As a solo traveller, I have always been a fan of Europe day trips. Both guided as well as the ones I have ventured out on my own. I have done so many such trips during my Eurotrip itinerary. But this time, I decided to ask the experts, my fellow travel bloggers for their favorite day trips in Europe. It is a massive post and I really enjoyed curating this post.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Travel Bloggers Pick Their Choice Of Best Europe Day Trips For Your Eurotrip itinerary
- 2 Best Europe Day Trips from France
- 3 Best Day Trips in Croatia
- 4 Best Day Trips in Italy
- 4.1 Day Trip to Favignana from Trapani
- 4.2 Beach Hopping in Sardinia
- 4.3 Day Trip to Bologna from Florence
- 4.4 Day Trip to Pompeii from Sorrento
- 4.5 Day Trip to the Isle of Capri from Sorrento
- 4.6 Day trip from Nice, France to Dolceacqua, Italy
- 4.7 Day trip to Tivoli from Rome
- 4.8 Blue Grotto, one day trip from Naples
- 4.9 Day Trip from Venice to Dolomite
- 5 Best Day Trips in the Faroe Islands
- 6 Best Day Trips in Bulgaria
- 7 Best Day Trips in Iceland
- 8 Best Day Trips in Portugal
- 9 Best Day Trips in Switzerland
- 10 Best Day Trips in the Netherlands
- 11 Best Day Trips in Spain
- 12 Best Day Trips in Germany
- 13 Best Day Trips in Ukraine
- 14 Best Day Trips in Poland
- 15 Best Day Trips in Northern Ireland
- 16 Best Day Trips in Ireland
- 17 Best Day Trips in Scotland
- 18 Best Day Trips in England
- 19 Best Day Trips in the Czech Republic
- 20 Best Day Trips in Slovenia
- 21 Best Day Trips in Austria
- 22 Best Day Trips in Montenegro
- 23 Best Day Trips in Greece
- 24 Best Day Trips in Georgia
- 25 Conclusion
- 26 Booking Resources
Travel Bloggers Pick Their Choice Of Best Europe Day Trips For Your Eurotrip itinerary
For the sake of simplicity, I have decided to split this post into different countries. You will find both guided tours of Europe as well as ones that were done on their own. Since it is coming directly from the experts, you should definitely try to include some of these during your next Europe tour itinerary.
In addition, I have also listed similar tours for your convenience. It doesn’t matter if you are going for 2 weeks in Europe or it is your ultimate Europe trip. You should definitely listen to these experts. So without further ado, find out some of the top travel blogger’s favorite Europe day trips.
Best Europe Day Trips from France
Day Trip to Colmar from Strasbourg
By Soumya of Travel, Books and Food
Well, let us start this collaboration with me. 🙂
Colmar is definitely one of the prettiest towns I have been to and I definitely consider it a must visit during your Europe travel itinerary. Since Colmar was on my must-visit places, I decided to base myself at Strasbourg, a city close to the French-German border. From here, you can opt to do a full day tour of the Alsace villages or you can consider doing a day trip to Colmar from Strasbourg. It just takes less than an hour from Strasbourg by train. Once there, you can roam around gawking at the colourful houses around La Petite Venice. I would definitely love to go back one day during one of their Christmas markets.
Day Trip to Provins from Paris
By Elisa of World in Paris
Provins is one of the best day trips from Paris by train. The city is well known for its beautiful medieval architecture and for Les Médiévales de Provins, one of the most important medieval festivals in France. During the Middle Ages, Provins was the capital of the Counts of Champagne, and its strategic position made this city one of the most important trading centers in Europe, especially for the wool industry. Today, visitors can admire its impressive fortress, entire cobbled streets populated by beautiful timber frame houses, and some religious buildings from the same period.
I have visited Provins many times, always by train from Paris. The historical center is compact and it is beautiful to just walk around and admire its fantastic heritage. Provins is also unique for its underground city, something that I have not seen anywhere else. Most of the medieval houses have a kind of underground cellar which was used for stocking and selling the wool during fair times. All these cellars were connected by underground galleries and today it is possible to visit part of this labyrinth city thanks to guided visits organized by the city council. If you are visiting Provins for the first time, this is a must see and you need to book the visit in advance.
Day Trip to Reims from Paris
By Luke and Meagan of Two Restless Homebodies
Every bit as drenched in history and cultural significance as Paris (though, without the notoriety) and only 45 minutes by TGV from the City of Light, Reims is a treasure hiding in plain sight. Because we visited in February, we were able to explore the city’s most famous sites – the Palace of Tau, the Saint Remi Basilica, the Notre Dame of Reims cathedral, and more – in wonderful, hushed silence. In between all these historical experiences, we also sprinkled in a driving tour through the Reims countryside to get a taste (literally) of genuine champagne vineyards, culture, and production. You’ll never again visit a place where people have a coupe de champagne with brunch, lunch, and dinner – and there’s no place else in the world where bubbly will ever taste as heavenly. Pro tips: check out the tributes to Joan of Arc (who liberated the city from the English) throughout Reims; also, go to Fossier biscuits and be thanked by your taste buds.
To answer the question “what makes Reims special?” We’d have to say, “everything.” And if you say you’ve been to France but haven’t visited this sweet city yet, we have no choice but to ask: what are you waiting for?
Best Day Trips in Croatia
Island Hopping in Croatia
By Eric and Lisa from Penguin and Pia
One of our favourite day trips in Europe wasn’t visiting just one Croatian island – but visiting a total of 5! Leaving from Split, we travelled to the islands of Hvar, Biševo, Vis, Ravnik and Budikovac in one amazing day.
We hopped on a chartered boat which made it simple to experience the islands. From Split, we drove for over an hour to get to the first island, Biševo, where we visited the famous Blue Cave. We then headed to the island of Vis where we wandered around the old town of Komiza and Stiniva Cove, considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe! From there, we travelled to Budikovac and the Blue Lagoon where we got to swim in the turquoise Croatian waters. Finally, we stopped into Hvar where we explored the town and hiked to the citadel before being taken back to Split in the evening. If you’re thinking of doing a similar route, be sure to bring lots of water, sunscreen, your bathing suit and towel, and a sweater for when the boat ride gets a bit chilly. The distance between the islands can feel quite far in the wavy ocean so be sure you’re up for a little bit of a ride!
What made the day great was the knowledgeable skipper we had. He was very professional, safe, funny, and did a great job explaining lots of details as we went along. All in all, seeing multiple Croatian islands was easy on this day trip from Split and we cannot recommend our route enough!
Best Day Trips in Italy
Day Trip to Favignana from Trapani
By Leanne of The GlobeTrotter GP
One of my absolute favourite day trips on my recent road trip around Sicily was to Favignana. This tiny Aegadian Island has been compared to The Caribbean and with good reason! I’ve never seen water quite that crystal clear in Europe – I could easily have been somewhere more exotic! It’s easy to travel from Trapani to Favignana via ferry on a day trip. Trapani is found on the West Coast of Sicily. Once there, the best thing to do is hire yourself a bike and cycle from beach to beach exploring the unique landscapes and bright azure ocean. Finish your trip by visiting the charming town of Favignana and watch the friendly fisherman at work on their boats! Two must-sees whilst you are there include Calla Rossa – a large square bay which makes a very scenic swimming spot. Also Bue Marino – a stunning bay with patchwork water varying from the brightest aqua to the darkest navy.
Definitely, don’t miss Favignana when you visit Sicily!
Beach Hopping in Sardinia
By Claudia Tavani of My Adventures Across The World
One of the nicest ways to enjoy Sardinia in the summer is to go on a beach hopping experience. Boat trips leave from all over the island, but one of the most highly recommended is the one that leaves from either Cala Gonone or Santa Maria Navarrese and that visits the beaches of the Gulf of Orosei, which are only accessible either by boat or by a hike.
There are two ways to enjoy this beach hopping experience: via a small ferry, or by fast motorboat/zodiac. The second is the most fun way, as the boat is much smaller, taking on at most 12 persons, and as such much faster to get on and off, wasting less time. It also means that it can stop in many more places, even those where the bigger ferries can’t go.
The trip typically goes to some of the best beaches in Sardinia, such as the stunning Cala Luna; the unique Cala Biriola; the incredible Cala Mariolu; as well as the impressive Cala dei Gabbiani and Cala Sisine. Boats can stop but can’t get to the shore in Cala Goloritze, a tiny cove which is highly protected and can only be reached via a hike that leaves from the Altipiano del Golgo. A good tour also stops at Piscine di Venere (Venus Pools).
Throughout the tour, passengers can enjoy the stunning scenery, the incredibly transparent waters, and the sunny atmosphere. As the beaches are not serviced, do make sure to carry enough water and food for the duration of the trip, as well as sunblock, a hat, a beach towel and possibly even an umbrella.
Day Trip to Siena from Florence
By Angela Corrias of Chasing the Unexpected
While Florence is a must for everyone taking their first trip to Italy, if you are spending a little more time in Tuscany, there are some other places worth a visit. A city that makes for a great day trip from Florence is Siena.
Siena is a beautiful medieval town and tourists flock to its walled heart to visit the well-preserved remnants from the Middle Ages.
