Europe by Train: 20 Itinerary Ideas for 10 Days of Travel

best way to travel around europe by train

There is something magical and enchanting about exploring Europe by train. The rhythmic sound of the tracks, the stunning scenery passing by, and the sense of adventure make it a truly unforgettable experience. If you’re planning a 10-day trip to Europe and want to make the most of your time, consider these 20 itinerary ideas for an incredible journey by rail. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a food enthusiast, there is an itinerary to suit every travel style, budget, and season. Let’s embark on a train adventure that will take us to some of the most beautiful destinations in Europe.

10-day itineraries for travelling Europe by train

Each of these Europe train itineraries is perfect for 10 days of travel but can easily be shortened or extended depending on how much time you have. One convenient option for exploring multiple countries is to purchase a Eurail Global Pass, which allows you to travel across 33 countries without fixed dates, giving you complete flexibility to create your own route.

Central Europe: Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, and Ljubljana

Start your journey in Hungary’s captivating capital, Budapest. Take a few days to explore the city’s highlights, including the covered market, thermal baths, and the majestic Fisherman’s Bastion. From Budapest, it’s a short train ride to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Explore the charming Old Town and take a day trip to visit the country’s amazing castles and wineries. Next, travel to Vienna, Austria, where you can immerse yourself in the city’s rich history and culture. Finally, end your journey in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Enjoy the city’s relaxed vibe, wander around the picturesque Old Town, and take a day trip to the iconic Lake Bled.

Northern Italy: Milan, Verona, Padua, and Venice

Start your Italian adventure in Milan, the fashion capital. Spend a couple of days exploring the city, visiting the iconic Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and Castello Sforzesco. From Milan, take a short train ride to Verona, known as the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Explore the historic center, visit Juliet’s balcony, and enjoy an opera performance at the Arena. Continue to Padua, a less touristy city with a beautiful historic center. Visit the cathedral, botanical gardens, and the Prato della Valle. Finally, make your way to Venice, the city of canals. Explore the famous landmarks, wander through the narrow streets, and take a day trip to the nearby islands of Murano and Burano.

Southern Spain: Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, and Granada

While a road trip is the best way to explore Spain, you can still see a lot by travelling on the country’s railway network. Start your journey in Madrid, Spain’s capital, and explore its most important landmarks. Take a day trip to Toledo, a magical city known for its medieval architecture and rich history. From Madrid, travel to Cordoba to visit the impressive Mezquita and explore the city’s beautiful old town. Continue to Seville, known for its vibrant culture and stunning architecture. Visit the Alcazar, the Cathedral, and enjoy the flamenco shows. Finally, head to Granada to marvel at the Alhambra, a breathtaking fortress and palace complex.

Poland and Germany: Krakow, Wroclaw, Goerlitz, Dresden, and Berlin

This train journey takes you through some of the most beautiful and interesting cities of Poland and Germany, allowing you to see some lesser-known yet amazing corners of Central Europe. Start your journey in Krakow, Poland’s former capital, and explore its beautiful old town and visit the Wawel Castle. Take a day trip to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and the Wieliczka Salt Mine. From Krakow, continue to Wroclaw, known for its colorful Market Square and quirky dwarf statues. Explore the city’s historic center and visit the stunning Church of Peace in Swidnica. Next, stop in Goerlitz, a charming German city with well-preserved architecture. Continue to Dresden, known for its impressive Baroque architecture and art collections. Finally, end your journey in Berlin, Germany’s vibrant capital, where you can explore its historical landmarks and alternative sites.

The Swiss Alps: Geneva, Bern, Interlaken, Zermatt, and St. Moritz

This 10-day itinerary is perfect for all-year-round travel, but it’s especially magical in the winter as it takes you through some of the highest peaks in Europe and some of the most popular destinations for winter sports in the Swiss Alps. Start your journey in Geneva, the largest city in Switzerland, and explore its attractions before heading to Bern, the charming administrative capital. Take a train to Interlaken, a resort town known as the ‘adventure capital of Switzerland’, and use it as a base to explore the surrounding mountains and the famous Jungfrau region. From Interlaken, continue to Zermatt, a picturesque town at the foot of the Matterhorn mountain. Enjoy the stunning views and take a day trip on the Glacier Express, one of the most scenic train rides in the world. End your journey in St. Moritz, a glamorous resort town known for its skiing, luxury hotels, and stunning alpine scenery.

