Imagine being able to explore a whole new destination just in one day!
The biggest perk of traveling across Europe is that you can hop to explore multiple destinations without much hassle. Thanks to the Schengen visa, you can cover a whole range of destinations easily. The Eurail pass makes traveling across cities look like a cake-walk, especially when you want to take day trips. Most importantly, it’s hands-on and cheap on the pocket.
There are also options like bus journeys and road trips.
So, to make the most of these services and travel more, we asked some of the best travel bloggers across the globe to share their pick for the best day trip destinations across Europe!
Here’s what they had to suggest:
- Best Day Trips Across Europe
- Day Trips Across Europe: Bulgaria
- Day Trips Across Europe: Slovakia
- Day Trips Across Europe: Germany
- Day Trips Across Europe: Spain
- Day Trips Across Europe: France
- Day Trips Across Europe: Italy
- Day Trips Across Europe: Portugal
- Day Trips Across Europe: United Kingdom, Ireland
Best Day Trips Across Europe
Peterhof Palace from St. Petersburg, Russia
The magnificent Peterhof Palace is the number-one day trip from St. Petersburg and a must-see attraction. This series of palaces and gardens located in the Russian town of Petergof was laid out on the orders of Peter the Great and is often dubbed the Russian Versailles. The palace complex together with the city center is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It’s best to visit from May to mid-September when the fountains are flowing and the park is in bloom. Buy your tickets to the popular Lower Park online in advance to avoid long queues. Boat trips run in the summer months and are the most convenient and enjoyable way to get there. From St. Petersburg, hydrofoils leave from the docks in front of the Winter Palace. A cheaper but less convenient transport option is to take the metro and bus.
The top attraction at Peterhof is the Grand Cascade fountain, which spectacularly extends down the bluff from the Samson Fountain toward the Baltic Sea. All of the Peterhof fountains operate without the use of pumps; water is supplied from natural springs through the force of gravity alone. Try to arrive at Peterhof by 11 am to witness the fountains’ musical daily opening ceremony, but prepared to be jostled by tourists vying for the best shot!
Suggested by Ingrid Truemper | Second-Half Travels
Barentsburg & Pyramiden from Longyearbyen, Norway
Svalbard may be on many travelers’ bucket lists. While there are many other activities you can do outside the capital of Longyearbyen, I highly recommend a day trip to Barentsburg and Pyramiden. These two small mining towns are awesome places you won’t soon forget.
The Svalbard Treaty of 1920 allows any nation to develop commercial activities in Svalbard. The Soviets took advantage of this to establish two coal mining towns in Svalbard: Pyramiden in 1910 (started by Sweden and sold to the Soviets) and Barentsburg in 1932. The two towns took very different paths. Pyramiden was abandoned in the late 1990s, while Barentsburg still maintains its status as an active Russian coal mining town.
Several hundred people live in Barentsburg and you can visit this small, isolated town for a tour. Barentsburg has a wooden Orthodox church, a small post office, hotel, hospital, and town center – and it comes complete with a small brewery.
Pyramiden was completely abandoned in 1998 after a plane crash killed most of its inhabitants. Arrange a tour see some of the eerie remaining buildings. You can also come face-to-face with a bust of Lenin. It’s the northernmost bust of Lenin if you’re keeping track! It is definitely a very unique experience.
To get to these places, you need to book a cruise to either one or both locations. There are several companies that offer these cruises – I joined the Arctic Explorer AS. They offer a day trip for around US $450.
Suggested by Halef & Michael | The Round The World Guys
Dragør from Copenhagen, Denmark
Take a day to visit under-the-radar yet worth a visit Danish town of Dragør when in Copenhagen. Just 12 km away, Dragør is a perfect short getaway from the hustle and bustle of Copenhagen. You can catch a bus 350S, or rent a car or bicycle to reach the lovely village.
Founded by Dutch settlers, Dragør is a classic medieval town with its narrow cobblestone streets lined with 18th-century low-thatched roof houses tastefully decorated with vibrant flowers. Dragør is so pretty that it’s impossible to not fall in love with it.
The scenic old harbor in Dragør is alive with pretty cafes and restaurants where you can sit, relax and enjoy the picturesque Øresund Bridge as it spans across to Sweden.
Dragør is one of the best-preserved villages in Denmark. Interestingly, locals work as volunteers to maintain the uniqueness of the village. National Trust protects the traditional low-thatched roof yellow houses. Few of them have also been listed as historical heritage sites.
Dragør Fort Hotel is one of the most unique and coolest hotels to stay in Dragør. Located right in the harbor, Strandhotel is all about cozy vibes, mesmerizing ocean views, and good food. Nam Nam Is, a traditional house converted into an ice-cream shop serves the best organic ice-cream and super delicious waffles.
Dragør is a pedestrian as well as a bike-friendly town with little or no traffic. Taking a walking tour is the best way to explore the city’s spirited heritage. Dragør tourist office conducts tourist city walks. Alternatively, you can also rent a bike to discover the essence of Dragør.
Suggested by Anjali Chawla | Travel Melodies
Česky Krumlov from Prague, Czechia
One of the best day trip destinations in Europe has to be Česky Krumlov, a beautiful fairy-tale Czech town, 2-3 hours away from Prague. You can easily take a Cesky Krumlov day trip from Prague by train, bus or with a tour group, and although Česky Krumlov is definitely worth spending more time there if you can, a day trip is just enough time to see the highlights.
