Traveling to major cities can be an extraordinary experience, but often times an adventure outside the city walls can take the pleasure of travel to the next level. Pre-planning is always advised for these excursions, as tickets and availability are often limited, and it might not be possible to book once you arrive at your main destination. Here are the best European day trips you can’t let yourself miss.
Just 3 hours from Rome, Pompeii is a fabulous idea for a day trip. At its pinnacle, Pompeii was an extremely busy port town, where much of the area’s commerce and trade took place; it also served as a mecca for technological and mathematical advancements in its time. Much of the city has been amazingly preserved, due to the giant “dump” Mount Vesuvius took on the city, also known as the infamous volcanic eruption of 79 AD. This mass burial of the city of Pompeii managed to cover the entire town under a thick layer of volcanic lava and ash. Although, be it a major tragedy in history, today it have given visitors a snap shot in time, where things remained preserved as they were back in the 1st century. The best thing to do is a walking tour of Ancient Pompeii and the amphitheater, then hike up Mount Vesuvius to enjoy renowned views. Much needed advice for this day trip is to wear comfortable walking/hiking shoes and bring plenty of water and sunscreen (even in the winter months).
One of the greatest advantages of traveling in Europe is that because of their close proximity, traveling from one country to the next is pleasurably simple. From Milan, it takes roughly an hour and a half to arrive at Lake Como. The drive to Lake Como is stunning, with picturesque views of the Alps…no snoozing on this car ride! Upon arrival, cruise aboard a boat and tour the lake, taking in all the natural splendors. While there, you can make your way to Bellagio and enjoy the Giardini di Villa Melzi, which is a set of well-preserved gardens on the lake; photographers shoot many product and fashion campaigns here. Quickly cross the Swiss border, and bam, you’re in Lugano. It is said to be filled with the rich and famous, but the sites are for all to marvel. Along with the natural beauty, you have, of course, all the Swiss shopping, eating, and church visiting you can handle.
Relax that stiff upper London lip and see the green country side near Stonehenge. A bunch of big old rocks, some might say, but not to the archeologic enthusiasts. Without modern day tools and mechanics, the wonder of Stonehenge’s structure has puzzled millions. Go and create your own theories as to how this circle of stone came to be. There are many a quaint town nearby to explore, many of which have been the topic of books and movies, love and witchery, hint, hint.
Immediately when thinking of Normandy, World War II and D-day come to mind, all the courageous soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of others. Although there was much loss of life in Normandy, today it stands as a memoriam to freedoms we share between nations. Visiting this historical landmark is a necessary act of patriotism for all travelers, no matter where you are from. Tours will take you around and retell the war stories so one can truly understand what marks of bravery still stand today. Aside from this tributary, the country side offers a look at Monet’s gardens, the old port of Honfleur brimming with humble fishing boats and super-sized modern yachts, and a cider-sippers dream among the rich abundance of apple orchards.
See City Wonders for a complete list of tours.