Have limited time to visit this island country? No worries! This Taiwan itinerary for 7 days will help you to plan the perfect trip.
There is a lot of beauty to explore in Taiwan. This country is simply the love of my life. The modern infrastructure makes it easy to move around, while there is endless natural beauty to explore and the locals are beyond friendly.
Taiwan is compact and easy to visit for both first-timers and repeat visitors, offering enough variety and adventure to do something new every time you visit.
I have lived in Taiwan for more than two years, and I still enjoy going back there to visit. Most recently, I brought my dad there to show him around. It was his first time in Taiwan, or even in Asia. I took special care to design our itinerary to include a wide range of attractions and landscapes.
Needless to say, 1 week in Taiwan is not a lot. This Taiwan itinerary includes both urban exploration and some of the most beautiful national parks in Taiwan. Additionally, I’ve included two relaxing days on the beach. In other words, a little bit of everything!
Here is my Taiwan itinerary for 7 days, covering the island’s main highlights!
Things to know before visiting Taiwan
Best time to visit Taiwan
Taiwan’s climate is subtropical, except for the very southern part of the island, which is tropical. The winters are short and mild, while the summers are long and hot, lasting from around June to September.
So when is the best time to visit Taiwan? My personal favorite is autumn, from mid-September to mid-November, when summer in Europe is already over, but Taiwan still offers pleasant temperatures above 20 degrees.
Early spring is another great alternative, when you can experience the blooming of cherry blossoms and other flowers. It’s an excellent time to do hikes as well.
Is there time to avoid visiting Taiwan? Definitely the summer, due to extreme heat and frequent typhoons. Being stuck at the hotel for the whole weekend due to a typhoon approaching the island is no fun, trust me.😊
Have you picked the perfect season for heading to Taiwan? Check out my other post 10 Reasons to visit Taiwan here.
Citizens of most EU countries and North America don’t need a visa for stays of up to 90 days. For other countries, you only get 14 to 30 days. I always recommend that you check the visa requirements before planning your trip. Also, remember that your passport should be valid for another 6 months.
In some cases, you may be asked for proof of onward travel. Typically, this was asked by the airline when I was checking in. All they wanted to see was a flight ticket for an onward journey out of Taiwan. If you have it in some other language, as I had mine in Czech, you can get around by showing a reservation instead of the actual flight ticket.
Taiwan vs. China
First things first: there is indeed a lot of confusion internationally about the relationship between Taiwan and China. First and foremost, you have to know that Taiwan is NOT China.
It’s quite a complicated and sensitive topic. China keeps regarding Taiwan as a breakaway province, which it has vowed to retake by force if necessary. But Taiwan’s leaders say it is much more than a province, arguing that it is a sovereign state. Most Taiwanese strongly believe that they are an independent state, not to mention they have their own government, currency, passports, and culture.
In many cases, other international countries often follow what China says, but what’s behind this is more or less the will to keep a good relationship with strong China, rather than international justice. You can read more about this topic in this article by BBC News.
SIM Cards & Internet
Navigating around Taipei, you are likely to find free WiFi signals in most public places as well as on some buses.
If you are planning to do some hiking trips or travel around Taiwan, I honestly recommend you get a local SIM card. It’s inexpensive, efficient, and valuable for navigation or research during your trip. The best and easiest option is to get a local SIM card upon your arrival at Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport (TPE). You can reserve Chunghwa Telecom 4G SIM through Klook using this link. This way, you will always be able to connect no matter where you go.
Taiwan is one of the safest countries on Earth. Particularly in the evening and at night, I always felt safer in Taipei than in Prague. When you lose your wallet, people will even try to find you based on the information they find in it. 😊
There are some rare cases (like large festivals or busy MRT exits) when pickpocketing may occur. For female travelers at night, it’s recommended to be more cautious with taxi drivers. However, I never experienced a significant security issue in Taiwan.
Although crime is rare, I recommend that you pay attention when crossing the streets and generally on transportation. Taipei is a densely populated area, and the ubiquitous scooters can seem to come out of nowhere.
The currency used in Taiwan is the New Taiwanese Dollar, often called “NT”. I usually withdraw my Taiwanese dollars from one of the many ATMs at the airport, but you could exchange money as well.
Credit cards are widely accepted at most accommodations and even 7Elevens. But for local restaurants and night markets, you won’t be able to make purchases without cash.
Taiwan takes pride in its modern and affordable public transportation system. The MRT (metro) is the most efficient way to move around Taipei, with all stations and signs both in Mandarin Chinese and English.
It’s useful to get an EasyCard, which will allow you to easily pay for all public transportation or at convenience stores simply by sweeping the card. I recommend it for anyone spending more than just a weekend in Taiwan.
