From Deb M.: “My sister and I are planning 2 to 3 weeks in Europe. We would love to enjoy this adventure based on train travel but don’t really know where to start. What would you recommend as the best train journeys to look at?”
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First, wherever you ultimately decide to go, go for three weeks. Never once have I thought or heard anyone say, “Golly gee, that trip to Europe was far too long.” Quite the opposite. Go as long as you can. You won’t regret it.
Next, here are my go-to resources for planning rail travel:
Europe by Rail includes some 50 rail journeys across Europe, organized by region. Most itineraries can be done in under three days, so you can link together many over a three-week trip. Your travel dreams will overflow with inspiration from this hearty little tome. I highly recommend starting with this book.
Seat61.com is run by rail-nerd extraordinaire, Mark Smith, and answers every single question you could ever have about European rail travel. And many you’d never wondered, like what does the bathroom look like on a DBM-0097? Bookmark that site now. It’s thick with timetables, advice, costs, planning tips and more.
Finally, what routes would I go on? There are just too many, but here are a few picks for train-based European itineraries covering 3 weeks:
- Lisbon to London: Lisbon > Évora > Faro > (bus) Sevilla > Granada > Madrid > Barcelona > Avignon > Lyon > Paris > London.
- Big City Dash: Lisbon > Madrid > Barcelona > Lyon > Paris > Zurich > Milan > Florence > Venice > Vienna > Prague > Munich > Berlin > Hamburg > Amsterdam.
- Southern Europe Crawl: Madrid > Sevilla > Granada > Barcelona > Avignon > Nice > Milan > Cinque Terre > Florence > Venice > Tuscany/Umbria > Rome.
Wow, those are some juicy itineraries. Take me with you!