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St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Dublin. Photo credit: Tourism Ireland.
Emily Rycroft, of the Global Cool Foundation, wrote this guest post about dancing on the Emerald Isle to giant Easter eggs in Budapest on these Traincations to Europe this month.
Spring is almost here! And we think you need to shake off those winter blues for good with one of these terrific Traincation adventures to Europe…
St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Dublin. Photo credit: Tourism Ireland.
Celebrate St Patrick’s Day on the Emerald Isle
There’s only one place in the world to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, and this year we’re heading to Dublin in March for the festival of a lifetime. Get ready for four days and nights of music, performances and total immersion in another exciting culture. The entertainment aims to mirror the fortes and achievements of Irish people throughout the world. Expect a lot of music, street theatre, spectacular carnivals, family-friendly performances and over 4,000 entertainers all celebrating Paddy’s Day in style. The parade this year will be marveling at the wonder of science and we can’t wait!
The high-speed train from London Euston to Holyhead leaves just after 9am Monday to Friday or just before on Saturday. Nab yourself a window seat and gaze upon northern countryside stretching out into the distance. Keep your eyes peeled for some stunning views of the Welsh coastline and the slowly collapsing walls of Conway Castle. You’ll even catch a glimpse of the magnificent Snowdonia Mountains as you pull into Holyhead too.
From here, the Irish Ferries Ulysses will take you all the way to Dublin Ferry Port. There is a regular bus service to take you from the port into the city centre which costs around €2.50 and takes only 20 minutes too!
Budapest landmark: the Hungarian Parliament Building. Photo credit: Hungarian National Tourist Office.
Get your fill of culture in Budapest
Budapest’s Spring Festival is one of the most legendary celebrations in Budapest and the perfect place to escape for the weekend. During festival time, the entire city is taken over by music, jazz, opera and ballet performances, as well as art and folk exhibitions, at various venues around the Hungarian capital. Vörösmarty Square is the place to start, hosting the Easter Market, with giant multi-colored Easter eggs for everyone to get involved in painting.
Take a late afternoon Eurostar from London to Paris, leaving enough time to wander through town from Gare du Nord to the Gare de l’Est. Germany’s superb City Night Line sleeper train leaves the Gare de l’Est daily at 8.20pm arriving at Munich the following morning.
After a good night’s sleep, jump on the 9.27am Austrian RailJet train from Munich arriving at Budapest Keleti station just in time to join the afternoon festivities. Keep your eyes open as you cross the River Salzburg for the beautiful views of Salzburg.
Lose yourself in a French film in Athens
We just can’t seem to get enough of French cinema. And if you want to jump on the bandwagon (or le train en marche) then travel to Athens for the annual French Film Festival. Watch all the best releases of French cinema and hear all the insider gossip from the directors. There will be special screenings for students and kids too.
Take an afternoon Eurostar to Paris and then jump on the comfortable Stendhal Artesia train, which will rock you to sleep on the overnight journey to Venice Santa Lucia. Both Minoan Lines and Anek Lines cruise ferries sail from Venice to Patras daily around noon. Stand out on the deck and breathe in the staggering views of the cliffs as you approach Greece. There are regular trains from Patras all the way to Athens, past pretty villages and lively harbor towns.
Planning a holiday to Europe and beyond? Whatever your destination worldwide, book and save with holiday packages.
Femmina Expo in Athens. Photo credit: Femmina.
Emily Rycroft, of the Global Cool Foundation, wrote this guest post about kidnapping on ice, gourmet treats and fashion on traincation in Europe in January.
Happy New Year! We’ve been harping on about Traincations forever, but why not make the New Year you give it a go yourself? And what better way to beat the January blues than by treating yourself to a little holiday? Go on, you deserve it…
In January, you can get your fashion fix at the Femmina Expo in Athens. Preview the latest fashion trends for the upcoming season and meet the faces behind the designs. Mingle with the crème de la crème of designers, buyers and fashionistas in-the-know, while gazing upon what’s hot for women’s wear, men’s wear and accessories.
Travel from London to Paris by Eurostar, take the Metro to Gare de Bercy, and then hop on the Thello sleeper train to Venice. Wake up to breathe in the sight of the Grand Canale before boarding the Minoan/Anek Lines ferry to Patras. Finally, you’re in for a treat with the stunningly picturesque train journey from Patras to Athens, which runs every few hours.
