Our Eurotrip: 7 Countries by Train in 10 Days
Wow. It’s not possible in many regions of the world. In fact, it’s hard to do outside of Europe. At least not comfortably or without spending hours in airport security lines. But in the span of just 10 days in October we went to eight different main cities in seven countries. By train! That’s a distance of over 1,200 miles (1,930 kilometers) with time to spare in each place to explore.
The Eurail Global Pass has been gold for us more than once. You save a ton of dough. Plus, we took over 17 different train connections, including intercity trains in some of the locations we were staying (the pass can also get you discounts on a multitude of activities)!
A little over seven years ago, we did our first European backpacking trip (aka Eurotrip #1). We took a slightly different, more western route (Amsterdam > Berlin > Paris > Marseille > Carcassonne > Barcelona > Malaga), but we used the same tools: backpacks and a Eurail pass. It was so easy, we wanted to give it another go!
So, where did we go on our Eurotrip #2?
Berlin, Germany — this was our Eurotrip jumping off point after our Scandinavian getaway. We love Berlin and the creative community it cultivates. It’s a special place where history intersects with art and innovation. We already want to go back.
Prague, Czech Republic — we spent two days in Prague as we’ve heard so much about it. It has a beautiful historic city where we walked around for 10 hours/day (gotta hit that 20,000 step mark!) and still didn’t see all of the old town sections.
Bratislava, Slovakia — this was Tristan’s stop as he likes off-the-beaten-path places. You may not think of Bratislava as the first place to travel to, but we loved it’s edge and admiration for UFO-like structures. A calmer, but still a decent sized city, we stayed at a super fun hotel named after the city itself: Hotel Bratislava. We also dabbled in some top-notch Italian food at Gatto Matto after walking around the historic fortress on the hill.
Budapest, Hungary — Budapest has a flair and a pulse that doesn’t easily get forgotten. From ruin bars (100% check out Szimpla Kert — you won’t be sorry) to the blossoming foodie scene, we could have easily stayed another week or two. Maybe even lived there. Who knows!?
Vienna, Austria — a city we were told we had to put on the list, Vienna was beautiful and had a bustling old town center with many pedestrian-only streets. We stayed in a hidden, fifth-floor boutique hotel with a lot of charm called Aviano. It was right in the center, but tucked away just enough that it was peaceful. We also played some table games and dined at the plush Cuisino restaurant, which was one of the best casinos we’ve seen since leaving the U.S. (Tristan always does the gambling.)
Interlaken, Switzerland — Danyelle’s brother recommended visiting Interlaken, and he was right. Here we stayed at the historic Hotel Interlaken, a true beauty of modern design with homey fixtures. Then, because we will eat Lebanese food wherever we can find it, we had huge meze platters at a special restaurant called Layaly Beirut. We also took a train ride 3,454 meters up to Jungfraujoch, the Top of Europe, for some pretty epic views.
Grindelwald, Switzerland — our favorite scenic stop on the trip, Grindelwald is the gateway to incredible Alpine adventures. We stayed at the trendy Hotel Glacier and it blew our minds. We both agreed out of nearly 70+ hotels we’ve stayed at this year it was one of our favorites. How can you beat the best restaurant in town, a spa with water beds, a sauna, a steam room and an outdoor hot tub? If for some reason you want to leave the hotel, head over to First Cliff Walk — just a short cable car ride up the mountain for some incredible views and adventure.
Milan, Italy — one day in Italy is obviously not enough, but we had a flight to catch out of Milan, so we dashed in to the city, ate a glorious lunch at Pasta d’Autore, visited Wes Anderson’s cafe called Bar Luce, grabbed a cannoli, and finally headed to the airport. Our visit was short but oh-so-sweet.
In conclusion, we are much more experienced travelers on our second Eurotrip and were able to do so much more than our first Eurotrip in a shorter time. Really, it’s all thanks to the incredible train system in Europe. It felt more comfortable speeding through seven countries than you would ever imagine. Plus, it’s a true joy when you don’t need to actively transport yourself everywhere (like driving culture in the U.S.).
Share your European train tricks in the comments and we hope to see you on the railways soon!