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Itinerary For Traveling Europe By Train


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Minnaminnie Gill



Traveling through Europe by train is an adventure like no other. From picturesque landscapes to vibrant cities, Europe offers a diverse range of experiences accessible by an extensive rail network. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a food lover, or a nature lover, this continent has something to offer for everyone. With its rich cultural heritage, breathtaking architecture, and world-class cuisine, it’s no wonder that Europe is a top destination for travelers from around the globe.


One of the greatest advantages of traveling Europe by train is the ability to effortlessly explore multiple countries in a single trip. The well-connected rail network allows you to easily and conveniently hop from one destination to another, granting you the opportunity to experience different cultures, languages, and traditions along the way.


Furthermore, train travel offers a unique and immersive experience that allows you to witness the stunning landscapes as you journey through picturesque countryside and charming towns. Unlike air travel, traveling by train allows you to soak in the scenery, giving you a sense of the local culture and a different perspective of each destination you visit.


Additionally, train travel in Europe is known for its efficiency and reliability. With frequent departures and well-maintained trains, you can rest assured that your journey will be smooth and comfortable. The extensive rail infrastructure also means that even remote and lesser-known destinations are accessible by train, making it an ideal mode of transportation for those looking to explore off-the-beaten-path locations.


In this article, we will guide you through planning an unforgettable trip through Europe by train. From choosing the right rail pass to booking train tickets and exploring major cities, we will provide you with all the information you need to make the most out of your European train adventure. Whether you’re a first-time traveler or a seasoned explorer, this article will help you create an itinerary that suits your interests and ensures a memorable journey.


Choosing the Right Rail Pass

When planning your train journey in Europe, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether to purchase a rail pass or individual train tickets. A rail pass can offer convenience, flexibility, and potentially cost savings, depending on your travel plans.


There are several types of rail passes available, each catered to different needs and travel styles. The most commonly used rail pass in Europe is the Eurail Pass, which is available for non-European residents, and the InterRail Pass, which is available for European residents. These passes offer unlimited travel within a specific period or a set number of days.


To choose the right rail pass, consider the following factors:

  • Duration of your trip: If you are planning to travel extensively within a short period, a rail pass that offers consecutive travel days might be suitable. On the other hand, if you plan to spend more time in each destination and have a more flexible itinerary, a pass that offers a certain number of travel days within a longer period may be more appropriate.
  • Number of countries you want to visit: Determine the countries you wish to explore and check if they are covered by the rail pass you are considering. Some passes offer coverage for a single country, while others cover multiple countries.
  • Flexibility: Consider if you prefer to have the freedom to hop on any train at any time or if you don’t mind having reserved seats for specific trains. Some rail passes allow you to make reservations for specific high-speed or long-distance trains, ensuring a seat on busy routes.
  • Budget: Compare the cost of a rail pass with the cost of purchasing individual train tickets for your planned route. Keep in mind that rail passes may offer additional benefits such as discounted or free admission to certain attractions.
  • Travel style: Think about your travel preferences. Do you enjoy the freedom to change plans on a whim and explore new destinations, or do you prefer to have a more structured itinerary? Choose a rail pass that aligns with your travel style.

Research the various rail pass options available and read reviews or seek advice from fellow travelers or travel experts. Take into account your specific travel needs and preferences to make an informed decision.


Choosing the right rail pass can greatly enhance your European train journey, allowing you to travel seamlessly and explore multiple destinations without the hassle of purchasing separate tickets for each leg of your trip. With the flexibility and convenience of a rail pass, you are free to create your own itinerary and discover the wonders of Europe at your own pace.


Planning Your Route

Planning your route is an essential step in creating a memorable journey through Europe by train. With so many incredible destinations to choose from, it’s important to take the time to map out your route and determine the cities and attractions you want to include in your itinerary.


Start by brainstorming the countries or regions you want to visit. Consider your interests, whether it’s exploring historical sites, immersing yourself in vibrant cities, or discovering breathtaking natural landscapes. Research the major cities and landmarks in each country and make a list of the must-see places that pique your interest.


Next, evaluate the travel distances between cities and the time it takes to reach each destination by train. Take into account the frequency of train connections and the duration of the journey. Some journeys in Europe can be completed in just a few hours, while others might take several hours or even overnight travel. Consider your personal travel preferences, whether you prefer shorter journeys or don’t mind longer travel times.


