Rail Europe Train Travel – Journey Ideas

rail europe map

A couple of years ago I was all set on travelling around Europe by train. I’d even started the planning stage – working out which countries to visit and the best possible route to take.  As it turned out, I ended up booking a flight to Canada instead for what turned out to be a great five-month solo trip.

However, my dream European itinerary is still on the bucket list and one day I will purchase that Rail Europe ticket and get exploring this incredibly diverse continent that I live in. Train travel in Europe is not completely alien to me.

I’ve made a couple of single trips: the first one to Bruges and the second to Paris. Plus, I’m heading back to Paris this spring on the Eurostar for a few days to celebrate (console myself?) as my 20s come to an end.

Ideally, I’d want a minimum of a few months travel time to give myself the option of slowing down if I really like a place. There’s nothing worse than trying to fit in way too much instead of truly savouring the experience and trying to get under the skin of a location. If you’re interested, here are some aspects of the route I was going to/will someday take:

London to Belgium

It’s really convenient travelling directly from London St Pancras to Brussels Midi and, after spending time in Bruges and hearing great things about Belgium’s capital city, I would like to visit. I’d probably spend two to three days here admiring magnificent Art Nouveau architecture, visiting historic UNESCO sites such as the Grand Palace, relaxing in charming street-side cafes and gorging on chocolate and waffles with an abundance of ice cream or slagroom (whipped cream in Flemish).

Belgium to Germany

There are so many parts of Germany I want to get to; in fact even when I was planning two years ago I couldn’t decide which areas to concentrate on. To tell you the truth I want to see it all. I’d probably need a good month in this country to get to Berlin and Hamburg, the enchanting fairytale castles and breathtaking landscape in the Rhine Valley, the intriguing Black Forest and, of course, Bavaria. I’d most likely arrive in Cologne first of all – as this is an easy train ride from Brussels – which would present an opportunity to see the gorgeous cathedral located here.

Germany to Czech Republic

Besides the obvious attraction of Prague with its alluring gothic appeal, I would also like to venture to Cesky Krumlov. This historic small city in the Southern Bohemian region of the Czech Republic has a sweet idyllic ambience. The whole city is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site as well. Some fascinating festivals take place here, including the Five-Petalled Rose event in June when the clock is turned back to the medieval times. Everything from craft fairs and music to fencing duals and street plays are included. The highlight is a procession featuring people in medieval attire and knights on horseback. Sounds like fun to me.

Other Countries

From the Czech Republic I’m not sure what my next train journey would be. But the countries I’d also like to visit on this trip include Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Greece and Istanbul. On the way back, it would be great to take in Italy, Spain and Portugal as well. While on the road, though, who knows how the itinerary would change. That’s the beauty of travel – plans don’t always have to be set in stone.  You can go wherever the wind takes you.

 

Have you ever taken a train journey across Europe or around a specific European country?

 

*This blog post was brought to you in collaboration with Rail Europe, but all views are my own.*

 

 

 

8 Comments

  1. March 26, 2014 / 16:18

    I love train travel more and more now that I live in Europe. It’s so much more relaxing than flying. Last summer my husband and I spent almost 2 months taking trains from our home in Germany through Luxembourg, Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Italy. You definitely want to take things slowly, traveling too fast wears you out, and even though Europe looks small, it still takes awhile to get around.
    (Also, the Black Forest isn’t in Bavaria, it’s in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg. Freiburg, where we live, is in that region, so let us know if you make it down here!)
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    • April 8, 2014 / 21:37

      Slow travel is so much better than trying to see to much. The annoying thing is, at the moment I’d probably only be able to get away for a few weeks. If this is the case, I’d just focus on one country and go to 3 or 4 locations. This would most likely be Germany so I’ll definitely let yous know if heading your way :-) Thanks again for pointing out my error – updated it now.

  2. March 27, 2014 / 04:29

    A train trip around Europe would be so wonderful. I hope you get to do it one day.If we are living in Spain by then, you can visit us.

    • April 8, 2014 / 21:34

      Sounds like a dream plan, sipping sangria in the sun, listening to Spanish guitar, all that lovely food :-) I remember one of your books was set in Spain!

    • April 8, 2014 / 21:31

      Thanks for the tip, will have to look this up. It’s always refreshing to get off the beaten path a bit.

  3. April 5, 2014 / 04:54

    A practice journey around European countries would be so amazing. If we are residing in Italy by then, you can check out us. Thanks.

    • April 8, 2014 / 21:29

      I’d love to see more of Italy!