St Moritz, Switzerland
It’s the ski season so make the most of guaranteed snow and slightly lower prices this side of Christmas. And if you fancy doing something a bit different, then get to St Moritz for the Schlitteda Engiadinaisa.
All the locals hop on their old sleighs, don their traditional attire, grab a horse and join in a procession through the wintery landscape. If you’re a lady, watch your back because each rider gets to pick one woman to ride with him – it’s a little like kidnapping on ice and not a task to be entered into lightly! It’s a wonderful way to experience traditional folk dancers, lovely decorated sledges and horses, and soak up the stunning backdrop of St Moritz.
The trusty Eurostar will take you from London to Paris. Once you arrive, hop on the RER line D to the Gare de Lyon in order to catch the afternoon TGV Lyria to Zurich. For St Moritz, take an evening interCity train from Zurich, changing at Chur onto the narrow-gauge Rhätische Bahn for some breathtaking views.
If food is your thing, then The Central Market, Tsentralni Hali in Sofia, is the perfect place to stand in culinary awe. Be a real foodie at this daily gourmet food fare. Trawl through stalls of fruit and vegetables, local cheeses, olives, wines, spirits and lots of baked goods. And please make sure you eat as many free samples as possible – we’re counting on you!
Get yourself to Paris and take the short walk to Gare de l’Est, before climbing aboard the City Night Line sleeper train to Munich. The spacious Austrian RailJet train will take you on the next leg of your journey to Budapest for a short stopover to grab provisions for your connecting train to Sofia. There is no café or restaurant on this train so just settle down with some snacks and enjoy the view.
To see all our Traincations check out our website.
Planning a holiday in Italy? If you’re heading to Rome, look at self-catering accommodations including Rome apartments to rent.
Christmas city break in Stockholm? Stay at Scandic Grand Central, one of the coolest new Stockholm hotels. Photo credit: Scandic.
Emily Rycroft, of the Global Cool Foundation, wrote this guest post on eels, gingersnaps and folk dancing on traincation to Europe’s best Christmas markets.
Give yourself a little bit of Christmas cheer and get in the festive mood on Traincation to European Christmas markets…
Take the Eurostar to Brussels after midday, and change at Brussels Midi for an ICE high-speed train to Cologne and see the famous Cologne Christmas Markets.
If you stay and have dinner in Cologne, check out Alte Wartesaal just to the right of the station entrance. Expect impressive menus, stunning architecture and a diverse mix of people.
Next, travel overnight to Copenhagen snuggled up on the City Night Line sleeper train. Wake up rested and refreshed before hopping on a train all the way to Skansen.
Stockholm may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of Christmas markets, but Skansen holds one of the best in Europe.
It’s incredibly traditional, with Swedish crafts and handmade straw ornaments. There’s also a great spread of yummy local food to try like eel, saffron buns, pepparkakor (gingersnaps) and Swedish mulled wine called glögg.
Next stop on our Christmas market adventure is Budapest. This is another fairly traditional market, but is incredibly lively with folk dances and live music every day. The stalls, which are based in the centre of the Pest district, look like quaint little cottages, selling a whole host of great trinkets to fill up your stockings. There’s traditional food, local art and even a puppet show!
Travel from London to Paris in the morning on the good old trusty Eurostar, and soak up a little bit of Paris on your wander from Gare du Nord to the Gare de l’Est. Hop on board the super-fast TGV train all the way to Munich Hauptbahnhof and treat yourself to a little festive snack from the on-board café.
Finally, take the EuroNight sleeper train all the way into Budapest. This Hungarian sleeper train is roomier than expected, with some very comfortable couchettes.
Make it a Christmas Eve to remember at the Barcelona Christmas Fair. Pick up everything from handmade decorations and gifts, to mistletoe and poinsettias (Christmas plants). There’s also a Nativity scene competition, parades, music and exhibitions.
The Eurostar journey from London to Paris is cheap and easy-peasy. At Paris Gare du Nord, it is faster to get the Metro than a taxi to Gare d’Austerlitz, so jump on Line 5 and get across the city in less than 20 minutes.
The Joan Miró Elipsos Trenhotel will take you on the next leg of your journey, so you can have your own Orient-Express style sleeper train adventure all the way to Barcelona! You can reserve a private sleeper, or get really adventurous and book yourself a comfy couchette where you’ll have the chance to meet other travelers from all over the globe.
To see all our Traincations, check out our website.