A free walking tour is a good introduction to the town, as the guide shares information on the history of Česky Krumlov as they show you around the cobbled streets. The Church of St. Vitus is the second highest building in Česky Krumlov, don’t miss the chance to take a look inside. The best views of the town are from Česky Krumlov Castle, the second largest castle complex in the Czech Republic after Prague. You can climb the tower for a small fee for wonderful views of the town or pay to go inside and explore the rooms. Walking around the castle grounds is free of charge, and the view from outside the castle gardens is definitely worth the walk!
Česky Krumlov also has various museums you can visit, such as the Egon Schiele art museum and Česky Krumlov Regional Museum, as well as a large monastery. Although Česky Krumlov is even more magical during the winter snow, in the summer there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, from rafting in the river to horseback riding and hiking.
Suggested by Claire Sturzaker | Tales of a Backpacker
Omiš from Split, Croatia
Omiš is the perfect day trip from Split. You can get there by car or bus in under an hour. There are lots of parking options in the town, so you shouldn’t have an issue finding a spot even in the high season. Omiš offers a wide variety of activities for visitors. The Cetina river flows into the sea here, which makes the sea temperate colder than other parts of Croatia. Omiš is still a popular beach destination and you can have a refreshing swim on hot summer days. Adventure lovers can go rafting or canyoning on the Cetina river. There is even a hidden cave behind a waterfall that you can explore. It is a really cool experience. Zip lining is another popular activity in the area. It is a very exhilarating feeling going on the wires with high speed. The 8 wires offer gorgeous views to the Cetina Canyon under you. However, if you are looking for amazing views without the excitement you can hike up to Starigrad Fortress. The 2 hour round trip hike can be exhausting, especially on hot summer days, but it is well worth the effort. From the top, you will have gorgeous views of Omiš and the nearby area. Don’t miss the opportunity to do this day trip from Split if you have the chance!
Suggested by Krix Eniko | Travel Hacker Girl
Delphi from Athens, Greece
If there’s one day trip that I suggest people take when visiting Athens, it’s the day trip to Delphi. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is easily reached from Athens whether traveling independently or on a day tour, and is one of the best archaeological sites in Greece.
Delphi was considered by the Ancient Greeks to be the Navel of the World, and its importance was both spiritual and political. People would travel from all over the Mediterranean to listen to prophecies which would then determine what colonies should be founded, marriages made, and even wars declared. In addition, Athletic games were also held at Delphi which had both religious and competitive significance.
The UNESCO Site of Delphi itself has a rather special setting nestled beneath some imposing hills. The views from the top of the temple complex are simply amazing, and many visitors comment on the ‘special feeling’ they get when visiting the site.
In addition to the temple complex itself, an interpretive museum (one of the best in Greece) also gives context to Delphi and its history. Visitors to Delphi should allow around four hours to see the site and museum.
For more information on the site, check out Dave’s guide to Delphi in Greece.
Suggested by By Dave | Dave’s Travel Pages
Montreux from Geneva, Switzerland
Montreux is a small town on the edge of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. It is an easy day trip from Geneva taking just one hour on the train or by car, Montreux’s main attraction is UNESCO listed Chillon Castle which is located on a tiny island. Its exact age is unknown but it first appeared in written texts in 1150. It’s been used as a fort, an administrative center, and a prison and, today, you can visit. In addition to walking through the castle, there are often workshops and events.
If you are a Queen fan, Montreux is where they recorded some of their music and you visit the exhibit Queen: The Studio Experience in Montreux Mountain Studios as well as check out the Freddie Mercury statue on the waterfront.
Montreux is also the starting point for the train up Rochers-de-Naye. At 2042 meters, there are great views from here both at the top and on the way up. There are hiking and wildlife parks in summer or an alpine park and skiing in winter.
For wine lovers, you can pop into the UNESCO-listed Lavaux Vineyards on the way to or from Montreux.
Montreux is especially a great place to visit during its Jazz Festival in summer and it’s Christmas festival, Montreux Noel, in the month leading up to Christmas.
Suggested by Sharon | Simpler And Smarter
Lisse from Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Lisse is quite possibly the most sought-after day trip destinations in Europe in Spring. Less than an hour away from Amsterdam by bus, this is one destination you can easily squeeze in even in a 3-day Amsterdam itinerary. Every year during Spring the entire country dresses up in colorful blossoms, and Lisse is the center of attraction with vast stretches of Tulip fields and the famous Keukenhof garden Keukenhof Tulip festival is the world’s largest flower show and it is highly recommended that you book the tickets online in advance. We went there on a Monday and were stunned by how crowded it was with tourists all over the world. The flower shows are indeed a visual spectacle that will be etched in your memories forever. After you are done with the garden you can take a boat ride into the actual tulip fields where the flowers are cultivated. The best time to take a day trip to Lisse is during the blossom season from late March to early May, but there are other attractions too open all year. The tulip museum showcasing the history of tulip cultivation in Holland, the medieval castles like Keukenhof Castle, Huys Dever, and Tylingen represent the spectacular Dutch architecture and testimony to Holland’s history. You can easily spend 4-5 hours in the garden and return or explore some of these places too for the rest of the day.
Suggested by Sinjana Ghosh | Backpack & Explore
Day Trips Across Europe: Bulgaria
Belogradchik from Sofia, Bulgaria
At the beginning of 2018, I found a cheap flight to Sofia – without really knowing what to expect from Bulgaria. I googled some places and stumbled upon Belogradchik – which looked really interesting. Pretty soon it was clear for me: I want to do a day trip from Sofia to Belogradchick.
To get there from Sofia, you can actually choose two different routes: One leading through Bulgarian hills and mountains, which we choose in the morning – and the other on one of the main highways. A quick note: The streets in Bulgaria (even the highway) are in a bad condition – so I would suggest to not take the hill route when it’s dark, rainy or even snowy.
