughout this bustling city, to fabulous day-trip options that allow you to explore so much of this region in so little time, to some of the best cuisine in Europe, there’s something for everyone in Paris.

While many say you’ll have to go back and visit the city again, these are the top 12 things to do in Paris the first go around!

You May Also Like: Travel Guide to Paris in November

1. Eiffel Tower

As the most popular tourist attraction in Paris, it’s no wonder the Eiffel Tower is number one on our list of the top things to do you first time in Paris! The Eiffel Tower is Paris. Admire the enormous tower from the Champs de Mars, then get a ticket to go up to the very top of the tower. Up here, you’ll see panoramic views of the city!

2. Visit the Arc de Triomphe

Another iconic sight in Paris, the Arc de Triomphe is a must-see monument on your list. Built in 1806, the Arc was built by Napoleon as a symbol of French strength. View it from Champs Elysees (the famous street leading up to it), or you climb up to the very top (all 284 steps of it) to see spectacular views of Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the distance. 

3. Louvre Museum

Boasting a rich history that dates back to the 12th century, the Louvre’s majestic palace itself is a masterpiece, and within its walls lies an extensive collection that spans millennia. Home to iconic works such as the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Louvre houses an extraordinary array of art. It also serves as a living testament to the architectural and cultural tapestry of France.

4. Tuileries Garden

Tucked in between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde, these meticulously manicured gardens offer an oasis of tranquility in the middle of a bustling city. Originally designed in the 17th century, the Tuileries Garden boasts a timeless elegance with its perfectly aligned pathways, symmetrical flowerbeds, and iconic statues. 

5. Musée d’Orsay

Located in a former railway station, the Musée d’Orsay features an impressive collection of art and cultural artifacts from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Here, you’ll find works by renowned artists such as Monet, Van Gogh, Degas, and Renoir, as well as sculptures, decorative arts, and photography. The museum’s atmosphere is enriched by the natural light streaming through its iconic clock windows, creating the perfect ambience for viewing all of the art and history housed here.

6. Palais Garnier

Visit this 19th century opera house, known for its gilded interiors and magnificent Baroque architecture. Legend has it, the Phantom of the Opera novel (and later, Broadway musical) was inspired by events that took place at this opera house. The novel tells the story of a physically deformed genius who terrorizes the Opera Garnier in Paris and finds the love of his life, while living beneath the Opera. 

Take a tour of this beautiful opera house, we recommend this one!

7. Cathédrale Notre-Dame

When you think of Paris, you probably think of the Eiffel Tower and the Notre-Dame. This iconic cathedral is a French Gothic architectural masterpiece, built all the way back in the 12th century. It’s served as the backdrop for many events in Paris and has been seen by millions of its visitors before suffering damage from a catastrophic fire back in 2019. It is not being rebuilt and revived, and you will not be able to tour the inside of it any time soon. However, you can still admire this landmark from outside.

8. Palace of Versailles

A visit to the Palace of Versailles is like a step back in time. This estate is the epitome of opulence and grandeur, and touring it is truly a one of a kind experience. Located just outside Paris, this historic palace served as the principal residence of Louis XIV. Its Hall of Mirrors witnessed the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, marking the end of World War I. 

The sheer scale and magnificence of the palace, adorned with intricate details, gilded ceilings, and stunning Baroque architecture, makes it a must-see when visiting Paris! Explore the palace and its perfectly landscaped gardens on your own, or even better, on a guided tour.

9. Montmartre

Nestled on the city’s highest hill, Montmartre is full of charming, winding streets and artistic ambiance. This bohemian neighborhood in Paris carries a rich history as a hub for artists, writers, and intellectuals, and that legacy is palpable in every cobblestone and every corner cafe. Visit Montmartre’s Place du Tertre, a lively square filled with artists and performers, then indulge in French cuisine at local bistros.

You May Also Like: 15 Amazing Day Trips From Paris

10. Basilique du Sacre Coeur

This 19th-century basilica in the Montmartre area of Paris was built by the French government and features a large medieval dome that provides beautiful views of the city. This popular landmark is also a great place to watch the sunset, and you’ll find many tourists and locals doing just that on any given evening.

