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Olympian Tom Daley shares his top European travel spots for sports enthusiasts

See Europe like an Olympian

Tom Daley picture in sweater
The Trainline

Summer in Europe. There is so much to see and do — especially if you’re a sports fan. But if it’s your first time visiting, or you don’t know your way around, you could be lost and confused instead of having the time of your life. Not only that, but flying between cities takes time and energy, taking away from time spent exploring.

To help you plan a European vacation like nothing else, Trainline — Europe’s No. 1 train and bus booking service — tapped Olympic gold medal-winning diver Tom Daley. With Tom’s experience traveling the world and his diverse interests, he authored “Tom Daley’s Summer Sports Tour of Europe,” so you can know where to go and enjoy the convenience of going by train.

I spoke to Tom about what he looks for in travel experiences, what it’s like to unwind after competition, and his favorite hobby away from diving. Here’s what he had to say.

More about Tom Daley

Tom has an Olympic resume that’s hard to match, along with eclectic interests and a burgeoning family. He’s competed and triumphed on the world stage, and also brought creativity to the masses. It’s this combo of traits that makes his travel guide all the more interesting.

In 2008, at age 14, Tom competed in the Beijing Olympics, as one of the youngest ever British Olympians. From there, he competed in London (2012), Rio (2016), and then Tokyo (2021), earning three bronze medals (individual) and one gold (synchronized). This summer, he’ll compete in his fifth Olympic Games in Paris, in the synchronized event.

But it’s Tom’s bright personality and creative side that captured the public’s interest. He’s been a TV host on his own show, “Splash!” and brought his favorite hobby — knitting — to the masses with his company, Made with Love by Tom Daley. He also authored a book by the same name. 

He’s also a family man, with partner Dustin Lance Black and sons Robbie and Phoenix Rose. That plays a central role in his travel interests, as he relayed to me during our interview.

I asked Tom to expand on his picks for the Summer Sports Tour of Europe and what he is looking for in travel destinations. He responded, “You know, for me, I mean, there are all kinds of things that I feel like I want to experience when I go to places. And I think the nice thing about traveling within Europe is that it is so super easy to get around from city to city.”

Over the years, he learned the value and convenience of travel via train while going from competition to competition. He noted, “I grew up in Plymouth, which is in the southwest of the UK. And I used to have to travel from Plymouth to London on an extremely regular basis. I had competitions in Leeds. I had competitions in South Hampton. And all the way up to even Edinborough. So I was on the train all the time. And then, as I got older and started traveling into Europe, the train just made things so much easier.”

Further, I asked Tom what it’s like going from an intense competition to a travel getaway, and what he likes to do. He answered, “You know, for me, when I’m able to switch off from competition mode, I – there’s so many things I enjoy doing. Obviously, I train all the time. And I am doing very diving-specific and gymnastics-specific kinds of exercises. So being able to kind of switch off from that and do things I really enjoy. For example, in Plymouth, I grew up wakeboarding and surfing a lot.”

“So I enjoy — like being outdoors — whether that’s going on hikes — whether that’s being — just generally, I’m a competitive person. So, my kids and I like to be outside. We like to be swimming in the ocean. So I think that’s the main thing I love to do outside of my sport is spending time with my family.”

He continued about his excitement over the summer ahead, saying, “And for me — especially with this summer coming up — there’s a big summer of sport. And I actually wrote a blog on Trainline’s website about the summer of sport, and all the things you can get up to, how easy it is to travel around Europe, being able to participate in sport, to watch sport.”

So what were Tom’s picks for edge-of-your-seat experiences across Europe? Read on to find out.

Tom Daley’s Summer Sports Tour

Table setting looking out train window
Jennifer Latuperisa-Andresen via Unsplash

Here it is — Tom’s curated guide to this summer’s sporting events throughout Europe, all accessible via train. Even better, you can seamlessly book tickets to each city through the Trainline app. Instead of worrying about connecting flights or spending time at airports, you can focus on the thrill of competition and gorgeous surroundings. Let’s dive in.

United Kingdom

Royal Troon Golf Course
Royal Troon Golf Club Royal Troon Golf Club

Tom grew up in Plymouth surfing and wakeboarding, and you can do the same along this picturesque stretch of coast. After a day on the water, take a train to London, and enjoy the culture and cuisine for a true British experience.

On May 27th, attend the Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake in Gloucestershire and chase cheese wheels down a hill for plenty of laughs and good times. Afterward, grab a pint at The Butchers Arms, a classic English pub, and share stories with fellow participants.

In early July, watch the world’s tennis stars play on Wimbledon’s grass courts in the shadow of historic London. If you can’t get tickets for center court, try watching at The Famous Three Kings, one of the city’s best sports bars, with numerous screens and abundant food and drink.