Once we arrived in Belogradchick we were fascinated by the surrounding area – it almost looked like we arrived on another planet. Additionally, there were almost no other tourists – so we could totally enjoy the place. As we had some time left, we randomly explored the nearby Magura Cave, which contains human paintings that are several thousand years old – and was one of the highlights of my Bulgaria trip.
If you have some more time you can even take another detour to Baba Vida castle – which is located at the border to Romania, right next to the Danube. Overall, the day trip from Sofia to Belogradchick was a true adventure – with many highlights and only a few drawbacks. I can just suggest you try it out when staying in Sofia!
Suggested by Michael Gerber | MSC Gerber
Seven Rila Lakes from Sofia, Bulgaria
What do you look for in a day trip? As we spend most of our time in cities, we are always craving nature adventures and stunning scenery to make our trips even more special.
When we went to Bulgaria, exploring the mountains was a priority, but after planning for our Bulgaria itinerary we were only able to fit the Rila mountains in one day. It ended up being a wonderful day trip from Sofia, and without a doubt one of the best we’ve ever done in Europe.
Rila is the highest mountain range in the Balkans, and to make it even more special, it is filled with countless glacial lakes. The Seven Rila Lakes are the most famous, and the area offers plenty of options for hiking trails – both for experienced and beginner level hikers. There is a lift that takes you to the lower lakes and shortens the hike to the highest viewpoints, allowing you to have plenty of time to get there (and of course, come back) only as a day trip.
Even though you can’t visit as a day trip using public transportation, there are great private transfer options, that are affordable and tailored to your needs.
If hiking is not your thing, still consider a day trip from Sofia to the Rila mountains, but visit the Rila Monastery instead – it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is over a thousand years old.
Suggested by Maria & Rui | Two Find A Way
Day Trips Across Europe: Slovakia
Bratislava, Slovakia from Vienna, Austria
Bratislava, Slovakia is situated just an hour and a half east of Vienna, Austria, making it an easy and ideal day trip. With a picturesque, pedestrian-only old town, an ancient castle perched on a hill, and quirky statues scattered across the city, the capital of Slovakia is a mixture of culture, history, and fun.
Bratislava is easy and quick to get to from Vienna by car, train, or bus. As you arrive in Bratislava, you will notice the prominent and iconic Bratislava Castle looming over the city. It houses various Slovak National Museum exhibitions which are especially interesting for history lovers.
After touring the museum, spend some time exploring the beautiful streets. A great way to do so is by joining a free old town walking tour, which not only takes you by many of the top sites but gives you some background information on the city itself. As you explore old town Bratislava, keep your eyes peeled for all the peculiar and sometimes humorous bronze statues randomly scattered throughout the streets.
And don’t leave Bratislava without visiting Devin Castle. Perched high above the water where the Danube and Morava rivers meet, the ancient ruins of Devin Castle are fascinating and offer stunning views looking back across the river into Austria.
Read more about visiting Bratislava in a day.
Suggested by Melissa | Parenthood & Passports
Spišská Nová Ves from Košice, Slovakia
An easy hourlong train ride away from Slovakia’s second city, Košice, the town of Spišská Nová Ves makes for a leisurely day trip.
The small town boasts Europe’s biggest lens-shaped square, punctuated by the impressive Roman Catholic Parish Church of Virgin Mary’s Ascension. The 14th-century Gothic temple has the tallest church tower in the country, at 87 meters. The 155-step ascent up the tower takes you past its seven clocks for a 360-degree view of the city and the High Tatra Mountains to the northwest. On the square, visit the regional museum at the Province House, whose facade bears a coded inscription, or the gallery of regional artists. Have lunch at the Reduta Theater Restaurant and make a wish at the bell-shaped Tribute statue.
In the summer, stroll through the annual fair, a more than 600-year tradition, or the much more recent graffiti festival. For the more adventurous, Spišská Nová Ves airport offers various aerial programs, including skydiving, paragliding, and sailplane flying. See an ice hockey game in the evening and be back in Košice in time for a nightcap.
The best part: Spišská Nová Ves is located near the Slovak Paradise National Park, so you can also use the town as a springboard for your explorations of the beautiful canyons, ravines, and waterfalls.
Suggested by Peter Korchnak| I Heart Slovakia
Day Trips Across Europe: Germany
Potsdam from Berlin, Germany
If you are looking for the perfect day trip spot from Berlin, then Potsdam is your place. Located about 40 minutes away from the German capital, Potsdam is a gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage Site with magnificent palaces and beautifully landscaped parks.
A complex of over 150 buildings from the 18th and 19th century spread over 1200 acres, the Palaces and Parks of Potsdam make for an enjoyable day out of the busy streets of Berlin. The Sanssouci Palace with its resplendent Sanssouci Park is the most iconic attraction of Potsdam. Often referred to as the Versailles of Prussia, Sanssouci was built as the summer retreat of King Friedrich, the Great. It was also the birthplace of Friedrichian Rococo architecture, glimpses of which you can find in abundance here.
Although Sanssouci is a major draw for tourists, Potsdam possesses other attractions that are equally remarkable. The Historical City Centre with its Old Market Square, St. Nicholas Church, a Film Museum, and a leisure park is a great place to spend the day. Equally appealing are the red brick houses of the Dutch Quarter which are only a stone’s throw away.
It is easy to get to Potsdam from Berlin either by train or car. The best time to visit here is between April – October with August being the busiest month.
Suggested by Soumya Gayatri | Stories by Soumya
Linderhof Palace, Germany from Innsbruck, Austria
Linderhof Palace in Bavaria, Germany is often overlooked by tourists going to Neuschwanstein Castle. However, Linderhof is another one of “mad” King Ludwig II’s masterpieces and the only one he got to live in after completion.