You can purchase an EasyCard at any metro station or convenience store. Alternatively, consider getting it online in this bundle consisting of a SIM card and an EasyCard. It costs just US$9.30, and you can pick it up at the airport upon arrival.
You can also rent a YouBike for shorter rides or for cycling day trips around Taipei. The city has about 180 YouBike lease stations, and riding a bike is an excellent way to see the city. You can use your EasyCard to rent one or pay NT$2,000 as a deposit. I would recommend sticking to the cycling paths, especially along the river. I have also published a dedicated article about how to plan a cycling trip in Taiwan here.
My other articles on cycling in Taiwan
Although many long-distance buses are available, the train is generally the best option for traveling around the island. There is a fast train (Taiwan High-Speed Rail – THSR) and the “normal” train. The first one goes along the west coast and the second one goes all the way around the island. As most of the scenic spots are concentrated on the east coast, you will mainly use the slow train to follow this Taiwan itinerary.
What to pack for your trip to Taiwan
Taiwan’s climate is subtropical, except for the very southern part of the island, which is tropical. Summers are long and hot, lasting from around June to September. The winters are short and mild, although snow does fall in the mountains and occasionally at lower elevations in the north.
With the Tropic of Cancer passing right through Taiwan, some parts of the country don’t see a huge difference between winter and summer, especially in the south. The north, however, has more pronounced seasons.
You should definitely pack light and breathable clothes that dry quickly and are easy to layer. It’s usually rather warm outside, but can be quite cool inside restaurants, buses, and trains due to air-conditioning; they simply use it too much.
Please note that Taiwan has a typhoon season from July to October, with occasional typhoons as early as June or as late as November. If you are visiting in summer, it’s also going to be VERY hot and with frequent and intense rainfall, even on non-typhoon days. It’s not the same as in Europe; after 2 minutes of this kind of rain, you will be soaking wet😊
Backpack and a Daypack
Quick Dry Towel
Bringing a quick-dry towel is a great idea as it has a variety of possible uses: an emergency towel, blanket for bus trips, a scarf, beach cover-up, or an extra layer for colder days.
It is also great to have hand sanitizer and wet wipes with you. Dry shampoo is great to bring, too.
A trip to Taiwan is easily doable in just sandals. However, if you plan on doing any serious hiking while you’re there, for example, in Taroko Gorge or any of the cool urban hikes around Taipei, you’re going to need something better than sandals. Ventilated, comfortable hiking shoes are a great companion for the temples, cities, and mountains of Taiwan.
A warm layer of clothes
As mentioned above, it can get cold on the train, metro, or in restaurants. It’s a good idea to bring a long-sleeved layer. For traveling in the mountains and for unexpected showers, a lightweight rain jacket is an essential item that you should always have with you. Additionally, hiking pants are comfortable for most kinds of trips in Taiwan. Trust me, you will make use of your warmer clothes several times during your 7 Days in Taiwan.
Unless you are going to travel the island from north to south and back, there won’t be too many long bus or train rides. However, if you like to stay comfortable on your long haul flight and have a piece of home when sleeping in hostels and hotels, you can bring a travel pillow to sleep more comfortably.
It’s also a good idea to bring a sarong or a large, versatile scarf to Taiwan because they have so many uses for travelers: towel, blanket, swimsuit cover-up, curtain, skirt, beach towel, and scarf—the list goes on. Sarongs are typically lightweight, and they dry quickly.
Of course, make sure you haven’t forgotten to pack your passport, driver’s license (only if you are planning to drive), insurance card, and a good book (or your Kindle). Also include a good old-fashioned paper notebook, pen, and printed itinerary with addresses and phone numbers of all of your hotels. Bring a file or passport holder so that your travel documents won’t suffer from the humidity.
Hopefully, you now have a pretty good idea of what to pack and how to travel in Taiwan. Below is my 7 day Taiwan itinerary, complete with recommendations on things to do and see in each place.
7 days in Taiwan: Itinerary overview
Day 1: Land in Taipei and explore the city
Day 2: Into the green: Day trip from Taipei
Day 3: Head to the east coast by train
Day 4: Taroko Gorge in all of its beauty
Day 5: Head to Fulong and enjoy the views of the ocean
Day 6: Beach day with cycling/kayaking option
Day 7: Time to say goodbye
**The 1-week itinerary below is based on what I did on my trip with my father, and you will find it to be SLOW PACE. You will have plenty of time to relax, wander around and explore. You’ll have the opportunity to take in a variety of landscapes. If you want to make it more active, you could spend less time in each location or follow my recommendations for other things to do during your 7 days in Taiwan.
Day 1: Land in Taipei and explore the city
Taipei, the visitor-friendly capital of Taiwan, offers an exciting mix of old and new. It blends Chinese culture with an interesting fusion of Japanese, Southeast Asian, and American influences.