Once you get off the train you can opt in for a bus to the city centre or just take a pleasant 15-minute stroll. Soon after stepping over the ancient gate, you will find yourself in the historical Via Camollia, today a stylish road lined up with shops and local restaurants where you can try some traditional treats.
Alongside strolling around the lovely alleys, some of the key places to visit in Siena include Palazzo Pubblico, the palace of the secular power from its inception up to today, and its adjacent Torre del Mangia tower, where you can climb more than 400 steps for a stunning view of the medieval rooftops.
On the sacred side, you really don’t want to miss Siena’s Cathedral, 13th-century masterpiece, amazing from both outside and inside, designed by Giovanni Pisano and Giovanni di Cecco, its crypt, and the 14th-century Baptistery of St. John. Since you are here, do devote another hour to the huge art collection displayed at the Cathedral’s Museum.
To get to Siena from Florence, the fastest option is the train: it takes about an hour and it costs less than 10 euro.
Day Trip to Bologna from Florence
By Kate from Our Escape Clause
As the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy (aka Italy’s most foodie region of all), Bologna is known above all else for one thing: its food.
Take a day trip from Florence to sample delicacies like balsamic vinegar, mortadella, and tagliatelle al ragu (known in lesser forms across the world as spaghetti bolognese) in the region that they originate from–your taste buds will thank you.
While you’re in Bologna and in between stuffing yourself with delicious local food, climb the Asinelli Tower to get an amazing view over the city, visit the elaborate Neptune’s Fountain, and search for the beautiful, hidden canals of Bologna–Venice isn’t the only city in Italy with canals worth seeing!
Also be sure to stroll down Via Drapperie to admire the adorable food shops (and maybe pick up some cheese, cured meat, or balsamic vinegar to take home), visit the Piazza Maggiore to see Bologna’s main square and cathedral, and to stroll through town and admire the porticoes (covered walkways that are remarkably good at keeping you cool during the blistering summer).
Bologna is an easy train ride away from Florence, with several options running each day: the fastest way is to book a high-speed option that will reach Bologna from the center of Florence in 45 minutes, or if you’re watching your budget, a cheaper option is to take an hour and a half long journey that involves one (easy and quick) transfer about half an hour outside of Florence.”
Day Trip to Pompeii from Sorrento
By Suzanne Jones from The Travel Bunny
One of the highlights of our Italy trip to Sorrento was a day trip to the excavated city of Pompeii. After Mount Vesuvius erupted on 24th August 79AD, the city was buried under six metres of ash. Pompeii was re-discovered in the 16th century and excavations began in 1748, although less than 70% has since been uncovered. Walking through the city we saw that the way people lived all those years ago wasn’t so very different from today. The main street was lined with shops including a baker, butcher shop and a takeaway restaurant where hot food was sold from heated containers set into stone counters. Villas with fountains, courtyards and intricate mosaics adorning the floors populate the city and the forum baths were quite luxurious with in-wall heating. It appears life was good before the volcano hit. Pompeii is a fabulous day trip and an amazing insight into the life of the Romans.
We took the colourful, graffiti-covered, Circumvesuviana train from Sorrento which costs €2.50 each way and takes around half an hour. Pompeii ruins entrance fees: € 11,0(full price); € 5,50 (reduced price 18-25 years of age); Free entrance for less than 18 years of age. Audio guides can also be purchased.
Pompeii is open from November 1st – March 31st: every day from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm (last entrance at 3:30 pm) From April 1st to October 31st: every day from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm (last entrance at 6:00 pm) Days of closure: January 1st, May 1st, December 25th
Leave at least half a day for your visit.
Day Trip to the Isle of Capri from Sorrento
By Cindy Loe from Oneperfectdayin
Take the 30-minute ferry ride from Sorrento to Capri and spend the day on one of the world’s most stunning islands. When you step off the ferry, you will be on the bottom of four levels of Capri at the Marina Grande, where there is a public beach. Start your day by taking one of the one-hour boat tours around the island. Look for the boat ticket office to the left as you face the island. On the boat tour, you can stop to transfer to a smaller boat to enter the famous Blue Grotto, but it will take some time as you wait in line to get inside the cave. I prefer to take a non-stop circle tour of the island, sailing through the Faraglioni Rocks (pictured) and getting up close to small grottoes.
After the boat tour, take the funicular to the top of the hill to Capri Town on the second level of Capri. On this main level, you will see fine restaurants, shops, and hotels for those staying a night or more.
Here you might want to enjoy a namesake Caprese salad as you view the Amalfi Coast. Next, take a bus or taxi to Capri’s only other town, Anacapri, further up the hill on the third level of the island. Be sure to visit the famous San Michele church to see the world-renowned painted tile floor depicting the Garden of Eden. From Anacapri, take the chairlift to the top of Mount Solaro to the very top of Capri. On this fourth level, you will have the best views of the island and the surrounding blue sea. If you have been anywhere more beautiful, let me know! I have been all over the world, but I have not seen anywhere more spectacular than right here on Capri.
Day trip from Nice, France to Dolceacqua, Italy
By Sharanya Iyer of Truly Nomadly
When one thinks of a holiday in the French Riviera, the endless expanse of the Mediterranean sea comes to mind- pebble stoned beaches, stunning sunsets, busy ports, road trips, casinos at Montecarlo, Nicoise salads, movie screenings by the beach at Cannes, Nice’s sparkling promenade, Rosé wine and a whole lot of slow living and loving.
But what if I told you there’s more? What if I told you, you could catch a train or breeze down the Cote D’Azur in an open-top convertible and cross on over into Italy to explore its quaint Liguria region in under an hour from Nice?
I went on one such day trip to cross over and experience the stark difference in language, food, wine and culture between France and Italy and visited the medieval Italian castle-town of Dolceacqua. A 30-minute train ride from Nice, France into the border town of Ventimiglia in Italy and a rickety bus ride later- a hunchbacked stone-bridge and a forlorn castle appear out of the blue, just like how acclaimed Impressionist artist Monet had once painted it after passing by back in 1883.
Doria castle (as it is known) originated in the 12th century, with many fortifications added in the 14th century and the castle was then transformed into a complete residential village during the renaissance period. Dolceacqua is also known for a delicious red wine called Rossese which is produced from grapes grown in the surrounding hills, for the olives which are grown in abundance in the region and for its locally grown flowers.
There are a handful of restaurants and cafes on the castle grounds and near the bus stop serving delicious pizzas, pasta and the local red wine. A walk through the crumbling cobble-stoned alleys inside the castle will take you through art galleries and souvenir shops with Monet replicas. Take this day trip from Nice to spend a languid day in a historic town, relatively undiscovered and untouched by the chaos and glamour of modern life.
Day trip to Tivoli from Rome
By Raksha of The Roving Heart
Tivoli – home to Italian masterpiece gardens and sprawling Roman Villas, is a hilltop town just an hour of train ride away from the eternal city of Rome.
Tivoli served as a retreat to ancient Romans, a respite from everyday life. As a result, one can find villas spread across town which belonged to Roman times.
On arriving at Tivoli train station, start by taking a 15 min bus ride to Villa Adriana, also known as Hadrian’s villa. It belonged to Roman Emperor Hadrian and is a charming mix of ruins and natural landscapes.
Head back to Tivoli city centre and, visit Villa Gregoriana a villa built on the precipice of Aniene river. Walk through the nature trail to find natural and artificial waterfalls, and caves, right in the lap of nature.
And, then visit Villa D’Este – a fine example of terraced Italian masterpiece gardens. Evidently, it served as an inspiration to the world-renown Versailles Gardens in France. You will over five hundred fountains here, each with a particular theme and style.
Two of the three sprawling Renaissance villas in Tivoli, Italy – Villa Adriana and Villa d’Este are UNESCO World Heritage sites as well.
How to reach Tivoli – Catch a train from Roma Termini or Tiburtina station in Rome heading to Tivoli. There are frequent trains with the exception of Sundays. It costs about 2.6 Eur one way and takes about 1 hour to reach.
Blue Grotto, one day trip from Naples
By Divyakshi Gupta of Quirky Wanderer
Visiting a sea cave is as exciting in reality as it sounds on paper! During my Italy trip, one place I really wished to visit was the Blue Grotto in Capri. Many people strongly advised against it, because it was purely based on weather conditions and many tourists usually returned disappointed because they couldn’t enter the cave. But you got to do what your hearts asks you to do! From Naples, we caught a jetfoil that took us to Capri island. Capri’s coastline was peppered with yachts. From here you have to hop onto a yacht that ferries tourists to the Grotto.
The yacht ride is beyond beautiful with rugged seascapes, azure waters and limestone mountains. Once you are near the cave, the yachts line up in a waiting queue. From here smaller boats take you inside the cave. You have to lie down in the rowboat and not sit up as the rowboat enters the 1-metre tall cave opening.
There isn’t any safety gear provided and the boatmen pull the boat in the cave and it is pitch dark. The cavern is 25 metros wide and 60 metros long. Once it is safe to sit up, you cannot help but gasp. A streak of sunlight breaks in through the cave opening and illuminates the cobalt blue waters. It almost looks surreal.
I am suddenly reminded of the sea cave in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, where Dumbledore and Harry land up looking for the Horcrux.
The ride lasts for less than three minutes and there is a tearing conflict. To capture this gorgeous, magical place in my lens or to experience this out-of-the-world sea cave ride.