11. Luxembourg Gardens

An oasis of greenery in the heart of busy Paris, the Luxembourg Gardens feature 55 acres of beautiful, manicured gardens. Take a break from your site seeing and unwind in the peaceful atmosphere of this park.

12. Seine River

Stroll alongside this famous river (it has amazing Eiffel Tower views from across the way) or hop on a river cruise to explore Paris from a whole new vantage point. Flowing right through Paris, separating its left and right banks, it’s a beautiful spot to relax and admire the views in an otherwise bustling city.

Europe Travel, Featured

Travel Guide to Paris in November | What to Do in Paris in November

Thinking about visiting Paris in November? You’re in for a treat! Get ready for a trip that’s equal parts cozy and chic, with a sprinkle of that unmistakable Parisian je ne sais quoi that makes a visit to this beautiful city so unique. 

Forget what you’ve heard about gloomy weather because November in the City of Love is a whole vibe. There might be a little rain, but it will be more than made up for with fewer tourists crowding all of the iconic sights!

You May Also Like: Epic 2 Days in Paris Itinerary

In this blog post, we’re sharing why fall is the unsung hero of Parisian travel. From strolls along the Seine to finding cute cafés tucked away in Montmartre, get ready to fall head over heels for Paris in November – where the only thing colder than the weather is your glass of champagne. 

Jump To:
What to Know About Visiting Paris in November
Is November a Good Time to Visit Paris?
What to Pack for a Paris Trip in November
Paris Weather in November
What to Do in Paris in November
Why You Should Visit Paris in November


What to Know About Visiting Paris in November

READ: 10 Things to Know Before Visiting Paris in the Fall

Ready to embrace off-peak season in Paris? While we think it’s an amazing time of year to visit the City of Light, there are a few things you should know before booking your trip and packing your bags! Read the 10 things to know before Visiting Paris in the Fall so you can be prepared and enjoy all the beautiful city has to offer.

Is November a Good Time to Visit Paris?

November is an amazing time to visit Paris! With way fewer crowds and shorter lines, decent weather, and less expensive hotel nightly rates, late Fall in Paris is excellent. Not only can you get into practically any restaurant in the city without reservations, but queues are shorter at the sights and you’ll actually be able to take a few good pictures without being crushed by the crowds or feeling rushed in prime photo spots. 

Visiting in early November, we had to wear warm coats and duck under awnings a few times for the sporadic rain showers, but otherwise had a fabulous time in the city! While there were still quite a few people, it was nowhere near the hordes of tourists you’ll find in the summer months. We were able to get great pictures at every tourist attraction and were able to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle from a bench right next to it without many people around at all – we loved our front row seats! At times, it felt like we had the city to ourselves.

Les Halles, Paris

What to Pack for a Paris Trip in November

When it comes to what to wear in Paris in November, late fall is all about striking a balance between style and warmth. The chilly air calls for layers, so don’t forget to pack your favorite cozy sweater, medium-weight coat, gloves, and a scarf to combat the occasional nip in the breeze. 

Comfortable yet fashionable footwear is a must for those long walks along the Seine or through the historic neighborhoods. It’s super common to see women dressed nicely and wearing a stylish coat, and pairing it with athletic shoes for easy walking in the city. When we visited, we walked everywhere and hit between 20,000 – 25,000 steps a day. Even if you plan on taking public transportation or Ubers, comfortable shoes are a must!

Parisians adore neutrals, and I rarely saw anyone wearing much color. So if visiting the City of Light means dressing like a local to you, consider bringing along a versatile wardrobe in shades of black, gray, and beige/camel, allowing you to effortlessly blend in with the chic locals. And of course, a stylish pair of sunglasses is a year-round necessity for that added touch of Parisian flair. 

I’ll admit I didn’t pack the best for Paris, I should have done a little shopping! Not wanting to stuff one of my stylish, thick wool coats into my suitcase (it would’ve taken up half the bag!) and unable to find a lighter one I liked, I ended up bringing my packable down coat that while totally normal in the states, looked so casual in Paris. I’m pretty sure I was the only one wearing one! While I usually tend to value comfort especially with all of that walking, I will admit Paris is the one place I wished I would’ve had a nicer-looking coat and was able to blend in a little bit more. I’m not exaggerating when I say I got a lot of disapproving looks from the locals – ha!