Traveling around Taipei is very easy. The MRT (metro) system is reliable, affordable, and it connects various parts of the city. Get from the airport to your hotel, and as soon as you recover from the jetlag, it’s time to start exploring Taipei.
You should definitely visit iconic Taipei 101, a bamboo-shaped tower with an observation deck that provides stunning views of Taipei (on a clear day). To get the entire Taipei panorama, take a short trip to Elephant mountain–it’s just one station away from Taipei 101, and it involves half an hour’s steep walk with the stairs but is worth it (and free of charge).
Another place to be enjoyed is the beautiful Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (it’s beautiful both during the day and the evening) with its hourly changing of the guards, or Confucius Temple, with its calm, serene courtyards providing the perfect escape for the busy streets just outside.
Make sure you end your day with a tasty dinner. There are many great restaurants and night markets in Taipei. If you still feel sore & tired after the flight, you can consider getting a massage.
Do: Save time and visit Taipei 101 with a priority ticket. This way, you can skip the queue, which tends to be quite long. Simply head to the redemption kiosks and enter your voucher number and wait for your physical tickets to be printed out!
Stay: Lovely and modern Star Hostel features both private rooms and dorms. Situated near Taipei Main Station. Big & yummy breakfast.
Move: It is 40 km from the airport to downtown Taipei. With public transportation, this takes slightly more than one hour. Do your check-in and drop your luggage at the hostel. Taipei is waiting for you to be explored.😊
Friendly note: Be prepared that Taipei can be a little overwhelming for first-time visitors. There traffic is intense, it’s noisy, and there are people everywhere. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask the locals. They are very friendly and happy to help. Although they can be shy at first, especially when it comes to speaking English, many of them can understand it well.
Day 2: Day trip from Taipei
Despite being a megacity, Taipei is surrounded by mountains and lush greenery. Today you will get to see the other face of Taipei: a green and slow-paced one. There are many day trips you can choose from. My favorite place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city is Maokong in the southeastern corner of Taipei.
Maokong is the former largest tea growing area in Taipei. The trip starts at Taipei Zoo MRT Station, where you take the Maokong Cable Car up into the hills. The route is two kilometers long, and you can enjoy some amazing views. At the final station, you can explore the tea plantations, tea houses, and hiking trails with stunning vistas of Taipei.
Instead of taking the gondola directly back, make a stop at Zhi Nan Temple (one of the stations of the gondola) and enjoy this peaceful place of worship. It’s one of my favorite places in Taipei, and I am sure you will love it, too. From there, it’s even possible to walk the rest of the way back down (but if it’s your first time in Taipei, the cable car is the easiest option).
Do: Get your Maokong gondola tickets online here. It’s a combo with an evening double-decker ride. So after your venture into nature, you can sit comfortably and continue by experiencing Taipei by night. I recommend getting off near lively Ximending district and enjoying a short walk among the dazzling lights at night.
Stay: Star Hostel (second night)
Move: All your travels today will be within Taipei, using the MRT and cable car, plus a bit of hiking. Although Maokong is a ways from the city center, you can still reach the gondola comfortably by MRT. The gondola starts at the final station of the brown line (Taipei Zoo). You can budget about 1.5 hours from the city center to the top of the gondola, and the same to return. If you have extra energy, you can do some more walking at the top of the mountain; there is a variety of marked paths, but none are too exhausting!
Day 3: Head to the east coast by train
Today is a travel day. Enjoy a tasty breakfast in Taipei and then head to Taipei Main Station to catch one of the trains taking you south along the East Coast to Hualien County, enjoying scenery along the way that is definitely a highlight of any Taiwan itinerary.
After you arrive in Hualien and check in, use the time to relax or explore the surroundings. We stayed in Xincheng, a small town just 1,5 kilometers from the entrance to Taroko Gorge. The town is rather quiet, but they have a lovely butterfly farm with free entrance.
Alternatively, many visitors stay in bigger Hualien City, which offers more activities such as night markets, but is a little further from Taroko Gorge. No matter where you stay, a short trip to Qingshui cliffs is always an option if you have some extra time that day. Either way, it’s a good idea to go to bed early so that you are ready for the next day.
Do: Enjoy traveling by train in Taiwan with awesome scenic views along the way. It’s definitely a pretty trip with a lot of rice paddies and lush mountains.
Stay: Japanese-style Taroko Liiko Hotel This was our favorite hotel on our whole trip. Breakfast was super yummy, with a selection of local fruits, rooms feature stunning views, and there is a lovely Zen garden.
Move: The express trains (Taroko Express or Puyuma Express) will get you to Hualien in about 2 hours, while the non-express trains can take 3-4 hours. A one-way ticket will cost NT$440 per person.