Visiting Hours: 9 am to 5 pm daily. Closed during rough seas and high winds.
Ticket price: 13 Euros.
Best time to visit during the day: When the sun is up, between 12-2 pm.
Day Trip from Venice to Dolomite
By Sherrie of Travel By A Sherrie Affair
Venice is one of our favourite cities in the world, so no wonder we return every few years. This last trip there we decided to wander north for a day. So we hired a private tour company to take us into the Dolomite region of Italy.
We were picked up by our driver near the Venice parking area in a beautiful and sleek Mercedes that was very comfortable for the drive. Our driver was a very nice man named Luigi. He helped us make decisions for our day trip by asking what we were interested in; shopping, sites, food, history- so basically we said yes to all. Luigi’s suggestions were to take in a few small towns to explore, drive through the countryside and have a nice lunch.
As we headed towards the Belluno province we were delighted to have a driver that was very well educated in the area. We learned all about the surrounding mountains, life in the area, wildlife and any questions we had were all answered. Farra d’Alpago, Auronzo di Cadore, Pieve di Cadore were some of the places we visited. The architecture throughout the area was a mixture of Italian, Swiss and even German influence. Even the food had a delicious mix of cuisines.
Our private tour was approximately an 8 hour day, and it was worth every moment. The greenery, lakes and mountain views we saw took my breath away. A great choice for a day trip from Venice.
Best Day Trips in the Faroe Islands
Day Trip to Sandoy from Torshavn
By Megan Starr of Megan Starr
Sandoy is an island in the Faroe Islands that is an absolutely ideal day trip from the capital of the Faroe Islands, Torshavn. Sandoy is one of the southern islands of the Faroes and its scenery varies drastically from the northern islands and the dramatic cliffs that are characteristic of these islands. The name Sandoy means ‘Sand Island’ and there is a sandy beach there, which is an anomaly in the Faroes. In order to reach Sandoy from Torshavn for a day trip, it is best to have a car. You will drive to the ferry port at Gamlarætt on Streymoy and then take the ferry through the North Atlantic until you reach Skopun, the docking area on Sandoy. From there, you can drive to Dalur (which feels like the edge of the world!), Skalavik, Sandur, and then make your way back to Skopun to catch the return ferry. The landscape on Sandoy is absolutely stunning and almost reminiscent of a cross between the Maritimes in Canada and Iceland. It is like being on another planet. There are plenty of great day trips from Torshavn, but I think Sandoy is one of the absolute best as it is off-the-path and allows you to see a different side to the famous Faroe Islands.
Best Day Trips in Bulgaria
Day Trip to Mount Vitosha from Sofia
By Stephanie Craig of Sofia Adventures
One of the things that I love the most about Sofia is that the city is the in the shadow of a single mountain – Mount Vitosha. While Bulgaria is a very mountainous country with several mountain chains like the Balkan Mountains, Rila Mountains, and the Rhodopes, Mount Vitosha is a lonely mountain that you can see even from your airplane window on arrival. To get there, you can take a bus or taxi. The time to get there depends on how high up the mountain you want to go, but a taxi from Sofia’s center to the foot of the mountain takes about twenty minutes. Once you’ve arrived, there are so many different kinds of activities you can do. If it’s winter, most people’s goal will be to have a day of skiing and snowboarding. However, there’s also a ton of spring and summer activities, like going on a free hike to the waterfall and the Golden Bridges, or climbing up to Kopitoto, the tv tower with spectacular views. For culture lovers, you can visit Boyana Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the National Historical Museum in a former Communist palace, and Dryanovo, a beautiful and important historic monastery. Even though Vitosha seems like it’s nearby and not worth an entire day, you won’t run out of things to do while you’re there. Set aside time to explore, just make sure to download a taxi app so you can get a cab when you’re high up.
Best Day Trips in Iceland
Day Trip to South Iceland From Reykjavik
By Victoria of Follow Me Away
One of the best day trips in Europe is from Reykjavik to South Iceland around the town of Vik. There is so much to see and do in south Iceland and it is less than a 2-hour drive from Reykjavik so it is perfect for a day trip. Head east on The Ring Road and follow the road the whole way! It is that easy!
Everything, from waterfalls to black sand beaches, is right off the road and there are signs marking the way so consider this one of the easiest day trips of your life! When you arrive from Reykjavik, the first stop is the stunning Seljalandsfoss Waterfall! It is the waterfall that you can actually walk behind!
Next, you will come across the powerful Skogafoss Waterfall. Both of these waterfalls are right off the Ring Road and easy to spot. Skogafoss has a fun walk where you can climb stairs for a unique view from the top of the waterfall.
Then you drive a little further down the road and on your right, you will come to the Dyrholey overlook. Drive your car up to the lighthouse for a stunning and Instagram famous view of the black sand beaches.
Finally, end one of the best day trips in Europe by walking on Reynisfjara beach, adjacent to Vik, Iceland. You will be able to get up close and personal with the unique basalt columns and can finish your day by exploring the cute seaside town of Vik before heading back to the capital.
The drive from Reykjavik to Vik is one of the best day trips in Europe for stunning views and memorable experiences.
Day Trip to Landmannalauger
By Natasha of The World Pursuit
A highlight of our trip to Iceland was Landmannalauger. Landmannalauger is where other world films like Oblivion and Prometheus are shot and is only a short two-hour drive away from Reykjavik. To properly explore Landmannaluger you will definitely need a 4×4 vehicle.
In this natural area you’ll find natural hot springs, large bodies of water, and out of this world views. It’s even possible to drive up Mount Hekla, a volcano long overdue for an eruption.
We personally took our trip to Iceland in October and the weather was great. Not hot, but also not completely freezing. On a few lucky nights, we were even able to spot the northern lights. We personally got to Landmannalauger with a private tour (Moonwalker Tours), because we didn’t have a 4×4. Our guides knowledge for the area made the experience that much more special.
We ventured around Landmanalauger in his 4×4 and we were able to soak up the heat in natural hot springs. Afterwards, we drove up Mount Hekla, a volcano long overdue for an eruption and had the most fabulous views. Again, this is something we would have either had to hike to or have a 4×4 with local knowledge.
Best Day Trips in Portugal
Day Trip to Sintra From Lisbon
By Anisa Alhilali of Two Traveling Texans
Sintra used to be the place the Portuguese Royal Family would visit to escape the heat in Lisbon. You will still find several palaces and beautiful gardens to explore. Sintra makes for an easy day trip from Lisbon, Portugal, since it is less than an hour away by train. It has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The oldest castle in Sintra is the Castle of the Moors dating back to 8th or 9th century. It is now just ruins, but definitely worth a visit. You get amazing views doing the castle wall walk, plus you can visit the cistern that was built in the 12th century to catch and store rainwater.
The most famous palace in Sintra is the colorful Pena Palace, which has been transformed from ruins of a monastery. The surrounding park includes a statue of King Fernando II overlooking his palace, lush fern gardens, and amazing views over the palace.
In the historical center of town, you will find the National Palace of Sintra which was the summer residence of the monarchs from the 15th to the 19th century. Its two conical chimneys can be seen for miles. Step inside and you will see some impressive tile work and period pieces.
If you have any additional time, you could also visit Quinta de Regaleira, Monserrate Palace, Chalet and Garden of the Countess of Edla, Capuchos Convent, Palace of Seteais, and the Sintra Museum of Modern Art.
Day Trip to Evora From Lisbon
By Jon Sacks of Everybody Hates A Tourist
Lisbon can get crowded, especially during peak tourist season. Évora is a great day trip from Lisbon for anyone who loves history and architecture. The quiet city is just two hours away from Lisbon by bus. Évora is surrounded by city walls, a remnant of its medieval history. Its rich history goes back even further than that, as there are ruins dating back to Roman times, as well as a strong Moorish influence. Évora’s beautiful architectural mix makes for a unique experience you won’t see elsewhere. Thanks to being so well-preserved, Évora is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inside the city walls, you can wander around the narrow alleyways that are lined with buildings painted in yellow and white. Some of the prominent places of interest in Évora include the Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) in Igreja de São Francisco (Church of St. Francis), which was made from human bones back in the 16th century, as well as the nearby Roman Temple & Évora Cathedral. There are also several small gardens & overlooks to visit. Be sure to check out the local bakeries & restaurants as well to get a taste of the regional cuisine. While Évora might not have quite the grandeur of Sintra, its lack of crowds, compact layout, & historical preservation make it a cute place to visit on a day trip from Lisbon.
Day Trip to the Douro Valley from Porto
By Julianna Barnaby of The Discoveries Of
Anyone visiting Porto during their Portugal itinerary should take a day trip to the Douro Valley. The Douro Valley is one of Portugal’s main wine-growing regions and the home of their famous port.
Getting to the Douro from Porto is easy: you can hop on a tour, rent a car, or opt for the scenic route and take a boat tour down the Douro River. Although it takes slightly longer, I’d really recommend the boat tour: the sight of the terraced slopes, verdant with vines, rising up from the river is really something quite spectacular.
Now, I’m a huge port fan (nothing says the end of a good meal like a glass of port as a digestif), but even if you aren’t, you should make sure that you visit a few of the Port Houses and vineyards in the region. Famous names such as Taylor’s, Sandeman’s and Graham’s are dotted around the valley – even if you set out without a specific itinerary, a simple drive will reveal a number of wineries, large and small you can’t help but pop into.