Linderhof is small compared to Neuschwanstein but it doesn’t mean it’s less impressive. Ludwig II retreated here to spend time on his own and very much wanted it to resemble all things, French. It’s really a miniature Versailles, complete with interior representing the French court.
The beautifully landscaped gardens and park area with fascinating features such as the Venus Grotto and Moorish Kiosk are what really makes Linderhof worth a visit. Ludwig loved to bring the world to Bavaria and this is very evident in the park buildings too.
Linderhof Palace is near Garmish Partenkirchen and not easy to reach by public transport. It makes for a perfect day trip by car from Innsbruck, the capital of Tyrol in Austria, which is around 90 kilometers away. Plan around 1,5 hours for the journey, or more if you want to stop at the scenic towns of Mittenwald and Ettal, home to the must-visit Ettal Abbey, along the way.
Visiting Linderhof park and gardens is free. Tickets to see the interior and the park buildings cost an affordable €8,50. It includes a guided tour of the palace led by enthusiastic and informative guides. All in all, a day trip from Innsbruck to Linderhof Palace is a very rewarding experience.
Suggested by By Linda | Travel Tyrol
Day Trips Across Europe: Spain
Sitges from Barcelona, Spain
Sitges is about a 35 kilometer southwest of Barcelona making for a great day trip. This charming, LGBT friendly town of about 25K inhabitants features winding medieval streets a spectacular coastline, sizzling nightlife, and great food. Throughout the year the city hosts a full calendar of events and festivals including the International Film Festival and a Zombie Walk.
Sitges has been known as an artist destination since the late 1800s. Renowned artists have gravitated to Sitges for its idyllic landscapes and ocean views and laid-back vibe. Its coast is capped with a small castle that has served as a church, museum and government building over the years. A chain of restaurants and cafes line the beach for its entire length.
One Sitges mainstay is its cats. The town is home to dozens of strays that are fed by the townspeople. Volunteer catch the felines and local vets treat and spay or neuter them to maintain a healthy cat population.
It is easy to get to Sitges from Barcelona by either train or bus from the main station on a 40 to 45-minute commute.
Suggested by Talek Nantes | Travels With Talek
Cuenca from Madrid, Spain
Not too far from Madrid is the little town of Cuenca, with cobbled streets, Michelin starred restaurants, hanging houses, and karst waterfalls. The city, a few centuries ago, was amongst the most densely populated cities in Spain. Houses started building along the gorge in a ‘hanging’ fashion; often the balconies and toilets protrude out into the gorge and thus, these houses are called the ‘hanging houses’. This makes the architecture of the city very different and interesting. One of the houses also has the ‘Museum for Abstract Art’, where entry is free. Thus, you can be inside a hanging house and explore it from within. For Nature lovers, there is the Monumento Natural del Nacimiento del Río Cuervo, a nature reserve lined with trees that grow around the karst waterfalls in the region. There are no gushing flows and not thundering waterfalls; it is all delicate nature. There are blue pools at varying levels and water flows gently from one to the other.
Cuenca can be reached from Madrid in about 40 minutes by the Renfe train. Public transport is available from the train station to the city center. However, to explore the Old Town, one needs to walk a fair bit. Hence, it is wise to wear comfortable shoes. Also, the city is located in a hilly region and is cooler than Madrid. I was here at the start of spring and the whole city was covered in pretty pink and white almond blossoms. The sweet smell filled the air and a picnic in the nature reserve was the perfect way to get away from the big city of Madrid.
Suggested by Sonia Sahni | Ticking The Bucketlist
Toledo from Madrid, Spain
Toledo is one of the most popular day trips from Madrid and a great destination for history lovers. Perched on a hill in the region of La Mancha, in the center of Spain, Toledo dates back to Roman times and is an important city for three major world cultures. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all called this city home and Toledo’s beautiful buildings are witness to these influences
Visiting Toledo is easy. You can reach the city by train from Madrid in less than an hour and you can visit it on foot.
The first sight to catch your eye is likely to be the Toledo Alcazar, the castle overlooking the city. The Alcazar is a sight to behold and played a central role in many historical events in the city. Now open to the public, it is an interesting attraction to start your day in Toledo since it offers an excellent overview of the history’s rich past.
After the Alcazar, my suggestion for a visit here is to spend a full day in the city following an itinerary that includes stunning Santa Maria la Blanca and its impressive whitewashed interiors, Toledo’s cathedral and the city’s Synagogue, now an interesting museum.
Before heading back to the station, make sure you also include a stop at the Alcantara bridge for a view of Toledo from below: Roman in origin, the bridge it is a fabulous site a great place to say goodbye to the city before heading back to Madrid
Suggested by Marta Correale | Learning Escapes
Ronda from Malaga, Spain
Malaga is a great base for exploring southern Spain, and one of the most amazing day trips you can do from Malaga is to Ronda. Located on a hilltop, Ronda offers jaw-dropping views of the surrounding countryside. It is a beautiful Andalusian pueblo blanco (white village), with lots to see and do.
Ronda’s top attraction is the Puente Nuevo, the bridge that spans the deep gorge the town straddles. You can walk over the bridge to cross from the new town to the old town and then walk down a path to a spot from where you get unobstructed views of the magnificent bridge. The streets of the old town are made for wandering, with whitewashed houses and colorful flower pots. Spend some time exploring the beautiful gardens of the Palacio de Mondragon and the Cuenca Gardens. Admire the gorgeous architecture at the Plaza Duquesa de Parcent. Pose for a photo by the statue of El Toro, the bull. Have lunch at the Parador Hotel that sits by the edge of the gorge.
