Traveling Europe is one of those experiences that is both exciting and memorable. Traveling Europe by train in 2 weeks is something very special – if you know how to do it right. Rail travel in Europe is very easy these days, thanks to Interrail and the flexible train tickets that they offer. An Interrail/Eurail ticket allows travelers to use any train in 30 European countries, which means you can literally go almost anywhere you fancy. You can purchase them on the internet at various sites and a rail planner app is also available for smart phones.
So if you like trains – and airplanes, coaches or hiring a car is not your thing, here are some suggested 2 week itineraries by train.
Traveling Europe by Train Itinerary No. 1 (relaxed version)
This one is for those travelers who aren’t so focused on visiting the big cities and would prefer an itinerary that takes in the smaller cities. So if you have places like Berlin, Prague, Paris or Rome in mind, we suggest you skip to the next one.
We’re going to begin our journey in Dresden, Germany. Most people remember Dresden as a World War II bombing target by the allies, where it was completely destroyed, then rebuilt, but faded away behind the iron curtain into socialist East Germany. But today, it is a vibrant place. So whether you begin your 14 day train journey here, or catch a train to Dresden to begin it, you’ll be starting out from a beautiful train station.
If you like history, you’ll want to explore the impressive Frauenkirche, the unmissable Zwinger palace, a whole baroque quarter and four historic castles nearby. For those who like a more upbeat experience, you can head to the new Dresden up in the Neustadt. This area is where culture and society come together to hang out drinking beer, eating vegan burgers and putting on arty plays.
So now we head back to the railway station and catch a train from Dresden, to Salzburg, Austria – via Munich. Salzburg is best known for its setting in the famous movie, The Sound of Music. It’s also the birthplace of the composer Mozart. These two factors alone make Salzburg a much sought after tourist destination.
Towering over the city lies Burg Hohensalzburg – an historic 11th century castle that remains a visible landmark to this day. It is an unmistakable feature of Salzburg’s world-famous skyline. From afar, the mighty walls begin to reveal the history visitors experience at first hand within these sturdy defenses. You get climb to the castle via a modern rail car, or if you’re into fitness, climb it on foot. Either way, from the top you’ll be impressed by some amazing views over the city and nearby countryside.
So now, we move on from Salzburg, catching a night train to Florence, Italy, followed by a day train to Piombino. A short Italian ferry ride later and we’re on the island of Elba.
Elba is a small but beautiful Mediterranean island off the coast of Italy – and as such, has a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of beaches to explore. If you time your visit to Elba well (September is good) and avoid the summer crowds, you can rent an AirBnb and go exploring.
Arriving back at Piombino, you can then travel up the scenic coastal train lines until you come to Milan. This densely populated city offers a sublime mix of historical architecture, modern high-rise skyscrapers, all mingled together with a dash of Italian life.
Milan is particularly known for its abundance of high end fashion retailers and the beautiful Duomo Cathedral, not to mention the 15th century Castello Sforzesco. Aside from the castle itself, there is also a host of small museums and collections that contain a myriad of interesting artefacts and historical information about the castle and Milan.
Back on the train again and this time, we’re heading for Bruges, Belgium. Bruges is a wonder of canals, old houses, lovely squares, chocolate and beer. What’s not to enjoy in this city? Rent a cute and affordable B&B and climb up to the Belfry. You can stock up on awesome souvenirs from Belgian chocolates to beers produced by the local monks.
The beauty of traveling Europe by train is, that you’re not subject to the traffic that other modes of transport present – but you also get plenty of time to relax and read a book or watch a movie between destinations. Thanks to Interrail, your flexible travel plans are assured.
Travel Europe by Train – Itinerary No. 2
If you’re looking for something more structured, while at the same time, visiting some of the larger cities in Europe, then this one may be for you.
Day 1 to 3 – BARCELONA (Spain)
- Visit the magnificent Sagrada Familia – it is massive with a unique style. te must-see in Barcelona
- Admire the architectural work of Gaudi with his emphasis on natural curves and patterns, creating the catalan modernism movement
- Enjoy the light and music show at the Magic Fountain
- Go to the top of the Tibidabo Mountain to admire Barcelona from above
- Visit the Joan Miro Foundation to discover some of the artist’s most iconic work.
Day 4 – TRAIN Barcelona to Paris
- Path – Barcelona Sants to Paris Gare de Lyon station
- Time on train – 6h30
- Type of train – Choose the “directs” with High speed trains
- Suggested time – Morning departure for arrival mid afternoon or beginning of afternoon departure for arrival in the evening.
Day 5 to 8 – PARIS (France)
- Admire the iconic Eiffel tower and its impressive structure
- Visit the Notre Dame Cathedral and travel back in time
- Visit the underground world at the Catacombs
- Admire the stained glass windows at Sainte-Chapelle
- Get up to the Sacré-Coeur to look over Paris
- Watch a show at one of the cabarets
- Enjoy an evening cruise on the River Seine to see the lights of Paris
- Feel royal at the Versailles Castle.
Overnight Day 8 to Day 9 – Travel to Venice
- Path – Paris Gare de Lyon to Venecia Santa Luzia
- Time on train – 14 hours 25 minutes
- Type of train – Thello Night Train to get a train without connection
- Suggested time – 7:10pm departure
Day 9 and 10 – VENICE (Italy)
- Marvel at Saint Mark’s Basilica
- Enjoy a Gondola ride on the canals
- Get up the Campanile di San Marco
Day 11 Venice + Travel to Rome
- Path – Venezia S Lucia to Roma Termini (the most central of the 2 stations)
- Time on train – 3h 45min
- Type of train – Regional Train
- Suggested time – Morning or afternoon depending on if you want to see more of Venice or Rome
Day 12 to 14 – ROME (Italy)
- Imagine ancient games at the Colosseum
- Imagine how life was as you explore the Roman forum
- Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain
- Admire the many historical buildings, especially the pantheon
- Visit another country: the Vatican