Make time to visit Restarante DOP, the Douro Valley outpost of one of Portugal’s leading chefs, Rui Paula. I first visited years ago, and raved about it so much that I couldn’t resist a cheeky return visit while I was back in the Douro Valley a few months ago. The riversite setting is gorgeous, but the food is the real star of the show: a roster of traditional Portuguese ingredients and dishes with a modern twist. It might make your wallet cry, but trust me, it will make your stomach happy.
Day Trip to Baleal from Lisbon
By Clemens Sehi of Travellers Archive
It might be hard to leave the beautiful city of Lisbon behind and go on a daytrip, but, trust me, it’s worth it. Just a nice 2-hour-drive away, you will end up in a sleepy town which lives off the beach, waves and surf. We started in the early morning, crossed the picturesque bridge in Lisbon and headed up North. Mostly, the roads in Portugal are quite empty. Also, they are easy to drive and you won’t have any problems missing the exit. The little town Baleal is closely located to the much more famous beach town Peniche. Most tourists will stay in Peniche and surf here. We, however, prefer Baleal way more. It’s calm, it’s beautiful and it has some of the best beach bars you can imagine. One day here will easily pass, but with our few tips, you can definitely make most of it: Start your day by renting out some surfboards at Bruno’s beach bar. Hit the waves until you’re ready for a much-needed drink. Bruno’s is an awesome place for coffee, cake and, well, a refreshing glass of beer. Once the sun sets, you might want to walk down the beach and check out the “Taberna do Ganhao“. This cute little restaurant does not only serve the best octopus salad, but it has also been the very first restaurant here. Enjoy an amazing dinner, while you watch the ocean and refuel before you head back to Lisbon.
Best Day Trips in Switzerland
Day Trip to Lucerne from Zurich
By Arzo of Arzo Travels
Switzerland has many beautiful places and if you are short on time and have your base in Zurich (which is a great choice by the way) plan in a day to visit Lucerne.
Zurich, Switzerland´s secret capital, is about 52 km from Lucerne. Lucerne is a city in the German-speaking part of Switzerland and extremely popular amongst visitors and if you visit you´ll quickly find out why. Often it is said, to be the most beautiful city in Switzerland – though I do not agree, I think it is a beauty and one of the best areas in Switzerland.
Make sure to visit the Chapel Bridge which is probably Lucerne´s main attraction. The covered wooden bridge with interesting interior paintings is located in the city center and from there, head to the old town, visit the Lion Monument, chill at Lake Lucerne (tip: buy some food from a grocery store and enjoy a picnic at the lake). Finally, go on a boat trip and get out in Vitznau to end your day on the summit of Rigi Mountain. The view from there is fantastic and it is one of the best ways to spend the last few hours before heading back to Zurich. Check out some suggestions on where to stay in Zurich.
How to get there: Getting from Zurich to Lucerne is pretty easy – to get there by train is probably the easiest way. It takes less than one hour and you have some pretty great window views, but you could also get there by car, though parking in Lucerne can be tricky and expensive.
Visiting Jungfraujoch in Switzerland
By Shandos Cleaver of Travelnuity
One of the highlights of our trip to Switzerland, and certainly worth the splurge on train tickets, was our day trip to Jungfraujoch. Located near Interlaken in the centre of Switzerland, Jungfraujoch is a saddle located at 3466m above sea level, surrounded by the mountains of Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger. And there’s no need to hike up to it (including a huge ascent of almost 3000m from Interlaken), as there’s a mountain railway tunnelled through the mountains! It’s a marvellous feat that this was constructed around 100 years ago, but it means that you can board a train in Interlaken, Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen, and with a single switch of the train along the way, arrive at the Jungfraujoch station in under 2 hours, fresh and ready to explore.
At Jungfraujoch, dubbed the “top of Europe“, you can be assured of year-round snow, even when it’s sunny and warm down in the valleys. As well as an observatory, an ice palace and multiple restaurants with a view, there’s also a snow fun park, with the chance to hire a sled or ride a zip line above the snow. But my top recommendation is to hike to Mönchsjochhütte hut. It’s listed as a 45-minute hike each way but allow about an hour if you’re not used to walking on snow like us. The hut has simple meals available; or else choose between a refreshing Swiss beer or warming up with a coffee, before hiking back across the white expanse of snow.
Day Trip to St Beatus Caves from Interlaken
By Rashmi and Chalukya of GoBeyondBounds
St Beatus Caves is a system of caves in the Interlaken Region of Switzerland. The cave is full of spectacular limestone formations. You will find plenty of stalactites and stalagmites in numerous shapes and sizes. There is a good frequency of buses to the St Beatus Caves from Interlaken which takes you around 15-20 minutes. The bus stops right across the street from the entrance gate to the caves. From here it is some 10 minutes easy hike up to the caves. You can also take a boat on Lake Thun from Interlaken West to the caves. But the boat stop itself is some 10 minutes walk from the cave entrance and thereafter you would also need to hike your way up.
We visited St Beatus Caves on a day trip from Geneva which was about a 3-hour train journey. Bern is only an hour away from Interlaken and would be an ideal base to explore the caves. One can also choose Zurich as a base which is a couple of hours away from Interlaken. There is a restaurant at the top next to the caves where you can buy something to drink and eat. And there is a museum near the entrance gate of the caves where you can learn more about the caves and its formation.
Best Day Trips in the Netherlands
Day Trip to Rotterdam from the Hague
By Michael of The Round The World Guys
If you’re going to spend time in the Netherlands, I highly recommend you stay in The Hague. It’s cheaper, much smaller, far more comfortable and cosy, and is a great location in Holland province from which to do day trips. One of those trips is to Rotterdam – the country’s second city and just 25 minutes away by train. When you arrive here, the first thing you will notice outside Rotterdam Centraal is the unique architecture of the station itself, a good introduction for what’s to come during your day trip – Rotterdam is all about architecture. It is the largest port in Europe. It’s also the most “modern” city in The Netherlands, having been largely rebuilt after it was destroyed in World War II. Rotterdam is a very walkable city. When you get there in the morning, take a free walking tour. It’s a great introduction to Rotterdam’s maritime history, it’s diverse cultural life, the city’s street art, how Erasmus influenced the city’s culture, and a few major points of interest, like the Market and the famous Cube Houses. Looking for a place to relax and shop? Lijnbaan is a cool outdoor shopping area with plenty of street food and musicians. I recommend finding a place to try bitterballen – a meat (and sometimes vegetarian) deep-fried ball, similar to a croquette, dipped in mustard.
Rotterdam is a great European day trip because, while old European towns and villages are amazing, the city gives you a nice break to relax in a place that feels more “modern.” And, as is the case with just about everywhere in The Netherlands, Rotterdam is just a short ride away on the country’s excellent train system.
Day Trip to Zaanse Schans and Haarlem from Amsterdam
By Chandrima Chakraborty of Travel Stories Untold
How does the thought of wooden cottages, centuries-old windmills, and animals grazing on lush green pastures sound to you? Did you just say, a dream? Well then, you definitely must check out the little village of Zaanse Schans near Amsterdam.
Perfect for a half-day trip from Amsterdam, you can witness age-old windmills being put to use in cheese-making or clog-making here. There’s no entry fee required for a tour of the village. However, if you want to check out the museum or the windmills in operation, you’ll need tickets.
You can reach this picturesque little place by taking bus #391 from Amsterdam Centraal station. The journey takes roughly around 30 minutes.
From Zaanse Schans, you can head over to the quaint little town of Haarlem for a fitting end to your day trip. Buses are easily available and you can safely rely on Google Maps to tell you which one to take.
Haarlem is a mini Amsterdam of sorts except that it’s much more peaceful and less touristy. The Grote Markt is the most popular part of town and offers a variety of eating and drinking options to choose from. Haarlem is also an amazing place for shopping with a variety of concept and boutique stores.
If you’re a fan of Gothic architecture, check out St. Bavo’s Church (also known as Grote Kerk) which is a UNESCO world heritage site. Also, check out Frans Hals Museum for some remarkable collection of art by the Dutch masters. And finally, head over to Jopenkerk brewery and treat yourself to some of Haarlem’s best beer.
Best Day Trips in Spain
Day Trip to Montserrat from Barcelona
By Kristina and Charlie of MapTrotting
Just an hour’s train ride away from the city centre of Barcelona, you will reach Montserrat, home to one of the most scenic pilgrimage destinations in Spain. It’s a place of breathtaking beauty and miracles.
The rugged mountain formations here are home to many fascinating sites including the world-famous Benedictine Abbey and its glorified main possession – the famous statue of Black Madonna.
For centuries pilgrims have been making their way to revere the extraordinary statue of the Black Virgin of Montserrat, that is believed to have been carved in Jerusalem around 50 AD. The Romanesque statue was rediscovered in 880 AD in the nearby Santa Cova Holy Grotto.
Montserrat has more than enough sites to visit in one day so, it’s best to get there as early as possible. To ease into your day, start with Sant Joan Chapel.
Rosari Monumental and the Cave Chapel are a true delight to visit for Gaudi fans with some of the artist’s modern sculptures on display here.
Culture vultures can explore the excellent onsite Montserrat museum and, of course, the miraculous Benedictine Abbey itself.
