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Bristol is a thriving city, full of culture and history. It’s also extremely well-placed in southwest England for some excellent day trips.

In this guide, we’ll look at some of the most beautiful places you can visit in the region and some super fun activities you can try out. So grab your bags and get ready to explore as we look at the best day trips from Bristol.

Bath

Visit historic Bath as a day trip from Bristol

Visit historic Bath as a day trip from Bristol

Bath was famously the home of Jane Austen, but even if you’re not a fan of literature, you’ll still get something out of a trip to this charming town.

One of the biggest landmarks in Bath is the roman baths where you can find the ruins of a public bathing and socialising complex used by the Romans over 2,000 years ago. There’s an onsite museum to give you more information about the archaeological site and you can also take an audio tour.

If you want to try out some bathing for yourself, head to the nearby Thermae Bath Spa, England’s only thermal spa where the natural hot waters can work wonders for your health.

You can get to Bath by train several times throughout the day, including direct trains that will get you there in no time. While you’re there, don’t forget to stop at one of the many chic coffee shops or visit the Jane Austen Center.

Cardiff

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle

It takes less than an hour to get from Bristol to Cardiff, making it a perfect day trip. As the capital of Wales, it’s full of great activities to fill your day.

First on your agenda should be the National Museum Cardiff, a free museum and art gallery all about Wales, including botany, zoology, and geology.

You should also visit Cardiff Castle, a medieval castle that sits at the heart of the city. Inside, you can explore the castle towers, visit the inner keep, and explore the courtyards.

Before heading back to Bristol, finish the day off with a little trip down to Cardiff Bay where you’ll find a huge range of bars and restaurants overlooking the marina as well as the millennium centre where you can catch an evening show.

Cheddar Gorge

Cliff Road in the Cheddar Gorge

Cliff Road in the Cheddar Gorge

Cheddar Gorge is located about 30 kilometres from Bristol and makes an excellent day trip, it was voted the second greatest natural wonder in Britain (source).

If you love history, wildlife, or nature – or you simply have a sense of adventure – you should plan to spend a few hours here the next time you’re in the area.

It is a natural landmark where you can view gorgeous caves and cliffs, but it also includes exhibits to help you learn about long-ago ancestors.

Even better, you can go rock climbing or explore the caves on your own if you’d like to spend a little more time there.

Weston-super-Mare

If you’re looking for one of the best day trips from Bristol using public transport, you can take the train from Temple Meads to Weston-super-Mare in about 30 minutes.

This lovely seaside town is one you won’t forget, in part because it offers something for everyone. Included in the perks of visiting the town are quiet walks over Sand Bay, lively Punch and Judy shows, and a nostalgic pier.

You can also visit their impressive helicopter museum for lovers of flight, and don’t miss the Weston Sand Sculpture Festival if you’re there during the summertime.

Weston-super-Mare is home to a playhouse, theatre, several museums, and beautiful gardens. It also offers attractions such as arcades, fudge factories, eateries, and a go-kart track, making this a very fun place to visit.

Tintern Abbey

Tintern Abbey in the beautiful Wye Valley, perfect for a day trip from Bristol

Tintern Abbey in the beautiful Wye Valley, perfect for a day trip from Bristol

Located just over the border from Bristol in Wales, you can get to Tintern Abbey in around 30 minutes if you drive, or in roughly 2.5 hours by bus or train. Visiting the Abbey as well as the Wye Valley is one of the most beautiful day trips from Bristol.

The abbey was founded in the early 1100s and since then, it has changed a bit. Even from afar, the structure is nothing short of extraordinary, and as long as you wish to see something interesting, you can walk on the grounds and experience something new. The natural beauty it offers never fades, and it’s especially fun for people who love history.

The odd thing is that Tintern Abbey wasn’t really regularly tended to until the early 1900s, but since then it has been well taken care of and therefore, you can enjoy its magnificence today whenever you visit. Just the sheer size of the structure will surprise you.

Salisbury

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral

In just over an hour by direct train, you can take a day trip from Bristol to the nearby city of Salisbury.

The city is home to Salisbury Cathedral which is famous for holding the best-preserved copy of the Magna Carta, attracting tens of thousands of visitors each year.

And make sure you spend some time wandering the old city centre where you’ll find quaint little buildings and a mixture of architecture dating as far back as the middle ages.

Longleat Safari Park

Longleat is a drive-through safari park located just an hour away from Bristol so it makes for a perfect family day trip.

