13 Super Charming European Cities Well Worth a Day Trip

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The cobblestone alleys of Paris, the palaces of Vienna, or the winding canals of Venice would require a heart of stone not to move you. After all, these famous cities are so well-known and ageless for a reason. But these well-known locations only partially represent Europe. In truth, some of Europe’s most stunning and intriguing cities are sometimes also some of Europe’s most diminutive or most understated places.

According to Sofia Markovich, a travel expert specializing in European travel, the diverse cultures, cuisines, and history of Europe make it a fantastic location.” It is easy to get around Europe, but the key to taking advantage of the diversity is to pick a region and travel throughout that area.”

As Markovich advises, plan your trip according to area, such as Western, Eastern, or Southern Europe. According to Markovich,” it will give a traveler an opportunity to visit several countries on one trip,” or at the very least, get to know some of the top cities on the continent all at once.

Markovich also advises limiting your home base to a sizable city with reliable public transit to optimize the day trip potential of your next European holiday.

“Choosing larger cities as a hub provides the most flexibility and easy access to surrounding areas,” the author claims. For instance, Munich is an excellent place to stay if you want fast access to Austria and several of Bavaria’s must-see locations. The ability to take advantage of several out-of-town tours and convenient transportation alternatives while avoiding spending countless hours commuting back and forth is made possible by staying in a central hub.

In fact, getting to Europe is relatively simple because of its many transportation options, including buses, ferries, and, of course, boarding its renowned trains, which whisk you from one glitzy metropolis to the next in a matter of hours.

For instance, travelers can take the three-hour Eurostar train to the medieval city of Bruges while in London. Similar to Berlin, Szczecin in Poland is a well-liked seaside city that is only a two-hour train ride away. The lovely Slovakian city of Bratislava isn’t as well known as Vienna. Still, it’s just an hour by train away, making it a convenient day trip from Vienna and a great starting point for wine-tasting excursions in the region.

There is no need for private drivers or even car rentals on any of the simple, straightforward trips in Europe that are described below. But more crucially, all of the places included give adventurous tourists the chance to have a distinctive, off-the-beaten-path European experience. The 13 breathtaking European second cities listed below are worth a day trip while you’re there.

To Salzburg, Austria, from Munich

Munich to Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg, which is close to the German border, is perhaps best known for being the location of “The Sound of Music” and the birthplace of Mozart. The inner city, a fully preserved example of Baroque architecture, has seen very few contemporary buildings; it still resembles the area almost exactly 400 years ago.

The Route to Salzburg Austria

You can take a short cross-border train from Munich to Salzburg for as little as $27 one way, and the trip lasts just under two hours. If you decide to take the bus, choose Flixbus, as it will cost you $13 roundtrip and take two hours.

Where to Stay in Salzburg Austria

If you want historical grandeur while you’re in Salzburg, stay at the Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron. The hotel, which served as the backdrop for the von Trapp family home in “The Sound of Music,” is located inside a magnificent 18th-century palace with a lovely interior and outstanding surroundings.

Restaurants in Salzburg

S’Kloane Brauhaus serves traditional, rustic Austrian food (such as wiener schnitzel and venison stew) and home-brewed beer in a cozy, classically designed setting. It’s no palace, of course.

What to Do

Visit Mozart’s birthplace, which is now a museum, or go on a “Sound of Music” tour. Or you might simply make your way to the Alter Market and spend the day indulging in as much Austrian street food as you can.

Berlin to Poland’s Szczecin

Berlin to Szczecin, Poland

Szczecin, Poland’s seventh-largest city, frequently finds itself overshadowed by other of the country’s more well-known cities, such as Warsaw or Kraków. However, this port city, which is close to the German-Polish border, is equally popular with German visitors and residents alike, thanks largely to its stunning riverfront and homegrown beer and vodka.

The Route to Szczecin Poland

Fortunately, Szczecin is just as simple to reach as it is difficult to spell. A bus ride to central Szczecin from Berlin’s bus terminal costs around $17 one way, and it takes slightly over two hours.

Where to Stay in Szczecin

The Park Hotel is a charming, opulent lodging option located in the heart of Szczecin’s Old Town, just a short walk from just about everything worth seeing in the city, including the aforementioned riverfront.

