10 of the Best Wine Capitals in Europe by Train
Wine is a source of pride throughout Europe. There are dozens of wine regions that boast ideal conditions for growing the grapes used in wine production, but these aren’t always easy to reach by train. If you’re a fan of the fermented grapes, then make sure you include these easy to reach wine capitals on your next Eurail trip.
Wine capitals in Europe
1. Bordeaux, France
Bordeaux, one of the world’s best-known wine capitals, has its very own varietal. The vineyards around the urban center may be difficult to reach. But luckily, much of the wine makes its way into the city’s celebrated restaurants and wine bars.
Wine to try: Red Bordeaux
How to get there by train: There are regular high-speed trains between Paris and Bordeaux that take approximately 3.5 hours.
2. Koblenz, Germany
The Rhine River Valley is overflowing with vineyards producing some of the world’s best Riesling. Most cities and towns throughout the region serve up glasses of the ice cold white wine. The small town of Koblenz is particularly scenic, and is in a perfect spot along the Rhine Valley scenic train route.
Wine to try: Riesling
How to get there by train: Regular trains follow the Rhine River Valley scenic line from Mainz to Koblenz. The nearest big city, Cologne, is just one hour away by train.
3. Porto, Portugal
Porto is named after the famous port wine. As such, you’d rightfully expect nothing but the best port and wine in this vibrant city. There are several port houses located throughout the city that you can visit, and most restaurants and bars serve up the region’s best varieties at unbeatable prices.
Wine to try: Port
How to get there by train: There are regular trains from Lisbon to Porto that take approximately 3 hours.
4. Dijon, France
Burgundy is probably France’s most sophisticated wine region, and the conditions along the Saône river are ideal for both red and white wines. The capital Dijon is an outlet for many celebrated varieties, and is easy to reach by train from the capital.
Wine to try: Pinot noir
How to get there by train: TGV trains go from Paris to Dijon every hour, and take approximately 1.5 hours.
5. Paris, France
The nearest vineyard to Paris may be some distance away, but that hasn’t stopped the city from becoming the hub of the Europe’s best wines. Though there are dozens of dedicated wine bars throughout the city, you can’t go wrong with a glass or two at any of the city’s bars or restaurants.
One wine bar not to miss: Chez Georges
How to get there by train: Paris is a major rail hub in Europe with regular trains from throughout the continent.
6. Florence, Italy
Florence is the gateway to Tuscany, one of the jewels in Italy’s crown of celebrated wine capitals. Although there are several villages within reach of Florence that will get you closer to the vineyards, they tend to be difficult to reach by rail. And when you consider how much there is to see, do, eat and drink in Florence, this is one city wine lovers shouldn’t overlook.
Wine to try: Sangiovese
How to get there by train: There are regular trains to Florence from both Rome and Milan that take approximately 1.5 hours.
7. Vienna, Austria
Vienna is the only world capital that produces significant quantities of wine within its city limits. Although vineyards are dotted throughout the country, particularly along the Danube Valley, Vienna is the best place to go if you want to sample the best of the country’s offerings.
Wine to try: Weissburgunder
How to get there by train: There are regular trains to Vienna from throughout Austria. It’s also a central rail hub with easy connections from several neighboring countries.
8. Budapest, Hungary
Hungary produces some of Europe’s best wines, and its production history dates back to Roman times. Though Budapest is some distance from the main wine producing regions, most varietals make their way to the capital. You’ll find both red and white Hungarian wines at bargain prices throughout the city, including at most ruin bars.
Wine to try: Tokaj
How to get there by train: There are regular trains to Budapest from throughout Hungary. There are also easy connections from Vienna that take less than 2.5 hours.
9. Krapina, Croatia
Most cities and towns in Croatia serve up celebrated local wines. If you’re looking to travel by train to the source, however, head to Krapina. This small scenic town produces some of the country’s best wines, and it’s surprisingly easy to reach by rail.
Wine to try: Traminer
How to get there by train: There are regular RER trains to Krapina that connect via Zabok. These typically take 2 hours including transfer time.
10. San Sebastian, Spain
Spain produces some of Europe’s best wines. But San Sebastian’s vineyards and wine bars have a unique charm that gives the city an edge for wine lovers. Pair the slightly sparingly local varieties with the bite-sized pintxos, and you’ll be in culinary heaven.
Wine to try: Txakoli
How to get there by train: Regular trains to San Sebastian from both Barcelona and Madrid take between 5 and 6 hours.
Though there’s nothing quite like going to the source for the continent’s best wines, many vineyards are by definition rural and difficult to reach. But if you’re looking to sample some of the best European wines on your next Eurail journey, make your way to one of these wine capitals and order a glass of the region’s finest.