December 11, 2013

A week in the life of a Eurail traveler

by in Train routes

American travelers Bethany Salvon (37) and Randy Kalp (34) set out on a seven day rail trip in autumn with the Eurail pass. Here’s a photo diary they created of their Europe experience:

The best way to explore Europe is by train. Not only is it incredibly relaxing, but the views and discoveries that can be made along the way are second to none. Add a Eurail Global Pass or Select Pass into the mix and you have the freedom to explore Europe on your terms with the only limits being your imagination and the train schedule of course. As a Eurail traveler, the journey truly becomes a destination within itself.

Day 1: Costa Brava, Spain

Spain does train travel right. 1st class on its major rail lines is akin to business class when flying. Plus, the countryside in Spain always seems to pop brightly under a neon blue sky. On this trip, though, we stuck to the regional trains that service the dramatic Costa Brava region and its famed coastal and medieval towns.

Hiking along the rocky seaside in Costa Brava
Finding the perfect seat as the Spanish landscape streams by
The colorful landscapes are plentiful as the train passes through the Spanish hillsides

Day 2: Traveling to Italy via the French Riviera

The south of France with its famous coastal destinations, like Nice and Monaco, as well as its rolling hills made the journey to Italy that much more enjoyable. It was pretty amazing to start our day in France, knowing that in several hours we would arrive in Italy.

Cruising through Italy to Rome with our delicious packed lunch
Welcome to Italy: A picture perfect regional train in Milano Centrale.
Catching our morning train in the south of France.

Day 3: Rome, Italy

After arriving in Rome, we grabbed a bite to eat and started our whirlwind tour of the city. It’s a surreal place and I wish we had more than one day to explore Rome and its ancient ruins.

The pizza in Rome is as good as it gets.
Checking out the historic sites of Rome
Just a smattering of the spectacular ruins that our scattered throughout Rome.

Day 4: Florence, Italy

The high-speed trains in Italy are some of the finest in Europe, making it a breeze to bounce from one fine city to the next. If you’re coming to Italy, then Florence should really be on your must-see list. The city’s main train station, Santa Maria Novella, is just a 10-minute walk to the Piazza del Duomo, the historic heart of Florence.

Spotting the Duomo as we walk into the center of Florence from the train station.
The statues around Piazza della Signoria are really something to see, especially at night
Checking the departure sign while waiting for our train from Rome to Florence.

Day 5: Venice, Italy

One of the coolest things about taking a train into Venice’s Santa Lucia station is the incredible view that awaits you when you step out and set eyes on the Grand Canal for the first time. It’s like in the Wizard of Oz when the film changes from black and white to color. Instantly everything is alive, shimmering with a romantic glow.

A few Trenitalia attendants hanging out in the first class dining car.
Buying our seat reservations in Florence for our trip to Venice
Taking in the sights of Venice

Day 6: Paris, France

If we’re going to Europe, then it is pretty much a given that we will spend a few days in Paris. We just can’t get enough of the city. With seven main train stations, you could literally spend your whole trip just exploring the architecture and subculture that bustles about the historic stations on a daily basis.

The French countryside on our way into the City of Light.
A date with Ms. Eiffel
Enjoying our complimentary breakfast on our train to Paris.

Day 7: Munich, Germany

This was our first trip to Germany. And while we didn’t have a lot of time in the country, we saw enough to fuel our wanderlust for a return journey. The people were great, the trains were clean and comfortable, and the countryside felt familiar.

Having lunch and drinks at the storied Hofbrauhaus in Munich.
Our final train ride from Regensburg to Munich
Strolling around the Marienplatz at night