Restaurants in Szczecin

For this, you won’t have to travel very far; the Park Hotel’s restaurant has one of the best reviews in the area and serves a variety of Polish and foreign cuisines. What to Do: A multitude of events are held at the Szczecin Philharmonic throughout the year, and the unique structure is a superb illustration of Polish architecture’s eccentricity.

From Paris to Luxembourg City

Paris to Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

Luxembourg City, one of Europe’s smallest capitals (in one of Europe’s smallest nations), is referred to as the “Gibraltar of the North” because of its extensive network of medieval defenses.

The Route to Luxembourg

You can go there in just two hours from Paris by high-speed rail, with one-way tickets costing as little as $34.

Where to Stay in Luxembourg

The Hotel Parc Beaux Arts is situated next to the Palais Grand Ducal in Luxembourg’s medieval city center and features rooms that feel like they have been taken directly out of a beautiful, local home. It is effortlessly stylish while also unquestionably intimate.

Restaurants in Luxembourg

Take advantage of the nation’s distinctive culinary legacy by dining on traditional Luxembourgian dishes at Mousel’s Cantine. Don’t forget to try the local beer as well.

What to Do in Luxembourg

The Bock casemates are a network of tunnels that extend beneath the ruins of the old city fortifications and open into enormous cliff-side vistas that provide some of Luxembourg’s best panoramic views as well as an intriguing glimpse into the history of the area.

Venice to Croatia’s Pula

Venice to Pula, Croatia

Pula, a historic city littered with Roman remains, is still thriving today because of the same sectors of the economy that made it famous more than 2,000 years ago: winemaking, fishing, and leisure.

The Route to Pula, Croatia

Many seasonal ferries to Pula only operate from April to October. (Note: Don’t expect to be able to obtain a ride during the winter; there are very few and far between ferries.) In such months, you may traverse the Adriatic in a little over three hours for a $170 round-trip with Venezia Ferries or Adriatic Lines.

Where to Stay in Pula

Scaletta adds a dash of entertainment to a visit to Pula. With its vibrant rooms and convenient location, it’s the ideal spot to unwind during your brief stay.

Restaurants in Pula

The lovely Restaurant Oaza serves up traditional Croatian fare and seafood that is locally produced (seafood is a specialty in Pula).

Things to in Pula

Attention history buffs: The city’s numerous Roman ruins, including the enormous Pula Arena, Temple of Augustus, and Triumphal Arch, are a must-visit. To search for some of the numerous dinosaur footprints that are still visible in the rocks today, visitors can head down to the seaside paths that exit the city.

To Bruges, Belgium, from London

London to Bruges, Belgium

A typical medieval city, Bruges is surrounded by canals, has winding alleyways made of cobblestones, and is dominated by the Belfry of Bruges. The city, one of Europe’s best-kept secrets, is the ideal quick vacation from London’s bustle.

The Route to Belgium

The price of a one-way ticket on the 3.5-hour Eurostar trip begins at about $140. In Brussels, you’ll have to change trains.

Where to Stay in Bruges

Don’t be deterred by the odd name; the centrally located, extremely affordable Hotel Bla Bla is one of the hippest, friendliest hotels in Bruges.

Restaurants in Bruges

Check out Soup, a quaint eatery serving soup, beer, and paninis close to Bruges’ Market Square. At the adjacent Chez Albert, end the day with a Belgian waffle.

Things to in Bruges

Of course, climb the belfry. The most recognizable landmark in the city, with simply stunning views from the summit.

Zurich To Vaduz, Liechtenstein

Zurich to Vaduz, Liechtenstein

With its strange history, strong monarchy, and small size, Liechtenstein may be one of Europe’s most intriguing nations, and its Lilliputian capital city (population: 5,700) is a hidden gem for alpine tourists.

The Route to Vaduz

It takes roughly 90 minutes to get from Zurich to Vaduz. From Zurich Hauptbahnhof, you must take a train to Sargans, which is close to the border. A brief bus ride will take you from there to Vaduz. For the entire journey, budget $30–$40.

