The New York Times just released its list of the 52 places to visit in the world this year, and Europe made quite an impressive showing! We want you to be able to make your European travel dreams a reality in 2016, so we’ve come up with this handy guide on how to reach every European place on that list by train (except Malta because, well, you need a boat for that). Happy traveling!
Bordeaux is already a popular French destination because of its UNESCO status and world-class wine production. And in 2016, La Cite du Vin opens — a site dedicated to the history of viticulture.
Bordeaux by train:
- Duration: 3.5 hours from Paris on the TGV
- Train station: Bordeaux-Saint-John Station
Skane is a region of Sweden rather than a city, and it made the list because it’s an up and coming destination for serious foodies. If you want to get there by train, a good central base for exploration would be the capital of the region: Malmo.
Skane by train:
- Gothenburg to Malmo: 3 hours by train
- Stockholm to Malmo: 4.5 hours by train
- Copenhagen to Malmo: 35 minutes by train (it runs across a bridge!)
- If you’re traveling with a Eurail Scandinavia Pass, you can get a 50% discount on the ferry between Travemünde (Germany) and Malmo operated by Finnlines
After eating your fill of delicious foods in Skane, head on over to Aarhus, a burgeoning art & culture scene. Lots of good Instagram opportunities here with its quirky architecture and art museums!
Aarhus by train:
- 3 hours from Copenhagen by train (tip: when searching on the Rail Europe website, use the spelling “Arhus” to search)
Another haven for foodies looking to try inventive and unique cuisine!
Cesme by train:
- Ok, so, you actually can’t get to this one by train. But! There are buses from Istanbul (about 8 hours long) or the more nearby Izmir (about an hour ride). This isn’t our specialty, so we’d recommend checking locally with bus companies in Turkey for more details.
This one was already on the top of our 2016 list because it’s a European Capital of Culture for 2016! It’s the gem of Spain’s Basque region and the city will be pulling out all of the artistic and cultural stops to support its Capital status this year.
San Sebastian by train:
- Madrid to San Sebastian: 5.5 hours to 7.5 hours (depending on which train you choose)
- Zaragosa to San Sebastian: 3.5 hours by train
- Barcelona to San Sebastian: 6 hours by train
One of Europe’s quaintest capitals is always a treat for travelers, but this year the city will be abuzz celebrating the centenary of the Easter Uprising.
Dublin by train:
- 2.5 hours from Galway by train
- 2 hours from Belfast by train
- With the Eurail Ireland Pass, you can get 30% off Stena Line or Irish Ferry crossings between Dublin and Holyhead
Lovers of nightlife take note: this one is worth the visit just for the fantastic bar names. NY Times lists a few of the newly opened ones: Super Panda Circus, Lucky Bastard Beerhouse, and a bar that when translated to English means something like “The Bar That Doesn’t Exist.
Brno by train:
- 2.5 hours from Prague by train (on the high-speed Railjet)
We think we may have heard of this city before? Barcelona will be a bigger party than ever in 2016 as it commemorates the 90th anniversary since Antoni Gaudi’s death — the architect is responsible for the city’s most iconic architecture, from Sagrada Familia to Parc Guell and more.
Barcelona by train:
- Madrid to Barcelona by train: 2.5 hours
- Valencia to Barcelona by train: 3.5 hours
- Paris to Barcelona by train: 6.5 hours (on the new France-Spain High Speed train)
Turin is the capital of the Piedmont region of Italy, famous for its white wine and black truffles. It’s also home to a newly re-opened Egyptian museum!
Turin by train:
- Milan to Turin by train: 1-2 hours by high-speed train (duration varies depending on train and time of day)
- Rome to Turin by train: 4.5 hours
- Florence to Turin by train: 3 hours
Mosel Wine Country, Germany
France and Italy seem to get most of the wine crowds, but Germany has some amazing vineyards as well. You can even stay in a castle in Mosel Wine Country! A good base city for this region is Cochem.
Cochem by train:
- Frankfurt to Cochem by train: About 3 hours, with a change of trains in Koblenz
- Cologne to Cochem by train: About 2 – 2.5 hours, with a change of trains in Koblenz
The Tyrolian Alps got their close-up in the latest James Bond movie, and now all of us are like, “Wait, that place is beautiful, why aren’t we going there immediately?” Innsbruck is a great central base for exploring this stunning region.
Innsbruck by train:
- Munich to Innsbruck by train: if you take the direct train, it’s just under 2 hours
- Vienna to Innsbruck by train: about 4 hours with a change of trains in Salzburg
Ile de Re, France
Located on the Atlantic Coast, this little region of France is perfect for beach lovers who want to escape the hype and crowds of the Riviera (we love the Riviera, but we know it can be a bit much for some people). This coast has a more similar vibe to the small towns along the Normandy coast. A good base for this coast is La Rochelle.
La Rochelle by train:
- 3.5 hours from Paris by train
- 2.5 hours from Bordeaux by train
Unarguably one of the most picturesque cities in the entire world, Colmar is quaint around every corner. This year there will also be a newly opened, massive modern art museum for anyone who can’t get enough pretty photos at the canals.
Colmar by train:
- Most routes from Paris require a change of trains along the way, but there are direct trains (they just don’t run as frequently as the trains that require a change along the way, so if you want a direct train, book in advance!). Journey time on the direct TGV train is about 3 hours
- Strasbourg to Colmar by train: about 30 minutes
Malaga is great at combining fantastic indoor activities (museums, tapas, flamenco shows) with fantastic outdoor activities (beaches, beaches, beaches). It’s a fairly small city, but just as lively as any other popular Spanish destination.
Malaga by train:
- 2.5 hours by train from Madrid
- 2 – 2.5 hours by train from Seville depending on train and time of day
Vaud is a French-speaking area of Switzerland known as being a retreat for various celebrities, most notably Charlie Chaplin. This year the Modern Times museum and Modern Times Hotel (both part of the “Chaplin’s World” complex) will open to the public. Lausanne is the capital of this region.
Lausanne by train:
- Geneva to Lausanne by train: 40 minutes
- Lucerne to Lausanne by train: About 2 hours
- Zurich to Lausanne by train: About 2 hours
In recent years it seems like Greece has been in the news more often for negative reasons rather than positive ones, but the country is slowly beginning to recover. As often happens when a country goes through a difficult period, an artistic and cultural renaissance has begun to take shape, particularly in terms of new cuisines and food culture. Thessaloniki has always been a capital for learning and innovation, and 2016 is looking to be quite a promising year for this revered destination.
Thessaloniki by train:
- Athens to Thessaloniki: 5.5 hours by train
- Sofia to Thessaloniki: About 6 hours by train