If you’ve never been to Europe, then one way to get a real flavor of it in a short blast is to book an inter-railing trip. There are scores of different ways you can do this, of course. While some people like to design their own trip, others opt for an itinerary that’s been planned out for them by a travel agent.
A quick search on Google will show you the myriad of choices there are. You might want to stick to one particular region within Europe or do a wider tour that takes in some of the most major cities. For instance, on a two-week tour starting out from the UK, it’s possible to visit London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Venice and Rome. It will be a whirlwind trip, but you’ll be able to sample so many elements of Europe. If you want to see anywhere in more detail – you can always come back!
Part of the fun of being somewhere new is to try different experiences that you might not have at home. If you were to take up the itinerary above, for example, here are some suggested bucket list experiences to include on the trip.
Here are just a few recommendations for you when you’re traveling Europe by train
See some of the world’s greatest works of art in person
“Louvre” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by jugarsan
There are so many great works of art in Europe it’s impossible to say which ones are must-see, yet there are names that crop up again and again in guidebooks. Who would miss the opportunity of seeing the Mona Lisa in the Louvre in Paris, for example? And what about the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo in Rome’s Vatican? And if you’re in Amsterdam, you really ought to travel one hour to The Hague to see Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring in the Mauritshuis.
Do as the locals do
You’re in Europe to experience all different kinds of cultural experiences and that can include living like the locals do. In Paris, you might be having a café and croissant for breakfast, while in London, you might want to go for the more traditional “fry-up” of eggs, bacon and black pudding and a nice cup of tea to wash it down! As well as the food why not do other things the local way too? You may play Powerball at home, but when in Europe, try EuroMillions instead. EuroMillions is a Europe-wide lotto that can only be played while in Europe, so have your chance to win big European-style while you’re there! You never know, you might win enough to make the rest of your life a vacation!
“hot spring” (CC BY 2.0) by b.frahm
A two-hour journey from Prague will bring you to Karlovy Vary. Here you can experience the hot springs and thermal baths that have been used for centuries by local residents and visitors. Famous bathers over the years have included Karl Marx and Beethoven. Originally, people took to the waters to cure specific ailments and this practice still happens today. Most tourists, however, just try out a spa day for the experience. If you don’t have time to do this in Prague, you can visit the thermal baths in Vienna instead.
Of course, there’s a wealth of venues and sites connected to different parts of history in Europe. In Rome, for instance, the ancient buildings and layout of the city from antiquity are intermingled with the modern and vibrant city that has grown up around them. Book a guided tour of the Forum and the Colosseum to get a real taste of how life was lived in ancient Rome.
“Colosseum” (CC BY 2.0) by Kazuhisa Togo
And while you’re in Amsterdam, make sure to visit Anne Frank’s house – to get a real sense of how constricted, fraught and terrifying Anne and her family’s lives must have been while they were in hiding and she was writing her diary.
Of course, we’re not doing every destination justice here. These are simply a few ideas of the different experiences and sights you can include when exploring Europe by train to make it a vacation that you remember forever.