It opened in 1966 when it was the first park of its kind outside of Africa. Here, you’ll have the chance to see tons of safari animals, including giraffes, tortoises, lemurs, sheep, ostriches, zebras, and so many others. You can enjoy a boat cruise around Half Mile Lake or visit the monkey temple, which is nothing short of extraordinary.

Even better, you can stop and have a snack, buy souvenirs, or even schedule a wedding or other special event on the grounds. In other words, you won’t just be driving around looking at animals up close if you visit this attraction. There is a lot more to do.

The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds town of Lower Slaughter

The Cotswolds town of Lower Slaughter

The Cotswolds are only 50 miles from Bristol and can be reached in around an hour on a good day. It is an area located in Central South-West England known for its stone-built towns and villages made with iconic Cotswolds stone.

Some of the best places to visit in the Cotswolds are Chipping Campden, Broadway, and Cirencester.

Of course, you can get out and enjoy the rolling countryside too where you’ll find wildlife walks and manor houses dotted among beautiful landscapes.

For millions of tourists each year, the Algarve in Portugal is a highly sought-after holiday destination. Its capital, Faro, is a city rich in culture and history and is also ideal for those seeking relaxation on the beach.

Faro feels slightly more Portuguese than the other resort towns and is often just passed through by tourists, which is a shame as it has so much to offer to holiday-goers. Here we’ve provided our complete Faro Portugal travel guide to the city to help you organise your well-deserved trip.

Faro Accommodation

One of the more popular destinations to stay for tourists is Downtown Faro. The area is well known for its thriving nightlife scene and abundance of bars, restaurants and cafes. If you get the chance to visit here, you should most definitely try some of the local products, including the freshly made croissants at Pastelaria Gardy.

Cidade Velha, or the Old Town in English, is the historical hub of the city, protected by imperial walls from the 9th Century. The area is host to a number of hostels and hotels, small streets and classic regional houses.

Cidade Velha (Old Town) in Faro

Cidade Velha (Old Town) in Faro

For those wishing to stay close to the local fishermen’s boats or stunning summer yachts on the sea, the Marina de Faro is a beautiful location with plenty of things to do. There are typically lots of free shows and music concerts in the summer and an abundance of ice cream shops and cafes.

Top Attractions in Faro

In Faro, the main sights are all within walking distance of each other, meaning you can pack lots of activities into each day. At the top of the list is the Old Town, a beautiful location with great architecture, ancient cathedrals and delicious food. An ideal starting point is the Jardim Manuel Bivar which is close to the marina. From there, you can visit the Arco da Vila, which is home to the statue of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Patron Saint of Faro.

Not far from the Largo da Sé, the Cathedral of Faro offers breath-taking views of the Ria Formosa and surrounding areas. The cathedral was built in the 13th century and is an iconic piece of architecture in the city. If you can hack the 68 steps to the top, you won’t be disappointed.

Faro Cathedral

Faro Cathedral

Porta Nova is a tiny gate in the city wall that connects the old town to the waterfront, where you can see the boat tours and ferries depart. The oldest part of Faro’s old town, the gate makes for the perfect holiday photo before heading off on a ferry to one of the nearby islands.

Transportation in Faro

Faro airport is relatively small and easy to navigate, with the journey to most resorts usually lasting around 15 minutes. Do note that public transport from the airport can be infrequent, so it is recommended that you pre-book your Faro airport transfers to guarantee you get to your accommodation with ease.

Hiring a car will allow you to reach some of the more isolated and remote parts of the Algarve but is not necessary to make your way around Faro. The city has one bus station and one train station, which are both located in the centre. A lot of the sites here can be accessed easily by foot from either station, therefore getting around is relatively straightforward.

The Best Beaches in Faro

Faro is not typically considered a beach holiday destination but this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its fair share of golden coastlines. The best beaches here are on found on the southern side of the three sandbar islands and cannot be accessed via walking.

The Ilha Deserta is an uninhabited island that can only be reached by boat. The beach here, Praia Da Ilha Deserta, stretches over 6km and is widely known for its crystal-clear water and pristine sandy coastline. There is also a wooden boardwalk that runs up the north part of the island, passing through beach shrubs.

Ilha Deserta near Faro in the Algarve

Ilha Deserta near Faro in the Algarve

On the northern side of Ilha da Culatra is a traditional fishing village and its two main beaches, Praia da Ilha da Culatra and Praia da Ilha do Farol. Farol beach is situated close to a spectacular lighthouse and is ideal for a family day trip. There are residents who live here permanently and several holiday homes, meaning it has a slightly higher tourist population than Culatra.