Finally, at 1,236 m, Sant Jeroni is the highest point of Montserrat and the one we highly recommend visiting. If you’re up for a challenge, it’s a 3.5-hour dramatic hike or a 2.5-hour trek if you take advantage of the funicular railway from the center.
The Montserrat peaks are located 30 miles northwest of Barcelona and can be easily reached by train from the central Plaza Espanya Station; look for Line R5 and jump on the train going towards Manresa. Otherwise, driving is also a hassle-free option.
Day Trip to Toledo from Madrid
By Sonja of MigratingMiss
Toledo is one of the most popular day trips from Madrid, and once you’ve been it’s not hard to see why! This ancient city is one of the prettiest places I’ve been, and one of the most visited places in Spain. It’s been a UNESCO site since 1986, thanks to its history that stretches back to Roman times and it’s historical Arab, Jewish, and Christian monuments and buildings. Toledo is built on a hill, which gave it a strategic location, and it’s sometimes called the “City of Three Cultures” for the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish history that it has. In a day in Toledo, you can wander around the ancient stone streets and buildings, and try Marzipan in the place where it was said to be invented by nuns. You can even buy it from the nuns in the convents still in the city! Before you leave, be sure to head to the hill opposite the historic centre and watch the sunset in this beautiful place.
Getting to Toledo from Madrid is easy by train. It takes around an hour and a half and costs about €22 return. The train station at Toledo is a little outside the historic centre so you’ll need to get the number 5, 61, or 62 bus from outside to the last stop for a further €1.40. You can also get a bus all the way to Toledo from Madrid for around €10.
Monachil from Granada
By Jess of Longest Bus Rides
I arrived in Granada, Spain for a visit to the famous La Alhambra. During my time here, I discovered a wonderful surprise add-on for my road trip around Spain: Los Cahorros in Monachil.
The late afternoon light in the gorge filtered through the autumn leaves and the world was golden as we started the hike. The trails are well-worn and easy to follow. After just a few minutes, we arrived at the first of several bridges. Some of the bridges are truly hanging with swinging wood planks and cabling, which bounced a bit as we walked across. Others are fixed metal.
Further along, the gorge widened and the trail took us down to the river’s edge. Sometimes the boulder outcroppings poking into the trail had iron handholds affixed, so we could hang on and not fall into the river.
Other times we just had to squat down and waddle like ducks underneath the low-hanging rocks. In the off-season, this trail has few hikers during the week. However, it’s obviously well-used based on the amount of trash in some places, which was typical of the day hikes I did in Spain.
I recommend this hike for any day, as it’s very pretty. It would be wonderful on a hot day, as the high canyon walls and river keep the trail refreshingly cool and you could cool your feet in the river.
You can make this any length hike, including full-day or even multi-day hike into the mountains. Some walls are good for rock climbing and already bolted for sport climbing.
Getting here by bus from Granada is an easy 25-minute direct ride, which drops you off beside the river. Walk from a few minutes upriver to the trail.
The village has plenty of accommodation on websites like Booking and Airbnb, if you decide to stay the night. There are also restaurants in town for lunch and dinner.
One-Day Trip to Girona from Barcelona
By Roman of RomanRoams
Budget travelers should know this city due to the proximity of one of the popular low-cost airports that often has a label ‘Barcelona’ on it. In fact, Barcelona is relatively far from the airport (200 km), but the nice and cozy town of Girona is easily reachable by bus in just 20-30 minutes.
Whether you arrive to this airport or not, I definitely recommend going to Girona from Barcelona for a one-day exploration trip. The town is much less touristic, but also has many things to do. The medieval architecture of Girona inspired directors of the popular series Game of Thrones to film some episodes on its streets.
If you are a fan of these series, you will definitely recognize the towns of Essos and Westeros. Some of the most remarkable places in the city that were also featured in the Game of Thrones are its Saint Mary Cathedral, Sant Marti convent, Arab baths and some other places on the city’s streets that will help you dive into the medieval atmosphere of the series.
Some other places worth visiting in Girona include the Jewish Museum, the film museum, Sant Pere de Rodes and Sant Pere de Galligants monasteries, as well as the old city walls that you can walk on. Have a great time in Girona!
If you want to explore some less touristic area in Barcelona and find out how the locals live, I highly recommend you the Gracia neighborhood!
Day Trip to Sitges from Barcelona
By Mar Pages of Once in a lifetime journey
Sitges is a small town 30min south of Barcelona by the sea and it can be easily reached by train. Although it only has 30,000 inhabitants, Sitges is one of the most popular day trips from Barcelona because of its lovely beaches, its nightlife, its very LGBT friendly businesses and the rich heritage and past, dating back to thousands of years. The old pedestrian narrow streets are some of the most quaint and the beaches are always packed with sun worshippers in the summer months. At night, the town turns into a party and Spanish music can be heard everywhere.
Best Day Trips in Germany
Day Trip to Neuschwanstein from Munchen
By Alex Waltner of Swedish Nomad
Neuschwanstein is definitely one of the biggest pride of Bavaria. Located around 1 hour and 40 minutes from München, it’s something you should include on your itinerary. Neuschwanstein Castle was built in the 1800’s, by King Ludwig II. It’s often referred to as the “real” Disney Castle, and when you look at it, it’s easy to see how Disney got inspired by this fantastic castle.
Before going here I thought only the outside was spectacular, but I was happy to see the inside as well. Neuschwanstein is truly royal inside and out. From München you can go either by car or bus or book a tour. If you got limited time and want everything included as well as tickets, I suggest you book via a tour company.
Neuschwanstein is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Germany, so if you’re travelling during high season it’s best to reserve tickets well ahead.”
Day Trip to Burg Eltz from Frankfurt
By Richa of My Tickle Feet
One of the lesser-known castles than Neuschwanstein, but much older and more historic than it is Burg Eltz. This castle might feel like it’s straight out of a period film set. The best part about getting to Eltz Castle is that it is less than 2 hours away from Frankfurt. And if you take the longer route through Rhineland then you can truly make it a magical day trip by stopping over at a bunch of German villages which are home to Riesling grapes. Tasting wine on your way and admiring a dozen of medieval castles as you pass by.
Burg Eltz is officially off of Mosel River which is also a famous region for its wine. If you don’t want to stop at Rhineland then make a stopover at some of the Mosel villages nearby Eltz to get a taste of German wine. You will, however, need a car to get to Burg Eltz and there is plenty of parking available at the castle entrance. Hike to the castle from the parking lot is very scenic taking only about 15 minutes through the woods. You could also choose to walk the paved path that the shuttle bus takes from parking lot for more dramatic views of the castle. Or just take the shuttle bus if you don’t want to walk.
We visited Burg Eltz in spring and it was perfect weather with fewer visitors. I can only imagine the crowd that might gather during summer tourism. Autumn might be another perfect time to go with colorful foliage and less crowd.
Day Trip to Potsdam from Berlin
By Noel Morata of Travel Photo Discovery
Potsdam is a very quick train ride from downtown Berlin and once you are there, you have plenty of choices to visit the city, palaces, parks and scenic landscapes. The must visit sites to see are the magnificent palaces and grounds of Sansoucci, the New Palace and other palaces that were constructed by the Prussian king, Frederick the Great. While visiting these sights, make sure you also check out the windmill, orangery, Chinese home and the surrounding wild gardens. The historic downtown area and promenades are a nice place for a meal and enjoy a more village-like atmosphere compared to the bustling attractions of Berlin.
Day Trip to Burg Hohenzollern from Freiburg
By Roxanna of Gypsy With a Day Job
Freiburg im Breisgau is a perfect vacation destination in southern Germany, near the edge of the Black Forest. There is so much to do in this lovely city, that you may never leave. But that would be a shame, as the Frieberg is surrounded by a plethora of amazing day trip options. One of our favourites is the day trip from Freiburg to Burg Hohenzollern, one of Germany’s finest castles.
The easiest way to make this trip is with a car, as there are no public transportation options. There is also no direct route from Freiburg to Burg Hohenzollern, so we opted to go in a southerly way, along highways 31, 81 and then 27. This took about 2 hours, as there is some hilly winding, but it passed quickly with the lovely Black Forest scenery.
The first glimpse of Burg Hohenzollern can be seen while driving, perched on its hilltop. An access road that leads to castle parking, about halfway up the hill. There is a visitors center in the parking area, where admission to the castle grounds is paid. From there, visitors can hike the trails through the forest, or take a shuttle to the castle drawbridge, for a fee of 2 Euro for adults, and 1 for children, paid on the bus.
Access includes the grounds surrounding the castle, the chapels, the courtyard and casemates, but there is also an option to add a tour of the interior rooms. We took a guided tour, which was periodically offered in English. It includes the grand ballroom, as well as both the king and queen’s chambers, as well as a trip through the treasury, which contains the Prussian crown jewels. It was quite impressive.
We stopped for lunch at the outdoor cafe, but there is also an indoor restaurant. There is enough to see at Hohenzollern to fill a day, so a break for refreshments is sometimes welcomed.
