Five European cities to explore in just one day

Five European cities to explore in just one day

We don’t often have the luxury of a few days or more to spend vacationing. Indeed, sometimes we want to be spontaneous and travel but think we don’t have the time. Well, we’re about to change your mind! Here’s five ideas for amazing one-day trips in Europe - five European cities to explore in just one day. 

Let’s be clear though, this is a list of our top five European cities you can explore in a day – not all in one day of course, that would be a serious feat! Whether you travel by plane, train or automobile, these five cities are compact, easily explored on foot and offer great atmospheres, sights and attractions, as well as many daily incoming and outgoing flight / train options. So, arrive early, leave late, and marvel at how much you explored and experienced in any of these cities in Europe that are ideal for a one-day visit.



The capital of the beautiful Tuscany region in Italy, Florence is a seriously impressive city. For aesthetics, culture, art and history, Florence is hard beat!  


How to do Florence in one day 

There are lots of things to do in Florence, but you simply cannot leave without seeing incredible Renaissance masterpieces, of which the city boasts many, such as the fountain of Neptune, the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, Giotto's Campanile bell tower, and exquisite works by Botticelli, da Vinci, and Michelangelo among many others; but with only one day in Florence, you’re forced to prioritise.


Florence in one day – must see

Of all the incredible artworks to see, we highly recommend getting your peepers on one of the most celebrated and iconic works of art in history, Michelangelo's David. The 5.17 meters high original sculpture, created between 1501 and 1504, can be seen in the Accademia Gallery while a perfect replica of the marble masterpiece is found in Piazza della Signoria, where the original stood from 1873 to 1910.

Of course, David attracts huge interest, so do book your ticket for the Accademia Gallery in advance to save time. You can also visit Casa Buonarroti, or 'House of Michelangelo' at the Accademia Gallery too and view more of his incredible works and exhibition pieces relating to his life.


Florence in one day – must do

Without doubt, the best way to see and learn lots about the city in just a couple of hours is with an expert local guide on a free walking tour of Florence. You’ll see all the key sights and sites, get a unique insight to the history, culture and people of Florence, as well as tips for the rest of your day and how to enjoy an authentic Florence experience.


Other things to do in Florence in a day 

·Mercato di San Lorenzo is the perfect market to pick up a souvenir from your day in Florence.

·Eat at Mercato Centrale food market at Via dell'Ariento or pick up a quick panino con lampredotto, a local saucy tripe sandwich, from a lampredotto stall on the street.

·Climb the 463 steps to the top of the Duomo for a breath-taking panoramic view over Florence.

·Add some beauty to your Instagram with a snap of the Ponte Vecchio bridge, under the secret Vasari Corridor.

·Enjoy the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo, one of the city’s best viewpoints and an ideal way to wrap up your one day in Florence! 

Things to do in Florence


Dublin is world-renowned for a lively social-life and pub-culture, as well as being a city that oozes remarkable history and creativity; the Irish capital is one that has been shaped by risings, revolutions, rebels, writers and loveable rogues.


How to do Dublin in one day

One day in Dublin could be the best day you’ve ever spent, if you’re clever about it. While you may be tempted to plough through the city, trying to take in the many sights and sites of interest, to do so risks missing the very essence of the city itself – the character, the people (perhaps the friendliest in the world!), and the history & traditions that shaped the streets. We recommend taking it relatively laid back, mix with the locals in a pub (or five), and enjoy this unique city for a day.


Dublin in one day – must see 

Whether you’re a beer drinker or not, the Guinness Storehouse is a fascinating place to spend a couple of hours. A self-guided experience, you’ll discover the iconic Guinness brand’s fascinating history, brewing process, and noteworthy marketing legacy before enjoying a delicious pint of the black stuff in the Gravity bar, accompanied by unbeatable panoramic views across Dublin.


Dublin in one day – must do

The only Fables and Folklore free Tour of Dublin is the ideal way to discover Dublin’s, and Ireland’s, ‘other history’ while still taking in many of the key sights and historic locations of the capital. From Irish mythology, ancient superstitions, the occult and intriguing real-life legendary characters of the city, this is a wonderful and unique way to explore the stranger side of things with a fantastic, lovely local Dublin guide.


Other things to do in Dublin in a day

·Hear live traditional Irish music in the pub. The pub is the heart of Dublin life, and also where much of the best local traditional music talent comes together to jam in what are known as music sessions. There are a number of well-known pubs for traditional music sessions, such as The Cobblestones, O’ Donoghue’s, Hughes, O’Neils and McNeils. Most sessions begin in the evening so if your one day in Dublin itinerary doesn’t keep you late, you can find live music early in pubs in the Temple bar district, though this will be a less authentic version, there’ll still be a vibrant atmosphere.

·Do some shopping on Henry Street, Grafton Street and in Stephen’s Green shopping centre.

·Rent a bike and visit the largest enclosed public park in Europe where you can even hang out with wild deer!



Denmark is consistently ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world, and its capital, Copenhagen, is a wonderful reflection of that fact – friendly locals, an insane amount of bicycles, beautiful, colourful buildings and the first amusement park (Tivoli gardens) in a city centre ever!


