Are you ready for some European day trip fun? As a 7-year expat in Germany, I’ve had my fair share of adventures and misadventures exploring the stunning destinations that Europe has to offer.
In this article, I’m going to share my top tips and tricks for taking European day trips that are sustainable, budget-friendly, and focused on the stunning culture and adventure Europe has to offer.
Read until the end where I show you how to find the best deals on tours from locals.
TIPS & TRICKS FOR SUCCESSFUL DAY TRIPS 🚗🚊
If you’re planning to travel in Europe, there are plenty of amazing day trips you can take to experience the beauty of the continent. For those who crave adventure and want to connect with nature, embarking on day trips is the perfect way to explore Europe.
tl;dr European Day Trips Tips : Less is More
Don’t try to shove 10 things in a day trip itinerary. Relax and let the world unfold. Wear comfortable shoes.
I cannot tell you how many times I hear, “I’m so miserable, there’s so much cobblestone.” “This is how Europeans are so slim, they walk everywhere.”
- FROM USA? Bring Walking SHOES, it’s likely more than you’re used to
- Best App for Navigation: Google Maps
- Best App for Hiking Off-The-Beaten Path: AllTrails
- Best Car Rental: Discover Cars
- Best Public Transport Booking: Omio
- Best Travel Insurance: Hey Mondo
Crave the Planet is reader-supported thank you! Anything linked is based on my personal experiences and research, written by me about the adventure or the destination. When you book a hotel, product or tour that Iink to, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!
EUROPEAN DAY TRIPS BENEFITS
Day trips have several benefits that make them an attractive option for travelers. Here are some of the benefits of day trips:
- No need to pre-plan every moment: Day trips are more flexible than longer trips, so you don’t need to plan every moment of your day. You can simply go wherever the wind takes you and enjoy the experience.
- Venture where you please – not on a certain time schedule: Day trips allow you to explore at your own pace, without the pressure of a strict schedule.
- Budget-friendly: Day trips are generally cheaper than longer trips, so they’re a great option for travelers on a budget.
- Not necessary to see every sight: With day trips, you can pick your top 3 favorite sights and then anything else you see after is a bonus. If you run out of time, you can always come back another time.
CHALLENGES OF EUROPEAN DAY TRIPS
While day trips in Europe can be an amazing way to explore new destinations, they can also come with their fair share of challenges.
Here are some of the most common challenges you may encounter when taking day trips in Europe:
- Transportation: Depending on where you’re going, getting there can be a challenge. Trains and buses can be crowded, and navigating unfamiliar public transportation systems can be confusing.
- Language barriers: If you don’t speak the local language, communicating with locals and navigating your way around can be difficult. Use google translate to decipher.
- Limited time: With only a day to explore, it can be challenging to fit in everything you want to see and do. You may have to prioritize your activities and skip some sights.
- Weather: Depending on the time of year, weather can be a challenge. Rain, snow, and extreme temperatures can make it difficult to enjoy your day trip to the fullest. If you’re curious about where is hot in Europe in April, I wrote a detailed post of the best hiking destinations for the shoulder season.
- Currency: Depending on where you are in Europe, you may have to deal with exchanges. Typically your credit card will offer the best deal. Strangely, even outside the EU zone some places like Monetengro accept the euro.
Despite these challenges, day trips in Europe are still worth taking. With a little planning and preparation, you can overcome these challenges and have an amazing experience.
Here are some tips for making the most of your day trip:
- Plan ahead: Research your destination ahead of time and plan your itinerary accordingly. Book tours and attractions in advance to avoid long lines and ensure availability.
- Learn some key phrases: Even if you don’t speak the local language fluently, learning some key phrases can go a long way in helping you communicate with locals and navigate your way around.
- Use Google Translate: It works fairly well.
- Be flexible: Don’t try to pack too much into your day trip. Be flexible and open to changing your plans if necessary.
- Check the weather: Check the weather forecast before you go and pack accordingly. Bring layers and rain gear if necessary.
By keeping these challenges in mind and following these tips, you can make the most of your day trip in Europe and create unforgettable memories.
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EUROPEAN DAY TRIPS PACKING TIPS
I went to Croatia for July 4th by car and totally forgot my passport. We had to turn around because at the time it was not part of the Schengen zone. That was a real bummer, so always bring your passport if you’re crossing borders.
- Passports and IDs
- Pack water & snacks
- Car game for the lovelies
- Cash and coins
- Phone charger or battery pack
- First aid kit & certain medications (Motrin, Tylenol, Benadryl, etc).
Transportation for Day trips in Europe
When it comes to day trips in Europe, choosing the right mode of transportation is crucial. Here are some factors to consider when deciding which transportation to use:
- Distance: How far is your destination from your starting point? If it’s a short distance, walking or cycling may be a good option. If it’s further away, you may need to consider taking a train, bus, or car.
- Time: How much time do you have for your day trip? If you have limited time, taking a train or car may be the fastest option. If you have more time, walking or cycling can be a great way to see the sights and get some exercise.
- Budget: How much are you willing to spend on transportation? Walking and cycling are free, while trains and buses can be more expensive. Renting a car can also be costly, especially if you’re traveling alone.
