One of the best parts of living in Europe is having so many people who want to come visit us. And even before we had our Czech visas in hand, our moms had already booked a trip to come see us in the fall. It is something I’ve been looking forward to and planning for almost five months, and I’m so excited that it’s almost here! We’re about to embark on 3 weeks in Europe with our moms!
Our moms, Colin and mine, will be heading out to Europe in the next couple of days and we’ll be travelling together for a few weeks. This isn’t the first time we’ve all travelled together. Two Septembers ago, we went on a train trip (which I dubbed, The Mommy & Me Adventure Express) from Vancouver to Portland, San Francisco and Napa Valley. And now we’re heading on The Mommy & Me Adventure Express Pt 2 here in Europe (we’re even keeping up the train theme)!
It’s been awesome to have this trip to look forward to and to know that we’ll get to see our family during our year abroad. It was very comforting for Colin and I to know that people were coming out to visit us, even before we left Canada. And now, we’re just a few days away from our big trip!
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning if you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support!
How we decided on the itinerary for our 3 weeks in Europe
It can be hard to plan an itinerary for Europe, since there’s so much to see and do. We had a few requirements for this trip that helped us shape the itinerary. My mom wanted to visit her friends in Sweden. Colin’s mom, Margie, wanted to sip wine in Italy. And we wanted to be able to show our moms around Prague.
We built the trip around those three places (Sweden, Italy and Prague), as well as factoring in our moms’ flights into London and out of Paris. I wanted to ensure we weren’t going to spend the entire trip in transit and that we picked places that we could train to, instead of always flying. Trains are much more comfortable and will give us a chance to take in the scenery and catch up with our moms.
Sweden & Denmark
Our 3 weeks in Europe begins in Sweden, where Colin and I will be meeting my mom and hanging out for a few days with her friends who live there. We’re actually meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, as that is the closest airport hub to their home in Malmo, Sweden.
We’ll have three full days in Sweden, and our plan is to dedicate one day each to Malmo, Lund and the Kronborg Castle (back in Denmark). In Malmo, I’m excited to walk around Stortorget and Lilla Torg in the historic centre and maybe visit Malmo Castle. We might even squeeze in a trip to a Swedish sauna. In Lund, I want to check out Lund University, where a few of my friends studied abroad, and the Lund Cathedral. I also want to visit Kulturen, an open air museum, and Saluhallen, a food market. And on our last day, we’ll explore Kronborg Castle, the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
From Sweden, we’ll fly to Prague which is where we will meet up with Colin’s mom, Margie. We are so excited to show our moms around our new home in Prague. Every time we’ve gone somewhere cool we’ll say to ourselves, “We have to take the moms here!” Some of the things on our Prague itinerary include: a sunset picnic at Riegrovy Sady, dining at Colin’s hotel’s restaurant (he’s in love with their risotto), and seeing the John Lennon wall.
I’d also love to fit in a little day trip while the moms are in Prague with us. We could head back out to Kutna Hora and show them the creepy (but cool) Sedlec Ossuary. Or maybe to Karlstejn Castle, only 40 minutes from Prague. But mostly, I’m just excited to show our moms where we live and our new life in Prague. And Ellie will be happy to have some new people to lick!
From Prague, we’ll take a six hour train to Salzburg, Austria. The reason Salzburg is included in our 3 weeks in Europe itinerary is because it’s the middle point between Prague and Italy. Plus, it’s supposed to be a really cute town and perfect for a quick visit.
While in Salzburg, the plan is to wander the Old Town and see where Mozart once lived. I also want to visit the Mirabell Palace & Gardens to reenact the Sound of Music. And I definitely want to head to Fortress Hohensalzburg for a beautiful view over Salzburg. I really wanted us to do a day trip to Hallstatt, because I fell in love with pictures of this place, but I just don’t think we’ll have the time. Next trip!
After our two nights in Salzburg, we start the Italy leg of our trip with a few nights in Venice. Even though Venice is extremely popular (and dare I say, overtouristed?), I have never been there, so I’m excited to check it out. I’ve heard it can be pretty underwhelming, so I’m trying to go in with low expectations.
While in Venice, of course we’ll head to the iconic St. Mark’s Square and Rialto Bridge. I’m not quite ready to part with $100 to ride a gondola, but I did read about a gondola hack that I think we might try. I also want to do a quick trip over to Murano and Burano, islands off of Venice. The colourful homes of Burano look so beautiful! And, of course, we’ll make some time to just wander around the canals and get lost (hopefully with gelato in hand!).
From Venice, we take the train over to Tuscany. While I’ve been to Milan, Rome, Naples and the Amalfi Coast, I have never been to Tuscany. I’m super excited to visit this part of Italy that everyone seems to be in love with.
We start our time in Tuscany with a day in Florence. Which should be just enough time to admire the Cathedral, see the famous David statue and take in the views from Piazzale Michelangelo. Then we’ll rent a car and head out to our beautiful Tuscan villa. Did you know you can rent an entire villa, complete with wooden archways and breathtaking views, for pretty cheap on Airbnb?
Our next few days in Tuscany will hopefully be spent touring vineyards, tasting wine, taking a Tuscan cooking class, and exploring the nearby towns of Siena, San Gimignano and the Chianti Road.
Our last big stop in Italy is Cinque Terre, the legendary stretch of villages on the Italian Riviera. Like Venice, this popular area is often overcrowded with day-trippers. But hopefully by staying a couple of nights and not showing up in mid-summer, we’ll be able to avoid some of them.
We’ll have about two days in Cinque Terre which should be just enough time to train hop from village to village, admire the views, try the cuisine and take way too many photos of the cute houses and beautiful coastline.
Our 3 weeks in Europe with our moms comes to an end in Pisa. From Cinque Terre, we train to Pisa, spend the day there, and then part ways. During our day in Pisa, we’ll have just enough time to check out the leaning tower before heading to the airport.
While we fly back to Prague, the moms will actually be flying to Paris. They’ll end the trip with 2 days in Paris before flying back to Vancouver. My mom has been to Paris before but Margie never has, so this will be a great way for her to get a little taste of the City of Lights before she heads back home.
And that wraps up our 3 weeks in Europe!
PS: Where’s Ellie?
Sadly, Ellie won’t be joining us for most of our 3 weeks in Europe (she’ll be with us in Prague, of course). While Ellie would have been able to come to Austria and Italy (the hotels we booked are pet-friendly and she’s great on a train), we thought it would be too much hotel time for her since we’re only in each place for a couple of days. As you can see, our itinerary is pretty packed with not quite enough time for pup walks. Plus, it would have been hard to bring her to the Sweden portion of the trip since we’re taking flights. So instead, Ellie is hanging with a dog-sitter back in Prague while we’re away!
What do you think of our itinerary? How would you spend 3 weeks in Europe? Where would you love to take your parents? Let me know! Hopefully we’ll be planning another family trip soon and I’d love to get your suggestions.
Inspire someone else’s Europe itinerary – Pin it!