Where to Stay in Vaduz

Since Liechtenstein is one of the few remaining nations that still takes its monarchy seriously, you might as well treat yourself like royalty while there. And the Park hotel Sonnenhof’s 29 exquisitely furnished rooms and suites are unquestionably suited for a king.

Restaurants in Vaduz

The opulent, Michelin-starred Restaurant Marée at the Park hotel Sonnehof is the best place to eat in Vaduz.

Things to in Vaduz

Take a hike outside of town along the Grüschaweg Trail to enjoy the mountain vistas, or visit the Prince of Liechtenstein’s private cellars for a wine and whiskey tasting.

Bern to Lausanne, Switzerland

Bern to Lausanne, Switzerland

One of Switzerland’s most picturesque cities is Lausanne, which is situated on the beaches of Lake Geneva. The nearby Vaud region, which is the largest French-speaking region in Switzerland and is known for its wines, food, and breathtaking natural beauty, offers a French-Swiss cultural experience that perfectly complements a trip to the more Germanic-leaning city of Bern.

The Route to Lausanne

It takes around an hour to travel directly from Bern’s central station to Lausanne for about $20 each trip.

Where to Stay in Lausanne

The Hôtel du Port boasts rooms with views of Lake Geneva and is situated in the bustling marina of Lausanne.

Restaurants in Lausanne

Anne-Sophie Pic au Beau-Rivage Palace is the place to go if you want two Michelin stars, a renowned French chef, and some of the best lake views in town.

Things to in Lausanne

Board the La Suisse, a genuine paddle boat from the turn of the century, for lunch and a lake excursion.

Vienna to Slovakia’s Bratislava

Vienna to Bratislava, Slovakia

Prague, Budapest, and Munich are just a few of the excellent cities close to Vienna, which is amazing. However, Bratislava may be Vienna’s most fascinating and practical neighbor. Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is one of the most underappreciated nations in the world.

The Route to Bratislava

A train ride from Vienna to Bratislava takes an hour. The price? is a staggering $12.

Where to Stay in Bratislava

The Hotel Michalská Brána is a modest, traditional building in the city’s historic district that is completely modern inside. The majestic Bratislava Castle and the most well-liked nightclubs and clubs in the city are also just moments away.

Restaurants in Bratislava

Modra Hviezda consistently ranks as one of the best restaurants in the city and offers atmospheric Central European cuisine at a surprisingly affordable price. If you visit, be sure to sample something from their menu of traditional Slovak dishes.

Things to in Bratislava

Visiting the nearby vineyards and wineries is worthwhile after leaving the city. Slovakia, a perennial underdog, has a seriously underappreciated winemaking sector. And if wine isn’t your thing, the Slovaks have a history of producing beer as well.

Spain’s Bilbao to France’s Biarritz

Bilbao to Biarritz, France

Do not allow the Pyrenees to obstruct your path. Those who remain close to the French-Spanish border should take the opportunity to visit the neighboring nation. A booming nightlife and the kind of glitz and elegance you’d often find only on the French Riviera can be found in Biarritz, a French surfing town on the Bay of Biscay.

The Route to Biarritz

Tickets from Bilbao, Spain, can be purchased from local bus companies for anything from $9 and $20 each way. It should take a little under three hours to travel there.

Where to Stay in Biarritz

Since you won’t want to be too far from the ocean while visiting Biarritz, reserve a hotel at the Hotel l’Ocean, which offers reasonably priced elegance in the heart of the city and is just steps from the shore.

Restaurants in Biarritz

Bistro Toqué Anglet, which specializes in seafood and lighter foods, is a great place to treat yourself to a delicious post-surf dinner.

Things to in Biarritz

Of course, surf. The surfing in Biarritz is just as good as it is anyplace else in France or Spain, and the city has a strong surfing scene. Don’t worry if you’re a beginner; the École de Surf Hastea offers courses and camps all year long for surfers of all skill levels.

From Amsterdam to Belgium’s Ghent

Amsterdam to Ghent, Belgium

Due in major part to its university and vibrant student environment, Ghent is obscure enough to enjoy a laid-back, generally calm atmosphere while simultaneously being lively enough to appease any errant partygoers from Amsterdam.