From Malaga, you can drive yourself to Ronda and back. The approach road to the town is very scenic. Or you can take the train or bus. Or opt for a guided tour. Whichever option you choose, you will love your day trip from Malaga to Ronda.
Suggested by Dhara | It’s Not About the Miles
Day Trips Across Europe: France
Giverny from Paris, France
Visiting Monet’s house and garden in Giverny is the perfect day trip from Paris. Monet lived and painted at his home in Giverny for the last forty years of his life, and seeing his house and the beautiful gardens that inspired many of his paintings is an amazing experience. The house is very popular and there is a constant line of people snaking through the house from room to room, so it’s definitely not a solitary experience, but you can go at your own pace, and walking through the rooms he lived and worked in really evokes his life. The gardens have two main sections. First, the Norman Wall (Clos Normand) garden, including an iconic view of a path with metal hoops and the house at the end. Obviously which flowers are in bloom varies throughout the season, but it is always breathtaking. Second, the Water Garden with water lilies, weeping willows, and a green Japanese bridge. Seeing a real-life version of the Waterlilies and other Monet paintings is a little surreal. As a huge Monet fan, I loved it! Finally, the Waterlilies Workshop is now a large gift store with plenty of Monet-inspired gifts to buy.
The easiest way to get there from Paris Gare Saint Lazare to Gare de Vernon (about 45 minutes). The train is met by a shuttle bus (8 € return). The site is open daily mid-March to the end of October; 9.30am to 6:00 pm. This is a very popular place to visit, so I recommend getting there early (the 8:20 am train gets you there just as it opens). It costs 9.50 € for the house and gardens.
Suggested by James | Travel Collecting
Avignon from Paris, France
Avignon is a beautiful historic city in Provence, France, set on the banks of the Rhone river. It’s around a 3-hour train trip from Paris, so you could do it as a day trip (although I recommend staying for longer if you have the time). The medieval old town is surrounded by thick ancient walls and inside, it’s filled with charming period buildings and cute winding streets, squares, and pavement cafes. Avignon was the seat of the Catholic Popes in the Middle Ages, so one of Avignon’s most impressive sights is the giant Palace of the Popes. It also has a historic bridge the ends halfway across the river. You can cross the river on a free ferry ride for amazing views of the bridge, especially at sunset.
Plus, Avignon has lots of amazing bakeries, restaurants, and markets. The undercover Les Halles market is a really fun place to explore and sample French cheese, pastries, and other treats.
Suggested by Maire | Temples and Treehouses
Champagne from Paris, France
Paris is surrounded by very beautiful regions and small towns and if you have an extra day or two in the capital it is definitely a good idea to travel around the capital city. One of our favorite day trips from Paris is the Champagne region, located northeast of the city. This is a beautiful region of rolling hills and vineyards best known as one of the best wine regions in France. We love visiting the Champagne region during the fall because the hills are covered by reds, yellow and browns but in the end, any season is great for exploring this area. As most of us know, the Champagne region is famous for champagne, the only sparkling wine in France (and the world) that can be technically called Champagne. If you are a wine or champagne lover it is a good idea to start your explorations from towns like Hautvilliers or Epernay. The first is considered the cradle of champagne and it is in the monastery of this cute town where the monk Dom Perignon developed the method of wine champagnisation. Epernay, instead, is the headquarters of the most famous champagne brands like Moët Chandon, Mercier or Veuve Clicquot have their headquarters. All of them propose interesting wine and champagne tours with a tasting at the end of the explanations. If you already know you will end up buying a bottle or two, don’t leave Paris without your favorite wine tote bag.
Suggested by Elisa | World In Paris
Provence from Aix-en-Provence, France
The countryside of Provence is awash with color come summer. It’s a time when France’s most famous lavender fields are in bloom, and the sweet scent of these delicate buds fills the air. The lavender fields of Provence make the perfect day trip from Aix-en-Provence, and there are several regions where you can get your fix.
For gently rolling fields interrupted by splashes of yellow sunflowers, head straight to the Valensole Plateau. It’s here that you’ll find some of the most well-known, and visited lavender farms in the region. These fields do get popular, so its best to plan your day trip for late June/early July. Combine it with a trip to the impressive Gorges du Verdon for the perfect day out.
Another notable region for lavender is around Sault. Sault makes for a slightly longer day trip from Aix-en-Provence (at around 1 hour 40), but the hilltop villages and endless rows of lavender will make it worth your while. If you’re able to, take a bike and spend an afternoon cycling around this bucolic corner of Provence. Or walk the 5km “lavender path” that will take you around some of the most beautiful fields.
If you’re short on time or want to combine your day trip with some of the most stunning villages in Provence – head straight to the Luberon valley. It’s here you’ll find the most famous lavender field of all – framing the amazing Sénanque Abbey.
Suggested by Nadine Maffre | Le Long Weekend
Day Trips Across Europe: Italy
Rivoli from Turin, Italy
Most travelers don’t realize that Turin, Italy is the original Italian capital. For almost one thousand years, the powerful Savoy family ruled nearly all of what is now modern Italy. The Savoys created a ring of spectacular palaces all around Turin, but to see my favorite Savoy palace you absolutely must make a day trip to nearby Rivoli, Italy.