Best Day Trips in Ukraine
Day Trip to Chernobyl(Pripyat) from Kiev
By Kami of Kami and the Rest of the World
Probably the most famous and popular day trip from Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, is the tour to the Exclusion Zone around the ghost town of Pripyat – the infamous place that world has learnt about after the 1986 explosion in Chernobyl power plant that resulted in the contamination of the area. While it was a huge tragedy for so many families, these days Chernobyl is the main tourist activity in Ukraine. Some people visit the country just to go there. It’s impossible to visit the Exclusion Zone independently, you have to go through one of the agencies that operate mostly from Kiev. I was a bit reluctant about going to Chernobyl tour, after all, it was a place of the tragedy that is now a playground for tourists and I didn’t really feel fine with that, but a friend talked me into it and now I’m really thankful for that. It was such an interesting, fascinating and thought provoking day! Pripyat, that now feels like the ghost town, was built specially to serve the power plant. Back in the golden days, it was a perfect Soviet city, with everything the citizens needed. Now you can just peek through the broken glass to the shops, apartments, swimming pool or culture center. It was incredible to see how quickly nature took over the place that 30 years ago was still an urbanized area. And even if a lot of artefacts are staged to please tourists, it still plays trick with your mind when you try to imagine the life in Pripyat before the accident. Visiting Chernobyl Exclusion Zone was definitely one of my most unforgettable travel experiences in 2017!
Best Day Trips in Poland
Day Trip to Wieliczka Salt Mine from Krakow
By Nate of Travel Lemming
Adults and children alike are sure to love a day trip to Poland’s Wieliczka salt mine. Located just ten kilometers away from Krakow, the salt mine dates back a mind-boggling eight centuries and remained functional through 1996. Today, it serves as one of the largest tourist attractions in Poland. Wandering through the nearly 300 kilometers of shafts, you may feel a bit like you stepped into the set of Lord of the Rings!
A tour of the mine will take you 135 meters deep, which is still less than half of the mine’s deepest point. You’ll visit underground salt lakes, explore dozens of mining shafts, and see an incredible array of salt sculptures. Perhaps most impressive of all is the Chapel of Saint King, an underground cathedral built almost entirely out of salt!
Visiting the Wieliczka salt mine is an easy day trip from Krakow. The best way to get there is to go to the main railway station and take the train to Wieliczka Rynek Kopalnia station, then just get off and follow the signs for the short walk to the mine entrance.
Whether you’re backpacking through Europe, traveling solo, or exploring Poland with your family, the Wieliczka salt mine is a true treat for every kind of traveler and one of the best day trips in Europe!
Best Day Trips in Northern Ireland
Day Trip to Causeway Coast from Belfast
By Allan Wilson of Live Less Ordinary
These days Belfast gets its fair share of hype (following a rather grim past) but in the past decade, it has emerged as one of Europe’s best weekend break destinations. And no visit to Belfast should be made without a day-trip to Northern Ireland‘s iconic Causeway Coast, with its sandy beaches, rugged coastlines, cliff-edge castles, Unesco World Heritage Sites, a Whiskey distillery, and just loads of those must-see Irish clichés. Through the numerous tourist attractions dotted along the coastline is the Giant’s Causeway (Unesco World Heritage site) famous for its volcanic basalt columns which had originally put this region on the tourist map. But these days focus has shifted slightly towards the filming locations of the ‘Game of Thrones’, which includes Port Ballintoy, a cosy harbour village that was the setting for the “Iron Isles’, as well as the Dark Hedges that are found just a short journey inland. I would say I have covered the main attractions in the area to date, on various visits, and I have also taken the boat out to the nearby Rathlin Island, which can also be included, but maybe a bit rushed on a day trip. Otherwise, I would always recommend travelling independently, renting a car if possible, and to create a more personalised itinerary. Either way, the Causeway Coast is by far the most popular day trip in Northern Ireland, and there are all sorts of itineraries catered for the day. And there will always be the big bus tours which leave from the main hubs of Belfast, such as Donegal Square station.
Best Day Trips in Ireland
Day Trip to Aran Islands from Galway
By Hannah Logan of Ireland Stole My Heart
Galway, Ireland is known to be the gateway to the Cliffs of Moher and Connemara, but it’s also the jumping point to get to Ireland’s Aran Islands.
Inis Mor is the largest of the Aran Islands and the most popular one to visit. But that doesn’t mean it’s crowded. Few come to this secluded isle, but those who do quickly fall in love with the rugged Irish-speaking island.
To get to Inis Mor, travellers can take a bus from Galway to the port in Ros a’ Mhil where they can reach the island by ferry. Once on the island, you can rent a push bike to explore at your own pace, or hire a local guide to take you around by car, horse and carriage, or even on foot if you are up for a hike.
Must see’s include the local seal colony, the Worm Hole, and Dun Aonghasa Fort. There are also a couple of great pubs and shops with local goods including Aran wool sweaters. Inis Mor perfect for a day trip, just make sure to get up early so you get the most time!
Insider tip: Check the weather ahead of time. Inis Mor is stunning, but it’s not the place to go if it’s a stormy or rainy day. You want relatively calm weather for the ferry crossing and exploring since all of the sights and attractions are outdoors.
Also, check my post on how to do Dublin on a budget.
Ring Of Kerry from Killarney
By Kathleen of Kat Pegi Mana: Where Is Kat Going
One of Ireland’s most stunning destinations is the Ring of Kerry situated south-west of the country in County Kerry. The Ring of Kerry is a 179-kilometre-long circular tourist route, renowned for its captivating scenery of picturesque villages and pastures green, craggy cliffs to sandy beaches and panoramic mountain ranges. The route starts from Killarney around the Iveragh Peninsula and the coast of Kenmare to Killorglin, a scenic drive along the shores of Dingle Bay and through the charming villages of Sneem and Waterville which overlooks Ballinskelligs Bay with its own beautiful beach and continues to Cahersiveen and Glenbeigh before ending at Killarney again.
To explore the Ring of Kerry, you can rent a car, drive and explore the route at your own pace or if you are travelling in the region for a limited time, you can sign up for a full-day guided tour which was what I did. You can book the guided tour a day in advance at any travel agent office located in Killarney town.
While stunning views of the Ring of Kerry were the main highlight, I had also enjoyed some of the stops along the way. Our tour visited the Kerry Bog Village which gives visitors an interesting insight into the Irish rural history and living conditions through the famine years in the late 19th century. The village has period thatched cottages furnished with antiques, figurines and a display of rural farm equipment used at that time. Also, we visited a working sheep farm to see sheep dogs at work, herding sheep into the fold – it was quite fascinating!
Best Day Trips in Scotland
A day trip to Inchcailloch island in Loch Lomond from Glasgow
By Susanne Arbuckle of Adventures Around Scotland
Loch Lomond is a popular day trip from Glasgow as it is only 45 minutes by car or 1 hour by bus from Buchanan Bus Station in the city centre. Most people are happy to walk along the shores of the loch and enjoy the scenery or take part in one of the outdoor activities on offer. Personally, I think a boat trip to the island of Inchcailloch is one of the best things to do during a visit to Loch Lomond.
I took one of the small ferry boats that run from the pretty village of Luss which takes 45 minutes to reach the island, with interesting commentary about the area during the trip and a chance to view some of the other islands along the way. It is advisable to book tickets online from Cruise Loch Lomond website in advance although you can just turn up and buy a ticket on the boat if there is still availability, the sailing times are listed on the website and on Luss pier.
Inchcailloch means ‘Island of the Old Woman’ and is one of 22 named islands in the loch. It is named after St Kentigerna, the daughter of an Irish King and mother of St Fillan who is said to have set up a nunnery on the island. Although uninhabited now, for over 2000 years Inchcailloch was a farming community and there is still evidence of some ruined buildings and an old burial ground.
There are 3 easy walking trails and the highlight is the short walk to the summit of the island with extensive views over Loch Lomond. In May the island is filled with bluebells although it is a pretty place to visit all year round and a quiet spot away from the busier tourist attractions in the area.
Day Trip to Stirling from Glasgow
By Thais Saito of World Trip Diaries
Stirling is right in the center of Scotland and it is a good day trip in Scotland. It was a site of utmost importance in Medieval times, so it’s not a surprise that one of the most imponent castles lies there.
We visited Stirling from Glasgow, and a short half an hour in a regular train and you’re there. It’s the same from Edinburgh.
We took a stroll around the city, visited the old hospital, the church, and the graveyard. It’s a bit spooky, but it’s very beautiful and we had fun finding the bullet holes from olden times.
We tried visiting the jailhouse, but it wasn’t opened for visitors so we just walked around the yard.
Then, of course, our last stop was Stirling Castle.
This castle is in an incredibly good shape and it’s enormous! We spent around 4 hours there, but we could’ve spent more! There’s so much to see there, it is a bit unbelievable.
The kitchen was fun, with a replica of a banquet and the people in it – with noises and smells!
There were the living quarters, with furniture and real actors relieving it for the visitors; a café for eating and resting a bit; various exhibits all around; and the best were the free guided tours to learn a bit more about the history of the castle.
It’s a full day, but a really good one – and it can be done in any weather!
Day Trip to Loch Ness from Glasgow or Edinburgh
By Kathi of Watch Me See
Loch Ness might just be the most popular day trip destination in Scotland and it is easy to reach from both Glasgow and Edinburgh. Since I live in Glasgow, I’ve joined a day tour to Loch Ness starting here; but the itinerary from Edinburgh is pretty similar!