The Route to Ghent

A train ride will cost between $50 and $100 each way and take just over three hours. Bus service to Ghent is also available; one-way fares range from $15 to $40, and the trip takes 2.5 hours.

Where to Stay in Ghent

Spend a night or two at the Boatel, a riverboat that has been turned into a floating hotel.

Restaurants in Ghent

Steak and fries are among the few things that the Belgians do best, and Gillis is likely the best place to eat them.

Things to in Ghent

If you want to see some medieval, Renaissance, and modern culture while taking a break from the hectic nightlife of Amsterdam, visit the Museum of Fine Arts. If not, go to Korenmarkt for some of the more central bars and pubs in Ghent or venture out toward Blandijnberg for the city’s vibrant student nightlife.

To Tallinn, Estonia, From Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki to Tallinn, Estonia

The capital of Estonia, Tallinn, is located on the Gulf of Finland’s southern coast. Tallinn is frequently recognized as one of the most technologically advanced, developed, and culturally rich cities in Europe while being less well known than its northern rivals. Tallinn is undoubtedly a must-see for aficionados of the northern extremities of the continent, yet it may not be the best location if you’re seeking to escape Finland’s bitter cold.

The Route to Tallinn, Estonia

From Helsinki, you’ll need to take a quick boat ride that will take around two hours. The Viking Line or Eckerö Lines typically have the best prices (from $20 to $30 one-way).

Where to Stay in Tallinn

My City Hotel is one of Tallinn’s more upscale lodging options; however, the hotel’s luxurious décor and unbeatable position in the Old Town more than makeup for its somewhat higher price.

Restaurants in Tallinn

Kohvik Moon, which is close to the Old Town, offers upscale, contemporary Russian food at surprisingly low costs.

Things to do in Tallinn

Tallinn has a long history of producing alcoholic beverages, including traditional Estonian liqueurs, as well as beers and vodka. On a private tasting tour, discover the lively traditions of the city.

Spain’s Tarifa to Tangier, Morocco

Tangier to Tarifa, Spain

Even if Tangier isn’t technically in Europe, it’s still rather close, and how often do you get to take a short trip there? One of Spain’s top locations for wind sports is in Tarifa, in the province of Cádiz, close to the Strait of Gibraltar. Tarifa is home to some of the country’s most beautiful beaches.

The Route:

Of course, you’ll need to take the ferry across. From Tangier Ville to Tarifa, FRS offers a couple of sailings daily. It takes an hour to cross, and a round-trip ticket costs about $80.

Where to Stay:

The 300-year-old, immaculately restored Koala Tarifa guesthouse is housed in the city’s historic district and provides five apartments.

Where to Eat:

Both tourists and locals frequent the tiny, welcoming, and quintessentially Spanish restaurant Vaca Loca, which specializes in offering steak and grilled meats in a stunning, traditional setting.

What to Do:

Go kiteboarding (or engage in another wind sport) at the beach. Private lessons are available at KitePassion Tarifa for $65 per hour.

Spain’s Cáceres From Lisbon

Lisbon to Cáceres, Spain

A mash-up of cultures, Cáceres was built by the Romans but is now peppered with Renaissance palaces, medieval streets, and Moorish city walls. The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the entire town is not only a foodie’s paradise (the Spanish Hospitality Federation designated it the country’s culinary capital for 2015), but it’s also just out of the way enough to avoid being overrun by tourists.

The Route to Cáceres

Due to the closure of the rail line, it is difficult to reach Cáceres from Lisbon; the bus ride takes five hours. Even so, it will only cost you about $30 with GoEuro and will pass through some of Iberia’s most beautiful scenery.

Where to Stay in Cáceres

The Hotel Parador, which is a portion of the Old Town designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, feels more like a palace than a hotel, which is probably because it is one.

Where to Eat in Cáceres

Restaurant Javier Martin serves you a superb tasting menu from one of the freshest and most intriguing new chefs in town. Cuisine is what Cáceres does best.

What to Do in Cáceres

Explore the Old Town on foot. In addition to being breathtakingly gorgeous, the region is home to market booths and boutique stores offering every kind of food a traveler could possibly desire, including sweets, wines, liqueurs, and street food.

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