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5 Great Getaways in Europe

Itineraries for quick trips to Lisbon, western Ireland, Amsterdam, Budapest and Iceland

Pena Palace in Sintra Portugal

Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

Pena Palace provides a stunning view of the town of Sintra near Lisbon.

En español | Many of us don't have the time or the budget for an old-school grand tour of Europe's great cities, but perhaps we can swing a four-day trip to one city or small country — especially if it’s easy to get to (lots of direct flights) and has plenty to see and do within a small area. These five destinations are our picks for wonderful short getaways in Europe. Check out the itineraries below and start planning.


It’s a small country, so travelers can zip from city to city with plenty of time to see medieval sites, wander historic streets and stop in a pub for a Guinness (or two). This road-trip vacation takes you through parts of western Ireland, from Galway to Limerick, Cork and Kilkenny, flying round trip to and from Shannon Airport.


Find out how to make the most of a short stay in and around the Dutch capital, known for its mix of world-class museums and art, rich history, and lively nightlife, with visits to the Heineken Experience, the Anne Frank House, the famous flower auction and more (including, if you wish, a tour of the red-light district).


Once a capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the beautiful Hungarian city offers a taste of Eastern Europe’s history and culture, including a stunning range of architectural styles. Resilient after a 20th century of hardship and occupation, Budapest is a world-class travel destination. We suggest the ideal itinerary.


Iceland’s hot, for good reason. This four-day Icelandic adventure gives you two nights in the capital city of Reykjavík and a third in the beautiful, rugged West Region, about an hour to the north. You’ll see spectacular landscapes and experience the Icelandic way of life — including a warming dip in a geothermal pool.  


With a mile-and-a-half suspension bridge, innovative cuisine and steady ocean breezes, Lisbon feels like an Iberian San Francisco, without the crowds you’ll find in other European capitals. You can pack a lot of fun and culture into a four-day visit and will probably spend less than you would in the continent’s higher-profile destinations.

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