The Balkans: Zagreb, Montenegro, and Belgrade

While a road trip is the preferred way to travel around the Balkans region, there is one train route that should be on every traveler’s radar. Start your journey in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, and explore its beautiful architecture and vibrant street art scene. From Zagreb, take a train to Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. Immerse yourself in the city’s modern history, visit its fascinating museums and landmarks, and enjoy the vibrant nightlife. The highlight of this itinerary is the train journey from Belgrade to Bar in Montenegro, which is considered one of the most scenic train routes in Europe. Marvel at the breathtaking views as the train passes through the stunning landscapes of southern Serbia and northern Montenegro. When you arrive in Bar, make sure to explore the nearby Stari Bar, an ancient ruined old town, and relax on the beautiful beaches of Ulcinj.

The Netherlands: Rotterdam, The Hague, and Amsterdam

This European train route takes you to three beautiful Dutch cities within a region of the Netherlands known as ‘The Randstad,’ the most densely populated and developed part of the country. Start your journey in Rotterdam, a modern metropolis known for its stunning architecture and vibrant food scene. Explore the city’s famous cube houses, visit the Market Hall, and enjoy the views from the Erasmus Bridge. From Rotterdam, take a short train ride to The Hague, the seat of the Dutch government. Visit the picturesque Binnenhof complex, the Royal Palace, and the beautiful beaches of Scheveningen. Finally, make your way to Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. Explore the city’s famous canals, visit world-class museums like the Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank House, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of the city.

Portugal: Lisbon, Coimbra, Porto, and Santiago de Compostela

This itinerary covers three major cities in Portugal along with the endpoint of the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. Starting in Lisbon, spend four days exploring the city’s landmarks, museums, and charming neighborhoods. Take a train to Coimbra, known for its historic university and beautiful city center. From Coimbra, continue to Porto, famous for its port wine production and picturesque riverside district. Spend two days exploring the city’s historic sites and enjoy a boat trip along the Douro River. Finally, take a train to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, the endpoint of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. Explore the city’s UNESCO-listed cathedral and immerse yourself in its rich spiritual and cultural history.

Mainland Greece: Athens, Meteora, and Thessaloniki

This 10-day train journey in mainland Greece covers the country’s two major cities and the natural wonder of Meteora. Start your journey in Athens and explore the city’s archaeological treasures, such as the Acropolis and the Parthenon. From Athens, travel to Meteora, famous for its monasteries perched atop towering rock formations. Spend a day exploring this unique UNESCO World Heritage site and enjoy the stunning views. Finally, take a train to Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city. Explore its rich history, visit its famous landmarks, and enjoy its vibrant food and nightlife scene.

Germany and Czechia: Prague, Nuremberg, and Munich

This 10-day train journey is all about beautiful buildings, rich history, and delicious beer. Start in Prague, one of the most beautiful capital cities in Europe. Explore the city’s stunning neighborhoods, visit its iconic landmarks, and enjoy the local cuisine and beer. From Prague, head to Nuremberg, known for its medieval architecture and impressive history. Visit the Nuremberg Memorial, the Nazi Rally Grounds, and explore the city’s charming Old Town. Finally, make your way to Munich, the capital of Bavaria. Enjoy the city’s famous beer gardens, visit its beautiful old town, and take a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle, the inspiration behind Sleeping Beauty.

Ukraine and Russia: Kiev, Odessa, Lviv, and Moscow

This itinerary takes you through the most-visited cities in Ukraine, giving you an eclectic overview of Europe’s biggest country. Start in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, and explore its rich history, beautiful churches, and vibrant food scene. From Kiev, travel to Odessa, a lively city on the Black Sea known for its vibrant culture and beautiful beaches. Continue to Lviv, a UNESCO-listed city known for its charming European atmosphere and beautiful architecture. Finally, take a train journey through rural Russia, passing through the stunning landscapes of Siberia, and arrive in Moscow. Explore the city’s iconic landmarks, visit its world-class museums, and immerse yourself in its rich history and culture.

Britain: London, Bath, Cardiff, Liverpool, and Edinburgh

This 10-day itinerary is the perfect way to explore some of the most popular cities across Britain’s three nations. Start in London and explore the city’s iconic landmarks, museums, and vibrant neighborhoods. From London, travel to Bath and visit its famous Roman Baths and charming historic center. Continue to Cardiff, the capital of Wales, and explore its castle and vibrant city center. Travel to Liverpool and visit its famous Beatles sites and enjoy the vibrant music and arts scene. Finally, end your journey in Edinburgh, Scotland’s beautiful capital. Explore its historic center, visit its iconic castle, and enjoy stunning views from Arthur’s Seat.