Rivoli is only an hour from Turin and its historic center is accessible by public transit from Turin’s Piazza Statuto. However, Rivoli has a completely different vibe than Turin: its quaint historic center is fantastically preserved and traffic is limited on its narrow cobblestone streets. The historic center is built around the base of a hill, upon which sits the eye-catching Castello di Rivoli. The red-brick castle offers magnificent views of both Turin and the mountains of the Valle d’Aosta. Inside the castle, visitors are treated to one of the world’s best contemporary art galleries and a Michelin-starred restaurant. The art collection is noteworthy both for the quality of its exhibits (expect to see works by world-famous artists like Helmut Newton and Mario Merz) and their unique placement throughout the castle’s grand hallways, residences and ballrooms.
Suggested by Carly | Fearless Female Travels
Garda from Venice, Italy
The Garda lake at the foot of the Alps or the nearby Verona are the stunning destinations in the North of Italy. But did you know that they are also just a short 1.5-hour train ride away from Venice? One might argue that a day can’t be enough to capture Venice in all its beauty and maybe that’s true. But you can be sure that you’ll get a very good and intense first impression of this unique city.
The train station of Venice is within the center of the lagoon city (the part that is not accessible by car!) and is the perfect starting point for a long walk across the island. If you arrive with one of the early trains, you can roam along the canals, cross a thousand bridges, and take even more pictures, just to arrive at the Piazza San Marco in time to grab a Panini Sandwich or have lunch in a Restaurant.
If you need a break from walking, you even can squeeze in a ride in a classic Venetian Gondola before you head back to the station. Alternatively, you can also visit the famous Murano Glass manufactory and take a taxi boat to be back to the train station in time.
Suggested by Lena | Salut From Paris
Padua from Venice, Italy
Venice is a great place from which to explore northeast Italy on day trips. One of the best of these is Padua – Padova in Italian – which is as little as half an hour away on the train.
If it wasn’t for its proximity to Venice, Padua would be a much more popular destination. In a way, this has worked in its favor, as it gets relatively few visitors. Those who do make it there find a fascinating city abundantly rich in history and things to see and do. The only crowds are locals going about their daily life.
Padua is best known for the Cappella degli Scrovegni, a chapel commissioned by a local nobleman to try to pave and pay his way to the afterlife. He commissioned Giotto da Bondone to paint an incredible fresco cycle covering the whole interior of the chapel. You could call it the very first work of the Renaissance, albeit 150 years before the rest of Italy and the world caught up.
Padua also has two other major churches you cannot miss if you visit. The Basilica of ‘Il Santo’, St Anthony of Padua, is one of the most impressive medieval churches in Europe. St Anthony still inspires a very devoted following, and a visit to the Basilica is a very full-on experience. The nearby Duomo also deserves some of your time, but its adjoining Baptistery is the drawcard, with an amazing fresco cycle in the ceiling by Giusto de’ Menabuoi.
Add in a buzzing center with a big student population, many bars and restaurants, a café dating back to the 18th century and the world’s first botanical garden, and you have an amazing day trip from Venice.’
Suggested by David Angel | Delve Into Europe
Ferrari Museum Modena, Italy
In the heart of northern Italy’s region, Emilia-Romagna located a medium-size town Modena — a birthplace to the Balsamic vinegar, the word’s famous tenor Luciano Pavarotti and most importantly, the sports car. Modena is a lovely modest town with the country’s best-kept secret: Enzo Ferrari Museum and Factory. Conveniently located 90 miles from Florence, 45 mins drive from Parma and Bologna, Modena sure is easily accessible by car or train.
If you are looking for a unique less touristy destination for your family day trip inside Italy – you are in the right place. One of the best and unique experiences you can give to your family is to visit the Ferrari Museum in Modena.
To begin with, this isn’t your ordinary boring museum stuffed with artifacts and cute art pieces that kids don’t care enough to even notice. The museum is built in honor of the world’s car making legend — Enzo Ferrari himself — and combines his father’s old workshop and the house where Enzo was born.
The exhibition gallery complex includes the display of the world’s fastest cars designs, the Ferrari Engines museum, Enzo’s office, and a Merchandise shop. While you enjoy the futuristic car display inside the pavilion, you will be presented with an opportunity to watch an interactive movie on Enzo and the company’s historical evolvement which in fact, captures the attention of even the youngest visitor.
Suggested by Alex | Laska Baby Travel
Pienza from Florence, Italy
Florence is such a beautiful city that it is hard to tear yourself away. But, I can assure, you that a day trip to Pienza and the Val D’Orcia will be a highlight of your trip to Italy. The Val D’Orcia (Orcia Valley) south of Florence is the home of some the most enduring images of Tuscany. Tall cypress trees sway in the breeze over rolling hills covered in vines. Pretty hilltop towns with cobbled streets overlook the countryside.
Our favorite of all is Pienza – the ideal Renaissance town, built to spec by a wealthy pope. Pienza is a town that stays with you long after you left. Sitting high on a hill overlooking the valley, there are spectacular views at almost every turn. A picture-perfect town, Pienza’s cobbled streets lead to pretty piazzas, an impressive Duomo and a grand palazzo. It’s the perfect place to wander.
Beyond Pienza, there are wineries and country restaurants to visit, nestled on hills and in valleys. Make sure to visit Montalcino to discover one of Italy’s most famous wines – Brunello di Monticalcino.
Pienza and the Val D’Orcia are 2 hours drive south of Florence. The best way to get there is by car. Or, if you are interested in tasting many of the local wines, take a guided tour.
Suggested by Katy Clarke | Untold Morsels
Pompeii from Naples, Italy
I have to admit that Italy is my favorite European country. It has everything! From amazing landscapes, ski resorts, beaches, and magnificent coastlines, to delicious food and friendly smiling people. And it is filled with history. And if you are a history geek (and not only), one of the best places to visit in Italy is for sure Pompeii. A 2,000-year-old Roman town which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
If you want to discover Pompeii and learn more about the ancient town which got buried by the furious Mount Vesuvius’ eruption, then you should base yourself in Naples. This is a lively city which deserves a couple of days as you have plenty of things to do and to see. And Pompeii is one of the most popular day trips which can be done from Naples.