Consider the duration of your trip as well. If you have a limited amount of time, focus on a specific region or a few key cities to make the most out of your journey. On the other hand, if you have a more extended vacation, you can expand your itinerary to include more destinations and allow for a more leisurely pace.


While planning your route, also take into account the seasons and weather conditions in different regions. Certain destinations might be more enjoyable during specific times of the year. For example, if you want to experience the famous Christmas markets, plan to visit countries like Germany or Austria during the holiday season.


It’s important to strike a balance between popular and off-the-beaten-path destinations. While iconic cities like Paris, Rome, and Barcelona are certainly worth a visit, don’t hesitate to include lesser-known towns or regions in your itinerary. These hidden gems often offer a more authentic and intimate experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in local culture and discover unique attractions away from the crowds.


Once you have a rough idea of the destinations you want to include in your route, it’s time to consult train schedules and plan the logistics. Visit reliable websites or use dedicated train travel apps to check train connections, departure times, and ticket prices. This will help you piece together your route and determine the sequence of cities you’ll be visiting.


Remember, planning your route is not set in stone. Be open to making adjustments and be flexible with your itinerary. Leave room for improvisation and spontaneous detours to make the most of unexpected opportunities or recommendations from fellow travelers you meet along the way. After all, one of the joys of train travel is the freedom to explore at your own pace.


By carefully planning your route, considering your interests and travel preferences, and allowing for flexibility, you can create a well-rounded itinerary that allows you to experience the best of Europe by train. Prepare yourself for an unforgettable adventure packed with stunning scenery, cultural discoveries, and lifelong memories.


Booking Train Tickets

Booking train tickets for your European journey can be done in several ways, each with its own advantages and considerations. Here are some options to consider when booking train tickets:


1. Official Train Websites: Many European countries have their own national railway websites, such as Trenitalia in Italy or Deutsche Bahn in Germany. These websites allow you to search for train schedules, compare prices, and book your tickets directly. It’s recommended to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure your desired seats and take advantage of any advance booking discounts.


2. Third-Party Booking Websites: Numerous online platforms specialize in selling train tickets across multiple countries. Websites such as Rail Europe or Trainline provide a convenient way to search for and book train tickets from various operators and countries in one place. These platforms often offer user-friendly interfaces, customer reviews, and the option to choose different payment methods. Be aware that some third-party websites may charge a small booking fee, so compare prices before making a final decision.


3. Train Stations: If you prefer a more traditional approach, you can also purchase train tickets directly at the train stations. This option is suitable for spontaneous travel or if you prefer face-to-face interactions. However, keep in mind that popular routes or trains may have limited availability if not booked in advance, especially during peak travel periods.


When booking train tickets, consider the following tips to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience:

  • Check the train schedules in advance and choose the departure time that works best for you. Take into account the duration of the journey and whether it’s a direct or connecting train.
  • Consider the class of service you prefer. European trains typically offer first-class and second-class options, each with its own level of comfort and amenities. First-class tickets often include wider seats, more legroom, and access to amenities like power outlets and complimentary snacks or drinks.
  • Keep an eye out for any discounts or promotions. Many train operators offer reduced fares for certain groups, such as students, youths, or seniors. Additionally, some countries offer special tourist passes that include discounted train travel, so research the options available in the countries you plan to visit.
  • Consider purchasing seat reservations, especially for long-distance or high-speed trains. While not always mandatory, reserved seats guarantee you a specific seat and can provide a more comfortable and stress-free journey.
  • Be mindful of any specific ticket rules or restrictions. Some tickets may be non-refundable or have restrictions on changes, so read the terms and conditions carefully before making your purchase.

Ultimately, booking your train tickets is an integral part of planning your European train adventure. Take the time to compare prices, consider your travel preferences, and make your reservations in advance to secure the best seats and ensure a seamless journey throughout your chosen destinations.


Packing Essentials for Train Travel

When embarking on a train journey through Europe, packing the right essentials can greatly enhance your comfort and convenience. Here are some essential items to consider packing for your European train adventure:


1. Comfortable Clothing: Opt for lightweight and breathable clothing that allows for ease of movement. Layers are essential as temperatures can vary both on and off the train. Comfortable shoes are also a must, especially if you plan on exploring cities and attractions on foot.


2. Travel Documents: Keep your passport, train tickets, travel insurance documents, and any necessary visas in a secure and easily accessible place. It’s advisable to carry both physical and digital copies to avoid any mishaps.


