Need a vacation from your vacation? Loving life in your holiday destination, but feeling the need to explore what’s outside the city limits? Check out the twelve best day trips you can take from some of the world’s most fun and fascinating cities.
1. Lake Bled, Slovenia
Slovenia’s attempt to lure travelers outside its capital and into the suburbs is successful. Nestled in the Julian Alps less than an hour from Ljubljana is the most charming sight in Slovenia. Lake Bled, an alpine lake with its tranquil waters framed by mountains and a hillside castle, houses Slovenia’s only island, crowned with an ancient church.
Check out our Ljubljana edition for more tips!
2. Alentejo, Portugal
Loving Lisbon’s food and wine? If you really want to eat and drink like a King, head a few hours north to Alentejo. Here is the source of Portugal’s fine wine scene coupled with world-famous gastro-style food. Feasting on Michelin-star worthy food on an outdoor terrace will have you feeling like royalty in no time.
3. Giverny, France
The countryside village of Giverny is downright adorable. Perhaps this is why Claude Monet lived out most of his later years here. His house and garden sit on an idyllic lily pond and a visit is totally worth the 1 ¼ hour drive from Paris.
4. Cesky Krumlov, Czechia
It’s difficult to ditch a city like Prague, but travel to Cesky Krumlov and you’ll never look back. Cesky Krumlov is a 12th-century village, current-day UNESCO site, and the most picturesque town in Europe. Grab a beer and a bite at one of the many riverside locales and fall head over heels for this Czechia town.
5. Battambang, Cambodia
Three hours from the ever-popular Siem Reap, the lesser traveled Battambang is worth the journey. This place is funky, surprisingly laid-back and historically significant all rolled into one. From the bamboo train to the country’s only winery, Battambang is full of fun surprises.
6. Ephesus, Turkey
One of the world’s most impressive ancient cities is just an hour outside Turkey’s 3rd most populous city of Izmir. Ephesus transports visitors back to the 10th century with sprawling ruins, massive amphitheater and the most famous Library of Celsus.
7. Vilanova i la Geltrú, Spain
Situated on Spain’s southern coast, Vilanova i la Geltrú is worth the drive from Barcelona – even it’s just for dinner. This Mediterranean fishing port offers some of the freshest seafood in the region, in addition to 5 beautiful, clean golden sand beaches.
8. Salzburg, Austria
Time for a quick border cross! Step off the train from Munich (Germany) and straight into the preserved Medieval times of Salzburg. Known for its abundance of 400-year-old buildings and Baroque architecture, it’s also the birthplace of Mozart and the setting for The Sound of Music.
9. Bruges, Belgium
One hundred kilometers from Brussels, Bruges is Belgium’s answer to Italy’s Venice. With crisscrossing canals dissecting the city’s Medieval buildings and cobblestone streets, Bruges oozes charm and old-time vibes. Climb the ancient Belfry bell tower for breathtaking views of Bruges.
10. Cape Winelands, South Africa
A 45-minute drive east from big, bustling, and glorious Cape Town finds a welcome contrast; the Cape Winelands. Country-style garden wineries and vineyards open their doors for tastings and dining in the most irresistibly sweet environments.
11. Big Bear Lake, California
Just two hours outside of hot and heavy Los Angeles, Big Bear is a welcome retreat. Activities around the 7-mile-long lake are plentiful. Depending on the season you can hike, snowshoe, jet ski, fish, paddleboard, or rock climb.
12. Nikko, Japan
A drastic change in scenery from Tokyo, Nikko is known for its stunning natural scenery. From quaint bridges, World Heritage shrines, pagodas, Chuzenji Lake, and the country’s most enchanting waterfalls – Nikko is simply magnificent.