Top 10 adventurous must-dos on your Eurail trip
Traveling Europe is the adventure of a lifetime, the one you’ll remember with a smile for the rest of your life as you shake your head at how crazy you were during your youth. And there’s no better way to zip across Europe from adventure to adventure than by train. To maximize this special trip, here are our top 10 adventurous must-dos in Europe you should absolutely take part in during your Eurail adventure.
1. Ride a jaw-dropping scenic route
Europe is filled with mind-blowing natural beauty, and one of the best ways to see it is through the window of your train as you get whisked to your next destination. Forget reading while on a train – it’s much better to stare out the window, peering down into a canyon as you speed through the mountains at an incredible speed.
Eurail has marked a number of scenic routes. A few of my favorites? Geneva to Milan, taking in the mountains and blue lakes of northern Italy; the mountains and waterfalls along the route from Zurich to Vienna; and the bright green vineyards of the Douro Valley of northern Portugal, from Porto to Pocinho.
2. Sample food at the source
It wouldn’t be a Europe trip without trying the best foods. And in Europe, everything seems to taste better, fresher, juicier. If you really want to get close to the source, consider staying on an agriturismo or WOOFing.
Even if you’re the urban type, staying on a farm is a way to get to have a culinary adventure in Europe and try on farming as a temporary career – whether you’re making wine in the fields of Rioja, processing a new cheese for each day of the year in southwestern France, or learning the proper way to shake olives down from a tree in Tuscany.
The fruits of your farm labor will appear in front of you every night, where you will eat like a king or queen with the daily harvest.
3. Get on top of a mountain
Whether you want to climb them or ski down them, scale them or just enjoy the view, Europe’s mountains are a playground. From the famed Pyrenees to the lesser-known Tatras, mountains will provide you with a dose of beauty and adventure.
One great place to do this is Innsbruck, Austria – a beautiful city and an easy stop on train routes through Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. The city’s metro will take you right to a cable car that takes you to the top of the Tirolean Alps. Enjoy being on top of the world, or hike your way down!
4. Set sail and cruise some islands
Cruising the Mediterranean on a sailboat as you sail past beautiful islands is one of the most magical experiences you can have while traveling Europe. Whether you are aboard for a day or a week, you’ll be experiencing unforgettable scenery. Make sure you bring your camera!
A Eurail Pass will get you to Split, Croatia, or Piraeus, Greece – two easy points of departure for Mediterranean island cruises. Up for some urban island sailing instead? Try Stockholm!
5. Get into the festival spirit
The locals know how to celebrate in style! Drink steins and wear lederhosen at Oktoberfest in Munich; set things on fire at Las Fallas in Valencia, Spain; drape yourself in orange for King’s Day in Amsterdam.
One festival that you simply must experience? La Tomatina in Buñol, Spain. Every August, people gather in this town to throw tomatoes at each other until everyone’s knee-deep in tomato soup! Base yourself in Valencia and take a train to Buñol on the morning of the festival.
6. Football mania
Whether you call it football or soccer, nobody can deny that this is Europe’s biggest sport – and a religion to many Europeans. Whether you go to a small local friendly or a major international match, you’ll be meeting many passionate fans ready to cheer their beloved team to success.
Never been to a game before? No problem. Throw on a shirt in the home team’s color and get ready to cheer like crazy. By the end of the game, you’ll be exhilarated, hoarse, and surrounded by new friends.
7. Try that adventure sport you never knew existed
Ever felt like throwing yourself down a grassy hill in a giant plastic ball? Sounds like you’re up for zorbing in Slovenia. What about jumping off a giant rock off the Welsh coast? Sounds like you’re up for coasteering.
Maybe canyoning is more your speed – and in that case, head for Switzerland, where you can abseil down rocky caves (whenever you’re not sliding down waterfalls, of course). In Lapland during the winter? Might as well head out igloo-building and mushing with huskies!
8. Sample Europe’s best nightlife
Whether it’s diving into the underground cavern bars of Budapest or hitting up the tapas bars in Granada, Europe is home to sensational nightlife. This is where you’ll have some of the most memorable experiences of your trip!
You could be partying on a river barge in Belgrade, dancing at a foam party in Ibiza, or singing along with the locals in a traditional Irish pub in Galway. You’ll never forget the local nightlife.
9. Get off the sand and into the water
Think beaches in Europe are just for relaxing? Think again. Show up with a bathing suit, sunscreen, and a thirst for adventure and you’ll have the world at your feet.
Try San Sebastian, Spain, for some hardcore surfing and marathon pintxos-eating sessions. Sardinia’s craggy coast is perfect for exploring by sea kayak as the waves drench you at every turn. And if you’re a clothing-optional kind of guy or gal, the Greek island of Corfu is known for its naked cliff diving…
10. Get to know the locals
Maybe after three nights at that awesome restaurant, you’ve become friendly with the owners. Maybe showing up at that Couchsurfing meetup has made you a few acquaintances.
Cherish these friendships – having made genuine friends from another country is something incredibly special. And with today’s Facebook updates and Instagram photos, you never have to say goodbye. Who knows – your new local friends could be dancing at your wedding someday!
You can do all of these adventurous must-dos in Europe with a Eurail Pass! Find out more about Eurail on the Eurail.com website.