3. Travel Adapter: Europe uses different types of electrical outlets, so a universal travel adapter will ensure you can charge your electronic devices without any issues. Most trains also have power outlets onboard, allowing you to keep your devices charged during the journey.


4. Reusable Water Bottle and Snacks: Staying hydrated is important, especially during long train rides. Bring a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout your journey. Additionally, pack some snacks to keep hunger at bay, as there may not always be food options available on the train.


5. Travel Pillow and Blanket: For overnight or long-distance journeys, a travel pillow and a small blanket or scarf can make a significant difference in your comfort. These items can help you relax, get some rest, or even create a makeshift barrier for privacy in shared compartments.


6. Entertainment: While the scenic views from the train can be captivating, having entertainment options can help pass the time. Bring a book, download music or podcasts, or bring a handheld device with movies or games to keep yourself entertained during the journey.


7. Basic Toiletries: Pack essential toiletries like toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, and any medications you may need. Trains often have limited facilities, so having these items readily available will ensure you can maintain personal hygiene throughout your journey.


8. Travel Lock and Money Belt: Ensure the safety and security of your belongings by carrying a travel lock to secure your luggage. A money belt or a hidden pouch is also useful for storing your passport, cards, and cash discreetly and securely.


9. Travel Guide or Maps: Carry a travel guide or maps of the cities and regions you plan to visit. These resources will come in handy for navigating unfamiliar places, finding local attractions, and planning your activities at each destination.


10. Reusable Bag: A foldable and lightweight reusable bag is useful for carrying souvenirs or groceries during your explorations. It can also serve as an extra storage option if needed.


Remember to pack efficiently and avoid overpacking, as space on trains can be limited. Consider the duration of your journey, the facilities available on the train, and the nature of your activities at each destination when deciding what to pack.


By packing these essential items, you’ll be well-prepared for your train travel adventure in Europe. Take the time to plan and organize your belongings before setting off, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable journey through the diverse and beautiful landscapes of this vibrant continent.


Tips for a Comfortable Journey

Traveling through Europe by train can be a memorable and enjoyable experience, and with these tips, you can make your journey even more comfortable:

  • Dress in layers: Train cabins can vary in temperature, so wearing layers allows you to adjust accordingly and stay comfortable throughout the journey.
  • Arrive early: Arriving at the train station early ensures you have ample time to find your platform, locate your seat, and settle in before the train departs.
  • Choose the right seat: If you have the option, select a seat that suits your preference. Some people enjoy sitting by the window to admire the passing scenery, while others prefer an aisle seat for easy access to the facilities.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water during your journey to stay hydrated. Consider bringing a reusable water bottle to refill at various stops along the way.
  • Take breaks: If the train journey is long, take short walks in between to stretch your legs and prevent stiffness. Additionally, taking breaks at stations can also provide an opportunity to explore new surroundings and grab a quick bite to eat.
  • Bring entertainment: To pass the time, bring along entertainment options such as books, magazines, music, or pre-downloaded movies. These can keep you engaged and help make the journey more enjoyable.
  • Pack snacks: While trains often have dining cars or onboard food services, having your own snacks can save you time and money. Pack some light and non-perishable snacks to keep hunger at bay during your journey.
  • Keep essential items within reach: Keep your travel documents, tickets, money, and other essentials easily accessible during the journey. It ensures convenience and saves you from rummaging through your bags repeatedly.
  • Respect others: Remember that you are sharing the train with fellow passengers. Be considerate of noise levels, avoid spreading out belongings excessively, and maintain personal hygiene to ensure a pleasant atmosphere for all.
  • Utilize onboard facilities: Trains often provide facilities such as restrooms, Wi-Fi, power outlets, and dining cars. Make use of these amenities for added convenience and comfort during your journey.

By following these tips, you can ensure a more comfortable and enjoyable train travel experience in Europe. Embrace the adventure, take in the stunning views, and embrace the unique charm that train travel offers on this fascinating continent.