Getting from Naples to Pompeii doesn’t require too much logistics as there is a direct train, the Circumvesuviana train, which will drop you right at the entrance of Pompeii. You only need to buy your entrance tickets and then lose yourself in the fantastic remains of the old town. You will soon be fascinated to discover Romans’ way of life by admiring their houses, their theatres, markets, and even a brothel.
So hop on that train and walk into an ancient time. After spending a couple of hours wandering around the alleys of Pompeii, you just have to take the train back to Naples and enjoy the famous Pizza Margherita!
Suggested by Andra Padureanu | Our World To Wander
Capri from Venice, Italy
If you find yourself in Naples, don’t pass up the opportunity to take a day trip to the spectacular island of Capri. Capri’s cove-studded coast, steep mountains, and unbelievably blue waters are a magnet for the rich and famous. While yachts line this mystical island’s coast, you don’t have to own one to enjoy its riches. Hop on a 1-hour ferry ride from Naples for just over €20 each way. Currently, ferries run between Naples and Capri between 05:30-20:00. While you don’t have to take the very first ferry out of Naples, it is important to arrive in Capri early to make the most of your time and avoid the crowds. All ferries dock at Capri’s Marina Grande. From here, take the funicular up to the Piazzetta, the main square of Capri town. Next, take the chairlift to the top of Mount Solaro for a breathtaking view of the island. For another fantastic view of the Gulf of Naples, and one of the most beautiful gardens in Italy, stop at Villa San Michele. Here you can see the famous head of Medusa and the mascot of the villa, an Egyptian sphinx. Don’t leave without trying torta caprese, a heavenly flourless cake made from almonds and chocolate!
Suggested by Chrisoula Manika | Travel Passionate
Day Trips Across Europe: Portugal
Sintra from Lisbon, Portugal
Sintra was once Portuguese Royal Family’s favorite area to escape the heat in Lisbon. Now, it’s a popular tourist destination with several palaces and beautiful gardens. You can easily do a day trip to Sintra from Lisbon (but you may want to stay longer). It has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Start out your day at the oldest castle in Sintra, the Castle of the Moors. It dates back to 8th or 9th century and is now just ruins. You get amazing views from the wall walk and 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 was transformed from ruins of a monastery. Be sure to also allow time to explore the surrounding park.
In the historical town center, you will find the National Palace of Sintra, the summer residence of the monarchs from the 15th to the 19th century. Its two conical chimneys can be seen for miles. Inside, 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, or the Sintra Museum of Modern Art.
The best way to get to Sintra from Lisbon is to catch the train from the Rossio Train Station. It takes less than an hour and runs every 30 minutes.
Suggested by Anisa Alhilali | Two Traveling Texans
Baleal from Lisbon, Portugal
Baleal and Peniche make a great day trip destination from Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal. Our advice: Start in the early hours of the day when the city is still half asleep, when it is not as hot as during most of the days and when there is not so much traffic as usual. Make your way through the city center and the outskirts of Lisbon until you reach the highway and follow the road north until you reach the beach destination of Peniche. From there a beautiful beach road leads you right into the even smaller town of Baleal. This place is the perfect place if you like to catch some waves (in fact it is one of Portugal’s best surf spots) or just go for a bath in the ocean. Also, if you are into seafood and that kind of stuff, this is your Portuguese dream. You will get everything from freshly caught tuna fish to delicious octopus salad. Our favorite restaurant is Taberna do Ganhão, a hip eatery, blending Portuguese tradition with surf-culture that comes with a long and beautiful history. If you can make it, end the day with the perfect ocean sunset before heading back to Lisboa.
Suggested by Clemens Sehi | Travellers Archive
Day Trips Across Europe: United Kingdom, Ireland
Stratford-upon-Avon from London, UK
Located just 2 hours from London is a must-visit town for anyone who has ever read a book. Stratford-upon-Avon is known worldwide for being William Shakespeare’s hometown. The poet and playwright was born in the village, lived much of his adult life here, and was even buried here, alongside his wife and other close family members.
But despite its fame, Stratford-upon-Avon is not at all touristy. A day spent here is an escape from the hustle and bustle and sensory overload that London can often be. Stratford is a charming village filled with Renaissance architecture, centuries’ old restaurants, gift shops, and is surrounded by the idyllic English countryside.
There are at least six sites connected to Shakespeare and his family that history lovers and literature lovers can explore, including his birthplace and burial site. The site of the home he built for his wife and children has been turned into a symbolic garden that visitors can walk through. The childhood home of Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare’s wife, is located just outside the town. The Royal Shakespeare Theater is also here if you fancy seeing a live performance of one of Shakespeare’s works.
Stratford-upon-Avon is the perfect day trip from London to get a breath of fresh air and explore the hometown of one of the greatest authors in English history!
Suggested by Maggie McKneely | Pink Caddy Travelogue
Cotswold from London, UK
If you are in London, there’s an amazing day trip you definitely can’t miss! I’m talking about The Cotswolds, a hilly region which was declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966. Seems gorgeous, right? The good news is that it is located less than a couple of hours far from London. Public transport connects London to The Cotswolds daily, but I highly suggest you to explore the region by car: no rush and no timetables to care about. One of the best parts of this trip is to wander around and enjoy the breathtaking landscapes. The Cotswolds covers a huge area (almost 800 square miles) and runs through five counties (Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, and Worcestershire). Nevertheless, even in one single day, you can easily visit some of the nicest villages in Europe. So, here you are a couple of itineraries you could follow. For example, in one day you could visit both Bibury and Castle Combe, they’re probably the most famous destinations in The Cotswolds! Otherwise, you could explore the North Cotswolds and discover lots of charming tiny villages like Stow-on-the-Wold, Broadway, Upper, and Lower Slaughter, Bourton-on-the-Water. In every single town I’ve mentioned, you’ll find traditional cottages, lovely shops run by locals and cozy pubs. You’ll definitely feel to be back in time!