Culatra beach is sparsely developed and is essentially an empty beach, making it a great escape for those seeking a relaxing day out. However, a ferry ride from the mainland is required to reach these beaches, although this is usually only short.

The final beach, the Praia de Faro, is located on the Ilha de Faro and spans 5km of golden sands. It is only a mere five-minute drive from the airport and there is also a direct bus here. The area is home to several relaxed cafes and a few beach bars. This beach is often favoured by visitors due to its easy accessibility, particularly if it is a day trip.

We hope you have enjoyed this travel guide for Faro Portugal and that you enjoy your vacation!

Malta is an oft-overlooked vacation destination in Europe. But if you can find an affordable flight, it usually offers warmer weather than the rest of the continent and can make for a perfect week-long trip. 

Read on to see our recommended things to see during 5 days in Malta. In order to see it all, we’d really recommend staying 2 days near Valetta, and 3 days on the island of Gozo, which we found to be even more charming than the larger island. We hope you have a great time!

Arriving in Malta

Malta is small, and the airport is very close to everywhere you might need to go. We landed in the evening and decided to take a cab to our hotel, the Grand Excelsior, just outside the city walls of Valetta. Cabs are generally reliable in Malta, it should be a flat rate to get from the airport to anywhere near Valetta.

Valetta

The colorful balconies of Malta

The colorful balconies of Malta

We spent the first 2 days near Valetta, and we found 2 days to be plenty of time. Honestly, Valetta is so small that you can’t go wrong. Take some time to just wander around the streets. You’ll find it easy to get your bearings and there’s no way you can get lost. We loved wandering around and admiring the different colors of the gallarija – the distinctive Maltese balconies that you’ll see all over the island. Here are some other things you can do in Valetta.

Upper and Lower Barakka Gardens

The Upper Barakka Gardens in Valetta

The Upper Barakka Gardens in Valetta

Well- maintained park giving you a great view over the harbors.

Valetta Harbor Tour

Malta’s historical significance primarily comes from the fact that it can be used as one huge harbor in the middle of the Mediterranean. There are tons of other cities that have popped up around Valetta which each have their own character. Taking a harbor tour will give you the best view of Valetta from the water, and is the best way to take in the cities around the huge harbor. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate with us and our tour was cancelled and refunded, so we’ll just have to go back one day!

Skip it! Hop-on, Hop-off bus

We decided to do this, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Outside of Valetta, the highlight of Malta is the walled city of Mdina, so you would be better off either taking a bus or car directly there. The rest of the stops on the hop-on, hop-off bus seemed like tourist traps to me. Plus, nearly everyone got off at Mdina to spend a few hours, which means everyone wanted to re-board from Mdina all at once at the end of the day. We ended up waiting HOURS to get back on the hop-on hop-off bus, since there were just too many people. You would probably be better served getting a tour that takes you directly to the highlights. I found one on Get Your Guide that takes you to Mdina, Rabat, and the San Anton Gardens.

Mdina

Discover the enchanting courtyards in the city of Mdina

Discover the enchanting courtyards in the city of Mdina

If you are smart enough to avoid the hop-on, hop-off bus tour, Mdina itself is well-worth a visit when you’re in Malta. It’s the original capital of the island, and sits atop a hill giving it stunning views across the island of Malta and over the sea. Our favorite part of Mdina was just wandering the maze of alleyways, discovering charming courtyards. Plan to have lunch there and pop into the Mdina Cathedral with its brightly colored floor tiles.

Gozo

We ended up splitting our trip between staying near Valetta, and staying in Xlendi on the island of Gozo. There is a passenger and car ferry that runs regularly between Malta and Gozo which departs at Ċirkewwa. I personally preferred our time on Gozo better. We had a rental car, which made it easy to explore Gozo in 2-3 days. If you don’t have a rental car, you can book a jeep day tour that will take you to all the highlights on Gozo.

Gozo is a little less crowded and a little more untouched than Malta. It’s easy to get around Gozo as well since it’s so small. You can do Gozo as a day trip from Malta, but we liked staying overnight on the island to really soak in the atmosphere. Here’s what we did:

Xlendi Tower

We were lucky enough to be staying in Xlendi, making this an easy walk. But even if you are staying elsewhere on Gozo, I’d recommend visiting the tower. Not only will you see a great view of the coast, but there are ancient salt pans, where inhabitants of the island harvested sea salt. From Xlendi Tower, you can walk along the coast where you’ll see even more amazing views.

