A City in a Day..

Photo Credit: http://diaryofawannabesomething.blogspot.co.uk/

Now I'm an avid believer that every trip, however small, should feature a little culture. This is why I have become an expert in visiting cities and getting the most out of them in a day. Sometimes there just isn't time to spend a week touring all the art galleries of Paris, or all the Gaudi masterpieces of Barcelona, but that doesn't mean you should miss out! All it takes, is a little forward planning!

Now, disclaimer moment, you have to realise that you WILL miss out on things because it isn't possible to see everything a city has to offer in just one day... but remember you can have a bloody good go at it! My best success stories for 'A City in a Day' have been Paris and Barcelona. I didn't see all they have to offer, but I still left with a sense of the city, and managed to see a lot of the main sights. 


In Paris, I actually spent half a day in this wonderful city, whilst on a trip to EuroDisney. I saw La Defense, Arc de Triomph, Notre Dame and went to the top of the Eiffel Tower. All in about 8 hours! Impressed? You should be! The best thing is, you can do it to!
Arc de Triomphe
La Defense
Notre Dame
View from the top of the Eiffel Tower

I visited Barcelona during a family holiday to Salou. Whilst it was lovely spending days at the beach, I was craving a bit of culture and with Barcelona only an hour's train journey away, how could I say no? So that's what I did, I hopped on a train and spent a day in this magnificent city which has some of the most unique architecture in the world. During the day, and in 40 degree heat, I managed to visit La Sagrada Familia, Arc de Triomf, Las Ramblas, Placa de Catalunya, Montjuic and Estadi Olimpic. Now, there is still loads I want to see of Barcelona, so I have plenty of time to return, but for a day-trip in such heat, I think I did alright and got a really good feel of the city.
Arc de Triomf
Placa de Catalunya
Estadi Olympic

So, how exactly do you get the most out of visiting a city in just one day? Like I said, it's all about planning, but here are my five top tips:

1. Make a list of the top 3 attractions you want to see
First things first, you need to prioritize! You're not going to be able to see everything, so decide what you really can't live without seeing and make that your main target. For me in Paris it was the Eiffel Tower, so I plotted my day to end there. From there, find out what are the nearest attractions, or easiest to get to via local transport, as they will be the easiest places to target your visit around.
2. Know the transport options
Cities are big places, and who wants to waste time trying to find a taxi? Save yourself time and money by researching the local transport, whether it be the metro or by bus. Plot your 'must see' attractions on a map, and mark where the nearest metro/bus stop is, and slowly build up a route for your day. Find out if there's a day ticket available to save having to buy tickets every time you want to travel to the next location - you'll probably end up saving a few pennies too.

3. Avoid tourist trap restaurants
Yes, they are convenient and probably have pretty good views while you eat, but are they really worth the wait, the substandard food and the hefty price tag? Simple answer... no, no they are definitely not! Venture a couple of streets away and you'll save a fortune. If you're really lucky, you'll probably find a hidden gem that has wonderful food and is far less busy, therefore less time wasted waiting for your food to arrive!

4. Research!
A little research can go a long way! For example, without research, how would you know that most museums are closed in Paris on Monday's? You wouldn't, well until you turn up and your day is thrown in to array! Also, make sure your visit doesn't clash with school holidays, the dreaded 'tourist months' of July and August, and that it isn't a public holiday. A city in a day can be tough when you're fighting with an influx of visitors on the same day you try to tackle the sights.

5. Take it all in
Yes, your main aim is to see as much as possible, but what is the point of that unless you actually 'see it'. If you're particularly taken by a place, don't let a schedule ruin that. You can always visit a city again, so don't miss out on memorable moments because you're too busy trying to have it all. What I'm trying to say here is, ENJOY IT! :) Don't stress if you don't make it to a place in time, be grateful of what's around you and appreciate what you have seen. Just remember, if you do miss out on something, it's the perfect excuse to make a return trip! :)

So, hopefully if you ever find yourself near any of the big cities around the world, but only have a day in which to explore them, you'll be more prepared and get the most out of it! 

If you decide to take on the challenge, I wish you all the luck and I am very jealous! If you have managed to visit a city in a day, let me know where you went and how it was. I love to hear of other people's travels!

Until next time,