Suggested by Martina Benedetto| As Far As You Can
Oxford from London, UK
Only an hour by train from Paddington station, visiting Oxford is one of the best day trips from London. The city is famous for its university, with Oxford University being the oldest university in England.
No visit to Oxford is complete without taking a walking tour of the city to discover its 38 university colleges, learn about Oxford’s well-known rivalry with Cambridge University, explore the small cobbled side streets and see striking views of the city from the top of University Church of St. Mary the Virgin.
Which is right next to the Radcliffe Camera!
A few of my favorite sights in Oxford are the Radcliffe Camera for its stunning architecture, the Bridge of Sigh and the Bodleian Library for its vast numbers of books. The Bodleian library is one of the oldest libraries in Europe and has a copy of almost every book ever published in the UK and Ireland.
Along with its celebrated architecture and University, the city of Oxford is also a source of inspiration for films such as Harry Potter.
Here are some Harry Potter locations to visit in Oxford – the ‘Great Hall’, Christ Church College, Bodleian Library, and New College Tree. To finish your day, of scholarly tours and wizarding around in Oxford.
Relax with a drink and a meal in a quaint pub-like, The Eagle & Child (popular with Tolkien and Lewis), which is a favorite amongst the locals and is a fantastic way to end your day in Oxford
Suggested by Delahaye | Hues of Delahaye
Cambridge from London, UK
It’s so easy to hop on a train at London Kings Cross and visit Cambridge, the journey takes around an hour. You’ll love the combination of stunning architecture, natural beauty and excellent tea and cake in this university city.
Visit the Colleges: there are over 30 colleges in Cambridge and most are open to the public for a small fee. The best-known place is probably Kings College with its spectacular Chapel.
Peterhouse is the oldest Cambridge college, founded in 1284.
Punt along the Cam: the easiest way to do this is to rent a punt with a guide punter who punts. Find punts on the river at Quayside, Magdelene Street. Watching the colleges glide by whilst hearing stories of their history and local characters is delightful.
Swim at Jesus Green Lido: This is an unusual open-air swimming pool, at 100 yards long it is one of the two longest pools in the UK. Jesus Green Lido is unheated and open only in the warmer months,
Fitzwilliam Museum: visit this large museum to see its unique collections. This is an excellent option for wet days, it is free to enter so good, if even for a short visit.
Bike around Cambridge: there are several guided bike tours available, or you can hire a bike and set forth to explore the city and its beautiful gardens, riverside cycleways and meadows.
Fitzbillies Café: tea and cake in this bakery and café is a Cambridge institution, and you’ll deserve a treat after all the exploring!
Suggested by Seana Smith | Hello Sydney Kids.
St. Andrews from Edinburgh, Scotland
If you’ve spent some time in Edinburgh and are looking for a change of scenery, then consider going on a day trip to Fife! Edinburgh is a great base for doing many day trips and here’s one of our favorites. Why not swap a day in the city for a day by the seaside?
The coastal town of St Andrews is a short 1hr15 mins drive away. A Mecca for golfers, St Andrews is a charming coastal town famous for its iconic golf course, its university (the 3rd oldest in the UK no less!) and its beaches.
The town, with its cobbled streets, back alleys, secret passageways, is steeped in history – and it’s, of course, the place where Prince William met Kate! A visit to the ruined Castle is a must along with the Cathedral and St Rule’s Tower where you’ll get an amazing panoramic view of the town. There are two beaches to choose from – the large expansive sands at West Sands and the smaller, bay-like beach at East Sands.
St Andrews can be reached by car from Edinburgh (1hr 15mins) or by bus (although it takes significantly longer than traveling by car). You can also get a train to Leuchars (about 5 miles from St Andrews) and then catch a bus or a taxi to the town. St Andrews really is a must on your Scottish bucket list!
Suggested by Gillian Denovan | Scotland’s Bucketlist
Cliffs of Moher from Galway City, Ireland
One place that is on most people’s bucket lists when it comes to Ireland is the Cliffs of Moher, which make a great destination for a day trip from Galway City in the west of Ireland. Located in County Clare, an hour and a half’s drive south of Galway, the Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s biggest tourist attractions.
Situated on the edge of the Burren, they run for 14km and rise to a maximum height of 214 meters above the Atlantic Ocean. On a clear day, visitors can see as far as the Aran Islands in Galway Bay, as well as the Twelve Pins mountain range in the north of County Galway. The Cliffs of Moher form part of the Wild Atlantic Way, a 2500km coastal road which runs from Malin Head in the north to Kinsale in the south. And they have been recognized by UNESCO.
There is an 18km cliff walk for visitors to enjoy, as well as interactive exhibitions about the flora and fauna of the cliffs in the Visitors Centre, opened just 11 years ago. There is a large car park at the visitor’s center where you’ll also find a café. Along the cliffs, there are three main viewing platforms and great views of the cliffs can also be enjoyed at O’Brien’s Tower along the walk. The Cliffs of Moher are a must-be-seen attraction in Ireland.
Suggested by Cath | Passports and Adventures
What do you think?
Tell us all about your favorite day trips from this list and feel free to add more suggestions in the comments below.