Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Zurich and Milan
This is a part of a series of ‘A guide for one day in (City)’. This post series includes an informative guide, shared by well-traveled and experienced travelers, about their favorite popular European cities and the ways to explore it in one day. If you are short on time or want to make use the quick city stop, this is the perfect place to know where to go and what to see. Keep reading to know how to spend one day in Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Zurich, and Milan in this part.
The best way to start your day is by enjoying a morning view over Paris. Climb up the hills of Montmartre before the crowds, get some croissants and take your breakfast on the famous steps of the Basilica de Sacre Coeur. You can even take the Funicular de Montmartre for the last meters, your kids will love it!
You won’t have enough time to visit the Louvre and admire the countless masterpieces, however, you should not miss the Pyramid of the Louvre and the adjacent Tuileries park. The playgrounds and greens in the Tuileries are a good balance on a sightseeing loaded day if you are traveling to Paris with kids.
From the Louvre, it’s just a short walk to the Marais. The Jewish quarter with its cobbled stoned streets and narrow pedestrian alleys is a great area to get a glimpse of the old Paris. It’s also the best place in Paris to eat Falafel! You will spot the queue at “L’as du Falafel” from far, but don’t let this turn your down – the service is very fast.
Just a bridge crossing away from the Marais is the famous Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. Enjoy a little stroll at the Île de la Cité and if your kids need a bit more children time – just behind the cathedral lays a little playground!
After an exhausting sightseeing day and a lot of walking, end your one day in Paris with a laid-back river cruise on the Seine. Seeing Paris from a changed perspective is truly breath-taking and as a plus, you will slowly float by the Eiffel Tower – a sight that makes your Paris in a day experience complete.
Start your morning with a great coffee and breakfast at one of Amsterdam cozy brunch cafes like Bakers & Roasters or Gs. Then rent a bike and explore the UNESCO protected canal ring, stopping for lots of photo ops of arched bridges, 17th-century canal houses, and houseboats. If you don’t like to bike, you can always walk, you’ll be able to take in even more sights that way. Be sure to visit the famous Herengracht, Prinsengracht and Amstel River and also check out the small canals in the Jordaan area.
Grab a picnic lunch from one of the delis and head to popular Vondelpark, just outside the canal ring. Sit under the trees and watch the locals bike past. After you eat, make your way to
Museumplein to visit one or two of Amsterdam’s most famous museums like the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk or Rijksmuseum. If contemporary art is more your thing you might like the
newest addition, the Moco Museum, with displays of art by Warhol and Banksy.
After getting your fill of art you might be hungry and thirsty. Pop into a local “Bruincafe” for Bitterballen, deep-fried snacks that pair perfectly with a beer. For dinner, I’d recommend
checking out Indonesian or Surinamese food. Amsterdam is full of these eateries, from takeaway tokos to fancy sit down restaurants that serve Rijsttafel, a delicious assortment of small
After dinner, if the weather is nice, go for a quiet nighttime cycle through the city or head to a cocktail bar for a nightcap.
The Danish capital- Copenhagen, is a vibrant city, voted one of the happiest places to live in the world – it’s easy to see why! One thing you’ll discover is just how good the Danish are at inventing, amongst many great inventions they claim Lego, Insulin, and Bluetooth.
If you have just one day to explore this wonderful place, here are my top suggestions (and they’re all free!):
Start off by taking to the top of Christiansborg Palace Tower for a fantastic view of the city. Follow this by heading for lunch at the Nyhavn; a beautiful harbor with brightly colored cafes, bars and restaurants lining the canal and wooden ships that give it an authentic feel.
In the afternoon, work off your lunch with a stroll up to the little mermaid statue. The statue itself may be a little underwhelming but as the most recognized symbol of Copenhagen, an Instagram selfie is obligatory.
If you get the opportunity, a visit to the alternative neighborhood of Christiania is a unique experience, originally a military base it was taken over by hippies in the 70’s and remains a free community. However, the area is known for its open cannabis trade so if you’re traveling with children perhaps Rosenborg Castle would be a more family-friendly choice!
Top tip: look out for the new street food market opening in late 2018, the old venue closed down due to regeneration work but was a huge hit with locals and travelers.
Zurich is one of the most beautiful and loveliest places in Europe and you should visit at least once in your lifetime. While it is not the biggest capital (Zurich is not the official capital in Switzerland, but the biggest, which is why it is often mistaken as the capital of Switzerland), there is a lot to see and do in Zurich.
Lake Zurich is definitely one of the first places you should head to when in Zurich – in summer, there is so much going on around Lake Zurich, that it is a fun place to visit.
Whether you do a boat cruise on Lake Zurich, do stand-up paddling, hop into the water to swim or chip while listening to the numerous artists that play some live music at the lake – it definitely does not get boring. But there is more than the lake – the old town of Zurich is lovely and the Bahnhofstrasse is well-known for being one of the most expensive shopping streets in the world. Even if you plan not to spend all your money there, window-shopping is fun.
If you like to escape the hustle and bustle then head to the Uetliberg – Zurich has its own house mountain from where you can enjoy beautiful views of the city and Lake Zurich.
Seeing above mentioned places is a day well spent in Zurich!