You’ll also want to pack an umbrella (or a raincoat with a hood, if that’s more your speed) because Paris has quite a bit of rain in November and the showers can move in really quickly. When we visited, it would be perfectly nice out and then a rain shower would come out of nowhere, last for 10 minutes, and be gone again. This happened several times each day we were there and we were glad to have rain coats.

Paris Weather in November

While Paris can be a little chilly (ok, a lot chilly) in November and have rain showers that seem to come out of nowhere, it’s nothing a warm coat and umbrella can’t fix! Visiting at the beginning of November, we were met with chilly windy and sporadic rain, but it was still decently pleasant and we were able to enjoy most of our meals outside at cafes, and sit and watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night without freezing.

Paris in November ranges from a low of 45 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) to a high of 52 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) and offers the perfect opportunity to avoid most of the crowds and wear cute layered outfits!

Palais Garnier (Opera House)

What to Do in Paris in November

READ: 12 Things to Do in Paris For First-Time Visitors

Even with the cooler temperatures, it’s still pretty pleasant to be outside in Paris and you can do everything you would have normally – you just might want to bring an umbrella some days, depending on the forecast! From climbing to the very top of the Eiffel Tower to exploring the artwork of the Louvre Museum, check out these 12 Things to Do in Paris For First-Time Visitors to maximize your time in the City of Light.

Why You Should Visit Paris in November

READ: 9 Reasons to Visit Paris in November

November in Paris is an absolute gem, and if you’re contemplating a trip to this beautiful city, there are plenty of compelling reasons to pack your bags. Between smaller crowds and stunning fall foliage throughout the city, Paris in November is downright dreamy! Read our 10 reasons to visit Paris this time of year to see all the reasons why you should be booking your fall trip.

Adventures, Europe Travel, Featured

15 Amazing Day Trips from Paris

Whether you’re looking to escape the crowds and hustle and bustle of the city, or you’re on the hunt for another unforgettable experience nearby, take one of these 15 unique day trips from Paris!

If you’re just in the planning stages of your trip, or you’re sitting in a hotel room in Paris feeling a bit bored after knocking out the sights in one day like me and my husband were on our recent trip to the City of Light, a day trip may be just the ticket to make your visit even better.

It’s no secret that Paris can be intense – there’s a lot (a lot) of people that visit the city at all times of the year. And it can be good to get away from the chaos, or exciting just to see somewhere else that’s an easy day trip away! From medieval villages to romantic wine country to foodie paradise, there’s a day trip for every kind of traveler on this list!

We’ll start our list with the usual suspects Versailles and Mont Saint-Michel. After all, they’re classic day trip options for a reason! But if you’re looking for a more unique option, read more for one of our super memorable ideas or off-the-beaten path destinations!

Palace of Versailles, France

As the most famous royal chateau in France, this incredible estate sits just 45 minutes from central Paris. Built in 1631, the palace was originally a hunting lodge that was reconstructed by King Louis XIV.  It was later transformed into a museum devoted to “All the Glories of France” in the 1800s.

This massive ornately-decorated palace is blanketed in opulence. From golden ceilings and chandeliers dripping in crystals to its manicured 2,000 acre grounds, it’s no wonder the estate is one of France’s crown jewels.

While a spectacular place to tour, the Palace of Versailles is notoriously packed with people year-round. Over 15 million people visit the palace each year, so if you’re looking to avoid the crowds, this probably isn’t going to be #1 on your list.

What to Do Here: Take a tour of the massive palace and its gardens, either guided by an expert or on your own with these entrance tickets.

Mont Saint-Michel, France

As one of France’s most recognizable silhouettes, this Normandy castle feels almost surreal at first glance. As one of the most visited day trip sites from Paris, this medieval marvel is one tour you won’t soon forget.

Mont Saint-Michel was originally known as Mont Tombe, and (as the legend goes) was built as a sanctuary in the name of archangel Michael that appeared in a dream to Saint Aubert, a bishop in a nearby town at the time. At the same time, a village began to develop on the island below the Mount. 