Ggantija

Ggantija Temples near Xaghra on the island of Gozo

Ggantija Temples near Xaghra on the island of Gozo

The Neolithic Temple is well-worth a visit. It’s a little hard to find, google maps will lead you astray – just follow the signs posted around town. It’s 3600-year old temple that is even older than the pyramids! The incredible thing is that it’s made up of massive limestone pieces that were somehow transported from the coast. Even today, archaeologists aren’t sure about how the ancient people accomplished this amazing feat.

Victoria on Gozo

Malta is known for having a strong Easter tradition, and we were lucky enough to be in Malta for Holy Week. Throughout the week, there are processions, prayers, art exhibits, and more. We ended up going to Victoria for the Easter Sunday parade. The streets leading up to the cathedral were filled with people and the locals paraded around a statue of Jesus, along with traditional music. It was very cool to feel a part of the tradition!

Ramla Beach

Ramla Beach is a large stretch of sand flanked by cliffs. We hung out on the beach for a while, be sure to bring food with you since the restaurants are not the greatest. Before we went to the sand, we took a small detour and hung out at the abandoned Ulysees Lodge in the hills above Ramla Beach. It’s an old hotel and villa that has since been abandoned, but still has a stunning view over the coastline. Just enter at your own risk since the building is not maintained.

Fungus Rock and Dwejra Bay

We spent an afternoon exploring and hiking around Fungus Rock, and took a dip in the waters in the Dwejra Bay. Highly recommended as a half-day trip!

Food in Malta

During our 5 days in Malta, we ate like kings. We found some delicious food in Valetta. Our favorites were Aaron’s Kitchen, where we tried some traditional Maltese dishes. Be sure to show up before the dinner rush, or call for a reservation since they tend to fill up. Another great restaurant was the Old Bakery’s Pizza. It’s a smaller hole-in-the-wall gem that is near the restaurant and bar scene in Valetta.

In Gozo, we basically hopped around different seafood restaurants, and we were never disappointed. In most restaurants, you can pick out the fish you want from their catch of the day. It’s usually prepared with boiled vegetables and fries. We always left stuffed and satisfied!

5 Days in Malta – our Takeaway

For us, 5 days in Malta was more than enough time to do all of the things we wanted to do in both Malta and Gozo. The benefit of being such a tiny country, is that it’s very easy to navigate and get your bearings! If you’re brainstorming your next vacation destination, I’d definitely recommend adding Malta to your list!

With the cost of everything soaring, the last thing anyone needs when they’re backpacking around Europe is to be hit with hefty data roaming charges that can leave a big hole in your wallet. But many Brits are still unaware that they’re racking up huge mobile bills when abroad, leaving them outraged when they get back home and discover they’ve been unknowingly clocking up data charges as they travelled.

Since Britain left the European Union, most mobile networks stopped providing free roaming in EU countries, which allow their citizens to make calls and use mobile data at no additional cost while in member states. But Brits may not know that when they’re in an EU nation and using data for such things as maps and messaging that they’re incurring charges that could add up to large sums.

According to a survey commissioned by mobile network Lebara UK, some Brits are paying up to £1,000 in roaming charges while on holiday in the EU. As many as one-third of British people holidaying in places like France, Spain and Italy were paying such enormous bills that were mostly made up of roaming charges, the survey found.

Other destinations where Brits were holidaying when they were being charged for mobile data roaming included Germany, Greece and Croatia. Respondents to the survey, carried out by OnePoll in early August and involving 2,000 people, also visited the Netherlands, Poland and Portugal.

What’s All the Roaming About?

When you’re backpacking around Europe, in towns and cities you don’t know, the most essential tool is right there in your pocket — allowing you to easily find hotels, bars, restaurants and clubs, and snap all the sights as you go. Sharing picturesque images with pals on social media is another must-do while abroad, making them green with envy that you’re on your travels in exciting places while they’re stuck at home.

So it’s no surprise that almost half of survey respondents (44%) said they used mobile data for social media use in EU countries — posting pics to Instagram, TikTok and other online platforms to keep their followers updated. A total of 42% of those who took part in the poll said they used mobile data for maps, so they could quickly locate the places they wanted to be. Others (28%) streamed music on their mobile devices; 20% used mobile data for gaming; and 16% were looking for love while abroad — not in pubs and clubs but via dating apps.