Lastly, from July 14-21, devoted golfers will want to be at Royal Troon, Scotland for The Open Championship, and witness a major championship in the sport’s birthplace. If you’re staying in Glasgow, check out Waxy O’Connors, a three-floor bar with a ton of screens and an unbeatable atmosphere.

France

Racecars lined up at the 24 Hours of Le Mans
24 Hours of Le Mans 24 Hours of Le Mans

France has an ideal mix of outdoor and adventure and sporting excitement. If you’re a hiker or trail runner, try the Tour du Mont Blanc in Chamonix. Hike or run through stunning landscapes on your adventure through the high alpine. Among the French Alps lie villages and glaciers for an awe-inspiring yet charming experience.

From May 20 to June 9, the French Open tests tennis skill on a challenging clay surface. Take in the historic event at Rolland Garros Stadium, as players grip and slide on the clay, in a test of strategy and skill. If you’d prefer a pint in the company of friends, try watching at Le Players in Paris, for cheery ambiance and interesting drink menu.

The Tour de France is an endurance test without equality. From June 21 to July 21, watch cyclists strive for the yellow jersey, day after day, testing the limits of what’s possible. In Nice, try watching Ma Nolan’s, a popular pick for locals, with tons of screens to take in the action.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans (July 15-16) tests the limits of teams, drivers, and machines over a grueling race. If you prefer the ambiance of a pub, try local sports bar Le Mulligan’s and enjoy camaraderie with fellow gearheads.

Spain

Football players competing in La Liga
La Liga Football Match La Liga

Spain has a summer filled with sporting action but also has plenty of outdoor adventures. Options inclue sailing or swimming in San Sebastián’s La Concha Bay, or hiking along the Caminito del Rey in Andalucía.

For football fans, Spain’s top professional league, La Liga, offers intense competition and plenty of thrills. Watch the world’s best players duke it out on the pitch and historic clubs like FC Barcelona and Real Madrid compete for the title. Enjoy the crowd’s roar and daring saves in venues like Camp Nou in Barcelona and Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán Stadium in Seville. If you’d like to experience a match in the comfort of a pub, try Sports Bar in Madrid for plenty of screens and abundant grub.

Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsports and the show visits the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on June 21. If you can’t get tickets, enjoy the action from O’Neill’s Irish Pub in Barcelona and try some Irish whiskey as the race unfolds.

On August 28, let your inner child run free at the La Tomatina Festival, where participants throw ripe tomatoes at each other in the world’s biggest food fight. After the action, try visiting Valencia’s Giant’s Pub, with huge screens showing top events.

Italy

Cyclists in the Giro d'Italia
Giro d’Italia Giro d'Italia

For hikers and trail runners, Italy’s Dolomites offer harrowing climbs and stunning vistas. Try traversing the peaks between Bolzano and Cortina d’Ampezzo for a real alpine accomplishment. 

The Giro d’Italia (May 16-19) tests cyclists over 13 days, going from city to city and through pristine countryside. As riders compete for the pink jersey, take in the race at The World Famous, a sports bar located in Turin. With its large screens, it’ll feel like you’re in the middle of the action.

From May 6-19, the Italian Open welcomes the world’s top tennis players to a historic, festive venue. At Foro Italico, players negotiate a red clay court while in the shadow of Rome, creating a scene of athletic prowess and immersive history. If you’d like a pint during the match, visit The Highlander Pub in Rome, a Scottish-themed bar with a fun mood and Scottish whiskies and beers.

Tom Daley’s dream knitting project

Tom Daley wearing knit sweater
Made With Love by Tom Daley

Tom Daley likes to knit. Loves to, in fact. Maybe that’s where his company — Made with Love by Tom Daley — got its name. As he described his travels, he mentioned, “And for me, it’s time to knit. Whenever I’m on the train, I’m knitting. And that’s when I’m in my happy place.” He picked up the hobby during the pandemic and later could be seen knitting during the Tokyo Olympics

I wanted to know more, so I asked Tom to describe his dream knitting project. His face lit up as he said, “You know, there have been so many different things I have wanted to do. And I have lots of different ideas about to make knit in like a quite high fashion way. And I’ve always wanted to make Zendaya a dress. That’s, like, on my bucket list. So, I mean, I keep saying it and manifesting it. So, one day, when Zendaya wants a knit dress made by me out of something interesting — that isn’t necessarily made from yarn — I’m here.”

A European vacation offers possibility after possibility for the sports fan. But with so much to experience, knowing where to go — and how to get there — could prove a hassle. Tom Daley’s Summer Sports Tour puts you in the know, and since it’s all reachable via the Trainline app, planning your route is a piece of cake. Time to decide on events and book those tickets — true sporting thrills await.

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