When I travel I like to focus on one maybe two cities but I also like to get out of the city for a quick jaunt. Over the course of the years, I have booked virtually all of the “usual” day trips out of London: Bath (3X) , Salisbury, Stonehenge (3X), Dover, Cambridge, Oxford, the Cotswolds, Blenheim Palace, Hampton Court, Kew Gardens, Canterbury, and Windsor. There are several day trips I would like to take–Brighton, York, Hever Castle, Syon Castle, and Stratford-Upon-Avon. Some of those destinations might be better served with a few days rather than rushing to and from London for a few hours. Some day trips are chosen for their ease to get out of the city for a few hours and other trips are chosen out of pure academic interest.
The Palace of Versailles in France was a no brainer–you just go to one of the most magnificent palaces in Europe when in Paris. But instead of booking a tour group for €60, I bought a €6 train ticket from Paris and walked to the Palace from the train station–my entrance fee (€20) was free because I used my Paris Pass. Vaux Le Vicomte (Fouquet’s palace in Maincy, France 34 miles outside of Paris) is only accessible by car–so I had to book a day trip to see the inspiration baroque chateau for Versailles.
My sister and I wanted to see Ronda, but it was so difficult to travel to via public transportation. We booked a day tour which stopped in a white village before going to the Ronda bullring for a private tour. We had a local guide who gave us a walking tour of the main “drag” of Ronda. We had about an hour of free time to wander about before meeting the tour group again. Whereas Cordoba was easily accessed by train from Seville. We took a taxi straight to the Mezquita–we saw several of the main tourist attractions in that area (the Roman Bridge, Alcazar de los Reyes Cristiano, and Sinagoga). We stumbled upon Roman ruins overrun by feral cats just lazing in the sun. We stopped at the Palace-Museum of Viana Marquises before heading toward the train station for our trip back to Seville.
While doing research for my upcoming Italy trip, I’ve seen so many enticing day trips, but I think I’ve settled on Pompeii and Tivoli. Within Rome, I plan on a full day in the Vatican City and a full day at the Villa Borghese. I could squeeze in trips to Capri and Naples, but I want to really spend time enjoying Rome so I’m not going to kill myself by over-scheduling the trip. The tour group in China over-scheduled us and I was weary by the end of the trip because I wanted down time to enjoy the cities where I was staying. We literally had one maybe two hours of free time the whole trip and it was between scheduled activities so it wasn’t relaxing by any means.
I’ve decided to be more leisurely in my scheduling my time for this trip to Italy. We’ll see how that works out for me–I’m not normally a leisurely tourist. I like to go, go, go.