1. Channel your inner courtier at Versailles
Leave Paris behind and grab your most royal-looking duds. Why the fancy outfit? Well, you can’t show up to the Palace of Versailles in just anything. A trip to of one history’s most famous palaces will give you insights into the past as well as picture-perfect photo ops. This former home to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette (before the French Revolution abruptly kicked them out), is well worth visiting. A behind-the-scenes guided tour will show you the must-see sites (and hidden highlights) other travelers miss. Plus, you’ll get to explore the grounds on your own after your tour ends at your own pace. If that isn’t the royal treatment, we don’t know what is!
2. Go beyond Barcelona
Say adios to Barcelona’s downtown crowds in Las Ramblas and hola to the stunning Costa Brava coastline. Just a short car ride or bus trip away, the picturesque beaches and clear waters of this area are the perfect antidotes to a few days in the busy urban center. Take to the water on a snorkeling and kayaking trip or just relax aboard one of the cruising yachts — the choice is yours!
3. Leave London for the day
So you’ve seen the Tate, wandered past Buckingham Palace, and people watched in Picadilly Circus? Sounds like you’re ready to explore beyond the city limits and visit the next on the list of English icons. Head to Bath, home of Bath Abbey and, well, baths. The Romans used to head to Somerset’s largest city to soak in geothermal springs and enjoy Georgian architecture. After that, hop over to Stonehenge. Just a few hours outside of London, it’s easy to discover the rich history and exciting mystery surrounding this ancient landmark.
4. Make your way out of Munich
If you’re in the south of Germany, there is one particular day trip that should be on your itinerary. Neuschwanstein and the neighboring town of Füssen both look like they’re straight out of a fairytale — and with good reason! King Ludwig’s castle served as the inspiration for Disney’s iconic logo and is worth a visit for the jeweled grotto alone. Plus, the Bavarian Alps don’t hurt.
5. Discover the Emerald Isle’s famous cliffs
You’ll be green with envy if you miss out on the incredible sights located just out of Dublin. The best way to get in touch the rugged natural beauty of Ireland? A visit to the famed Cliffs of Moher. These gorgeous cliffs are as scenic as they come, and the trip there isn’t too shabby, either. If you opt to take a bus tour from Dublin, you’ll get to stop in Galway, the Burren, and stop by the ruins of Kilmacduagh Monastery, too.
6. See Amsterdam’s quaint windmills
Have you really been to the Netherlands if you haven’t seen one of their incredible windmills in person? Take a break from Amsterdam and discover the towns of Edam, Volendam and, of course, the neighboring windmills. Aside from picture-perfect scenery and all of the colorful wooden houses your heart desires, you can visit traditional fish markets and enjoy the more rural side of things.
7. Take an excursion outside of Edinburgh
For skeptics and believers alike, a trip to Loch Ness makes for an unforgettable experience — and a far-off chance to get your own blurry photo of the lake’s most famous (and possibly non-existent) resident. Located just a few hours of out of Edinburgh, you can also swing by the stunning Urquhart Castle for less-fantastical photo shoots.
8. Roam outside of Rome
When in Rome…do it all. After you’ve toured the Colosseum, skipped the line at the Vatican, and eaten your way through the city, head to Tuscany. The home of classic Italian wine and food, Tuscany is the perfect place to unwind. Saunter through the hills of Montepulciano before settling down for the lunch of your dreams in the most postcard-friendly landscape imaginable. After trying out the local wares (and purchasing your own for the trip home), you’ve truly enjoyed one of the best day trips in Europe.
9. Head for the hills in Austria
The hills really are alive with the sound of music in Salzburg. Home to both Austria’s most famous composer, Mozart, and its most famous family, the Von Trapps, a visit to this scenic city is a must. The best part? It’s just a few hours away from Vienna. Take a day trip with a small group and uncover the scenic setting for the Hollywood classic, “The Sound of Music,” and get to know the hometown of one of classical music’s all-time greats.
10. Leave Lisbon for the day
Once you’ve had your fill of pasteis de nata and the busy cafés of Lisbon, head out to Sintra and Cascais. Now a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, the historic town of Sintra features both incredible landscapes and even better views. After you’ve explored Pena Palace, head further down the road to the resort town of Cascais. Kick back with your feet up poolside or try your luck at Europe’s largest casino — or do both!