We started our day early in the morning – Loch Ness is a long drive away, and even though Scotland looks small on the map, the roads winding through the Scottish mountains the drop-dead gorgeous scenery of the Highlands both slow you down significantly.
Our first stop on the tour is along the “bonny” (pretty) banks of Loch Lomond, Scotland’s largest freshwater loch by surface area. On a chilly morning, the mist slowly creeps across the water and Ben Lomond towers high above it in the distance.
We follow the road through some of Scotland’s most picturesque landscapes – Rannoch Moor, Glencoe, Loch Linnhe and finally we reach the Great Glen, leading towards Loch Ness. For lunch and the first glimpse of Scotland’s deepest loch we stop in Fort Augustus, a small town at the southern tip of the Loch.
Our journey continues along the shores of Loch Ness until we reach Drumnadrochit, a popular village sitting halfway up the loch. Here we have three options: visit the ruins of Urquhart Castle, go on a Loch Ness cruise and try to spot Nessie, or do a bit of both, but with less time each. While the castle is a brilliant place to dive into Scotland’s history, I’d seen it before, and so we found ourselves on a boat, cruising Loch Ness – binoculars in one hand, a “dram” in the other – apparently a drink of whisky helps to see Nessie!
Soon it was time to return to Glasgow again, driving first through Inverness and the Cairngorms, and then stopping for a final stretch of the legs in the quaint town of Pitlochry.
A day tour to Loch Ness is a wonderful trip, showing so many facets of Scotland – don’t miss it!
Best Day Trips in England
Day Trip to York from London
By Claire Sturzaker of Tales of a Backpacker
York is a beautiful city in Yorkshire, which would make a great day trip from London or any city in Northern England. The train from London takes around 2 hours, but I came to York from Leeds for the day, which took about 25 minutes each way on the train.
York is the perfect size for exploring on foot and strolling through the streets is a wonderful way to see the best of York. The Shambles is probably the most famous street in York, known for being so narrow you can shake hands with your neighbour across the street! I also walked part way around the old city walls (built by the Romans in 71 AD) which gave me a different view of the city. The York Minster is absolutely stunning with beautiful stained-glass windows, and a walk up to the top of the towers was rewarded with beautiful views of the city!
For lunch, you really have to have an afternoon tea in York. You can find this classic English speciality in cafes all over York, but Betty’s Tea Room is the most popular, so go early to avoid the queues! After lunch, I went to Clifford’s Tower to burn off some of the calories climbing up the steps. After admiring the medieval tower, I went to the York Castle Museum next door, which has some great historical exhibits including a recreation of a Victorian cobbled street with staff dressed in period costumes. It also used to be a prison where famous highwayman Dick Turpin was kept before he was hanged.
York has plenty more to offer visitors, I also recommend the Chocolate Story, the Railway Museum and the JORVIK Viking Centre. A day trip to York is fabulous, but try to spend the weekend if you can, you won’t regret it!
Day Trips from London to Cambridge
By Katy Clarke of Untold Morsels
Just an hour on the train from Kings Cross station, Cambridge is one of the best day trips from London.
Famous for its ancient university founded in the Middle Ages, the city became one of the most important in the country when King Henry VIII built the incredible Kings College Chapel in the 16th century.
No visit to Cambridge would be complete without a visit to the chapel and tour of the many colleges of the university. Our favourite colleges include Trinity, St John’s and King’s College because of their history and stunning architecture. Apart from their beauty, the colleges are famous for their prestigious alumni including Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin. Imagine how many discoveries were made within those walls.
Most of the colleges sit on the banks of the River Cam in an area known as ‘The Backs’ where you can join a punt tour and hear stories of the university, Cambridge and its famous inhabitants as you glide under the Bridge of Sighs.
After all that academic inspiration there is still time to explore the pretty old town centre with its cobbled streets and market square. You might also like to stop at one of the pubs on the river. The Anchor is popular with locals and visitors alike and a cosy meal or drink there would be the perfect way to end your day in Cambridge.
Day Trips from London to Bath
By David Angel of Delve Into Europe
One of my favourite day trip in Europe is Bath, in the south-west of England. We used to live in Cardiff, Wales, and it was just over an hour from there by train. It’s around an hour and a half from Paddington to Bath Spa, so it’s also a very popular destination for day trips from London.
We’ve probably done around ten one day trips to Bath over the years, exploring things as diverse as the gardens at Prior Park and the Kennet & Avon Canal, but in a single day you can easily see the best of Bath, especially as three of the four main sights are next door to each other.
The Roman Baths are almost 2,000 years old, and the main bath is a magnificent sight. The warm waters contain over 40 minerals and are renowned for their curative properties.
You can sample them in the adjacent Pump Room restaurant, which dates from the 18th century and which was the main meeting point for Georgian high society. They also have a very good menu featuring several British dishes.
Next door to the Pump Room is Bath Abbey, a stunning late Gothic church, a must-see both inside and out.
The other main feature of Bath is its harmonious Georgian cityscape – much of the city was built at the same time, from the same local golden stone. You can see the lovely Georgian terraces of houses all over the city, but the two best are very close to each other – the grand sweep of the Royal Crescent, and the four elegant curves of the Circus, a few minutes’ walk away.
Day Trips from London to Cotswolds
By Kathryn Burrington of TravelWithKat
The Cotswold is one of England’s most charming regions with no end of picture-perfect thatched cottages built in honey-hued local stone. The area is less than two hours away by train from London’s Paddington Station, making a great day trip out.
I’ve visited a couple of times, getting off at the Moreton-in -Marsh railway station and joining an organised small group tour. Alternatively, you could hire a car or a bicycle, but you’ll definitely want some mood of transport to enjoy the myriad of quaint little towns and villages set amongst lush countryside with flocks of grazing sheep dotting the hillsides.
Once there, each village or town is a joy to explore on foot. My favourites include Burton-on-Water known as the “Venice of the Cotswolds” as well as Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter, named after the Old English word for a wetland ‘slough’ rather than anything more sinister!
Wherever you go you’ll find historic thatched cottages, cute little tea rooms and traditional English pubs selling local ales and great seasonal pub grub. Try the Wild Rabbit in Kingham, Lords of the Manor in Upper Slaughter or The Porch House in Stow on the Wold, reputedly England’s oldest pub, founded in 947 AD.
Day Trips from London to Lille
By Michelle Minnaar of Greedy Gourmet
If you find yourself wandering around the streets of Lille, consider yourself lucky. This is one of the most beautiful cities in Northern France with plenty to offer. Lille is the capital of the Hauts-de-France region in northern France, and it almost borders with Belgium. It is perfect for those who wish to see a bit of history and experience some incredible food! I got there by taking a four hour Eurostar train ride from London.
Rich with culture, the most beautiful part of Lille, in my opinion, is the Vieux-Lille city center. Prepare to be amazed by these charming baroque buildings from the 17th and 18th century creating charming pathways and decorative facades.
Another building you should visit when walking through the city center is ‘La Vielle Bourse’, translated to Old Stock Exchange. Dating to mid-17th century, it is considered by locals as one of the most beautiful buildings in town. Today, people gather underneath this grand structure for the daily book and flower market.
A stone’s throw away from ‘La Viella Bourse’ is the main square, which has a traditional Flemish spirit to it. You might also stumble upon Palais de Beaux-Arts, which is a fantastic reminder of the amazing Belle Epoque era. It holds masterpieces of some of the best artists in Europe such as Rubens, Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet, Raphael and more! If you enjoy art, then you should also take a closer look at Lille’s Museum of Modern Arts.
Other things to do in Lille include taking a walk by the Lille Citadelle or take your children to the Parc Zoologique while your partner enjoys a match at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy – Lille’s incredibly large football stadium.
Best Day Trips in the Czech Republic
Day Trips from Prague to Kutna Hora
By Michelle Marcos of Maps&Muses
One of the most unique day trips I’ve ever done was a day trip to the little town of Kutna Hora in the Czech Republic. From Prague, Kutna Hora is only about an hour away by train and a roundtrip ticket costs CZK 180 (about $8).
Kutna Hora is an old trading hub which is just full of the glamour from the Middle Ages. The city center is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are 3 really famous churches you should visit. The Assumption of Our Lady Cathedral and St Barbara’s Cathedral both date back to the 1300’s and are true works of art. But the reason we went to Kutna Hora was to visit a church decorated with actual human bones.
The Sedlec Ossuary is an underground chapel of the Church of All Saints and contains the bones of 40,000 to 70,000 people. The bones are from people who died of the plague in the 14th century and during the Hussite wars in the 15th century. So many people died during this time that they started burying people together.
In the 1500’s a half-blind monk was hired to start exhuming the bones and stacking them within the chapel. In the 1800s the bones were arranged into decorations including a magnificently creepy chandelier. There are still bones being exhumed to this day and you can watch the archaeologists do it while you’re there. It was a truly haunting experience.
Walking through the cobblestoned streets of Kutna Hora was my favorite part of this town. There are cute streets and a ton of great restaurants and bars scattered throughout. And, everything is crazy inexpensive! If you’re ever in Prague, you need to take a quick trip to the beautiful (and creepy) town of Kutna Hora.