Due to its strong fortifications and frequent changing tides, this island eventually became an undefeated fortress and it remained uncultured during the 100 Years War. As such, it became a symbol of French resilience and an iconic French landmark.

What to Do Here: Discover Mont Saint-Michel with a guided tour that includes transportation from Paris – we recommend this tour!

Brussels, Belgium

Looking to explore another vibrant European city, without having to move all of your luggage? Brussels might be the perfect day trip for you!

Just 1.5 hours away by train, Brussels is a convenient and exciting day trip option for those looking to get a taste of Belgian culture. Brussels boasts stunning architecture, famous museums, and culinary indulgences that will excite any foodies (hello, Belgian waffles and beer, don’t mind if we do!). 

What to Do Here: Explore the city with a hop-on hop-off bus tour, visit one of Brussels’ most iconic landmarks: the Atomium, and immerse yourself in the world of Banksy art at the Banksy Museum.

Auvers-Sur-Oise, France

Enjoy this lovely underrated town along the banks of Oise River, known as one of the most beautiful towns in northern France. In addition to its beauty and quaint charm, Auvers was once the home of famed artist Vincent Van Gogh. The village inspired the artist, with him spending the last 70 days of his life creating 70 paintings of Auvers-Sur-Oise, before he was buried in the village.

Walk in Van Gogh’s footsteps as you explore the town, and enjoy the view of the Roman-Gothic Church of Auvers. Built in 1137-1227, this ancient church is instantly recognizable from some of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings. You’ll find various art exhibits throughout the town, making this day trip an art-lover’s paradise!

What to Do Here: Explore the many places that inspired Van Gogh’s paintings (they’re well marked throughout the village), and visit Chateau d’Auvers to enjoy a multimedia exhibition about Van Gogh and French art at a beautiful 17th-century estate.

Bruges, Belgium

Another Belgian option on the list. While a little bit longer of a train ride than Brussels (2.5 hours), this medieval town is still well worth a day trip from Paris!

Known for its picturesque canals and relaxing atmosphere, visiting Bruges feels like stepping back in time. Take a canal tour to see all of the historic waterways and buildings throughout the town, or a Brewery tour at Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan, the oldest brewery in Bruges – they’ve been brewing beer for almost 500 years!

What to Do Here: Marvel at medieval architecture and explore this incredibly charming town on foot, by open-air bus, or by water with a canal tour. After you work up an appetite climbing the Belfry Tower for incredible views of the city, get some world-famous Belgian Waffles at a local cafe or restaurant. If you’re a beer lover, visit the Bruges Beer Museum complete with a tasting!

Lille, France

Even though Lille is France’s fourth largest metropolis, it’s still one of the country’s best kept secrets. Situated close to the Belgian border, this historic town has clear architectural and cultural influences from Belgium and France.

The old city, Vieux Lille, has two gorgeous town squares for you to explore: Le Grand Place and Le Place du Theatre. With charming cobblestone roads and lovely shops and restaurants sprinkled throughout, this is one underrated city that will surprise you with how much you enjoy it!

What to Do Here: Explore the winding cobblestone roads and beautiful buildings throughout this lovely city, then head to the Palis des Beaux-Arts de Lille for some amazing artwork – it has the largest collection in France, after the Louvre in Paris.

Reims, France

If drinking champagne right at its source is a dream for you, look no further than Reims, France. This countryside town is a dream, filled with rolling hills, a stunning cathedral, and a plethora of wineries where you can tour the cellars and enjoy a tasting.

Reims is also full of Michel-starred restaurants for anyone looking for incredible cuisine to end their day trip to this French countryside gem.

What to Do Here: Wander through the town of Reims, making stops at the Reims Cathedral and the Palace of Tau, before venturing to the wineries. Join this tour for a day to enjoy all of the highlights of Reims with transportation to and from Paris, as well as a champagne tasting – it makes it so easy to explore and enjoy without worrying you’ll miss your train back!

Lyon, France

Just two hours away by train, Lyon offers a totally different big-city experience than the City of Light. As the unofficial food capital of France, you’ll find some of the best restaurants and cuisine here, with many serving traditional Lyonnaise cuisine like coq au vin and paté. 