How to do Copenhagen in one day

With just one day in Copenhagen, you’ll be sticking to the city centre where most of the main sights and attractions are located. Navigating the Danish capital is easily done on foot or by bike, as you prefer.


Copenhagen in one day – must see

You’re going to see the Little mermaid Statue, you know it, we know it, so we’re not going to waste the must-see spot with it. Instead, we must insist you don’t leave Copenhagen without a stroll through Nyhaven, the stretch of colourful 17th and 18th century houses, cafes, restaurants & bars along the canal dotted with historic wooden boats. It’s a waterfront wonderland and has become an iconic image of the Danish capital.


Copenhagen in one day – must do

A stylish, fashionable, cool & cosmopolitan capital, Copenhagen also oozes more than a thousand years’ worth of history and ancient character - from Vikings, battles, and Nazis, to sights like Kronberg and Rosenborg castles, there’s a lot to discover and the best way to do just that is with an excellent free tour of Copenhagen. Book your spot before you arrive!


Other things to do in Copenhagen in a day

·Cross over the bridge from Nyhaven to the ‘free town’ of Christiania, a community established by hippies in 1971 with galleries, music venues, bars and cafes – they even brew their own beer and several stalls selling ‘beneficial herbs’.

·Marvel at the Baroque interior and huge green copper dome of Frederik’s Church, aka the Marble Church.

·Venture down Strøget, the lengthy pedestrianised street for shopping, bakeries, cafes, restaurants and people-watching.

Things to do in Copenhagen


The southern Croatian coastal city on the Adriatic Sea is one of the most stunningly beautiful places you can spend a day in – full of 16th century ancient medieval character, incredible historic buildings, and a magnetically charming atmosphere.


How to do Dubrovnik in one day

While Dubrovnik is now a mecca for any self-respecting Game of Thrones fan, we’re not going to dwell on that aspect of the city in this post (but fear not GOT fans, we’ve got you covered here. Instead, we’re going to focus on some of the more general must-sees and things to do in one day in Dubrovnik.

To make the most of your single day in Dubrovnik, your best bet is to enjoy the delightful Old Town, the historical core of the city. Here, you can sample everything that makes Dubrovnik an incredible city to spend a day in – historic sights and remarkable buildings, chic cafes and wonderful restaurants, evening hotspots and even the local beach. Though, we do suggest a little deviation, below!


Dubrovnik in one day – must do

Dubrovnik has witnessed some of the most remarkable history in Europe, and retains some of the best-preserved buildings and heritage on the planet; so it is only fitting that it is also home to some of the best award-winning free tours and tour guides in the world. There is no better way to ensure you see the best of this city in a short space of time than on a Dubrovnik free tour with an expert local guide – to take in the many sights, including St. Blaise Church, Pile Gate, Rector’s Palace, Cove of Kolorina, Stradun, Onofrio’s Fountains, Orlando’s Column, and so much more as well as insider hints & tips for how to make the most of your day in Dubrovnik.


Dubrovnik in one day – must see 

Okay, bear with us because we’re recommending during your one day in Dubrovnik to actually take a little trip – crazy, right?! Not so much. You see, Lorkum Island is less than a ten-minute boat ride from the Old Town but is a veritable wonderland in which to spend a couple of hours.

Home to lush botanical gardens, the beautiful Bay of Portoč, coves, olive trees, and even peacocks, Lorkum island offers lots to see and ways to relax, including floating in the ‘Dead Sea’ or simply soaking up the sun.


Other things to do in Dubrovnik in a day

·Eat at Dubravka 1836, a landmark café where notable intellectuals and writers frequented regularly in their time and which today serves incredible, reasonably priced dishes such as Dubravka seafood salad, King Prawns and John Dory beside the Pile Gate over-looking the sea.

·Ride the cable car to the top of Mount Srd for an immaculate view of the city and sunset, or watch the sun go down with a drink at a cliff-top bar, Buža Bar I or Buža Bar II.



Last but certainly not least on our list of cities perfect for one-day trips in Europe is Budapest. The Hungarian capital on the Danube is simply one of the most gorgeous cities on the planet. Fascinating history, exquisite buildings, delightful natural-spring baths, ruin bars and views to remember forever.


How to do Budapest in a day

There’s a hell of a lot to see and do, so it’s a good idea to create a strict itinerary to make the most of your single day in Budapest, but you’ll be very glad you did. With so much to choose from, it’ll be quicker to show you than write it. So, here’s a video of the best way to spend one day in Budapest:


Budapest in one day – must see 

Fisherman’s Bastion and the Castle District – lots to take in, beautiful architecture, intriguing stories and wonderful views of the Parliament building and Pest side across the Danube.


There you have it, dear travellers. Our top recommendations of cities in Europe that make for great one day trips. It might seem like a little amount of time, but well planned and well executed, you can have an incredible day in any of these cities. What a difference a day makes - how far have you travelled for just one day? Tell us all about it in the comments!
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