10 beautiful day trips from Porto, Portugal, by train (or bus)

Day trips from Porto | PACK THE SUITCASES

Here are my picks of the best day trips from Porto by train and bus. I firmly believe in always doing travel – especially abroad – without a car. Porto is ideal for this as it’s so well connected with public transport, so there’s no need to put yourself through the stress of hiring a car and driving abroad.

There’s so much to do in Porto itself (have a look at my main blogpost on Porto for lots of ideas) that you can easily just visit the city and stay there. But Porto is also a perfect base for getting out and about on day trips to see even more of the surrounding area, away from the tourists. And there are some beautiful hidden gems in northern Portugal that you can easily reach in a day.

So I wanted to share with you some of my favourite day trips from Porto by train (and a few by bus) that I’ve enjoyed. To make this a more comprehensive list of possible day trips, I roped in some other travel bloggers to give me their ideas too. A big ‘thank you’ to the other bloggers who kindly sent me their excellent tips. Of course, I now want to go back to Porto and do all the places I’ve not yet done…

If you’re planning on a few day trips from Porto by train or bus, I hope this blogpost is useful. Pour yourself a wine and let’s get planning…

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10 beautiful day trips from Florence by train (and bus)

Best day trips from Florence by train and bus | PACK THE SUITCASES

Here are my picks of the best day trips from Florence by train and bus, because I firmly believe in always doing travel – especially in Italy – without a car. In a city as well connected with public transport as Florence, there’s no need to put yourself through the stress of driving in Italy both on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and amid some interesting attitudes towards the Highway Code.

There are so many things do in Florence itself (have a look at my other blogpost on that), from eating/drinking to soaking up history and culture, that you can easily just visit the city and stay there. But Florence is also a perfect base for getting out and about on day trips to see even more in the surrounding areas. Florence is the capital of Tuscany, at the very heart of Italy, which means you can branch out from all angles. Day trips from Florence to the surrounding towns and cities are very doable by regional trains and buses. But the city is also well connected with high-speed trains from its main station, Santa Maria Novella, which means you can go surprisingly far in under two hours.

If you’re planning your Florence trip, I hope this blogpost is useful. Let me know in the comments below which ones you enjoy out of my recommendations for the best day trips from Florence…

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7 brilliant day trips from Edinburgh by train (and bus)

A day in Dean Village and Stockbridge, Edinburgh | PACK THE SUITCASES

Here are some of the best and easiest day trips from Edinburgh using public transport only – no hiring cars and sitting in traffic involved! Edinburgh is one of my all-time cities and there is SO much to do there from eating/drinking, to history and culture, to exploring specific parts of town like Dean Village/Stockbridge or the beautiful hidden gems like Circus Lane. But it’s also a perfect city base for getting out and about on day trips to see even more of Scotland.

For this post, I’ve teamed up with some travel blogging friends to bring you a quick selection of day trips from Edinburgh that we’ve all tried and tested. This list isn’t in any order or anything, and it’s by no means exhaustive. But it’s a good place to start if you’re looking into what you can easily get to via public transport from Edinburgh. I’ve tried to include a decent variety of city, coast, mountains, towns and sights.

Get the kettle on (it would be rude not to also have a shortbread to get into the Scottish mood) and get planning…

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How to do a Ljubljana to Zagreb train adventure: one-week itinerary

A fairytale city break in Ljubljana, Slovenia | PACK THE SUITCASES

Here’s my Ljubljana to Zagreb train trip itinerary, featuring the best things to see in both these amazing cities and how to travel between them. You could do this itinerary either way. I chose to start off in Ljubljana because it worked better for our flights. But you could easily do Zagreb to Ljubljana too. Just flip reverse it, much like Blazin’ Squad (that noughties cultural reference will be lost on most of my readers, but I’m going with it).

I’d recommend spending slightly more time in Ljubljana than Zagreb. Although I enjoyed both cities, Ljubljana was an absolute fairytale place and I completely fell in love with it.

Anyway. Here’s my suggested itinerary for seeing both these gorgeous cities within 7 days, including how to do the stunning Ljubljana to Zagreb train journey between them…

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A Copenhagen to Hamburg train ferry adventure: yes, it’s a train that goes onto a ferry!

A Copenhagen to Hamburg train ferry adventure | PACK THE SUITCASES

This winter, I did what I have decided to call a Copenhagen to Hamburg train ferry adventure. Basically, it involved 3 days in Copenhagen and 3 days in Hamburg, with the two halves being connected via a TRAIN THAT GOES ONTO A FERRY. I kid you not. If a train driving INSIDE a ferry and being transported across the Baltic sea to emerge the other side on land isn’t the most exciting prospect you’ve ever heard of, then you’re on the wrong blog.

There are not many places in the world where trains go onto ferries, so this is a proper unique experience and costs less than 30 euro per person. Also, the cities it goes between are both good places to go to, so it’s not like it’s JUST a novelty. It makes for a really good double city break. I’d recommend spending slightly more time in Copenhagen than Hamburg. I enjoyed both cities, but Copenhagen is my all-time favourite. 

Incidentally, this unique train ferry experience may not last forever. There is a horrifying tunnel proposed, called the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link, which will be replacing the wondrous train ferry at some point. So you need to get on the train ferry while you still can.

Anyway. Here’s my suggested itinerary for seeing both Copenhagen and Hamburg and how to do the AMAZING train ferry journey between them…

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5 train-themed things to do in Japan for railfans and train enthusiasts

Five things to do in Japan for railfans | PACK THE SUITCASES

If you’re planning a trip to Japan, no doubt it will involve Japan’s incredible trains at some point. Trains in Japan are a cut above anywhere else in the world. No one in Japan has ever been reduced to tears by the words ‘rail replacement bus service’. Because of this, they’ve become quite a cult thing to obsess over and Japan is an absolute goldmine of brilliant and hilarious train-based stuff. I knew I’d have to write up my top things to do in Japan for railfans, and we’ve not even scratched the surface yet.

‘Tetsudo (rail) fans’, as they are known in Japan, travel all over the country to photograph different types of train and things can get rather heated. They also go to retirement ceremonies for old trains, which is so cute. It isn’t that difficult to understand this behaviour when train journeys in Japan are such a joy. Except in Tokyo at rush hour, obvs. But mostly, they’re fun. Train stations have their own jingles to welcome you and to say goodbye. Train drivers, as I mentioned in my post on Takamatsu, do some very entertaining pointing and hand gestures. It’s a famous safety feature and really something you have to see. I should also mention that some train stations have adorable cats as station masters.

Anyway, if you want to get on board (ha) with the train geekery in Japan, read on for some things to do in Japan for railfans…

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