Day Trips from Prague to Dresden
By Kaylie Lewell of Happiness Travels Here
Within 2 hours of Prague, you can reach the city of Dresden in Germany. Dresden is also a natural stopover between Prague and Berlin. The city can be reached by bus or train. The train ride runs along the river Elbe and through the scenic Sachsische Sweiz national park. A more economic and slightly faster option is to take a bus. Both options end at the attractive glass domed Hauptbahnhof.
Head towards the large Sandstone church, the Frauenkirche “Church of our Lady” which sits dominantly on the landscape in the former East German city. Dresden has a rich history, a centre of arts and culture in the 18th century, the grand baroque city was heavily bombed during the second world war, with the reconstruction of the city stagnating until German reunification in 1990.
In the Altstadt area around the Frauenkirche, reconstruction is almost complete and the baroque churches, Residential Palace and Zwinger give the city a romantic feel. Visit one of the many museums to see the art and treasures that are held within.
Across the Elbe river, the Neustadt area has a distinctly different feel, the struggles against the oppressive communist regime were played out here through street art, community art projects and music. The colourful but crumbling area of the city is the place to go for international food, music and nightlife. There are also many things to do in Dresden with kids.
Best Day Trips in Slovenia
Day Trip to Lake Bled from Ljubljana
By Nathan of Foodie Flashpacker
Lake Bled is the perfect day trip from Ljubljana, Slovenia. The lake and nearby waterfalls and castle are gorgeous but a day is plenty of time to see them, there’s no need to spend a night.
We rented a car from Ljubljana, leaving in the morning and were back in time for dinner.
Visit the town of Bled – the surrounding mountains provide a stunning backdrop to the picturesque lake. I recommend having lunch in the castle overlooking the lake to get the iconic photo of the church on the island in the center of the lake. But be sure to make reservations on the terrace of Castle Bled for lunch for the best views.
You are also able to take a boat tour to the church on the island.
We did have difficulty finding parking as the town is such a tourist attraction so an alternative would be to come by bus on an organized tour, but I find those to be overly structured.
Also, check out the best places to eat in Ljubljana.
Best Day Trips in Austria
Day Trips to Seagrotte from Vienna
By Abby of TheWingedFork
This was near the end of our stay in Vienna. We heard that Seegrotte Hinterbruhl was Europe’s largest underground lake and that the lake was under a mountain. We were keen to see what that actually looked like. Our options were to either take a bus or a cab. The bus routes though meant a minimum of three bus changes along the way and taking between 1.5 hrs to 2 hrs to get there. Cabs, well, we didn’t want to spend so much. The hotel staff told us about the seat in coach tour buses and we ended up going on those.
We got to Seegrotte and the guide took us through a long passage into the mountain, then down some steep slides to explore the first level. Seegrotte it seems was a gypsum mine from 1848 to 1912, before a blast caused the mine to flood and it was shut down. Explorers stumbled across it in 1930 and soon it was opened to the public as a museum. The highlight of the trip there though was during the boat ride on the Big Lake, when the guide stops and tells you that your boat is directly under the Blue Lake right now. So you’re in a boat on a lake that’s under another lake under a mountain. Can you beat that?
Day Trip to Hallstatt from Salzburg
By Linda de Beer of Travel Tyrol
No visit to Austria is complete without stopping by Hallstatt, the pretty little town on the shores of Lake Hallstatt. Fortunately, Hallstatt is only a 2 to 3-hour drive or train journey away from Salzburg, another popular Austrian destination.
A day trip from Salzburg to Hallstatt is a great way to discover the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Hallstatt-Dachstein/Salzkammergut cultural landscape. I highly recommend taking the train from Salzburg to Hallstatt because it offers beautiful views of the stunning nature, including various lakes, on the way.
The train stops across the lake from the actual little village that is Hallstatt. This turns out to be a good thing because it’s from the ferry that takes travellers across the lake that most of the pretty pictures of Hallstatt are taken.
Must-see attractions on a day trip to Hallstatt are the market square and the catholic church with the infamous bone house next to it. The bone house (in actual fact the Gothic St Michael’s chapel) is home to the exhumed bones of more than 1,200 people. Keep an eye open for the 600 painted skulls! The reason the bones are kept in the chapel is because there’s no room for them in the cemetery.
For the best views of Lake Hallstatt, you simply must take the Salzberg cable car to the Hallstatt Skywalk. Afterwards, a leisurely stroll with your camera along the Hallstatt waterfront to catch the ferry back to the train station is the perfect end to a great day trip.
Best Day Trips in Montenegro
Day Trip to Perast from Kotor, Montenegro
By Maria & Rui of Two Find a Way
Kotor served as our base during the time we spent in Montenegro, but we knew we wanted to explore nearby places as much as possible. Perast was at the top of our list due to its unique islands and historical Old Town.
There are many private tours available that will take you to Perast or to its famous islands, but we always try to travel independently whenever possible. Besides the fact that it’s more affordable, we love to set our own schedules and spend as much time as possible visiting a place, instead of feeling rushed. There are a few buses that will take you from Kotor to Perast, and the trip takes less than 30 minutes, always accompanied by beautiful views! We got our tickets at the bus station and returned to Kotor using a Blue Line bus.
Once in Perast, we went straight to find a boat that would take us to the Our Lady of the Rocks island. We bought our tickets and went to explore this church in the middle of the Adriatic sea. The island is tiny but we spent quite some time walking around, exploring the views and the inside of the church. Kotor Bay really is one of the most magical regions we have ever the pleasure to visit! There is also a second island, St. George, but you can only marvel at it from a far, as tourists aren’t allowed to visit.
Back in Perast, we explored the Old Town and some of its many churches and countless palaces. This small town is very calm (especially compared to Kotor in the high season) and perfect for taking things slowly and enjoying a meal by the waterfront!
Best Day Trips in Greece
Day Trip to Mount Parnassus from Athens
By Elena Tchijov of Traveling Bytes
As city dwellers, we enjoy the hustle and bustle of Athens. Yet, every once in a while, it feels so good to kick off high heels, leave noisy streets behind and go on a hike somewhere surrounded by sounds of the wind and birds singing. Mount Parnassus fits the bill. When it’s hot and dusty in Athens, it is good ten degrees colder at the mountain. Naturally, the higher you go, the colder it gets. To get there, we rented a spanking new car from Sixt which was surprisingly affordable and certainly added even more enjoyment to our outing (oh, this exhilarating smell of a new car!). With the blanket and the picnic basket filled with fantastic Greek tomatoes and peppers, bread, cheese and a bottle of white wine in the trunk, we left the city behind. We decided to avoid better-known trails around Delphi in favor of exploring the opposite side of Parnassus. Thus, we drove toward Livadia, continued on the road 3 till Amfiklea, and then followed the signs to Mount Parnassus. As soon as we started climbing up, we hit a narrow windy mountain road. Every sharp turn brought another stunning view. Incredible vistas and mighty green forest with the backdrop of Parnassus streaked with the last vestiges of snow were whispering to stop. It was a matter of minutes to find a suitable spot to park. The opening surrounded by young pines was perfect for the picnic. The unpaved track weaved down toward a chirpy stream. The hardest part was not to become lazy and skip hiking to enjoy the sun and crystal clear air from the blanket. It was the perfect escape to the wilderness. From a practical point, with altitude above 1500 meters, sunscreen is absolutely necessary year around.
Best Day Trips in Georgia
Day Trip to David Gareja cave monastery from Tbilisi
By Emily Lush of Wander-Lush
For history or nature lovers, David Gareja Monastery is one of the best day trips from Tbilisi, Georgia.
Located in Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region, 70km from Tbilisi, David Gareja is an Orthodox monastery complex sunken into the rocky slope of Mount Gareja. It was founded in the 6th century by St David Gareja—one of a group of missionaries known as the Thirteen Assyrian Fathers who were responsible for some of the country’s best-known monasteries.
David Gareja is currently the subject of a territorial dispute between Georgia and Azerbaijan (the monastery straddles the border of the two countries). At the time of writing, it’s safe to visit and there’s no obvious evidence of the quarrel—apart from the odd Georgian soldier patrolling the invisible border line.
The monastery consists of hundreds of separate chambers, living quarters and prayer rooms hewn from the rock. Visitors explore the complex on foot via a trail. The walk starts with a steep climb, where the main part of the monastery comes into view. If you’re lucky, you’ll see one of the monks who call David Gareja home tending the gardens below. After ascending the ridge, you’ll come to a small chapel and views of Azerbaijan. You can then climb down the opposite side to visit a series of small alcoves decorated with frescos. Many of the paintings were damaged in Soviet times, when David Gareja was used as a military base.
All up, it takes about three hours to walk through the monastery. The trail is unmarked in places and the terrain can be challenging, so wear good shoes and bring water. At the time of our trip, a new visitor’s centre was under construction. There’s also a small gift shop where you can buy jars of honey or religious artefacts for souvenirs.
It’s possible to visit David Gareja in a day from either Tbilisi or Sighnaghi. The most convenient way to travel is with Gareji Line, a small company that runs a daily shuttle bus between Tbilisi and the monastery, stopping at Udabno on the way back for a late lunch.
That definitely was a huge list and I had so much fun curating this list of best Europe day trips for your Eurotrip itinerary. So have you been to any of these? Or do you have another favorite from your Europe group tour that is not there on this Europe itinerary? Let me know in the comments below.
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