Exploring Major Cities by Train

Europe is home to some of the most iconic and vibrant cities in the world, and exploring them by train is a convenient and efficient way to experience their unique charm. Here are some tips for making the most of your train journey in major European cities:

  • Research transportation options: Before arriving in a new city, familiarize yourself with its public transportation system. Determine if there are metro systems, trams, or buses that can easily take you to different parts of the city.
  • Check city passes and cards: Many major cities in Europe offer city passes or transport cards that provide unlimited travel on public transportation and discounts on attractions. Look into these options to save time and money during your exploration.
  • Create a sightseeing plan: Prioritize the attractions and landmarks you want to visit in each city. Create an itinerary that ensures you make the most of your time without feeling rushed. Consider proximity between attractions and plan accordingly to optimize your travel time.
  • Take advantage of guided tours: Guided tours, whether walking tours or bus tours, can offer valuable insights into the city’s history, culture, and architecture. They can help you navigate the city, discover hidden gems, and learn interesting anecdotes about the landmarks you visit.
  • Explore on foot: While public transportation is convenient, don’t be afraid to explore the city on foot. Walking allows you to immerse yourself in the atmosphere, stumble upon local gems, and appreciate the details that may otherwise go unnoticed when traveling by train.
  • Try local cuisine: Each city has its own culinary specialties that are a delight to indulge in. Sample the local cuisine, visit food markets, and try traditional dishes to truly experience the gastronomic culture of each city.
  • Be mindful of rush hours: Just like any major city, European cities can have busy rush hours. Plan your sightseeing around these peak times to avoid crowded transportation and enjoy a more relaxed experience.
  • Take breaks in parks or cafes: Exploring a city can be tiring, so take occasional breaks in parks or cozy cafes to recharge and soak in the local atmosphere. These moments of rest can be rejuvenating and offer a chance to observe daily life in the city.
  • Interact with locals: Engage in conversations with locals, ask for recommendations, and be open to their suggestions. Locals can provide valuable insights and tips that will enhance your experience of the city.
  • Enjoy the nightlife: In major European cities, the nightlife comes alive with bustling bars, clubs, and cultural events. Experience the vibrant nightlife scene and immerse yourself in the city’s energy after the sun goes down.

Exploring major European cities by train allows you to easily navigate different neighborhoods and absorb the unique atmosphere of each destination. With proper planning, an open mind, and a sense of adventure, your journey through these cities will be a memorable and enriching experience. So hop on the train, embrace the diversity, and let each city’s distinctive charm captivate you along the way.


Discovering Hidden Gems

While major cities in Europe are undoubtedly worth exploring, don’t miss the opportunity to discover hidden gems that lie off the beaten path. These lesser-known destinations offer a more intimate and authentic experience, allowing you to uncover the true essence of the region. Here are some tips to help you discover hidden gems during your European train journey:

  • Research off-the-beaten-path destinations: Before your trip, dedicate some time to researching lesser-known towns, villages, or natural landscapes in the regions you plan to visit. These hidden gems often boast unique attractions, rich history, and stunning landscapes waiting to be explored.
  • Ask locals for recommendations: Locals are often the best source of information when it comes to hidden gems. Strike up conversations with residents, ask for suggestions, and be open to their recommendations. They may point you towards charming cafes, picturesque hiking trails, or historical sites that are often overlooked by tourists.
  • Explore neighboring towns: When visiting a major city, consider taking short day trips to nearby towns or villages. These smaller destinations can offer a different perspective on the region and allow you to immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions.
  • Take scenic routes: Opt for scenic train routes that traverse breathtaking landscapes, such as rolling hills, picturesque coastlines, or mountainous regions. These routes often lead to hidden gems that are not easily accessible by other means of transportation.
  • Visit local markets: Explore local markets to experience the authentic flavors, aromas, and handicrafts of the region. These markets are often bustling with locals, providing a glimpse into the daily life of the community and a chance to taste regional delicacies.
  • Embrace spontaneous detours: While it’s important to have a general itinerary, leave room for spontaneity and be open to unexpected detours. If you hear about an intriguing destination or stumble upon an interesting sight, don’t hesitate to adjust your plans and explore these hidden gems.
  • Immerse yourself in nature: Europe is blessed with stunning natural landscapes. Explore national parks, coastal trails, or serene lakeside towns to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. These hidden natural wonders will rejuvenate your soul and provide an opportunity for outdoor adventures.
  • Attend local festivals: Research local festivals or cultural events happening during your visit. These celebrations offer a chance to witness traditional performances, try regional cuisine, and engage with locals in a lively and festive atmosphere.
  • Document your discoveries: Keep a travel journal or take photographs of the hidden gems you encounter during your journey. Not only will this help you cherish the memories, but it can also inspire others to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations.
  • Share your experiences: As you uncover hidden gems, share your experiences with fellow travelers and on travel platforms. By recommending these hidden gems, you contribute to a more sustainable and responsible tourism industry, encouraging others to explore beyond the popular tourist spots.

