So you’re studying abroad in Europe. And you want to visit all of the cities in all of the countries. But if you’re anything like me, you quickly realized that jet-setting to a new city every weekend can be really expensive and time consuming (in both the travel and exploring categories). To help you take a breather, I’ve put together a list of really great one day travel destinations that I’ve visited that won’t make you feel stressed and rushed to see everything, won’t break the bank, and won’t take too much time to get to depending on where you’re located.
I recently went to Toulouse and had a really wonderful time. Toulouse is in the south of France, really close to the France-Spain border, which is why you’ll see some Catalan on the streets. The hostel and public transportation options were all very cheap, and since the city is on the smaller side, it’s very easy to see and navigate. Go buy a bottle of French wine, cheese, bread, and meats to enjoy in the park!
Venice is a nice city in the north of Italy known for its canals and its glass, and it’s actually built on a bunch of tiny islands which is why the only way to get around is via boat or foot. After you eat some amazing and cheap gelato, visit Doge’s Palace, ooh at the mosaics in Saint Mark’s Basilica, cross the Rialto Bridge, and people watch in the Piazza San Marco.
Segovia or Toledo, Spain
I have visited Toledo once and Segovia two or three times (I personally prefer Segovia). Either way, each city has its own quaint charm and Spanish flair. Both Toledo and Segovia offer the traditional sights of Europe, the churches and the castles, but Segovia offers the aqueducts, which are amazing to look at. I’d recommended going back into Madrid instead of trying to find a hostel or Airbnb here since these are more day trip style destinations.
Füssen is a city in southern Germany, right by the Austrian border. It’s known for its beautiful mountains and being really close to Schwangau, where Neuschwanstein Castle and Hohenschwangau Castle are located. The main hub of Füssen is the altstadt, or basically the downtown area, where you can find German restaurants and guesthouses and a few local art museums. If you venture past the altstadt, you’ll find yourself near a park with some great trails for hiking and biking.
I haven’t been here but I’m dying to go. Sintra is really close to Lisbon, and you can get there via train or bus. Sintra is a resort town with beautiful landscapes and several palaces and gardens to visit. There’s also a Moorish fortress.
A quick tip for packing for these one day trips: you really don’t need everything you think you need. Honestly, use a drawstring bag (which is how I got around Toulouse). The drawstring bag is easy to carry, easy to store on the bus or plane, and limits you from over packing.
As to what you should pack, limit your clothing to save space. If you’re only gone for one day, just pack an extra pair of underwear, an extra pair of socks, a shirt, and something to sleep in (my shirt to sleep in usually becomes my shirt to wear for the next day). Of course, pack your toiletries like a toothbrush and contact lens essentials, unless you’re going with the glasses for the day, but when it comes to the shower stuff and makeup, leave it at home! You’ll be back in your home city before you know it and then you can shower and put on makeup.
There are endless possibilities for one day trips depending on where you’re located and what you like. Take the time to explore and enjoy everything Europe has to offer!