Day 4: Explore Taroko Gorge
Although there are many beautiful parks and other natural places to visit in Taiwan, Taroko Gorge offers arguably the most beautiful slice of nature in the country. It’s a complete must during your trip to the island country!
The gorge stretches 36km through Taroko National Park. You will never run out of temples, scenic stops, and, especially hiking trails offering some of the best scenery in Taiwan. According to my father, Taroko was the best part of our Taiwan itinerary.
With a tourist shuttle bus from Hualien (it also passes via Xincheng, where we stayed), you will be able to visit various places in the park. A day pass for the bus is quite affordable at NT$250 (US$8). In one day, you won’t be able to visit all the stops, so make sure to decide beforehand where you want to go.
Another option is to join an English guided tour focusing on the highlights. It starts around 8 am from Hualien train station, and you are back by 5 pm. Hiring a private driver would allow you to visit even more, but it costs much more, so it only makes sense for a group of 3-4 people.
Do: Taroko has a lot of worthwhile stops. My favorite is Shakadang Trail (8,8km) and Swallow’s Grotto. If you visit the park with a private driver, you can ask them to leave you at Wenshen Hot Springs for an hour or two. It’s an unofficial place, but bathing there is an unforgettable experience.
Stay: Taroko Liiko Hotel (second night).
Move: You will travel with a tourist shuttle and do a variety of short hikes. The scenery here is gorgeous, and the further you get from the bus stops, the better!
Day 5: Head to Fulong and enjoy the views of the ocean
Ready for some time on the beach?
Although Taiwan is not exactly a beach destination, you can surely find some decent options. Most people head to the south of Taiwan, where Kenting National Park offers a variety of beaches.
However, at Fulong, you will be able to enjoy some beach time without having to waste too much traveling. Fulong is on the way from Hualien back to Taipei, and its probably the most beautiful and well-known one in Northern Taiwan.
I initially planned to stay in Fulong, but opted for nearby Toucheng instead after I found a fantastic Airbnb with a sea view and beach just 2 minutes away.
Do: No matter whether you are staying in Toucheng or Fulong, these are small towns, so walking around, you can get a good glimpse of local life in small-town Taiwan.
Stay This Airbnb: The apartment is sparkling clean, with fully equipped kitchen and all the amenities you may need. We loved the balcony with sea view and proximity to the beach. The place is relaxed and quiet, but you can still enjoy a few shopping and dining possibilities nearby.
Move: Today, you are returning to the north by train. It takes at least 2 hours to get from Xiencheng to Toucheng/Fulong.
Day 6: Relaxing day with cycling/kayaking option
So long as the weather allows, today you will enjoy a beach day full of sunshine and tanning. With its 3-kilometer golden sand beach, Fulong is the most popular place to go swimming on the Northeast Coast. It is also perfect for surfing and sailing.
You’ll need to pay an entrance fee of NT$100 to access the main beach at Fulong. It’s recommended to bring drinking water and snacks–you can get them at the convenience stores near Fulong train station. On the beach, you can also rent umbrellas if the sun gets too hot.😊
In case lying on the beach gets boring, you can rent a bicycle and enjoy cycling along the ocean-side paths (a Giant shop near the train station hires out bikes for NT$100 for the day). There are also some excellent hiking trails near Fulong–you can get a map and info from Coast National Scenic Area building situated at the entrance to the beach.
Do: Enjoy the beach or go cycling. Another great thing to do is kayaking at Fulong beach–you can get all the equipment and guidance you need from the local guide.
Stay: This Airbnb (second night).
Move: This will be the most relaxing day on your Taiwan itinerary. Enjoy a day without too much transportation – unless you count cycling or kayaking. 😊
Day 7: Time to say goodbye
It’s your last day in Taiwan, so make sure you make the best of it. You can spend some more time on the beach; if your time is short, at least take a short seaside walk before heading back to Taipei.
Your train will bring you back to Taipei Main Station. Nowadays it’s even possible to check in your luggage there so that you can travel to the airport with free hands.
Make sure you go to the airport on time. Allow at least one hour of travel time to get there. Taoyuan International Airport is a clean and convenient place to wait. However, If you are flying at night or in the early morning hours, you can consider booking one of the airport hotels to get some sleep before departing.
Do: Buy some presents for your family, east last Taiwanese food and enjoy the previous evening in the town.
Stay: Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport: The perfect place to rest before a long haul flight. Comfortable rooms, a large breakfast, and spa to relax your muscles.
Move: It takes a bit more than one hour to get from Toucheng/Fulong to Taipei. Start traveling after breakfast, so that you have enough time to stop in Taipei before heading to the airport.
I hope that this 1 week in Taiwan itinerary will help you to plan your trip. I always enjoy Taiwan and I will definitely be coming back to see more!
Thanks for reading!
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