Avoiding Big Roaming Charges in the EU

Before you head overseas on your next big trip, check with your mobile network provider to see if free roaming in the EU is included in your package, or if there are extra charges. Even if you have to pay more, small sums can quickly add up when you’re downloading, streaming, scrolling or searching on your phone.

For those unlucky enough to have no free EU roaming, they may want to consider getting a SIM-only deal before they head away. These are available in the UK from networks like Lebara and they don’t tie you into any contracts and provide the amount of EU data roaming you’re likely to need.

So when you get to your destination, swap out your usual SIM for your new one, giving you the freedom to roam like home. You can then enjoy your holiday without the worry of clocking up data charges as you travel and being landed with a massive bill when you get back that would certainly ruin the happy memories of those carefree European days.

Have you always wanted to visit Europe but don’t have the budget for accommodation costs? Not to worry, you may want to consider applying for jobs that offer free accommodation in exchange for work across Europe

There are plenty of options to find a steady job along with safe and clean digs in various parts of Europe. To help you understand more about the process, here are examples of how to work in exchange for free accommodation in Europe. 

Become a Petsitter

Combine your love of animals with your love of travel and become a Trusted Housesitter.

Combine your love of animals with your love of travel and become a Trusted Housesitter.

All across Europe, there are plenty of people looking for trustworthy housesitters to watch their pets in exchange for staying at their homes for free. Trusted Housesitters is the pet-sitting network for animal lovers who are responsible, reliable, and looking for a fantastic way to travel around Europe while staying for free.

You can find everything, from a chic apartment in Barcelona to a beach house in Portugal. A basic petsitter account costs just $129 for unlimited housesits anywhere in the world, and considering how expensive accommodation can be in Europe, it’s well worth it.

Work on an Organic Farm

Spend the grape harvest season on a vineyard in Europe

Spend the grape harvest season on a vineyard in Europe

If you love the outdoors, this is the perfect opportunity for you. Work on various agricultural projects in exchange for accommodation with World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF).

On the organization’s website, you will find plenty of volunteer roles across Europe. You could be fruit picking in Spain, or working on an organic vineyard in Italy, and getting room and board for free.

Work in Hospitality

Get free accommodation in exchange for working in hospitality

Get free accommodation in exchange for working in the hospitality sector in Europe

Another great way to earn and live while traveling in Europe is to find a job in the hospitality sector. Europe’s hospitality sector is a huge industry, so you’re bound to find a role that suits you. Popular tourist hospitality jobs include housekeepers, bar staff, waitresses/waiters, chefs, and more. This could include working in a hostel as a live-in staff member who takes on the role of a receptionist or even a hostel manager. 

Especially in the spring and summer months in Europe, there are a variety of seaside and lake and holiday camps that hire seasonal workers. These jobs typically offer fair pay along with free accommodation in a cosy cabin or even a quirky tepee. 

Become a Nanny or Au Pair

Get free accommodation in exchange for working in childcare

Get free accommodation in exchange for working in childcare

Another popular way to enjoy Europe without worrying about accommodation costs is by becoming a nanny or au pair. Most nanny jobs are live-in, which means you may end up staying in a lavish penthouse in Paris or even a villa in Italy and get a taste for the rich lifestyle.

As a nanny or Au Pair working in Europe, you may also be offered a wage that you can use to fund the rest of your travels. You may also be given a daily allowance typically put towards food and other miscellaneous costs for both you and the children you are caring for. Your main responsibilities will happen during the week, leaving your weekends free to explore Europe.

Other ways to get free accommodation in Europe

We’ve outlined just a few of the main ways that people can find free accommodation in exchange for working in Europe. If you’re still searching for that great opportunity, you can look through the opportunities listed on Worldpackers

You’ll find everything from childcare jobs, to personal assistant jobs, to charitable volunteer opportunities. A membership is a one-time cost of $49 giving you access to tons of opportunities to work in exchange for free accommodation. Worldpackers is great for solo travelers in Europe because of their host verification process, insurance policy, and huge community network. Use my promo code BACKPACKING10 for 10% off your membership fee.

Getting a visa to work in Europe for free accommodation

When applying for any of these positions, remember to consider your visa eligibility. Before entering Europe or staying for an extended period of time, you may need a B-1 or J-1 Visa, even if you are not paid for your services. Before completing your application, you should speak with a visa specialist or the program leaders.

Are you ready to get down in the dirt at an Italian winery? Or become a nanny to a generous Parisian family? Without breaking the bank, you can have the time of your life no matter what venture you choose. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start researching and preparing for your Europe trip!