Train Travel Guide For All of the European Cities in NY Times 52 Places for 2016 List


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!

Rail Europe's 52 Places on NY Times List by Train - BordeauxBordeaux, France

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:

Skane, Sweden

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
Rail Europe's 52 Places on NY Times List by Train - Aarhus
@Morten Jac/VisitDenmark

Aarhus, Denmark

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)

Cesme, Turkey

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.

 Rail Europe's 52 Places on NY Times List by Train - San SebastianSan Sebastian, Spain

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

Dublin, Ireland

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

Rail Europe's 52 Places on NY Times List by Train - BrnoBrno, Czech Republic

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)

Barcelona, Spain

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:

Rail Europe's 52 Places on NY Times List by Train - TurinTurin, Italy

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:

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

Rail Europe's 52 Places on NY Times List by Train - AustriaTyrol, Austria

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

Rail Europe's 52 Places on NY Times List by Train - ColmarColmar, France

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, Spain

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
Rail Europe's 52 Places on NY Times List by Train - Lausanne
photo by Schuerpf

Vaud, Switzerland

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

Thessaloniki, Greece

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

So there you have it — all of the European places on the New York Times 52 Places list — by train. Are you traveling to any of these places in 2016?

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Rail Europe's List: How to Take the Train to All of the European Places on the NY Times' List of Places to Visit in 2016

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Avatar Betsey says:

    I want to go to Zaragoza from Madrid and from Zaragoza to Barcelona.

  2. Avatar Brenda Lee says:

    I would love to go to all of these places mentioned. I will be in Europe for at least 5 or 6 weeks. Can I get a europass for 6 weeks and go somewhere different every other day? Im hoping to make this a budget trip and see as much as possible. Thanks for the great information.
    Brenda Lee

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