By seeking out hidden gems, you’ll uncover the enchanting aspects of Europe that often go unnoticed. These unique destinations will leave a lasting impression and provide a deeper understanding of the region’s history, culture, and natural beauty. So venture off the well-trodden path and let the hidden gems of Europe captivate your heart.


Sample Europe Train Itinerary

To give you an idea of how to plan your train journey through Europe, here is a sample itinerary that includes a mix of major cities and hidden gems:


Day 1-3: Paris, France Begin your journey in the beautiful city of Paris. Explore world-famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, and Notre-Dame Cathedral. Stroll along the charming streets of Montmartre and indulge in delicious French cuisine in local cafes. Day 4-5: Brussels, Belgium Take a short train ride to the vibrant city of Brussels. Visit the Grand Place, admire the intricate architecture of the Atomium, and treat yourself to some mouthwatering Belgian chocolates. Don’t miss the opportunity to try traditional Belgian waffles and sample local beers. Day 6-8: Amsterdam, Netherlands Hop on a train to Amsterdam and immerse yourself in its picturesque canals, historic buildings, and world-class museums. Explore the Anne Frank House, visit the Van Gogh Museum, and rent a bike to explore the city like a local. Take a day trip to the nearby windmills of Zaanse Schans for a glimpse of traditional Dutch countryside. Day 9-11: Prague, Czech Republic Travel east to the enchanting city of Prague. Wander through the charming Old Town, visit Prague Castle, and take a leisurely boat ride along the Vltava River. Don’t forget to try traditional Czech dishes like goulash and trdelník. Day 12-14: Budapest, Hungary Catch a train to Budapest, known as the “Pearl of the Danube.” Discover the stunning architecture of the Hungarian Parliament Building, relax in the thermal baths, and enjoy a boat cruise along the Danube River. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor Hungarian cuisine, including goulash and chimney cakes. Day 15-17: Krakow, Poland Travel north to the historic city of Krakow. Explore the medieval Old Town and visit the somber Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum. Take a day trip to the nearby Wieliczka Salt Mine, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Day 18-20: Vienna, Austria Board a train to Vienna, where you can indulge in classical music, palaces, and coffee house culture. Visit Schönbrunn Palace, stroll along the Belvedere Gardens, and catch a performance at the Vienna State Opera. Don’t forget to try a slice of Sachertorte – Vienna’s famous chocolate cake. Day 21-23: Venice, Italy From Vienna, take a scenic train ride to the magical city of Venice. Explore the labyrinth of canals, visit St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace, and take a gondola ride along the canals. Indulge in delicious Italian cuisine and savor a gelato while admiring the stunning architecture.

This sample itinerary showcases a diverse range of destinations, from iconic cities to hidden gems, offering a glimpse into the variety of experiences Europe has to offer. Remember to customize your itinerary based on your preferences, time constraints, and interests to create a memorable journey tailored to your desires.



Embarking on a train journey through Europe is an extraordinary experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant cities of this diverse continent. From the iconic landmarks of Paris and the historic canals of Amsterdam to the hidden gems of Brussels and Krakow, each destination offers a unique and captivating experience that will leave you with lasting memories.


By choosing the right rail pass, planning your route meticulously, and booking train tickets in advance, you can ensure a seamless and enjoyable journey. Packing the essential items, following tips for comfortable travel, and exploring major cities and hidden gems by train will enable you to truly soak in the beauty and charm of Europe.


Remember to embrace spontaneity, be open to new experiences, and interact with locals. Whether it’s savoring local delicacies, wandering through bustling markets, or standing in awe of architectural marvels, every moment of your European train adventure will be filled with discovery and wonder.


As you traverse through picturesque landscapes, historic towns, and bustling metropolises, take the time to appreciate the diversity and cultural richness that Europe has to offer. Capture the essence of each destination in your heart and share your experiences to inspire fellow travelers, fostering a love for exploration and a deeper understanding of the world we live in.


So, pack your bags, hop on the train, and let the adventures of Europe unfold before you. Your journey awaits, and with careful planning and an open mind, you are bound to create memories that will last a lifetime. Bon voyage!