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City Tours And Excursions in Europe

City tours and excursions…one of the reasons you came to Europe in the first place!

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You have thousands of sightseeing opportunities in Europe…you can do them by coach, mini-van, on foot, by bike, by segway or by boat…

And, booking these city tours and excursions is easy…local tour operators in all major towns and tourist areas offer them. They are particularly valuable, if you travel without a car or don’t plan to use public transportation.

You have two options if you want to see the top travel destinations quickly...

  1. guided city tours
  2. guided day excursions in the countryside

Short guided multi-day trips are also listed by country, lasting from two to seven days.

The benefits of your guided city tour

  • A guided city tour gives you a quick overview of the city without you having to do anything but sightsee.
  • The guide explains the sights, gives important tips about the city, and the driver does the driving.

    You would not want to have a car in most European cities anyway…it’s no fun driving on the crowded roads with thousands of bikers, pedestrians and cars, and at the same time trying to deal with an unfamiliar language.

  • We often take a guided tour in a new city.

    Afterwards we have a much better perspective for the town and know what areas and sights we want to go back to.

    Remember it’s a quick tour and that’s the purpose. You may want to visit the museums and other attractions on your own afterwards.

  • Also ask the guide for restaurants and other fun suggestions. They’re the specialists on their town.

The benefits of your excursions into the countryside

  • A car could do the trick; however, on a guided excursion, you would see a lot more than you would being on your own.
  • Yes, it’s a pretty fast trip but that again is the purpose.

    How else would you be able to see Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath in one day…and you don’t even have to worry about the driving on the left…a real benefit for sightseeing in Britain and Ireland?

  • With that in mind, you may want to book an excursion into the countryside, even if you plan to “do” the city on your own .

By coach or by mini-coach/minivan…what’s the best for you?

In cities like London and Paris and areas like Scotland and Southern France, you can join city tours and excursions in a large coach or a much smaller mini-coach. They are not the same…

  • A coach carries 40 to 50 people, a mini-coach from 8 to 16…so getting on and off the mini-coach is much faster, giving you more time at the sights.
  • The guide on a large coach is usually a licensed professional guide, on the smaller coach they are both driver and guide…They are not all licensed so may tell fewer details and stories but…
  • A major benefit of a mini-coach excursion is that usually you are picked up and dropped of at your hotel...

    That makes them more expensive. The direct links in the European Travel Resource Center give both prices for the tours.

  • Note that in several bigger cities, like London and Paris, larger coaches pick you up from many hotels. First they take you from your hotel to the starting point of the tour itself. That means you have an earlier start.

Or by train...

You have three options for day excursions by rail

  1. Escorted

    The Railtours Ireland day trips from Dublin are great! They visit major attractions throughout the country, including the Ring of Kerry and Cliffs of Moher in Western Ireland.

    For the multi-day programs (from two to six days in Ireland) staying at B&B's or three-star hotels see European Train Vacations.

  2. Partly Escorted and Partly On Your Own

  3. The most popular day rail excursions in Europe are between London and Paris on the high speed Eurostar train...

    For example, from London to Paris you have three choices depending how much you want to see in Paris...

    • Eurostar to Paris plus a one day Hop On - Hop Off bus ticket…you’re on your own
    • Eurostar to Paris plus a half-day guided tour including the Eiffel Tower
    • Eurostar to Paris plus a full day guided tour of Paris with Versailles

    The European Train Vacations' link listed above with Escorted (#1) also offers day trips on Historic Trains in Great Britain.

  4. On Your Own
  5. Day rail trips from London to Edinburgh and other cities in England are available from Golden Tours in London.

    The un-escorted trips often include a Hop On - Hop Off tour ticket.

Important tips for your city tours and excursions in Europe

  • Plan ahead at home for the things you want to see and the programs you want to take…not all operate every day…avoid missed opportunities.
  • Do you prefer booking a tour ahead from home (and pre-paying the trip) or being more flexible and seeing how you feel when you arrive in a city?

    Most day-tours are usually available if you call the day before but not always in high season, so if you want a specific tour on a particular day book it in advance.

    European Travel Resource Center has all the details and direct links. That's why we call the site "Give-Google-A-Break."

Are there any top tourist sights in Europe you should not miss?


In London you don’t want to miss the day trip to Windsor and Bath, in Paris to Versailles, Chartres and Giverny and in Rome to Sorrento and Capri.

But there are many more…all over Europe!

So…what’s the best and simplest way to plan your city tours and excursions in Europe?

  • Visit the European Travel Research Center web site that lists all the major sightseeing options in 19 European countries.
  • Check the days the tours operate before you leave home. Avoid missed opportunities in Europe.
  • Decide if you want to book your sightseeing in advance or on the spot.
  • If you’re going to London, Paris, or Scotland, decide if you want to do the sightseeing in a large coach or a small mini-coach or minivan. In Southern France - Nice, Cannes, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Arles and Marseilles - all daytrips are by minivan with driver-guide.

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