Having just returned from a long weekend in Europe, it dawned on me that I think this is the first time we’ve done that in a true 3-day weekend and not taking an extra day or two on the end of it. Over Labor Day this weekend though we squeezed in a trip to Amsterdam leaving Friday night and arriving home Monday which was a true long weekend in Europe without taking any vacation days. A lot of people might be wondering how to do a long weekend in Europe and I’m here to share my tips.
We booked this trip super last minute as a celebration of some big professional milestones this Summer and for Nick and I to just really spend time together someplace unique with no emails, no work calls, just enjoying each other’s company. Though as we wandered the canals of Amsterdam this weekend I got to thinking what makes a long weekend in Europe successful and how to do it to your best advantage. So here’s how to do a long weekend in Europe and make it work!
1. Book direct flights.
To make the most of your time wherever you’re headed, for a quick weekend, booking direct flights makes all the difference. We flew Seattle to Amsterdam on the way (opting for better flight times out of Seattle) and direct Amsterdam to Portland on the way home, which made all the difference. It cut out all that extra time that you’d spend transferring through multiple airports and it’s one of the reasons we chose Amsterdam for this quick weekend. Book direct flights to wherever you’re headed.
2. Stick to one destination.
For a quick long weekend getaway in Europe, stick with one destination. Don’t try to fit in visits to a whole bunch of different places (even though it’s tempting). Pick 1 city or 1 destination and stay there.
3. Pick a destination that you’ve visited before.
To really make the most of your time, it helps to pick a place you’ve visited before, even if for just a short time. We were in Amsterdam last October for a couple days, so we knew the layout of the city and had a good idea of what our time there would be like. It’s harder to do a quick long weekend escape to someplace you’ve never been since you’ll spend so much more time trying to get your bearings.
4. Just wander.
Usually when we travel we have an itinerary for each day which gives us an idea of what we’re doing or where we’re heading. For a long weekend getaway, just wander. Throw the itinerary out the window and just take it all in around you. To make the most of your short time in a destination, just wander.
5. Stay close to the city center.
Picking a place to stay for a quick long weekend getaway to Europe is really important. The location where you base yourself in a destination will allow you to see the most you can, so base yourself in the city center, close to where you’ll be exploring so that you don’t waste time in transit.