Guides

A Guide To The Best Cities To See By Eurail

Riding the rails of life through Europe is a romantic, economical way to get a taste of some of Europe’s best holiday hotspots. But if you want to take the best Eurail trip possible, you’re going to want to broaden your horizons. While taking the Eurail through London, Paris, Berlin and other classic holiday destinations is grand, don’t overlook these adds to your European train holiday itinerary.

Very-in Porto and sensational Spain

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Portugal is an amazing country, and the hilly, historic capital of Lisbon has plenty going on. But don’t be in a hurry to get there. The city of Porto is preferable for its chilled vibe, accessibility, and proximity to other Eurail stops. Definitely pop into Pedro dos Frangos for a prime Portuguese chicken meal (just be prepared to wait in line on the narrow stairway, or pop across the street to Pedro dos Frangos 2); spend an afternoon sipping sangria on the water in Ribeira; take a day trip to Guimarães, the World Heritage Listed birthplace of Portugal; and don’t forget, there’s wine nearby, too, in the Douro Valley.

 

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Once you’re finished up north, you can catch the train down to Lisbon for a few days (grab another pitcher of Sangria, this time with a rooftop view at PARK, sneakily placed above a carpark, and then take the Eurail to Madrid. While the sexier Barcelona grabs a lot of the headlines and tourist dollars, Madrid has a more relaxed feel that still delivers the holiday goods. After enjoying some top-quality tapas and visiting Plaza Mayor and El Retiro Park in the Spanish capital, head for the coast by taking the Eurail through Spain to Malaga or Valencia, ending your southeastern European swing with a bit of beach life.

Bergen and Scandinavia’s underrated beauties

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With a genius sign that lets you know This Must Be The Place, there’s no reason to question the appeal of fjords and mountains around Bergen on Norway’s southwestern coast. Bryggen and its wharf played a key part in more than four centuries of trade and today is a picturesque collection of tiny coloured structures lining a fjord. Speaking of these gorgeous waterways, you can hop on a tour from the harbour and get out amongst scenery that’s an integral part of Norway’s character. And make time for cosy Pingvinen, one of Bergen’s best spots for a drink and traditional Norwegian meal of fish, lamb, or mutton.

From Bergen, you can use the Scandinavian Eurail Pass to hit some of the region’s other hotspots. Swing by Stockholm, but don’t forget the smaller charm of Malmo; drink in the delicious craft beers at Mikkellar and Warpigs in Copenhagen, but also make time for Aarhus and Aalborg in the Jutland region of Denmark.

Chur and gorgeous Slovenia

Slovenia Eurail guide

So part of the reason to check out Chur is that it’s on the mindblowingly gorgeous Bernina Express. This is a real case of it not about being about the destination, but the journey. Serving up amazing Swiss countryside on a panoramic platter, you’ll gulp in the Alps and wish the four-hour journey lasted longer. Don’t even bother charging your iPad or downloading anything from Netflix; you’ll be too busy binging marvellous mountains and awesome alpine amazingness. But that’s just the first part of your route.

 

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You’ll actually want to make Chur your final port of call on the Bernina Express. Then, from there, hop on a train over into Austria and then down into Slovenia. Why Slovenia? We’re glad you asked.

 

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Tourism-wise, Slovenia is what Croatia was eight years ago; it’s growing in popularity, but it’s not completely overrun with visitors yet. While Slovenia doesn’t offer the same coastal Adriatic Sea vibes, it does have resplendent beauty in bunches. You can take the Eurail to Ljubljana from major surrounding cities such as Vienna, Munich, and Zurich. Spend a couple of days exploring the Slovenian capital (its size is well-suited to a free walking tour, and you can grab a drink at the hip Tozd afterwards), and then use it as a jumping off point for seeing the rest of this beautiful country’s landscape via rail. You’ll be able to use the national railway system, called (Slovenian Railways / Slovenske železnice) with your Eurail pass, so you can hit everything from gorgeous Lake Bled to Škocjan Caves Regional Park and more. Then you can hold it over all your friends’ heads that you’ve been somewhere they haven’t.

Check out Qantas flights to begin your next adventure.

(Image: Zhukova Valentyna / Shutterstock)