12 of our favourite Europe day trip locations!

Monteriggioni tuscany italy day trip cute town

One of the things we particularly enjoyed about Europe was exploring small towns, beaches and off the radar locations on day trips! Whilst the big cities were impressive, we often found a greater sense of wonder checking out the little villages and hilltop towns. The list we have put together are some of our very favourite Europe days trips. These are places we think you should definitely aim to include on your itineraries when you visit these countries or Europe in general! We would also love to hear your favourite locations for day trips in Europe!

Top Europe day trip locations that we loved and think you should visit!

Monteriggioni – Tuscany

The entire Tuscany region is littered with beautiful towns, vineyards and villas to explore. While we enjoyed some of the more popular locations (e.g. San Gimignano), we particularly liked the tiny walled town of Monteriggioni. This town is TINY, and can only be reached by car, however we loved the calm nature, less tourists and how different it felt to other Tuscany towns. We think it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in Tuscany!

How to get there: We think it’s best to visit using a car. Head here from Florence (~1hr), Siena (~20-30mins) or San Gimignano (~30mins).

Gordes – South Of France

Gordes is the stunning French town that we think should be high on your travel wishlist! Boasting incredible views of rolling hills, cute alleyways to explore, and a number of great cafes and restaurants. It is the perfect size town for a day trip or a one night stay, with enough to do to keep you entertained, but not enough for a longer visit. This town was by far our favourite in the south of France.

How to get there: We recommend driving to beat the crowds (get there early). Stay in the nearby Avignon and drive ~45mins to Gordes.

Cambridge – UK

This historic university town of Cambridge is one of the best day trips from London. Located around 1.5hours from London, this town has a thriving cafe culture, great old abbeys and universities to explore, plus fun activities like punting on the river. Whilst we have a family connection that made us visit (Tess’s brother works and studies here), we enjoyed it enough to recommend other visit as well!

How to get there: We recommend catching the train from London. Whilst the trains can be quite expensive, they are comfortable and quick. It should take around 1.5-2hours pending the train.

Antiparos – Greek Islands

The delightful island of Antiparos is the smaller sister island to the popular Paros. We visited both Paros and Antiparos, and fell in love with the calmer nature of Antiparos. This beautiful Greek Island streets, beaches, blooming bougainvillea, and much more.

How to get there: Catch the ferry from Paros which will take around 30minutes. If you want to get to Antiparos from Athens, you will need first catch a few hour ferry to Paros, then another to Antiparos.

Gjirokaster – Albania

The small Albanian town of Gjirokaster is truly a hidden gem! This historic town has picturesque streets, great history and incredible food! We visit and stayed 1 night, but it could easily be done as a day trip. We think it is a must do addition to your Albanian Riviera adventures!

How to get there: It will take around 60minutes to drive to Gjirokaster from Sarande (main port town). If you head from Ksamil it is around 1-1.5hours, and from Himare is approximately 2 hours. To get to Sarande (access to the Albanian Riviera), fly to Corfu (Greek Island) and catch a 1 hour ferry across.

Hornbaek – Denmark

The fishing town of Hornbaek, located north of Copenhagen, is a truly authentic ‘local’ experience. Best visited in summer when it’s filled with local Danish enjoying the seaside, this picturesque town has a charming harbour, broad beaches, cute restaurants and shops, plus a very relaxing ‘vibe’. We stayed for 2 nights and thoroughly enjoyed it, but you could easily to it in a day trip from Copenhagen via train.

How to get there: Catch the train from Copenhagen to Hornbaek. It will take around 1.5hours and it a very comfortable journey. The train stops in the heart of the town.

Lucca – Tuscany

Lucca is another stunning Tuscan town that we just loved! Boasting a well preserved old town, a stunning oval central plaza, lots of history and great Italian food! We visit for a day trip, but could easily have stayed 1-2 nights.

How to get there: Catch the train from Florence to Lucca (1.5hours) or drive in around 1 hour (pending traffic). It’s easy to get to, lots of parking, and close to other big towns and regions like Pisa and Cinque Terre.

Mostar – Bosnia

Mostar is breath-taking! This Bosnian town feels almost like a fairy-tale. Situated a few hours inland across the border from Makarska or Dubrovnik, this is definitely possible as a day trip.. however we recommend you stay 1-2 nights. With the postcard view of the Mostar Old Bridge, the charming town with Ottoman architecture, great food and much more. Mostar was one of our favourite small towns in Europe!

How to get there: Drive from a nearby Croatia town (Makarska or Dubrovnik) or Sarajevo (Bosnian capital). Otherwise, catch a bus from Makarska/Dubrovnik, but be prepared that it make take a little longer than you think.

Transfagarasan Highway – Transylvania

This stunning highway snakes its way through the Carpathian Mountains in Romania. We visited on a day trip from the nearby Brasov (as perfect Transylvanian base) and we blown away! The highway itself if stunning and very photogenic, along with the surrounding landscape which we definitely recommend exploring!

How to get there: You generally need to hire a car and drive as public transport options are limited. It will take a few hours but this can be longer pending the traffic.

Coimbra – pORTUGAL

The historic university town of Coimbra is well worth visiting! Located north of Lisbon, this town offers great views, a really old university to explore, cute winding streets, great Fado music, top food and more! We visited as a day trip from the nearby Aveiro, but in retrospect would have loved to stay a night.

How to get there: Train from Lisbon will take around 2 hours, while from Porto will take 1-1.5 hours. The trains are reliable. Driving will often take longer and we would recommend the public transport options.

Alberobello – Puglia

The odd looking Trulli Houses in Alberobello are definitely worth checking out. These unique buildings are typically found in the region, and Alberobello is one of the only spots to find them in a whole town. While the town is a little bit touristic, it’s great to wander around, and a perfect addition to your Puglia adventures.

How to get there: The best way to visit is hiring a car and driving from the nearby Polignano a Mare (or other towns like Ostuni/Monopoli/Bari). The trip is short, but roads can get busy in peak times. Head there early to beat the crowds.

Sibiu – Transylvania

Sibiu is the town where the buildings are watching you! Yes, they have eyes (see below)! This charming historic town was one of our favourite day trips in Romania and we think it should be on your list! There’s lots to do, heaps to explore, plus cute restaurants and cafes! While we used Brasov as our Transylvanian base (recommended), Sibiu would be a decent alternative to base for day trips!

How to get there: It will take around 2-3 hours to drive from Brasov and a train is around 2.5 hours. Arriving from Bucharest would take about 4 hours driving (or a huge 8 hours by train) making it not as great spot for day trips if visiting from the capital.

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Comments (1):

  1. TheDogGod

    April 26, 2023 at 8:35 am

    Loved this post – heress my feedback –
    I absolutely loved this article! It’s so refreshing to hear about the lesser-known locations in Europe that are just as stunning as the big cities. The list of day trip locations was fantastic, and I especially loved the recommendation for Monteriggioni in Tuscany. The pictures were breathtaking and I can’t wait to plan my next trip to Europe with these destinations in mind. Thank you for sharing your experiences and recommendations!
    Thanks for reading , Love The Blog !!


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