- Comfort: How comfortable do you want to be during your trip? Trains and buses offer more comfort than walking or cycling, but renting a car can provide the most comfort and flexibility.
Here are some transportation options to consider for your day trip:
- Walking: Walking is the most budget-friendly and eco-friendly option. It’s a great way to explore a city or town and get some exercise at the same time.
- Cycling: Cycling is another eco-friendly option that allows you to cover more ground than walking. Many cities have bike rental programs, making it easy to rent a bike for the day.
- Public transportation: Trains and buses are a great option for longer distances. They’re generally affordable and offer more comfort than walking or cycling.
- Train: Trains are a popular option for day trips in Europe, especially for longer distances. They’re generally faster and more comfortable than buses, and many cities have well-connected train stations. However, they can be more expensive than buses and may require advance booking.
- Bus: Buses are a budget-friendly option for day trips in Europe, and many companies such as Flixbus offer routes to various destinations. They’re generally slower than trains but can be more affordable and offer more flexibility with departure times.
- Car rental: Renting a car can provide the most flexibility and comfort, especially if you’re traveling with a group. However, it can be expensive and may not be the most eco-friendly option.
When deciding which transportation to use, consider your budget, time constraints, and comfort level. Remember to plan ahead and book your transportation in advance to avoid any last-minute stress.
Check OMIO to plan your transportation.
APPS FOR DAY TRIPPING 📲
There are several apps you can use to make your day trips easier and more enjoyable. Here are some of the best apps for day tripping:
- Google Translate: This app allows you to translate text and speech in real-time.
- Google Maps: This app helps you navigate your way around unfamiliar places.
- Waze: This app helps you avoid traffic and find the fastest route to your destination.
- OMIO: This app helps you book flights, ferries, buses, and trains.
- TripAdvisor: This app helps you find the best hotels, restaurants, and attractions in your destination.
- Rick Steves Audio Europe: This app provides audio tours of popular European destinations.
- Koomot: This app helps you plan hikes throughout Europe.
- AllTrails: This app also helps you plan outdoor adventures.
Booking Tours Made Easy: GetYourGuide and Viator
Tours are an excellent way to experience the best of a destination without the hassle of planning and organizing everything yourself. Two of the most popular tour booking platforms are GetYourGuide and Viator.
💥 I ALWAYS find the best European rafting tours and European paragliding adventures on GYG and Viator.
GetYourGuide offers a wide range of tours and activities, including walking tours, food tours, and outdoor adventures. They also offer skip-the-line tickets to popular attractions, which can save you time and energy.
One of the best things about GetYourGuide is their easy-to-use app, which allows you to book and manage your tours on the go.
Viator is another popular tour booking platform that offers a wide range of tours and activities, including city tours, day trips, and shore excursions. They also offer private tours, which are perfect for those who want a more personalized experience.
Viator is known for their excellent customer service, so if you have any questions or concerns, they’re always there to help.
When booking tours, it’s important to read reviews from other travelers to ensure that you’re getting a high-quality experience.
Both GetYourGuide and Viator have thousands of reviews from real travelers, so you can get an idea of what to expect before you book.
Overall, booking tours through GetYourGuide or Viator can save you time and energy while ensuring that you have an unforgettable experience. Plus, with so many options to choose from, you’re sure to find a tour that’s perfect for you.
From hiking through the rugged wilderness of Portugal’s Alentejo coast to strolling the streets of Bari Italy in Puglia’s tasty Mediterranean seaside, I’ve relied on multiple platforms like booking.com to help me plan and book my city and my Adventure trips.
If you want to learn more about booking.com, here’s my full review of the booking platform. It’s not always the cheapest, but it’s very reliable and less daunting than emailing back and forth with people in different languages.
❌ Not everything works on booking.com – especially exploring in the Dolomites.
ENJOY THE ADVENTURE
The biggest thing is – do NOT overdo it! This causes stress and sucks the joy from trips. Stroll the gorgeous streets, eat local cuisine, and enjoy the beautiful ambiance.
Stop by the information office in towns and ask for their suggestions. Take advantage of free walking tours via apps.
Thanks for reading this guide on European day trips.
Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a physical therapist and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.
Europe Travel Planning Guide
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|Travel Insurance||🔥🔥 Get a 5% discount on Hey Mondo Travel Insurance, recommended by Crave the Planet.|
|Find Cool Hikes||🥾 AllTrails offers GPS enabled hiking trails.|
|European Accommodations||🛎️ Check out my full Booking.com review here and see for yourself why it’s a great platform!|
|International Banking???||💰 ↮ € : Signup for Wise: No fees, withdraw local currency.|
|Seamless Cell Phone Coverage||Airalo eSIM cards make it easy to stay connected.|
|Car Rentals||Renting a car is safe, but not a necessity in most of Europe.|
|Train, Bus, Flights||✈️ OMIO offers incredible deals|
|Tours||Get Your Guide has a massive selection of tours.|
|Do I need Visa?||Probably not, but double check here. Most tourists have a maximum of 90 days in Europe.|
🏔️ For self-guided Hut to Hut Hiking Planning in the Alps and Dolomites, you’ll love the Best of the Dolomites Tour for an active trip.