The Ten Best European Day Trips

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Some of Europe’s most popular cities are also excellent bases for fascinating day trips beyond city limits. The many sights of Rome, Paris, London and more seduce us to stay and explore – but if you’ve got an extra day, check out these ten fabulous excursions that get you back in time for dinner.

Rome to Pompeii
A long day, but worth it. The excavations of the Roman town of Pompeii, at the base of Mount Vesuvius, are like nothing you’ve ever seen, or will see again. An experienced guide will make this ancient place come alive for you – then get you back to Rome by sunset.

Paris to Normandy
Paris is a city like no other, but its lure is so intense, we often forget there’s a whole country waiting to be discovered outside the city limits. A train or private car can whisk you to the shores of Normandy in a few hours, where you can visit the picturesque seaside towns of Honfleur and Deauville, see dramatic Mont St. Michel – one of the wonders of the western world – or make a pilgrimage to the D-Day beaches.

London to Bath and Stonehenge
London is another city whose gravitational pull is undeniable. But within just an hour’s drive or train ride, the possibilities are endless! Windsor Castle, the Cotswolds, Oxford, Cambridge…But one of the most popular daytrips combines stops in Bath, arguably the most beautiful City in England and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with Stonehenge, the most famous and mysterious stone circle on the planet. How can you go wrong?

Belfast to the Giant's Causeway
The Giant's Causeway sits along the Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland, and has been designated by UNESCO as an "area of outstanding natural beauty." The Causeway is both beautiful and unique - its 60 million year old basalt columns create a landscape like nothing you've ever seen, and it's not a stretch to imagine the legends of Irish warrior Finn McCool playing out here. It's just over an hour's scenic drive from Belfast.

Amsterdam to Keukenhof
Amsterdam is a charming, compact and walkable city – a delight to explore on foot, by bicycle, or by canal boat. Equally pleasant and easy to discover is the rest of the Netherlands! Get out into the Dutch countryside on your way to a day out at the magnificent Keukenhof Gardens, and drink in your fill of windmills, tulip fields and Dutch villages.

Copenhagen to Sweden
Who’s to say a daytrip can’t stray outside a country’s borders? Part of the beauty of Europe is the ability to move from one country and culture to the next with relative ease. Start and end your day in Denmark, with a little bit of Sweden sandwiched in between. See the fabled Hamlet’s Castle in Helsinore, then hop on 20-minute ferry to Helsingborg, Sweden. Moving south, stop in the thousand-year-old city of Lund before reaching Malmo, and the 30 minute train ride back to Copenhagen.

Munich to Neuschwanstein
Bavaria is almost as famous for its castles as its biergartens – so make sure you spend time in both while visiting Munich! A day out to King Ludwig’s splendid fairytale-like castle in the foothills of the Alps is non-negotiable when you’re in this part of Germany. (Check out the gorgeous photos these TBL travelers took during their time here last winter: Neuschwanstein in the snow.)

Florence to Chianti
Florence – packed as it is with cultural treasures – is a thrill to see. But it’s a busy place, and the quieter, rolling hills of Tuscany beckon travellers to stray farther afield. The choices are endless, but the Chianti region and the village of San Gimignano remain ever popular choices for a Tuscan daytrip. A slightly longer day takes you to the Cinque Terre – a colourful series of hillside villages that appear about to tumble into the sea below.

Zurich to Mt Rigi and Lucerne
You can’t come to Switzerland and not see the Alps. So if you find yourself in Zurich, a daytrip to Lucerne – just under an hour away by Swiss train, is a must. From Lucerne, a boat and cogwheel train can take you high up on “The Queen of the Mountains”: Mt Rigi, where you can frolic like Heidi, or stroll more sedately on a short alpine hike.

Milan to Lake Como
Life in Milan is the epitome of urban sophistication. So where do the Milanese go when they want a quiet (yet still elegant) escape from city life? They hop a train to Lake Como – and you can do the same. A local guide will meet you and escort you on a journey through the beautiful towns and villages around the lake – or perhaps take you on a boat ride on top of its glassy surface.
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