Norway: Bergen, Voss, Flam, Myrdal, and Oslo

This rail itinerary from the coastal city of Bergen to Norway’s capital, Oslo, is perfect for those who want to experience the breathtaking beauty of this Scandinavian country. Start in Bergen and explore its charming streets, visit its famous fish market, and take a ride on the funicular to Mount Floyen for stunning views. From Bergen, travel to Voss, a small resort town known for its outdoor activities and beautiful nature. Take the famous Flam Railway from Myrdal to Flam, enjoying the stunning views of mountains, waterfalls, and fjords along the way. Explore Flam and take a boat trip to Gudvangen to experience the beauty of the Norwegian fjords. Finally, end your journey in Oslo and explore the city’s museums, parks, and vibrant food and arts scene.

Northern Spain: Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, Granada, and Barcelona

While many visitors to Spain only travel to the most popular destinations, this Spain 10-day itinerary takes you to the north of the country, an area known for its great food and unique culture. Start in Madrid and explore the city’s landmarks and attractions. Take a day trip to Toledo to experience its medieval charm and rich history. From Madrid, travel to Cordoba and visit the stunning Mezquita, a mosque-turned-cathedral, and explore the city’s beautiful old town. Continue to Seville, known for its vibrant culture, flamenco dance, and stunning architecture. Visit the iconic Alcazar and the Giralda Tower. Finally, travel to Granada and explore the magnificent Alhambra palace and the charming Albaicin neighborhood. End your journey in Barcelona, where you can soak up the Catalan culture, visit famous landmarks like the Sagrada Familia, and enjoy the city’s vibrant atmosphere.

Romania, Turkey, and Bulgaria: Istanbul, Bucharest, Brasov, Sighisoara, Sibiu, and Sofia

This train journey crosses continents, taking you from Istanbul in Turkey to Bucharest in Romania and through Bulgaria. Start your journey in Istanbul, a city that straddles Europe and Asia, and explore its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture. From Istanbul, travel to Bucharest, the capital of Romania, and discover its unique blend of architectural styles and the vibrant energy of its streets. Continue to Brasov, one of Romania’s most charming cities, and explore its beautiful old town and visit Bran Castle, also known as Dracula’s Castle. From Brasov, visit the enchanting town of Sighisoara, known for its well-preserved medieval architecture and its connection to Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Dracula. Continue to Sibiu, another picturesque Saxon city known for its charming streets and medieval fortifications. Finally, travel to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, and explore its rich history and vibrant cultural scene.

Classic Italy: Venice, Florence, and Rome

Italy is known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and delicious cuisine. This itinerary takes you to three of the most iconic cities in the country. Start your journey in Venice, the city of canals. Explore its charming neighborhoods, visit famous landmarks like St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace, and take a gondola ride through the picturesque canals. From Venice, travel to Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance. Marvel at the stunning art and architecture, visit world-renowned museums like the Uffizi Gallery, and indulge in the local Tuscan cuisine. Finally, make your way to Rome, the eternal city. Explore its ancient ruins, visit the Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica, and toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain for good luck.

London, Brussels, and Paris: Christmas Markets

If you’re in Europe during the Christmas season, don’t miss the opportunity to visit some of the most atmospheric Christmas Markets in Germany, Belgium, and France. Start your journey in Frankfurt, Germany, where you can experience one of the country’s largest and most spectacular Christmas markets. Explore the city’s historic landmarks and enjoy the festive atmosphere. From Frankfurt, travel to Cologne, known for its stunning Gothic cathedral and charming Christmas market. Continue to Aachen, where you can immerse yourself in the festive spirit and enjoy the local specialties. Cross the border into Belgium and visit Liege, a city known for its lively Christmas market and delicious food. Finally, end your journey in Metz, France, where you can explore a special gastronomic market and enjoy the magical holiday atmosphere.

More Europe travel inspiration

There is so much to see and explore in Europe, and these 20 itinerary ideas are just the beginning. Whether you’re planning a short trip or a longer adventure, train travel offers a unique and memorable way to experience the beauty and diversity of the continent. From historic cities to stunning landscapes, Europe has it all. So grab your Eurail Pass and get ready for an unforgettable journey through some of the most beautiful destinations in the world. Happy travels!

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