Explore the city’s hidden passageways throughout Vieux Lyon (the old quarter), and visit the Basilique de Fourvière at the top of a hill, that’s accessible via a funicular.

What to Do Here: Get your key to the city with a Lyon City Card to access 23 museums, free public transport, a guided walking tour and a river cruise.

London, England

Looking for a major adventure in your day trip from Paris? Explore another iconic European city after being on a high-speed train for just 2.5 hours. While London is a huge city that probably warrants more than a day trip, this is a great way to get a little taste of this legendary English city!

Jump on a tour bus to easily see all of the sights: the Tower of London, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and of course, the London Eye.

What to Do Here: With so much to see and so little time, we recommend jumping on a hop-on hop-off tour bus to see all of London’s more iconic sights. Then, if you have time before your train back to Paris, grab a bite of English favorites like fish & chips or a steak & ale pie.

Strasbourg, France

Nestled right on the border of France and Germany, you’ll find the beautiful and very German-esque city of Strasbourg. Explore the fairy-tale neighborhood of Petite France along the Rhine, and take a boat tour to really have a unique view of this beautiful city.

If you’re visiting France in the winter, be sure to put Strasbourg on your list as its Christkindelsmärikis one of the country’s best holiday markets!

What to Do Here: Visit the Cathedral Notre Dame de Strasbourg, then take a boat tour of this beautiful town, or experience all of its culture via cuisine with a food tour! 

Fontainebleau, France

Similar to the Palace of Versailles, but with less of the crowds, you’ll find the stunning, old-world Château de Fontainebleau with tours and exploration that will take up most of your day! Only 50 minutes from Paris, you can admire the golden interior of this estate, walk along its canal, and enjoy the gardens throughout the property. You can even take a rowboat out onto Carps Pond when the weather is nice!

What to Do Here: Tour Château de Fontainebleau. We recommend this tour that includes transportation from Paris!

Chantilly, France

Known for its Chantilly lace exports and whipped cream, Chantilly is a gem located just 30 minutes from Paris. Here you’ll also find the Chateau of Chantilly, a 1500s-era castle with all the beauty of Versailles, and way fewer tourists. 

This relaxing town is the perfect escape from the busy hustle and bustle of Paris, without having to venture away too far from the city.

What to Do Here: Explore Chateau de Chantilly and its gardens, and even take a whipped cream workshop while you’re on the grounds!

Bordeaux, France

Wine lovers, this is your ideal day trip destination! Take a two hour train ride to Bordeaux, a city with the same name as its famous red wine. With over 350 historical buildings and monuments to explore, as well as a wine museum, you’ll have a day full of adventuring ahead of you (and likely some spectacular wine, if you choose).

What to Do Here: Visit the world’s largest reflecting pool, the Mirror d’Eau on a hot day or just for a moment of tranquility, then join a bike tour to explore all of the city’s sights (and food!) For our wine lovers, this full-day wine tour is perfection.

Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Another quick jaunt out of the country, Luxembourg is a fabulous day trip from Paris. Just over 2 hours by train, you’ll find this charming city full of cobblestone streets and fascinating underground tunnels. 

Visit the Grund area of the city to see the base of the former fortress that once surrounded the city, then go to Casemates du Bock (one of the city’s most famous tourist sites) to tour the city’s underground defense system made up of miles of tunnels that also served as bomb shelter during World War II. 

What to Do Here: Explore all of the top sights in Luxembourg with a bus tour that makes your adventure a breeze, we recommend checking out this one. If you prefer to explore with your stomach, you’ll love this Luxembourg food and wine tasting tour!

Meaux, France

Less than a half hour from Paris, this is every Brie-lovers ideal destination. Famous for its Brie and mustard, you have to try the charcuterie offerings in Meaux, France. 

After you devour all of the Brie you can handle, take a walk through the Parc du Pâtis or the Jardin Bossuet for beautiful scenery and a brief escape from city life. Visit the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Meaux for a taste of history before heading back to Paris.

What to Do Here: Visit the Musee de la Grande Guerre du Pays de Meaux war museum, then have your fill of charcuterie before heading back to Paris.